Sunday, June 26, 2011


The countdown is on.  Only four more days until summer vacation officially begins.  We have big plans for summer...lots of lazy pj mornings, a few trips to the beach, a visit to the animals at the local petting zoo, yard work, painting, organizing...all those big jobs that are put off until we have more time.

In cities and small towns across the country, students are filing into arenas and community centers sporting caps and gowns and listening to inspiring speeches about new beginnings, fresh starts, dreams and possibilities.  June is all about Alice Cooper shouting out his famous lyrics...Schools out for the summer...

I think there are more life changes, more important decisions made, and more hopes for the future in the month of June than all the successful New Year's resolutions combined.  Whether you're graduating preschool, high school, or college June signifies the end.  And just as the last binder hits the recycle bin...the night staff at Wal-Mart are unpacking boxes of loose-leaf and number 2 pencils getting ready for the next round of hopes and dreams.

No one graduated from school this year at our house.  But we will celebrate the end of the school year anyway.  Because with school being over, family and friends start holidaying and visiting... and that means us too.  We had a great weekend catching up with family and celebrating new beginnings with friends on their big day.

My sweet little niece proudly wore her birthday badge today, joining the two year old club.  It was a party full of tomorrow's little hopes and dreams. 

Let the countdown begin!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The summer solstice is here.  Today in our beautiful north country the sun will barely sleep. Today is the day we long for on those blizzarding January days.  The first day of summer.  The longest day of the year. 

We spent Father's Day and the first day of summer in one of the best ways possible....camping.   Camping with family in our town's own back yard.  Literally,  a three song drive from our house is an amazingly beautiful campground carved out of Canada's Boreal Forest.  Each campsite is surrounded by birch and evergreen trees and bordered by steep rock cuts perfect for little girls to climb and explore and get dirty with their cousin who is here visiting for the first day of summer.

I have many happy camping memories from my own childhood... burning sticks in the campfire, trying to toast the perfect marshmallow, washing dirty feet in a basin before crawling into the sleeping bag and feeling it's cold zipper against your skin.  On the top bunk in our camper there was a tiny sliding window that my brother and I would open so that we could here the snapping and crackling of the campfire and the laughter and conversation from our parents and our aunties and our uncles as we drifted off to sleep.

And now my girls are making their own memories.  Memories of the great trek to the top of the scenic tower to take in the breathless view of green and blue from lakes and trees and sky.  This great trek to the top of the world as Callie puts it.  Memories of walks along the beach, tossing rocks into the water.  Memories of roasting hot dogs and building sweet and sticky s'mores.  Memories of staying up late and getting up early to go fishing.

Memories of a family spending time together, talking, laughing, sharing...getting to know each other again and again.

Some people struggle with understanding the concept of camping.  For some can't see past the dirt, the bugs, and the effort it takes to move your life into the wilderness for a few days.  

But, for those who get it, you know what I mean when I speak of the inner peace you feel when you have your morning coffee outside with the birds and the squirrels.  You know that a hot dog has never tasted better than when you've cooked it yourself over the campfire and you eat it at a picnic table covered with a plastic table cloth held down with little metal clips.  You know there is something greater than you when you look up at the night sky and search out the big dipper amongst the dotted pattern of the stars.

All of our camping memories are possible because of my parents.  They have taught us that the effort is worth it, repaying you tenfold for what you put in when your girl begs pleeeease can we stay one more night.  They let us tag along on their camping journeys...showing how it's done until we grow our own camping roots.

Summer has arrived.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

What makes a good father?  I know the answer to this because I have the best dad.

And so do my girls.

A good father is patient.

A good father enjoys his children, he wants to spend time with them, play with them, teach them. 

A good father chooses his family first.

A good father is proud of his girl.  He is a daughter's first love.  He holds her hand the whole way.. until the day he must give it away.   Then he holds her heart.

Above all, a good father respects and loves the mother of his children. He teaches his children, by his own example, to honor their mother and this, in turn, teaches them how they too shall be honored in any relationship.

I have been blessed.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy Day

Yesterday was my birthday.  It was a good day.  My phone was vibrating all day alerting me to the the newest birthday wish written on my wall.  It's such a simple thing...a few key strokes containing a birthday greeting followed by 'share' but every time my phone buzzed I had to look to see who it was from.  This simple thing made me smile and elevated Tuesday's status from regular day to great day.

Things have been a little hectic around here lately.  Jon was away on a long trip for five days so it was just me and the girls going through the motions of the daily routine.  We missed him and it was a happy day when he got home. 

Lexi finally recovered from the flu bug only to be bitten again five days later...uhgg.  She woke up on the weekend  irritable and clingy, next came the fever, then a trip to the emergency room and finally some antibiotics for her ear infection. The month of June has not been kind to Lexi. 

In other news...

This girl sure can run...

I'm not sure who will be more sad when our Saturday morning soccer match comes to an end Callie or me.  I love watching her, my little sporty spice, run with all her 110%.  And when she scores a goal she just stands there, all shy, waiting for her reward... a cheer or a high five or some encouraging words from the crowd -aka- her mama.

Lexi likes to hang out at the soccer field too.  She's a big fan of the half-time orange break.

We are looking forward to doing a lot more of this...


Mother Nature never forgets my birthday.  She always gives me the gift of blooming lilac bushes.  And yesterday I stopped by my mom's house to cut my birthday bouquet of fresh lilacs.  Their fragrance has encompassed our entire home and makes you want to breathe in deeply when you walk in the door.

It was a happy day. A birthday celebrated in the quiet comforts of home.  I don't mind getting older.  Everything seems to get better with age.  I am grateful to be alive and in good health and surrounded by family and friends. 

Grandma's new red door...the color is awesome.

Happy Day.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I forget a lot of things.  Yes, I forget and I procrastinate.  It's any wonder I can hold down a job.  My brain is low on gigabytes.  I make no effort to remember things that can be looked numbers, dates, important information...just about everything. 

But since my girls have been born I have feared this forgetfulness.  I became worried that I wouldn't remember the complete euphoria I felt when Callie was born and how I was lying there in my hospital room thinking "bring on the visitors".  I couldn't wait to show everyone my little beauty.

 And the feeling of pride when I got to push her in the stroller for the first time, walking tall, doting on her, shading her from sun and wind and having this satisfied feeling like ya, this is my baby... not a niece or nephew or friend's child but my very own little peanut.  I think every mom has this right of passage. Whether it's attending your first playgroup, your first legit trip to the park, or finally getting to contribute your own labor and delivery story.  Everyone's verification that they are officially a mom is unique and memorable...but so easily forgotten.

I received a baby's first year calendar when I was in the hospital will Callie and I started documenting.  I wrote down all the big firsts and all the small things in between.  And I took pictures.  Because I didn't want to forget.

The calendar ended and I procrastinate too much to be an effective scrapbooker.  So, hello blogger.  My latest effort to not forget.

Things I don't want to forget.

On our way to preschool the other day Callie sees a No Parking sign.  It was the letter P with a line through it. Callie says, "Mom, I know what that sign letters allowed."

I squashed a mosquito that was buzzing around in the bathroom.  I brushed the dead bug off my hand into the toilet.  Later, Callie went in to pee and when she looked in the toilet she said, "Mom, my tummy bug finally got out of me!"

This girl loves shoes.  And if she sees a foot without a shoe on it she makes it her mission to squish that foot back into the shoe where it belongs.

Sister has some big shoes to fill.
Lexi's favorite word... "mama" in the highest pitch humanly possible.  But coming in at a close second... "No, No, No."  And when her words don't quite get her what she wants she drags us by the finger, usually to the fridge, and points at the door.  Milk? I ask and she responds with a solid head nod and a smile and follows it up with a little happy dance.

Callie says, "I'm showing Lexi what to do at swimming lessons so that when she gets bigger she won't have to be scared." 

Today was the last swimming lesson in this series.  And Callie rocked it....passing into the next level. And it wasn't until this last lesson that I decided to bring Lexi a sucker in hopes of distracting her from doing her own swan dive into the pool as we sit on the pool deck to watch.  Sheesh, I wish I would have thought of that nine lessons ago.

My efforts continue to not forget.  To remember the big days and the inbetween days. The exciting and the mundane. To remember the feelings and emotions that can't be looked up in a reference book.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Procrastinator Extraordinaire

I am a procrastinator.  There, I said it.  I've admitted it.  If there is something that can be put off until tomorrow I will put it off.  Things like filling up the truck with gas...I always wait until the low fuel light is on or that stuff that was dribbling down the living room wall that I told you about the other day...ya it's still there. 

Sometime I get motivated to get things checked off my to-do list like the other day when I sorted through the mountains of clothes in my closet diligently tossing anything I hadn't worn in the past six months...and yet the bags of clothes sit there on my bedroom floor to be tripped over and climbed on instead of taken to the thrift store.

Sometimes when I'm procrastinating I daydream.  I like to daydream about my dream house. My daydream is like a jambalaya  of all my HGTV friends mixed together.  I have this reoccurring vision where Mike Holmes shows up at my house telling me he's here to "make it right!"  I imagine opening my door to Mike wearing his overalls with no undershirt, his tanned biceps bulging from the weight of his tool belt slung over his shoulder and he says, "I'm here to build your dream house!"  Here's where the daydream turns into Extreme Makeover Home Edition but without the sad story. Our family gets whisked away to see Mickey Mouse and Ty Pennington starts shouting in his megaphone, Mike Holmes starts makin' things right, and Sarah Richardson stops by to make everything pretty.  And in the extended version of this daydream the shop across the road gets a makeover to look as good as our house and the backyard turns into an oasis like you see on Million Dollar Listing

Bus driver...move that bus.......

OK, enough procrastinating.

My to-do list still has boxes that need to be checked.  The only thing not on that list is laundry.  The washing machine has been working overtime this week.  Today is day 6 of Lexi's stomach flu and its amazing how one little-bitty girl with a yucky bug in her tummy can create so many loads of laundry.  Callie was able to fight the bug off and only needed a day of rest but always seems to take her longer to recover. 

Lexi's smiles were few and far between these past few days and actually there wasn't many real great photo opportunities between laundry, diaper changes, and steam cleaning the carpet.  And not to mention the constant snuggles and back rubs that she required.

We did venture out to celebrate Great Grandma B's 88th Birthday this weekend and I'd love to post some pictures...but I didn't take any.  I hate when this happens to me...when we're making memories and I don't have a picture of it.  In all the chaos of getting out the door and Lexi's constant whimpering from not feeling well, my camera sat at home on my kitchen counter as we celebrated Grandma's 88th year.

We will have to keep our memories in our hearts and in Grandma's words...she says, "you don't need to buy me presents anymore, I don't need anything."  Well, we didn't actually get her a present but Callie made her a card and we bought her some lottery tickets.  She may not need anything but it's hard to say no to a little gambling and a bucket full of money no matter what your age.

Today we went to the park.  Just another strategy to take Lexi's mind off her troubles and the idea that maybe some fresh air will be the exact medicine she needs to rid her of her bug.  Really was just me looking to procrastinate some more and what better way than hanging at the park with the family?  A little quality time with dad before he leaves on his long trip.

OK.  Enough procrastinating.  Publish Post.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 1st

The tree outside my kitchen window has burst...

Callie has been participating in swimming lessons at the local pool for the last few weeks in preparation for our upcoming beach days.  I can't believe how over-the-top proud I am watching her in these lessons.  I sit on the side of the pool in the gallery of other parents but unlike the other parents I am cheering and clapping and going to the edge of the pool to give her a high five.  When she pops her head out of the water, spitting and coughing and wiping the water from her eyes, she looks for me and shouts, "Did you see me, mom?  I put my whole body under the water."  I flash my biggest smile and give her a goofy, two thumbs up!

I've seen a transformation in Callie.  A growing confidence, a shorter warm-up time to try something new. I've watched her grow from the little seed who wouldn't let the instructor splash water on her feet to the apple tree that she always picks to be for the game of chop, chop timber that starts the swimming lesson.

We had a swimming birthday party earlier this week.  I watched as Callie floated around in her life jacket and swam over to anyone she knew and proudly announced "I can put my face in the water! Wanna see?"  Well, this was pretty small potatoes for most of the kids at the party and none of them responded with a high five or a thumbs up and my hear sank a little for my big girl who was so proud of her accomplishment although none of this seemed to affect her enthusiasm.

And these two have loads of enthusiasm when they get together...

And lately, Callie has been such a gentle soul of a big sister.  She's taking care of Lexi outside in the yard, holding her hand so she doesn't trip on the cement steps, helping her with her shoes and zippers.  Attempting to catch her at the bottom on the slide.  And she uses this soft, grandmotherly type voice and says "Big sister will help you."   Unfortunately, Lexi hasn't been the most accepting of this outpouring of sisterly love as she is exercising her independence and insists on doing these things herself.  There seems to be a bit of continuous loop between my two girls.  Where one offers help but the other doesn't need it and when one needs help the other has none to give. But when the two collide and one offers help and the other receives is a making memories moment.

These last two days, Callie has been showering the love on her little sister because Lexi has caught a nasty stomach flu.  Lexi has been lethargic and fevered and has required extra time and attention and Callie wants so much for her to get better.  She gives Lexi her blankie and speaks gently to her...saying the words she hears me say.  But tonight, the caregiver Callie, appears to have caught the nasty bug from her sister.  They may not be able to share the favorite baby doll but they have no problem sharing the nasty flu bug!

So tonight Jon and I will be working the overtime shift doctoring and nursing our girls back to happiness and health.  Here's to hoping it's an easy shift.