Friday, October 31, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My lil' Pumpkins

We ventured out to the pumpkin patch today. We always have a good time inspecting the pumpkins for "worms" and other flaws. We selected three of the finest pumpkins in the NW to grace our porch this year. I snapped a few shots of the kids ferrying their selections away as the rule is: "if you can't carry it, you can't keep it." (Well, except for Emma. She had a little help.) It was a nice trip. The patch wasn't too crowded and the kids were able to inspect several squished and decomposing pumpkins; pretend to drive a tractor; use the port-a-potty; and (almost) push the wheel barrow.

"I've learned there are three things you don't discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin."
~Linus, from It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

Halloween Traditions

I love family traditions. A comforting feeling swells in my heart when the traditions of my childhood come to mind. Now that I have my own family, it is fun to discover our traditions as they develop. Several times I have attempted to force my own ideas and traditions onto my new family and have found myself unhappy and somewhat dejected when Chance or the kids did not revel in all my hard work and planning. I realized that no matter how much I try to "create" a family tradition, it never works out the way I plan. I think our family traditions are discovered by accident more often than planned on purpose. No amount of planning can create those unexpected moments of happiness and family togetherness that sometimes spring out of nowhere.

Last night we took out the box of Halloween decorations from the garage. I know it seems strange that we would have an enough spooky stuff to fill an entire tote, but a few years back Chance became competitive at our ward's trunk-or-treat. There was a contest for the best decorated trunk. One giant grim reaper, a fog-machine and several (ahem) dollars later ... he was triumphant! We're not one of those families with the giant plastic Santa's and crazy holiday yards at Christmas, but our "white trashiness" seems to come alive at the trunk-or-treat. Anyway, the kids love pulling out that box. Last night they went absolutely wild. I was reminded of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are when the "wild rumpass" begins. There was dancing and singing and chanting and screaming and general craziness all over the house. I cannot pen the joy I saw last night and I cannot express how it filled my heart. How grateful I am for the life in my house.

Sometimes we feel the need to go to the movies or the fair or somewhere exciting and spend money in the name of tradition. While those are fun things to do, nights like last night are more meaningful to me. We simply celebrated together. Celebrated a time of year for being silly, wearing costumes and becoming monsters. These little traditions that develop by accident are as precious to me as those from my youth. More so. The nights we pull out the boxes are special.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


My grandmother used to sew adorable things for me when I was little. As I got older she attempted on numerous occasions to pass on her sewing secrets to me, but I was never similarly inclined. I had little interest in learning to sew. My passions were more geared to music. At that time I did not understand the draw of sewing. Perhaps it was because I remembered the horror of Theo's shirt (handmade by Denise) on The Cosby Show. Jayne (my mother-in-law) bought me a sewing machine three years ago when she visited us in Minnesota. She completed several projects with it during her visit, but it has since stayed packed away in its box. Until last week, that is.

I made this dress for Emma with Jayne's assistance. She instructed me throughout the project, but I sewed it on my own. A few weeks ago during a quick stop at JoAnn's I discovered this lovely bolt of light cordoroy and immediately felt impressed to make Emma a dress. I have no idea where this stroke of sewing passion came from; possibly my Grandmother's blood coursing through my body speaks louder when I'm at a fabric store. I took it home and realized that I don't speak seamstress. The pattern contained several terms I had never before heard and I quickly realized I had no idea what I was doing. Thankfully, Jayne is nearby and gave me a crash course on sewing. The most important of which was how to thread my sewing machine.

I now understand why people like to sew. I look at this and I feel tremendously satisfied.
Clip from The Cosby Show - Season 1, Episode 8

Friday, October 10, 2008

7 Year Olds

I am writing this post to remind myself how much I love Tyler. He is currently "grounded" and has been most of the week. I fear he will continue in his current situation as his 7 year-old personality refuses to respect the rules in our family. I have endured a very trying week with this boy! The sad thing is that I only see him before school in the morning and then from 3:30 in the afternoon to bedtime. But by bedtime each night he has mentally and emotionally exhausted me. I remember reading once in a parenting book that anger is physically draining. That book has come to mind frequently this week.

I know Tyler is still a young child. He's only seven - a mere 91 months on this earth. At times like this I attempt to release my frustrations by remembering the things I love about him. And at this moment I am pondering four particular endearments.

1. I love his fondness for telling strange and not-so-funny jokes. (Over and over and OVER again.)

2. I love his imagination and his curiosity about the world. His driving need to take things apart and look inside to examine how they work, which he calls "experiments."

3. I love that he is capable of abundant remorse. He gives the best apologies - so sincere and overdone it is impossible not to smile or roll your eyes.

4. I love that Tyler writes me love notes continuously. I have a steady supply of sweet letters and sticky notes around the house from him. He has filled notebooks full of hearts for me. Chance has never done that.

Moments in Time:

"It's not me, its my imagination." ~Tyler (age 4) after being told 87 times to stop jumping from the couch to the table

"Mom, Dad! You can't eat junkfood! Just leave it for the kids. We'll eat it." ~Tyler (age 6), when Chance and I were dieting

"I love you, Momma. I love you more than my video games." ~ Tyler (Age 7), yesterday

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Little Off the Top

Tyler is famous! Sort of. We attended the Kids Day America in Covington a few weeks back and the Covington Reporter published a picture of him receiving a haircut. It was a miserable day full of cold rain and wind, but the haircuts were FREE. Due to the weather, I think the turnout was a bit scarce. All three kids received free haircuts, free lunch, and free prizes in the raffle drawings. I saved at least $50 that day on haircuts and lunch. Plus, Tyler won a free sports registration at Covington Community Sports, which saved me another $50. Not bad for a few hours in the rain. Tyler is thrilled to see his picture in the paper. He is absolutely enchanted by it.

A little off the top

Casie Coltes gives Tyler Richardson one of the free haircuts that were offered during Kids Day America, a community event hosted Sept. 20 at Chiropractic Today in Covington.

Covington/Maple Valley Reporter 10/1/2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


When I was young the most important elections for me were for my middle school class officers. During the school assembly, the candidates would stand and give speeches about all the fine things they would do if elected (i.e. installing a new Coke machine). Based on their words I would form opinions about their self-confidence and intelligence and eventually decide my vote. But I do admit my vote could be cheaply purchased with some cool stickers or lollipops that carried messages of "Vote for Heather" over another's mundane flyers. I realized at the time that the candidates' promises were irrelevant as they were unlikely to achieve them. A 12 year-old student had little impact on whether or not the school signed a contract with Coke, but it still sounded great. In reality, my vote came down to two things: who said they would give me the things I wanted and who I simply liked more.

Today, I find myself in a similar position. I listen to the debates and try to determine who I believe can grant me all I desire and who I generally "like" more. The campaign promises are more difficult to follow. Of course, the things I want have changed - but not much. As a 12 year-old, life didn't get much better than some sweets, a soda and stickers. Or at least it didn't in my day. Those were symbols of our prosperity and happiness. My symbols are different now, but they continue to represent the same ideals. I simply want to be happy and to prosper in this life with my family.

But lollipops are nice, too.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Noah Balboa

Here are some pictures of Noah's latest injury. We iced his face after he fell and collided into a chair in the kitchen. And woke up the next morning to this! Naturally, today was picture day at school.

Bodyguard: Did ya get the license number?
Rocky: Of What?
Bodyguard: The truck that run over your face.
~Quote from Rocky (1976)