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Friday, April 26, 2013

How things turn out

Sometimes we make plans and they SO don’t work out the way we thought they were going to, and that’s actually a GOOD thing.  Other times, not so much.  Yesterday was an example of both.


In the morning, I was making a mental list of all the errands and to-do’s I was going to accomplish that day.  I had big plans to be all sorts of productive.  About ten minutes before we headed out the door for the bus and round one of my errands-productivity, the phone rang.  It was bff Rebecca.  Usually a call first thing in the morning means one of us had a hell of a night or is having a craptastic start to the day and needs to vent in order to shake it and face the day without continued feelings of dread.  I braced myself and answered in (what I hoped was) a sensitive and caring, ‘uh oh, what’s wrong’ “Hello?”


Instead of the expected response, a perky, “Hi, whatchya doin’?” greeted me.  We chatted for a sec, and I told her that I was just trying to figure out what all I was going to get done.


“Well, I know what you SHOULD do,” Rebecca said all cheeky-like.


“Oh really?  What’s that?”


“You should really just drop everything and come spend the day at the beach with us.  It’s going to be 70 today.  You really SHOULD be at the beach.”


“Oh REALLY?  I should, huh?  But I have so much to do…I want to…but…”


“I’ll make us a delicious lunch…” she bribed.


“Yeah, but…I don’t know…let me think about it…I want to but…”


“I’ll bring wine.”


“OK!”  And that’s how my day turned around!  Little did I know that I was the one REALLY needing to shake off a bad night and a rough-ish morning. 


We’ve been having a kind of lame week.  Both boys have been giving us some major attitude.  Matthew’s comes in the form of moody, emotional grumpiness.  And Zachary’s ‘tude is all freak out-and-tantrum-throwing when he doesn’t get his way.  (Yes, this is the kid who will turn seven in two days and yet has been throwing down toddler-type-tantrums at the sign of his not being the boss of the universe.  The irony is that our ACTUAL toddler-tantrum-throwing two-year-old has taken a step back from tantrums this week.  Maybe she’s so fascinated by Zach doing it.  Or she’s taking notes.  Crap).


So, after spending a perfectly, splendid hot sunny day at the beach with Rebecca, I was ready and happy to greet the boys from the bus after school.  Thankfully, my good mood (or just their nice days) had rubbed off and we had a lovely afternoon and dinner when Mike got home.  It was still so nice out we decided we should head out for a walk and family trip to one of our neighborhood parks.


We’d discussed that maybe Matthew would ride his bike and Zach wanted to ride his scooter, but by the time we’d all gotten socks and shoes on and finally were ready to go, we decided that it’d be quicker/easier if we all just walked.  (Matthew’s bike was still hanging from the garage rafters and would need the tires pumped, etc.  Plus, when Zach brings the scooter we inevitably end up carrying it for most of the time.)  When Zach found out that we’d opted not to have his scooter along the fit began.  It began and lasted and lasted…out of the garage…up the driveway…up the street…around the corner…next to the golf course…along the sidewalk.  He and I had stopped a couple of times to “talk” (so he could continue screaming and yelling and I could scold him for his riDONCUlous handling of disappointment), but he wouldn’t stop.  He just wouldn’t.  His fit, his full on freakin’-tantrum was escalating.  I was done, so I just continued walking to catch up to Matthew and Mike (who was pushing Kayliana in the stroller).  Zachary planted himself ON THE GROUND on the sidewalk to bask in his fit-throwing glory.  Mike gave me the stroller and walked back to try his hand at calming Zach.  I was done.  I was SO done.  Kayli, Matthew and I kept going.  We walked around the corner and stopped to visit for a few minutes with some fellow school bus stop/neighbors.  (They wanted to show us the dead baby bunny they'd found.  Totally super exciting!) No sign of Zach and Mike coming around the corner.  We kept going and slowly walked towards the farther and “little park” which was our destination.  We’d opted to go to that one earlier instead of the “closer park” that we usually go to.  


Eventually, with Kayli yelling increasingly louder and more concerned, “Zachy! Daddy!  ZACHY! DADDY!” I thought we should just stop and wait for a bit.  We waited and waited.  No Mike.  No Zach.  Finally, I decided, “Well, they must’ve had to go home,” and, thinking that Mike probably could use some back up, we turned around and walked back home. 


Well, then, I was dealing with a more and more upset Kayli who realized that we were returning home after not having gone to the promised park.  She was starting towards re-embracing her role as tantrum-thrower in our family.  Matthew ran inside and came out a bit later reporting that Mike and Zach were, in fact, not home.  I’d already gotten Kayli out of the stroller in the garage, so we headed back up the street on foot.  Matthew was able to get ahold of Mike on my cellphone and was able to (sort of) understand that they’d ended up going to the closer park thinking that maybe we’d gone there.  Well, unfortunately, we get terrible cell service up here on our hill (that is apparently a black hole for cell phones).  We arrived at the CLOSER park, only to discover that they were NOT there.  There was no way we could keep walking to the farther little park (especially now that we were stroller-less).  So, we stayed and played.


A few minutes later, Mike calls and says that he and Zach had just arrived at the farther little park since that WAS our original destination and since we weren’t at the closer park when they’d first gone, and figuring we must’ve continued on, well……we were at different parks.  Yup.  Fun family outing!  Then, Zachary started to get one of his awful stomach aches (he’s been having constipation-related issues again despite receiving daily “Poopy Potion” – Miralax).  So, I hear Zach crying in agony in the background.  “I’m going to have to carry him home.  We’re outta here,” Mike grumbles.  “Fine,” I grumble back.  “See you at home.” 


After a little more playing, I tell Matthew and Kayli that we better head home.  When I walk over to retrieve Kayliana she runs away yelling, “I’m pooping! I’m pooping!  Don’t get me!”  Awesome.  Eventually Matthew and I manage to corner her (and the accompanying stink).  I pick her up – kicking and screaming, full-on-tantrum-throwing – throw her over my shoulder and we start our second return trip home.  Eventually I’m able to put Kayli down and she walks singing a newly composed original tune to which the lyrics were, “Poopy owie bum.  Poopy owie bum.  Poopy owie bum.” 


And that pretty much sums up our family fun evening outing to the park. 
So, now if you want to be uplifted and read about how apparently awesome -- and happy, I guess -- I USUALLY am, check out this unbelievably kind and touching post Rebecca posted at HER blog:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My plans

I feel like maybe – just maybe – God is trying to tell me something.  On Tuesday, while cutting the grass, I maneuvered the lawnmower in such a way that I had to walk backwards a few feet.  In the process, my foot got caught in this total hazard/danger-zone of a drainage pipe that sticks up above the ground a tiny bit.  (It’s just one of the many wonky things about the house that wasn’t done well by the pevious owner, Trevor.  We haven’t gotten around to fixing it yet.  Whenever something goes wrong with this house, we shake our fist and as if cursing him, groan, “Trevor!!”)  With my foot caught, I started to fall backyards and quickly realized that I was soon going to be pulling the lawn mower down on top of me.  In an effort to not mow myself, I did some sort of weird tweaky jerk forward and to the right.  I was able to extract my foot, NOT lawn-mow myself, BUT in the process I felt a sudden awful pain in my lower back.  It hurt so badly and suddenly I nearly cried.  Oddly enough, the sharp pain only lasted a few moments.  It turned into just a dull pain after that and I finished cutting the grass.  When I got inside, I sat with the heating pad on my back and realized how lucky I was that I’d not been more hurt.   


Mike and I are in charge of baseball for a week (two practices and two games) as our head coach is out of town.  Since we have all the equipment – including the pitching machine – we decided to take advantage of the opportunity and took the kids to a field Tuesday night in order to give Matthew some extra practice.  Well, my back was feeling, OK, so I thought it made perfectly good sense to take a turn batting.  I have to say – those balls come fast!  The machine is set to 45 miles an hour.  OK, yeah, it’s half of what the major league players tend to bat at, but I’d not batted with a machine in a long time…or maybe ever.  Out of 30 balls, I managed to hit 5 or 6.  


After my baseball-playing action I was feeling a little sore, so, I opted not to go for my morning run as my back was still feeling quite ‘touchy.’  On Thursday, I decided for my P90X workout that instead of doing the Legs/back/abs/core dvd that I was supposed to do, instead I’d do the Shoulders/chest/triceps one.  I was being SO smart, right?  Later that afternoon, despite the pouring rain, we had baseball practice (under cover).  I played catch for over an hour.  Yes, you see where this is headed.  Shock of all shocks, I woke up Friday morning, in quite a bit more pain.  Thankfully, the only thing required of me was getting to the grocery store, so I was able to have a pretty restful day and spent a lot of it on the heating pad.


After an awful night’s sleep last night – I woke up in pain EVERY time I needed to move or roll over –morning arrived.  Game day!  I’d spent the late evening listening to the rain pounding on the skylights and windows and praying that we’d be rained out.  Um, yeah, today my back is hurting SO badly.  Ya think?!  Unfortunately (or fortunately), Mike was very on top of things and left early to go prepare the field (as we were the home team and we’re required to).  Shortly after he and Matthew left and right before our babysitter arrived to relieve ME so that I could head down for the game, an email was sent out saying that all games before 11:30am were rained out due to the conditions of the field.  My prayers were answered!  But because Mike was busy dragging the diamond, he couldn’t feel my repeated calls to him attempting to say, “The game is off, come home, ya nut!”  Soooo, I drove down and communicated this message.  (Actually, he finally called me back right as I pulled into the parking lot, so we talked over our phones despite the fact that we could see each other).  I stopped at Safeway before coming home and stocked up on Icy Hot back patch thingies and all sorts of different pain meds to try out (but not all at the same time, I promise).


So, just what is God trying to tell me?  Well, in some ways the timing is not at all awesome as Mike REALLY needs my help with baseball – we’ve got another practice on Monday – not to mention I teach music in the morning.  BUT, in some ways, the timing is good.  What's that saying?  "You know how to make God laugh?  Make plans..."  I’ve been obsessed with trying to work out plans to start building our stone walled-raised vegetable beds.  Yes, STONE walls.  Meaning each brick/stone weighs 20-40 pounds.  Hmmm, maybe not a good plan with a hurt back, yeah?  I was really hoping to get the project done in time for planting this year, but I’m pretty darn sure, that’s not in the cards.  Duh.  Obviously there’s no rush.  I can spend the summer, fall, winter (and NOT BASEBALL SEASON when we have games-practices 4 times a week!) preparing the beds and getting ready to plant NEXT year…or even the year after.  We’re going to be here a LONG time, so just chillax, will ya?


I also think it’s ironic that my back sitch is happening right now.  If this had happened last year at this time I would’ve been SCREWED.  We were painting and doing endless projects for the horrible buyers and packing and lifting and then moving….having a bad back would’ve been a near deal breaker.  So, while this is not awesome, I’ll take it as a sign that – as much as I can – I need to slow my butt down and sit on it every once in a while.  (And put some ice or heat on my back while sitting here). 

Friday, April 12, 2013

We’re nearing the end of Spring Break.  It’s been good but way too short, as usual.  The kids and I spent a few days with my parental units at their Port Ludlow beach house.  I have spent this little ‘vacation,’ as often happens, exhausted and coming down with a cold.  It’s impressive but also frustrating that somehow my body ‘knows’.  I haven’t had to use any of my built-in make-up days for music class this year as I’ve managed – when I have not felt well – to do so only Tuesday-Sunday or during vacation.  It’s convenient and yet annoying at the same time.
At any rate, the biggest thing going on with me lately is my constant thoughts of house projects!  I don’t know if it’s the Spring that brings this on (you know, new beginnings and all that) or the fact that I still have a couple of big house projects lingering from post-move last summer, but I’m ITCHING to have endless resources and endless time to do endless projects.  Obviously, none of that is realistic, but a girl can dream, right?  And dream I have!
Thanks to the time-suck that is Pinterest (, if you don’t know it) and thanks to a tip from my book club friend, Molly, a – dare I say? – even-more-magical-than-Pinterest website called (perfect when it comes to all your house-planning-dreaming needs), I’ve spent probably an unhealthy amount of time planning projects that will last me the next ten-twenty-plus years (but in my head I can somehow manage to do them all by myself this summer).
My first priority project is getting our master bathroom painted and the big mirror reinstalled.  When they remodeled the house before we moved in, they’d taken down the enormous wall-sized mirror above the sinks and vanity (and put it in the garage) and installed two small oval mirrors.  Sure, they’re cute and all, but they’e tiny…and low.  Mike actually has to KNEEL to see himself for shaving. Because of how they installed the little mirrors (with light fixtures above), we will also have to rework the lighting.  I’m all about the painting and easy projects but the more involved stuff like lighting will require Mike’s help.  We’ve had the paint – a very light sky blue – since last summer when I was on a total project-roll, but then, huh, funny! For some reason, getting our old house ready to move (with tons of projects to do from the inspection list), plus packing, then moving and then painting nearly every room here and then Deck Restoring the entire quite large deck, I just kinda ran outta steam.  Weird!  But, now I’m ready!  In addition to the light sky blue on the walls, I’m going to paint the long vanity a deep, dark teal.  My mom had done that at their condo at Port Ludlow and it looks fabulous!  There’s also an old ladder in the garage and I’m toying with the idea of removing the boring ‘ol towel bar and painting the ladder the same teal to use for a multiple towel rack between the shower and tub.  It would fit perfectly and (at least in my head) look awesome.  Get on board, Mikey!  I’m getting all sorts of crafty! 
I know, technically, you shouldn’t post crappy, junky “before” photos ‘til you can at least show a good “in progress” photo or, even better, an “after” picture, but seeing as these projects will take me a while and I want you to be able to see what I’m talking about, I’m going to break the rules! 

One outdoor dream I have is to upcycle or repurpose some old cabinet, table or shelf thingies and install a big potting bench/garden storage area on the ugly backside of the garage (which is also by the office window).  Nothing grows well there due to the shade and because of the swamp nature of that particular part of our yard, so it’d be a good place to put it.  Plus, the empty walls are ugly, it would be convenient to have my gardening stuff out there AND it would open up storage space in the garage.

Just below the deck (where those four square stones are), we removed a small maple tree that was planted WAY too close to the house.  We replanted it at the bottom of the ravine and so far it seems to be doing great!  In that open bark spot, I’d like to put a small stone patio and either build or buy (either second hand or end of the season sale) a fire pit.  So fun!

Another huge project right now is building an L-shaped raised vegetable bed in the backyard just beyond the deck.  The longest part of the L (along the retaining wall where those three pots are) will be about 16 feet long; the shorter part (right below the deck) will be 10 feet long.  After lots of research (thank you, Pinterest and Houzz), I think I’m actually going to use the same retaining wall stone blocks that we had at the old house.  I know how to work with them; they’re sturdy and permanent and look good.  But they weigh a butt-ton and figuring out how many we’ll need and how to get them all here is tricky…and again, will require Mike’s help.  It’s not that Mike doesn’t want to help, he just has other things (like working, installing new garage door openers and assistant coaching Matthew’s little league baseball team) that he needs to be doing.  I’m also thinking that I’ll upcycle the sides of our old crib (that we can’t donate due to the now-illegal drop-down side) to use as a small fence along the back of the garden bed.  They can also be used for plant trellises.  I’ll sand them down and stain them with some of our maroon deck stain.  The garden stones will be gray, the little fence maroon – do you see how it will all perfectly tie in with the deck colors?  I know no one cares about these details as much as I do, but oh well.  You’re reading my blog, you’re along for my ride!  Plus, it’ll be fun for me to look back and see how I wanted things to be…and compare to how they actually turn out. 
I know this project is way bigger than it seems in my head (where I actually think I might be able to get the bed built AND planted THIS season.)  Huh! We’ll see about that.

In conclusion, I’ll post a picture of the one little beautifying project that I have done recently.  Thanks to some seriously frugal finds I was able to set this up at the front door.  The pillow, vase and dried fleurs were all found at a thrift store and are the PERFECT colors for us and I bought the chair at Lowes for less than $20.  I’m a huge fan.  This is my new morning coffee spot as the sun is actually on that side.  I can still sit on the deck (once the weather warms up).  Plus, I can sit here and wait for the boys as they come home from the bus stop (on the one day a week they walk home sans me but with their neighbor buddy).

Monday, April 01, 2013

Easter 2013

It’s been a big week and today is an important day for our family.  It’s my dad’s birthday.  Today also marks the day that Mike’s mom died.  Yesterday was Easter.  We had a two and a half hour baseball practice on Saturday…I am  pooped!
 It’s been a FULL few days – weeks, actually.  I haven’t cleaned the house in…who knows how long.  Two weeks ago I was sick, right after that we were gone all weekend for an Engaged Encounter retreat.  Then last week was crazy nuts with basketball, baseball, a playdate, I had ladies’ Bunco night and Holy Week services.  I’m ready for summer vacation!!  We only have five more days until Spring break though, so at least that’s coming.  Last night, after getting home from Easter dinner at my parents’, I checked the calendar to see what this week has in store.  I was elated that we only have one thing on each day.  This morning it was just my 6am run with Andrea and tomorrow is Spin class at the gym.  Is it strange that I can’t WAIT to clean this house and do some serious yard work (yet at the same time all I really want to do is nap also)?  The place is a pit though so any picking up will be a vast improvement.
We did have a lovely Easter yesterday.  The day was GORGEOUS and super warm – 70 (basically bikini weather for Seattle)!  The cherry tree in front of our house is in full bloom and the daffodil bulbs that I planted in the fall are up and perkily blooming.  We had a good little photo shoot before heading to noon Mass where, thankfully, we were able to get seats without arriving TOO early.  We were asked by one of the ushers to bring up the gifts which we’ve done a few times but felt even more special to get to do on Easter Sunday.  Sitting in front of us during Mass was a family with two boys and a girl.  The boys looked to be about the same age difference as ours but older (probably 14 and 12ish), and then the youngest – the girl – is maybe 10 or 11…and obviously going through Chemo.  She had a nasal feeding tube and a pretty floral scarf covering what little wisps were left of her hair.  My heart broke for them…Especially any time I saw the mother look down at her daughter and put her arm around her little girl’s thin shoulders.  After Communion, the music group sang “Lord, Prepare me to be a Sanctuary.”  That song always gets me, but one of the lines in the chorus: “And with thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary, for you,” really hit me.  I could see this poor mother in front of me as she repeatedly wiped tears off her face.  I don’t know these people and even if I did, there’s nothing that I could say to ease the pain they’re experiencing.  I wanted to wrap this stranger – this fellow mom – in a tight hug and cry with her.  In the end, all I could do was look at my three healthy children and say prayer after prayer of Thanksgiving.  Then I’d look at this family in front of us and pray and plead and hope that that’s enough.