Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Two Day Pass

as far as the kids are concerned, weekends are no different than weekdays this time of year.
yet we all know that will be the case for only a short while longer.
as i traveled a prairie lined path friday eve, i noticed that even the hearty vervain is in rapid decline.
i scarcely remember the blooming of bergamot or aster, or so many other nameless wild beauties.
where did june, july and half of august go?
the days of summer delirium are numbered.
i surmise that is what makes them so sought after and sweet.
special too.
even when nothing extraordinary is slated for the day.
i long ago learned that the ordinary moment is precious in its own right.
as long as you are present in the task or activity at hand, the time spent can feel hallowed.
don't laugh but i believe there is something sacred in chopping heady herbs or folding fresh laundry or spotting fireflies flicker as the gloaming gives way to night.
there is also something divine about coming together with loved ones at the end of a full day.
after the boys golfed with my brother and sil saturday afternoon, they joined us for a rather impromptu bbq.
it seemed fitting that my brother made my mom's famous harp burgers on irishfest weekend.
two of her favorites.
when i woke to a cool, grey sunday morning, i fought the urge to stay in bed.
i'm grateful i rose because the mass at irishfest is one of my favorite of the entire year.
there is something so humbly uplifting to be in open air prayer with an amphitheater full of worshippers.
talk about divine and devout.
i choked back tears as we made our way to our seats to the sound of the color guard practicing amazing grace.
i don't stand a chance with that song especially when bagpipes are involved.
tears fell throughout the mass and i let them.
 tears are good and cleansing just like church.
i didn't even notice that the mass was almost two hours long because i never once gave a thought to the time.
part of me didn't want it to end.
oh but the kid's were hungry.
we sampled some corned beef and beef stew, listened to some irish music, watched a little dancing and did some shopping.
when it was time to leave, my heart grew heavy.
it's unsettling the way that i feel so close to my mom when i'm here.
leaving this gathering feels like saying goodbye to her all over again.
so i got a hand stamp...
 even though i knew i wouldn't be back.
well, not until next summer.

Monday, August 18, 2014

On My Mind Monday

Listen. To live is to be marked. To live is to change, to acquire the words of a story, and that is the only celebration we mortals really know. In perfect stillness, frankly, I've only found sorrow.

Barbara  Kingsolver
The Poisonwood Bible

Friday, August 15, 2014

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

10th birthday celebrations have ceased.  This year we were a tad over the top with birthday revelry, but 10 is a big double digit deal, and Miss Bit is sweet and most deserving.  I know she felt the love!  She is so very special to so many...most of all me!

Jess for her help with the beach party, bringing me an awesome succulent plant after a draining week, and always just being exactly the kind of friend I need!

I couldn't give away our old patio set, but somehow coach managed to sell it!  King of Craig's List he be.

Grill master too!  He served up the most delicious ribs for Sunday night dinner.

This perfect combination of summer veggies and spices I adapted from Pinterest.  Corn and zucchini are quite tasty companions especially when finished off with a squeeze of lime, some herbs and a little fresh grated Parmesan.

Monday nights.  T. Bone and I have a standing date to watch a show that shall remain nameless because his viewing it is not likely to earn me Mother of the Year. So why do I let him watch it?  I let him because he cozies up with me for a couple hours, and I take what I can get.  Also I have no interest in Mother of the Year.

Reading at the end of the day with my girl.  Lily and I started The Giver last night.  She picked it out upon Sam's recommendation when they went shopping yesterday afternoon.  It got our attention right away.  I think we may even finish it in time to see the movie in the theater.

Today he brought her two more books he thinks she'll enjoy.

A manny who takes my girl shopping and shares reading material with her too.

I finally finished Ann Lamott's Imperfect Birds.  I found the narrative flat and the characters unlikable and static.  Rosie was snotty, Elizabeth clueless and enabling, and James was pathetic. The novel was such a waste of time that I cannot explain why I even finished it.  Probably because I kept expecting more development from such a revered writer.  I was disappointed to the point that I'm not sure I'll be reading any Lamott any time soon.

I couldn't be happier to finally be on to 10% Happier.  Third times a charm I'm hoping.

Healing.  T. Bone's toe is healing after losing a nail last weekend despite having hours of football practice every day this week, and my knee is feeling well enough for exercise after a week of feeling my age.

My Mom's and my Grandfather's words of wisdom echoing in my ear and helping me to embrace aging instead of resist it.  I hear her say, "What's the alternative?" I hear him say, "And I should complain?" 

A walk through the park after work this afternoon.  Just me and the Price family women.

Weeping Willow trees.  They are such gentle giants.  Majestic and protective, gentle and proud.  Miss Bit still calls them survivor trees, and I get that.

I taught T. Bone how to make a panini this week.  I love to cook for him, but at almost 14, he needs to expand his culinary repertoire.  Laundry is on next week's list.

Miss Bit is so excited for middle school.  I won't go so far as to say she is excited for school to start, but she is ramped up about the new experience.  I took her school supply shopping this week and she made some tough decisions.  There are just so many choices!  Thankfully, she didn't ask for a locker chandelier!

A new bento box for her.  I plan to get her involved in planning and packing her lunches next year since she is so particular and refuses to eat a sandwich.  I think that this will be the solution offering her the option of a snacky meal with healthy variety.

It is Irishfest this weekend.  We'll go to mass on Sunday at the very least.

Next week I celebrate 45.  The week before my birthday I'm always extra introspective.  I'm skipping the personal inventory this year though.  Instead I'm putting together a list of 45 things I want to do, see, experience, be in my 45th year.  I want to set myself up for inspiration...not deflation.

Realizing that I have a choice!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On Clouds, Sleep and Childhood...

I woke up this morning to a fall day.  There is a palpable chill in the air.  It's nobly grey and harmoniously rainy.  This is my most beloved kind of day.  The kind I imagine well stocked in Mother Nature's treasure trove.  It's lazy to be recreated.  The sun is slow to shine, the birds softly to sing, the streets quietly deserted.  It's intimate, deliberate and cozy.  The only problem is that it belongs in late September or early October not the fresh start of August.

The kids are still sleeping.  My resident teenager has been living up to all sleep loving stereotypes, but Miss Bit does not smile when she wakes to only half a day.  I share her sentiment, yet I am selfish for just a little more languid peace and meditative silence.  She has become such a night owl this summer, and when one is up every night to welcome the new day, one can scarcely hope to rise with the morning sun.  I could be more of a task master or naysayer, but stricter bedtimes loom in the very near future so I choose the path of least resistance.  I refrain.  I mute my barbs and quiet my mother's wisdom.  I have found that it's not true what they say: youth is not wasted on the young.

I see how my kids are going through life.  They are living it.  Every simple moment is a delight and I cannot help but be awed by the magic I witness if only I stop to bear it.  The young know how to purely be. here. now.  There is an admirable authenticity in the way they are able to live in the moment.  They don't look back or spring forward.  They don't have to.  Sadly, I can scarcely remember such a carefree existence punctuated by wonder, and bookended by joy and grace.  I am not ashamed to live vicariously, nor to admit that from them there is much to learn about life.

Monday, August 11, 2014

2 day pass

after a very full week -
the kind that has each one of us coming and going in a myriad of directions,
and not always crossing paths -
t. bone had 3 consecutive nights of sleepovers in 3 different homes, and lil was here and there celebrating her big birthday...
we finally came together with a few friends for our resident 10 year olds final celebration -
a day at the lake.
it was perfect for our water worshipper.
luckily her friends love swimming almost as much as she does and mother nature granted us a perfect day.
see for yourself...

*the girls*
-the guys-
lil is the first one in and she finds the water rather refreshing for august!
the rest of the girls get wet and hatch a plan.
the boys think they have the raft all to themselves!
to the raft!
no day at the beach is complete without a little king of the raft.
or rather queens of the raft!
 celebrating victory and maybe gloating just a bit.
protecting the turf or taunting.
 the guys move on to play football and perfect flips and dives.
 frogging and fishing.
a wee little prince.

coach was a good game master.  they all had fun playing simon says, tossing water balloons and competing in a sand castle challenge.
i was in charge of the food and cupcakes.
 miss bit was almost out of wishes as this was her 4th time being serenaded this week.
she managed, but the wind almost won!
it was a really great day.
everyone had loads of fun and no one was ready to go home.
not even after 6+ hours of beach time.
(except maybe the boys who were in serious sleep deficit after the aforementioned string of sleepovers.)
and that is the sign of a good party -
that no one wants it to come to an end.
the end.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Interview With The Birthday Girl

Nothing makes me more nostalgic than my children's birthdays, and especially when they are milestone occasions.  Lily is entering into the world of double digits as she welcomes 10 tomorrow, and that is a big exciting deal.  So in honor of this foray into her second decade, I chatted with her a little about the past and also the future: her favorite things thus far and her goals for the next year and beyond.  In the spirit of readability I took the liberty of editing the ummms and hmmms.

What are your best memories of your 9th year?

State Fair (still fresh on the brain from just yesterday), all the shows like Phantom (fresh on the mind from this weekend) except for maybe what was that called?  When they were all thou shant or whilst.  (That would be A Midsummer's Night Dream).  Learning to ski in Colorado was awesome.  All our family vacations.  I love vacations like to the Dells and Door County and Michigan.  And my family.  Spending time together and with my friends.

Why are you excited to turn 10?

It's a new year.  I've been waiting a long time.  I think I'll grow a little in every way like maturity and my body.  I'll meet some new people in middle school too.

What gets you excited about middle school?

A fresh new start in a new school.  More faces to see, things to explore and learn, and freedom.  I'm excited for new classes like choir and advanced math, all new teachers and extra curriculars like ski club.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A vet, but when I'm in high school, I'll be a babysitter for money, but not as my career.

Why a vet?

Because I L-O-V-E animals and I want to help them in every way that I can.  I'll probably adopt a lot of them.

What's your favorite animal?

Can't say!  There are too many.

What are some of your other favorites?  Like foods, places, activities?

Sports like swimming, softball and horseback riding.  My friends Ellie and Mallory and Mary.  Alexis, Christine and Jewell too.  Oh...all my friends.  Mine Craft.  Acting in plays and going to them too.  Playing outside.  Biking.  Frogging.  Hiking.  Going to Lenwood Lake and the Audubon Center.  Green, purple and blue.  My cats.  Also my lizard and my frog.  Chicken tenders and pizza.  Eleanor and Park and the Hunger Games.  Is that enough?

How about a few goals for next year?

I want to read more, and stay focused and work hard in school.  I want to use my study hall wisely and try real hard in advanced math because it's not my favorite subject.  I also want to get better at the back stroke.  Work on pitching for soft ball next year too.  And I want to learn how to run on my horse.  I'd like to be in one play.  I'm going to join ski club.  I want to be a good friend and help people who need it.  I want to have fun cuz' being a kid is fun.

State Fair Fun

I didn't grow up going to the fair, but Lily and I have been going the past few years.  It's become a summer tradition we look forward too and love. Yesterday Grandma, Grandpa, and Teddy joined us.  It was a really great day.  As soon as we walked through the gates, Grandma and Lily got their annual State Fair corn dogs.  Teddy had a taste for his very own order of fried cheese curds, and Grandpa was eagle eyeing for an IPA.  We nibbled and ogled our way through the fair all the way to the midway and still we only saw and sampled a fraction of the tastes and sights, but not fast enough for Lily.  She was all about the rides.  T. Bone was all about the games. So was Grandpa although we did get him on the Alpine Bob.  T. Bone was a good sport...he accompanied his sister on a few rides.  She missed her bff.  Last year we spent 8 hours in the midway and still had to pry them away.  She didn't freak out on the Freak Out, but the Tilt a Whirl about did her and Grandma both in.  Of course it did, it was 3 minutes long!  We missed the Clydesdales and the Percherons, the baby animal barn and the photography exhibit, but they'll all be there next year. Just before calling it a night, Teddy got his fried Oreos, Miss Bit got her ice cream, Grandma got her cream puff, Grandpa got his IPA and I got my sweet corn and pinot noir and we sat in the shade and decided whatever we didn't see, do or eat this year, we'll put on next year's list.