Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2 day pass

this weekend there were horses and bases.
or rather riding and baseball.
another turn on dandy and lots and lots of baseball.
the first game of the season and two wins.
a scrimmage too.
t. bone did his job as pitcher.
his precision is more impressive than his speed.
but he's fast too.
lily found dandy stubborn this week so she's glad that admiral is on the mend.
it was also a weekend of friends and neighbors.
t. bone boasted that he had a yard full of boys (15) while we were out for the night.
i expressed my concern over this, but i wasn't too worried.
it's how it should be:
come one come all, no parents setting play dates, just kids of all ages playing together outside.
and he didn't give away our wealth in gatorade.
sunday was a catch all...filled with odds and ends.
this weekend was the embodiment of the sentiments life is what happens in the moments in between and life is good.
here's the evidence.

Monday, April 27, 2015

On My Mind Monday

This post from Anne lamott's facebook page.

Here are a couple snippets, but please read the whole essay:

Grace: Spiritual WD-40. Water wings. The mystery of grace is that God loves Dick Cheney and me exactly as much as He or She loves your grandchild. Go figure. The movement of grace is what changes us, heals us and our world. To summon grace, say, “Help!” And then buckle up. Grace won’t look like Casper the Friendly Ghost, but the phone will ring, or the mail will come, and then against all odds, you will get your sense of humor about yourself back. Laughter really is carbonated holiness, even if you are sick of me saying it.

Death. Wow. So f-ing hard to bear, when the few people you cannot live without die. You will never get over these losses, and are not supposed to. We Christians like to think death is a major change of address, but in any case, the person will live fully again in your heart, at some point, and make you smile at the MOST inappropriate times. But their absence will also be a lifelong nightmare of homesickness for you. All truth is a paradox. Grief, friends, time and tears will heal you. Tears will bathe and baptize and hydrate you and the ground on which you walk. The first thing God says to Moses is, “Take off your shoes.” We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know.

I love her insight as well as her candor.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2 day pass

we welcomed the weekend on the farm on a beautiful spring eve.

the sky was rather showy, but lily was the real star with a little help from dandy.
and an audience of the whole family too.
i took about 500 pictures and then not another the rest of the weekend.

admiral is out of commission for the time being so this old guy is filling in.
they got along like they had known one another for months not minutes.

t. bone made a new friend his first night on the farm.
he decided to call him winslow.

after lily's lesson and before dandy's narcolepsy kicked in, 

she led him out to the paddock.

then she too gave winslow some love.

we said goodnight to the farm...

and headed to a nearby supper club for lots of fried food.
they happen to have my favorite perch sandwich, but best of all...
it was nice to all be together enjoying a beaut of a night.
it's a rare friday eve that ted reserves for family, and my brother and sil joined us as well.
double bonus...double happiness.
saturday coach and i met with a kitchen designer bright and early.
it was our second prospect and a much better fit than our first.
we're starting to get excited about the idea of a brand new kitchen.
and starting to get to the guts of our vision.
the rest of the day we spent in our separate pursuits before coming together for dinner.
coach grilled fajita fixings, lily made guacamole and i made a mexican rice.
ted ate. 
that's pretty much what he does these, play (sports) and sleep.
we all sang (and laughed) as we played a game of name that tune after dinner.
a little jerry, jack and taylor too.
sunday we were up early for church bright eyed and sweet sounding in our usual pew.
after sunday school, t. bone went golfing with his uncle before two baseball practices with coach.
doesn't everyone workout 3 or 4 times a day?
lily and i took a long bike ride.
my butt is still sore.
then we all gathered around the table again for sunday dinner...
and a little more singing.
i was in bed sunday night before the kids because they were off monday.
as i closed my eyes, i felt such contentment.
it was just an ordinary weekend, but it didn't feel that way.
it felt rather special.
the extraordinary ordinary. 
it was the right mix of work and play, togetherness and solitude, fresh air and cocooning, and because of that, i'm still thinking about it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

On My Mind Monday

And in the end I think I've learned the final lesson from my travels in time; and I've even gone one step further than my father did: The truth is I now don't travel back at all, not even for the day, I just try to live every day as if I've deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life. 

~ About Time

Mike started watching this 2013 romantic comedy a few days ago.  He stopped and saved it so we could watch it together.   He knew it would appeal to me.  And he knows me well...I rather loved this quirky little film.  It was sweet, but not overly sappy.  I laughed quite a bit and I cried a little.  I also tried to simply enjoy the story without getting hung up on the plot plunders because I appreciate the message.  Everyday I strive to be present in the moment no matter how mundane it may be.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

End of an Era

We've been talking about getting rid of our play set since last spring. The family agreed it was time. Yesterday Mike listed it on Craig's List and quickly his phone started buzzing.  It was free to anyone interested in taking it down and hauling it away.  We joked that we should maybe even pay the takers, but surprisingly many were willing.  A family with a van full of kids came and disassembled the set before I could even think about taking one last picture.  One last picture of my kids swinging on the swings they long ago outgrew.  Sadly, there was no sparking cider toast ala Lisa Rinna and her family either. It was rather sudden and unceremonious as are most play set removals I imagine. Miss Bit caught me watching the end of an era from the cover of my bedroom window. Actually, I'm quite sure she called me out as a stalker.  I had to admit that I felt just a little pull at my heartstrings at the prospect of my two being too big to enjoy the teeter totter and slide any longer because to not do so would have been futile.  My girl can see right through me.  Unlike outgrown baseball jerseys and too small smocked dresses, the play set cannot be packed away and pulled out later to prove that once not that very long ago they were small. To that my girl reminded me not to mistake my attachment to my people with a grip on our things.  She said, "You've still got us!"  And then I felt rather silly as we both agreed it was such a good thing that other children would make memories like the ones we remember fondly.  It feels warm and fuzzy to pay it forward.  It feels right.

After dinner a couple hours later, the four of us were singing and dancing in the kitchen playing our version of name that tune.  Mike and I are pros at the classics and, of course, the kids know all the current hits, but they can identify some of the greats like Frank and Cat and Stevie too. I realized as we were all connecting and crooning that this growing up thing is more sweet than it is bitter.  It's only natural that some things have to be left behind in order to move forward.

The family that now owns the set promised to send us a picture.  They've been saving up and squirreling away the best parts of a number of older sets in the hopes of building one double decker super set for their crew.  I'm looking forward to seeing the happy transformation.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April Inventory

Reading: Last week I lost myself in The Girl on the Train for two nights.  It was part Rear Window part Gone Girl and definitely a page turner.  The unreliable narrator intrigued me. Then I picked up Cutting for Stone for the 4th time.  I have started and quit this novel 3 other times so now I've read the first 100 pages 4 times.  I am committed to seeing it through this time, and I really can't explain my resistance to doing so in the past.  I like the story and the style. Of course, I have 3 books in transit to my library so it's going to take willpower.  Lily and I are reading A Long Walk to Water together with heavy hearts.  I think she's going to insist on picking our next book, and it's probably a good idea.

Wondering when I'm going to feel like writing again.  I don't fret like I used to when words evade me because I know it's a process...there is ebb and flow, but still I don't like it.  I don't like it because something important to me is missing in my life, and I feel a little less like myself: off kilter, top heavy, wishy washy.

Noticing that what you give is what you get, the power of intentions and that we are all made up of energy.  Holy energy.

Watching the usuals.  Lily and I have to get caught up on Dancing With the Stars.  Are we the only ones who still love that show?  My Mom used to watch it, and I didn't understand her affinity for the show.  Now I'd give just about anything to sit beside her with a glass of Conch on Monday nights to watch it.  Coach and I tried to watch Going Clear last weekend, but it put us to sleep.  I plan to try again soon.  Cults Scientology fascinates me and have ever since Jim Jones was the Monday night movie.

Listening to The Longest Ride when I walk and still not feeling the chi.  The battery keeps dying when I'm mid miles and I'm starting to think that I just need to give it up.  I'm heading to the library for new audio books today.

Eating my new favorite apple.  It's called the Lady Alice and I highly recommend it if you like tart crisp apples.  I made a delicious cream cheese pound cake for strawberry shortcakes last weekend, and I think I've found the secret to the perfect egg salad: a tablespoon of  chopped fresh jalapeno and a dash or two of white wine vinegar.

Drinking PBRs last Saturday night at the Jackson Blue Ribbon and not remembering a time when beer tasted so dang good.

Wanting to keep crossing things off my eternal and never ending to do list.  I've eliminated some big ones this year and I plan to continue the streak.

Wearing flip flops by day and wool clogs by night.  It's day by day here, but we've had a beautiful stretch of 60 degree, mostly sunny days.

Hoping that our manny can come back this summer.  Maybe even praying.

Thinking that the school year is winding down, and knowing that summer will go fast and then we will have a freshman and a 6th grader.  Sixth grade is when my sharpest memories start.  It was the best of times.  Ninth grade was pretty stellar too.  I'm excited for my two.

Enjoying opening windows, cleaning out closets and drawers, purging and simplifying our surroundings, Susannah Conway's April Love challenge, my breakfast bowl: shredded wheat with a little granola and flax seed topped with berries (preferably raspberries) and coconut milk, getting out for long walks in the fresh air and more daylight and birdsong.

Loving all of the possibilities the present holds.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Thunderstorms.  I love the sound of the rumble and roar when I'm cuddled in with a good book.

Good books.  I read one this week:  The Girl on the Train.  I compulsively devoured it in two days.  I think it's the perfect beach read.  Just like Gone Girl, I didn't appreciate the ending though. 

This guide.  I cannot keep track as these terrorist groups seemingly multiply overnight.

This piece on parenting.  It made me think how my Grandma used to talk about walking miles to school rain, shine, sleet or snow every single day, and how my Dad talks about his Mom and Dad rarely making one of his football games.  It made me remember my brother and I being turned out into the neighborhood for the day only to return when we could sense the aggravation in my Mom's calling for us...when she would go from yelling Krissy to Kristin! to Kristin Alyce!!  It made me realize that it's a different world and some changes are most certainly beneficial, if not necessary, like not drinking and smoking when we are pregnant, always wearing seat belts and usually knowing where are children are.  There's no harm and stores of good in supporting our children on the sidelines, in the audience and behind the scenes too.  But there was a lot of good in having some autonomy growing up and also a little responsibility.  Eventually our children will be independent and in charge of their own laundry...their own happiness...their own lives.  If we do everything and are everything, we are only setting them up to fail.  So I am recommitted to majoring in the majors and minoring in the minors.

A lovely Easter Sunday brunch at my in laws.  My mil makes the best ham.  And the leftovers we enjoyed all week.  I scarcely had to cook this week which was a welcome respite.

These hams aka two peas in a pod!

The Badger basketball team.  They should have won the National Championship, but at the end of the season, we're still cheering around here for all their heart and hard work.

Hearing from an old friend this week.  We've lost touch in the last year, but now we plan to reconnect over dinner soon and I'm really looking forward to it.  I've been thinking about her too, and I just love the uncanny way putting our energy and intentions out there delivers.

Ted's out with friends and Lily is at the school talent show so Mike and I have some time to do some planning for our summer road trip.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Break

Last week was spring break.  The weather was decent.  The days and nights were the perfect balance of full and free.  We didn't go away on vacation.  Instead we stayed close to home having good old fashioned fun with friends and family.  Lily spent two whole days with her bestie,  one with her Grandma and Grandpa, and another with her cousin.  Teddy left for the Dells with friends Tuesday morning, and they were together until Friday night.  There were trips to the zoo and the movies, hikes at the Audubon, walks at the park, games, craft projects, homemade pizzas and bbqs, sleepovers and sleepunders.  Saturday we celebrated my brother's birthday and the Badgers final four victory, and Sunday we celebrated our risen Lord.  It was a sublime end to a stellar week.  The kids were lamenting the return to routine, but not I.  The next couple months are sure to pass at warp speed as we look forward to all the goodness of summer.  They want time to hurry up as I long for it to last, but neither desire has any effect on its passage.

Monday, April 6, 2015

On My Mind Monday

Every conversation about money is also about values.  Allowance is also about patience.  Giving is about generosity.  Work is about perseverance. Negotiating their wants and needs and the difference between the two has a lot to do with thrift and prudence.  And running through all these conversations is a desire for kids to have perspective - to know why they may have more than most people in the world but will probably never have more than every one of their peers.  And why there's no shame in having more or having less, as long as you're grateful for what you have, share it generously with others, and spend it wisely on the things that make you happiest.  It's true for our kids, but it's true for us, too.

~ Ron Lieber
The Opposite of Spoiled
Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money

This is a worthwhile read for all parents.  Much of what Lieber writes is common sense, but I find that common sense is not very common in this day and age.  It validated many of my thoughts and feelings about kids and money.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Person

At forty –five I thought I’d have more things figured out.  I am not so na├»ve, or rather self indulged, to think I’d have it all figured out, but I expected that the things I know for certain would vastly outnumber the things I don’t.  And I’m not talking about book facts, or the theoretical or practical understanding of subjects, but rather those inherent truths that we assimilate about the world as we live longer and longer.  I’m talking about the depth and breadth of understanding that comes from experiences and relationships that inform, shape and sustain us.  I’m talking about the knowledge that serves as foundation, compass and sanctuary.  The things that define and empower us: the bedrock of our beliefs and the balm of our existence.

I thought, at what is more than likely past the midway point of my life God willing, that I would have more conviction for who I am, what I know to be true and how I fit in this world.  I am a woman.  A wife and mother.  A daughter, daughter-in-law, an older sister and sister-in-law.  I am a niece, an aunt and a friend.  I am an employee and a neighbor.  These are roles I have fulfilled for many years, and a few for all my life, and yet I often feel like I’m still learning the very basics, which is a tad surreal and a bit panic inducing. 

Relationships are complicated.  Dynamic.  Two-sided.  And also difficult for these very same reasons. I throw my hands up thinking this shouldn't be so much work or this shouldn't be so hard.  But then I feel silly because we all know that nothing good is free or easy. When I'm feeling the disconnect, which I am in a few principal relationships, it really effects me because I care. Does that mean that the other participant doesn't care?  No, but I am seeing things from one side: my side. My side that evolves with my changing mood, my sensitivities and my selective memory.  What I pray for is a good old fashioned come to Jesus because I'm a fixer.  And I've had an epiphany: I'm not as adept a communicator as I once thought and also that many of the people in my life are worse than I am even before the effects of rampant social media and impersonal devices as medium.

It's times like these that I find myself missing my Mom more than usual.  She was my fixer.  Our relationship wasn't perfect.  She did things that frustrated me and I did things that disappointed her, but we always accepted one another right where we were for exactly who we were.  We always knew where we stood too. We talked about everything.  Everyday.  Multiple times a day.  We argued and sometimes said not the right thing or hurtful things, but we always knew it was just our fiery tempers. We didn't tiptoe around one another or stuff feelings or ever feel OK when we hurt or slighted one another.

I feel at such a loss.  She was my person.  She's gone.  I'm alone.  I'm without that person I could always return to for unconditional love and understanding and a few laughs too.