Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Wk 49: Picture of the week

"Uh Noh-oi-eeez!" Jesse was not thrilled with the sounds coming from the bathroom as hundreds of little tiny screws secured the hardy-backer board to the naked studs surrounding the bath tub.
Not a fan. Not one bit. But...it sure made for some cute pictures!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Wk 48: Motion

At the end of November we came up with a brilliant plan: to remodel the bathroom in the middle of the Holiday season! It makes perfect sense right?! It's not like there are a million and one "extra" things that require your time and money in the 30 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas...how bad could throwing a major bathroom overhaul in to the mix be? I jest. 

Well, we didn't take our own advice and wait, we just dove in head first. I put my big girl panties on and steeled myself for the countless days, nights and weeks ahead of almost-single-mommy-hood.  Thankfully, with remodeling, comes a plethora of over-sized cardboard boxes which provide a multitude of little boy friendly activities. One particular evening, the box that had cradled our new bathtub served as a car ramp, a fort, a tunnel, a coloring mat, and a space for Jesse to practice his dance moves.
 The picture below was my shot for the week. I kind of love it even though it's blurry because it says so much about the personalities of my kids. Owen can get lost in an activity for long periods of time while Jesse is quickly ready for something that involves physical activity. Some of that I chalk up to age and some of it is simply who they're wired to be.

Wk 47: Mystery

Owen "read" to Jesse for the first time. It was their favorite book of the week, a classic of sorts, titled Mader's Tall Tales. We checked it out from the library and read it so many times Owen had the stories memorized. As I took these photos, I couldn't help but imagine that Owen was reading some mysterious tale to Jesse. There they were sweetly sitting on the couch lost in the pages of a good book. Heaven.
The frequency with which these two engage in something together is increasing and I love it; though the mystery still remains as to why they can't play so contentedly together all the time.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wk 46: Sudden

There are times, as a parent, when your child does something that makes you pause and say "Oh my, they just grew up a little more." Those moments hold a mixture of joy and sadness as you embrace their ever changing little lives and are reminded once again how quickly time passes. 

For me, this moment happened when we were outside "riding bikes." Perhaps it was the hood pulled up over his head, the confidence he portrayed while steering, or the stance that so clearly reminded me of something a teenage boy would do. Whatever it was, in that moment, he suddenly grew up a little more.  

Wk 45: Familiar

I love those chubby hands that tightly grip the fixtures all too familiar to this family. I wonder, what will he like? What talents will he poses? What interest will captivate and, in turn, teach him responsibility, the value of hard work, develop character and endurance? These are the things these captured moments make me dream and think about.
Whatever he does, it will be fun to watch him learn, grow, fail and succeed.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Super boys

 I had one of those moments this fall where the desire to create something was over powering. It seems to hit as the seasons change and the great outdoors don't hold their same daily appeal. My project was inspired by the love my boys have of playing with super heroes. We have a basket full of "vintage" ones from Josh's childhood which they play with all the time. Side note: Action figures these days are not nearly as cool; someone needs to tell Mattel that they should revert to their old school designs as they are much more appealing.

 Anyways, I wanted to make capes for the boys rather than buying them. The ones at the store are so flimsy and feel so cheap and I wanted something that would be inspiring. I had visions of my dress up box when I was young in which we played with an awesome full-sized satin cape from my dad's acting days in high school.
 So I set out to make up my own version of that satin cape but add a super-hero element to it. Boy, nothing makes you feel more inept at sewing than starting a sewing project without a pattern. Well let's be honest, I probably wouldn't feel skilled even with a pattern. But patterns aside, the project went quickly and by the end (thanks to all the straight line sewing a cape affords) I was quite satisfied with the finished product. 
 The following day we went for a walk through the neighborhood just to make sure any "bad guys" know there are some Superboys that live on this block. I sleep better at night knowing I have Captain America and Superman in my house.

Wk 44: To work or to play

This week's photo prompt was during the week of Halloween. About a month prior, I sewed a Captain American and a Superman cape for the boys (more on that later.)  Owen was Batman and Jesse was Clark Kent (minus the glasses). I may or may not have been ever so slightly disappointed Owen didn't choose to use my hand-crafted beauty; however, I can't really fault him as I remember, on occasion, wishing I grew up in the kind of family where Halloween didn't equate to "handmade" every year.

We had a blast "trick or treating" through all the games and inflatables set up at the Carnival. I think every year gets more entertaining as Owen begins to understand what the fuss is all about.

Later that evening, Josh took the boys down our street to trick-or-treat. Apparently, Owen struggled to keep up as they traipsed down the street with some friends. Josh commented that he was starting to get frustrated as Owen kept falling down and being clumsy, chalking up his difficulties to over excitement. Eventually, Josh clued in that there was something more amiss when Owen walked smack-dab into a planter on the way up to knock on a door. The poor kid had been walking around completely blind as his Batman mask had slipped over his eyes blocking his vision.  Having never worn a mask before, Owen hadn't said anything because he had no idea you're still supposed to be able to see even though something is covering your face. Makes for a good story even if he did suffer in happy, clumsy, over-excited, silence.

Finally, this is my "to work or to play" photo. It was taken moments after arriving into the inflatable room at the church where Jesse was completely mesmerized by the magnitude of fun before him. In my imagination, he looks as if he is torn between the decision to play and the responsibility Superman has to save lives.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wk 43: Give

 We had one of those nights where both of us were bone tired. The kind of tired where you count down the minutes to bed time because all you want to do is crash but instead you choose to be present and wrestle with your boys. You give of yourself and you are rewarded with sweet moments like these. Their faces alive with joy as they delight in the attention from their Daddy. I am so grateful for the kind of Daddy Josh is to our boys.

Wk 42: Self-Portrait

In Memory of losing my Grandmother - the reason for my blue eyes and half my namesake. 

Written by my brother Joseph Carlson
"In the midst of my tears and prayers today I have been asking Jesus what the hope we lay claim to in faith looks like in the midst of such stark reality, when stripped of all ideology and conceptualization. What does that hope look like when it is forcibly snatched from its ethereal realm and made to look death full in the face? What does it speak into the silence that is death?

At this point I have more questions than I do insights or answers. This is what I do know and what I must believe: that Death has lost it's sting because of the work of Christ on the Cross. It is He who rules over death and over all. This does nothing to diminish the pain and suffering of death as we now know it here and now, for it is right and fitting to feel a loss such as this in our very core. And yet, we believe and take joy in that we believe that Life, rather than Death, is the final word that Love speaks. For all it's seeming finality, Life is what I believe that we will share with Grandma again.

I know nothing of Heaven. I can know nothing of heaven for it lies beyond the realm of fact. It exists fully in the realm of faith and love. I have faith and I know love. I know that the bible paints an image in Psalms and Revelation of New Creation. I've come to love that it describes such a time and place as a Garden City, wherein there are no more tears for death or pain. It is some consolation to believe that my Grandma will get to garden once again, to grow the roses that she loved so much in a place where she won't have to coax bud and blossom out from under rain and cloudy skies.

I believe that above all else God is "for us", that he is a God who suffers along side of us and who sends his Spirit to learn the groans of our mourning and to groan them on the floor beside us. God may not explain our suffering, but he suffers with us."

Wk 41: Self-Portrait

 Technically, this picture is not a self-portrait because I did not press the shutter to take the picture; however, I am in it and therefore it counts. In October we decided to go to Oktoberfest in Leavenworth with a group of our friends. It was a glorious two and half days spent without kids, in the mountains, with some of our favorite people. These days it is a very rare occasion that we go away somewhere with our spouses, without kids, with our friends. It. Was. A. Blast!
 We ate things like smoked turkey legs. We danced. We hit golf balls and went fly fishing. We stayed up too late and a few of us drank too much. We all walked away from the weekend thankful for such great friendship and agreed that this might need to become an annual event.

 I just had to share these pictures because they crack me up. Rianne decided we should take a picture amongst the foliage. This is how it turned out and our husbands faces say it all.

Wk 40: Empty

Popcorn bowls don't stay full for long during movie night!

Wk 39: Everyday

I've tried to post this blog post twice. Both times it failed and my perfectly scribed prose lost forever. Needless to say, I've been feeling a little defeated by week 39 and it's time to get over it. 
These pictures are from September when we headed over the mountains to Winthrop.
 It was a cold and rainy weekend, an unusual occurrence for Mazama. As a result, we spent our three days going for walks in between the rain showers and lots of time playing games and watching movies next to the fire.
 Since the weather didn't permit for outdoor fires we improvised and made s'mores indoors over the crackling logs in the stove. I'm pretty sure Owen died and went to heaven over this nightly treat.

 Our last day at the cabin we drove up to Hart's Pass which is accessed by a narrow dirt road that winds up the side of the mountains behind our cabin to some spectacular views and hiking. After 10 minutes of driving, as we gained altitude, the rain quickly changed to snow. It was partly magical and partly terrifying as the thought of getting stuck on this now abandoned mountain road flashed through our minds so it wasn't long till we got out to trek around in the first snow of the year.

 These last two photos were my "pics of the week."  Jesse changes from baby to little boy more every day and Owen is daily encroaching on becoming a student.This fall, I purchased a Preschool workbook to do with him this school year and he is in love with it. In fact, if I let him, I'm fairly certain that he would have already completed the entire book. He asks every day if we can do his "school book". Every day he takes his book to rest time so that he can do the pages with his finger. I love his enthusiasm and hunger for learning.