Sunday, May 31, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Part 2 -- sort of

Let's see, where did we leave off in the weekend saga? Oh yes, laboring in the yard and the first barbecue of the season! We got the grass seed planted and a good portion of the path laid. Of course it's anyone's guess when the rest of the path will be completed . . . The highlight of the day was purchasing a used 17ft canoe off craigslist. It kept the kids entertained in the backyard while we worked! Unfortunately, didn't get any pictures of the young pirates/fishermen/adventures of various types. Our hope is to spend quite a bit of time exploring the lakes and waterways around PDX this summer. I have fond memories of canoe camping trips as a kid and am still a water fiend.
Back to the barbecue -- we packed way too much into a single day so the prep was a bit rushed. Fortunately we have good friends who don't mind making an emergency trip to the grocery story for vegeburgers or waiting on meal prep! The kids ran around, kicking soccer balls and occasionally each other. Accidentally, of course:) They were bribed with ice cream to pose for mommy. I was experimenting with the wonderful evening light but my window of opportunity was a bit small and the subjects more than a little wound up!
I love this pic of Sweet Sis running into the light! It was a lovely evening and a good reminder that these things don't have to be perfectly planned or orchestrated. More often than not, I approach the weekend tired and reluctant to have people over or commit to outings, etc. Its a shame -- we all benefit when we relax with friends and get our silly on.
As an aside, Big D is without training wheels! He's a little hesitant but the promise of a new bike for his 6th birthday is highly motivating.
And Little Sis is peddling on her own. They're growing up!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Part 1

My goals were simple for this weekend: revel in my family, soak up the sun (with appropriate SPF protection, of course) and beautify the backyard. So far, we're right on track! Saturday found us traipsing around a rhododendron garden, snapping pics of blooms and baby ducks, only occasionally being terrorized by Canadian Geese. I feel as if I aught to know the names of some of these lovely flowers -- such as the one above. The long, delicate stems of blossoms tucked on the underside of luxurious green leaves . . . We had a lovely picnic, a family nap and a trip to the famed "Pirate Park." We are making a return trip there this afternoon for hours of sand/water fun.  
When Hubby and I were cycling -- pre kids, the fields of clover were always intriguing. They give off a lovely, warm, sweet smell and the color is stunning. They have come into bloom in the last week or so and I've wanted to get a more up-close-and-personal look at them. They do not disappoint! 
And finally, a shot of the little darlings . . . I had hoped to capture more of their fluffy cuteness but my own little duckies seemed to send them scurrying away. Oh well. Speaking of which . . . 

Big D has developed the habit of speaking in a silly, baby voice and is driving me over the brink. I think that I'd be a wealthy women or at least able to by myself a nice new pair of jeans if I got a dollar for how many times I say "Your Big Boy voice" in a single day! The irony is that I know if I just ignored the behavior it'd probably extinguish itself -- the more attention I give it, the more stuck it becomes. But it's driving me CRAZY! And Sis is her delightful sweetness except when she's not:) I could get some fabulous new shoes if I got a buck for every time I tell her to "Try that again. Talk nice." Oy! 

Having my own children has, I hope, made me a better therapist. I work with some young female therapists who have not had children yet and there is sometimes a parent-blaming tone in their voices as they present their cases. They just don't know yet how humbling being a mother can be -- that the most educated, skilled parents still feel like pulling their hair out and selling their children on the street corner. Self-doubt is a regular feature of this whole mother-experience. Often I think, "There but by the grace of God go I" as I listen to the stories families share. 

Today is the yard work portion of the weekend. We are planting grass seed and laying out a path . . . I'm also planting some Fox Gloves! Yea! I've been admiring some stunning plants of my neighbor and now I'll try my own hand with them. I was a little disheartened to discover they are poisonous. Digitalis. EECK. We'll be having the "don't eat the plants" chat later today!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Buzzy, Buzzy Bee

It was a beautiful, sunny weekend! We jam packed every spare minute (barring the 2 hour nap the ENTIRE family took on Saturday. That was lovely!) with work in the garden, meals outside, running (for mama) and bikes (for Big D). Even ended the weekend with a movie with hubby. As I quieted my mind for sleeping last night, I read this poem and thought I'd share with you:

What is this life if, full of care, 
We have not time to stand and stare?

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have not time to stand and stare.
W.H. Davies

This sweet little green frog was discovered by Big D and daddy and delayed lawn mowing by quite some bit. Both children were entranced and it was with considerable effort that they left off manhandling him and let daddy deposit him safely under a bush . . . I know that I promised "lessons learned" and such from my week of vacation. Hmm. I'd be happy if I could learn just one and learn it well. To take time "to stand and stare." To see things with my children's wonder and not rush, rush, rush like a worker bee from flower to flower, never truly seeing or experiencing them. 

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

Here is my sweet son's Mother's Day offering. Isn't it beautiful? He was so proud and the colors so lovely . . . it is now my wallpaper and I have framed it to take to work. Ah, I bask in my mother-glory for just a bit more . . . I also received several lovely cards, a painted flower pot and a wind chime. 

Stay tuned for updates on all the priceless gems of wisdom accumulated in the last week of  "vacation."  

Monday, May 4, 2009


Yesterday, in keeping with the rest and recuperation goal for the week, the family and I headed up to Bloom Lake for a newt hunt. It was a fabulous success! We expected rain and mud -- and there was plenty of the later but no rain to dampen our spirits. The kids learned how to identify raccoon and deer tracks, found newts in rain puddles and listened to frog songs. Mama happily traipsed behind her clan, camera in hand. I think the find I was most excited about was the little snail on the side of the path. It was as if I had found a secret, miniature world . . . with beautiful alien beings. 

I was thinking about how childlike we all were together in the forest -- delighted with tiny little newts with their orange bellies, hunkering down on a log hushing one another so that the frogs would sing again, slipping and sliding in the mud and singing our own silly songs along the way. It was good for the soul! This week I plan to join my children in more of their play. 

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Just for Me

Tomorrow I embark on my "vacation" -- the idea of "taking a break" and "recharging your batteries" when you're a mother falls a little big flat. I need the time away from work to fight some burn out after having some very troubling cases but already my to-do list and the necessity of balancing my need for reflection and my kids needs for stimulation are at odds. So today, after an all day, work-related training, we took a stroll and I snapped pictures -- just for me!
Just whatever captured my eye -- colors, drops of rain, the juxtaposition of decay and destruction and new life. The photo below was taken on the grounds of a grill near our home that burned a few years back. This beautiful stone fireplace and the remains of old apple orchards and split rail fences are all that are left. 
Of course there is a part of me that is looking forward to having both my children with me this week. It's been a long while since Devin started school and there's plenty on the to-do list of fun I want to share with them -- a trip to the zoo with friends, crafty projects and plenty of excursions to the park. Somehow I have to carve out sacred time to rest and feed that part of myself that needs quiet and solace. Otherwise, I will end my vacation less rested and more frazzled than when I began. Perhaps that has its own benefits . . . work will start looking pretty darn good by the time I return:)