Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Living and laughing

We had this wild (for us) carousing (for us) night with some friends.  I had my walking playlist on, which is a little more peppy than my usual praise music repertoire.  It seems that the music coupled with late night sugars from cookies, brownies or ice cream was enough to set us all off on the sillies.  My girlfriend and I both ended up in tears from laughing too hard at least once each through our evening of card games.

At one point Neil Diamond came on to sing a rousing rendition of his song Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.  It got me excited, and my hands shot up in the air as I became Brother Love himself.  One glance at Brian’s unsmiling and quickly shaking head made me realize my little chair dance wasn’t wholly appropriate for the entire group and I was pretty embarrassed.   After collecting myself, we continued with the game.

After our friends left, I told Brian how embarrassed I had been and Madi wanted to know why.  While I was giving a proper explanation about dancing styles and propriety, Brian looks her straight in the eye and says (with full body language to be sure his meaning was perfectly clear), “Mommy has big boobs.  And when she shakes her shoulders her boobs can fly all over the place.  I was worried she might get black eyes if she didn’t stop dancing.”  Nice.  From his fourth word, our sweet girl had her mouth gaping as widely as it could open in stunned laughter.  By the last word, she was on the floor gasping for breath.

How awesome to have great friends with whom we can lose all sense of dignity.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The recital!

before the recital 1before the recitalAh!  The recital.  All the work pays off on this special night.  I just love spending this time with my girl, sharing in her anticipation and calming her nerves.  I cherish the moments of brushing her cheeks to a rosy glow, sticking in just one more bobby pin to be sure her hair holds through the leaps and turns of her routines, making sure each flower is fastened properly (for one outfit, she was a veritable garden of flowers!).  Perhaps knowing this will be one of our last recitals has made this one take on an even brighter glow.


preparing for the quick changethanks for coming to the show!This time around, Madi was only in two dances plus the finale.  All were with her dear friend, which made the night really special.  Just two routines makes for a much lower key evening than usual.  The three of us did get our hearts beating in spite of the fewer dances because there was only one dance between their two.  That means they had just a couple of minutes to strip down and don an entirely different outfit before getting on stage for the second dance.

after the recitalwatching other dancersI am kicking myself for not having any pictures of the second costume.  Then I realized that there really wasn’t much time.  First I ran up the back stairs to watch the duet with the two girls.  Then I ran down the back as they ran down the front and we got them changed lickety-split.  Madi’s friend was so fast that she tore off up the stairs to the stage before I could switch one of her flowers.  I ran after her, but they were on stage before I could get the flower to her.  So I ran down the front stairs, through the basement and up the back stairs to watch the performance.  When it was done, we all ran down again and changed back to the original outfit for the finale.  It didn’t occur to me to stop them for pictures.  There was no reason to rush.  We had plenty of time to change, but we were in such a rush-rush mode, I forgot.

The evening was a hit.  The girls were beautiful and graceful.  We got to laugh together downstairs.  The other performances were wonderfully entertaining.  People came to watch the girls and help them feel as special and cherished as they truly are.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

We have a plan!

I am well aware how a plan can be just smoke and mirrors when reality sets in, and our Lord has been so faithful in saving us from our foolish plans time and again.  Over the past 18 months, God has put a real peace in my heart while I exist in limbo.  That is a miracle!  None of that stops me from getting excited when there is something relatively concrete for which we can prepare: a plan.

So many things have factored into what has resulted in a vague life these last few months.  No transfers from Brian’s institution will even be considered until 2014.  But two opportunities popped up in defiance of the doomsayers.  But there is also a policy that forces anyone who has transferred from this institution anytime in the last TEN years to choose to either come back or quit entirely.  We want our kids to have some opportunities to beef up their college applications with activities, extracurricular and sports.  Unfortunately, where we live now just doesn’t have those opportunities.  We want our kids to go to a good college.  Allowing for them to live at home would save lots of money we don’t have.  If they go to Reno, we would have to pay the out of state tuition. 

All of these have just raised questions we haven’t been able to answer for many, many months.  Should Brian transfer and risk being forced back at any given moment with less than 30 days’ notice?  Should we move to Reno and have Brian commute the 90 mile deadly highway through all seasons? And if we move, how will we afford the $600/month commute?  Should we just stay put?  If so, for how long?  What about the kids? 

Finally, we made a decision.  By July 2014 we will move to Reno.  Because of a lease, it looks like we need to move in the month of July.  This July we are hoping to travel to Texas, which is monumentally important.  So, next July is our move-deadline.  If we can afford it and work around a lease, we would move earlier.

Not all the details about how to make it work have been worked out.  We do believe that with the cost of living being so much more affordable in Reno, we would easily absorb the commute cost, though we hope to get a commuter car—both for gas mileage and so that we are not left without a car all day long in another city.  We will establish residency before Max will need/want to begin college classes if we move by July ‘14.  Reno has gymnastics, swimming and tae kwon do and local 4H programs.  It also has churches where we are fervently praying to find a home where all four of us can serve within our gifts and passions.  Our kids—specifically our son—might have several friends and social opportunities again!  The wonder of it all is almost intoxicating.  I am excited about the future for the first time in a long time.

Friday, May 18, 2012


My older sister is such a great encourager to me.  Just about every time we speak, I at least tear up.  She makes me feel like I can do anything, like I am actually a special person. 

This week I was going to share with her that I have been getting gentle (and otherwise) persuasion to parent my son differently than I am.  To start the conversation I said something like, ‘I used to get a lot of grief for how I raised my kids when they were little, but I haven’t had to deal with that a lot lately.’  Before I could continue, she interrupted me.  When I made the statement, I did so without any specific notions regarding the grief I’d gotten. 

My sister, however, did have some specific notions.  She reminded me of the trouble I got for Max’s speech.  My poor boy used to not speak intelligibly for many, many years.  Once he was able to pronounce words with reasonable accuracy, he continued for several more years without the ability to form the hard ‘g’ or ‘k’ sounds at all.  He compensated so well by substituting those sounds with ‘d’s and ‘t’s, that many didn’t notice a problem.  When one day he did make the g sound…well, it was a blog-worthy moment

I’d forgotten how frustrated others had been with me for not enrolling Max into programs to help him overcome this ‘disability.’  Man, I used to cry for my boy a lot over this issue.  Now, it just seems so far away and irrelevant. There is probably a lesson in there somewhere.

Diane brought this to mind, along with the negative responses I received to our decisions to things like breastfeeding, homeschooling and not circumcising. She encouraged me to follow where God leads me.  She told me I am a good mom, and the mistakes I have made in parenting center around my reactions to criticisms rather than my actual decisions in upbringing or discipline.  She said that my kids justify my choices.  Wow, that felt good.  I don’t take full credit, so I can say without too much pride that I have really great kids. 

I guess we all need to hear that type of encouragement every now and then.  It is easy to criticize.  It is also easy to find a formula that works for you and assume that everyone should follow it to be successful.  Because those are easy, I think that is what most of us hear—criticism and ‘advice.’  Just plain encouragement and ‘permission’ to keep on keeping on is rarer, and to be treasured.  There is another good lesson.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Turtle Bay

We have been able to go to Turtle Bay several different times over the years.  Most often we go with a school group with lots of little ones.  I have always enjoyed each trip.  This time was special, though.  We went with just family—our friend Amy came along, but she counts as family, so …she doesn’t count. As I was saying, just family, with grown kids, offers a very different experience.  In the past, I tended to chase after and herd kids. This time, I was able to really engage in the activities and actually became absorbed in what we were doing. 

As fun as it was this week, I couldn’t help but go look at photos of previous trips.  Look at how darling they were!101APPLEIMG_1351kidsrock tour 009








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101APPLEIMG_1345On our way!  There is Mt. Lassen Peak.






101APPLEIMG_1360101APPLEIMG_1357Chocolate Coma…






I think this was the favorite spot: feeding the birds.  They were full of color—literally and figuratively.



Next up: the butterflies.  I want a garden like this!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Visiting and Rehearsing

Today I get to run out of town with a friend.  We also will spend the first of several night rehearsing for Madi’s recital this Saturday.  Just about a week ago she got to do a dry run with the one dance she is still struggling to nail down.  She danced at the local Children’s Fair.  I was so thankful to our friend Amy for taking us to the fair and sitting through the sometimes chaotic mini-show.  I have some cute pictures to share, plus a few more from around the house.
Picture 006101APPLEIMG_1317I took this picture of Max on the coffee table because the sight just made me laugh.  This is how Max has perched on this table since he was old enough to climb on top of it.  It used to freak people out because they thought he would fall.  But Max’s balance has always been impeccable.  So now the thirteen year old still perches rather than sits.

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This is why our computer chairs have no arms.  While he was capable of balancing, the arms weren’t capable of bearing his increasing weight over the years.  I suppose the manufacturer hadn’t anticipated Max.

Our backyard is really great.  It is peaceful and comfortable.  These hammocks have been such a blessing and I love to see them cradling my family.  Don’t they look cozy?

I saw a funny suggestion on Facebook the other day and the photos below is us trying to carry it out.  The idea is to get people to pose for photos pressed up against glass.  Then you use the photos in your contacts, so that when that person calls, their photos pop up and it looks like your friends are stuck inside your phone.  Even the dog got in on it.
Here are the promised ballet pictures from the fair.  Check out Max’s rockin’ hair cut!


Last picture.  This is Madi konked out on Benadryl on our last Amazing Race night.