Friday, August 31, 2012

Sweet Chorus of Chaos!

Setting:  Suburbia, one of the best towns to live in USA, kitchen/nook/great room, 36 animal flash cards strewn about, 37 large Lego's also strewn, 2 baskets of clean unfolded laundry, one counter top covered with after school paraphernalia, another counter top covered in veggies for food prep, cup stacking mat and florescent green cups in center of kitchen table, the other 14 animal flash cards stuck upright in long crack of old schoolhouse kitchen table, 3 squashed grapes on floor, 4 pieces of paper with crayon sketched nay nays and moo moos on floor under table, left side of sink filled with clean dishes, right side stacked up to Jesus with dirty ones.

Characters:  One 10 year old 5th grade girl who rides the fence of wanting to be a little kid and a young lady; one 2 year old boy who knows the sound of every animal on the planet (or at least his 50 flash cards) who also, incidentally, had a temp of 102.5 earlier today which broke during his nap which woke him up early which plays a key role in his behavior in this particular setting; one 40 year old mom just trying to make dinner; one beautiful 30 year old friend who was gracious enough to endure the setting, characters, plot, conflict, and lack of resolution, who also brought fabulous fresh berries for dessert; one 4 pound black and brown full grown Maltipoo with a quarter pound bark collar on her neck who still yips and yaps regardless of said collar.  (Character NOT in play: suburban dad/hubby...)

Plot/Exposition:  40 year old mom who has had one shower this week would love to enjoy adult interaction with 30 year old friend (since suburban husband can't hang out on phone while overseas on work trip) while making a yummy dinner for all characters involved, then to tuck animal loving 2 year old into bed early since his fever from the night before had kept him and said 40 year old mom awake until 1:30 am, and tuck in 10 year old daughter because those moments are so great for old mom's heart, and finally to finish up chatting with young, beautiful, energetic 30 year old girlfriend who has no wrinkles.

Conflict:  Little boy wants his dinner now, not when hazelnut and herb crusted salmon, sauteed squash, mushrooms, and broccoli are finished, but EN. OH. DOUBLE YOU.  NOW!  Exhausted but not completely worn thin 40 year old mom who did get in a 1 1/2 hour yoga routine today gets mushrooms done first, then zucchini, then finally broccoli...Bubbly awesome young friend cuts peels off apple slices for little boy who is yelling, "Opples!  Opples!  Moose!  Moose!  Nay Nays!  Nay Nays!  Moy!  Moy!"  5th grade girl is on front porch reading because it's part of her homework, however, could be helping saute SOMETHING!  Little boy without a fever but with lots of energy dumps plate of leftovers on his freshly cleaned hair and shouts, "DONE!  DONE!  DONE!  MOOSE!  MOO MOO!  CAMEL!"  Needy, but sweet, 4 lb dog sitting by front door where her 10 year old master sits just inches on the other side.

Ongoing Internal Conflict:  Smelly shower-less 40 year old mom keeps eye-balling the half bottle of red wine in the refrigerator, all the while thinking if she just drank it, it would calm the chaos, or at least take the edge off...but said mom knows better than to drink alone since gorgeous helpful 30 year old is on a cleanse so red and white and tequila and all other indulgences are off limits.  And then 40 year old mom snaps to and remembers she's detoxing, too, so that's the end of that internal conflict.

Continued Conflict:  Truly, truly, an inability for either grown-up to complete any given thought or sentence or story or...

  • In the MIDDLE of dinner, "Hey, can I show you guys a hand stand?"
  • "Moo moo!  Nay Nay!  Done!"
  • "I'm so sorry you had to go to a funeral..."
  • "Do I have to eat all of this lettuce?"
  • "Ooooh, Mommy!  Juice!"
  • "Can I have chocolate when I am done?"
  • "So were you able to spend time with family or see...?"
  • "Um, before it gets too dark will you guys come out in the backyard and watch me do a hand stand?"
  • "Moy!  Moy!  Moy!  Moy num nums!"
  • "Done!  Done!  Moose!  Done!"
  • "Can you send chocolate in my lunch tomorrow?"

Climax:  While piecing together the scene and series of events, 30 year old amazing helper friend with great hair and arms says to mom whose head has collapsed onto old schoolhouse table in an attempt for a solo retreat, "I think I'm starting to piece together why you asked me earlier to pray for you and God's purpose in your life...I will definitely be praying for that, friend."

Resolution:  10 year old clears dishes from the table after asking politely if she may be excused, then proceeds to do a fabulous hand stand in back yard.  2 year old escapes out the back door into backyard and does somersault while saying hi to the neighboring woof woofs.  Faithful and selfless 30 year old friend cleans the kitchen, the way her 40 year old friend would clean it.  Amazingly strong yoga momma climbs stairs with 27 pound 2 year old in her arms and has success on 2nd attempt to tuck in said toddler, albeit 2.5 hours after first attempt.  5th grade girl gets ready for bed, including feeding/watering/pottying of furry friend, without being asked by Super Mom who is still dressed in all black from working as a secret agent with the CIA, uh, doing yoga 8 hours earlier and smelling like it.

I love my best friend of 22 years, 19 of them married...

I love my nose-picking toddler..

I love backyard nudity...

I love being shot with water guns by my 10 year old...

*Note water drips from being shot...

I love that, thankfully, colored hair extensions and feather earrings aren't moral issues...

I love Gary the Cowboy who let me shoot off a little steam recently..

I love that my toddler can say words like:  "Done!  Moose!  Nay Nay!"

I love the beautiful gracious gift of God who has taught me so much over the last 10 years...

I love that even though she is growing up, she still wanted to have a tea party at American Girl...

I love being a mom.  I really do.  I mean it.

And I love being a wife.  I really do.  I mean it.

These are two hats I wear and two roles I'd like to think I play decently, at least in my family.

However, what if I had never gotten married or what if I'd never had kids.

Who would I be?  

Not like, "Oh, I wish I hadn't!" or "What am I missing out on?" This isn't a mid-life crisis question or anything like that.

BUT:  Before I was a mom I was a wife.  And before I was a wife, I was a young with dreams and passions and ideas, some of which have really and truly come true...namely: Jason, Em, Noah, and Ryan.  Others that seem they are so covered in dust and cobweb perhaps on their way to fossilization. 

The other night before my husband was leaving for a week-long trip to the Dominican Republic for his job with Compassion International, which incidentally is my dream job since I was in college of traveling the world, working with nationals in country to reach their countrymen, and help women and children...we were just laying in bed talking for a few minutes after the house was finally quiet.

I said, "You know, buying a sports car, getting a tattoo, or having an affair are obvious mid-life crisis symptoms.  I don't want any of those things, but I can't even begin to tell you how out of my element I feel lately.  Your job is literally my dream job, I'm not coveting it, but it's crazy that you are living out my passion for missions.  And then I love to write but haven't written anything in forever and haven't felt inspired to write, or even read anything, either.  I mean, I love my Bible and have been reading that tons and actually, the only writing I've been doing is with pen and paper, writing scriptures, but it's like for the first time in years, I have nothing to say or convey.  And, I feel like I'm supposed to encourage other women but don't even know where to begin, and the truth is, I really MISS encouraging women and being used in that way.  I know I am supposed to be a wife and mom, and I love those things very much, I am not sure if I remember what I love or am good at in addition to that anymore...I just want to be faithful with the gifts and strengths God has given me, however I don't really know what they are at this given moment."

This isn't discontent or dissatisfaction with my life.  I love my life.  I am so very grateful to God for each person and every blessing.  Believe me, we talk about our thousands and thousands of gifts, and write lists of gratitude...

Presently I simply feel purposeless.  Do you ever feel that way?  And if so, do you have encouragement of how to become un-purposeless?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Birthday Eve

I started a tradition after Noah died to take a picture of Emily on the day prior to her birthday.  Let's just say it was my feeble attempt to make time stand still in the midst of her speedy growth cycle.  It's been fun to look back over the years and watch her grow.

Here is Em's brief history:
This is what the eve of 3 years old looked like...

Hanging with her friend, Annabel, on our lawn in Denver in 2006, about to turn 4.

South Dakota birthday with her long-haired daddy in 2007, eve of 5.

Still "5" in this picture on the eve of her 6th...

Wow, from 6 to 7 brought a lot of growth!

Preggers mom and our 7 year and 364 day old sunkissed daughter, eve of 8

Holy long hair, BatGirl, eve of 9.  And DANG!  my hubby is still the hottest man in my whole wide world in 2011!
The night before double digits.  She's still "9" here, people...I have birthday pictures to prove she turned 10, but haven't posted yet...still in denial, maybe?!

So, that was Em's birthday eve journey.

Ryan's has clearly been shorter.  However, it's been longer than his brother's, and for that I can't even begin to express my gratitude.  To be real honest with *you* I was too weirded out last year to make a big "to-do" about Ryan's first birthday.  There were a lot of "firsts" we got to experience with him and I think his first birthday just snuck up on me before I had the chance to really know what was happening.  I think even part of me was afraid to celebrate his birthday.  Losing a child can mess with your head and heart a little, maybe?!

But this year is a different story.

Ryan turns "2" tomorrow, August 28th.  His birthday "eve" journey has been shorter than his sis' but we made up for it in the kitchen tonight as I tried to get self-portraits of the two of us.  Daddy's in the Dominican Republic for work so self-portrait was the best we could do (Em was brushing her teeth upstairs...)  Anyway, thankfully, since he's only turning "2" and won't remember that his dad was out of town on the 28th, we're officially celebrating this coming weekend.

But, in the meantime, I had to capture Ryan's 2nd "Birthday Eve."

Ryan's original "birthday eve..."
No "eve" here...this is the real deal.  Ryan's birthday, August 28th, 2010

Looking through pics I didn't capture his 364th day, so here's his official "1st Birthday"

Fast forward to August 27th, little lover turns "2" tomorrow!

I don't ever want to cut his curls!  What am I to do!?  Some old man already called him a girl the other day!  But I can't get myself to cut his curls off!

Cracking up!  I could listen to him laugh ALL.  DAY.  LONG!

Look at all those teeth he grew in the last year!

"It's my last day to be "1."  Tomorrow I turn "2."

I'm so in love with you, son.  I'm in love with your curls, your laugh, your voice.  I could nibble your ears, cheeks, and lips all day long.  Your toes warm my heart and I catch my breath in awe and joy that your head fits perfectly in the crook of my neck.  You are my little boy and you bring me so much joy.  Thank you for calling me MOMMY.

"Of all the boys in the world, there's no other boy like Ryan...
And everything that he does is cool just because he's Ryan...
Whenever he's around, he can turn your frown upside down...
He'll lift you straight off the ground, he's a candy colored clown...
He's a lot like his dad, he's totally rad, he's Ryan...
If you only knew...if you only knew him like I do, you'd feel the same way, too, because he's too good to be true...
Ryan...there's nobody else like Ryan...a sweet little boy named Ryan...there's nobody else like him..."
(my remix of a song that actually had Em's name in it on a CD long ago...I sing this to him at night along with some old school Jesus songs and Edelweiss and Favorite Things from Sound of Music...)

Happy Birthday Eve, Lover!  I can't wait to celebrate with you tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Glass Class

For my 40th birthday in January, Jason and Emily gave me a gift-certificate to do a glass sculpting class.  Seriously, this was the most thoughtful gift I've ever been given.

Jason knows I am a huge fan of glass blowing and glass work.  Whenever Dale Chihuly specials are on PBS the channel turns no further...I am mesmerized by glass and heat and molten-ness and the whole idea that from a simple rod of glass come some of the most beautiful pieces of art in the world.

Well, I know it's August and my birthday was 8 months ago, but today I finally redeemed my coupon and headed to a place called Glasscraft up in Golden, CO, to learn something new.  Last week my friend found out I was doing the class and decided to join me, so it was fun to share this experience with her, too!

A bit of history, though, first.  I grew up in Arizona.  For weekend trips now and then we'd head up to Sedona to explore and wander through the art galleries to appreciate the creativity of local artisans, check out the architecture (my dad was a builder), and to see God's beautiful creation.  Our favorite place was called Tlaquepaque.  I'm not sure if the glass blower is still there, but when I was Emily's age, (which is now 10 and I still have to post about that...), I would head straight to his shop and watch and watch and watch.  And, with my hard earned allowance money, I'd add to my collection of trinkets no one needs but every kid thinks they want: glass swan with blue liquid inside, glass unicorn, glass Pegasus, glass swan with different colored liquid get the idea.  Anyway, to a 10 year old girl, this was cool and I remember having an appreciation for glass work at the time.

Fast forward 30 years and today I got to dabble in the art of glass.

I did not blow glass, which is what I thought I was going to be doing, but that's a class a little higher up the food chain for a first-timer.  I did, however, get to sculpt and manipulate it by rolling rods of glass in a propane/oxygen torch flame and stretching it to form it into leaves.  Unfortunately they are still at Glasscraft in the and tell another day.

Molten glass is totally stinking cool!  Except it's not cool, but so very hot!  And, thankfully the only thing I burned off my body today was a few knuckle hairs.  It could have been worse...I guess it's been a while since I took high school chemistry and used one of those flint spark starters.

And, for the record, my knuckles look nice smooth...or something like that!

The class started at 8:30 but I picked Kiera up at 6:45 and made her go sit at Whole Foods to enjoy the quiet morning, first

glass rods

When wearing safety glasses, one must look like they are straight from MadMen

Kiera the '50's glass worker

Curtis our instructor

My flame

Kiera hard at work

That kid, across the table, is from the Royal Tannenbaums...well at least he looked the part...

Me rolling my glass rod into a ball in order to start my leaf

Overall, this was an awesome experience!

No matter what you choose, I'd encourage you to try something new, or something you've always dreamed of doing.  Dr. Daniel Amen encourages us, as we age, to stimulate our brains with new experiences and new ways of learning and thinking.  Today I made a few new synapses.  I feel a little smarter already ;)