of the water,
this is heaven.
Friday, August 31, 2012
One day during a time when we had been listening to the soundtrack of Wicked a lot, I walked into the living room where Jared was sprawled over a chair, singing and playing on his ipod. I asked him what he was singing and he said
I was singing ‘Dancing Through Life,’ mom, except that instead of singing ‘nothing really matters’ I was singing that Heavenly Father’s plan is what really matters…
Another day out of the blue he came up to me and asked, “Mom, when you’re old do you want to go in a nursing home,....or do you want me to keep you out?” (Nice to know I have options!)
And just a few minutes ago while he was in the kitchen heating up a corn dog for lunch,
I love ketchup, I just love it. Ketchup is the best thing that ever happened to America…
Thursday, August 30, 2012
It’s not often I get an excuse to say that, but I’m going to right now.
Jason emailed me on Monday and asked if I would send him his baptism pictures.
I experienced a moment of panic. Was he ever baptized? If he was, did we take pictures? Why don’t I have any memory of this??
And then I walked into my closet and scanned the photo albums.
What—you don’t have all of your photo albums in your bedroom closet? You must not be living in an 1100 sq ft. apartment!
I did the math in my mind…Jason was born in…92. Wait—that means he would have been baptized in 2000. It was his very stressful baptism that happened right before the triplets were born.
I pulled down the album marked 99-2000, thumbed through it, and within a minute had 3 pictures from his baptism day. (Sorry there weren’t more, son…at that moment I was about 25 weeks pregnant with triplets and I distinctly remember that I was not having a very good day…) I scanned them and shipped them off to him via email about 10 minutes after I received his request.
I feel so inept and disorganized so much of the time. How nice to have this little moment to see that actually, there is at least a smidgeon of organization in my life…
In January (after the all-important Lord of the Rings marathon), we went with Mahon and Cindy Lynn to Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor waterpark in Charlotte. When we arrived we all hurried into our swimsuits and went right away to ride the big waterslides. For some reason (no longer remembered), I needed to run back to our room and so I told Russ & the girls that I would rejoin them after their next ride.
I had anticipated that I could make it to the room and back just in time to catch up with them as they came off of the slide. I have no idea whether or not that was actually true, because what I had not anticipated was that due to the visual homogeneity caused by my nearsightedness I would not actually be able to find them again—all I could see was flesh colored blobs in bathing suits.
I watched at the bottom of one slide for a while, then panicked and decided that I must have missed them and went to watch at the bottom of another slide. After watching there for a while I irresolutely walked to another place to look up the stairs, then back to the bottom of the first slide.
I was not unaware of the irony of the situation—there I was in a fun place, not having any fun at all. It reminded me of my freshman year in high school when I’d gone on a band trip before I had any good friends in the band. After playing in a competition we had an entire day to spend at a local amusement park—where I was distressed to learn how unfun a fun place could be without someone to enjoy it with. I thought of that day in the amusement park as I squinted at each tube of swimmers coming down the water slides, wondering where my family was. I had no desire to go off on my own, knew that the only fun for me that day was in having this experience with my family. Over and over in my mind I heard the words, “not without you…” And when they finally came spinning out of the tunnel, my heart lightened immediately and instantly the day was happy again.
In the months since that day in Great Wolf Lodge I’ve had the opportunity to learn the truth of those words in a deeper way. Living for 3 months in North Carolina without Russ, traveling with only the little kids, being away from Josh for so long, all of those things have shown me more deeply how important our family is. There have been many times since we arrived in Oregon that the memory of that moment has come back into my mind. I think it’s a good thing that I have a recurring reminder that the best place in the world isn’t happy enough without my whole family, and that as long as we are together we can be happy anywhere.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
It’s those darned wild blackberries. They’re everywhere. In my fridge, just calling to me as I walk by. Growing along the street where I walk. I can’t ever resist grabbing a few…or twenty. After all, I tell myself, lots of antioxidants. Lots of vitamins.
Yesterday I pulled the container of blackberries out of the fridge and washed a few to put in my greek yogurt. I rinsed them off, picked off the bits of stems & leaves, and dropped them in the colander to dry a little. When I looked back to see if they were ready to go in my yogurt, I thought that I had missed a bit of stem. I picked it off.
Except it wasn’t a bit of stem.
It was a tiny worm.
DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY OF THESE BERRIES I HAVE EATEN, UNWASHED AND UNEXAMINED, IN THE LAST WEEK???
That is so nasty.
But it’s not like I can stop eating them, you know?
It’s probably a good thing the season is over soon….and for now I’ll just keep repeating in my head my new mantra
"what I don’t know I’ve eaten can’t hurt me…"
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Once, many years ago, I helped a friend move. Because of an unexpected winter storm she was leaving a day or two earlier than planned. As I helped clean I overheard her calling people in her ward to say goodbye. At the end of each phone call she cheerfully said, “Love ya!”
I was both annoyed and envious. Annoyed because I was sure she was being overly casual in her use of the word love. Surely she did not love all of these people! She may have liked them, appreciated them, enjoyed going to church with them. But love???
At the same time I envied her easy ability to express her love to so many. I’ve always been able to tell my family that I love them. Husband, children, parents, siblings—I tell them easily and often. But anyone else? There are many other people that I love deeply, and the feeling of wanting to express love has at times welled up inside of me, only to be stuck in my throat in fear and awkwardness.
When we knew that we were going to be leaving North Carolina and so many people that we truly loved, I resolved to step outside of my comfort zone and do a better job of telling people how I felt—I wanted them to know that I loved them.
I’d like to say that it felt great—that I felt peace at having finally expressed my true feelings. But the reality was/is more complicated than that. What I found was that I am not the only one with these issues. Often my expression of love was received with discomfort, awkwardness and even a bit of deflection. It made me sad that we have only this one word, love, and that in our society it is so completely associated with romantic and sexual love.
Greek scholars explain that in the New Testament there are several different Greek words for “love,” each one having a different meaning:
- eros—romantic or sexual love
- philia—a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity
- agape—general affection, holding someone in high regard, the word used to describe the relationship between Jesus and his beloved disciple
I wish we had a better way to express these feelings. Because really, isn’t it a good thing to know that someone cares deeply for you? Shouldn’t we want to be able to open our hearts to others in this way? Maybe it’s just the extrovert in me, wanting to communicate better. Maybe all of you introverts are just as happy keeping that all inside…but it’s sure bugging me…
PS--Wouldn’t it be obvious if I tell you I love you that there is only one person in this world that I love in a romantic & sexual way, and that that person is not you??? Unless you are reading this, Russ, and in that case I love you!
The day we left Kentucky and drove to North Carolina, Rachel, Jenna, & Jared turned 12. Can you believe it? From here
in the last 12 years.
When they all came home from the hospital I remember another triplet mom telling me that things would get easier in 18 months and then again at 3 1/2. I was certain I was not going to live that long.
But we did it, and wow has it been fantastic.
The kids were NOT enthused to have to spend their birthday in the car, but other than spend it in Kentucky (which Jared would have loved but the girls would have been unhappy about) there was no other alternative. We celebrated it in every way we could think of to make up for being in the car—they had cake and ice cream the night before at Uncle Val’s, I bought them each the breakfast cereal they wanted for that morning and their own car treat as well. They got whatever they wanted all day long and then when we got to North Carolina Olivia had planned a surprise birthday party for the girls and the Rogersons had a birthday cake for Jared.
Happy Birthday to my babies—I can’t believe I’m old enough for you to be 12!
I can’t tell you how many times over the last 9 months I have told myself that I should not be having a hard time, because my lot in life was not nearly as difficult as _____’s (fill in the blank) life.
Sometimes this comparison worked. There were moments when it truly helped me to remember that other people were out of work longer, that other people also had to leave the place they loved, that other people had trials that made unemployment and moving seem inconsequential.
But there were moments when this comparison didn’t help at all—moments where instead of feeling encouraged I just felt more frustrated.
I finally realized something--
Perspective helps…until it doesn’t.
Sometimes it helps to look around to gain perspective on our trials. Sometimes seeing the suffering others are experiencing helps us to appreciate how much more difficult our own lives could be.
But sometimes (and I have yet to see a rhyme or reason in the timing) it doesn’t work that way at all. I finally decided that there are times when we need to allow ourselves to feel sorrow and anguish about the experience we are going through. Moments that we should grieve about what we have lost, whether or not that loss seems as significant as another’s. I have come to believe that while perspective is helpful, we also must acknowledge and honor the feelings in our hearts…and only then can our hearts can begin to heal.
Monday, August 27, 2012
I have had words churning around in my head for weeks and weeks now. Weeks where I was driving across the country. Weeks where I was making freezer jam and pioneer clothes. Weeks where I was driving across the country again. And all the while, words, words, words. Half formed thoughts would swim around in my brain at night. Potential blog posts formed and reformed. And there was never any time to do anything about it.
I decided that once we returned to Oregon again, I was going to give myself some major downtime and work through some of these ideas. So consider yourself forewarned…
Here come the words!
Sunday, August 26, 2012
While I was always happy to have my babies grow into good-sleeping, self-feeding, non-tantrum-throwing individuals, one thing that made me sad as they grew was the gradual disappearance of kid words. Words like “liberry,” “frigilador,” and “livening room” and “chicken pops” made me smile every time I heard them and I always felt a prick of sadness when I noticed that they had been replaced by the correct word.
I decided this week that the antidote to that sorrow is to spend more time driving across the country with my kids. They have said things that made me laugh more than I could imagine and that I am still smiling about. These days I have to record them really quick or I forget what was said, so I usually grab my cell phone and send a text to my email containing the funny comments. Here are two from our last day of traveling:
We were listening to the first book in “The Work and the Glory” series. The kids are pretty traumatized that when the girl in the story finds out that her fiance has joined the Joseph Smith’s church, she tells him that she will have to break off their engagement because her parents would cut her out of their lives if she married someone who associated with Joseph Smith.
Jared: I’d give up my parents, no offense.
Later Rachel was protesting when she was blamed for something.
Rachel: It’s not my fart!!!
(which is quickly on it’s way to becoming our new favorite thing to say to each other!)
Friday, August 24, 2012
When we went to pick strawberries for the first time we were told about the blackberries that grow wild along the roads. I was happy to hear that they wouldn’t ripen until the end of August, and started watching to see where they were growing. Which was almost everywhere.
Jenna and I went out to pick berries yesterday afternoon so that we could make a pie. As I picked and picked, I realized that there were a lot of life lessons being taught to me right there beside the road.
The first lesson was that sometimes you have to stop and look for a while before you can truly see what is there. Every time Jenna and I would move on to a new area I would think “well, there’s nothing here.”
But then as my eyes adjusted and I widened my focus, there would be berries and more berries.
Sometimes there were berries that just weren’t ready yet. There was nothing that we could do to rush them—they must be allowed to ripen in their own time before they can be enjoyed.
We saw many beautiful berries that were just out of reach. Often these berries seemed bigger and more luscious than those that were right in front of us. Maybe they were. But while we were focused on what we couldn’t have, we were missing out on what we could have.
Picking wild blackberries isn’t a risk free proposition. It is messy.
There are huge thorns everywhere just waiting to grab you and catch your clothes or scratch your skin.
Sometimes (even frequently!) if you’re eating berries as you’re picking, you get a sour berry, sour enough to strip the enamel from your teeth.
Some might think the risks are too great and the benefits too small to make it worth it to pick the wild berries. But the good berries are amazing, and when you pop one into your mouth and experience that burst of sweet and tangy flavor suddenly the work, scratches, and sour berries are all forgotten.
Finally, even though we were there to pick the berries, there were many other beautiful thing to see and appreciate.
PS—if you eat wild blackberry pie for both breakfast and lunch, you should probably include some cheese as well…
Thursday, August 23, 2012
When my babies were born there was inevitably a period of time when they liked to stay up and party at night and then sleep a lot during the day. My mother in law would always say, “Sounds like they have their days and nights mixed up.”
Well I’m thinking that something about driving over 7000 miles in the last month and spending a night in every time zone across the United States in the last week has mixed up my days and nights just a little. This morning I woke before 6 and couldn’t get back to sleep, and then this afternoon I took a… <drum roll, please!>…four and a half hour nap!!!
About 7pm last night we drove past the sign on the highway,
next 5 exits
This time it was different. We stopped at the church and dropped Jared off at his deacon’s activity. We pulled into the parking lot at the apartment, left everything in the van, and the girls and I went for a walk with the camera in the cool evening air. We walked by a beautiful rose bush and I took a few pictures.
On our way back we picked wild blackberries on the side of the road in front of the apartment for a little while, laughing that it was good that the sweet berries were so delicious, because the sour berries were so sour. We planned to go out again this morning and pick enough berries for a pie and a cobbler.
I woke up way too early this morning and lay in bed, crying. I miss my place. I miss my people. I no longer have a week at the beach to look forward to and our house in North Carolina closed this week.
I am going to have to figure out how to have a life in Oregon for real now.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Rachel: Can I use your computer?
Me: Sure. What do you want to do?
Rachel: Write a book.
Josh: I learned how to do a back flip at Defy Gravity. It was fun.
Me: Oh back flips are fun.
Josh: You can do a back flip?
Me: Yeah—I used to be a diver.
Josh: Are you sure???
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
One evening at our family reunion while I was napping the other parents played night games with the kids. I heard repeatedly about the favorite experience—tossing the kids into the air on a blanket. Child after child got the experience of being bounced in the air on a blanket held by parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
(awesome picture taken by my awesome brother Jeff)
The next night one of my sisters asked the other, “Do you think that we should play games again tonight?” And that sister wisely said something like, “magic moments only happen every now and then—I don’t think we should force it.”
The first night that we were here at the beach I sat in the hot tub talking to Ann. The almost full moon and scattered clouds caused the night sky to be unusually light and there were few stars visible. As we were talking I noticed a bright light moving above the horizon behind Ann. It was big and kind of slow and at first I thought it must be an airplane or a satellite. After another moment I realized it was a shooting star—huge and slow moving in the pale night sky. It was beautiful.
Usually I have a hot tub protocol. I put my hair up so that it won’t get wet and wear my glasses so that I can watch the sky. As we sit and talk I scan the night sky, enjoying the stars (and the occasional planet), but always watching for a shooting star.
My initial response when I saw that shooting star the other night was along the lines of “oh, I’ll have to run get my glasses on so that I can see other shooting stars, I wouldn’t want to miss any.”
But then I had another thought. The shooting star was magical—a gift in that moment. Somehow it seemed that the anxious pursuit of another would diminish the experience that I had just had.
I’m not very good at savoring the moment I’m in, especially the incredible moments, without immediately wanting more. Another bite of fabulous chocolate, another exhilarating wave to ride, another snorkeling trip, another late night conversation. Just like a greedy child, I always want another.
I’m trying to turn over a new leaf. A new leaf that takes a step back and controls a little less. A new leaf that understands that I’ll be happier if I fully cherish the moment I’m in without desperately reaching for more. A new leaf that trusts that there is more magic ahead…
PS—how ironic that I should just run into this cartoon online…
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Sunday, August 5, 2012
What do these three hymns have in common?
- Angels We Have Heard on High
- Redeemer of Israel
- All Creatures of Our God and King
If you guessed that those are the first three hymns we sang in the hot tub tonight in beautiful four part harmony, you’d be right. It was lovely.
(If you guessed that those are the hymns to be sung in 50 years at my funeral, you’d also be right. But you’re a little morbid for thinking about that…)
We have made this trip many times. Many, many times since the first time over 15 years ago. So many times that the parts of it are now predictable.
Preparation…starting weeks and days in advance, culminating in a crazy morning of packing and loading and car treats and who’s riding where.
Driving. We all know the way. Know that the first stop is in Warsaw at the rest area, along with lunch at Wendy’s if necessary.
After Warsaw (two exits after, to be exact), we turn off the freeway.
We know what towns we will pass along our way. Beulaville, Jacksonville, Swansboro, Cape Carteret. Each one brings us closer. And then we turn off of the highway and we see it…in the distance, the bridge.
We marvel at how many other cars there are, how many other people are also anxious to arrive at our favorite destination. But we are really not paying much attention to the other cars because there is too much to see.
We turn one more time and our destination is before us. Like Lewis & Clark, we cry,
“Ocean in view…Oh the joy!”
We shift our eyes to the right and we see it, Big Bertha, our home away from home. Can our neighbors have known, fifteen years ago when they suggested we celebrate our 10th anniversary at their newly rebuilt beach house, how much would come to love it?
We unload the cars as quickly as possible, running suitcases and boxes and coolers and bags up into the waiting rooms, and then we throw ourselves into our bathing suits and run outside.
Let the happiness begin.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
(better late than never…which applies to a lot of posts right now!)
After we left the campsite on Saturday (on our way back to the traffic jam that was Portland) we did some more fun things. First we crossed the "Bridge of the Gods" (I didn't see much about it that was God-like...)
and then went to the Bonneville Dam.
We were excited to see several salmon swim up the fish ladders,
but the highlight of that tour was definitely seeing the lamprey fish. Seriously, I have never seen anything as bizarre as their perfectly round mouths attached to the fish ladder viewing windows while they held on to rest for their upstream swim. They were so strange that we thought at first that they were something that was attached to the windows to show how fast the water was moving.
Here’s a little video I took so that you can see them in action. Normally I mute the videos but if you listen you can hear Russ reading the info about the Pacific Lamprey.
We had a nice picnic lunch near the dam and enjoyed watching the water and the wildflowers.
We left the dam (we did not get to drive on the "dam access road,") and then drove to a scenic part of the highway that was just littered with waterfalls. Seriously, Hawaii doesn't have anything on Oregon for waterfalls. We saw quite a few that were right by the road, and then hiked to another that was in a scenic grotto that couldn't have been prettier if it was designed by Hollywood. After that hike I decided that I was probably never going to be able to walk again, and that's when we headed on to Portland.
If you’re wondering why we only have one child with us in the waterfall pictures, Jared & Josh decided to skip out on the post-campout fun and went straight back to Hillsboro. And Rachel was so tired and cranky that she didn’t want to get out of the van to see any waterfalls. We left her in the van to take the short hike and she took a nap and was much more cheerful when we got back.
The only bad part of the trip was the traffic. It was supposed to only take us an hour and a half to get there, but Russ & I both managed to hit terrible Portland traffic on our way to Beacon Rock. I figured we'd have no problem driving back on Saturday but no, they were doing road construction in downtown Portland and had an entire section of interstate shut down. The upside of the construction was that we ended up driving through a different section of Portland with some really amazing houses and some other neat views.