Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dear World

Dear World,

You may not have noticed my son, Adam, yet. He hates to be the center of attention, so it's okay that you haven't noticed him. He likes it that way. But I want you to know more about him before you do. Because he's a special kid, my middle child. I've known a lot of kids in my life and career and have never known one quite like him.

He's highly sensitive. And I don't mean that in the way you might think. I mean it in the personality type way. There are people, 15-20% of people in fact, who have this type of personality. Adam is one of them. That means that his senses are heightened in every way. Bright lights are brighter. Loud noises louder. A little poke, very painful. He is extremely prone to car sickness and gets nauseous even on straight roads. (But strangely he loves roller coasters. The faster the better!) Ironically, he has a very high tolerance for some pain and barely made it to the emergency room for an appendectomy before his appendix burst because he didn't want to complain and be any trouble.

Highly sensitive people notice everything around them so are often easily distracted and seem to lack focus. That's not what it seems, though. He can be extremely focused on the things that are important to him. It's just not always what I, or you, World, think should be important. Please take time to see what he sees. Because frankly, he sees way more than most of the rest of us.

Regardless of distractions, he is a perfectionist. When he was in my kindergarten class, I could not figure out why the slightest mistake could cause a major meltdown. It was the perfectionism. And take it from me, a non-perfectionist, perfectionism in others can be very, very frustrating. Sometimes I just want him to get the job done. It doesn't have to be perfect! But just try telling him that. The upside is that if you are patient, whatever he is doing will be done well.

He is very intuitive. He can read other people's feelings much better than the average 12 year old...often better than the average 40 year old. Sometimes it's like he can read my mind. He knows what I'm thinking about the most random things. Once when I was going to get money out of the ATM for vacation, he knew how much I was going to get. The weird thing was, I didn't even know how much I was going to get until I got there. I had been debating in my head about how much we'd need and finally settled on $300. When he saw the amount, he said, "Mom, that's weird, I knew you were going to get $300." Weird indeed. Things like that happen often between he and I. He has also started experiencing frequent deja vu. I don't know if that has anything to do with his sensitivity, but I think it might.

He is also very clever and has an amazingly mature sense of humor...always has. When he was about three years old, he was in the bath and every time I pulled the plug, he'd close it so that he could play longer. After about the third time, I said, "Adam, if you close that again, you're going to get a spanking." To which he replied, "No closing costs, Mom." Really? No closing costs? He was three! (And had apparently seen way too many mortgage commercials.) That's just one example of many I could share about his unique sense of humor.

He is a thinker and has always been a child who asks questions way beyond his age. A lot of questions. He asks questions about the state of the world and God and other people. And he truly wants to know and cares about the answer. Sometimes his thinking leads to worry, which is, well, worrisome. I don't want him to worry when he's 12. At least not about things he has no control over. I try to encourage him to let me be the adult and to enjoy being a kid.

He is ultra-sympathetic. He hates to see people, or any creature really, suffer in any way. Even when he was very young, he would give up things to keep his brother happy. And he goes out of his way to make sure other's feelings don't get hurt. But if they do, he hurts for them. I love that about him. But, World, you might use that against him. Don't. We all need people who protect those who need protection. Embrace that about him.

He can become obsessive. Whatever it is that he is into at the time will fill his mind and rule his thoughts for as long as he is interested. I've learned to accept that about him. I might find Halo guys extremely unimportant, but he finds them fascinating. So I listen to the description of each one and try my hardest to appreciate what he appreciates.

He is a rule follower and a truth teller. Things are black and white to him. He has a hard time understanding why others can't just follow the rules. They're the rules for a reason. If he hears about someone doing something terrible in the world, it hurts his heart. He feels for the hurt ones and just can't understand why anyone would want to hurt others. Even when doing current events for his history class, he looks for news stories that are good or uplifting. Nothing about devastation, please.

Not until just recently while reading the book, The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron, did I realize how very special Adam is. I've always known he was different than my other children and all the children who have been a part of my life. Not bad or good, just different. Imagine my surprise when I learned that there are millions of people just like him in the world. And most don't even know that there are others like them. So, World, watch out for these special souls. Treat them with gentleness and understanding. They won't be the ones on center stage (although they make good actors because of their sympathetic and intuitive natures). They will be the ones working to make a better world because they truly care about others. They will be the ones finding cures for diseases because they are single minded in their interests. They will be the thinkers and planners and fighters for justice. And one of these special people is my Adam. So watch out, World, because when you do finally notice him, you'll never be the same.

Adam's Mom

Thursday, October 10, 2013

10 Things Thursday--Josh Edition

10 things about Josh on his 14th birthday.

1. He was born on the first day of elk hunting season. I called my dad just as he was leaving for hunting that day 14 years ago to tell him that he might want to wait. That was the 9th. Josh wasn't born until the 10th. Dad waited...but went hunting on the 11th.
2. Since he was born on the first day of elk season, I knew it was only a matter of time before he spent his birthdays in the woods instead of with me. This is the fourth year that that's been true. (I'm not as okay with it as I pretend to be.)
3. He has one of those magnetic personalities that cause people to want to be his friend. He's always been kind of a charmer.
4. He finally likes school. After about the first week at his new school, he declared that "school's not so bad." That's as good as it's gonna get, I think. (He's still not crazy about the work, though.)
5. He's taller than me. He loves to stand next to me and remind me of that fact often. Honestly, I'm glad. If he was shorter than me, he'd be really short.
6. He loves all things fishing and hunting. He wants to be a professional fisherman when he grows up.
7. He has a great laugh. Just hearing him laugh, makes me laugh.
8. He is the epitome of "a growing boy." He's always hungry and seems to grow an inch everyday.
9. He was my guinea pig baby. By the time Adam came around, I was an expert compared to when Josh was born. I'd barely even held babies, no less kept them alive.
10. The day he was born was the day part of my heart began to walk around outside my body. And now, 14 years later, that still holds true...only 14 times stronger.

Happy birthday, Yosh. I love you more than words can say.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

10 Things Thursday

10 of the nominees for the 2013 induction into the Toy Hall of Fame that you could find in my house.

1. Bubbles
2. Chess game
3. Clue game
4. Fisher Price Little People
5. Magic 8 Ball
6. My Little Ponies
7. Nerf toys
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
9. Rubber Duck
10. Scooter

11. Bonus: Pac Man (in various forms)

(Green Army Men is also on the list and I'm sure we have a few around somewhere, but my boys were more of the little plastic cowboys and Indians type.)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

10 Things Thursday

10 things I wish I got paid a nickel for every time I did them.

1. Tie a shoe.
2. Open a juice pouch.
3. Answer the question, "Can I go to the bathroom?"
4. Shush someone.
5. Say the phrase, "Line up for..."
6. Hear the word "teacher."
7. Clean up spilled juice/water/milk.
8. Sharpen a pencil.
9. Zip a jacket.
10. Remember how blessed I am to be a teacher.

Friday, September 06, 2013

New School Year Show and Tell Friday

*Purple stuffed unicorn in a purple and pink purse.
*Lego guys..."not very new." A robber, a bad guy from Star Wars, a police guy, and a mechanic from a motorcycle gang.
*Beyblade...."I like it very much and that's it!"
*Stuffed lion...from the class animal basket.
*Monkey slippers.
*Stuffed Doris..."the girl from the baseball game."
*Sparkles...Julianna's Build-a-Bear cat from her "date with momma." :)
*Bratz..."Not one of the mean girls. One of the nice girls."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

10 Things Thursday

10 things still to do this summer.

1. More beach days!
2. Finish cleaning my house top to bottom. So far I'm about top to middle.
3. Take Adam and Jules to Silverwood.
4. Family trip to Crystal Gold Mine.
5. Sit around the fire at the farm.
6. Enjoy one more solo trip to the movie theater.
7. Read as many books as humanly possible in two and a half weeks.
8. Finish getting ready for the new school year.
9. Drink a few more cups of tea on the front porch before anyone else is awake.
10. Soak in the sun.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

10 Things Thursday

10 things about having a garage sale.

1. I have one every other year even though I say I'm never doing it again.
2. It's a good way to get rid of all those unused items that clutter my world.
3. Unfortunately, I cannot convince others in my house of #2.
4. It makes me promise myself that I will stop buying more stuff.
5. It forces me to do a thorough cleaning of my house.
6. And this year, of my classroom.
7. It gives us all a little summer spending money since whoever sells stuff gets the money.
8. I get to share all my pre-loved treasures with others.
9. I get to spend two days with Kathy.
10. And she brings apple fritters.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Blessed Sunday

Yesterday I had a date. One that I'd been looking forward to for over a week. One that was rare and precious. It was a date with my firstborn son. Just he and I. That is the rare part. I often find myself with time to spend with just Julianna. And sometimes with Adam. But time with Josh alone doesn't happen often enough. He has spent more nights away from home this summer than home. A lot more. Now that he's a teenager, he goes and does more than ever. He spends a lot of time at Grams and Pappy's house. (And he would move in with them if I let him...which they in no way discourage.) And today he left for a week at camp.

So yesterday I took him to town to get a few things for his trip and we decided to go to lunch. He chose Red Lobster. As we sat there waiting for our shrimp, we talked. About school next year and his time at camp and about the summer so far and what's left of it. He told me stories of his adventures and even shared a few of his concerns. And I soaked it in...every second.

Then he asked if maybe we could go to the movies. I remembered that Fast and Furious 6 was playing at the $2 theater and knew he wanted to see it again so I mentioned that. So after picking up a few things and a trip to say goodbye to Grams and Pappy, we headed to the movies. (And yes, that does make three times that I've seen it, but two of those was at the discount theater so it's okay. And also, yes, it is just as good the third time.) During the movie we laughed together and cheered together, even though we totally knew what was going to happen. And at one point, he even reached over and took my hand for a second. That, my friends, was worth the price of admission. And afterwards he told me thanks for the date more than once.

There were moments during our afternoon that I caught a glimpse of the little boy he used to be. And also moments when I saw a glimpse of the man he is becoming. It's strange, this mommyhood of a teenager. Bittersweet moments fill each day. Memories and hopes. Reflections and dreams. When I look up into his eyes, (yes, up), I still see that baby they placed in my arms all those years ago. Never, during those first days, did I imagine these days. I knew they would come, but here they are so, so quickly.

Those few short hours that we spent together were much more than lunch and a movie. So much more. It was a reminder to me that this person, this young man, is still my little boy. I just can't tell him that. And it was a reminder to him that he's still my little boy...even if I don't tell him.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

10 Things Thursday

10 things about my wedding day...which happened 21 years ago today.

1. I was young. Of course at the time I didn't think I was all that young. I was 20. Surely that was old enough to know all I needed to know to do grown up things like get married. Surely.
2. He was young. But older than me. He was 21. So if I didn't know something, surely he would. Surely.
3. We wore white. Both of us. It meant something to him to wear white, too. I appreciate that now.
4. I bought my dress from a JC Penney catalog. I did not try it on, just ordered. It fit.
5. My bridesmaids wore teal. Teal dresses with huge puffy sleeves and a big bow on the butt. And shoes dyed teal to match. But in my defense, we were just barely out of the 80's.
6. We made our own mixed tape of all the music for the ceremony. There was a lot of cheesy 80's love songs. But at the time they were soooo romantic.
7. Friends and family did all the decorating, made the cake, took the pictures, and organized the ceremony. In all, including the dress, I think it cost around $500.
8. I was a little nervous. Okay...I was scared to death. I don't remember why now.
9. Melted wax dropped on my finger while lighting the unity candle. My groom talked me through that with a whisper and a smile. And my nerves disappeared.
10. It was the beginning of an adventure of a lifetime...with many more adventures left to go.

Happy anniversary to my sweet husband who loves me more than I deserve. I love you.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

10 Things Thursday

I'm always finding reviews and recommendations for new and interesting books as I crawl across the web. I have started writing down titles and authors for future reference. But every once in a while, if a book looks really good, I'll go to our community library website and place a hold on it to get it as soon as possible. That happened this week. I saw somewhere a review of "Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs By Writers Famous and Obscure." What?! Six word memoirs?! I knew I must read it! I picked it up from the library yesterday and couldn't put it down. I am finding it extremely fascinating to see how people describe their lives in six words. Some funny, some sad, some touching, some thought provoking.

I decided to mark my favorites planning for this post. I started marking...and marking...and marking. Here's what happened.

Yeah. That's more than 10. But for 10 Things Thursday, here are 10 of my favorite six-word memoirs...

1. Watching quietly from every door frame.--Nicole Resseguie
2. The psychic said I'd be richer.--Elizabeth Bernstein
3. Forest peace, sharing vision, always optimistic.--Dr. Jane Goodall
4. Danced in fields of infinite possibilities.--Deepak Chopra
5. Xenophile escapist tumbleweed globetrots, finds self.--Dominic Arizona Bouccelli
6. Near death experiences are my forte.--Anna Mauser-Martinez
7. Slightly psychotic, in a good way.--Patricia Neelty
8. I wrote it all down somewhere.--Ben Greenman
9. Clueless meets Ophelia, without the suicide.--Larisa Ballinger
10. Discovered moral code via Judy Blume.--Beth Greivel

And 10 more...
1. Wannabe heroine but just Plain Jane.--Tanya Holland
2. It's pretty high. You go first.--Alan Eagle
3. In a Manolo world, I'm Keds.--Colleen Cook
4. My first concert: Zappa. Explains everything.--Janet Tashjian
5. Students laughed appreciatively. The professor relaxed.--Laurie Hensley
6. Dorothy Gale had the right idea.--Pamela Vissing
7. Canoe guide, only got lost once.--Taylor Stump
8. Boys liked her. She preferred books.--Anneliese Cuttle
9. If Eliza Doolittle wore cowboy boots...--Dixie Friedman
10. So it goes, a tad askew.--Michael Dickter

And just 10 more...
1. The image was large with silence.--Elizabeth Raab
2. I colored outside the lines.--Jacob Thomas
3. Me: consistently avoiding death since 1978!--Daniel Fowlkes
4. Even the quietest sounds make noise.--Paul Boggan
5. Many hands have kept me afloat.--Nick Flynn
6. Little bit Lucy, tempered by Ethel.--Tami Maus
7. Business school? Bah! Pop music? Hurrah!--Max Robins
8. Mom blames musical theater. I disagree.--Don Sigale
9. Poet locked in body of contractor.--Marilyn Hencken
10. Hope my obituary spells "debonair" correctly.--Gregg Easterbrook

Okay...really this time, just 10 more. Then you'll have to read the book.
1.Her blue eyes capture the distance.--Sonya Cheuse
2. To make a long story short...--Jace Albao
3. Rather sing than stay to chat.--Keri Willson
4. Underachieving...but willing to overcompensate halfheartedly.--Frank J. Lepiane
5. Well, I thought it was funny.--Stephen Colbert
6. Put whole self in, shook about.--Melissa Delzio
7. I inhale battles. I exhale victories.--William Heath
8. I answer to the name Mom.--Lynne Chesterton
9. Fearlessness is the mother of reinvention.--Arianna Huffington
10. Straight jacket on the gentle cycle.--Stewart Rudy

Still couldn't do it...4 more...
1. I'm the fine print; read closely.--Kristina Grish
2. Veni, vidi, but haven't vici yet.--Meenakshi Nandini
3. That Kiss song says it all.--James Hampton
4. On the seventh word, he rested.--Stephen J. Dubner

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Best Laid Plans...

(Extension of yesterday's Blessed Sunday...)

Things don't always work out according to plan. Actually, very few things work out according to plan. When I was 16, I swore I'd never get married. This July I will celebrate my 21st wedding anniversary with the boy I started dating just before I turned 17. Then we didn't really plan when we'd have kids. But after 7 years of marriage we decided we'd try it. Then again a year and a half later. And then one more time seven years later. I certainly didn't intend to have two middle schoolers and a pre schooler at this time in my life. But my plans are not God's plans.

When I started college, I called myself a business major. I took accounting and economics and business law. And kinda hated it. And was led, in spite of my immaturity and naivety, to education. I had wanted to be a teacher since I was in 1st grade. But after 13 years of school, I was a little burned out and decided that 4 more years of school just to be able to spend a whole bunch more years at school wasn't what I wanted. But after a year of business classes, I changed my major and started taking education classes. And kinda loved it.

One of the draws of being a teacher, besides, you know, the influencing of young lives and all, was summers off. Ahhh...glorious summers off. And I did have summers off...for a while. I was a teacher for three years before Josh was born. And I had those summers off. All. By. Myself. I read and watched movies and went to the beach and did, well, I don't actually remember what else I did. Then I took a couple years off with the babies. And when I went back to work, I was able to take summers off. I was lucky, really. Many teachers have to find summer jobs to make ends meet every year.

But three years ago, things changed. Our family's job situation changed dramatically and when the opportunity came up to begin a summer child care program at our school, I decided to do it. It was a blessing, even though it meant no extended summer vacation. I worked a few days a week and had a few off. Still better than full time, but not ideal. Then last summer we were asked to have our summer program again. So we did. But at the end of the summer, we said, "No way!" to doing it again. We wanted our summer off!

But things don't always go according to plan. And Dave Ramsey would not want me to not work this summer. So here I am, working another summer. This time is a little different. I will get a couple of two week mini-breaks and have a couple of part time weeks. And all in all it's a pretty good summer job. I get to sit in the shade and watch a bunch of kids play all day...with a little bit of learning thrown in, but don't tell them that. I even get to read a little between all the activity. I was thinking as I was driving into town this morning how much I wished that I didn't have to work. But then I realized what a blessing this job is. I'm my own boss. I get to play all day. I get to take my kids with me. I get to spend as much time outside as I want. And I get paid pretty well for it.

All in all, not such a bad gig. And it serves to remind me that God's plans are always, always bigger...and smarter...than mine.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Blessed Sunday

There doesn't seem to be much time for blogging during this whirlwind of life I find myself in. Always places to be and people to see. Dishes to wash and clothes to fold. Shopping and cooking and more dishes. Kids to hold and enjoy and play with. A husband who has his own whirlwind swirling, and whose path occasionally crosses mine. And work. Yes, it's summer vacation from school, but not completely for me. I am sharing the summer child care job with my sister. Two weeks on, two weeks off. Tomorrow will start my second week on. Long, hot, exhausting days spent with lots of kids ready to play the summer away. Both easier and harder than teaching somehow. But this week, even in my dreading the early mornings and constant "kid-ness" of my days, I have learned to count my summer job as a blessing. It allows me to work during the summer on my own terms. To take my own kids with me. To work on school projects a little during the day. To sit in the shade and listen to little voices and hearty laughs. And maybe even read a chapter or two between activities.

So, would I like to have my summer off completely? Yes. Of course. But since that isn't in the plans right now, I am choosing to count this opportunity as the blessing that it is.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Blessed Sunday--Julianna Turns 5!

Talk about a blessing! My daughter is very near the top of my list. She is a gift. An unexpected, but very welcome gift. Someone not long ago said, upon observing the ages of my children, that she must  have been a surprise baby. I felt the need to correct them and tell them, that yes, it was a surprise that I wanted to have a third child. And it was a surprise that God put that desire in my heart. And it was a surprise that God's timing wasn't exactly my timing. But we fully intended to add her to our family. Crazy as it all seems, even to me.

And now, 5 years later, I hardly remember my life without her. She is amazing. So different from her brothers. She's made me be a different kind of mommy. A nail painting, hair braiding, doll playing kind of mommy. Sometimes even now I see her from across the room and have to remind myself that she's mine. And as honest as I was being when I was pregnant with her about being okay with either a boy or a girl, I was secretly hoping for a girl. (I can say that now, right?)

I love that she is a girly-girl even if I'm not. I love that she loves all animals, real or stuffed. I love that she loves music and makes up her own songs. I love that she loves her brothers and that they adore her. I love that she still wants to sit on my lap. I love all the memories that I have of her and with her over the last five years.

She is sweet and funny and silly and smart. Her best friend is her cousin Abby. Her favorite colors are pink, purple, and green. She likes to wear dresses, the frillier the better. She doesn't like to wear shoes and will take them off wherever and whenever she can. She likes to color and do puzzles. She is fearless, which sometimes causes fear in me. I told her daddy when we decided to name her Julianna, that she would have to be quite a girl for such a big name. And she is, undoubtedly, quite a girl.

Happy birthday to my sweet 5 year old. I love you, Miss Julianna.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

One Dozen

One dozen years ago today, I met a baby. My baby. The second one that I could call my own. He was amazingly adorable with his fuzzy blond head and the bluest of blue eyes. Somehow, even on that first day, I knew there was something special about this baby. And the last twelve years have proven that to be true.

Adam is like no other kid I've ever known...and I've known a lot of kids.

He's a thinker. Even when he was very little, he would ask questions that shouldn't come from such a little boy. He wanted to know about the world and everything and everyone in it. 
He's a butterfly chaser...literally and figuratively. He has always loved bugs (except for spiders!) and can get distracted by the smallest of creatures...and everything else.
He is hilarious and clever. His sense of humor is well beyond his years and always has been. 
He is nearly impossible to discipline. When he was little I could never get through a sentence reprimanding him without laughing. He quickly learned how to play that to his advantage. I literally had to look away while I fussed at him. (It's easier now that he's bigger and I have grown slightly immune to his charms.) 
He is highly sensitive to his feelings and the feelings of others. He knows what others are feeling and tries to make it better if he can. He's a fixer and a mediator and a peacemaker.
He stands up for the underdog. And gets his feelings hurt if he's the underdog and nobody stands up for him.
He is exponentially silly. He loves to play and have fun to the point of driving his poor mama crazy.
He can't make a decision to save his life. I learned a long time ago to not be in hurry if he's trying to decide on something. He needs time. And sometimes guidance. But in the end, his decisions are sound. 
He is smart. School smart and people smart. 
He is quiet around others, but so not quiet at home with us.
He is sweet as sweet can be most of the time, but has a temper that earned him the nickname, "Jack-Jack."
He likes what he likes and doesn't like what he doesn't like. No middle ground.
He would hate this post if he knew about it. But I think someday he will appreciate it. 

He is my middle child. My second son. My joy. My Adam D. 

Happy, happy, happy birthday sweet boy. I love you.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

10 Things Thursday

10 pictures on my camera.

This is part of one of the sculptures at the learning center in Boise where I was training for Project Learning Tree. It is beautiful. This, of course, was my favorite part of the sculpture.
Another sculpture from Boise. This giant dandelion fluff is lovely.
Julianna took this one of the blue sky and clouds. She is my little photographer.
Not surprisingly, she took this one, too. Very serious.
And this abstract of TMNT movies. a giant pen, and a variety of shoes. 
And this one of her foot in her favorite shoes. The girl loves shoes!
Julianna and Abby at the Easter egg hunt. Jules wanted to hug. Abby didn't.
My kindergarten class's science fair project on earthworms. They love worms! Especially gummy ones!
Found this on the door. Made me glad I left the magnetic alphabet out.  And that I have a kid who would think to write it. 
This is the thank you card I got in the mail after ordering flowers from some cute little girls who knocked on my door one day. They were raising funds for their youth roller derby league. Have any of you ever gotten a thank you card from Ginger Slap and Lucky Harms? I didn't think so. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


We remember the firsts. The first smile. The first tooth. The first word and step and day of school. We remember those days and write them in baby books and on calendars. We take pictures to capture those moments to treasure forever. We ask other parents about their child's firsts and compare stories. Firsts are important.

But what about lasts. I don't remember the last time Adam sat on my lap. Or the last time Josh asked me to snuggle with him before bed. I don't remember the last time I washed their hair or put on their socks. I don't even remember the last book I read to them. Or the last time we sang silly songs before bed. Those things just kind of stop happening. And at the time, it's a relief. Finally they can dress/feed/bathe themselves! But I wish I would have known. If I would have known that the last time Adam sat on my lap was going to be the last time, I wouldn't have been in such a hurry to do whatever it was that made me get up. If I would have known the last time I snuggled with Josh at bedtime was going to be the last time, I would have lingered just a little bit longer. I would have smelled their hair and hugged a little tighter and closed my eyes and stamped the memory into my mind. But I didn't know.

I have a few more chances with Julianna. I have had enough firsts and lasts by now to know that they happen all too quickly. She's almost five. She still sits on my lap. But sometimes I find myself thinking, "Really, girl? You are getting so big and it would be way more comfortable if you would just sit beside me." Then I remind myself that this might be the last time. And it's suddenly a lot more comfortable. She still wants bedtime rituals. And as tired as I am most nights, I still stay and pray and read or sing or snuggle or tell stories.

When will the last time come? Will I remember it? I still have a few lasts with the boys, too, and am watching for them. But not looking as forward to them as I did before. The last time Adam holds my hand as we walk through a parking lot? I don't want that one to come like it already has with Josh. The last time Josh asks me to make him hot chocolate? I'd be fine making him hot chocolate as long as I can lift the cup. The last time Julianna wants to follow me everywhere I go? I'm okay with even that lasting a while longer. Because I know that there will be a last time.

It's true that I look forward to the day when I can be by myself for five minutes without someone needing me. And it's true that I went to Arby's for lunch by myself on Saturday and it felt like a mini vacation. And it's also true that to some lasts I bid "good riddance" and never looked back (diapers, bottles, strollers...). But I hope that some lasts never come. And that there are some lasts that I know are inevitable but that I want to remember forever.

But for now I will look forward to the firsts and watch for the lasts. And when one of those lasts happen, maybe I will be able to catch it and hold on to it for just a little longer.

And if you enjoyed that post, check out this one from May of 2007. My astute friend Kathy* said she thinks I need some new ideas (after giving me copies of both posts with similarities highlighted). I think my ideas are so great that I have to write them twice. Whatever. 

*She who can remember my blog posts from six years ago, but can't remember what she walked down the hall to ask me...or where she put her lemon bars. 

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Spring Break In the Big City

For months now we have been planning a trip for spring break. We had a family vote and, although not unanimous, we chose Seattle. It's around a six hour drive from home. And there are lots and lots of fun things to do for all of us. I was excited to take Julianna to the zoo and aquarium for the first time. (The thought of that sold the one Seattle holdout in the family to the idea.) And then there's Pike Place Market and the Space Needle and The Pacific Science Center.

I began planning our trip last winter. Because that's part of the fun, right? We have a friend who was able to get us a great hotel room for an even greater price. It was amazing, really. And made the trip possible on our budget.

Our trip began on Sunday. We went to the sunrise service at church and ate Patty's amazing breakfast and then headed out. We made only one stop at a scenic view pullout in the middle of Washington.

As soon as he got out of the car, Adam spotted a lizard. He spent his time chasing others and trying to catch one. I wonder if he even noticed the river and huge cliffs that we had actually stopped to look at. 

We got to the hotel early Sunday evening after a very peaceful trip across the state of Washington. The kids were so excited to swim so we all got changed and headed to the pool right away. We had the pool and hot tub all to ourselves which was nice. After a few hours swimming we decided to order Domino's pizza. It was declared by some of us as the "best pizza ever." I think it was the hunger talking. (I still feel a little guilty because I think I accidentally gave Ralph, the delivery guy, only a five cent tip. Oops.) The kids were thrilled that there was a pool and swam for hours every day we were there. It was great fun watching them play together. We made a stop at Target for some pool toys on the second day. Julianna would throw the dive sticks and the boys would fetch them. For hours they did that...together...with no arguing. It might have been a spring break miracle.

Monday morning we got up and had breakfast at the hotel. We all loved the waffle maker! And since it was supposed to be the best weather day of the week, we headed to Woodland Park Zoo. It was about a 25 minute drive through Seattle. I was glad Arrty was driving. Those big city drivers are crazy! 

Julianna was most excited to see the penguins. And guess what the first animal we came to was? Penguins!

After that we saw so many wonderful, beautiful, amazing creatures. I couldn't help but think what an amazing, imaginative creator we have to have designed all these different animals.

She is gorgeous. I could have sat and watched her all day.

I found it interesting that the wolf exhibit was right next to the elk exhibit.  


Jules loved the flamingos. I think it was because they are pink.

The pudu, the world's smallest deer.

Seattle Day 2 was downtown. First we stopped by Pike Street Market. The boys enjoyed seeing the fish and talking to the fishmongers. Pike Street is crowded and loud and colorful. It's also where we bought four of the most delicious plums I've ever tasted!

Next was Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. Tons of really weird stuff to look at. Two headed calf? Check. Mummified couple? Check. Shrunken heads? Check. Like I said...weird.

Then an Argosy Seattle Tour Cruise. It's a great way to see the piers and the city. Plus the narrator adds lots of interesting facts like the chair in the top of one of the buildings that supposedly brings luck to single women who want to get married. It's said that they will be married within a year after sitting in it. And remember the picture of the Beatles fishing out of a window? That building is on the Seattle piers. And the women's restroom voted the "Most Beautiful Restroom in the US" is housed in one of Seattle's skyscrapers.

. Then it was off to the Seattle Aquarium. One of the highlights for all of us.

Hands-on tide pool. I thought the kids would stay there all day.
The cutest jellyfish ever!
This octopus was fascinating. What amazing creatures!
He may be taller than me, but he's not taller than a sixgill shark. 

The sea otters were another favorite of us girls. Such cuteness!

This river otter posed for me. 

Seahorses are amazing! And beautiful!
The final stop in downtown was The Crab Pot for supper. The boys were so excited!

Crab, shrimp, mussels, corn, potatoes...
Day 3 started and ended with a ride to the top of the Space Needle. It takes only 41 seconds to get to the top. There are three different elevators so you can see different views on the way up or down. 

Then the Pacific Science Center.

One of my favorite places in the whole, wide world.

One of my favorite moments of the whole trip happened during our viewing of this IMAX movie. There was a scene with jellyfish and since it was 3D, it looked like they were swimming right in front of us. I loved so much when Julianna reached out to try to catch one of the jellyfish! And she wasn't the only one in the theater who tried it! 

The last stop of the day was the EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum. It's very interesting for older people, but not so much for little ones. We spent a short time there, though, and saw some interesting music memorabilia. There was a Jimmy Hendrix exhibit, a Nirvana exhibit, a guitar museum, and an exhibit about the history of the leather jacket. The kids' favorite exhibit was the history of the Art of Video Games. 

This sculpture is made from 700 instruments. Some made by the artist to play continuously . There are stations all over the museum where you can listen to this sculpture's music.
This is the beautiful outside of the museum.
The guitar museum. Some really interesting pieces can be found here, including the guitar Jimmy Hendrix played at Woodstock. 
It was a great trip. We had such a good time even though by the end of the week we were all exhausted. We did lots of walking, lots of talking, and lots of laughing. We learned a few things about the world and each other. And we made some wonderful memories. Which is what it was all about anyway.