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Archive for April, 2008

Two puffy, swollen eyes are no reason to be blue.

Upon seeing her puffy, pink eyes, Ava immediately paired them with as much pink as possible.

It’s always best to have twirling skirt when visiting your favorite doctor. Though your twirling may a bit off balance when you also have an ear infection.

It’s true. Ava has two infected eyes and an infected ear to boot.

But don’t go pitying Ava. She was delighted to spend some quality time with Dr. E. She gave her a thorough description of the doctor kit that “I got from Christmas.” They compared the quality of their tools and even exchanged patient-relation tips.

And the best part, Ava got a pink princess sticker and a bottle of pink tablets that tastes like pink bubble gum. Oh it is pinkalicious!

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(just so you know).

Last night after directing Ava to the underside of her covers, I snuck out the backdoor and drove out of our alley. I headed downtown towards the soothing sauna and whirlpool at Shanel’s condo.

There was no parking left in the garage, so I had to park on the street. I dug about in my purse for a few quarters to feed the greedy meter and headed up to her building.  I walked through the lobby, rode up the elevator, and walked down her hall before I realized that I had left my swimsuit in the car.

I swung open her door, announced my ridiculousness, threw down my purse, snatched up her building keys and headed back out.

I walked down her hall, rode down the elevator, walked through the lobby, and back out to my car. I stood under the glow of the street lamp in the dark night looking down at my hands. They had the keys to her building, but not the keys to my car. My car keys were up in her condo.

I switched my flip-flops to the other direction and clacked them back to her building, through the lobby, up the elevator, and down her hallway.

Another trip in and out of her condo. Another trip down her hall. Another trip down the elevator and through the lobby. And finally another trip down the sidewalk to my car. Clearly, I believe that you must be thoroughly stressed out and exhausted before partaking in the relaxing elements of a sauna.

This time, my car made it’s cheery “woo-hoo” sound at my approach, releasing it’s lock on my trunk and therefore my swimsuit.

How many trips does it take Rachel to get her swimsuit from her car to the hot tub?

Three.

Really, I take efficiency to a whole new level.

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Thanks to her riveting tale of Caroline meets Shamu, Big Mama has been my source of daily laughter for nearly a year. It’s true. She reminds of the warmer world that I once called home, so when I heard that she was a throwing a party, a fiesta, well I had to come. Stylishly late of course. It’s the New Mexican way.

So what do moms actually wear every day? It’s a reveal-your-true-clothes fiesta.

Now this mama is trapped in Narnia’s endless winter. Yes, it snowed again today. It’s snowing right now in fact. Snow, as in the white, cold stuff that falls on Christmas.

My closet is therefore frozen in the winter season as well. Try buying new spring sweaters in April. Banana, J.Crew, and even Target have ceased to sell sweaters. It’s April. They’ve moved on. Come on Minnesota, you can too.

Each night, I think, “If I have to wear another sweater tomorrow, I’m going to cry.” And then each morning, I see the forecast, high of 38 degrees, and pull another wool one over my gloomy face. I guess the Ava doesn’t fall far from the tree.

So instead of showing you what I wear right now, I’m going to run downstairs and grab the things I’m dreaming of wearing soon. Wait here, I’ll be quick.

Phew, I’m back. I can just smell the sunshine in these clothes. Am I the only one who changes out their closet seasonally? Do you back up your sweaters when the snow melts and then back up your shorts when the snow flies?

After eight months of jeans paired with a kaleidescope of sweaters and scarves, generally hidden by a pea coat and propelled by Uggs, I need something with a little more movement. Something a bit more feminine.

So for the few months when we can actually feel the sun shine, I wear skirts.

Happy, breezy skirts. With tank-tops.

“Sun, please kiss my shoulders” tank tops. Oh, and flip-flops.

Clapping, flapping flip-flops. I love my flip-flops. I could write a post on my flip flops, not that you would want to read it, but I could. I would probably tell you that when Ava was a baby she would stop crying in her crib the moment the clip clip of my flip-flops or how my co-workers used to quack after I would pass their cubes on casual Fridays. Yes I wore my floppers to work. Then I would tell you the woes about how I left my flip-flops behind when we went to Europe. I brought sensible walking sandals that cut my feet right open. My beloved flips-flops may not have arch supports, but they have never given me blisters.

So that’s my uniform. It takes me to the library, church, playdates, the zoo, farmer’s market, and right down to the park. Check out those pink flip-flops. That’s beautiful park dirt, people.

And when my skirts are dirty, I wear these capris, my second skin capris.

I generally wear these capris for days on end until the stains outnumber the snaps and then I pull out their matching twin. That’s right I have two pairs. Shanel and I bought a matching set some summers back. Being the trendy gal that she is, she has moved on, and given me hers.

Actually that’s true about lots of my outfits. I am the beneficiary of many such Shanel has-beens, which like the flip-flops deserves it’s own post.

When Hungryman takes me on a summer date, I like to wear a dress like this.

Hello good friend, I’ve missed you. Can you come upstairs to stay?

Oh, and check it out. Here’s my newest addition to my closet.

A HUGE thank you to Amy at By His Grace for this funky, monogram necklace.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I feel warmer now. Maybe I can finally take my coat off. Hmm, well not yet.

Here’s hoping this is the only umbrella I’ll need soon.

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“Mama!!! I can’t find my gold sparkle shoes! They’re not anywhere!”

“You can wear these shoes then.”

“NO! Evyn is going to wear her sparkle shoes and I’m not going to be matching her and then I’m going to be UPSET!”

So began our doomed attempt to arrive at her first day back at preschool happy and on-time.

What she meant by “I can’t find my gold sparkle shoes,” is that she went into her room to put on her shoes but before she reached her closet she passed her pile of ponies. Upon seeing their tangled manes, she raced to find a comb and remedy the situation. Once she began grooming the ponies, she needed clips and binders. And if their tails had pretty clips and binders, well then her hair needed more too. While retrieving more flare from her accessory drawer, she spied her box of bracelets and well, you can can complete this sentence. So when I called her to the back door, she arrived with arms and hair adorned and feet unshoed.

I asked her where her shoes were and you already know her reply. Assuming she had looked in her closet, I pulled her suede saddle shoes off the rack and handed them to my distressed child.

“Mama, they’re brown! Brown is my worst color.”

“Ava, honey, I gave you time to put on your sparkle shoes, but we have to leave now, so you have to wear these.”

“But is Evyn going to wear her sparkle shoes? And then I won’t have my sparkle shoes and then we won’t be matching? What if she tells me they’re UGLY?”

Let me interject here that the very sweet Evyn most likely doesn’t have the word ugly in her vocabulary. And the only reason that Evyn owns sparkle shoes is that she asked for them for her birthday so she could be like Ava.

Of course this is less than comforting to the child who is being hurried out in the rain with feet saddled in brown suede.

“This is the worst day ever!” she exclaimed from the back of the car where she sat with her feet held straight out in front of her.

She is a child dedicated to her causes. She cried the forty-some blocks from our garage to the parking lot. And then added her tears to the growing puddles on the sidewalk.

Some day I hope to channel this dedication to more worthy causes. Perhaps she can become advocate for children with no shoes at all, but yesterday it was for those unfortunate children whose shoes don’t dazzle of which she is the most injured.

We were the last to arrive. Ava hid under my coat creating the appearance of a four-legged lady with a weeping backside. After hanging up her coat and bag, I swung around and knelt down before her to kiss her goodbye. She wrapped her arms around me and clung so tightly that her teacher had to physically struggle to pull her off me. Her wails of “Mama! Mama!” followed me all the way up the stairs and out the door.

Today when I asked her to put on her shoes, she was clacking golden heels together before I had time to set the timer. Today, her song “A joyful heart is good medicine, good medicine, a joyful heart!” kept rhythm with the rain that tapped our windows on the well-worn route to school. Today, we were the first to arrive at preschool. Today, she had a hug for Evyn and her teachers. And today, she was so engrossed in helping Evyn with a puzzle that she didn’t need a hug goodbye.

What a difference a shoe makes.

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Hi. I’m at my secret writing hideaway. My laptop is open to a blank page. My pomegranate green tea is cooling to my left. My fingers are reacquainting themselves with my keyboard.

It’s been three weeks since I’ve been here, Somehow it feels like I’ve been away on vacation, but I’ve actually been very much at home.

Ava’s preschool had a three-week spring break. We resumed our pre-preschool posture of being attached at the hip and at the book and at the paintbrush. We have read our way through two bookshelves and three trips to the library. Her art pile has tripled and my kitchen floor is gilded with glitter and sequins.

Her reliable afternoon naps now consist of multiple bathroom breaks, rescuing animals that have fallen out of bed, calling “Mama, I just want to be with you,” and anything else that doesn’t resemble sleep.

The child does not tire. She can wake up at 7:30 in the morning, dance through her nap time, and still be singing away at 10:30 in the evening. Can anyone explain this to me?

And Hungryman has had a steady appetite for company. Apparently, spending eight hours of one-on-one time with a computer doesn’t satisfy his social needs. Amazing. Quiet nights at home have transitioned into a steady stream of evening visitors.

And somewhere squeezed in the middle of all this excitement was my thirty-first birthday. I may need to type that again–I am thirty-one. Thirty-one. Sounds lovely, but it doesn’t sound like me. This year did not bring about the usual big birthday bash that my good husband is known to throw me, but a quiet succession of personalized celebrations. I am blessed with sweet friends and family that take me out for tea, dessert, dinner, and even plays.

Halfway through these happy birthdays, Ava put her little foot down. “Mama, you can’t have any more Birthdays. You have had too many Birthdays,” she cried as her daddy was pulling on her jammies and I was zipping up my evening boots. “We’ve already sang, “Happy Birthday” to you four times. You can’t have any more Birthdays!” Lucky for me, she doesn’t make the rules.

Oh, and I lost my cell phone. It’s true. Ava and I were playing a rousing game of “Go! Stop!” on our way home from the park last week. My phone made a stop and didn’t go home with me.

All this adds up to one lady, who has been closely connected to everyone in her physical presence and cut off from everyone relying on modern technology. If it wasn’t for my rather urban address, you would think I had been to the Boundary Waters these past three weeks.

As like all good friends, I have brought you a souvenir from my travels. Yes, it’s another quote. Oh, but it’s a good one. The wondrous (and humbling) thing about reading is that you discover that others have far greater things to say that you do, and they even write it better too.

This little gem comes from George MacDonald and I hope this will be the banner under which I live out my thirty-first year. I pray that these words will shine like the bright spring sun that awakens the daffodils and calls them to lift their golden heads.

“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking.”

If you doubt it, read the poet king’s thoughts on the subject.

Here’s what you will do with this priceless knick-knack. Copy and paste this into Word. Change it to your favorite fond and color. Print it. Trim it. Carry it to your bathroom and tape it on the mirror.

Well look at that, my tea is cold. And I just noticed that I’m still wearing my kelly green coat, which is a good thing because it’s already time to pick up Ava. Here’s hoping she’s ready for a nap. See you soon.

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I interrupt this impromptu blogging spring break to bring you yet another quote.

If you are going to all the trouble of checking this little blog, than the very least I can do is to give you something new to look at or in this case think about. And since I’m on “spring break,” I sharing another quote I’ve recently made friends with.

The night before I read the pearl of wisdom somewhere at the bottom of this post, I was lying in bed trying to visualize the phrase, “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” This little power punch is popular at our church and it used to strike me to the side. I couldn’t quite absorb the intensity or the harshness of this statement. Honestly, I didn’t really like it and I didn’t want to like it.

And now, I can’t think of a better description of my state of being. Somehow, miraculously in the past year I have been molded into that statement. I have become a personification of what I most wanted to avoid. And what I once thought was grim and dour, I have found to be true and beautiful. There has been more soul-satisfying joy laid at my feet in these past eighteen months than all the months that proceeded it. And it has been a year steeped with grief and deep disappointment.

I have not been instructed in the time-tables of bereavement though I doubt it would have had much impact on my heart. I know now that grief comes in waves.

It kind of creeps up on you like the tide coming in at the close of a sunny day.

“I think I feeling sad again…No, no, it’s just cloudy out…. No wait, I think I am really sad…oh, no, I probably just need more sleep…. Wow, oh, there is pain here. Oh, I am sad.”

Quietly it ebbs and flows until all of the sudden you find yourself standing in a cold, salty puddle. And once again the sorrow is real. Red, puffy, wet face real.

In the midst of this I have a joy that I can’t explain or dispel. A friend told me this week that all winter, she would see me and think, “Oh, she must be pregnant. She seems so happy. She has to be pregnant.” I assure you that I am not, but the happiness is real. Because our God is rich in mercy, I have become the paradox I once feared: sorrowful, yet rejoicing (I have to omit “always,” because that wouldn’t be quite true). Even as I type this I am mystified by how the joy born out of suffering is truly greater than the happiness experienced before.

This was my state of mind as I began working on the lesson for my weekly Bible study group. We are working through Linda Dillow’s book, Calm My Anxious Heart, and this week’s study was being content with your role. Contentment with my role–my role as a mother of one child on earth and three children in Heaven. How does that work?

Here comes the promised quote that I was going to write a brief introduction to, but as you can see brevity is not one of my gifts. And since I desperately need to put my smiling, tear-licking self to bed, I pass this post off to Elizabeth Elliot. If you aren’t familiar with her (it’s high time to make her acquaintance), she is Christian author and teacher who was tragically widowed twice.

“One step at a time, over the years, as I sought to plumb the mystery of suffering (which cannot be plumbed), I began to see that there is a sense in which everything is a gift. Even my widowhood.

I say that I found peace. I do not say that I was not lonely. I was–terribly. I do not say that I did not grieve. I did–most sorely. But peace of the sort the world cannot gives comes, not by the removal of suffering, but in another way–through acceptance.” (Elizabeth Elliot, The Path of Loneliness)

Is that peace a gift beyond a salve for the loss that proceeded it? Could it be the balm for all sorrow?

P.S. If you have ever wondered how to help a friend grieve the loss of a child, I must direct you to Molly’s blog. She has started a series called, “How to Help Your Grieving Friend” and it’s brilliant.

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