Thursday, March 26, 2015

Big Fun on Spring Break

 We decided to go low key for Spring Break this year. No big trips. No big, fancy stuff. No packing and unpacking. Sleeping in our own beds every night. The kids and I slept in for the first three days and just did whatever we felt like doing. I cleaned out the attic. Stuff like that. James took today off work, and we went on a Houx Family Adventure.

We started at the Japanese Garden, which is one of my favorite spots in Portland. It's so beautiful and peaceful there.

 The J-bird got ahold of map on the way in, and he read that sucker from front to back, announcing each bridge and rock there was to see. It was very sweet.

After the garden, we stopped for pizza, and then we headed to Ground Kontrol for some pinball and other arcade games. It was major big time fun.

 And now, a little rest before we all go hiking with pals tomorrow. More fun!

Monday, March 16, 2015

I Have Confidence In Sunshine

I have confidence in rain

 I have confidence that Spring will come again....

Saturday, March 7, 2015


 Eight years ago, after much to-do, my darling J-bird joined us and started changing everything to suit himself. I've been around children my entire life, but everything I thought I knew got turned on its head by this baby who wouldn't sleep - just, ever, screamed when anyone but me held him, wouldn't let me out of his felt like no one understood at the time, but baby, look at him now. He sleeps (sprawled out on top of the covers, usually, with 8 comfy pillows and a teddy). He goes out of my sight ALL DAY to the second grade, and he loves everyone - seriously, everyone. There are so many things about the J-bird's personality that have been exactly the same since birth - I think a lot of moms can say that about their children. People are funny that way. Some of us just show up the way we show up. He's grown and changed so much though in eight years on the planet. I sure do love this little dude, and it'd be almost impossible to enumerate all the many reasons why...

His sweet little dimpled face. His smile - which started out toothless, grew hard won teeth, and is now toothless once again. His determination. His amazing giggle. His deep love of reading and LEGO and board games. The way he deeply loves his friends and the way he's learning to work out roles and social cues as they all grow. He has a good tribe, and I love that for him. The way he adores his sister - they scrap, but he would go to the ends of the earth for her, and he'll defend her against anyone who wants to come at her. His stubbornness - that has to come in handy someday, right? His conviction that the oldest kid in his class just KNOWS STUFF, man. The way he still tells me things and unburdens his heart to me. How he hero-worships his dad. His sense of duty. The way he loves our church. Those hugs.

He's funny.
He's kind.
Sometimes he's a jerk, but then he's sorry. Genuinely.

He's my kiddo, my baby, and I love him so.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Life Moves Pretty Fast. If You Don't Stop And Look Around Once In A While....

 Oof. After a winter of dodging almost every cold and virus, this family got hit with the flu a few weeks ago, and we fell, HARD. I haven't been that sick in years and years. The J-bird managed to give it a miss, which was great, but James, Miss V and I all got hit with several days of fever, a week of utter misery, a couple weeks of coughing, and a few weeks of lingering exhaustion that made everything feel impossible. It's very good to be on the other side of that, I can tell you.

But today, I want to tell you about Bailey. I know I've talked about her before. We've known this girl since she was 13 and started babysitting the kids. We got to know her, then James and I became good friends with her mama, Amy, and then we roped her brother, Brent into the clan. Now, our two families are peas and carrots. We have supper once a week, go on vacations sometimes, and support and love one another, like ya do.

When Bailey was in high school, she used to walk over to my house after school, just to hang out and talk. We'd sit on my couch, and she'd tell me about her day, or she'd hang out and play with the kids. I helped her bake various treats for her first boyfriend, commiserated about fights with her buddies, heard all about the best teachers AND the worst ones. As she got to the end of her high school years, she'd tell me about the big decisions coming up - college, majors, career. I got to take a few of her senior pictures, and I even got to contribute a cake for her big graduation party. Bailey has an amazing mom who is always there for her. I know that, because her mama is also one of my very best friends. I've been lucky enough to be like an auntie, and my kids have been so very fortunate to have Bailey around as well. They just adore her, and the feeling is mutual.

Bailey is in college now, but we still see her. She goes to school in Portland, but maybe once a month, she comes and stays the night in our guest room. She gets to go see her buddies in town, and then we get a little time with the college girl. The kids are always delighted, and we are touched that she still invests that time in them. It's pretty special.


Time is precious and fleeting and so, so valuable, you know?

Thinking of Bailey and how just five minutes ago, she was thirteen made me think about my (not so) baby sisters. My brother and I are close in age, so we grew up together, but our sisters are much younger, so when we were in high school and college, our sisters were little girls. My brother and I both made a point of investing a lot of time in the girls in our own ways. I loved attending all the concerts and games and recitals and Sports Days, hosting sleepovers at my college house, stuff like that, but also just spending time with them. We spent HOURS playing cards and board games and watching tv and movies. We tromped all over my parents' gorgeous farm, me with a camera, them in thrown together costumes, coming up with "poses". I have never, ever regretted that time, because my sisters were and are fascinating, amazing people, and anyone would be lucky to know them. I've lived far away for a long time now, and I love where I live, but it's tough sometimes to have that physical distance. We have a bond forged by all that time that can't ever be broken though, and that is precious. THEY are precious.

We got to talking about it when we were all in Mexico over Christmas, and I was startled at how much of all that that they remember. As my kids' childhoods rocket past, and I try to grab onto some of those pesky, slippery moments, to nail them down and make them stay put (they never do), I wonder what THEY will remember. The good. The humiliating. The bring-a-tear-to-your-eye touching. The times I got mad and had to go pull weeds in the garden to cool down. The time the J-bird and I got his top tooth out in just two pulls. All the times Miss V got croup and had to be wrapped up in quilts on my lap on the front porch. Our beloved, far-flung family. Our beloved, near-by village. All the time. So much, but so little time. Life is weird, man. So weird, so full, so sweet, if I just open up my heart and let it be.