Friday, July 23, 2010


This is a story from June, 19, 2008. Read and enjoy....I did.

I must always start these by saying that I dearly love my children. They are precious, caring and generally well behaved. That being said....there is usually a story to follow.

This whole story also needs to be prefaced with the information that my husband's parents showed up unannounced on Saturday, June 7th, 2008 for 4 days. This is their way of being funny? Luckily I love them and they are easy guests because I was NOT ready for company. Tuesday, June 10th was the in-laws departure date, the last day of school which included a class “Good Bye” picnic AND the day before we were to leave on a long weekend to Whidbey Island. Needless to say, I was not as prepared for our trip as I normally would have been. And my husband, in front of his parents, announced that he was going to play golf on Tuesday from the time he got off work until about 8:30. I think I said something like, "Not if you want to stay married to me." Yes, it was something sensitive like that. I can't believe he even thought that would be OK. He decided to cancel golf. Smart.

On Tuesday morning Bob was already gone to work so I got up, dressed the kids, Fed them and took Sophia to school. When I got home I went immediately into planning mode. Meals, clothes, bedding, reading material, toys, entertainment for the car, food for the car, pack for everyone including the dog and then finally myself. While doing all of this I thought, "I can't go to the picnic at Sophia's school, I have too much to do." So I ran over to the school to tell Sophia that I couldn't have lunch with her. LOTS of tears followed that could only be stopped by caving to her desire of having us there. Fine, fine, fine....we'll be there. Of course I had to stop mid way through planning and packing to take the in-laws to the airport. Thanks for coming. Love you, we’ll miss you…..gotta go.

On the way back I stopped at Mac Hot Donalds as Kees our two year old calls it. Gross but it was our only option. I do have to say my salad was fairly good and not doused in fat. We got to the school a half hour late but we were there. Sophia barely acknowledged the fact that we were in the room. So much for the earlier water works. We stayed for a bit but man I was behind the 8 ball and needed to get packing. Buh bye....

Pack pack, pack pick up Sophia pack pack, daddy gets home, leave, shop, shop, shop keep shopping. Crap we need a lot of stuff. Get mostly done and crash into bed at midnight.

Get up at the crack of dawn and load the car. I still have to pack the food because it can't sit in the cooler forever. I start loading the car and battle with our local crow. He tries to steal any uncovered food and I try to kill him. It’s a game. OK I don’t really try to kill him but, well, you know. He even went into the van and tried to take a whole bunch of bananas, little sneaky bastard.

Miraculously I am packed the kids are in the car and we are on the road by 11:30. We aren't even out of the 'hood before they are bored and hungry. Whatever! We stop 2 hours in at grandma's for lunch and a swim in the hot tub. Great break. We get back in and head to Seattle to my friend Colleen's house. We unload the essentials while the kids play. They play with her only child's toys and watch her only child's TV. The husband comes home. He and the son are in disbelief, wide eyed disbelief. My kids have taken out every toy in the joint and my daughter, who is acting like an only child, is trying to control everyone AND the TV. As you can imagine it's going over like a lead balloon with this kid. He says, "I am the owner and the owner gets to decide what to do." Ohhh, them’s fightin' words. My girlfriend and I just LOVE the way our kids are treating each other and pray they will figure out a way to get along for the next 5 days. Come on guys. The kids all get in bed at 10 and we stay up until almost 1 am. We needed some quiet time for goodness sake. It is nice but we are tired.

The next morning we get up, clean up (my kids have the lion's share of this job since they destroyed the place) and load up. The car looks like the Clampett's. There is stuff strapped both behind and on top of the car. Hooray....we're ready. We drive to the ferry, get on and the kids are glued to the video machine so they won't get out and check out the scenery. Kids these days..... Whatever, they're quiet and really, isn't that what matters?

We get to the cabin and everyone climbs out. The kids pick up where they left off at the house.....fighting. At least they are fighting in a beautiful place. The view from this place is unreal. Seriously, it's as beautiful as any view I've ever seen. Breathe taking. You can see a hundred miles in all directions. There are two nesting pairs of Bald Eagles that perch 50 feet from the back door. Ships go by on regular intervals. Airplanes fly BELOW our point of view. And there are mountains in every direction. I ponder, why do any of us ever leave the northwest even for vacation?

We unpack and nest our selves. This process takes 4 or 5 hours. We continue to step in between my oldest and her son. Come on guys.... give us a break. Colleen makes dinner; I bathe the kids and get their PJs on. They eat dinner (kind of) and then we put them in front of a show. Feeeyoueee, it's finally quiet.

What seems like 10 minutes goes by and the show is over. Crap, we're back on duty. The kids go outside to play baseball, all except Kees who is comatose on the couch. Her son is wild about baseball; my kids have never played....EVER! I have to explain what will happen if you get hit with the bat and that you HAVE to give the batter LOTS of room. Matthew pitches, Coulter bats and Sophia catches....for 5 minutes until Sophia gets hit in the face with the bat. Game over, ice on the face. It was on the back swing so it isn't nearly as serious as it could have been. Thank God. It's time for bed.

They are all way over tired and need to go to bed. We go to brush teeth. All is fine until Coulter falls off the toilet, lands on his butt and whacks his head HARD on the bath tub. Did I mention they are tired? Tears tears tears...Let's go to bed. We get up stairs and play musical beds and they dig in the toy chest for a toy to play with for 5 minutes before lights out. Sophia hits her elbow on the lid of the trunk which slams on Coulter's hand. I pick him up while yelling, "God Damn It!!!!" And I sit down hard on the bed which collapses on my foot. Colleen's son says, "Wow, you don't know your own strength!" Ahhh, I don't think "strength" is the operative word if you get my drift. My mid drift that is. I calm down, the kids calm down. They finally go to bed. Colleen and I get a richly deserved glass of wine, plop our selves on the deck and dream of tomorrow, tomorrow, when the daddies come. It is so their turn.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Livin' the Good Life

There is nothing in life that give me as much such satisfaction as my family, and right children. They are cute and sometimes.....not so cute. They are helpful but most of the time, not so helpful. But mostly they make me proud. It's in the little moments when I don't expect it that they make me proudest.

I am writing this on my Blackberry because my kids are swimming and we're at the pool. What a quintessential summer experience. Not only are we swimming but it's free day so everyone from high and low and everywhere in between is here too. As I sit here doing a puzzle, reading and just relaxing in the insanity and noise I occasionally peek up and find my children. It's the responsible thing to do, right? I find Kees because he is in a life jacket perched atop a float. He's grinning from ear to ear because his brother and sister are pulling him around, spinning him and helping him up when he falls. Keep in mind that there are about 200 people in the pool. It's as if my kids are on their own island. They hardly notice anyone else and they certainly haven't let the 197 other people into their world. They are just happy to be together and play.

So far this summer they have played together a lot. Sophia has hardly asked for a play date. During the school year she asks almost everyday. The kids get up, watch a little TV (an hour or so) and then it goes off and it's time to play. Actually, the TV is on for my benefit, I get to sleep in. Their play is pure and sweet. Lately they've been playing "Airbender". It's a cartoon. Given the rule that they can't hit each other, it's been much better than playing Jedi Knights or Karate Kid. Inevitably someone gets whacked playing those games.

Airbender is about a kid who uses his mystical powers to "bend" air thus blowing his opponents around to defeat them. Or at least that is what I understand. So the kids approach each other, hold out their hands and say, "whoosh! (Air sound) Now you go over there 'cause I blew you into that wall." Then the other one runs over "there" and pretends to crash into the wall. It's hilarious. And on it goes. If anyone gets hurt in this game they usually did it to themselves. Then all I have to contend with is, "It was an accident!" Rather than figuring out who did what to whom when, how and first. It makes my job easier and I am all for that.

Earlier today I took the boys to do Meals on Wheels with me. They were not only really happy to deliver meals but ran to and from the car at every stop. They agreed to trade off hot and cold (who would carry the items) on each stop without a cross word. One delivery was down a few steps on a hill. Coulter asked me if I could hold his "hot." I wasn't sure why but then he laid down on the side of the steps and rolled down the hill. He was so happy with himself and it made me smile. Then again on the way out.....he rolled up the hill. Now that is downright silly. None the less, I found myself strolling slowly, smiling and savoring the moment just because. Because Coulter is funny, because he knows he is funny, because he's smart, he knows he can make me smile and just because he is who he is, a sweet, precious, funny boy.

Sophia is trying out independence. She rode her bike to a friend's the other day. Before she left I told her, "When you get to your friend's house you need to call and let me know you got there safely. And Sophia, and I am not joking here, "I forgot" will not be an excuse. Do you understand me?" She said she did and rode off. After almost 30 minutes I was getting's a 4 minute ride at most. I was trying to give her a chance to remember. I called and talked to her and told her that I was very disappointed and that I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I called the friend's mom on her cell phone and discussed it with her. We agreed that Sophia should come home, that it would be a good lesson for them both. I called Sophia back to deliver the news. I then talked to her buddy and explained that she did nothing wrong and I was sorry that this effected her too. Sophia was crushed but understood and she came home. She cried, her friend cried. I talked to Sophia and explained that I wasn't mad, upset or anything, only that she has to communicate to me about where she is and that she's safe. If she can't do that, she can't go anywhere on her own.

Yesterday we tried again....success! She called. And today she was allowed to ride her bike around with her buddy so long as they checked in periodically. I loved watching her and her friend grow. They are becoming independent. Sophia is so becoming a "tween." She is turning into a young lady and I couldn't be prouder. I was proud that she understood why she needed to come home even though that was really hard on her. Today she is a different kid and hopefully more responsible along with it.

These are the fairly ordinary moments that fill my days and as they stay in my memory it fills up my mind like a beautiful tapestry. I feel like the luckiest person alive. It make me happy that I enjoy the ordinary moments so much. I don't think I am over simplifying my life or that I don't realize there are problems I just choose to focus on the joy most of the time. And that joy is my kids and family. I will hold this time in my mind and treasure every moment. I know it won't always be this simple but for now it can't get much better.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


No, not the condiment....I just need to catch up. We have been on, on, on the go and I am tired.

We came home from our Discovery Bay trip and had one day off before our business continued. On Monday, June 28th the kids had camp and our 13+ year old niece Jessica arrived from Atlanta for almost 2 weeks. She was really easy to have around and was generous and sweet with the kids.

The kids had Apple Tree Day Camp. It is terrific. It's a camp run by Clara and Mackenzie, two of our most favorite sitters in the world and their friend Alice. They have been doing this for about 8 years now and Sophia has been at 5 of them or so. Unfortunately she is out growing it but the boys were totally involved. It was a good week for them all and even Jessica went to camp as an assistant.

Thursday, July 1st I went north to Olympia to assist my mom in getting ready for her 70th birthday party. We had food to make and a party to get ready for. She and I spent Friday getting ready, picking up a friend at the airport and shopping. Bob and the kids arrived in the early afternoon and set up our camp...we were camping down at the water on mom and Ed's property. Bob set up camp and I helped mom.

Mom's birthday party was on Saturday. We spent the morning doing last minute things. My good friend Sarah and her kids joined us for camping...they had never been camping before. I have to say, if you are going to camp, this is the way to do it. Bob had her tent and basics all set up so all she had to do is show up and set up her bed in her tent. You want your first one to be the best....camping that is.

The party was a great success! The food was really good, the guests terrific and we got to see some family that I hadn't seen in a really long time. To top it all off, Ed and I sang a few duets. It was really fun.

Sunday the 4th we all just hung out. We spent some time at the Olympia market during the day and then had a wonderful clam bake for dinner. It doesn't get much better. We all stood around a table and ate to our hearts content. Oh, that is good stuff.

Finally Monday we came home relax....for a day.

Wednesday my book club came over. We haven't read anything lately but we needed to enjoy each other's company. Thursday it was too hot (100ish) to go to a concert we had planned on so....another party at our house. Friday, Bob had a poker night, at our house. Saturday....nothing but packing for a Sunday camping trip. The kids and I went camping with some friends. Monday home and unpack.

Tuesday the kids and I stayed in our PJ's until about 1. We needed a break! We've had swimming lessons this week and that is it for plans. I was lucky enough to go to lunch and do a bit of shopping with my friend Karmen yesterday. Yes a bit of me time.

So now our big plan for the weekend. I have a friend coming into town for 4 days but she is easy and will go with the flow. Sunday night we're having our annual pool, BBQ and movie party. We're all looking forward to that. And while I know it sounds like lots of work, it is worth it. We are very much looking forward to a good time at home.

As for the kids....They've been pretty good. Spoiled for sure but they are having fun. They boys have been at each other and I am struggling with that. I guess that is what happens when you are so close in age and play together all the time. Coulter keeps saying, "Kees is antagonizing me again." And he is but I can't break up every fight. Wish me luck with this one. Sophia has been terrific. They're all helping clean and do laundry....there is a real bright spot.

There is lots more to come....stay tuned.