Sunday, December 18, 2016

On Pictures and Parenting

Life has been busy!   As soon as soccer wrapped up, I found myself running around to wrestling and basketball, watching my boys tackle two new sports and the weeks got away from us.    

I’m not the first one to say that time flies and yet, how DID I find myself married to almost a forty year old?  I looked at my handsomest yesterday in natural, indirect sunlight and swooned over the fact that the amount of silver hair on his head is dominating.   

The other week, we were able to getaway for a few days to a paradise state and while playing 
in the crystal clear turquoise water like two newlyweds, it did not occur to either of us that we are 15 years older than that time in Mazatlan, Mexico and are currently parenting 5 kids-- toddler to teen and that we supposed to have figured some things out in this life by now. 

But the truth is,  when it comes to parenting  at least, we still, just like when we had our first, have no idea what in the world we are doing.  We find ourselves more patient with some things and less patient with others.  We understand that parenting is a serious matter, yet we are learning to choose our battles and laugh many things off.  We are less concerned with raising perfect children and more with people who are kind and wise.   And as we grieve over the fact that weeks fly,  time is at no mercy and this fact alone guides the words we utter to each other and the decisions we make.   Most of the time.   Sometimes, though our life is a bit like this picture.  

My sis captured our expression the moment my son threw a pinecone when he was supposed to pose for the picture and we are watching to see where it lands.   Will it hit her or her son in the head or will it miss?

Walking on eggshells hoping it all turns out OK...

It would be a lie to say that I treasure and swoon over every moment I have with my kids.   

We have all kinds of moments...  There are those when part of me earns for an escape, a place where I don't have to think of what to say next or how to handle a certain situation. 

I've never liked conflicts and by trying to avoid them all my life, have never learned a productive way to solve them.   

With a teen in a house and more on the way, I have a feeling I'll get a little better at them 😏. 

There are also those moments, when joy overspills and I cannot imagine greater happiness than this life of mine right that second.  

Our household is loud and the days where that noise is dominated by the kids are actually great days. The days where the patience for disobedience runs out and the household gets louder are days no one here is proud of...

And when quiet moments of reflection happen, we cling to grace and the never ceasing hope that tomorrow will be a better day.  

Parent teacher conferences happened a few weeks ago.  And with each of the three school children of ours, I smiled ear to ear and thought I would burst with pride as each teacher raved about them.   They are leaders, respectful, hard working, kind, etc, etc other qualities that this house of ours often doesn't witness.   When kids get home, they let their guard down and the pressure to perform, please and comply ceases and we see the real them.  Just as they see the real us...  

But just like the pictures from photoshoots that don't make it to Instagram and Pinterest because they they weren't perfect    didn't turn out as one of more subjects had their finger up their nose or a melt down, those things did happen and they are us, authentic, raw and imperfectly perfect.  

So when lament over the fact that these four walls see their share of antonyms and all the teaching and disciplining appears in vain, grace, forgiveness, and hope show up and your heart is full and you are content with your imperfectly perfect life.  

Our annual Fall pictures happened a month or so ago.   My sister graciously insisted that we need to take them that day or else they won't happen and so we went.   We couldn't decide where to go but when my husband suggested we go to the property we bought last year, I welcomed the idea and was so glad for it.  The lighting was perfect and the fall colors showed up here and there.   Most members of the fam were in a great mood and the whole photoshoot felt relaxed and natural. 


Plus, my sister, who is ever so awesome to continue to do this for us year after year...

Tomorrow marks the first official day of Christmas Break.  There is so much catching up to do around the house plus all the hosting that happens in December!    But because we keep Christmas pretty low key presents wise, there will also be time for cookie baking, extra long snuggles, feet massages,  book reading and Christmas lights sightings.  Oh and potty training.  Almost forgot potty training.  That is in our plans as well.  Ahem...  

So we will  have bad moments on great days--but that's OK as long as good moments, as gray hairs, dominate.    

Monday, August 22, 2016

Thirteen in Seattle

We have a teenager in the house, y'all and looking over all the pictures from previous years is messing me up!

I mean, those older people tried to warn me....but when days of sick babies and sleep deprived mama seem long, who can believe that years fly.    My daughter is 13 this month, but honestly, I feel like I have been mothering FOREVER.  I hardly remember my life pre-babies anymore.  This is partially due to my ever failing memory, but mostly because I was blessed with a new identity that one summer night and I never looked back.  Who am I apart from being a mama to 5? I can hardly describe...

Back to my baby girl.   I just reread this post from 3 years back and giggled at some things that were present at 10.  Some things have changed, but some are very much still there.

Over the past year, especially, I have been thinking a lot about how her and I are similar and how we are different.   The differences are so great that sometimes I am at awe that we share genetical makeup.   I love our differences, but sometimes I look at her and say--"Yep, that is so me!"-- with pride and other times with my head hung low hanging on to grace...  

I decided to document some of those things for the sake of maybe revisiting it in a few years for another chuckle.  

  • She is a blond, I am a brunette
  • She's got beautiful eyes that are blue, mine are the same shape as hers but brown.  
  • Though we both have curly hair, she loves to wear hers straight.  
  • We are both very responsible especially when it comes to schooling (Runs in the family--thanks, mom!)
  •  She very much cares about her appearance in public, while I do too, I have no problem running to a grocery store in the same clothes I spent the day cleaning in.  
  • Abby is obsessed with high end brands.  I can care less and prefer that I don't advertise any company's logo for free. (Praying she will grow over it).  
  • She's also obsessed with cars.  Talks a lot about owning a fancy one one day.  All I care about is that it runs and is roomy enough for our fam.  
  •  While we both love sushi and other Asian food, I prefer to reserve soy sauce for those cuisines while she can add to it every meal.
  •  She is athletic and I am (was?) too.  
  • I love to read for pleasure, she reserves it for academic purposes.
  • I love her choice for clothing more with every day that passes...
  • She loves to play her music loud.  I'm getting way to old for that... 
  • She loves the mall, I prefer boutique style shopping.  Choices overwhelm me.  
  • The girl loooooves high heels.  Ouch--is all I have say about that.  
  • She loves to cook and experiment with different combination of flavors--I am a devout recipe follower.  
  • She's got a knack for organizing, please don't open my cupboards. 
  • She plays the piano better than me, has an ear for music and also plays the flute.  
  • She is an extrovert all the way. 
  • Though we share jeans, she is a pear, I'm an apple.  
There is probably more, but thats all I can think of right now.   We spent her big day in Seattle--here is a quick recap.

We woke up early, but ended up leaving around 8am.   Our first stop was of course the Pike's Market. We were mostly impressed with the street musicians and various seafood--foot long
lobsters, y'all!

The market itself is a bit overwhelming--lots of people and lots of vendors.   I don't do well with too many choices.  We made our way through the covered area and out to the street where we found Pike Place Chowder.  The line was loooong but definitely worth the wait.  

Though my husband enjoyed his lobster roll, I think I will skip my crab roll next time and just get a double serving of chowder.   Yum!

After lunch we got coffee here.  Another score (not money wise, but flavor)! Its located on the upper floor of the building right across from the market--feels worlds away from the hustle when you are there.  My latte was so smooth and delicious and the decor and architecture is so so beautiful.  If I had more than one day to spend in Seattle, I might have just camped myself there for a whole day with a book in hand.

 Goodness, she looks all grown up!

We passed the ever colorful Gum Wall on our way to the Ferris Wheel and Pier 59.  I wanted to keep walking, but teenagers had to take a picture ;).

It was the perfect day for the Ferris Wheel.  The 360 degree view from the cabins (?) was so pretty, definitely something I would love to do again.

Pier 59 is full of gift shops, an ice cream shop and seafood restaurants.  Restaurants range from casual to fine dining; we gravitated towards casual.   The gift shops had mostly tourist material with some gems such as these mixed in:

After Pier 59, we decided to walk all the way to the Sculpture Park.  Ahem.  Maybe not such a great idea.  It was farther then we thought.   Would have been wiser to park closer to the park and take a walk in the park instead.

By the time we made it to the park, no one felt like walking much further.

Mixed in our trip was a parking ticket (almost a towing ticket--sign of relief!) and my husband being mistaken for a homeless person while waiting for us near the gift shop.  We had all had a good chuckle.

 Love you baby girl, many many more Happy Birthdays to ya!