Total Pageviews

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easter 'n stuff

Happy Easter!  Easter Sunday also happened to be mom’s birthday.  Last year, we celebrated dad’s birthday on Easter Sunday.  I worried about how that memory would affect us all – especially mom – but at least on the outside, it seemed she had a really good day.  I think having her birthday with the busy distraction that Easter provided was helpful. 
(Post-church.  Some of the Church-dressiness disappeared the second we walked in the door.  Notice Kayliana was more than happy to stay in her dress and tights though!)

The kids Easter egg hunting.  Chris and mom hid some in our yard for them.
 The beautiful (and SO delicious) coconut frosting-angel food cake that Rebecca made.  Please ignore my face.
A couple of weeks ago, we all (our fab five plus mom and my brother Chris) went to the Port Ludlow beach house.  I knew this would be bittersweet.  And it was.  It’s just so stinking beautiful there.  For a while – despite a slightly chilly breeze – I sat on the deck and just tried to soak in the view.  One thing I also did was take a ton of clippings from their beautiful blue hydrangea bush.  I studied up on how to propagate the cuttings and I’m praying that it works.  It would make me so happy to look out and see some Port Ludlow beach house hydrangeas blooming all over my yard.  (Plus they’re my very favorite plant.  Ever).

We also go all sorts of Macgyver in figuring out a way to cover dad’s vintage pick-up truck.  He just bought it last spring from the sister of a priest who had passed away (and that we’d all known).  Dad was so ridiculously excited about that little, old pick-up truck.  When I talked to him on the phone, he told me, “We went to the estate sale that Fr. G’s sister had of his belongings.  I bought myself a little souvenir.”  When he told me this little souvenir was a pick-up truck, I laughed so hard.  The boys also LOVED the thought of D-dad taking home…a truck.  From day 1, Matthew apparently assumed that the truck would be his someday.
Unfortunately, shortly before dad died, the truck wouldn’t start.  Hmmm, dead battery?  Weird coincidence?  We’ve actually since learned it’s not just the battery.  But, because of where the truck was sitting, the cab was just filling with rain water like crazy.  We manually – Mom, Mike, Chris and I – managed to turn it around so the slope would help it drain.  The kids helped washed it – it was nearly green with pollen – (and then had a great time sitting in it).  Matthew was near tears when we told him that we wouldn’t be keeping the truck.  He REALLY wants it.  But there’s nowhere for us to keep; no way for us to do all the maintenance it would require, etc.  Anyway, after getting it turned around we also found an enormous window in the shed to lay across the top of the bed and then tarped it well (so water wouldn’t just puddle).

While we were there, Mom interviewed several different yard maintenance people.  She’s going to need help – the place is on an acre with some more ‘natural’ woods, some yard and some manicured flower beds.  It’s a lot of work.  And holy moly, dad loved it there.  They – especially he – spent months (nearly two years) fixing the place up (and there’s still a few projects he didn’t get to it.  Darn it, dad). 
The evening that we arrived, Chris and mom had already spent a day there.  Mom had done yard work for hours that day and she said it was the first time that it really hit her.  They would spend a day doing yard work and then sit on the deck and have a drink.  She’d never get to do that with him ever again.
When we got home from Port Ludlow, after a few days away, I noticed with fresh eyes my sympathy card display.  On a few different occasions, I’ve been about to take them down and then stopped.  I just can’t yet.  I’m sure there is some serious Dr. Phil explination: would I feel guilty for taking them down? Is that announcing to everyone, the world, MYSELF that I’m fine…I’ve grieved…and now I’m good?  Maybe just seeing them is a reminder for the rough moments that I do have so much love and support.  It’ll be five months this coming Saturday since dad died.  Maybe I’ll take them down…or wait until next month.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Play ball!

We had our first game on Tuesday and I’m really happy to report that it wasn’t the total blood-bath, spanking that I expected.  Sure, we lost 10 to 5 BUT I went into this season convinced that every game would end in something like 29-0.  It’s not that I have no faith in our little team; it’s that on paper, we ARE a joke compared to all the others.  We have the youngest, newest, smallest team.  Our best player took one look at us and left.  He was replaced by a kid referred to as a “safety hazard” that no one else wanted.

At the beginning of the season, I made all of our players and parents sign a contract that they would be “RAD.” (They would Respect – coaches, teammates, themselves, equipment.  They’d Always have fun. And they’d Do their best. One kid thought I’d made up the word rad.  I explained that it’s ‘old school’ for awesome.) 

I’m proud to say that on Tuesday, they were RAD!  We only had one inning that ended because the other team hit the 5 run max.  All the other innings, we were able to make three outs.  Our pitchers did surprisingly great.  Matthew OWNED 2nd base.  He made an awesome out – getting the ball and lobbing it to first in time to oust the runner.  Matthew’s first at bat he struck out.  However, I could not be prouder because he DIDN’T have a big ‘ol pity party hissy fit about it.  (After a post-strike out tantrum at practice on Monday, we had a BIG talk about that).  He heard the ump yell, “Steee-rike!” Took a step back.  Took a deep breath and then walked off the plate towards me in the dug-out with even a bit of a smirk on his face.  It was SO great. 

Matthew’s second at bat was very exciting.  He got walked by the pitcher.  Then for the first time ever he got to slide AND steal 2nd base.  Then, once on third, he was directed by his head coach/base coach (his dad!) to slide and steal home.  IT WAS SO AWESOME.  I’m so proud of my guys.

At his last at bat, with a full count on him, Matthew managed to get a single!  He didn’t score that time, but still…the whole thing was a huge success in my book.

After the game, as Matthew and I drove home, I said, “Well, now’s when I would’ve handed you my cell phone to call D-dad and tell him about the game.”

“Yeah, I know,” he said quietly.

“I’m sure he knows how well you did, kiddo.  He’s got the best seat in the house…like a bird’s eye view maybe.”

“No,” Matthew said, “He was right down there next to me the whole time.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One day at a time

I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to write.  I mean I’m writing now, but I’ve got way more to say than what I have time for (constant truth).  This week is the busiest I’ve seen in a long while.  I had a meeting yesterday for music classes for next year and then taught a music class.  Mike had three meetings in the afternoon/evening and made it for part of baseball practice.  Kayli has swim lessons Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.  Zachary has a friend coming over tomorrow after school.  We need to plan Zach’s birthday party (which will be April 26th).  I’m going to Spin this morning for my mental and physical health.  On top of it being Holy Week, we’ve got our first little league baseball game today, had practice last night, have games also on Thursday and Saturday.  In addition to that, Mike has meetings at church as an RCIC sponsor for a 12 year old boy getting baptized Saturday night at the Easter Vigil.  Mike is also getting his feet washed at Holy Thursday mass.  We’ll all attend Good Friday service. Easter Sunday is, well, Easter and it’s also my mom’s birthday.  First birthday with dad gone.  Last year, Easter Sunday was also my dad’s birthday celebration (his was the following day).  Anyway, so much to say and do and just not enough hours or energy!  Thank goodness for amazing friends.  My bestie, Rebecca, upon hearing about my week and stress, announced: “I’ll be bringing your Easter ham and your mom’s birthday cake Saturday afternoon.”  WHAT?  Who does that?  Uh, she does!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

One of the "firsts"

Today marks one of those “firsts.”  Today we experience dad’s first birthday without dad.  He would’ve been 75.

Like an emotional teenage girl, I’ve been listening to a certain song over and over and over lately.  It might seem like an odd pick, but I love everything about it: the words, the music, the picture it paints in my mind, and how it eventually builds and concludes in optimism. It’s funny too, because I’ve heard this song a thousand times without it resonating with me. 

I first got The Lion King soundtrack (the Broadway version) years ago after mom and I went to it.  This song never really stood out to me.  Well, when Zachary and I went to the show a few weeks ago, I could certainly relate to this one on a whole new level. 

Just as this song ends on a happy note…for today, dad’s birthday, we’re going to just get through the day and then meet up with my mom and brother for ice cream tonight. (Endless Night from the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Disney's The Lion King)