To Tie or Not to Tie?

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Alex has had an obsession with ties for awhile.  Lately, however, it has hit a fever pitch and besides “Casual Friday”, when everyone wears their Wilson Wildcats’ shirts, he dresses in a button up shirt with a corresponding tie.  We’re talking clip-on ties, but slicking the hair over and wearing ties has become the norm of his 1st grade dressing experience.

My dear friend Pete, a teacher in Portland, had a similar approach, but made bow ties the newest trend, even holding lessons on technique.  The phenomenon made the Oregonian (article here and awesome video here).

So my fickle, silly question of the day….to Tie or Not to Tie?!?  Do you think “dressing the part” makes you more successful or on task during your day?  For example, as a stay at home mom, am I more productive and focused on the days I put on attire a step above jeans and a t-shirt or yoga pants and flip flops?  Do you think clothes make the person?  And most importantly, will ties become the “new, must wear item” among 1st graders this year?  Clip on or zip up (or heaven forbid, a REAL, tie it yourself tie??!?)?  And where to shop for the latest tie goodness?

Weigh in, friends.  Weigh in.  

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View from the Sick Bed

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We have been hunkered down around these parts for awhile.  The children have been fending for themselves for the most part and surprisingly, have done quite well.

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 (rearranging and “reading”, water play and book authoring and illustrating—-aka…redecorating the dining room table with Sharpies).

We have kept up with dishes and laundry and feeding and bathing.  It’s the small miracles, folks.

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During “naps” and “resting”, Drew has assisted with necessities for Mommy….Kauai puzzles, cough drops, Airborne, earplugs and glue sticks—–all the while using the Tempur-Pedic controls to move the bed up and down….and up and down….and up and down.

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Sally has been on snuggle overdrive from Drew.

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And basics have been pilfered and used up.  Kleenex one day.  Sinus meds the next.  Thermometer batteries worn out from overuse.  Trashy magazines enjoyed.

Friends dropping off bags of food for dinner.

Plans cancelled.

Flip flops donned for quick pharmacy trips.

Videos started.

Snoozes caught when possible.

LEGOS taking over all corners of the living room.

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Not gonna lie….it’s getting a little crazy in these parts.

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But these two are showing humor and resiliency in spite of their parents’ states of illness.

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And figuring that we will eventually come out of the other side of this…SOMETIME soon!!??

dpp 2012 :: december 18th :: belonging

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Alex’s school is having Spirit Week and today was Twin Day.

We had an extra pair of identical frames (without lenses) and slightly similar ties so these two dressed up as twins.

I can’t look at this photo without cracking up.

So much to love.

Not only did I mistake Eli for Alex two times today, but evidently many of the kids in their class were confused.  They had a paparazzi moment in the office today too, getting their picture taken.

And these moments are the moments of memory and belonging, in my humble opinion.

December Photo Project 2012

dpp 2012 :: december 16th :: reindeer food {the event that almost wasn’t}

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Oh, my goodness.

So much mess.

But so much fun.

Somehow I put “Make Gingerbread Houses” in the Advent Activity Calendar two times.

And that is one draining activity I only have energy for once a year!

After polling folks on Facebook & looking up some blog links I’ve saved, we settled on making Reindeer Food.

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Most of the project was inspired by the phenomenal Kelle Hampton.  Here is the blog post of her “Party at the North Pole“.  It is AMAZING….check out her fun event and if you host one for Moms, I’m there!  I found the poem to go with it here via Pinterest.

I switched things up a bit as we have no glitter and I wanted to keep glitter out of the mayhem.  We used green and red cookie sprinkles instead.  The boys had a BLAST, it was quick, easy & cheap {only using items on hand}.  They both seemed pretty proud of their finished products.

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Thinking this project may become a new tradition….although I was tempted to replace the Advent activity with “An Hour of SILENT Reflection on the Christ Child” during which Mom sleeps.

December Photo Project 2012

dpp 2012 :: december 8th :: fort christmas

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Our Advent Calendar Countdown plan for today included a fort built with Christmas lights….a cozy spot to read some of our favorite holiday books of the season.  {inspired by the super creative ladies at A Beautiful Mess and Rachel at Smile & Wave} Luckily Matt set to work building with Alex while I put Drew down to bed.  Drew in the fort would have meant imminent collapse.  It wasn’t the longest-lasting creation, but Alex still had a blast and fell asleep.

Thanks to my father-in-law’s willingness to help with my crazy scheme, we will soon have another more stable structure to enjoy, but first, I have to actually finish and sew the structure.  Stay tuned for completion {typing it here means I HAVE to complete it before the 25th!!}

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Good times.

December Photo Project 2012

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and one outtake…

Yes, Drew did put hummus on his knife and carefully spread it all over his Naan.

And indeed, said hummus-covered Naan did end up on Alex’s head, hummus side down.

True Confession….I let it happen.  And grabbed my camera, snapping many shots.

Bad Mom.

There is always the evening bath….

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dpp 2012 :: december 6th :: a new breadwinner

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Through a lot of odd circumstances, my friend Kate and I found ourselves standing in line this morning waiting to be one of 100 people to get free bread for a year from Boudin Bakery.  Due to our husband’s humor and flexibility, we were able to make our crazy, unplanned scheme work—we waited 2 hours and indeed left with a canister with 365 coupons to get bread—our kids got to school mostly fed and clothed (just kidding) and it was a memory that will stick with us for a long time.  Kate and I are both unemployed, staying home with our munchkins…so we realized that due to our savvy & sacrifice (ha!) we have now become the BREADWINNERS for our family.  Step aside, men, the LADIES have got ya covered!  Bread for a year!

This unplanned insanity was such a lesson.  When in doubt, do the crazy thing.  Make the memory.  Get the bread, folks.  And the cool opportunity?  Now we get to pay it forward.  The bread comes in the form of 365 coupons that you can also “re-gift” and share.  Guess what everyone’s getting for Christmas??  Hoping we can give at least 1/2 to Second Harvest Food Bank and our own church that does meals for Bill Willson Center and the Faith in Action Rotating Shelter.  Any other options?  So fun!

December Photo Project 2012

Enjoying a 3-D Milkshake at the Precipice

Dudes….we’re on the precipice.  Tomorrow….it begins.  Kindergarten!  Thrilled to watch our buggy-boo start the world of public education.  I know he’s so ready.  Aviator glasses purchased today.  Free haircut at JCPenny’s Salon {well not free—–I left a BIG tip as Mister Mister himself picked up an OPI bottle of nail polish, oogling at the Spiderman Collection they were selling and yes, dropped it.  On the hard, tiled floor.  It–OBVIOUSLY—shattered.  I tipped well as they wouldn’t accept payment.  I might have let out an expletive.  Just call me “demur, pastor’s wife”.}

It was the top left color, “Shatter the Scales” in case you were wanting to see what lured Alex in….

Anyhow, clearly, now that he’s entering the world of public education, we are done here.  Matt and I have completed our job.  Right?!?  Wrong. Wrong.  Wrong.  It’s a new landscape.  A new adventure.  A new frontier ahead.  And we’re teetering on the precipice.  Luckily, it is all about holding hands and going over it together.  No, I promise I will NOT be the mom that sits glued to my son’s side tomorrow, slowly weeping into a Kleenex.  He will kick me out, no doubt.  But I feel strongly that it is our job to love him and nurture him and give lots of boundaries with support as he enters this new stage of development.

As we enjoyed an early dinner tonight at In-And-Out, Alex ordered a 3-D Milkshake.  I seriously think those nail polish fumes got to his head.  We knew, due to many previous requests, that he was really asking for a Neapolitan, a mixture of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate that is on In-And-Out’s “secret” menu.

But folks, that’s the perfect example.   Sometimes, as calm, cool and collected as we all like to come across (take a look at the intro picture again….aviators….watch out), we just need our parents to translate our desires and needs into something understandable.

So, we take the leap to Room 3 tomorrow, calmed by the promise of an amazing teacher and a great community of friends and family walking alongside us along the way.   Parenting is about accepting and offering a lot of grace.  I’m hoping I can dole it out as freely and lovingly as the woman did for us today at the JCPenny Salon, “Shatter the Scales” dripping from her latex gloves as she mopped up Alex’s mess.

To close….a video that makes my NIGHT.  Please watch.  This is worth each of the 3 minutes and 19 seconds.  Thanks, Val, for sending it!

Shoe Therapy & Donut Dates

Sometimes you just need to step back and do the unexpected…

To drop the routine….

To forget about the budget…

And nutrition….

And the errands begging to be run….

And head for the salty sea air.

I have almost made it through half of the week that Matt’s away.

And it has been surprisingly ok.

Mostly due to amazing friends and family.

And due to donuts.

And clearance shoe finds at Target.

And a quick, unexpected, spontaneous jaunt out to Santa Cruz to have lunch with a friend on a whim.

And….to the fact that my parents are coming TOMORROW!  EEEPPPP.

The floors aren’t vacuumed and Swiffered.

The menus aren’t planned out….YET.

I have another day of work to go before their arrival.

But, I know my little band of brothers and I will make it.

We said ADIOS to Matt on Sunday morning in the wee hours of the morning {note:  Alex was up at 5:15am for the occasion}.

Celebrated a wonderful week of Vacation Bible School during the service on Sunday…

{Joseph’s brothers came up with a sneaky plan to take care of him….}

Lots of Star Wars crafts and coloring…

And begging for more and more “coloring pages”….today’s request?

“Mom, will you just type in ‘Jabba of the Hut’s Helpers Coloring Pages’?!?!?”

As you can imagine, Google had MANY options with that one.

First days of Summer School/Camp unfolded, including my first day as a teacher in the Three Year Old Room.

And amazing friends have come over for play dates (or taken away eldest for playdates!).

{and girl’s night for Bachelorette viewing and meals prepared and given and playdates offered and texts to make me laugh….seriously, overwhelming love}

Today…to pull myself together after a 2 hour fingerprint/live scan debacle with dear, squirrley Drew, I drove home.  Made and consumed 2 cups of coffee.  Watched an episode of Friday Night Lights.  Went to Target.  And bought shoes.  Those cute red ones up above.  $7.49 on clearance {thanks for the tip, Gussy!}.  And picked up a new pair of shoes for Alex too.  Star Wars, light up shoes.  He is in SEVENTH HEAVEN.  (and for the record, both he and Drew had their toes sticking out of their shoes this morning, so it was time!)

And there’s the odd lesson in this all.

Sometimes, you just gotta blow the budget on frivolous shoes.

And extra calories in the form of sprinkle covered donuts.

And mindless tv {hello, Friday Night Lights obsession}.

I don’t have a fancy quote to back this up.

Or a Bible Verse to support my conviction.

Or deep thoughts to prove the point.

I just know, deep down, that it’s true.

Sometimes the weirdest, unexpected, frivolous decisions and just plain necessary.

One Post Script:

Even though Matt’s not here, there’s “traces” of him.  These pics came up today which he and Alex did a few weeks ago.  Love how the hubster can make me laugh, even when he’s in a neighboring country.

“Wink From God”

My friend via the blogosphere (and my husband’s friend in real life), Tracey Morris, is a phenomenal photographer and writer.  I eat up her posts, both for the stunning visual images and pictures painted with words.  Yesterday, she posted some gorgeous shots of poppies.  And yes, as a 4th grade teacher in California, California Golden Poppies, the state flower, make my heart pitter patter a bit.  She wrote in her post yesterday, “They are one of the first signs of spring here and they announce her arrival with their bursts of golden tangerine blooms. I am not kidding, they truly bring joy to my heart when I spot my first one.”  

So today, as my friend and I set out on our bi-weekly, crack-of-dawn walk, I decided to keep my eyes open for spotting a poppy patch.  Needless to say, the sun hadn’t even risen, and in the darkness, I never spied any of the florescent blooms along the route.

Weird thing happened, though.  Right as I hugged her goodbye after we finished our walk, I looked down and saw my own little poppy.  Embedded into my shoelaces.  WHAT?!?!  How in the world did that even happen??  We didn’t walk on a trail.  We were on concrete sidewalks.  No clue.  But there it was.

Craaaaaazy.  As as Tracey wisely replied when I wrote to tell her about the odd happening, “That is a total wink from God!”

And so, this response, and my dumbfoundedness, begs the question, “does God have a sense of humor?!”  Who knows, but as Anne Lamott writes, “laughter is carbonated holiness”.  (Taken from Katherine Willis Pershey’s guest post on Emmerging Mummy today.)  And sometimes, when things “come together” in an unexpected, and seemingly impossible way, you just have to laugh.  Some might call it strange.  Or weird.  Or perhaps, an odd coincidence.  For me, I think it boils down to looking for God in the circumstances we find ourselves in.  Looking and being intentional about seeing coincidences through a different lens. And listening for God’s laughter and watching for his wink, even in a California Golden Poppy and a stinky hiking shoe.

California Golden Poppy, Point Bonita, Marin Headlands, May 2006

Beach Poppies, Ano Nuevo near Pescadero, May 2011