Wednesday, March 31, 2010

back in '42

When commenting on my dad people say one of two things; either that he is a great guy with so many interesting things to talk about or that he is rather intimidating. Tony favored the latter for the better part of our courtship, as most people do (but come on, he looks like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven for Pete's sake). He is the kind of guy who commands authority without saying much, unless of course he is trying to stop the tee-heeing at the dinner table, you know what I am talking about. Today as I think about my dad I am flooded by memories that shaped my perception of the world. In that world you value forthcoming-ness, care for those who can not care for themselves (no matter if they are two-legged or four-legged), work hard and think harder.

I remember a time when I decided at the ripe age of 16 that I should study myself. Why Russia? Easy, a letter came for me that planted the idea. I left my parents an itemized list of what I thought it would cost, including what I estimated for meals and spending money. He told me he appreciated my frankness about the additional costs and said that yes, I could go. Come to think of it, his appreciation of straight-forwardness is probably one of the reasons he and my mom have been married for 42 years. My mom said I couldn't go unless I found someone who could go with me, preferably someone who spoke the language. The only person we knew was my not-yet-beloved Tony and his mom said absolutely not. But knowing that my dad believed in me, and told me why he thought I should get to go, meant more to me than I think the trip would have.

It was clear growing up that you take care of those around you. At 6 he taught me how to team up with my sister against the bully at the bus stop to end her brief tirade against the kids of block 102. There was no question as to whether or not I would spend my savings to take care of my one-eyed-brain-damaged kitten when he needed emergency eye surgery for stabbing the blind eye through with a shish kabob skewer or whether my parents would pay the way for surgery when he mistakenly ate the bristles on the broom, because that is what you do. There were countless lambs who he attended in the middle of the night, no matter how tired. There was more than once that we would wake up to the clickity-clack of a freshly warmed and sometimes bathed lamb catching its second chance after my dad filled its belly with colostrum. Every single Christmas bonus ham or turkey went to a family in need. The kid who was selling ad space in the FFA calendar got his sale from my dad, but more importantly he got a lesson in business etiquette first. Lane, Kaid, Aidan, Nadia, MacKenzie and Cooper know that if they need something, even a lesson in riding a four wheeler, they can ask Papa, he will think of a way to make it happen.

One on my favorite sayings of my dad's, of which I have many, starts with "A guy otta..." like he keeps solutions handy in his back pocket just waiting for someone to need it. I don't know whether my dad is a plotter or a planner, a designer or an inventor, a thinker or a dreamer or whether he always just finds a way to solve problems but he will find a way. I took an experimental methods class in college where we observed a psychological experiment related to functional fixedness. Most people fail, they can't think beyond the current function an object is given, but I know my dad would rock that test. He is ahead of his time, he is the ultimate repurposer! He is no stranger to hard work, but he is the first to out-think a situation that requires extra work to make the best use of what is in front of him.

Today, on his birthday, I think about how lucky I am to have a dad like him!

Monday, March 29, 2010

children, i try...

to be kind.
to be understanding.
to be patient.
to be involved.
to be in the moment.
to be loving.
to be silly.
and all the while
to be the keeper of our family journey.

I do try, but sometimes I let excuses get in the way. 
This time I let the doing
get in the way of the documenting.

Time for catch up...
a trip to Cori and Steve's Pinkalicious Wedding. 
I didn't get any good pictures of this blissfully happy couple, but I did get one of the three SESRC ladies... and one of the beautiful bride and CAKE... her favorite thing on the planet (next to Steve of course).

We loved seeing our friends, Aidan and Nadia loved spending time with Papa, and Margo loved her time with Powder, Moo and Trevor.  Thank you to all of the afore mentioned parties for taking care of our lovelies so we could party 'till 9:00 PST!

Aidan built a super alka-seltzer rocket
while Nadia acted like a freakazoid (yes I know she comes by it naturally).
Aidan got a stack of certificates for belt loops at Cub Scouts.

Margo graduated from puppy school...we are so proud. 
Tony and Nadia are wonderful trainers, Aidan and I, not so much.

Nadia  beckoned spring while rockin her ukulele.

School conferences were good and we have some room to grow.  Nadia is excelling socially and is a math rockstar, but will be working on her reading and organization. Aidan's depth of writing has improved greatly, as have his social skills, but will work on increasing his subtraction speed. 
We lazed about a bit. Everything seems to move a little slower as our number one motivater is still recouping from a fractured patella.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

what I have

I have needs...

I need a fashion consultant. A good one.  Not one that nods his head at every thing with tentative approval, nor a wise 8-year old version of this either.  Not one that is 6 who believes that PJ's are the go-to ensemble in a woman's wardrobe. Not a four-legged one that is really only waiting for me to take my shoes off while I am trying clothes on so that she can dash away with them.

I need a better shopping selection than our dear three cities currently provide.  Preferably a store or two devoted completely to trendy women age 25-40ish who don't want to dress either like a strumpet or like a dowdy granny.  I need a middle ground.  With pleasant sales people.  And an assortment of color.  With great prices.  And good quality.  Preferably with a shoe collection, but that's just me with my crazy talk.

Take two steps back my lovelies.  I am in need of something pink to wear to a dear friend's wedding.  I am stoked for this wedding because this friend is awesome, and so is her fiance, and she is having a pink wedding, and I think that is totally cool.  I do not have a great deal of pink because unlike Shelby Eatenton Latcherie, pink is not my signature color.  So back to the story at hand...

Normally, I take the hubikins (that is what the eye doctor called him and I think it is totally weird that now I am compelled to say it) or Sara but both were otherwise engaged.  As I was driving to our little shopping mecca (and by mecca I really mean the group of generic stores clumped in a certain mallish vicinity with a couple of cool stores sprinkled about) in search of a supportive pink something, I get a call. 

It was from home.  Tony and his limpy-gimpy knee were soaking in the tub and the kids and Margo were undoubtedly initiating operation home-destruction in the mere minutes I had been gone.  After scanning through all of the possible bad outcomes of that situation I was relieved to hear Aidan's voice,
"Hey mom. I miss you. Just wanted you to know.  Oh, and I love you."

We talked like that for a few minutes. He is so grown up and still my little boy all wrapped up into one handsome guy.  I may not have found the perfect pink to support my super friend (not for lack of trying, believe me I went to over 20 stores, some of them twice) but I do have the love of the best 8 year old around.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

it is like i live in a zoo or something...

there are animals everywhere!!!
a cat & dog standoff while we refinish a dresser...

dog play while Tony adds more boulders and
moves a pashizzle worth of dirt...

just paintings of birds to add a little spring here,
but I am pleased as poppies that my family
is enjoying them ...

a painting of a rooster for my mom's birthday.
notice that Margo siezed the opportunity to be in the shot
as did a wee squishy koala.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

the famous and infamous

Abraham Lincoln thinks my kids are A-OKAY!

Newton thinks Aidan & Nadia are a force to be reckoned with.

Einstein thinks their energy is absolutely positive!

And Nadia & Aidan think that hanging out with a
bunch of old dudes at the
Night at the Museum is a blast!...

well, mostly anyway.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


there are a lot of ways to eat ice cream I am certain...
but I kinda like her moxie, don't you?