Friday, December 11, 2009

Monday Memory for December Friday

I haven't been playing so much the last couple of years. I haven't been playing at all really.  For all kinds of reasons.  The usual busyness works.   But I have so many memories of all kinds associated with those keys.  I guess they almost seemed to me to be haunted.  And I didn't want to release the ghosts.

However.  Once the snow flew last weekend, the Christmas voices called me and I found myself on the bench one day that I was alone in the quiet house.  Almost immediately the memories began floating around my head... but one came to stay and surprise me and make me smile!

"What Child Is This."  The tune is Greensleeves and my Aunt Cindy taught it to me.  Behind my Grandpa Garrety's big easy chair.  Maybe he was in it, but usually he popped the leg rest down and jumped up when we wanted to bang around on the big old upright in the corner - the bench right over the wrought iron heat vent in the floor.  I think it was fall, but I don't really remember.  The keys were real ivory and ebony some chipped, some cracked, the ebony worn soft and smooth with use.  My young aunt's hands were not yet so twisted and swollen with the arthritis that would later cause so much pain.  She was all cool and sweet and sassy from the 60s.  She was colorful with boots and beads and boyfriends.   I hadn't yet walked the aisle in pink crushed velvet & lace to stand on her side when she married my favorite.

She played the sweet gentle tune line by line and taught me the notes of a haunting melody that would hide in my heart for the next 40 years and surprise me over and over when I found it hidden in notes and words written in the pages of my lessons.  I could feel her joy and pride as I caught the notes and rhythm and feel of it. She loved me, but I'm pretty sure my aunt went out soon after - leaving the rest of the family to enjoy my never-ending one song recital!

With just a few notes of that sweet enduring melody from favorite carol I was there again.  I could almost feel the ivories under my fingers and smell the beef and noodles simmering in the kitchen.  Family talking and laughing all around.  My sister standing on the heating vent waiting for the furnace to turn on and bugging me to stop playing so we could sneak up the steep stairs and play in the front bedroom where my mom and aunt used to sleep while the trains rumbled by headed north.

Wordless Wednesday on Friday

The story in our house since the discovery of Axe in all it's permutations.  shew.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday for Thanksgiving

Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamations are my favorite.  This was published in our paper today - full page - by Scheels - a local sporting goods company.  I was so impressed that they took the ad with NO info about their store - no locations, hours, holiday special deals.  Nice. 

Friday, November 20, 2009

the WeekendEnd

can you BELIEVE it's already the weekend before Thanksgiving??  Ive been thinking alot about Thanksgiving this year.  What it means.  What it is.  How we celebrate.  We were reflecting together in family counseling last night about how life can continue to be good  is so many very imporant ways even as we experience great difficulty and adversity.  And by those things we grow and change and become even more who we are.

I love this time of year.  I am learning more and more about being thankful and saying thank you.

Jamie got her ACT scores for the Fall.  She was very please to earn at 36 (perfect) score on the English section.  Alex received an invitation to take the ACT early - this February or March I believe as part of a talented search.  He's pretty excited to get to compare to his sisters early!   Nate will be randomly checked on his performance on his weekly paper route.  Shouldn't be a problem - he does and awsome job and is the height of efficientcy!  Great mom and son time on Wednesday afternoons.

Looking for a cello instructor for Alex - with the regular 8th grade orchestra and the special Fm Youth Symphony he has more challenging music that usual so we're going to add a little help for him.  He sounds so good and seems to enjoy the groups.

I'm working on generating some holiday sales through Mary Kay - I have some goals I would like to meet before mid-december!  I'm excited to see if I can get there!  And I'm having so much much friends making and meeting new friends!

NEXT WEEK:  the plan is for the kids (Jamie, Nate, Alex) to drive the Regal down to Minneapolis on Wednesday witn Kathryn and Christian nearby in his van.  They'll work together to get everyone where they need to be when.  Jamie , Nate and Alex will be helping out at an Operation Christmas Child processing center Wednesday night.  Thanksgiving Dinner with the Millers Thursday.  Hanging out and maybe shopping Friday.  Home Saturday morning to catch up on homework!   We'll celebrate Alex's 14 birthday dinner on Saturday.  Yay!

I'm so thankful for the good people and friends I have in my life this year.  And thank ful for a weekend to think about it and enjoy them so much.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Nate's Angels

The school sent me a copy of this photo of Nate - which they used in the Moorhead School District Calendar this year.  I believe he's demonstrating a catapult for science class.
 It's the 2nd time they've used a picture of Nate - popular boy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Senior Moment for Jamie

Jamie took her ACT exam for the 2nd time this fall.  Her scores in the Spring were very good but she wanted to try again to see if she could improve - and boy did she!!

Jamie scored a PERFECT 36 on the English section!!  Yay!!  Congrats, Jamie!

English went from a 30, to the Perfect 36.  Reading improved from 30 to 34.  Science went up one from 24 to 25.  Math even came up from 17 to 21!! 

Her composite is a fabulous 29 (up from 25)!! 

She went online this week to get the scores early and she's so excited by the improvement.  She came home from the test and said she thought she aced it - I really thought she just meant she did well - not that she LITERALLY aced it!  Wow.  We'll celebrate as soon as she feels like getting out of bed!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

A familiar sight:  the mailbox for the cabin at Pine Haven.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Basketful of Memories

Seriously awesome kids.  I am so honored to have them in my life.

The basket has all kinds of wonderful in it:  an "I Spy" book, drawing paper and markers, puzzle books, candy (of course), chewing gum, snack crackers, juice drinks, dried fruit, trail mix, mixed nuts, playing cards, colored ink pens...I think that about covers it.  Nate found a really nice "Thinking of You" card that they all signed.

A nurse helped them find a place for it in the Family Lounge and was really excited about all the cool stuff they put in. 

We heard the piano playing on the main floor - a beautiful piece that the kids thought was the "player" piano.  Turns out someone was down there playing for us! 

On the way down in the elevator, we met the chaplain who was there with us when Phil was admitted to the hospital.  wow.

Nate had a really good idea - inspired by friends who cared for us when we were in need.  Just trusting now another family will find a little comfort when they need it.

Monday, November 9, 2009


At this time a year ago we were on about the fourth day of gray rain, wind, cold and even a little snow.  The fourth day of watching and waiting and wondering.  It seemed heaven cried with us.

This year it's suddenly unusually warm, pleasant even.  Frost patterned car roofs and painted leaves by morning.  Blue skies and sunshine by day.  Moonlight by night.  Peace.

Nature's relentless, redeeming hope shines through our shadows of heartache and grief.  Laughter and tears together. 

Nate proposed a really good plan for tomorrow.  No school for kids.  No work for mom.  Sleep in.  Quiet morning.  Lunch out together.  Shop for basket & stuff to fill it.  Visit Innovis critical care unit and leave the basket for someone there who needs it.  He has Good memories of the hospital - being surrounded by love and care and concern - being provided for in so many ways. 

Amazing Grace. 

Friday, November 6, 2009


Fall has finally arrived - the kind I like anyway.  We've had several days in a row of sunshine and temps above 50!  w00t.   The sunshine has been a welcome relief from the endless days of gray and drizzle we had in October.

Kathryn came home from Denver last week - leaving more than a foot of snow behind there!  We celebrated her birthday on Sunday.  Don't know how she can be 20 so soon - she was just 2 not long ago.  She's off again already - to Minneapolis this weekend with Christian to celebrate his sister's house warming.  She's job hunting this month and getting used to being back in Moorhead.

Jamie's last first concert of the year was last night.  The "masquerade" theme was alot of fun.  She received notification of her first scholarship today!  The Presidential Scholarship at Northwestern College in recognition of her academic achievements.  More than $5000!   She took the ACT last month - just waiting for the new scores.  We still need to visit MSUM here in town. 

Nate is still working on gaining weight (oh, how I wish I were so afflicted!!).  We all participated in a weigh-in last Saturday.  He's up at least 5 pounds - but Alex is keeping up with him!  We'll weigh again on the 15th.  With the time change, his Wednesday afternoon paper route has become a race with the sun.  He finished in very long shadows this week.  I'm pretty sure he has that route down to the most efficient possible plan. 

Alex is still enjoying Youth Symphony on Sunday afternoons.  It's a good thing I set an alarm on my phone - we don't seem to be able to remember it otherwise!  His next Knowledge Bowl Meet is Monday in Fergus Falls.  His team won 1st place at the Moorhead Meet.  The last meet is November 16.  He is almost never without his graphing calculator.  He "needed" it for algebra 2 (how did we get along without these??  yes.  I'm Old.)  He's not figured out how to play games on this thing, but how to program his own AND make the thing play music.  Not sure how much Algebra is getting done, but he's having fun with the "tool."

Jeff started training with Minnesota Relay this week (2 weeks, 5 evenings each).  They provide telephone assistance for the deaf and hard of hearing.  Still hoping things come together to start school at least part time in January.  We're pulling our plans together for a January 2 wedding with all our kids.  I have my hair appointment.  :-)  We have a nice place reserved for dinner.  We have a line on a judge to officiate.  Just need the location for the actual ceremony!! 

It's hard to believe it's November already.  Time seems to pass faster and faster.  Soon the year will be over and another beginning.  Until then, we give thanks for all we have and people to love us.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Masquerade! Jamie's Last First Concert

The Annual Cookie Concert at the high school is so fun!  The 9th grade orchestra, the Concert orchestra, the Symphony orchestra (jamie's!), the Chamber orchestra and the Apollo Strings all play - which is apparently why they have cookies to sustain us through the hour and 15 minutes!

This year's theme was "Masquerade."  Jamie made her own mask - isn't it cool??  Each orchestra played 3 pieces and then they ALL played "Orpheus" together at the end.  That's something close to 200 string players all at once. 

Kathryn & Christian came for supper (they're easy to lure in with free food!) before and then to the concert.  Nate stayed home sick and Jeff had to work.  We ended up with three extra tickets - I tried to get Christian and Alex to load up on cookies at the end since I felt we were really entitled to a dozen cookies but they are polite boys and only took 3. 

Mr Larson gets pretty attached to his students - I was pleased to hear him announce that the seniors are just not going to graduate this year.  We're not ready for Jamie to be done yet!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

"Keys"  by Alex, Jan 2009
I like Alex's unique perspective through the lens.

Monday, November 2, 2009

kathryn's birthday

She was so tiny.  And so sweet.  And such a joy I never new I was missing! 

Kathryn Lynn came to us in the very early morning November 2, 1989.  She was so little - just 5 1/2 pounds but so healthy and alert! I didn't believe in love at first sight until I saw Kathryn...

We missed all of Halloween waiting for Kathryn to come.  We learned all about hospitals and doctors and early labor decision-making waiting for Kathryn to come.  (enough to get us through 3 more pregnancies and births!) 

In the end she kept her waiting parent up all night for her arrival.  (a sign of things to come!)  And when she came, with the morning light - we saw the first new snow of the season on the rooftops.  Watching Kathryn has often reminded me of that first feeling of new light, a new day, so full of wonder and hope.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Catching Up!

This looks like Alex unloading his backpack!  Seriously.

Makeup homework has been the story of our life these last few weeks.  Jamie was sick (flu? maybe.) for a week and then went to New Orleans with the Habitat for Humanity trip for another week.  She decided to give up on Trig altogether as she already felt like she was hanging on by her fingernails in that class!  (her mom would have given up before she started!!)  But she's ALMOST caught up in everything else.  Alex is caught up in everything but Algebra (I'm sensing a theme).  Nate only has one more assignment for French and then he's back up to speed.  I feel REALLY sorry for the poor teachers who have to keep track of all these missing students and assignments.

Jamie had a GREAT trip to New Orleans.  (same trip Phil went on 2 years ago)  With all the homework drama, I haven't seen any pictures yet!  She worked hard and ate alot of new foods (stuffed crab, alligator, beignets...)  The President even came by to check her work at the Habitat site.  They spent one day working at a Fire Station - she brought home a really cool certificate of appreciation and NOFD T Shirt.  She even brought awesome gifts home for everyone! 

Nate finished the classroom part of driver's ed and is ready to enroll in behind-the-wheel training and take his permit test!  I can't believe we're just a few short months away from another driver in our family.

Kathryn is coming home from Denver today in the snow!  It started yesterday and dumped at least a foot on the ground which delayed her flight, but last I heard she and her guitar were on board and ready to roll.

Alex joined the "Knowledge Bowl" team at Horizon this fall.  He's an 8th grader so gets to be a team captain.  In his usual style, his team took 1st place in their first meet.  They have two more "away" meets coming up in November.

My Mary Kay business is going well, keeping me busy and never dull!  I'm meeting alot of fun women and even had my first "team member" join me this month.  I feel so fortunate to be able to continue to be at home with the kids.

Jeff needed a project today so he tackled the office - cleaned off and organized all the shelves and took us a long way towards the Study Room we want out there.  I'm going to miss his projects when he goes to school!!  He's still targeting January for that.  We expect him to have not one, but two job offers come in this week - so he'll get to take his pick of part-time employment opportunities.  Yay!

Our bathroom project has taken a leap forward - the old tub/shower is OUT, the new tub/shower and awesome fixtures are IN.  The drywall guys come tomorrow to clean up - and work on the dining room ceiling where the water leaked through.  This project should wrap up for now by next Monday.  And we have a BUNCH of big plans for phase two. 

It's been a gray, rainy October - seems like we could count the total sunshine in just minutes or hours at a time this year.  We're expecting snow by tomorrow to take us out of the month.  Hard to believe November is almost here.  I like Kathryn's facebook status today:   *click*  *save october*

Friday, October 9, 2009

TGIF -- Look out, New Orleans! Here Comes Jamie!

My girls are just running in front the wind these days!  Kathryn is loving her time in Colorado.  Jamie is heading to New Orleans early tomorrow (Saturday) morning.  She's traveling with a group of people from churches in Minnesota to work with Habitat for Humanity.  This is the trip Phil took two years ago and just loved.  She's headed for warmer weather and hard work!  She'll be gone for the entire fall school break - back home on Sunday the 18th.  We're going to miss her, but I know this will be a really wonderful opportunity for her.

Alex is enjoying youth symphony even though the music is "really hard!"  He's also been participating in "Knowledge Bowl" at school during lunchtime.  Somehow he didn't quite realize that he was on the team!  He has his first meet next Wednesday.  woohoo!  I'll tell you more about it when I figure out what it is.  :-)

Nate finishes the classroom part of Driver's Ed this afternoon.  He has two makeup days to do because he was sick last week - but then he will be able to go take his permit test!  Can you believe I'll have TWO new drivers in a year??  I think he's going to make a really good driver.

The boys have ONE day of school next Monday and then they're off for Fall Break all next week.  They're both looking forward to alot of down time.  I haven't shared MY plans for them just yet!  heh-heh-heh (evil mom laugh!)

HOME IMPROVEMENT UPDATE:  This was quite an eventful week in this department I tell you.  On the positive side - Jeff has spent ALOT of time finishing up in the garage - organizing tools, hanging bikes and other yard stuff.  He's moved several loads of "stuff" over from his storage unit - and we actually have room for it!!  He got the snow fence up yesterday - just in time with a little snow in the forecast for the next couple days.  The garage looks just awesome!

On the other hand - my 2nd floor bathroom is leaking into my 1st floor dining room closet.  The plumber says it's the old tub/shower unit up there - probably been leaking under the floor for awhile.  So we moved that project several places up the list to #1 and started the process of choosing a new unit, fixtures, etc.  Looks like we'll be ripping up the bathroom in the next couple weeks!  w00t!

AND - I took the van in to have the oil changed.  (I bought this great deal last winter for oil changes free & cheap).  This is the same place I took the car a couple months ago where they forgot to put the new oil back in.  I know.  So I drop the van, run over the supplier to choose tub & bathroom stuff, come back to get the van - I walk in and the guy says, "I have some bad news."  I really hate it when someone starts a conversation this way, right?  So I laugh and say, "yeah?" thinking he's KIDDING ME.  And HE says, "My garage door fell on your van."  So I laugh again until I see he's SERIOUS.  Seriously.  HE says the garage door broke and fell while they were pulling out.  The other guy who came out to talk to me while I was examining my van said "yeah.  Those guys didn't wait for the door to go all the way up and ran your van right into the door."  Either way, I'm taking the van BACK in Monday morning so they can take it to their body shop to fix the DENT and paint scuff, etc on the back hatch.  UNbelievable.  So I'm trying to figure out what I want them to do to make this right:  refund the money from the Deal I bought and never see me again?  Wash, wax and detail my van?  Have their guys install an AUTOSTART?  (I like that one)  They REALLY need to do something to win me over or I'm gone before they destroy one of my vehicles!!  Any ideas??

On the other hand, my Mary Kay business is off & flying.  I am having so much FUN!  More about that another time.  Anybody want a free "Facial in a Bag??"  I'm putting one together for Julie just to try out the amazing anti-aging Time Wise skincare products!  I think we'll do a facial together by webcam!!  Love to have you join us!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

This, That and The Other

The TRAVELER:  So Kathryn hit the road yesterday and as I'm writing I'm realizing I didn't take a picture of her yesterday!!  :-(  It was a really beautiful fall day.  She came over early to finish her laundry (some of which is still in the basement!! But that's not really news is it?  :-)   She ran out to pay her rent and came back with Starbucks! mocha tasted good! They were planning to leave about noon...took off about 4.  They were planning to see the sunrise in the Rockies.  Haven't heard anything yet...  we miss her already!  She DID book her return flight from Denver right before she left, so we're hopeful that we'll see her for her birthday!

The SICK:  Jamie has been home all week with the same nasty thing that every third person seems to have.  She slept most of the first day home.  She's cold. She feels cruddy. She's not eating alot. Headache, sore throat, yucky tummy, achy all over.

Nate came home after his English test yesterday.  Alex finished his Algebra last night and decided he should probably stay home.  I woke up with a headache and gunk in my throat.  So it's VERY quiet at our end of the block this morning.  It's gray & rainy (at least it's not SNOWING!) and I'm thinking WAFFLES would be about right. 

The BEAUTIFUL: I had my first MK parties this week and my home (at least the main floor) looks BEAUTIFUL!  Even the kids were amazed.  Jeff worked SO hard helping me finish what we started swapping Alex's BIG basement bedroom for our LITTLE upstairs TV room.  We de-cluttered the main floor and cleaned carpets and added candles and organized the dining room.  There's still stuff to do (isn't there always) but we are all pleased with our progress!

Oh.  And my guests looked nice too.  ;-)

Mama wants waffles.  More later.  Love you all!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

And A New Adventure for Lori

Wow!  My Mary Kay director, Karen, hosted the first Larson Area "Advance" (rather than a "retreat" :-) this weekend and it was so much fun.  I made some new really positive, really pink friends and I learned so much about my new business and myself.  They really planned a worthwhile couple of days for us!

I've used the Mary Kay skincare products for about 30 years (how is that even possible???)  Karen has been my Mary Kay BFF for the last 15 of them.  I finally switched over to the newest age-fighting "Timewise" set last month and I'm more thrilled than ever.  I can't even believe the difference in my skin - I'm pretty sure I look better at 40-something than I did at 30-something!

Call me if you need some extra special pampering - I need the practice and I'd love to see what you think about the latest skincare & color lines!  I ship for free & can even send you a "facial in a bag" if you're not here in the beautiful Red River Valley.  Check my personal Mary Kay Website for more info, ordering and even a Virtual Makeover! 

I'm having so much fun - and I'm really excited about this new adventure - I'd love to share it with you

Phone:  701-866-0589

Monday, September 21, 2009

a new opportunity for alex!!

Alex received two compliments from his orchestra teacher last week.  First he stopped him after class to tell him that he heard a particular part of a song that Alex played and that it was "just about perfect."  If you know Mr. Cole at all you know he doesn't just hand out these compliments for free!

Then at the end of the week, Mr. Cole stopped Alex again after class and invited him to join the Fargo Moorhead Area Youth Symphony!  Alex went to his first rehearsal Sunday evening.  He said the music was VERY hard!  We're not sure what he needs to do as far as auditionning, etc....but it is really a great compliment to be invited.

Friday, September 18, 2009

1st Garage Sale Fun - and Surprises

"Mama! WHY are you trying to sell my most favorite books with the very best pictures in them??  WHY would you try to sell the books that you are going to read to my children???"

This is what happens when your children come home in the middle of your 1st garage sale.  Oh dear. 

I'm pretty sure everybody - myself included brought something(s) back in house!  My personal favorite is the cribbage game from Itasca State Park that I haven't learned how to play in the last 15 years.

I cannot believe the number of people who drove down Centre Square today - our one block, dead-end street that nobody knows about unless you live here or know someone who does.  The kids made GREAT neon yellow signs to point the way.  I wish I had counted - they started coming about 8:30 (an hour & a half before we officially opened) and were still coming after 5 when the "garage sale monkey" had declared the day was over.

But The Big Surprise today was how much FUN I had.  I knew a garage sale would be ALOT of work and it has been.  At first it was fun like when you play store when you're a kid.  But here's the thing:  for an Outgoing Introvert like me, I had no idea I much I would really enjoy the people who have crossed my driveway today.

Like the lady who looked in the partly open garage door and asked if I was getting rid of the stack of cloth diapers sitting there.  The diapers I have moved from house to house and room to room and fretted over because I just didn't know what to do with them (I have PLENTY of rags already thank you) but just couldn't throw them away.  She's going to Jerusalem this fall to work in several orphanages and they would love to have them!  I was so grateful to put them in her hands with my blessings.

And the young girl about 19 who was out "treating" her grandmother all day today.  They looked like they were having so much fun together.  She is playing soccer for M-State and bought a BUNCH of soccer socks and shin guards.  I wish I could watch her play in those stripey maroon socks.  (I was so happy she didn't buy the very ugly dress I'm trying to get rid of - it would have looked horrible on her, too!)

And the dad who bought the Trail A Bike - and listened to me remember when Alex used to "coast" along behind me when he was little.  "Are you pedaling, Alex??  *hee! smile-at-mom*  PEDAL, Alex!" 

And the young couple who came back to buy the mouse habitat and tubes that Alex was so creatively setting up for display.  (I'm pretty sure he's already spent his earnings!)

And the little lady who reminded me of my grandma who took the plastic flowers out of the "free" box.  I KNOW she is going to make something beautiful to give to someone she loves who will someday put them back in the "free" box at her garage sale.  Who knew free flowers could bring so many people such remembered joy??

And the church librarian who bought a bunch of books for the library.  And the lady who bought the daily Bibles all the same kind so that her family could all study together.  And even the nice guy with some kind of physical disability who bought the blue Schwinn and brought a few quick tears to my eyes watching him wheel it down the driveway and away into the fall afternoon.  And the single guy with the bad back who bought the comfy couch & chair for his new apartment.

And yes, the Big Stack of Books with the Wonderful Pictures - that I bought from the door-to-door encyclopedia saleman in Minneapolis the summer of 1989 -  is safely back in the house.  Ready for my grandchildren.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

End of the Week - Busy Weekend Ahead!

THIS IS IT.  Garage Sale Weekend.  I put the ad in the paper so I'm committed to this thing.  And I'm pretty sure Jeff would kill me if I put it off one. more. time.  So we're trying to sell the junk out of my garage and off my driveway Friday 10 - 5 and Saturday 9 - 5.  Anything that doesn't go? Goes. 

The kids are in the swing of things.  Jamie & Nate have fallen into a very nice routine driving to school together.  They also enjoy going to the (new!) Fargo library after school to study.  Alex is figuring out how to get himself up in the morning - his mother is figuring out how to let him do it. 

We are all going to church together at Salem Evangelical Free Church in Fargo Sunday mornings.  The kids are going together to Valley Christian for dinner & youth group on Wednesday evenings.  This is MUCH easier with Jamie driving now. 

Kathryn is heading to Chicago with a friend from Crossroads College (former Minnesota Bible College) for a wedding this weekend.  She leaves October 1 for a month with friends who are moving to Colorado.  She's enjoying her break from school this semester. 

Jamie has been invited to travel to New Orleans with a Habitat for Humanity project - leaving from her Uncle Brett's church in Minneapolis.  Phil went on this trip a couple years ago and loved it.  Still a few details to work out, but it looks like she'll be heading to Minneapolis Oct 9 to meet up with the group.  Traveling to New Orleans by bus Oct 10 - back home Oct 18.  She'll only miss one day of school as that week is her fall break.  She's very excited about this opportunity to both travel and serve others.

Gotta get moving - need to pick up stuff to make signs (kids' job tonight), get some change, some pop/water for the kids to sell (mom assures me this is a money maker and I need to at least make back my money from the newspaper ad - sheez!), and then it's time to get busy setting this thing up.  Anyone need a ratty old couch?  Cheap? I'll through in the mismatched throw pillows for free!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Days

I love fall and its thrilling melancholy.  

Back to School.  Marathon shopping trips with three generations ~ grandma could wear. us. out.  Stiff new shoes.  New metal lunchbox with mom's magic marker kisses on the napkin inside.  Milk money in an envelop.  Bookbag with pencils, scissors and paste.  Crayola box with 64 colors and the sharpener.  I still get a thrill over a new pink eraser

And I miss my grandma.

It was a rainy first day this morning.  Alex is camera-shy and not a morning person anyway.  Nate & Jamie went racing out the door - ok, Nate was waiting in the car when Jamie went racing out the door (twice!) 

No pics today - but I couldn't really capture all the invisible firsts today anyway.  Alex's first day of his last year at Middle School - Top Dog!  Jamie's first day of her last year of High School and first day driving to school.  Nate's first time to figure out a scheduling dilemma all by himself - a person just can't be in two places at the one time, even if the scheduling software thinks so.  Kathryn's first day to take a break and not go to school at all.

I remember the first time I really rode my bike.  Dad running along holding on to the back of the seat, encouraging me to "pedal, pedal!"  I was pedaling, pedaling and chatting a mile a minute when I finally looked back and saw him standing in the middle of the long driveway.  What a thrill!  the sun on my face, the wind in my hair - down the road alone!

I have a picture of Nate pedaling away from me down the sidewalk when he learned to ride his bike.  It was one of those really rare fall days - crisp, sunny, clear.  Leaves falling from the big elms.  I felt the same thrill of success and a new melancholy as I stood in my dad's place and watched my boy ride away.

getting it straight

Getting it all straightened out...

Brackets, wires, ties, rubber bands, spacers, retainers, special toothpaste, toothbrushes and floss! Here we go again. Today Nate became the 4th in our family to start ortho. Alex got his braces last week and still refuses to be photographed. (I'll get him sooner or later.) Looks like Jamie will be the only one to escape the brace face.

I'm just SO glad Dr Harvey has free wireless, big screen TV, and a coffee bar!!

learning to drive

On the last day of August Jamie drove us through the busiest part of town at the busiest time of day. And we all survived. And we laughed. She's ready.

She still needs to practice parallel parking. She still needs to drive at night, and in Minneapolis, and in the rain, and on snow. She still needs to figure out what on earth 90 degree backing is. She still needs to scrape an icy window at 6:30 am and learn how defrost works at 30 below zero. But she's ready.
And the calendar page turns. Another last is gone, another first is here.
I never planned to teach Jamie to drive. That job was assigned early to her laid-back, relaxed, patient, long-suffering, encouraging, loving Daddy! A much better fit for my creative, fun-loving, nervous-to-drive artist.
Did you know it takes several whole minutes in the drive just getting ready to safely start a motor vehicle? And then you have to remember to actually start the engine before attempting to shift to reverse. Getting down the driveway with an "otter" child is a party, I can tell you. Every time.
Accelerator and brake with just one foot. Adjust your mirrors and check your blind spot. Maintain speed through the lane change. Observe grandpa's 28 eye motions per minute. Slow down soon enough at the stop to keep your passenger from bracing herself against the dash. "Share" the road. And the parking lot entrance. Do you see that parked car?! That pedestrian? The motorcycle? And left turns. About left turns. Left turns are better than a cardio stress test - my heart is just fine, thank you.

I'm so glad I was there. I learned how to drive all over again. I got several hours alone with my daughter. I got to sit and watch. Actively listen and respond. A miraculous change in seats from driver to passenger and passenger to driver happened as naturally as the change of seasons.

I can't bear to think what I would have missed if I hadn't been in the passenger seat when Jamie learned to drive. I was there when the season changed. I saw the calendar page turn. And we're ready...