Wednesday, September 7, 2016


The new norm, catch all bullet point highlight journal. Every summer week seemed to have it's own flavor, each delish in its own way . . .  the overall word for summer: satisfying . . . 

Oh this was a wonderful and memorable week. Thank you R family for staying with us and making so many memories. Clearly Karis's sobbing after you left was a clear indication of how much we adore your family. Please come again.
Oh this family, we still miss them. We entered a week of play with their girls, catching up, hanging out, connecting and church-ing a little. So grateful.

Maria Von Trapp said it well: " . . . and that is the ingredient absolutely necessary for good parting: that you will be missed afterwards"

That's all. We went to the stadium on a Saturday morning because we had tickets - Karis maybe said it best: "This isn't what I expected", as we were corralled and herded like cattle up escalators, through halls and down again. Glad we did it.

How I feel About Summer - stated by Maria Von Trapp: 
". . . as it went on, we got more and more tired, but we learned that one can be happily tired, and the element of happiness can outweigh that of tiredness"

"One of the greatest elements of human life is the ability to make plans. Even if they never come true - the joy of anticipation is irrevocably yours. That way one can live many more than just one life."

Speaking of Maria, Karis loved asking me every morning, "What happened in Maria today?". So fun to share reading with her.


Maybe the longest ever. Here is a stream of consciousness record of events: early birthday dinner with the Pandolfo's at Old Spaghetti Factory, so special. Karis even dressed up for the occasion, and she was immeasurably delighted that we started eating at 7pm (a dream for her, so sweet). Gma and Gpa took her cake shopping, so sweet (literally, love it), and an afternoon of watching Boxcar Children with them all cuddled on the couch. Made a Barbie cake together, shared it with Life Group one night, neighbor friends the next night. A picnic with friends. The day of: you are special plate, opening new music and book and your "palace pets card" (you had seen at a store and loved it so much - had to splurge), cinnamon toast crunch, listening to Slugs and Bugs in the car on the way to church and me having an "I am so blessed to be Karis's mom" blubber session after which Karis just hugged me with an understanding smile. Many friends singing to her at KidsCAN.  Mommy saying "yes" all day on her birthday. Grilled cheese, corn on the cob and raspberries for lunch, Boxcar Children reading, pink macarons together on the deck at your birth time (2:14!), Strawberry Shortcake watching, visiting our neighbor's garden, dinner at Milton's. Saturday mom-daughter mall date to spend birthday money (Disney Store), browse and have lunch. Sunday bbq here with birthday buddy Steve and all the fam. Fancy late twinkle light dinner at French Meadow with Aunt Kate. Splash pad delightful Dierker date. A birthday bbq on the prairie with the Popes/DeKreys. Karis girl, you are soooooo loved. Soooooo grateful for your life, Karis Carole.

Karis - your name means grace and you live that word every day of your life. You are a joy bringer, you are exuberant and full of zeal for life. Every day is an adventure for you, you rejoice in every new chance to live life to the fullest. You are true, honorable, thoughtful, compassionate. You are a teacher, you guide your brother through the days and want to share all your wisdom with him. You love to listen to music and books and drawing in the morning while waking up (you rise and shine early), you adore mornings playing with friends, afternoons cuddling up with me reading Boxcar Children, making "stations" behind the rocker in your room (right now it's a school for your American Girls). You have ND in your blood, you love wandering in the valleys and exploring the prairies. You have a curious spirit and the questions you ask make me ponder myself and remind to have great wonder at the world around me. You love learning what words mean. You are a cat girl - you collect stuffed cats and when you can wish anything you wish for cats. You narrate the day to your brother and you are so kind to let him into your moments and days. You are helpful and always looking for ways to bless others. You are bright and tender and sensitive and spirited and deep.


Loving If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name (thanks, NR, for recommending!)
"Having a sick child helps make warriors out of ordinary parents"

"There is more than just a bit of the divine in food gathering and preparation. We are all domestic goddesses"

"There is no secret to being in that first percentile, that minority of couples who stay together for life. It's as simple, and as complicated, as keeping that look in your eyes" (If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name)

"To be afraid and to be brave is the best courage of all . . . " (Courage of Sarah Noble)

Peter Pan-ing

"Only adults weep with joy. Children don't. They haven't learned how rare moments of true happiness are" (If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name)

Karis and I shared one of those eternal moments about a week before her birthday. She came into Judah's room while I was getting him up and dissolved into a puddle on my lap: "I don't want to turn 7, I just want to stay 6!". Oh boy, that was out of nowhere. And I was totally not up for it. So I sincerely prayed for patience and wisdom . . . we made it downstairs and sat at the table and got curious together about her feelings. I could see the relief in her eyes to be able to just pour it out, a moment I'll always remember (and I sure hope I can seize these moments as a habit). She was able to articulate, "It's like when you're at Disney World and you just want to stay there forever". Oh! Isn't that so true. We talked about how much of the world and life we'd miss if we stayed in Disney . . .  if we stayed the same age. Memorable moment, and I needed to hear those words for myself. Because really, getting older is mysterious at any age (and yes, I have the happy sad moments when my kids get older too).


"Here you go, mommy, here's a tomato for you!" (said by Farmer Judah, who correctly picks the tomatoes and so proudly brings them right to me - instead of squishing them, which I know he'd rather do). Most satisfying were the big yellow tomatoes and also the cucumbers we got from 2 little seeds planted in a barrel. Karis tends to the flowering cucumbers with care, she is loving watching them grow. Judah had a streak of putting on winter gear, ready for fall my boy.

Old Letters
One night Trev stayed up late organizing/scanning/tossing, he left some old letters for me to find on the counter the next morning. Oh wow. We wrote soooo many letters. One of my new thoughts was, I wonder if our kids will read them someday? It was humbling/refreshing to read some of my thoughts, and some of Trev's too. We've grown up together in so many ways, discovering more of who we are and hopefully helping each other.

We were all all in for the week of "creativity camp" - the focus was Kingdom of God and all the children entered in their areas of dance, puppets, drama, art, media. Their hard and joyful work was inspiring to watch. My 4th year as snack lady was satisfying - shopping for/prepping/serving/cleaning up snacks for 100 each day was . . . rewarding, connecting, tiring. What I love about this job is the random kitchen conversations, and also getting to chat with the kids while they munch. Judah made a little neighborhood, Karis created a church out of scraps with care and intention, she danced with spirit and played the role of being literally lifted up in a time of need. Doing that week together is like a little camp experience for us, so bonding and powerful. And exhausting, just saying. We were tired (or I was, anyway).

From the mouths of former coworkers
We met Trev and his fabulous former coworker Rupa for lunch a while ago and I ended up having a side convo with her that I want to remember. We were talking about knowing our husbands for so long and I ended up saying, "Yeah, when you're so young when you get together you change so much . . . " And she looked at me gently and inquisitively challenged, "Do you really think you've changed?" And it surprisingly didn't take long for me to reply that no, I don't think I've probably changed much, I just keep learning more about my core, being more comfortable with who I am and living into that. The idea/thought probably came more quickly as a result of recent Temperament Counseling (it's been wonderful) that we've been digging into. Just a swirling thought.

Broken Week
Perfect timing, which seems odd to say and is true. We called the week off, hunkered down and loved being home while Karis weathered strep throat (again) like a champ. She was clearly in pain and laid around for 3 days, and didn't complain. Which to me is wild. We cuddled and read and Judah pulled around a blanket and pillow saying, "I'm sick too!" and laid by Karis. He was concerned, adorable. He was also tricked into thinking "painting the deck" with water was awesome, so Karis and I could cuddle outside while he got some fresh air and "worked". Wed. night Trev went to bed at 6 and staved off whatever he felt was coming on . . . by Thursday all were well . . . Trev came home for a run and walked back in the door . . . limping. Bad. My internal dialogue went something like, "Okay, practice compassion. Fake it till you make it. This really sucks". I mean really, I felt awful for him and I also wondered what this would mean as caretaker. And here's what I remembered: I love to take care, I love to be needed. So in those moments there's a sense of purpose and clarity, which makes the days paradoxically peaceful. That and Karis and Trevor don't complain when they're not feeling well, it's crazy. I learned a lot from them.

Here's what I also thought about that week: I'm happy to meet needs, AND I have to trust others to tell me exactly what they need. I'm responsible for what other's ask - and yes, I can guess too and meet needs ahead of asking, but you get what I'm saying.

Here's what I also thought about that week: we are just practicing here. This kind of "broken week" is easy peasy. We will heal. Quickly. So blessed.

Because also in this week, 3 of our loved ones ended up in the ER for various reasons. And that put things into perspective, and also made our hands feel a little tied here - how to help in this season?

Bis BeeBop
We did our summer trip to Bis and fit it all in with lots of family time, tradition keeping, memory making, cousin-shower-helping-attending. New to this trip was getting to be there with my bro and his family, special. And watching all the growing babies in our lives that live in Bis, love love love.

Mother/Daughter Retreat (including the wish)
A book club I've been in since K was born just had a mother daughter retreat - love doing these girl-y things with K. Looking back, I think the evening was a little overwhelming for us both - new territory, lots of people. Some vulnerable things happened too, one of the games was a "human wheelbarrow" relay and my little K had a really hard time finishing it. She powered through and seemed okay, it just brought back memories for me of not loving games like that! We had a time of affirmation where the moms went around and talked to each girl about what makes them special. Beautiful - and also, maybe overwhelming at the time. I wanted to just cuddle K, I've noticed in those situations she needs space, wants to be right by her friends . . . the talks/cuddles come later.
We ended by crushing swedish crackers in our hands (if it breaks in 3 pieces, your wish comes true). Karis's wish: "That I would have 2 cats". HA

Run the Race
All summer the "Kids of the Cross" did  a Run the Race theme during their time together. They learned about different people from the Bible and there was a "p" word for every week: pursue, persevere, proclaim, partner . . . Trev even talked one week about "Pursue". Super fun, they did exercises, skits, memorized and on the last summer Sunday all ages were invited to run a race. The course was mapped out at a nearby park and there was picnic-ing too. The preschoolers did a 1K (which turns out, is kind of long!). Judah ran the whole thing, skipping all the way - Karis went and helped him find the finish line, precious. Karis ran the entire mile and put into practice persevere - I was holding an arrow to show the way towards the end and she was saying, "It's so painful!". When she crossed the finish line she quickly cheered on the ones who were left to cross the line. Memorable day.

Random Faves
Our rhythm this summer was to have full mornings, usually connecting with friends/playing/small adventures - lunch with Judah in my lap reading picture books out loud to both - Judah's beloved nap (K and I "work", read, rest, she watches a little show ((often Strawberry Shortcake)) while I get Judah up and rock/read to him for a while - play in the back until bath/dinnertime. After dinner, Trev has been reading Calvin and Hobbes to the kids all cuddled up in our bed So simple and yet the days flew by. I join after dinner cleanup to enjoy a couple comic strips, devotions, bed - we each take a kid to bed, rotating which one each night. It's been sweet, I forget how quickly these little routines fade and morph, savoring this one.

Back to School-not-perfect-pajama-day
Per usual, I'm writing piece by piece in the morning hours, when it's easy to recall all the glorious moments. Plenty of real life here, lots of it. This week I had planned some smashing end of summer fun - zoo, parks, pajama day, oh my. Tummy troubles hit for dear K, Trev had to work at our rental every night (oh my word, rock star dude - so glad to be doing what I'm doing) . . .  minor hiccups for sure . . .   And still - plenty of bad attitudes (me most of all), humbling hours, regrets, all of it. Life. Mistakes. Learning. It's the week before school and I have this familiar anxious feeling, the one where I start doing crafts that end up looking like Judah did them. I want to do everything and then get hyper and then tired. The new phrase here is to "get curious" about these feelings, which helps.

Wrapped it Up
Summer, that is. At the lake, so glad we could get outta town to end the summer - Karis continued tummy troubles and the weather was just right for being both inside and outside = breaking bread together (including with my college bestie and her fam who passed through), I loved a bike ride with my dad and coffee date with my mom and happy hour with my hub and a meal out with all and laying on the grass and watching Trev rocked the paddle board & kayak, all went on a boat ride, watched Minions, DK lit firecrackers, K made everyone s'mores. Precious, sweet, memorable.

Karis - Courage of Sarah Noble, Betsy & Tacy Go Over the Hill, Boxcar Children, Just So Stories
Andrea - In This House We Will Giggle, The Real Thing, If You Lived Here I'd Know Your Name, The Brothers K, How We Love, The Kitchen House, Coming Clean, Way of the Heart, Invention of Wings
Judah - Hazel's Amazing Mother, Little Blue Truck, The Wind Blew, Little Engine That Could
Trev - Paradise Lost, Macbeth, The Name of the Wind, The Range Wars of the West

- "Yeah I like Chuggington better than Thomas - there's no potty talk"
- "Momma, Judah knows how to spell b-u-t-t. And guess who taught him? Me!"
- "Momma, look, there's a rabbit sleeping on the rocks. Or . . . it might be dead"
- "Hey Jude. You pretty little boy" (said while watching a movie and Judah was climbing all over us)
- "I LOVE when you do things like your parents did" (said on a recent sick day)
- "Oh I definitely don't want to sign up to do what they're doing!" (while watching Olympic gymnasts)
- (while pushing Judah on the swing) "Guess what Judah? Mommy's reading a book about Maria from the Sound of Music and guess what, Judah? The dad DIES!"
- "It's kinda handy having a mom!" (indeed!)
- "Momma, guess what?"
- "I'm in so much PAIN!" (said while she turned the corner I was manning while running the mile race)
- "Yeah, we like to keep traditions as much as we can" (after going to the fair)
- "Oh right, probiotic helps your guts!"

Judah Jabbers:
- "I eat train poop! It tastes like cookie powder!"
- "Can I have a birthday toooooo???"
- "I say cookie powder to the rescue!"
- "It's Barack Obama's birthday!"
- "Love you Barack Obama Momma!"
- "I blow a candle and make a wish and it comes true!" (from Birthday for Frances)
- "We played a game. Mr. Fox, Mr. Fox, what time is it? Five o' clock!"
- "We played a game. Yeah. Duck, duck, duck!"
- "I played with my friends at KidsCAN. Yeah. I held Liam's hand" (oh, he has sweet friends!)
- "Watch this!"
- "Chuggington . . . " (sings the theme song)
- "Du du du du du du . . . batman!" (I sing this when I see his batman underwear and now he mimics. Ha)
- "Oh you were a little girl and then you grew up to be a princess? Noooo, you didn't!"
- "It's my fave"
- "I wanna huggie" (oh, love this)
- "I had dinosaurs in my room last night!"
- "My owie went to a healing place!"
- "Karisee, go get dressed!"
- "Yeah, I AM a book boy!"
- "Is it going to be dark soon?" (almost always asks this when I put him to bed).
- "Make sure there aren't any flies in my room!" (he woke up at 11:15 one night sobbing because he thought he saw a fly)