Thursday, August 30, 2012


 Once upon a time...I was not a Mommy.  I was not married.  I was a carefree elementary school student.  Almost carefree.  I had just moved to the Vancouver, WA area and was enjoying my first Sunday in a new Sunday school.  The teacher had invited her entire class over for the afternoon (a generous act she repeated many times over the years) and I was very nervous because I didn't know anyone!  Who would be a friend to me????  Would anyone like me????  The car was full and kids were having to share seat belts...I didn't know what to do.  Then a friendly voice said "You can share my seat!" and I looked over to find bright blue smiling eyes looking at ME. 
 It was the beginning of a very special friendship.  My family only lived in Vancouver for two very short years.  But my very best friends were found in that time.  Amanda and Rosanne became pillars in my life.  After we moved back to Gig Harbor our parents were faithful in shuttling us back and forth. Then when we were old enough we rode the train or drove ourselves to make sure to have frequent visits.  In between visits we wrote 12 page letters--no joke--before email things were so very different.  Phone calls were few and far between and could only be afforded when one of us saved up enough babysitting money to pay our parents for the long distance bill.
 We enjoyed countless trips to Lassen Pines Camp, Bible conferences in Burbank, CA and Walla Walla, WA, Rafting trips down the Deschutes River, Beach Party days on the Oregon Coast and snowboarding get togethers on Mt.  Hood and at Snoqualmie Pass.
 We always planned to marry brothers or friends and live just down the street from one another.  Well, Amanda and Rosanne DID marry brothers.  Imagine that.  They don't, however, live just down the street from one another.  And they both live hours and hours and hours away from me.  Rosanne and I got married just 3 months apart, had our first babies 4 days apart, and our second babies 2 months apart.  We chat on the phone often about our similar Mommy lives.  She is currently expecting Baby #4 and I'm excited to sit back and watch : ) 
 And then Amanda and I were blessed to both have baby girls just 5 months apart 2 years ago.  We declared that they would be BFF's--like it or not! 
 Last weekend when Amanda came to visit her brother and his wife Naomi over at the Diaries of the Happy Sanitarium, Naomi invited my family to come over for dinner.  I knew I would get caught up in conversation and neglect my camera--but I made a promise to myself that I would be sure to take pictures of the new generation of BFF's.  May they have as much love between them as we did.  As much fun together as we did.  May they be bridesmaids in each others weddings just as Amanda and Rosanne and I all were.  And may they be no where near as naughty as we sometimes were : ) 
 What would life be without them?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Time Keeps on Slippin', Slippin', Slippin'...

Last summer I spent each morning sadly counting down the days until I sent Ezra off to the first day of kindergarten.  I mourned the passing of time.  This summer I've employed a different tactic:  Denial!  I am in denial that next week I will send Ezra off for the whooooooole day to first grade and Caroline for the afternoons to kindergarten.  This tactic would almost have worked, except--these kids are so excited about school that they ask about 50 times a day "NOW how many days until school????"  When I ask them if they care that my heart is breaking they say with no feeling "Nope".  One day as we drove down the street I muttered "stop, time, stop!" and Caroline from the back hollered "go, time, go!"  The age old argument between mother and child.

So, as I try to slow time and they try to speed it along we've enjoyed a few summer activities...
 Such as popsicle making with the popsicle maker that Grandpa and Grandma Tractor got Caroline last year.  Blueberry-peach was a hit.  We need to go out on a limb and try "flavor core" popsicle making and diagonal stripes and so many other ideas the box shows.

 We went and watched the Boys of Summer.
 See that little orange hat just above the dugout?  That would be Ezra.  And the bobbing brown flower headed girl is Caroline.  They patiently waited for attention from the opposing team--unfortunately all the loud "Throw it here" older kids and pretty girls managed to catch all the balls thrown at the end of innings.
 Sitting right behind the dugout made me laugh this year--because I realized that those professional players are just the same as Little League players.  They laugh and joke and need to be reminded to pay attention to the game.  They chew sunflower seeds (okay, okay and "other stuff" too) and look around the stadium.  They are just little boys a few feet taller and a lot of $$$ richer.  And they don't have to sell candy bars or get their parents to shell out the big bucks for their uniforms each year.
 It was a perfect Seattle evening for baseball.  Unfortunately, the M's lost.  After that night they went on an 8 in a row winning streak.  And two nights later King Felix pitched a perfect game on the very mound we were so close to.   I think the mood in the stadium that night was a little different.  Win or lose, though, the kids are always excited to watch baseball.

 Caroline got to play school with one of her favorite older friends.  The dollies were willing and well behaved little students.

He's growing up...and up and up. 
I've been wanting to write down a few of the words coming out of mouths around these parts.  But, of course, I negelect to write things down when I should.
A few I can remember are:
When we are driving down the freeway Ezra always wants me to get into the "kiddie pool lane" to go faster.
When we are at swimming lessons Nora wants a chance to play in the "kitty cat pool". 
We eat a lot of "squash and bikini" from the neighbor's and my parents' garden.
On beans and rice night sometimes Nora wants to add "whackamole-ee" to her  burrito. 
And that's all I can remember at the moment. 
Now--off to see what I can do about stopping time some more.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An Evening Wedding at the Beach

 Don't worry, we'll get to the wedding.  But we need to start at the beginning of the day.  My dear cousin Ally got married last month and planned an evening wedding at the beach.  My Mom and Dad's house was the halfway point between home and the wedding for  many of our relatives.  So they hosted an afternoon bbq for a pre-party.  Emily and I had a lot of fun making fruit pizza--we pulled from this recipe and that and Emily decorated with an artist's hand, er, eye. 
 Three brothers working together--with one brother-in-law supervising. 
 Yummy goodies to feast on.  The below picture doesn't do it justice but herbed baguette topped with cream cheese, smoked salmon and roasted pineapple and habanero sauce goes down quite nicely. 
 My mom made an amazing pasta salad out of pasta butterflies, sauteed garlic, zucchini, summer squash, olive oil and all sorts of cheese goodness.  I keep meaning to get that recipe from her...but I probably just better not : ) 

 The weather was true Seattle area perfection.  Sunny and slightly warm with blue skies and a bit of a breeze. 

 Uncle Rob and Dad took charge of grilling the steaks.
 Grandma and I had to peace out of the party early and head to the wedding.  I was tasked with being a "greeter" and needed to arrive early.  And Grandma was tasked with being the Grandma : )  She needed to be there for photos.  I had the dubious honor of getting her there on time and unstressed.  Failed on both attempts.  We got quite lost (because of a direction glitch,  not my fault, I swear!) and a bit stressed.  But we ended up being right on time because they had told us to be there an hour earlier than we needed to be.  All's well that ends well!
 I wandered around enjoying the lovely little details while the bride and her party were photographed.  It was fun to be there and see the behind the scenes without any sort of stressful task to perform.  AND--all three kids were home with Daddy getting ready. 
 Ally represents the halfway point for Grandma.  That is, she was the 10th to get married out of 19 Grandchildren.  Ally's Mom is my Dad's only sister.  The baby girl in a family who had 4 boys.  Aunt Cindi grew up to have two daughters and no sons.  She told me it was God's gift to girls who had all  brothers.  Since I have all brothers, she promised me I would get the same gift.  I thought she was wrong after my firstborn was a boy--but lo and behold, here I am with two girls of my own.  I get to witness the beauty of sisterhood from a front row seat even if I did not experience it myself (until I got married and gained some sisters).
 Ally and Denise are exceptionally close--Ally's marriage and move to Portland is hard for Denise to adjust to.  But she put on a beautiful smile and acted as Maid of Honor anyway. 
 The little flower girl--she's been pictured on this blog before.  Two summers ago when we lived in Gig Harbor, Ally was nannying Baby Natalie and would meet me at the park or zoo so the kids could play together. 
 After the ceremony the kids renewed their friendship on the beach.  Natalie ate sand and my kids threw it.  It was a beautiful moment.

 A beach wedding is my favorite kind to attend.  The beauty is the obvious reason.  But as a guest with children, I just LOVE how the sand is built in entertainment.  It's calm and relaxing, (other than worrying about your children drowning) peaceful and lovely.  I have to say that I just loved this wedding.  It was simply done.  And I know that using the word "simple" and "wedding" together is truly oxymoronous.  But I mean that the details did not get in the way of the wedding.  They supported the main feature--the joining of two lives.  Man and Woman followign God's plan with their closest friends and loved ones as honored witnesses.  Ally's good friend and Pastor from when she was young came to officiate the wedding.  I so enjoyed what he had to say.  He read "the Love chapter" and substituted Ally and Jame's names instead of the word "love".  For example, he started with "James is patient, Ally is kind" and continued on from there.  Now, I've read that chapter many, many times.  I've heard it read at weddings many, many times.  I've heard it preached about and explained many times.  But it's never hit home so much as it did when he read it that way. 

 Denise giving her Maid of Honor speech and trying to keep it from getting emotional. 
 I NEVER get a good shot of the bride and groom.  It's tradition.
 Sisters--my cousins. 
 Wait--they're not married, right?
 Father of the Bride giving his speech--without getting toooo emotional.  Still can't stand going to weddings and thinking of that whole "giving away" aspect.  That's really gonna stink someday. 
 Another darling detail--s'mores on the beach!  So stinkin' cute!  And my kids loved it.  They pounded marshmallows faster than I could count. 
 See that driftwood structure back in the distance behind the girls waiting to catch the bouquet?  It has a little sign that says "honeymoon shack" and they took a bunch of bridal party photos beside it. 

 Here comes their boat to take them away.
 There were a bunch of pictures involving sparklers and long exposures with the camera.  They spelled out "just married" and "love".

 And then they were off...if they could only figure out how to get in that boat.
 There she is with the correct brother.
Aha!  He figured out how to get in.  I don't have any shots of it, but as the dingy motored them to the big boat a firecracker display lit up the sky above them.  Perfect ending.  Sadly, a bunch of the firecrackers fell over before shooting off and came shooting in the water right for them--thankfully their driver steered them away to safety, because, guess what?  Firecrackers DO explode under water.  Who knew?  Not me.  Scared the living daylights out of me.  But the rest of it was sure fun!