Thursday, July 19, 2007


I'm always amazed at how much fun can be packed into summertime in the Northwest. We've picked berries, wriggled our toes in the sand at low tide, gone camping, and been for a dip in the lake and in the river. We've seen outdoor theatre in the park, listened to summer concerts downtown, been to the library and read many books. We've taken the kids hiking, bike riding, horseback riding, swimming . . we've been to triathlons, street festivals, tea parties, played with friends . . .
. . . and there's still so much more of the season to be lived. We had a picnic dinner tonight for my birthday and went for a beautiful walk along the bluffs above Puget Sound. (My birthday is actually this weekend, but we're headed out of town for a triathlon, so I get an extended celebration :)
A couple of really cool things have happened recently. Our 6-yr-old, the youngest of three girls, has always been our 'baby'. But she's growing up. Her timing couldn't be better, either, with a new sibling coming along. She's learning all kinds of things that are giving her huge confidence. This spring she took off in reading and is now really into chapter books. While we were camping a couple of weeks ago, she learned to get over her fear of water. She isn't lap swimming yet, but she is having a lot more fun at the beach. Last summer we tried to get her bike riding, but she didn't show a lot of interest. So we tried again this week. It took some diligence on our part, but she was sooo excited to finally 'get it' and be able to ride with her sisters. The very same day she learned a very different skill. She's always been talented when it comes to art - really takes us by surprise. This new piece left us in true amazement:
Yep. The back of our PT Cruiser, nicely done is white on navy rock scratch. The clean slate before it was etched upon used to look more like this:

She thought it would rub off like when you write in the dust with your finger. No such luck. For comic relief, we've come up with many things she could have etched on instead of a smiley face. I guess we got lucky. We have a nice message to display to all those people who drive on the road behind us. Her birthday is next month. Instead of some colored pencils and paper, or some new paints and white canvas, we were thinking . . . maybe we'll just head over to the junkyard and buy her a door with a sharp rock collection to go with it.

(Ironically, the car has a dead battery. It happens. It's a car. Grown-ups understand this. ) When the child was confronted and asked why she would do such a thing to the car, she responded, "But the battery is dead, I didn't think you wanted it anymore." A true child of the new millenium - if the batteries don't work, it has no worth. Perhaps we'll do some learning on rechargeable batteries.

Monday, July 16, 2007

"From wonder into wonder, existence opens." - Lao Tzu

Life is a road map.

It's a big broad picture with shapes and lines and colors. Sometimes it has a key to decipher it, sometimes you're on your own. Whatever happens, you find yourself travelling down a road. It might be a many-laned freeway with frequent travellers all headed in the same direction. Maybe you end up on a dusty, bumpy, country lane with no signs and not an intersection in sight. Sometimes your sense of direction carries you to the destination you had in mind. Other times you feel lost amidst a myriad of intersections in a busy city. You can make frequent stops at the greenspace labeled, 'park', or many passes along the lakeshore to admire the view. Days can go by sitting in rush hour traffic in the smog with cranky drivers honking horns and flipping you off. Half the time there you struggle to get off on the exit you want. Better days might be driving through town to clearly marked stops. You can pause at the stoplights and watch the people and life pass by. The speed doesn't seem so rushed and hurried. I think some people choose to drive the same routes over and over; it's comfortable, familiar, predictable. Others like a little variety - a new scene, and choose new roads, often wondering where they'll lead. It's a little risky sometimes - you might get lost - but there's that chance that you'll discover something new and exciting along the way. Even though you might miss out on something new, there's something to be said of driving down the road you've been on a million times, those days with a sunny sky, the windows rolled down, and old music on the radio.

Funny thing . . . you're rarely the only one out there on the road. There are a lot of different road maps, but it's amazing how much they overlap and where they intersect. The other drivers on the road can make a big difference in how you experience the drive. Sometimes it's as if you're all pushing the speed limit in a pack on a long road trip, other times it's just the slow truck on a one-lane highway that forces you to slow down when you can't pass. It seems we all initially pull out the road map, figure out where we want to go, and head on down the road. But where we truly end up or where we spend our journey is anyone's guess. We pass each other and often leapfrog our stops. One road leads to another and the course becomes ever-changing.

I'm fascinated by maps. There's no concrete beginning or end to any trip, but I'm always up for the ride. It's amazing what you see when you look out the window and make frequent stops.


Here's a profile of the little face growing inside of me - early photos for the family album. This was taken the third or fourth week of June. I'll have another ultrasound at the end of July to check and see how the baby's doing. We don't know yet if it's a boy or a girl, but already have names picked out for either. Hopefully we'll be able to find out in a few weeks if we're adding a fourth girl to our collection . . . or if it's a boy and we'll need to get a new rule book.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Rodents of the Skies

I learned something about myself this last week. I don't laugh often enough. I've thought about it lately - I'm a pretty intense person emotionally. I need to remember to loosen up more often and have fun. I'm a planner, a worrier, meticulous about detail. I think what finally clinched the whole needing to laugh thing more, was actually having several moments of it - day after day, and realizing how much fun it was - laughing, I mean. After driving across the state and camping in 95 degree weather with the kids . . . there really wasn't a whole lot to do there. We - on a rare occasion - didn't overplan with sights to see and activities galore. It was even too hot to play frisbee. There was a swimming hole, but you can't stay in there all day. So - hot and irritable to an extent, the kids didn't fall asleep until after 11:00. But my husband and I were awakened around 4:30 (to a gorgeous sunrise that I have no regrets about being up to see) by the squawking. Yes, the lovely squawking of the crows. If crows don't live in your neck of the woods, then you simply must consider the title of my post to understand. I mean - you're out in the wilderness - camping in the middle of nowhere - hot as hell and desert-like, but beautiful - and you're awakened by scavengers with scratchy voices. I think there is some Native American story about how the crow lost it's singing voice. If there isn't, there really ought to be.

So, admiring the colors of the morning sun . . against the contrast of the loud annoying birds, with tired jollies from lack of sleep and another hot day ahead of us, my husband and I started mimicking the birds - inserting words with what they might be saying to one another - and we just started cracking up and I couldn't stop. Then a looooong freight train rolled by - aways away, but quite audible. One of the kids sat straight up in bed from a dead sleep, watched the train intently, then laid back down and went back to sleep. The next child, out of the blue, and an assumed sleep, called out, "Are those stinkin' birds?!" All the more fodder for my inability to stop laughing before 5 in the morning.

I had another such unstoppable laughter episode involving mayonnaise and trying to make sandwiches on a beach towel under a tree in the shade. I greatly dislike mayonnaise, and that's all I'm gonna say about that story.

Camping was a blast though, it always is. Before our trip, we did something different this year for the fourth of July holiday and took the kids hiking. We went around the back side of Mount Rainier - checked with the ranger about the trail and everything. Should've been a great 4-mile hike with the kids - excellent views and not too much elevation gain. It was beautiful and warm and sunny - but the ranger never said anything about the snow. We spent two hours trying to connect the dots with the trail that was covered about 95% in snowfields. The kids finally lost the feelings of nervousness and frustration and sledded and skiied down the hills. It was really a beautiful hike . . . Mt. Rainier is one of those things in life that humbles you and puts life in perspective.
PS. I added a photo of Clint to my last post