Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Was Twelve Years Old Once

I was. Honest. I remember it quite clearly. Currently I have a 12 year old girl who reminds me a lot of me when I was her age. I had a boyfriend then and his name was Jesse. Jesse did some sweet things for me and once he even rode his ten-speed about 35 miles to a lake resort where my family had gone to camp that summer. Just to see me. So I remember what it's like to be that giddy 12 year old with a boy who is madly in love with you.

My Alli is wonderful girl and it's no wonder that she's attracted the eye of some boys her own age. Her "boyfriend" Jaryd has given her flowers on Valentine's Day and other sweet things. I put the word boyfriend in parenthesis because they only see each other at school. And even while there, they don't sit together at lunch and he even had a friend give her the flowers he bought for her. So it's a kind of a sweet-middle-school kind of thing. She's only seen him outside of school twice--and both times I was there.

Jaryd is an avid skateboarder and mostly skates near his home up in Shoreline.

I tell you that to tell you the following...

My 18 year old son also skates. Last night a friend from Puyallup came up to skate with him and he spent the night. This morning they went to the skate park near Greenlake.

A little while ago I got a picture text from him.

My son was laughing so hard when he found that writing.

Does this mean Jaryd is proclaiming his love for my Allison across the state at every skate park he goes to?

I'm glad it's summer and there's no school.

I really was 12 once, but now I'm a mom.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Running Away Is Good For The Soul

And we needed to do something good for our souls, so yesterday Lance and I surreptitiously packed a bag, grabbed our beach chair, some books and tippy toed out of the house before the children could stop us with hysterical "WHERE ARE YOU GOING AND WHY AREN'T YOU TAKING ME WITH YOU"'s. (Yes, that sentence makes fine grammatical sense to me, so hush)

We really did sneak out.

We ended up sitting here for few hours in the sunshine....

Ahhhh.....it was a slice of heaven and balm to our stressed out hearts. The sand was warm between my toes and the sun had just the right amount of warmth to it--not too blisteringly hot and not hiding behind any clouds. In fact it was perfect.

See what I mean?======> After a few hours the wind showed up and we decided that we'd go for a drive and look around at other beaches and some neighborhoods there on Whidbey Island. Of course we crossed the Deception Pass Bridge first. I always get a case of the heebie jeebies doing that on foot as I'm not overly fond of heights.

Here's Lance on the beach below the bridge. He has no problem with looking down from great heights. He's superman!

Lance climbed up on some rocks that were jutting out into the surf and posed for me. He's so cute. It really was calming and soothing and all kinds of wonderful to spend some time alone with my husband.

Then we went to oogle the airplanes at NAS Whidbey. Did I mention that our cell phones kept going off constantly with text messages and calls, most of which we entirely ignored. It was almost a relief when my cell phone died. I'd forgotten to charge it the night before our Big Escape.

We drove through neighborhoods and old and new in the Oak Harbor area. We found a gorgeous new home for sale high up on a bluff. As we walked behind the house to look at the water, we were amazed to discover five bald eagles and two hawks performing an aerial ballet. It was thrilling to watch--and they were so close. My picture of it didn't do them justice.

We also found a cute little house for sale right down on the water. The flyer said it was 765 square feet but it FELT like 800! You have to love a real estate agent with a sense of humor.

Later we drove to Fort Casey. It was getting on towards dusk and we were toying with the option of finding some place to stay over there and not come home at all, as we drove into the park. The wind was bone-chilling and we hadn't thought to pack coats or even long pants! It was sooooooooo cold. Yes, even I was cold and you all know that's a rare happening. You'd better write that date down. Brrrrrrr! Can you tell how c-c-c-c-cold Lance is in this picture? When he got back into the suburban he turned his side of the climate control up to over 80 degrees. He couldn't feel his fingers.

We were pretty much alone at the Fort until this little thing showed up. The fawn was injured and I wanted to help it but there was no way I could. So beautiful. It was limping along and the mommy was no where to be seen.

Then we drove to the ferry, crossed the Sound and went home. The ferry was nearly empty. There was a beautiful sunset....and our escape was over.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

RIP Marilyn

When I walked through the doors of Wonderland ten and a half years ago, I was carrying a tiny baby girl and a very heavy heart.

I'd been told that my baby daughter probably wouldn't walk or talk because of her stroke. Coming to Wonderland was my defiant fist shaking in the face of such devastating news. The first person I talked to was Marilyn.

Marilyn was the director of Wonderland, a birth to three therapy organization that helped disabled or delayed children to reach their maximum potential. She was a thin gray haired woman with big glasses and an even bigger heart.

At a time when most medical professionals were counseling parents of disabled infants to place them in state run institutions, Marilyn was working with moms to form a loose knit group who cared for those the medical community deemed damaged and irreparable. If you go into a state run institution for the mentally handicapped these days you will find the adult disabled who were turned over to the state as infants or small children.

Like a big barn of discarded souls, these children were placed and for many, forgotten by their parents.

Marilyn thought differently about these special needs babies and she did something about it.

In the face of distraught new mothers who had landed in Holland, rather than Italy, Marilyn was a godsend.

by Carol Turkington

Having a child born with a disability is like planning a trip to Italy, getting of a plane and landing in Holland. "But I don't know anything about Holland!I don't want to stay!" you say, but you do stay.

You go out and buy some new guidebooks, you learn some new phrases, and you meet people you never knew existed. The important thing is that you are not in a filthy, plague infested slum full of pestilence and famine. You are simply in a different place than you had planned. it's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy, but after you catch your breath, you begin to discover that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips.Holland has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy. They're all bragging about what a great time they had there, and for the rest of your life you will say, "Yes, that's what I had planned." The pain of that will never go away. you have to accept that pain because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss. but if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't go to Italy, you will never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

So, I had landed in Holland nearly two months before I'd planned on landing in Italy. I desperately wished to see the good in Holland---and Marilyn was my guide. Over the next three years, I spent five days a week at Wonderland. She showed me many wonderful things and I learned a lot from her.

I went from being a frightened mom in despair, to someone who could offer help to the new moms coming in behind me with their tiny bundles of uncertain futures.

I joined the board of directors as a parent rep and then later I was elected to the Executive Board of directors and it was my sad and sorry duty to be one of the three people that had to let Marilyn go.

There were many reasons why this had to be--and none of them pleasant memories to me. I'd lost contact with Marilyn for quite some time and I always wanted to find her and apologize for what had happened and for any pain I may have been responsible for causing her.

A month ago I turned the corner in a grocery store and there she was---older, thinner and much more frail than the last time I'd seen her. We immediately hugged and my eyes welled up.

"I've wanted to see you for so long. I wanted you to know how sorry I was for how things ended there"

She looked me in the eye and smiled. She told me not to worry, that what had happened, happened. It was something that had to be and she held no animosity towards me for what had occurred.

Marilyn died Monday. I'm sure she was met on the other side by the numerous children and mothers that she helped over her many years of service. RIP Marilyn. You changed many lives for the better, including my own. Thank you.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day

I did it! Well, ok I had help. We got the back patio cleared off, took the weeds out from between the cement blocks, then pressure washed the whole thing.

As I had my girls out there picking weeds from between the cement I had a flashback to my youth. I did the very same thing under the supervision of my mother. She'd give us knives and we'd dig and scrape and yank and make the patio weed free. Those weeds were so tough I wouldn't be a bit surprised to know that some of them were the very same ones I'd pulled as a child. Allison and Ashley were a big help to me. Chris even did s bit of the hard stuff before he left to hang with his friends.

I was grateful for their help.

After the poking and digging and yanking there was much sweeping to be done. My girls helped with that as well. I was determined to have a back yard barbecue if it killed me---or them. Ok, just me. After that was done, it was time to pressure wash. I've done something like this before, so I should have known better. And by 'better' I mean that I should have worn grubby clothes and eye protection. Although none of that would have been necessary if my neighbor Sam and my father didn't think that the pressure washer I was using wasn't powerful enough to do the job. Oooooh no. They wanted to hook me up to a bigger, more MANLY power washer. One that could take paint off a Hummer or the hyde off an elephant. Or just drown me in mud and gook. Which it did. Then of course, my father didn't think I was doing a good enough job of it, so he took it from me. (Insert manly grunting here ala Tim Allen from Home Improvement)
I will admit he did a fine job. I kept coming back outside to try and take it from him and he'd say, "Ok, just a minute" which then turned into another half an hour. I never did lay my hands on the manly pressure washer again.

The morning of Father's Day I got up and made my husband breakfast in bed because he deserves it---and not just on Father's day. He should get it every day but I'm a lazy cuss so once or twice a year will have to suffice. It was a manly breakfast I promise.

Then at church the Primary children put on a delightful program in Sacrament meeting. Ashley sang and spoke. I'm not sure just HOW this picture was taken with my cell phone during the meeting. I'd never do such a thing of course. :)

Then it was home for the Father's Day Barbecue and Stuffing Yourself Into a Coma Contest. Table decorations....

My sister Cheri came and it was a delightful afternoon.

Good food, good family. Who could ask for anything more?

Oh yeah.....and a food-coma after the party. Love you Dad!

Monday, June 15, 2009

He did it!

Last night my son....my only son....graduated from high school.

Here he is with some friends after the ceremony was over. He was so excited, it was wonderful to see him like that.

The day before his graduation we had a family/friends barbecue at my sister's house (thanks Julie!) for him and his cousin Cody, shown here. It was wonderful.

Yesterday morning in church, I was sitting with him and I put my arm around his shoulders. He leaned his head down on my shoulder for the longest time and I remembered times in that very pew when he was a tow-headed toddler with the biggest blue eyes. I started to cry and he whispered in my ear, "Don't cry because it's over Mom, smile because it happened"

Friday, June 05, 2009

I Want My Wave

Have you noticed a decidedly unfriendly turn among drivers lately?

I have.

I'm one of those polite drivers who allow people to go in front of me when they're attempting to merge---even if they are idiots and are merging badly. I am nice. No, I am. I will allow someone to enter traffic from the driveway of a store parking lot if I see there is no hope of them making it out of there before breakfast the following day due to the amount of traffic behind me.

I am nice.

I don't expect much for my kindness. Just the wave. Is that too much to ask?

You know the wave. The Thank-you-for-letting-me-in-wave. It's really not that hard to do and doesn't take much time or even muscle. Simply give a hand gesture--a nice one---that says thank you for allowing me to go.

Three times yesterday I allowed someone to merge, to get in front of me. One lady who was attempting to get into my turn lane from two lanes over was also the recipient of my kind nature. I let her in. She was, it appeared, a beautiful blond in a nice white Toyota who simply got in front of me and never waved.


It's at this point that I usually mumble "You're welcome" under my breath, but yesterday I was so upset that I put my suburban in park, opened my door and got out. I went to her driver's side window and pounded on it like a mad woman. A woman who didn't get enough sleep the night before and who was denied a wee bit of common courtesy from the bleached blond in front of me.

"IS IT TOO HARD TO GIVE ME THE THANK YOU WAVE FOR LETTING YOU IN???" I screamed at her closed window.

Closed, because she was frightened and with good cause. I hadn't had any chocolate that day and my compassionate reserves had sunk accordingly thus rendering me a tad bit irritable.

As I stood there, eyes bulging and blood pressure about to peg the uh-oh-zone, I paused, took a deep breath and sweetly said "You're welcome".

ThenI heard horns honking and realized I'd been day dreaming again about rude drivers who don't know how to give the wave of gratitude and what I'd like to do to them for their callous disregard of the common courtesy on the road. I put my foot to the pedal and ran into the blond's trunk.

Ok, no I didn't.

I just wanted...my wave.

*No blondes were harmed, yelled at or asked to complete math problems in this post.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Boy

Will Soon Be Graduating From High School

This means, in some small measure, I have successfully managed to get him through 12 years of school and to the age of 18 alive.

No small accomplishment, that.

Today he called for a ride home after he rode the bus most of the way to our house. As it was about 90 degrees outside, I obliged. I'm a good mom, plus it got me out of a very hot house and into the sweet deliciousness of my air conditioned vehicle.

My oldest and youngest daughters went along for the ride and they spotted The Boy before I did.

"What's up with his pants?"

Indeed. The operative word for his pants was up. He wears those extremely skinny jeans and he'd rolled them up to about knee level and he was walking towards us with a grimace on his face.

He was in pain. You see, five hours earlier, in the throes of near heat exhaustion, he rolled the legs of his pants up and then his legs swelled up. He was unable to remove his own pants or roll down what he'd rolled up.

I attempted, unsuccessfully, to stifle a giggle.

"Moooooooom, this hurts soooooooo bad"

"I'm sure it (guffaw) does"

So home we went where I attempted to roll down his pants over his heat-swollen legs. No joy.

"I'm going to cut them off"

Oh boy. My son and sharp knives. NEVER a good combo.He got a knife and tried. It cut through a bit of jeans and he came very close to slicing his leg while not managing to do the required damage to his pants. I told him to stop with the knife and let me take him to the fire department. They had tools to cut people out of their clothing---they had to.

He didn't want to go. I told him it wasn't far and they could do it quickly. He rolled on the bed for a moment in pain and then agreed.

My two girls also laughing hysterically, piled into the suburban for the ride to the fire station. I was laughing so hard I could hardly drive.

"Oooooh it hurtsssssssss"

Once we were there, I had to try and maintain my composure as I explained to the nice medic just why we were there. He laughed and said he'd be right back.

He came back with the jaws of life in his hands. The look in my son's face was priceless. His jaw dropped, his eyes bulged out and his face turned bright red.

The medic laughed and handed it to another fire fighter then pulled those cool little scissors out of his pocket and began slicing. Meanwhile, other fire fighters are filing in to see what is going on, and to also catch a glimpse of my oldest daughter. It took some time, but finally both legs were released from their jean tourniquets. Ahhhhh, sweet relief.

As we were leaving, he said he knew I was going to write about this. I thanked him and said it had been some time since he'd given me any material. I was just thankful there were no broken bones, blenders or blood involved this time.

Ahhhh.....sweet release.

Expect it

Today I stepped out of my nicely-chilled-to-perfection suburban and into...well, somewhere south of Heaven. It was hot. I was not happy. I'd been sitting my suburban, ac hitting me full blast in the face as I pondered how to get twenty students into my vehicle in order to teach them Spanish for the day.

Alas, I was unable to come up with any way in which they would all fit--which is why I reluctantly turned the key off, opened the door and got hit with a blast furnace in the face.


As I walked across the courtyard to my classroom, I marveled at how different the very air feels when it's so warm. It's thicker somehow, but that's part and parcel of having so much humidity I suppose.

So I taught Spanish today. In the middle of teaching, I reached for my half-empty water bottle and dumped it right down my shirt. You should have seen the looks on the student's faces. I never missed a beat and just kept on with what I was doing, ignoring the audible gasp and giggles that erupted.

And you thought bottled water was just for drinking. Ha.