Monday, July 28, 2008

Leaves on the Trees

I remember in 3rd Grade at Sacajawea Elementary School when Mr. Kimura told me he thought I needed glasses. I remember the absolute insulting embarrassment of that conversation. How dare he suggest that I need glasses?! How embarrassing that he noticed I couldn't see the board. Somehow my mother discovered I needed glasses, too, and a few weeks later I walked out of the optometrist's office in my first pair of eyeglasses. I remember clearly the drive home. I exclaimed to my mother in amazement my ability to see each of the leaves on the trees - so clearly, so distinctly. I had no idea what I had been missing in the world. Everything was clear and crisp and beautiful to me. The traffic signs, my mother's eyelashes, and much more. But most of all, I remember the leaves.

Tyler received his first pair of eyeglasses a few days ago. When his teacher Mrs. Foster suggested an eye exam I could feel Tyler's outrage and fear. I knew it firsthand. We picked up the glasses on Monday and drove home. Just the two of us. I shared with him my first experience in my glasses. I told him about the trees and the leaves. On the drive home he excitedly described to me all the wonders of the world he could now see in such fantastic clarity. It was a moment to cherish and I gratefully shared it with him. I wonder if he'll remember that drive home as I have remembered mine from so long ago. I hope so.

"The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes ... but in having new eyes."
~Marcel Proust

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Evil Xbox

I have a confession. I'm not a perfect mother. I'm terrible at folding laundry and last week my kids ate doughnuts for breakfast twice! And I admit that we have an Xbox 360 in our house. Not exactly something I'm proud of considering all the evidence that video games and TV are terribly damaging to kids in countless ways. Oh the shame! But I have a husband who LOVES video games. My boys adore everything their father does. I'm outnumbered. Fortunately, the Xbox created few problems since we had relatively few games. Until now.

Microsoft and Lego have recently turned to the Dark Side and come together in a plot to ruin my life. Not long ago we purchased a Star Wars Lego game. It quickly became my enemy. Whenever "Xbox time" was over, I endured numerous protests and insulting screams and scorns. Who knew the Xbox would turn my darling boys into Gremlins? But then, fortune smiled on me in the form of a move back to the Northwest. The game was mysteriously lost and forgotten about. And peace returned once again to the galaxy.

Somehow the Dark Side is striking back. We've acquired Star Wars Lego's II and the missing game has been found. *Sigh* It has become an obsession so we limit their gaming time. (I have mentioned these boys are 7 and 4, right?) Every morning Tyler wakes up at dawn and creeps down to the Xbox for a little pre-breakfast fix before Mom wakes up. Noah walks around chanting the Star Wars theme music - even in church! Robots, light sabers, Legos. What more could a little boy want?

And so, here is my confession ... I must confide I love how attentive and big-brotherly Tyler is to Noah as he coaches him through the game. I love to hear the pride in Noah's voice when he defeats a foe. I love that they share these strange little accomplishments with each other. There is a rare sweetness between them during those brief moments. It's my ray of sunshine in the whole mess.

So, there it is. I'm a parenting failure. May The Force be with me.

Noah: "Mom, my hands are feeling angry."
Mom: "Why?"
Noah: "Because they haven't been able to play Xbox today."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Summer Reading

I love reading in the summer. There is almost nothing better than spending a lazy afternoon immersed in something new. Reading is one of my passions and it is something that I do really well. I’m not really sure what that means, but I know it is true. When I read I travel some place created by the author’s words. I become a part of that place. And I cannot completely escape until the story ends and I reluctantly return to reality. I am easily snared by a good story. And if the story is especially captivating, I dream about it. Only in my dreams I add odd things that really don’t fit in the story… like pancakes and laundry.

This summer I’ve already added over 36 notches to my reading belt. I feel like I’m having a contest with myself! But, in all honesty, I haven’t been reading much thought-provoking literature of late. I’ve read a lot of books that made me laugh. No deep meditation required. But I think I like to leave my “thinking books” to the winter reading season. Maybe because Spring and Summer seem so fun and flirty; while autumn reminds me of returning to school and discovering new ideas and rain. I guess my brain still likes to take a summer vacation. (This also might explain why my fall quarter grades tended to fare better than Spring quarter when the Quad at UW blossomed.) But thankfully there are many good books to be enjoyed that do not require excessive brain power. Notwithstanding, I still love a good plot twist and clever dialogue. I just don’t want to take notes to keep up with the storyline. At least, not until September…

"I like being around books. It makes me feel civilized.
The only way to do all the things you'd like to do is to read."
~ Tom Clancy ~

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Temperament of Traffic Lights

We were driving in the car today and came to a stop at a red traffic light. The following is my conversation with Noah. This is classic Noah.

Noah: "Mom, I think the red lights are mad."

Mom: "You do?"

Noah: "Yeah, and the green lights are happy."

Mom: "Oh, OK." (chuckling)

Noah: "And the yellow lights are .... confused."

I wish I could have recorded the moment. Then I would be able to savor the memory of the exact look in his eye, the inflections in his voice and the weighty pause as he thoughtfully considered those yellow lights. Tyler and Emma also have their share of enchanting moments, but Noah seems to be at that particular point in development where his insights into the world are especially intriging and amusing. How lucky am I to converse with such brilliance on a daily basis. A few months back, I sent my dad an email regarding a similar conversation with Noah. I enjoyed his response:

"What a fertile mind the little dude has! .... You know there is the known physical universe that you and I know, and then there's the universe that Noah spends a lot of his time in ... it's a different kind of place."

How true. The sad thing is that in not so short a time I will forget the entire conversation until perhaps I come across it scrolling through this blog.

"We do not remember days, we remember moments.
The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten."
~ Cesare Pavese, italian poet

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Gardening with Grandma

Grandma Jayne and Gauge visited today. During her last visit a few weeks ago, she pulled weeds in my yard. Sometimes I think she has magical abilities. It amazes me what she can persuade the kids to do in her quiet way. It reminds me I have a lot to learn about parenting. My children worked for a solid hour pulling weeds that day simply because they wanted to do what she was doing. A few days ago, we came upon a sale on gardening tools in Target. The kids enthusiastically insisted they needed gardening supplies. I complied. So, today when Jayne arrived, the kids proudly displayed our purchases. They immediately got to work in the yard again, though not much work was accomplished this time around. There were more sword fights with the rake and shovel than actual gardening, but it was good fun to be outside together in the fine weather.


Noah: "Oh, man! I've gotta get these volcano plants."

Grandma: "Noah, did someone plant volcanoes in your yard?"

Noah: "Yeah, there was a storm and volcano seeds went into the ground."

Dancing Queen

I enrolled Emma in a Pre-Ballet class last week. Unfortunately for the instructor, Emma is only interested in twirling and watching herself in the mirror. Of course, Tyler and Noah despise Emma's ballet class because they have to sit outside in the hallway for 45 minutes during class and there is absolutely nothing exciting about the hallway (see below). I have to admit that I glean a certain amount of pleasure from this. Emma has endured two months of baseball practices and games for the boys and a little payback is very satisfying. **evil grin** I hate to admit that I already envision a future for Emma full of dance recitals and auditions on Broadway. But that is what Mothers do. We hope, we encourage and blindly believe that all things are possible.

I took ballet when I was young, but I have no memory of dancing. However, I do have one short memory that I associate with my ballet class. I remember walking after class to our home in Portland, Oregon. To my young mind, home felt miles away. The streets were busy, the cars were loud and I walked alone. It was a different world then, but I can only assume that my memory isn't entirely accurate. I recognize that it is quite possible that I never walked home at all or that our home was 2 blocks away from the studio on a quiet road next to a park rather than through a busy industrial district. It will be in my mother's hands, if she ever reads this, to verify whether or not my memory is flawed. Most likely it is, as I readily admit to having a terrible memory.
"When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not."
~ Mark Twain

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Beginning of the Blog

Well, here it is. Our family blog. We've been procrastinating this step for too long. Finally, we're here with the rest of humanity sharing our memories and entertaining along the way.

I'm new to blogging. I have no blogging skills to speak of and I'm sure it will show. But what I lack in blogging ability, I'll attempt to compensate for in creativity or at least with an abundance of pictures. And so ... without any further ado ... the first set of pictures...

Last weekend for 4th of July we attended the Lake Meridian fireworks show in Kent. Here's a picture of the kids at the lake waiting for the show to begin. After taking this, I handed the camera over to them. They managed to capture forever images of Tyler's chin, Chance's ear, my toes, some completely black pictures of the "fireworks" and several shots of strangers and garbage on the ground. Sigh. In the pictures below, Chance is lighting "snakes" with the kids before the show. We didn't plan to buy any fireworks this year, but somehow on July 4th we developed "the fever" and Chance became The Flame Master. He lit the first real firework, the kids went wild and he was hooked. Last weekend was the first time we have purchased fireworks in our 10 years of marriage.

On Sunday we visited friends in Poulsbo. We thought it would be fun for the kids to catch the ferry instead of driving around. And it was fun ... for them. Not so much for us. A Ferry is just a big boat with plenty of room for kids to run amok. We took the Bainbridge Ferry right into downtown Seattle and it was beautiful. Tyler, however, pointed at the Seattle skyline and said he could see New York City! Just look at them. They are freezing! But would they leave the deck? No way.