Total Pageviews

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I had a terrible, awful, horrible dream last night – a true nightmare. It was one of those where you wake up gasping for air and praying that it was, in fact, just a dream. The gist of it was: because of my busyness and rushing about and just being negligent, Kayliana died in a horrible accident. Awful. As I lay in bed trying to recover, I fought the urge to check on her (knowing that she was, of course, fine) but decided against it as she’s the lightest sleeper and merely turning her door knob would wake her up. She’s been having a rough time sleeping already with her back molars cutting through; waking her up would’ve just been purely selfish.

But we’ve all had those dreams, right? Where something awful happens but then we wonder: what the heck does it mean?! In my sleeplessness, I analyzed this nightmare and had – what at 4am seemed like a major revelation – this nightmare was a gift. I feel like it opened my eyes (ha! Literally) to something that I’ve been ignoring for too long: and that is my children. Obviously, I take care of them and love them unconditionally and think they’re freakishly genius, ridiculously cute, insanely clever and witty little people, BUT I’m pretty sure that I kind of suck at spending quality one-on-one time with them. Occasionally it happens and we make time to read with them everyday, we talk during dinner, blahblahblah, but I’m thinking of all the time in-between. The little moments – whenever they come up – are full of the to-do’s and the busyness and are rarely spent just BEING with my family. I’m here – my body is – but I’m mentally doing a thousand things and simultaneously doing many others (dishes, laundry, cooking, checking stupid time-sucking facebook or email…and how many times a day does one really need to check the news?!). I feel constantly overwhelmed by all of the ‘stuff that needs to get done when probably about 90% of said-‘stuff’ is my fault or my (subconscience or selfish) choosing.

The laundry, the dishes, the house, the REALLY unimportant computer stuff WILL get done but it CAN wait. Kids can’t always. They won’t always be this age. They won’t always want to have dance parties, color together, cuddle on the couch and read, etc.

So, New Year’s resolution coming a bit early this year (but really, not early enough)…My Oprah-ah-ha-full circle moment: Pay attention. Slow down. Snuggle more. Internet surf less. Stop the insanity!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We had a Christmas-outing extravaganza: a visit with Santa -- as you can see, despite "Santa" being Kayliana's 3rd word, she's not a fan. We mailed Santa letters. We had dinner at Red Robin. Watched some performances in the mall and then went to our fave festive activity -- the drummers at Snowflake Lane. I've told the boys if they start practicing, next year they could maybe both be in it (and by-pass that whole minimum age rule). But they'd need a chaperone, so I'd just HAVE to be a Snow Princess. The sacrifices I'm willing to make for my children. Seriously! I'm basically a Saint.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

‘Tis the season – for ca-raziness! This past weekend was the ca-raziest of all the ca-razies for us. We had three parties in three days and also managed to polish up Matthew’s halo with his First Confession. Just another weekend.

I’ll start with that whole Salvation of our child thing (minor deal). For weeks we’d been doing preparation: working in his little workbook, talking about sins, going through pretend/dress-rehearsal confessions (where I played the priest and assigned Penances like, “Give your mother 5 hours of back-rubs” or “Say 105,362 Hail Mary’s, 349,817 Our Father’s” etc. I figured this way whatever Penance the priest actually gave him, it wouldn’t seem all that bad.)

As Matthew and I stood in line awaiting our turns on Saturday morning, I’m sure that I was more nervous than he. He looked at me with big eyes, and said, “Why can’t Daddy just become a priest and I tell him my sins at home?”

I went first. Now to paint the picture: this was not old school confessional confessions (you know, the closet-thing, with the screen). That’s a little too intimidating for the kids and most churches don’t do it that way anymore. You just sit in a chair across from the priest (in a little private alcove in the church) and have a nice little confessional-chat. The priest – visiting from a nearby parish – was AWESOME. I gave him the head’s up that Matthew was up next, was super shy and super nervous, so “Please be super nice!”

Matthew walked a little bit like he was on the march to the guillotine. I sat there nervously fidgeting and then after a few minutes he came out grinning from ear-to-ear. He proudly strutted over to me and said, “I feel SO much better!!” Oh my gosh, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so good after Reconciliation before!

When Mike was done with his turn, we followed the instructions given to us by Father Todd, and took Matthew (and Zachary and Kayliana) to Target for a treat. When we were sitting in the little Starbucks area, I recognized another family who had just been at church.

The dressed up little girl asked loudly, “Ahh, man. Mommy, was that my first bad word already?!”

I started cracking up and asked, “Uh-Oh, do you have to go back to Confession so soon?! We were hoping to make it at least an hour!”

Now, back to the partying that we did on Confession-Eve. It was Mike’s office party that kicked off the weekend. And it was So. Much. Fun. The event was a cooking class at Blue Ribbon Catering/Cooking School on Lake Union. We kicked off the evening with appetizers – that were already prepared for us (Ham Croquettes with Garlic and Saffron Aioli, fruit and cheese platters and plenty ‘o wine.) We were then divided into three groups and one went to each station. Our first was with a national-award winning chef (who specializes in Cajun cuisine). There we made Cider-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Flambeed Apples and White Wine Galic Sauce Green Beans. This chef was so intense (and fun!) – you could tell he’d been in the biz a long time. He could reach his finger into a boiling pot to taste and even had an involuntary eye-twitch while savoring the flavors to discern if they were just right. (I was impressed with his eye twich.) I was put on shallot-chopping duty for the wine-sauce (that I later made on the stove). I stood there mincing the shallots in all my Christmas party finery with tears dripping down my face. Good thing I’d worn waterproof mascara.

Our next station was the wine cellar where the owner of the Blue Ribbon Cooking School taught us how to make Sweet Potato Gnocchi in a brown butter sage, fresh nutmeg sauce. Holy Cow. I’m pretty sure I died. Butternut squash, sweet potato pretty much ANYTHING and I’m a HUGE FAN. It was delicious. Amazing.

Our last stop was the salad and dessert station where we plated salads (kinda boring) and made Liquid Chocolate Cake with Caramel Sauce. I’ve decided that in another life I should volunteer myself out for food tastings. Needless to say, once we sat down for the dinner (that we’d made), we were all fairly famished and ready to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Our fruits were delicious!

The most crazy weekend of Christmas festivities has come and gone for us and now we get to just sit back and enjoy the season. Tomorrow we’re taking the kiddos to see Santa and the drummers at Bellevue Square. We’re all pretty pumped. (Think Buddy the Elf, “Santa!! SANTA!!!!” That’ll be me.)

Monday, December 05, 2011

I suppose it’s time to provide the update that I dreaded typing. Last Thursday, I drove up to visit our Mountain House – my dream home, the one that is THE ONE. that I’ve been packing and prepping for. It felt so right. The “for sale” sign was still up (despite the “Pending” status that remained on-line). As I drove down the mountain, I noticed how the thick fog clouds blanketed Issaquah and Lake Sammamish below. It didn’t help that it happened to be magical. It was all cloudy and gloomy below, but on the top of the mountain all was sunny and clear.

That night, we had friends over for dinner and told them of our plans – prepping the house post-holidays for listing – and making an offer on the Mountain House in the New Year. (Counting on the fact that the current “Pending” sale rubbish would fall through since it was all some kind of mistake, some nasty joke, seeing as the house was OUR house). As soon as our friends walked out the door, and I stood in the quiet of the kitchen doing the dishes, I felt it. A looming dread, a sad clairvoyance.

When Mike came in after putting the boys to bed I told him. “I don’t know why, but I just feel really sad all of a sudden about the mountain house.”

In the morning, the moment my alarm went off I knew. This whole thing has been weird – the feelings that I’ve had about this house. I still cling to the fact – which makes it even harder to let go – that it just felt SO RIGHT. That it felt like THE ONE (the way Mike did, the way Kayliana’s birth mom did). So, how could it not be?! I dragged myself out of bed, turned on my laptop and opened up email. Sure enough. No surprise. The email notification from informing me of “Listing updates – 1 sold.” There was the address that was supposed to be OUR address (on which I'd already mentally printed return labels)!

I’m proud to say that my first thought was, “Um, yeah, I need to go for that run.”

When I got home, Zach was sitting on the couch and I told him, “Bad news, kiddo, those OTHER people bought our Mountain house.”

“I’m sorry, Mommy,” he said. “I know how much you wanted it. I did too.”

Then, when I told Matthew (who prayed every night that we DIDN’T get the house), he did a victory fist-pump and woo-hoo’ed in the air. I told him that he wasn’t being nice like a mean winner who’s all, “Haha! I won. You lost! In your face”-about it. Seeing that I was genuinely quite sad, he dropped it.

Later that morning, at the bus stop, I told the news to a neighbor-friend, Dianna and Andrea – my running partner/dear neighbor friend who’s been pissed since Day One of my Mountain House fantasy.

“Yeah, apparently God loves Matthew more than me ‘cuz He answered his prayers and not mine,” I grumbled.

“And mine too!” spoke up Atheist Andrea.

“Oh!” Dianna said. “Apparently God decided ‘Sure, Andrea, I’ll answer your prayer of making sure Jenny doesn’t move…if it means you’ll acknowledge that I exist!'”

“Great. God loves the Atheist more than me too!” I joke. “But whatever, I guess I can give up my dream home if it means Andrea’s salvation.”

So, here we are. I will admit it feels nice to have a little more breathing room in getting our house projects done; the holidays are crazy enough without those needing to happen as well. And Mike and I’ve agreed that, we will move…just maybe not right now…not until we find (another, a different) The One. But I’m looking. Even if it takes years. Who knows, maybe the Mountain House will be back up for sale in another year or two and I will have been right afterall!