Tuesday, October 17, 2017

FanFair + Fortress vs. FOMO + First of 2nd

We love questions around here, and good thing - the kids as about a zillion a day (wonder where they learned that?). Two q's swirling in my mind lately:
"What are we saying 'yes' to?"

"What are we excited about?" 
(I'd love to hear your answers)

Fair Fun

Dan (you know, Dan in Real Life) has a song, "Prepare to be surprised". Well, my extreme enthusiasm about the fair is a big surprise. Let's be clear, I did not exactly love the fair itself - it's the bonding, memories in the making, decisions, meandering, delighting, glutton-ing together. Together! Getting a Monday "off" with my hub and watching him take the lead so wonderfully, the best. Here's what we did, for the record. 
Leave early, listen to Waylon Jennings on the way
Birthing barn
Big slide
Mini donuts/coffee
watched sheep dogs/sheep (ran into a friend from high school and his fam, watched with them. WILD!)
"Kidway" - dog rollercoaster, fun houses, bumper boats
Brats from "Cynthia's Sausage" (yum), corn dogs
Watched Dan Cole Common Man show (Trev's VERY favorite radio show). Karis did tug of war and got on the show. WILD! 
Dairy barn - soft serve cones and princess of the Milky Way butter carvings 
Gondola/ski lift ride to machinery hill (freaky)
Walked our way back - go into campers, sit on tractors . . . 
Sweet Martha's
4H Building 
Cheese curds/beer while watching end of Common Man show
Tattoos (of bugs. big nasty bugs, handed out by a woman in a bug suit).
HOME (listen to classical/opera on the way home)
taco salads and tattoo putting on
 We put them on after dinner.
(next year: matching family t-shirts, spend more time at the creative arts building, remember that momma loses steam and stops loving the cookie-to-kids-mouth-like-a-slot-machine around 1pm. Hmmm, maybe momma could go to creative arts building alone and leave the kids at the all you can drink milk)


Mother/daughter book club annual event. So meaningful, simple, beautiful. Games (moms for sure the most competitive), ordered in Chipotle, singing, praying over each girl, playing.

Growing up, kind of
Oh Judah, we have kept him young and Karis has observed a few times: "Judah sure seems to get what he wants when he cries". In an effort to treat him like the age he is (almost 5, what?!) we're starting small. Like, not reheating his food because he's been playing while the rest of us eat. One Saturday he went to rest time without lunch (no, we're done re-heating your food). He called me into his room to say:
"Ah, I just want you to apologize to me . . . ". Laughter. And then, "Well, I'm sorry I raised my voice, and we will not be reheating your food anymore".
Judah in his "snuggle fort" (using every single blanket and pillow in the house)

Plum Picking/Creative Endeavors
Karis and Lucy are such buds, so dear. And I couldn't let the peck of plums go to waste, so we tried our hand at plum jelly. Satisfying project and beautiful in a jar, if a bit tart.

School Starts
2nd Grade
Writing this in mid-October, it feels like . . . an afterthought, which means we're full on into routine (YAY!). Loving the routine. Karis's first day was sweet, the excitement in the building buoyed us all and I felt not sad this time. Judah started a couple weeks later, and he was just so ready that it was easy to let him go. Trev helped take him (with a stop at Bruegger's first).
Last minute scrubbing off tattoo

The end of summer had me feeling like saying no to lots and to build a little fortress around our family. Tired, ready/not ready to face the engagement that fall brings. And it made me ponder what it will mean when some of my family wants to say "yes" (for example, to the picnic/movie night at church) and half wants to say "no". Sometimes its as simple as the ones who want to go and the others stay back, but then there's FOMO! Such a real thing . . . around the corner was . . .

Minne-Revive/Ordination service
I went to a conference at our church, I'm also very excited about this. I wrote about it here.  Being there helped me to get back into fell-the-fortress mode, to remember to say "yes" when needed and find peace in the "no's", even when there's FOMO.
Bishop blessing the children

Well Check Wonders
We had to break up with our pediatric clinic, sniff sniff. While sad, I was still marveling at the fact that we can easily take for granted that whatever care we find will be very okay. I still was on the look out for some sweet comfort in the transition and sure enough at the new place was one of our old nurses. Such a wonder to me, when this metropolis seems small and also I remember that in my small concerns there's still attention and care. Grateful.

Sunset Catcher
Karis padded down after being tucked in one night to exclaim that I just had to look at the sunset. So we sat on the front step in our jammies and just chatted and I remembered the importance of being open to these moments. When I think the day is done, to keep my heart ready to connect and delight and make memories with this dear daughter.

Peek a Boo/Catty
We have a resident cat living under our deck. Judah named it Catty, Karis convinced him to consider "Peek a Boo", which seems about right because it peeks out now and then and we never really know when he's going to be here. Advice?

First Book Cry
Karis padded down another night and sobbed into my arms because someone died in one of her American Girl books. Oh, a good book cry.

Within ten days we took two trips to Bismarck and Trev took one to Montreal. All so sweet and special and full and fulfilling. Connecting with family always the best, especially in the spaces of celebration, and I'll always remember feeling the nearness of heaven at A's wedding. We even got a late night hotel stay (in an effort to get Trev to the airport in time on Sunday). Memories already of watching kids make pillow forts and wake up with puffy eyes.

Truth Telling (bites)
Twice in one week I told the truth and wish I'd fibbed. Karis and I went to the mall when she had a random Tuesday morning off (Judah in preschool). Oh the fun we had, finding jammies and opening the Disney store and coffee talks - we decided we could tell the truth to Judah AND not gloat. Didn't go so well. Meltdown, and the one thing he thought would help, "I NEED MY HOME POOTSIE" was not to be found. We rode the wave with humor and the storm passed, but really, I wish we'd fibbed. And then a few days later went to mail a book media mail and when the gal asked if there was a personal note I fessed up, "yeah, one sentence". Sorry, can't send it that way. Fib. Should I have?

Other September fun . . . Minnetonka Orchards, Westwood Nature Center, Bellacour baby shower with littles in tow running around the courtyard, IKEA with dear friends (the only way), free Chick Fil A with lots of kids, Karis and Trev going to The Hobbit with friends  . . . grateful.

It's the overview here, folks. Plenty of not perfect moments, as always. Trying to be present, live into fullness, always growing and learning and making so many mistakes and receiving so much grace.

- "Oh, I bet you did" (when I said we missed her when she went back to school)
- "Oh yeah, I want my belly to process the food in my tummy nicely" (getting a probiotic after eating a baconator from Wendy's)
- "My mind is basically like a big piece of notebook paper" (when I told her I like to write down quotes from books)
- "Mommy, these aren't just dreams, these are wants" (when talking about her birthday next year)
- "Well, as I always say, 'some is better than none!'") (when we had a short play date)
- "To tell you the truth . . ."
- "I must say . . . "
- "Mom, it seems like the Julie books are in my time - they have cars and TV! Is 1970 like my time?"
- Really into knock knock jokes
- "Well, it appears Judah gets what he wants when he cries!"
- "But mom, Judah doesn't have closed shoes, what's he going to do?" (on his first day of Preschool, she was quite concerned)
- "Now Judah when you tell people your name, say 'Judah', not 'Judah Robert Ryan'"
- "I wish Lauren was my sister"
- "Pastors have such neat stories about what God has done. I wonder if I'll ever have stories like that?" (we had a good convo that a lot of those stories come from struggle . . . and then talked about the stories she already has - such a sweet moment)
- "Can we still do 'dear sweet baby?'" (a little bedtime prayer my parents used to say to us . .  .I had stopped for a while and she missed it. So dear)
- "That was a bit of an awkward silence, I must say"
- "I feel bad for the frog. Judah's not the best frog keeper, you know"
- "We killed the worm so we're gonna have a funeral! Should we say nice things about it?"
- "Oh I'll be sad when Judah can read and doesn't want me to read to him anymore!"
- "Well, sorry not sorry!"
- "Oh at last, my favorite clothes of the day! (pajamas)

Judah Jabbers:
- "So I changed my mind, I think I wanna go to the monster truck show with daddy instead" (on mother/daughter retreat day)
- "Mom, can we go to London? I want to go tomorrow. Daddy said I could drive my car there"
- "Mommy, was it my last day with you at church?" (asked this many times . . . he usually comes to work with me there Thursdays and now will be in preschool. Sniff sniff. I'll miss him there)
- "Can you take me to ma-Kohls for my birthday, to get a toy?" (not sure how it came to be 'ma-Kohls'?)
-  "Mom, Mater is on Netflix" (fave lately is "Cars" and especially "Mater's Tall Tales")
- "Mom! The birds are playing tag with the airplane!"
- "Ohhh, I smell something sweet. Are you baking something yummy?" (indeed, cookies)
- "Mom, where is my sister?"
- Can climb over our fence with ease
- "Oh well I prefer to play booger man"
- "I gave daddy the tomato. He ate it all. in. one. GULP"
- "Hey dad, I like your underwear!"
- "Hey mommy, where's my sister?"
- "Mom, how did I get really cool?"

Friday, September 8, 2017

Robust August

Writing now from September, three weeks ago everyone I knew couldn't wait for school to arrive - and now, some of that number are lamenting summer's end (me among them). We had some whirlwind weekend trips, on those Sundays we'd look at each other and say, "What just happened?". That sums up summer. Looking back, I'm already nostalgic, and also amazed that most of what we set out to do happened (ya just never know!).

The August Chronicles, because someday the kids will love reminiscing (I hope)

VBS (and Lion)
The kids showed their bravery by going to a VBS at a new-to-them-didn't-know-anyone-church. Adults and children fully welcomed and got to know them throughout the week - delightful for all, they still rave about "Fun Maker Factory". I had reasonable expectations that 2 hours isn't much time and I resolved to just see where the time led - I worked on some writing, some pictures, some work. Ran a couple errands, and every day watched a bit of the movie Lion. Oh my, powerful. And moving and hard - there is a long beginning about a 5 year old boy getting very lost in India. Judah's age. I hugged them so close when picking them up after that. Highly recommend both this VBS and Lion - together if possible.

Harvest (pickles)
We pickled our cucumbers, so satisfying. Judah proudly picks tomatoes and brings them inside with such pride, "Mom, I got you a tomato" (huge smile from us both). Farmer boy.

Doll Picnics
This book was brilliant, one day neighbor-grandaughter-friend came over and the girls took it away making delights for their dolls. So sweet to peek in on them once in a while, lost in their own world (whilst Judah played with a frog, sticking it into the barrel of a watergun and having a big meltdown when he couldn't get it out).

Serenader of the month (and thoughts on Alexa)
Around here you can hear the croons of Josh Garrels, Red Mountain Church, Indelible Grace, Ray Lomantaign, John Mayer, Brandi Carlisle . . . all by speaking them into singing. We were given Alexa and it took me all of five minutes to fall in love with her. So many things. She listens to me better than anyone in my house, I feel so powerful giving her commands (politely, of course). "Alexa! Play . . .  Alexa! Off." Oh if I could wield such influence at large. My very fave is how much computer liberation Alexa has given me - no need to type up a change on pandora now, no need to get distracted when doing so. Freedom! It's also hilarious to watch the kids talk to her: "Alexa, tell me a joke! Play Red Mountain Church! How far is it to Bismarck?" Oh, and playing us the "Banana Pancakes" song while making them.

Wedding Weekend
On the road again to Fargo for cousin Siennah's wedding, a wonderful weekend of celebrating and connecting with lots of fam. The story for our fam was that Trev left our wedding clothes in Minneapolis, discovered when we pulled in tired and hungry to the hotel. I had a moment. Like, "need to have the reaction just because" moment, even though in my head I knew it would be fine (later got curious about why the strong reaction and realized that no clothes struck two tender chords for me: a dislike of both shopping and dressing up, along with not loving to do anything last minute . . . ). So, I made a scene, left my family in the parking lot, lamented to Uncle Vern in the lobby (he laughed, like "ha ha we've all been there"). And then of all things, my mom had brought a dress for me and it was perfect. Crazy! Provision. Judah's clothes were in my bag. Trev is an awesome shopper so went out and got things for himself and K (coming out the hero in the end, figures - ha!). In the end not a big deal, and also worth processing, pondering, remembering (Karis will certainly remember). 
Later a friend said she thought of texting me the following, but didn't because it didn't seem to make sense - but it totally did: 
"arrange the pieces as they come" from Virginia Wolfe
!!!!! In these moments, I wonder WHY do these things work out? I feel God's care and love in these details and I really do wonder WHY the attention? He is intricate. 

Ding Dong the Fish is Dead/Sculpture Garden
Judah's beta bit the gravel. Literally, face down in the gravel is where I found him perished. Curiously, Judah still tells people he has a beta fish (but doesn't mention its demise). Everything in me wanted to just go get a new one and pretend it didn't happen. Instead I did what seemed best: tell Karis first and let her grieve (she did: sobbed, "I just feel so bad for him!" When I asked, "Judah or the fish?" she paused and then bawled out, "Both!"Oh dear girl. And then we calmly told Judah together and he just kind of shrugged and asked if we could get a new one. NBD. I have nightmares about huge dead fish sitting on top of the fridge. The day it happened we had a great distraction at the sculpture garden.

One Monday night we headed to a game (at bedtime) with Uncle Stevie & Aunt Debbie. Karis went from tears of overwhelm (it was loud and we had several people ask us for money . . . ) to exclaims of awesomeness by the end. Will repeat for sure.

Weekend in Alex with brother J and his fam. The time was fast and fun. Elodie charmed us all with her sweet spirit, and Karis enjoyed some reading cuddles with Aunt Cassie. I got some qt with Cass too as we meandered the shops while sipping caffeine. They spoiled us with a walleye and garden produce meal, we all piled into the boat for an evening ride and the boys snuck away to fish (after ditching us to do solo bedtime, trouble makers). Savoring the memories already.

With dear friends-with-membership, an adventure and we did it all and got to see a leopard pee and growl, a bird show, sloth . . . highlight for both kids was the touching pool where their hands were grazed by a shark.

What, you don't know the acronym? Pig Ate My Pizza. The best. Met some dear friends at this precious place - I love them all, the people and place, and they loved each other and it was a matchmaker success. We toasted making it through a satisfying summer and being ready to head into the school year. Cheers.

Mouse in the House
One morning there was a little cute thing peeking up at me, and not scared of me at all. I was scared enough for us both and bolted upstairs.  The kids' reactions was so telling: Karis, "Oh no, did you close the door to the basement?" Judah, "Oh! Can I go see it? I'm going to put my gloves on and smoosh it with my crocs!". I tried to be all cool and brave, wondering if I could send Judah down to set traps (!). And then realized I'm not that person. Trev came home at noon and found the mouse (injured) under a crumpled sleeping bag (he literally was thinking about Ralph from The Mouse and the Motorcycle. Hero.

Fair Fun - deserving of its own post later.

Nature Walk (decorator)
Oh the cooler air, on the last day of August we walked the neighborhood and looked for deer and sang a little bit. Karis collected randomness and came home to create. I love her work. 

Daddy Work Day
The last summer "thing": visiting Trev at work and cashing in some kids meal freebies at Pizza Luce.

Books of the Month: What a Difference a Mom Makes, Magnolia Story, Commonwealth, Notes From a Small Island, Homegoing, Outlander (finally finished). Trevor's reading Moby Dick. Karis and I are going through Pinky Pye and Island Summer. A picture book we recently loved is This is What We Do

- "Grandpa has a website! And a pen with his name on it! My Grandpa's famous!" (when going through some office supplies he gave her)
- "Judah, I must admit you ARE bigger and faster than Strawberry Shortcake"

Judah Jabbers:
- "I don't have short shorts, only girls have short shorts"
- "Mommy, I just wanted to go to bed early at Siennah's wedding"
- "Well, I'm bigger than the tooth fairy"
- "Yeah, the lightning flashed in my room like a night light!"
- "Hey mom, did you know I'm bigger than fairies"
- "I just want to be modest" (said while pulling his shorts OFF)

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Eight is Gr8

Oh the birthday week. I'm so sad it's over! I really gave into (prompted? drove? created?) all the extra that comes with a summer birthday (that comes with Karis's summer birthday, dearly loved girl who also loves her birthday). She counted down for at least 20 days, and when we got to THE week, the party started. I prayed every morning with Karis for special gifts that would let her know God's love and delight in her. Hello, pray like that all the time, the eyes open to the wonders of daily-ness. Daily-ness can be special when looking through the right lens. Recently our life group talked about what our favorite day of summer was . . . Trev and I both agreed it was Karis's birthday. Sometimes I think "what? we're parents? to this delightful, curious, adventurous, tender girl?"

Karis is . . .
Getting to know who she is, to watch her life unfold, what joy. Karis is full of wonder, her mind is always turning and the questions are always flowing. From "is the sun a star or a planet?" to "I wonder if the fish came on Noah's ark or if they just stayed in the water?". She is bursting with joy and loves to laugh, she is for sure the sunniest person in our home and brings so much light (I try to remind her once in a while she's not responsible to keep US all "up" and she's allowed to feel gloomy when she wants to). She is attentive, vibrant, thoughtful. Creative, buoyant, perceptive. Full of love, compassion, depth. Still innocent and at the same time full of wisdom. She wants to feel old yet stay young (is that a human nature thing?).

Karis's faves right now . . .
Time with friends (especially Lauren)
Reading (American Girls, Boxcar Children,
Comfy clothes - especially bright athletic ones, and purple biker shorts
Imagining cooking in the backyard
Schmidt Lake Park
Writing and addressing notes in the mail
Burgers and fries and malts (esp. Wendy's), turkey dinner, making her own taco salad
Odd Squad, Princess Sofia, Word Girl
Knock knock jokes
Guiding her brother in imaginative play (lately, school and princes/princesses dance sessions)
Sneaking down after bedtime to tell us things (so dear - maybe she listens to us from the stairs too?)

Peter Panning
I kept waiting for the "I don't want to get older" melty moment to happen and it wasn't and . . . then, the night before her birthday right after our "amen" as a family in our bed, it erupted. And it was epic and it was so wonderful - this is the first year I was able to just hold her and let her get it all out (in past years I think I tried to calm & convince her how great it is to get older). Oh the sweet things she said while bawling in my arms (and while Trev put J to bed). Including: "I don't want to be 8. Why can't I stay 7 forever? I'm going to grow out play places. I'm already too big for Chick Fil A . . . I want rules. I love our routines, I want them to stay the same . . . I want to live here forever . . .". And then all of a sudden, I don't remember why, we were giggling (oh the line between laughter and tears, so delicate) and then crying again. A beautiful 20 minutes, I want to remember the feeling of tears on her cheeks pressed against mine and her clinging to me as she clung to 7. And then letting go, peace with us both.

THE day . . .
Woke up to a spread of her picked out birthday cereal (Apple Jacks) caffeine free coke (a recent lake discovery/love), presents (Pinky Pye, Wonder Woman lego set, personalized address book ("I saw this and told Grandma you'd never let me have this one!"). When I told her she was in charge for the day, she said, "Oh, I still want some rules". !!! Some dear friends swung by to sing and give her flowers and a gift (and the 4 year old even gave her a ring he had received at the dentist the day before!). Watched some Odd Squad, we read the birthday verses (Ps. 139), she (and the boys) worked on a lego set all morning. Met Uncle Stevie (birthday buddy!) and Aunt Debbie at Chuck E Cheese, oh wow an experience and her fave was skeetball (minor disappointment at how many tickets you need to accumulate to purchase stuff at the end, shame on Chuck E!). Home to watch a show and play before her choice of dinner: Taco Bell at the "close park", a hoot.

What I LOVED about this birthday (and this age, so far, for Karis at least): her expectations are mostly reasonable, her dreams can mostly come true (and her birthday ones did this year, thanks to grandparents and aunts and uncles!), every turn around the corner is full of delight for her.

So many celebrations and gifts . . .
. . . early party in Fargo with G & G Pope, angel food and raspberries and American Girls

. . . Chick Fil A, shopping for wedding shoes at Old Navy, just a fun extra thing that lit up her week. Then a trip to Family Video to pick out kids movies

. . . "Nite to Unite" with some fab friends: helicopter, a bag full of freebies (she is so my daughter!), a new babysitter who took them to a park and delighted in who they are

. . . A gift to me, I planned to get her a new Bible, and the day that was going to happen I was reading the book Wonder, Engaging a Child . . .  and they had recommendations for her exact age. We ordered, she love it

. . . Surprise party! Oh it was just so simple and fun. I spontaneously took the kids to Wendy's at 11am for Frosty's and said, "Well, why don't we just get lunch?" She didn't even hear me order the extra ones - we got home and she carried four meals to the back yard and agreed to read books with me until noon (and decided Wendy's goofed and yay for extra meals we could save for dinner the next night!). Eventually the door squeaked and appeared Lauren and Julia. Surprise! She thought they were just swinging by to say hi and they let her know they'd be there till dinner time. Oh the awe! Triple surprise: their mom took Judah with her so he could have the afternoon with Teddy and the girls could reign supreme in the house here. The day sped by with things I had set aside for that day: nail polishing, making cloud dough, watching Odd Squad Movie. Caroline joined later, and moms and brothers came back late afternoon for dirt cake and singing and playing until dinner. Probs my fave day of the summer.

. . . Arboretum story time with friends, turkey dinner

. . . G & G Pan came for the weekend to bring the party hotel style with all the Pans. Lots of good eats, hours of swimming with grandma, dinner & gifts at Sunshine Factory, gma's brownies here with fam (Karis was over the moon that her cousins Lexie and Calvin at fun playing at her house, talked about that for days)

. . . The party she planned, park play date at her fave park: fruity pebble krispy treats, goldfish, strawberries, capri sun. The gift here is that it looked like rain and we went for it anyway - the sky spit off and on until the literal time we had planned to end the party downpour started. Gift!

. . .Birthday Tacos on the deck here with Aunt Kate (August b-day too) and Uncle Tay (and then after bed, birthday viewing of Dan in Real Life, which Kate had never seen, gasp!)

After it all, Karis said, "Finally, I can just enjoy being 8!"

- "I still want some rules" (when I told her she was in charge for the day)
- "Don't worry Judah, I'll share my birthday with you!"
- "Oh I'm so glad I can just enjoy being 8 now!" (after all celebrations complete)
- "My blanket is still my most precious thing, I'd grab it if there was a fire"

Quotables from Your Eight Year Old: Lively and Outgoing
- "There is considerable use of the question 'what?'. She can look right at mother as she gives a command, seem to hear her, but then ask "What?"
- Highly aware of the mistakes other people make, especially mother, and point them out to her"
- Highly aware of the relationship between parents
- Fathers more often than mothers object to many of the child's ways of behavior
- Family is very important to this age, and they tend to be extremely curious about all that's going on: phone calls, correspondence, conversation. Seeming to find his place in relation to the adult world in general