Monday, July 23, 2012

Swimming Hole

 This picture was taken a week ago at a covered bridge in Newry, Maine, at the base of Sunday River ski resort in the Western Mountains of Maine.

When I was my middle daughters age, we moved to Bethel, a short drive from this spot, until I was my son's age, when we moved again.

This spot is where my Dad would take us swimming. The water is clear and cold (straight out of the mountain). I have lots of fond memories of it.

We were driving home from Western NH and this was only 8 miles off our planned route and it was the middle of the day and we needed a break. I was so thrilled that the kids loved it as much as I did.

I think that my kids must be at the ages where I have the most memories. I remember things about 7, 10, and 12 - especially 10 and 12. So for the kids, they get to hear a lot more 'When I was your age' and 'I remember when' stories then I think I have ever told before.

Friday, July 20, 2012


A couple weeks ago, this was Caleb's FB status. We had uncovered Small Pillow in a box as we were continuing the clean-out of the basement.

Small Pillow was one of those kind of silly Baby Shower gifts you get. But when it is your first baby, you don't realize that anything is silly because it is all very serious. It was an itty bitty pillow with a place to write all the important information about your baby on it - name, size, birthdate. (I still need to look at it if you want to know what the boy weighed and how long he was.)

It went into his crib. It made the transition to BigBoy Bed. It began to go everywhere with us. If there was a sleep that needed to happen, Small Pillow needed to be there. Not to sleep on, not even to cuddle with, but just kind of to hold. Unless extra cuddling was needed.

I repaired Small Pillow once. This time, it had a big tear down the center. Threads too thin to even handsew it back together.

"Caleb, it might be time to permanently say good-bye to Small Pillow." (It has been in storage for probably over 2 years.)


"We can take pictures of it. Would you like to do that?" (I do not hold onto anything. When I am old, maybe this will cause me grief, but I am the picture of NOT sentimental. We have moved too many times to hold onto things - or to let them hold onto us.)

"Can you fix it?"(Whose son is this? Last month we got rid of a chair that we have had all his life - the Green Chair. The chair when I was too angry to deal with him wisely I would say 'Go sit in the Green Chair'. We took pictures of that, too. And let's not forget when we got our new car this winter - saying goodbye to the only car he remembers.)

I looked at it. Played at the seam. "No, Caleb. It's really not fixable."

"Mom?" (sounding much more like the boy that I used to call L'il Man than the YoungBecomingAdult that I live with) "can we try to put it in a frame?"

Melt my heart.

Caleb let's go of things pretty quickly and keeps a tidy space. He's not a hoarder. But he see's one or two things that maybe they are worth holding onto - at least a little longer. Maybe where I see 'it will hold onto me' as weight, Caleb see's it as buoyancy. And again, my child is teaching me something that has the potential to change my heart. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

SuperHeroDay at Day Camp

"But the greatest of these is Love."
1 Corinthians 13:13
Today was SuperHeroDay at Sofia's day camp. Embracing the opportunity I almost never get during the regular school year to pull together something at the last minute, I rushed to the fabric store and got some fabric to sew something together. (When you homeschool you call those opportunities 'adjusting our schedule'.)

All Sofie wanted was  a cape. That was pink. Or purple. Or blue. Or green.

Here is what our superhero looked like this morning. All the colors she asked for. And if you look close, even the rick-rack has all the colors listed.

I made her cape. But I loved the fabric so much I had to make the matching kerchiefs for both girls. 

(I still have about 1/2 yard left - looks like American girls Molly and Josefina might get to join the SuperHero Love squad, as well.

 I kind of liked that last minute rush of getting something ready, but I'm really thankful I don't have to make a habit of it. )

Up, Up, And Awaaay!

Monday, July 16, 2012

I know you've never done this, but...

When we renovated part of our home almost two years ago, we decided to put solid doors on the bedrooms. We hoped the solid doors would help cut down some of the sound in a very busy part of our home. Honestly, I'm not sure if the doors (or the carpet) have helped with the noise. (Perhaps we should have invested in insulating the kids rather than the rooms.) But that's not the point. 

Solid doors are heavy. Very. Heavy. But when you buy them, they come with hinges and screws that are identical to hollow doors. So they begin to pull out of the wall. Within six months. And you can't close the doors to your youngest and oldest child's rooms without doing some really clever finagling.

And it might bug you a little. You might be tempted to tell your seven year old 'if you didn't slam  shut it so firmly it might not be giving you this problem'. You might even wonder about the person who installed the doors in not very nice ways.

And days, weeks and months might pass. And everyone gets more frustrated, until finally your husband calls someone - the one who installed them - to see about getting this problem fixed. And the person comes graciously and fixes them. In less than 20 minutes.

So did the job take 18 months or 20 minutes of your life?

But I know you've never done anything like that.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lessons from a Flooded Basement - 2

Our basement flooded this spring. The day that Marc left for four days. The day that we started two weeks of standardized tests for homeschool. Flooded. We've had dampness before, a little bit of water. But these were small lakes.

I'm determined to not miss the lessons that that this experience is continuing to teach me. It is costing too much emotionally and financially to not get some squeezed benefit. Over the next few months, this will be an occasional (and my very first) blog series: Lessons from a Flooded Basement.

We have options in these unexpected life crises. We can cry. We can deny. OR, we can blog. 

There is little in a flooded basement to be thankful for. You really have to dig to find it. Or maybe it is more correct to say you have to dig really deep to feel it. Within hours of each revelation of how bad this flood and basement mess was becoming I was able to THINK of why I could be thankful. I am still not able to FEEL thankful.

I FEEL disappointed, angry, tired, sickofthishouse. I FEEL put out. I FEEL afraid of the time and money this might take from other projects I had appointed for this spring and summer. I FEEL betrayed.

But I THINK about how if this had happened in any of the 7 years we lived here before this, there is a good chance it would have been an extreme financial disaster, not a financial inconvenience.  I THINK about the amazing people that I never knew before that have been in my home and have been kind, compassionate, and helpful. I THINK about how much safer (and sell-able) this crisis is making our home. I THINK about how I have become stronger (and tireder - but stronger) I have had to become.

Lesson 2 from a flooded basement - THANKFULNESS ISN'T ALWAYS A FEELING. In fact, THANFKULNESS CAN BE AN EXHAUSTING WORKOUT - one you might not see (or feel) the benefit of for a long time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On the Go!

When I look at my May and June 2012 photo files, I understand why my blog has not been getting the attention I thought it would once school 'ended' for us this year. In a normal month, I take between 100 and 200 pictures. May and June together have 1000 photos. And there aren't a whole lot of duplicate poses in the same place.

We have been busy taking trips into Boston to "be with Marc where he is consulting" and to explore all the history and life of the city. AND we have been on the run making sure that we (me, mostly) don't get to September with a list of "I wish we had done 'this' or 'that' more" while we are home in Maine.

Monday, July 02, 2012

My Favorite Kind of Picture

This is my favorite kind of picture to take of the kids. Their backs turned, a little ways ahead of me, making there own observations. If you look through my pictures over the years, you will see a lot of pictures of my kids walking ahead of me, and often choosing a path.

I love it because I think this is the best way to describe what I believe my job description as a parent is.... to create independent and thoughtful kids, eager to make their own path and mark in life, but not in such a way that they are alone - after all, I am right there with a camera to capture the image and hear what they have to say or ask.

(This was on the bridge at the Boston Public Garden.)