Thursday, September 30, 2010


I've spoken before of the spell I am under; thoroughly enchanted with simple, childhood pleasures.

I've also mentioned that having the pleasures constantly at my disposal may pull me from their charm.

Happy to report; the stroke of midnight has not come for my love affair with trampolines.

Next perhaps I will test my infatuation with cotton-candy-machines...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New York, New York

Star light. Star bright. First star I see tonight.

Do you wish upon the stars like you did as a child?

Speaking honestly, I do more wishing on the arrival of the mail; May your expenses be few and your income be plentiful!

Dreaming can be expensive. Dreaming with an empty bank-account can be heart-breaking.

I understand why programs like the "Make a Wish" foundation ask for generous monetary donations.

What do you do with the desire to help wishes come true, when from your pockets you pull only lint?

When my mother confided to her family that she was a bit blue that her 50th birthday was rolling around without the means to take a dream vacation she'd imagined would accompany it, we called up (using all the family phone numbers) the "Home-Make a Wish" Foundation.

Although we couldn't magic her to New York, we could certainly magic New York to her.

A Broadway play was a little tricky, but knowing several talented individuals we were able to call in a few favors and come up with a dazzling line-up.

Imagine, if you will, Emily as Annie singing "The Sun will come out Tomorrow."

My brother Brendan did a moving performance of "I'm not that smart" from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Grandpa and Aunty Donna sang "Down in the Valley" from that play you've never heard of.

We were delighted by Tamsin and Ella's rendition of "Popular" from Wicked.

Grandpa was the very model of a "Modern Major General" from Pirates of Penzance.

Peter Pan and the lost boys even showed up to sing "I won't grow up."

Luckily my brother Sweeney Todd and my sister in law Mrs. Lovett were not offended that we did not ask them to cater the event. They preformed "A Little Priest" for us all.

Clap your hands if you see some potential in this "Home-Make a Wish" Foundation!

Hooray for thrift, ingenuity, spectacle, and especially; hooray for a family to live our dreams along side of us.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Parenting with pizazz.

My kids have been fighting one another like two male betas in a tiny tub.

Enrolled one semester in a recreation course, I recall learning of the relationship-healing power of working together towards simple, common goals, and the opportunity we have in our families to intentionally create these team-building scenarios:
a camping trip purposefully planned to limit resources and encourage problem solving,
an obstacle course only achievable when working along side teammates,
really anything that pits the family against an exterior element, uniting them in purpose.

Today we were given a free team-building exercise..

Elements of today's recreational activity:
a new, unexplored and totally vacant park out in the country with too many confusing trails
a mother who thinks every plant could be poison ivy
a realization, upon reaching the summit of the giant mountain of a park, that scary animals could be watching us
oh, and did I mention slippery mud?

This open field seems peaceful enough from the photographs but I tell you by this point my mind was racing with maneuvers to smash cougars with my camera whole protecting my babies. I was yelling for the boys to come back and stay close to me, my overactive imagination picturing creepy hillbillies popping out of the trees and running off with them.

It may sound ridiculous but I was more scared than I've been in quite some time.

Imagine the venerability of trudging through a seemingly endless expanse of country forest with children whose cries call to hungry predators and you will know my terror.

Sensing my fear, they were scared, too. So scared, in fact, that they held hands the entire trip through the forest. And they've been a little nicer to one another today.

Happily reunited with our car, we unpacked our bag... Yes, I carried Fitz in our hiking back-pack, having forgotten his carrier.

Can anyone tell me an easier way to help them be nice to one-another, please?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pier 1.

We don't really go into Pier 1 very often.

For more reasons than one.

Making peace.

Exhaustion. Sorrow. Anxiety. Worry. Restlessness. The blues. If only peace, once obtained, could define our lives forever. Untarnished and eternal peace could be my heaven, I suppose.

I have a question though. Would performing in a play be as exhilarating with out the stomach-butterflies beforehand? Would any book without conflict be worth the time spent reading?

No, I think. Peace could no more be sustained in unending ease than in a dynamic chaos, for longing finds even the most comfortable of us.

Here are two things I have learned about making personal peace:

1. Tranquility has little to do with outward circumstance; resting more on the condition of one's spiritual heart.

2. Making peace is an unending process.

Last night, laying next to Duke, I stared past the pages of my book into my own growing doubts and fears. I turned to him, telling him I was tired of having blue days. I tell you, sleeping next to my best friend is so very handy.

Today I wrote, on tiny papers, all the doubts, worries, and fears that plagued me. I took two envelopes, writing "Things I have some control over" on one and "Give to God" on the other; then dividing the little worries into the two envelopes, I sealed the letter for God and said a prayer of something-like-delegation. Now whenever I begin my routine fretting about these things, I remind myself that I've let them go with trust.

As you might imagine, my other envelope was quite full. Here's where I take my happiness and peace into my own hands, scheduling, planning, and goal-setting.

And then, naturally, I rearrange my furniture and brighten things up a bit.

I will not curl up and die to the tune of my own frustration. I know joy. And I want to know it again and again; having before breathed in the fleeting high of pure peace amidst a life of challenge.

Thus, I make peace with my situation. My role as a mother and wife. My shortcomings. I make peace with how far I've come and the distance I've left in my journey.

And now I'm feeling more green than blue.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

my kids wear clothes, i promise.

After the last couple of posts of them in their underwear at the park, I thought you would need some proof before you could possibly believe me.

They do wear clothes. And sometimes even shoes.

I think that they were born into the wrong culture, better suited to lava-lavas and bare chests.

Don't you worry though. Come fall they'll have no choice but to be decent.

Man, I adore these boys.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

free spirited adventure.

Upon our flight from the unfamiliarity of the mall other day we swiftly found our home at the park. Here we belong. Here loud children are sent smiles instead of sideways, dirty looks. Here we feel the peace of potential friendship and support coming from each passing pedestrian.

Yes, send us to the park where we can run free for free.

Speaking of free entertainment, have you tried taking your kids by a skate-park to watch the bikers and boarders? The young men there, however rough around the edges, go out of their way to put on a good show for us each time.

Try filling a parking-lot pot-hole with leaves and pretending it's a bird nest.

Or attacking each-other with early-fall.

Then try tenderly picking the crud out of your loved-one's hair.

Once a gentleman visiting from another state made comment that he couldn't tell which Oregonians were homeless and which of them were merely dressing like they were homeless. I of course denied the validity of his observation but after looking through these photographs I'm more inclined to agree.

We are happy bums.

Ps- If you're ever in Oregon, watch the faces, not the clothes. You will know the sad-soul from the free-spirit.