Calling it good. 

It’s been a good day.  Nothing to warrant a photo or blog post really but as I sit and reflect I am grateful for a mountain of simple pleasures.

My baby is in bed.  I can hear her talking to herself. Little happy noises.  Earlier she dragged out my highest heels and made me practice walking. These are the ones I threatened to get rid of because while they are gorgeous, they are super skinny heels and I tend to trip.  My three year old loves them. She really wants me to wear them. And so tonight I tromped up and down the hall and didn’t fall over once. Maybe all the running and biking and swimming is good for heel training.   Point here is that she makes me grin.

My eldest is at camp.  First overnight camp.  She was nervous.  I didn’t tell her I was nervous too. I told her she’d be great.   I sat tonight and thought about summer camp and growing up and the fact that fourth grade is no little matter.   Love that girl.

My house smells currently smells like a cake baking and bread rising.   My husband is making birthday treats for my dear friend.  He always says yes to my plans.  Currently my plans include a big pre race carb load.  Fresh mozzarella and grated parmasan and sausage and pasta.  Gosh he makes me happy.   

My hands currently  smell like lavender and basil and tomatoes from when I watered my garden.  I hear my cat meowing, ready for dinner and our nightly cuddle. 

Day after tomorrow is my big day. Swim and bike and run.  I’m scarexcited.   My Trisuit fits if you like the look of a black and pink porpoise.  

Ten days out is the 7th annual Scramble for the Kids.  Today I got to talk to several generous local entrepreneurs committed to helping hurting kids. I love that. 

Today I also witnessed a friend climb out of a personal hole today. Miracle. Inspiring. 

Talked to my mama. Planned a belated Father’s Day date with my dad and sister.  Smooched one of my nephews. 

Within striking range of a goal at work.  I love a finish line.

Lots of good stuff.  But Eaier today I got a little overwhelmed and sad.  It’s because I read the news.  Do you do this?  Lions and babies and protests.  Politics and fights and war.   I am a fully engaged citizen. I read and vote and call and write and fundraise.  But Sometimes it feels like the yuck is winning.  I can get stuck there. 

But I decided today to just not. 

Instead.

Counted my blessings.  Said a prayer.  Called it good. 

It was a good day. 

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She’s Three

Our little miss is three.    I can’t decide if I should be sad because my last baby isn’t a baby or happy because she’s reached my favorite age.  I love preschoolers.  We are spending the day eating cupcakes and soaking up the sunshine at our church’s annual campout.    Her big birthday wish this year was for a “rainbella” (umbrella for those of you non 3-year-old linguists).   We delivered with a Minnie Mouse polka-dotted umbrella and polka-dotted matching shoes.    Did I mention I love preschoolers?

In my standard fashion to celebrate I put together a list of my favorite things about this three-year olds.  Photos courtesy of her dad.

1.  She watches people and responds with love.

Meghan sleepsI was holding this girl a few days ago while talking with someone about a difficult life situation.   She sat and watched for a while as he spoke about what was going on.   After a bit she leaned over and whispered in my ear “I want to give him a hug”.    This ability to see people’s pain and respond with a hug or a pat or a quiet listening ear gives me great encouragement and I love to watch how God uses her to encourage others.

2.  She expresses herself with passion. MEghan and popcorn

Now sometimes this is not a good thing.  Little one spends her share of time in time out cooling off while she hollers.   But she also expresses joy and surprise and glee with similar levels of enthusiasm.   Self control is a learned trait – and she’ll get it – but energy and life is an inborn trait for my girl and it’ll carry her far in life.

3.  She is clearly the most fashion forward person in our house.

Easter MeghanThe birthday girls adores shoes.  And purses.  And jewelry.  And capes, and dresses, and hair ties and anything that sparkles.    She wears them with confidence.

4.    Her standard of beauty is not defined by prejudice or advertisements.

My daughter compliments people all the time.    All kinds of people.    Age or skin color have no bearing.   She’s compliments teens and grandmas and little kids.  Women in full head coverings and cancer patients and beauty contestants.  This girl really appreciates colorful clothing or makeup or jewelry but she embraces variety.     I love watching people when she says “You Look Beautiful”.   They smile.  And they do look beautiful.

Meghan Swing5.    She loves books.

Like her mama.  and her dad.  and her big sister.   She really likes books.

Meghan Swimming

6.  She loves Jesus.       I asked this one where she thought Jesus lived.  Her answer….”at VBS.”   Her doctrine has a little work to go but her faith is already strong and her prayers make me happy.

Happy Birthday to this passionate, goofy, expressive, cuddly and tender person.  It is such fun to have her in our life.

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Remixing Brown and Purple

There are 22 days left until the mini-tri my friends and I entered.   Feel free to skip this blog post if you don’t want to hear about either more eyeliner drama or training mishaps.   No heart warming kid stories or inspiring messages.   Eyeliner and sweat.  That’s all I got.   But if you are curious if I’ve quit because I haven’t written about it – fear not  and read on.

We’ve been running and swimming and biking and contemplating purchasing a scary tri-suit for about ten weeks.  It’s all going pretty well except for the purchasing a tri suit.  First time in the pool it took me 25 minutes to swim 18 laps (1/4 mile).  Last week I got it down to 13 minutes.   My cousin the coach wants me to kick it down to 10 minutes.  I have added eye goggles, nose plug and swim cap.    All major improvements.   I really like the shower at the YMCA – good water pressure and there are a couple of ladies who I chat with while I change.    The Y is a hugely welcoming place.    I even friended the chaplain on Facebook I like it that much.    My happiest training moment so far was about a week ago.  I came in from my swim and this very nice older lady said and i quote “I love watching you lap swimmers”.    WOOO!   Just to be called a lap swimmer by someone who kinda reminds me of my grandma was worth the whole process.

The running part hasn’t hit the fun stage.  It’s a pain.   But my new pants still fit and I haven’t gained any weight since I started eating again so that’s why I run.   I run so I can eat chocolate chip cookies.   Decent motivation.

The biking part had me worried.   12 miles is a relatively short ride I recognize in the biking world.  But in my world where I had not really ridden a bike in probably 20 years until last fall 12 miles was intimidating.    The longest I’d gone so far was 7 miles.  My partners in this crazy plan are both much more experienced cyclists and one of their super biking husbands hauled us out to Marine Drive last Sunday for a training ride.    14 miles in the super hot weather later, several pep talks from my partners and some very useful tips from the coach and I feel ready to go.   Seriously need to practice drinking water while biking.   Or more precisely need to practice putting the water bottle back after drinking.   I did not fall off, but I think everyone was surprised including me.

Now the trick is to put any of those three together….

oh – and for any of you wondering  – I purchased some more brown eyeliner and a dark boring green.  And then I signed up for Ipsy.  I figured out I couldn’t buy fancy colored eyeliner so I signed up for someone to mail me random products.   I tried on some turquoise eyeliner the other day and one of my friends was so shocked she just stood and stared for a bit.   She told me that I needed to repeat the entire story I’d been telling her because she was side tracked by the not brown eyeliner.     I laughed.   My triathlon partner chimed in and told her that this is just a phase I’m going through.   Adding a little color.    I’m going to be 40 in the fall remember?

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Taking Pictures

The family and I took a mini vacation this week.  First airplane ride for the almost 3 year old. Two days in Idaho at Silverwood Theme Park.   My sweet and wise spouse recommended we travel light and park the technology.  He went old school with an actual camara.  The theory is unconnected to the world is better connected to your closest ones.  Better memories.

The one downside to limiting tech access is I had no camara readily available to catch the photos.   So I took a few with my heart. Those last longer anyway.  My mama always told me to take a photo in my mind.   Here are a few to share.

1.  My kiddos in matching pajamas.  Pink and turquoise stripes with a snappy fox.  My big girl is in the last size that fits the range of my little one.  It’s sweet to see these two cuddled up.

2.  Stickers.  I had the brilliant idea that pages of sparkly stars and pink and red hearts were great entertainment for the little one.    Turns out she likes to decorate her face with them.  Last night she fell asleep in the rental car covered in smiley face stickers. 

3.  Corn bread and bees.   All you can eat BBQ.  Big picnic benches and camp ground style pavilions.   Butter and pulled pork.  Watermelon and Cole slaw. 

4.  Grins on the tilt a whirl.  Red and blue, little squeals. One girl with freckles and one with big blue eyes.   The look exchanged between two happy parents.

5.  My tough husband kneeling down to get rocks out of my baby’s shoes. She was sitting on a weathered wooden bench under a gorgeous hanging flower basket.  Orange flowers.  He was asking her about her favorite ride.   

6.  Floating in a lazy fake river.  Clear intertube reflects the water and sky. The eldest daughter dashing and splashing. The youngest cuddled in.  

7. Youp youps and yote for breakfast (fruit loops and yogurt).   The eldest made my tea.  She really loves to make tea in hotels. 

Sitting in the dark I’m listening to my children sleep. I’m trusting that their dreams are full of laughter and giggles and joy.    Our trip was.   Glad I didn’t miss it behind a phone. 

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Scooting Along

photo 2

I drove over to Walla Walla last week.  Four hours down. I attended a one day conference that greatly extended my to do list at work.   Rather boring to do list all about writing policy and procedure manuals and new compliance training logs.  Really nice hotel, great steak and blue cheese wedge salad.   Four hours back.  The drive was fabulous.   Perfect weather.     I’ve been many places around the world and seen some beautiful vistas.  I may be biased but The Columbia River Gorge is still in my top ten.    I love that where I live is one of my favorite places.

photo 1

Last week I also went for a run.   (For those of you wondering…I also swam, and lifted weights, and rode my bike….six weeks to go until the big er…little tri).   I invited my nine year old to come along.  She rode her bike.   We went over to the school track because I could see her even if she went ahead.  She loves lapping her mama.   At one point she came up and the following conversation took place.

Nine year old:   Mom, can you stop for a second so I can show you something?

Me:   No.  If I stop running I don’t start again.

Nine year old:   Mom.   You aren’t running.

Me:  What? Yes I am.

Nine year old:  Nope, you aren’t even jogging.  You are just kinda scooting along.

At this point I laughed.   I do way better on my days when this kind of thing makes me laugh not yell. Makes me think I may be able to parent this child and her sister through the dreaded jr. high years.     I laughed.  And then I kicked it into gear and actually ran.   Nothing like a little truth to spur me into action.

Here’s to coaching from nine year olds, cuddles from the baby, dates with my spouse and a big goal ahead.   I really do like the view at my house.

photo

I stole this photo from an adorable wedding – and from http://www.photosbybobbi.com.   Hopefully she lets me get away with it if you go check out her stuff!

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Longhouses and Outhouses

longhouse twoLast week was spectacular at our house.   And by spectacular I mean we survived.   I wasn’t positive we would.   In the midst of the week my spouse came walking past the living room, saw me staring into nothing and told me I looked like a zombie.   That was the low point.

We had our children six and a half years apart.   There were a variety of reasons including our choice, Rwanda, tuberculosis and the fact that since my sister and I are six and a half years apart it just feels right.   There are benefits.   Comic Relief.   But the big age difference means that we are signed up for the long haul parenting plan.    We told the principal last week at the elementary school that she’s stuck with us for 12 straight years.   We’ll have one child entering Kindergarten right when the eldest is headed to middle school.   That’ll be fun.

But last week it meant we had one child potty training and one child trying to complete a 3rd grade NW Coastal Region Native People’s Longhouse.      Both projects were overwhelming.    I hate potty training.   I think that’s easy to understand.

The longhouse was overwhelming for other reasons.  You know how some elementary schools beg people to join PTA and never have enough room moms?   How some kids showlonghouse up with their projects not finished because no one at home would help?    That’s not the school our kid attends.    We quit going to PTA meetings when it was apparent that the spots were all full and they clearly had it all under control.  I’d rather help homeless kids or foster kids than fight for a spot.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining at all.  I love our school, I’m just grateful they don’t need me!   But it does up the pressure a bit when school projects come home.   The librarian laughed last week and said that NW Coastal Region Native People’s Longhouse week is his favorite week to see what parents can do.   Ha.

So because we survived and turned in a completed longhouse AND potty trained the baby, and because a list is one of my favorite ways to celebrate – here is what we all learned.

Things My Nine Year Old Learned While Completing the Longhouse:        You can make almost anything with a glue gun.  Splinters from cedar planks hurt.     NW Coastal Region Native People lived in close quarters with all their relatives.  (So do we when mom looks like a zombie and calls in help).

Things My Two Year Old Learned:    Pink panties are more fun than white panties.    Purple Skittles are the best.   Splinters canoefrom big sister’s cedar planks hurt.

Things My Husband Learned:     There are a lot of women who live at this house.  I think he knew this already.

What I learned:  I am officially done having children.  Two is good.   I also learned that NW Coastal Region Native People had white wooly dogs.  The technical term in the literature was wooly.

About midway in the potty training process I found myself sitting in the bathroom and cheering for my youngest daughter while picking up poo off the floor.   I was cheering because some of the poo made it into the potty.  Gotta celebrate little victories.

I had an epiphany while sitting on the bathroom floor.  You know how people sometimes ask ‘Why did Jesus have to go through torture and death and burial and all that?     It is not possible to potty train or build a longhouse without getting dirty.    Neither can be done by just giving directions.   You actually have to be present in the mess to make any sort of difference.   Jesus had to deal with hell to save me because that’s where I was.  It was while I was a mess that He showed up.    And that’s part of why I show up for my kids and for hurting kids.

Forget the zombie in the living room.   I’m grateful.

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Brown Like Purple. Again.

For those of you following along with my previous blogs please note that yesterday I officially ran out of eyeliner.  The standard boring brown kind.  I have none.  I’m going to have to go to the store and buy more eyeliner.  I hate buying makeup.

I only bring this up because I’m two weeks into my training for my triathlon which is what I signed up for instead of buying purple eyeliner.   That’s how much I hate the makeup aisle.  I signed up to run 3 miles, swim 1/4 mile and bike 12 miles all to get the same fun kick as trying out a crazy shade of makeup.  Clearly I need help.

In the last couple weeks I’ve texted my ever patient and very talented swimming cousin about a thousand times with every question under the sun.   At her recommendation, I purchased a swimsuit that is scary.  It called a Dolphin Ugly.  Who wants to wear a swimsuit from a company that markets said suit as Ugly?   Me apparently.    I also purchased goggles.   I haven’t worn either.  They are on my front porch.  Go Amazon Prime.  I had my bike fixed and it is now sporting new tires and new shifters.   I joined the local YMCA.    I should have just bought purple eyeliner and moved on.  Would have been cheaper. But now I’m too far in to quit.

First day at the Y I ran and biked and found the bathrooms and didn’t die.   Today was my first day in the pool.   I was thrilled that the only other people in the pool were a bunch of grandmas doing a senior water workout class.      Today my goal was to swim the distance I’ll have to do in the actual event in August.   I succeeded.  Sort of.   18 laps is a long way to go when out of shape.  Most of it I did on my back.   I ran my head into the end wall only once.   I veered into the other lanes only twice.  Go me.  Ha.

Problem with swimming and working out is that now I’m starving.  And I have four days left on my I don’t eat diet.   I’m a tad scared that when its over I’m going to promptly eat everything in sight and gain all 27 pounds back.    I laughed with a co-blogger who stated that she was scared one pastrami sandwich post diet would be her undoing.    She said in reality it would probably take two pastrami sandwiches.   That’s me.  A little scared of purple eyeliner and pastrami sandwiches.

I’m a little scared but mostly I’m grateful.  I am grateful to my cousins who agreed to coach.  I’m grateful to my girlfriends who signed up with me.   I’m grateful to my spouse who like always is cheering me on.

I’m grateful to the Y for this great quotation from Ghandi that is painted on their wall.   ” Strength does not come from physical capacity.  It comes from an indomitable will”.  This is why I think we’ve got a shot at finishing in August.  Its because I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.

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