Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 29

8 Years ago today, I anticipated this date being the best day of my entire life ever after.

It was the day I married my best friend.

Our love looks a lot different on us now than it did 8 years ago, which happened expectantly.

Back then, it was sunshine and possibility.

Now, it looks more like a dream of countless responsibilities come true.

I think I must have figured at the time that we would face both the good and the bad times together strong and fearless, but that forever this particular date would be perfect and sacred. I thought perhaps that September 29th would be a perpetual day of all said responsibilities standing still so we could stop and reflect for a moment on puppy love, butterflies, rainbows and butterscotch candies that skipped down the aisle with us on that fateful day in 2001. I thought maybe that life would just take a break for the day, and we could turn the answering machine on and sit for awhile, and remember when...

Today, September 29th means so much more to me than it ever did back then. Its not such a butterfly and rainbow colored day anymore. The answering machine is full of daycare calls, Dr appointments, and bill collectors. I spent the last 2 years running and working off the butterscotch candies, so I'm sure as hell not eating them now, and the puppy love grew into a giant black lab that barks at all hours, poops the size of Everest, and eats remote controls, Lego's, and paychecks alike.

Its still the 8 year anniversary of marrying my best friend, yes.

But now it stands for much, MUCH more as well.

Its also the 2 year anniversary of the passing of a very dear man who happened to be the father of my best friend from childhood. He taught many of my classes throughout high school, but beyond that, he was also a coach, a chauffeur, a birthday party host, a minister, and a father figure to many besides myself. Because of this alone, it will always be a sad spot on this date, and also an opportunity to celebrate his life and the life that lives on thru the amazing family he left behind.

And just last night, on our 'anniversary eve,' I got a frantic call from my dear friend and neighbor, Kari. On the way home in the dark with her 2 precious girls in the backseat of their SUV, a deer jumped out in front of them on the freeway. There was no time to do anything, and she plowed into the beast going 70 mph. The airbags deployed, the tires exploded, the bumper and the deer are definitely goners... but our beloved Hammies are alive and well and without a scratch. I can't explain the feeling of seeing those little hands waving to me in the dark from the safety of the back seat of a patrol car. I cant express the gratitude I feel toward God in his heaven for allowing it not to be an ambulance. I can't begin to fathom having to tell my kids that something tragic happened to their little best friends (and mine!) on their way home that night.

But in a way, I am thankful for the entire experience because it reminded me in this very chaotic time of my life how fragile we really are.

It reminded me that we tend to build up certain days or events in our minds and hearts to mark momentous occasions.

But in actual reality, each passing day is a gift and a challenge that will change us and the way we love the people around us for the better if we let ourselves take in the pain and the sweetness alike.

This is how we become seasoned. This is how we appreciate the beauty and new opportunity of each day.

That is how we experience true love with our spouse, by being available as best we can in the midst of these changing experiences that happen all around us, no matter what day of the year it happens to be.

So on this anniversary of my wedding day, I must say, I am as thankful as ever that I married my best friend. Not in a giddy, silly, sunshine and possibility kind of way, but in a deep and seasoned, committed and real way.

I feel I am only beginning to understand the phrase 'better with time.'

8 years is nothing compared to the amazing journey of the joy and sorrow of life that lies ahead.

I love you, Tyson!


Thursday, September 17, 2009


I'm 26 years old, and I'm not ashamed to admit... I still need my parents.

My Mom was laid off in March, and my parents have made a lot of sacrifices in their budget to re balance their lifestyle. They could choose to let this affect their generosity, and tighten their grip on all their earthly possessions... and yet they have been and continue to be so gracious to our family. They are not wealthy by any means, they've worked incredibly hard for a long time to attain this level of stability and comfort in their current lifestyle. Yet even in the face of uncertainty in our tremendously unstable economy, they are willing to pass certain luxuries they've acquired on to Tyson and I.

Recently we needed a way to get Dawson to school each day, and my car isn't big enough to take all the kids I watch. I've been driving their NICE, HUGE car for almost a month now on loan indefinitely, and they are so gracious about allowing Tyson and I to stabilize our own employment situation until we work out something that better suits our current needs (aka: an ark).

My Mom is always so great about calling and asking if she can grab me any odds or ends when she is out. This week it was a couple gallons of milk from Costco (yes, we had consumed 2 gallons in 4 days). It feels good to know that even when you are juggling your own family schedules, your parents are still looking out for your best interests.

Both of my parents are so supportive and encouraging in whatever goal or interest I happen to be in the midst of. When I started trying to loose weight, my Mom met me for several mornings before the sun was out to put in a couple miles with me before she put in her 10 hour work day herself.

My parents are not only emotionally supportive, but sometimes even financially. My Dad has been known to teasingly roll his eyes and make a comment about being a human ATM machine as he forks over a contribution for new running shoes, or a bicycle helmet, or even a dance class for Anabelle. These are all things I could live without (and without them, I would definitely have to!). But they add such quality to my life and my children's lives, and it allows me to breathe in life and enjoy all its goodness without the stresses that could be without them.

BOTH sets of grandparents are also so great about helping with our kids. My children have the most extravagant wardrobe in town, and most of it is name brand stuff. How, you ask? Because our Grandma/Grammie are thrift store and garage saleing extraordinaries, that's how!

I was just thinking the other day how Tyson and I rarely have to turn down a social invitation due to lack of childcare. We manage to stay so well connected with our friends because we have incredible grandparents on our side. I get my exercise in most weeks by pawning my kids off at least one afternoon to my Mom (Tyson is working really long hours right now). We go to bible studies, BBQs, "proms," concerts or even the occasional just the 2 of us coffee date here and there because our parents are such warm people. I know they love their grand kids, but lets be honest... its WORK, and its a sacrifice out of whatever they have planned for the day. It makes all the difference in my life.

I just signed up to run a half marathon in Phoenix this winter with my best friend and her new husband. I don't have all the details worked out for how I'm going to get away kid free for a couple days to make this happen. But if I didn't have this village of people surrounding me, encouraging me every step and buying me new running shoes and meeting me before dawn, and selflessly giving of their time and treasure to our cause, I couldn't even consider making a commitment like that so far in advance. Not to mention I'd probably still be too huge to run that far!

Thanks, Mom and Dad for all the things you've given over the years to make our lives more comfortable. I am trying to soak it all in as time goes by so that I can be sure to pay it forward to my own children in the same spirit of improving their quality of life, and supporting their individual dreams and goals while not imposing my own on them.

I love you.

Its That Time Of Year Again...

Both of my kids are in their 'spooky' shirts to school today.
And our tree is turning Red.
Looks like the Fall dance I did last week is working its magic!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

No News is BAD News...

That's right, blog fans.

The reason I've been absent for a few days... the McDermott rascals have managed to break YET ANOTHER digital camera.

Pretty mysterious... I went to fetch it yesterday from its tranquil perch on the kitchen counter and found a suspicious lens error message when I went to turn it on. The online reviews suggest it might come from being dropped... which would explain why the battery door is broken off of it also...

I suspect the princess... who is going thru a particularly frustrating 'I don't have to ask before I borrow anything that doesn't belong to me because I own the world' kind of phase. She also looks the guiltiest of the suspected parties upon interrogation.

Stay tuned never the less. I may just have to channel my super potent descriptive writing abilities to paint pictures of blog worthy events in your minds eye since I have no camera side kick for the time being.

Hmph. I'm off to play the lotto.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Run, Run, As Fast As You Can...

Kindergarten Update:

Dawson is in loooooove. With his teacher, with his 'new friends' and with the entire experience thus far. He comes home every day with a stack of neatly organized paperwork with little smiley faces on all his 'hard days work.' He is a cutting, gluing, coloring crayoning wonder, and I'm loving every moment of being here when he walks thru the door and talks my ears off about the magic of his day.

It only fueled his kindergarten torch of passion when his teacher selected HIS NAME out of her magic SuperStar of the Week raffle ball. He was the very first one of the year, and thought he was just made to be important all week as he lead lines, wore his royal crown and used his magic superstar wand as the center of attention on the special SuperStar wall where he shared photographs to his captive audience of royal subjects.

To put the whole experience thus far completely over-the-top, his amazing teacher has a long running tradition of the second week of school being 'gingerbread week.' We had heard of the legacy from a few kindergarten veterans around the 'hood,' but of course nothing could come close to describing the anticipation of gingerbread Friday last week.

They spent all week talking about all things gingerbread... the teacher brought in pictures of gingerbread houses, told them all the story of the gingerbread man, taught them the song, etc.

This was all leading up to gingerbread Friday, when the kids and the teacher all made a giant batch of gingerbread, then cut out a ginger man and left him to bake in the oven. But... whats this?! When they go back to retrieve their new delicious friend... HE HAS RUN AWAY! and left a trail of flour all thru the school that all 30 kindergartners must follow to try to track him down.

OH! The adventure! The SUSPENSE! The sights of the schoolyard yet unseen to be discovered! I heard about the excitement and then tragedy of it all, when all they find at the end of the flour trail after tens of minutes searching far and wide is a note from that rascally ginger man saying (Dawson translated): "Some ginger breads LIKE to be eaten... AND SOME DON'T. I don't LIKE to be eaten, so I ran away."

EVERY kid emerged from the classroom that day telling the EXACT same story at the TOP of their lungs at varying pitches and speeds and volume levels (gahhhh! mass chaos!), and ALL of them wore the same sugar crazed expression:

Apparently in the end, the vanishing act wasn't a TOTAL bust, because The Runaway left enough cookies that 'liked to be eaten' to share with all the friends. The lovely teacher then unleashed the masses to the waiting parents looking rather smug and proudly announced that 'now that the children were as high as kites on a sugar rush, she was sending them all home for the afternoon.'

To sum up: We heart kindergarten. And long live the gingerbread man!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Baby, Come Back!

Today is an unexpectedly emotional day for me...

This morning I took Anabelle to her first day of 'real' preschool.

Our life has been pretty chaotic these last few weeks. Summer ended so suddenly, and it seemed we had to scramble to work out all the kindergarten details. Until Anabelle's meltdown upon her brother's grand send off, I hadn't really let myself believe she needed to go to preschool. She is different than Dawson in a sense that she is content here at home in ways that he wasn't at this age. She would be happy to sit around play dress up and bake banana bread and read stories in my lap all day long.

But she is also social, and bright, and deserves to be challenged with kids at her age level even though I might not want this to be true.

And so, Tyson and I talked it over, crunched some numbers, called on our dear friends for carpool help, and made arrangements last week so she could start a 2 half day a week program with her best friend Addisen at a fantastic program here in town.

We attended the open house a few days ago, and didn't tell her until the last minute that she could be going to this new school. Predictably, when we announced we were just going to 'check it out' she immediately got a scowled at me and demanded I leave here there for the day so she could be alone with her teacher and her best friend. Its nice to know my place in her world. ;)

The teacher had all the kids choose a card stock barnyard animal of a different color to take home and decorate, and bring back on the first day.

She chose the black sheep. Miss Jana took note of it.

The weekend was busy, we didn't discuss that the day was approaching so I don't think she remembered when she woke up this morning that today was the big day.

But when it was brought to her attention.... she was suddenly sunshine, and ready to go without looking back.

As you could imagine, it only fuels the excitement to have your favorite friend EVER waiting to make mischief with you.

I know in my mind that this is a perfect fit, even though it took some managing to make it happen.

But my heart feels very very sad that suddenly my babies are just not that at all anymore.