Sunday, September 17, 2017

First Day of School - 2017

 As you may know, I have been nervous about school starting, mostly for Boy Howdy. Would he like it? Would he bemoan his fate Every Day the way he did with preschool. Would he cry? Would I cry? Would he be wasted by the end of each day? Those fears were laid to rest this week. The first day of school was all smiles all the way around. No one cried. I was actually surprised at how non-emotional I was given my tears at his kindergarten orientation at the beginning of the summer.

He did great the entire week. I brought him to school Tuesday, but the rest of the week he rode the bus. He was nervous not to have a seat belt (despite my assurances that the driver would surely be safe) but giddy at the very big kid idea of riding the big yellow school bus he has been eyeing for the last few years.

Thursday night he asked when he could get lunch at school. I told him we would get it sorted out so he could eat lunch the next day. I honestly don't think he was thinking his request would be so readily granted. I'm pretty sure I rendered him speechless with joy when I told him he could have lunch at school once a week.

The only emotions that came up were Tuesday as I went and picked him up from school and carried him all the way to the car wrapped in my arms as I smothered him with kisses. His emotion came later at bedtime when he could not stop inexplicably crying. He couldn't identify a reason but neither could he be consoled and kept promising me he wasn't tired. I disagreed.

But after that first day, he has woken up happy and on his own, practically ran to the bus stop each day and been more pleasant than usual to his sister. I won't kid myself that this will last forever but I will take it for as long as I can.

Cheeks was equally as excited to start her second year of preschool. I don't think she is remotely jealous that she doesn't get to go to kindergarten with Boy Howdy. She is excited to have her friend Q in her class this year with her and eager to have something to do with her time. The only problem with her was a bout of naughtiness on Thursday. She has not always been the most obedient of preschoolers, but Thursday was worse than normal, her teachers told me. I'm hoping it was due to a mixture of not getting as much sleep as she's used to now that Boy Howdy wakes up a bit earlier than usual, and she had my mother and father here this past week giving in to her every whim. Hopefully next week we can get into a good rhythm.

 A few joint pictures of the babes. The bottom two are them showing me their silliest of faces.

First day. And so it begins!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Summer 2017 - As it Comes to a Close

As this summer starts to close around us and we prepare for school and schedules to start and life to change forever, I am happy with the memories of the summer. Apart from my trip to Michigan with Matthew, we haven't had any big plans to break up the months and yet, they have passed very pleasantly. So what have we done?

We picked strawberries, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches and cucumbers.
We went to the beach.
We did crafts and had friends over to play.
We played at my sister's house and stayed home.
We went to parks and rivers and splash pads and pools.
We went to OMSI, the Portland Children's Museum, the Zoo and the Gilbert House.

At the beginning of the summer I made a calendar scheduling out the summer. I was certain, that without it, the summer threatened to overwhelm me with days to somehow fill. With the exception of craft days on Mondays we have not kept to my plan at all, and yet, I have enjoyed this summer with my babies.

Cheeks Celebrates Her Birthday

This sweet little flibberty-gibbet is now a 4-year old. She is still so happy so much of the day. She is constantly walking on her toes and flitting around the house. The only time she is cross is when she has been asked to do something she doesn't want to do, which is generally cleaning or getting her hair brushed. 

She eats, walks, dresses, and loves in a way that is so particular to her own unique and quirky personality. I was thinking the other day about the love languages of my children. Cheeks' is most definitely touch. She is all kisses and hugs. And if she doesn't get her nightly tuck in complete with an extra hug and kiss (despite hopping out of bed as soon as I leave the room) she is totally undone until I come back and remedy the situation. 

I love this little girl. I am excited to have this year to have time with just her. I have no doubt we will use our time well.

 The morning of her birthday we made mini cupcakes, chocolate with peanut butter frosting, with her own cute style of decorating. Boy Howdy was systematic and consistent, Cheeks wanted variety and fun. The cupcakes we took to Buell County Park to share with her friends, but the cake was saved for after presents and dinner later. It was yummy.

Buell County Park is an out of the way park set on a little stream just 20 miles from our house. This was only our second time there, but I think we are hooked. 

Cheeks, I don't think, would have been so eager to leave the park had we not presents to open with daddy as soon as we got home. When I asked her the day before whether she wanted to open her presents in the morning or later on after Matthew got home, she opted to wait. She was perfectly serene about the whole matter, but Boy Howdy was BESIDE himself with anxiety about knowing what was in those boxes - his own gift to her was presented as soon as they woke up.

Still in her bathing suit as soon as we got home, she (along with unsolicited help from her brother) opened her presents. The scooter was a hit. I, myself, am also quite taken with it.

So there we have it. One boy ready to start kindergarten and eager to grow up and one little girl desperate to stay little for as long as possible. I am so thankful for them both.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Cheeks' Birthday Interview

What is your name? Cheeks Marler
How old are you? 4
What is your favorite thing to do? Play legos.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A mermaid. Aack child!!
What is your favorite food? Soup. This is true. Whenever I ask what we should have for dinner, Boy Howdy will say Mac and Cheese, but Cheeks will more than likely say soup.
Who do you like to spend time with? Ginny
What do you do really well? Sports. When pressed, because I wouldn't say sports are really her forte, she clarified with: Climbing.
What makes you laugh? Taking pictures of bottoms. Something she and her brother have recently started. They think they are hysterical.
What is the best time of the day? Birthdays!
What are you afraid of? Monsters ghosts.
Who is your best friend? Ginny
What do you like to do with your family? Watch shows and play Hi-ho Cherrios.
What do you love to learn about? Letters. This feels reminiscent of last year's potty training answer. She should be learning about her letters, but I am a bit dubious that they are where her passion lies.
Where do you like to go? Ginny's house
What is your favorite book? Lollopy Lew the Hare. Which is actually titled Digger and Lew.
What is your favorite show? True and the Rainbow Kingdom. Like her brother, this changes regularly.
What is your favorite movie? Snow White and Finding Nemo. I forgot we own Snow White so I thought she was making Snow White up. She's not. My bad.
If you had one wish what would it be? To be a mermaid. Oh heavens.
What is your favorite thing about turning 4? Going to preschool for one more time.
Is there anything else you'd like to add? The kind of movie I don't like is Monsters versus Aliens and . . . and . . . and . . . I don't know anything else.

My favorite part of doing this interview is that Cheeks would pause a lot to think through how she was going to answer. (It wasn't always apparent it was well thought out given some of her more enigmatic answers.) When I Iet her watch herself she kept trying to fill in her pauses, as if she were saying, "Come on, you can do it, This is your answer!" Hahaha.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Garden Experiment - Results

I feel as though this ear of corn is representative of how our garden fared this summer. So sad. It had so much promise, but out of our 6 sugar snap pea plants, only one survived and yielded a very small handful of peas. Our cucumber plant had one hopeful that shriveled along with the rest of the plant. Our cantelope, watermelon and red bell pepper plants yielded not a thing, our other pepper plant yielded two peppers of decent size and edibility. Our pumpkin plant wended its way through our yard and into our neighbors, but with all it's greenery we have only one pumpkin that I'm pretty sure is slowly getting eaten by the mice burrowing holes in our garden. And finally we have tomatoes. Last year, these plants were by far our most productive. This year, even they are struggling. We have a few, but we are still waiting to see if they will make it to ripeness.

Sigh. We've had  plenty of sun, vegetable food, compost, raised bed soil, water. I really thought we'd see more success. I don't know where we went wrong. Thankfully we are not subsisting on our harvest. We'll try again next year.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse 2017

When I think of the total solar eclipse, this is the image that I will always remember. The dark sky with white streams radiating from behind the moon. It truly was breathtaking, totally living up to the hype. I'm 100% positive that if I didn't live within the path of totality I would not have traveled for it. Now that I know just how awe-inspiring it is, I am far more likely to travel to see it the next time. Totally worth it.

We weren't sure what the roads were going to be like since we were being asked to prepare as if it were going to be a natural disaster, so Matthew worked from home on Eclipse day (Boy Howdy kept calling it an eclipment.) I'm so glad he did. It was a fun morning to spend together. For us, the moon started covering the sky just after 9am. 

The evening before we explained to the children that they needed to wear their eclipse glasses. They were very seriously warned that they might go blind if they didn't. 

Thankfully they took this advice to heart because they were very strict about putting them on anytime we checked on the moon's positioning from the very beginning. With a daughter that constantly takes off her 3-D glasses at a movie, I was very impressed with their diligence. Boy Howdy kept asking Cheeks if she wanted to go blind.

The first thing I noticed was just how yellowy dark it was getting. So eerie and surreal. At one point I told Boy Howdy that it was almost time for bed. "Aaah Mom!! Can't we just a few more minutes??!?" Poor boy. After a few minutes laughing at my own little joke, I reassured him that we had just barely had breakfast, he didn't have to go to bed anytime soon.

Within just a few seconds it went from dusk to complete darkness and the real show began. I was blown away. The neighborhood erupted in cheers. It was as though heaven were showing off in the most wondrous of ways. And then as soon as the sun peeked out just the tiniest of amounts we were once again bathed in morning sunshine. It was actually quite astonishing just how little sun is required to light the world. Such a lovely metaphor for the Christ as the Light of the World and letting our own light shine.

Thank you Heaven for putting on such a brilliant celestial show! Definitely the best of the my life to date!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Anniversary Trip

Matthew has to travel to Michigan for work every other month for a week. This year, his trip coincided with our 11-year anniversary. But this time he needed to stay for 10 days. My darling sister, Melissa, gave us 2-weeks of babysitting for Christmas and she and her family were kind enough to let us exercise our present so I could join him for 6 of his 10. 

First off, the babes were OVERJOYED to spend (as they called it) a couple weeks at Aunt Melissa's house. I tried repeatedly to explain that a couple weeks is 14 days and they would only be there for 6, but nothing would deter them or their enthusiasm.

Secondly, Matthew was working during the day giving me some much needed alone time to exercise or sleep or shower or wander around the city. I LOVED my alone time. But I also loved my time with my husband. We celebrated 11 blissful years together, we went to the movies in the middle of the day (never before have I seen a movie in such comfy conditions - they may have made me sleepy!), we spent a day tooling around lake shore towns, we visited my dear college friend, enjoyed time just the two of us, and ate lots of yummy food. 

Thirdly, I left early Wednesday morning, and by Sunday night I was still not missing my babies. I was thinking, I could do this alone thing all the time. Why do I have to go home? The next day I got on a flight still not sure I was ready to be a mom yet. My sweet niece Emmalee kindly brought my children home and put them to bed so I wouldn't have to go pick them up. When they ran into my room the next morning I was overcome with excitement to see them. I DO want to be a mom. I AM grateful to spend my days with them. And coming home, I was a kinder, happier mother.

A few days later, Matthew joined us and Friday we went to the pool as a family. They were so excited to go to the pool, but to have their dad with them too was just beyond joy for them. I love my little family, and I am so grateful to my sister and her family that made me remember just how much.