It hardly seems real that Little Miss Sunshine is two. Her golden rays of goodness are priceless. Of course some of the storm clouds in a two year old seem better left in another climate. I am so happy she joined our family.
Our first day of school was just 2 weeks ago. Graeden is in second grade and Elliott is in first.
They love school and their teachers.
We live in a nearly all-boys neighborhood. You will see out of ten kids at the bus stop only one is a girl. There are a few more...like four if we include Jocelyn and Danica. But I believe there are about 8 more boys who don't ride this bus, too.
We waited for Danica's bus to come home. It was 30 minutes late. I wasn't able to get her photo right as she got off due to the little pink dot (Jocelyn) running away in the lower shot. I did get the bus, though and an olive and black dot (Danica).
I don't know what day it is. But I do know what day quickly approaches. My brain is in denial and several times in the past few days I have been on the verge of tears. I watched the video of Evan packing for a trip he wasn't going on and remembered how good it felt to hold him. And I want to wrap my arms around him. Today.
I believe in miracles. Two years ago I was clueless as to the miracle I would be praying for. And there I was a few days later trying to make a deal with God. I was seeing Evan and not understanding what unconsciousness meant. Telling my parents to come and watch our big boys. Getting to the hospital through rush hour traffic. The vivid memory of the emergency room. The crowd of 27 doctors, nurses and helpers hovering over my little boy. Trying to help. Breathing for him. Tag-team CPR. Shots of adrenaline. Someone saying it didn't look good. Me not understanding.
Someone asking if we wanted to call anyone. Me not understanding.
Asking to have some privacy where we could pray. Feeling peace. Thinking this was the trial of our faith and Evan would now respond. Me not understanding.
That day, the miracle I sought more than any other was not granted. And on that day I changed. Forever.
On Saturday night, Tymon and I went to the theatre in Seattle and saw the dance production Burn The Floor. What was more fantastic than the amazing talent of the dancers was the easy friendship we formed with two of the patrons who came nearly 45 minutes before the start of the show. We left the theatre feeling like we've known them for years. The couple is from Utah and they told us their daughter was in the show. I didn't recognize the girl's name. The mom forgave me. We talked for a while. It turns out the daughter has always loved to dance but was sick for several years growing up. The doctors told them at one point that they just needed to take her home to die. An incredible amount of faith and hard work met a beautiful miracle. And the girl recovered. She and her husband now dance together. And they are truly incredible to watch. Meet Ashleigh and Ryan Di Lello. Some of you who are in the know watched them in the 6th season of So You Think You Can Dance.
Meet Becky. I've known her for several years.
She discovered what she thought was a clogged milk duct a few months ago. It wasn't. Within days she'd had a mastectomy. At this point, I believe she made a conscious decision to keep her happy attitude and positive outlook, despite her precarious circumstances. On the inside, I'm sure there are a roller coaster of emotions but on the outside, she is all smiles. Not long ago, the cancer spread to her lungs and she's gone through rounds of chemotherapy. Last week we went to a benefit and blood drive for her. Her spirits were high. I am sad to say that just a few days ago they discovered the cancer has spread once again. This time to her brain.
I believe in miracles. It is possible for God to heal her. To stop the spreading of this terrible cancer. When I think of Becky, I get choked up. My thoughts turn to the conversations that she and her family are probably having in their home. Talks that are hard. On so many levels. The decisions that must be made. And my tears flow. Believing in miracles. And knowing that the miracles we seek are not necessarily the miracles we need.
Faith: taking a step into the dark in order to see the light. Or, in the words of the prophet Moroni: ...faith is things which are hopedfor and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witnessuntil after the trialof your faith. The greatest of all miracles was Jesus's resurrection. There's a bitter sweetness to that one, really. Sweet that it happened and this earthly taste of death bites.
When I went to check off Jett's room after he so diligently cleaned it, I found all of his clothes in one heap in the corner of his closet. He got upset when that wasn't good enough. We discussed how the job was to be done and I left to do something else. He was so happy when he came to me and told me that he had completed the job.
The pile of clothes you see here are "Graeden's clothes" and Jett doesn't need them anymore. Ha ha ha. That only leaves him with the clothes on his back to last him the next several months.
Graeden wiggled his first tooth loose yesterday and out today. He's pretty pleased about it. Like really pleased. Luckily, he let us know about how the Tooth Fairy operates.
The Old Way: The child leaves his tooth under his pillow. Sometime during the night, the Tooth Fairy comes, takes the tooth and leaves a quarter in its place.
The New Way: The Tooth Fairy leaves a dollar (which is just what happened a year ago when Graeden had a tooth pulled by the dentist...and Tymon thought that was awfully generous for a rotten tooth).
The New and Improved New Way: The child leaves his tooth in a container of water. The Tooth Fairy comes and takes the tooth, leaving money next to the container. The child KNOWS what color the wings of the fairy are by the color of the water. Apparently, when the wing touches the water it turns the water that color.
I wonder if the fairy that comes tonight will be the same color red as the fruit punch in the fridge.
I don't drink alcohol and never have. I don't gamble and don't do porn. Ever. And let's add smoking, drinking coffee (and its Italian friends: Latte, Espresso and Mocha) or black/green tea to the Never Done Mix.
Addiction is a funny thing. Something I like to pretend I know nothing about. I see my friends who need a drink of X to get them through the morning/day/evening. And I am grateful that I am not plagued with such addictions. I see how addictions tear up families and want no part of them. The best way to never become an alcoholic is to never drink. For me, it's like a 100% chance I'll never inflict alcoholism on the people who matter most. And if you drink or do any of the above list, don't take this as a judgment on you. It's not. Many people are able to control themselves just fine. They choose when to drink instead of the drink choosing them.
So, what do I know of addiction? My first experience with it was in the 7th grade. My friends and I all used Carmex to smooth out our chapped lips. One day I ran out and my lips chapped up something terrible almost immediately. I bought some more and all was well. Until the next time that happened. At a certain point that year, I decided that I didn't want to be addicted to anything.
I'd like to say that ended my addictions. But it didn't. I found that any time I played a computer game, I played late into the night. I'm pretty sure Solitaire was invented by Satan. I believe he co-authored FrontierVille with Zynga games and that this Facebook game is the newest of the Deadly Sins. I don't even care that I started playing because my six year old begged me to be his neighbor. I've played games in the past. I know what happens to me when I do. When I get involved with one, I find myself making lots of time throughout the day to play. Time that would be better spent doing a multitude of productive activities.
I was happy to find that when taking an online quiz the results show I am only 45% addicted to Facebook. Ha ha. I'm sure it'd be much higher if it was only asking about FrontierVille.
There are other things, too. Like reading books. I get lost in them. I like to start and finish them in a day or two. It doesnt matter if they have 250 pages or 850. A couple of years ago, I remember reading a book and "needing" to finish it. It was the final book in a four part series. I read until the wee hours of the morning and fell asleep with the book on my face. In the morning, all four boys were climbing on me. I didn't know what to do with them because I needed to read. I'm unclear as to whether or not they ate anything besides cereal or crackers that day. What I do know is that I set up my reading space right outside of the bathroom door and let them take baths all day. Like maybe four baths. Seriously. I pulled them out every so often so their raisin fingers turned back to grapes and they could eat. And then they went back in. Because that's what they wanted and for the first time ever, they could get it.
Fast forward several months. I wanted to reread the series. I thought I could do it slowly this time. A chapter or two a night. It would be relaxing. I'd be able to put it down. Ha ha. I was so naive. I didn't understand my addiction. It didn't matter that I knew what was going to happen next. Over the next five days, I read the entire series. That's over 3000 pages. Is now a good time to mention that I'd like to read it again? It's been about a year and a half since the last time. I'm nervous about picking it up when I don't have a week of my life to devote to it. So still it sits. Patiently waiting for me.
When I was at Disneyland/California Adventure last month, riding roller coasters and rides all day long, I discovered that the rides which were initially very exciting to me mellowed out the more I went on them. I needed a bigger thrill in order to duplicate the same feeling.
It was easy to cut my addiction to rides. I had to go home. And the rides at the State Fair we went to a couple of weeks ago didn't even tempt me. They are nothing compared to Disney's magic. I hope to find the strength one of these days to cut off my current addiction. Yes, that would be nice and I'm sure my entire family would love it. You might, too. Certainly I'd pick up my blogging addiction again if I could put down my Frontier town.
We're at a point now when our children have begun to solve their own problems. And quite frankly, I love it. Not that I always love the solutions. But I do enjoy their independence.
Elliott: Go see Mommy. She's in the office.
(Jocelyn comes in with a snotty nose and some yellow stuff all over her hands. I wipe her nose and hands and there is a distinct odor of mustard.)
Me Elliott: What's on her hands?
Elliott: I don't know.
Me: It smells like mustard.
Elliott: That's because it is mustard.
Me: Why does she have mustard on her hands?
Elliott: Because we didn't have any almond milk. So I took regular milk and mixed it with mustard and made some.
Me: (Trying not to laugh and looking over at Jocelyn's bowl of milky mustard granola.) Oh. Almond milk isn't made out of regular milk and mustard.
Jett: Then what's it made out of?
And I'm still laughing at this creative solution to the Jocelyn doesn't drink cow's milk problem.
We like camping.
So much so that this year
instead of once
we went twice.
And that makes us camp-o-holics.
Earlier this summer when Jovana and I took our Twilight pilgrimage with another couple of friends, I thought Forks and La Push would be a good girls trip. What I didn't know was how amazing it would be for my kids. Had I known, they would have been on the invitee list the first time around.
So, I was extra motivated to pull together another camping trip this summer with Tymon's cousin and family. Sometimes, it's just so much easier to go back to a place right away rather than wait a year or two. So we headed out on this holiday weekend to camp on the Quileute reservation in La Push. I checked the forecast every 2 hours. Because conditions can change that fast. Or not. The only "nice" day was supposed to be Friday. Did I mention we were camping until Monday? A few raindrops fell as we were pulling into the parking lot. I could only bring myself to pay for one night. That's how much of a fair-weathered friend I am. Ha ha. And then our cousins (who arrived a couple of hours later) paid for all three nights. So the next afternoon Tymon and I marched back to the check in counter and paid for the remaining nights.
This shot was taken on the way to La Push. We stopped at the marina where Tymon and his family lived for a couple of years when he was a boy.
Something that really surprised me and I never noticed the first time I went to La Push was all of the surfers. They donned fairly thick wet suits and rode some nice waves. Brrrrrr. Cold! Elliott found a piece of driftwood to use for his surfboard. Ha ha.
This was Danica's first camping trip. Besides the cold, I think she really liked it. Jett really likes camping with Danica. Or snuggling with her. Each night he asked if he could go to sleep with her. And never had any complaints when it was time to go to bed. Which is a miracle of sorts.
Inspired to "see more" by a photographer last week, I took some motion shots of the campfire. I'm liking the lines. And colors. You may see more of these in my future. Or not. But whatever. It was cool this week.