Brotherly Love

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At 7.5 weeks, I feel like we’ve begun settling into a sweet little family routine. And the love between these two (well, it’s one sided from Potamus to Lil G at this point, right?) is so sweet.

Yesterday I took Lil G down to Olympia to hang out with my bestie. When I came back it was late afternoon, and so we spent some time outside looking at the trees blowing in the wind and feeling the sunshine on our faces. Of course Potamus wanted to snuggle his baby brother and I captured this sweet shot. Be still my heart.

These moments are why people say they’re glad they have two or more kids.

6 Weeks: Twitterpated in the Sunshine

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My parents came for a visit. Three nights. They’ve never been allowed to stay three nights in a row before (I have a two night policy for guests, and a two night policy for my own visiting. It’s best to leave feeling like “I wish I should have stayed longer,” rather than “I wish to never see these people again.”), but they recently bought a motorhome and the extra private space provided a nice respite from them staying in our house. Potamus loved going out to the motorhome to play games with them at night, and when my dad needed to take his real estate calls, he didn’t have to do it in my living room with a 4 year old saying “grampy, grampy,” an infant crying, and my mom sighing. It was a lovely visit.

And the sun was out.

Seattle has been unseasonably warm and glorious in the past two weeks, and I was able to get a few lovely shots of Lil G in our backyard. I’m surprised everyday at how much I love this child. It is such a sweet feeling to have again. And a sweet feeling to know that this is the moment, one to never be repeated again. There’s something about it, like the flowers in the background, opening to beautiful blossoms and then dropping off to the ground after their moment of glory. ❤

Rainboot Mindfulness

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In the span of a few months, the only full priced pair of shoes I’ve ever bought Potamus, has failed. True he’s worn them threadbare, with all his tromping and climbing and sliding. But I wasn’t prepared for the rain boot replacement, and then I showed up to school today and the gash in the side of the boot (that I had, perhaps, frugally thought I would repair with a big swatch of duct tape), and a ripped strap, and just general disrepair. And I realized, “dang, it’s time to replace these boots.” As it so happens, we live in Seattle, and it’s January, and it’s…RAINING.

Thank goodness I let my students out early today, so Potamus and I headed down to Fred Meyer by our house to pick out new rain boots. He was thrilled. The whole ride there he sang a little song that went something like “rain boots, rain boots, new rain boots,” and then included things like “mommy, me, scrummy, me, house, rain boots, new rain boots.” The melody is hard to translate, but it was adorable. When we arrived at the brightly lit shelves of the toddler rain boot section, I realized…good thing I only have one kid, because a) DANG THESE ARE EXPENSIVE and b) DANG THIS TAKES FOREVER.

I squatted down, frantically looking for a replacement size 9, which we  bought a size too big four months ago. And only finding one pattern (which he quickly rejected) we opted to try on some size 8’s that actually fit really well, but make me nervous that he’ll grow out of them in 3.4 seconds. He tried on butterfly boots “like aubrey,” and princess ones “like bella’s,” and didn’t want the sharks because they were “like madden’s,” and finally, after digging through all that rubber, he decided on the one pair of dinosaur boots that fit. Phew.

But wait!

The hemming and hawwing began again.

“They’re too big mama,” he said, which I protested because there’s no way they were too big. Too small, maybe, but definitely not too big. So we tried on the shark pair again. And then looked at the butterfly pair. He rejected the ladybug that was sorta ‘like aubrey’s’ but not exactly the same. We looked at plain red, plain yellow, you get the idea.

Oh the toddler indecision.

But after about five minutes into the haggling with my tiny, I was actually enjoying myself. I remember going to get shoes as a kid and feeling so stifled by the choices because a) I was gigantic and had gigantic feet and b) my mom was cheap on a budget, and c) there were 3 of us and we were always in a rush from one thing to another. I know that the luxury of spending 30 minutes hemming and hawwing over the perfect pair of rainboots will not be something I can do forever. But in the world of hurry up, where I’m always hustling him out the door in the darkness to school, or coming home and slamming things down to start dinner/snacks/tv show/cleanup, it felt nice to simply notice all the designs available for him to choose from.

And when he strutted out of the store, and on his own said, “thanks for buying my new rainboots,” I smiled and drank in the sweet moment that passes all too soon.

Happy St. Lucia Day!

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From the time I was a small girl, I have always wanted to celebrate St. Lucia Day. December 13th, a day marked in Sweden, Norway, and other northern countries, is marked by St. Lucia Day. A day honoring a Christian martyr, celebrated by the oldest girls in a family dressing as Lucia girls, and bringing coffee and buns to their parents. To celebrate my Swedish/Norwegian heritage, this year I dressed up as St. Lucia.

Did I also mention that it was my birthday on December 13th?

St. Lucia Day. My birthday. In my wedding dress, with my red sash, and homemade wreath of candles, I set out with two of my college friends to Seattle’s Pike Place Market to pass out candy canes as a strong female holiday character. To my great joy, there were many kids who said “Santa Lucia!” when they saw me. Seattle has a strong Swedish and Norwegian heritage, so it was fun to meet little blonde kids who had just come from dancing at the Nordic heritage museum and then getting candy canes from me at the market. A fun experience for me, too, and a great way to get another use out of my wedding dress!!

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Fall Bike Rides

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The best part about trolling the thrift stores weekly is coming across a gently used Radio Flyer trike for $14. Potamus is in heaven, and we’ve even bent the ‘no bikes inside’ rule for him. The hardwood floors might get banged up a bit, but it’s really cute to see how much he loves his new mode of transportation. Scooting down the long hallway, sitting in the living room eating a snack and watching his show, I’m happy we found such a good one for him!

And then I look at this picture and see how quickly time goes by. How the days ARE long and the years ARE short and think in just a mere two months he’ll be 3. And my anxious mind spirals into all the what-ifs about trying for another or staying one-and-done, and it doesn’t help that some facebook friends have ‘come out’ as one-and-done parents and I begin to be envious of anyone who can clearly make up their mind about anything parenting related. I love this little boy, and how he still snuggles in to my body, especially when he’s sick. I love that daycare teaches him to be polite, saying ‘okay mommy,’ and ‘thank you mommy,’ because Lord knows if he was in my care 24/7 he’d know how to say ‘this fucking_________’ because I can’t seem to control my potty mouth.

I’m thankful for the calm fall weather, and bike rides around the neighborhood, and that life is good in moments even when it’s hard in others.

The Passing on of Sacred Experiences

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the elders initiate the youngest on the sacred path of Mt. Rainier

Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest.”- John Muir

It has come time, to pass on the sacred experiences to my son. This place has been in my family for generations. My great grandma came here to ‘camp’ in the Ohanapecosh Hot Springs. There were cabins then, and now, a pristine meadow surrounding the burbling sulfur water next to the nature trail. My dad talks about trips as a kid, dipping a tin cup into the glacial river for a cool drink on a hot day. I tell stories of the giant stump we used as a tree fort every year, whether it was our campsite or not. I talk about the time in college I camped alone for 3 days, encountering a bear on my hike, and the 10 mile impromptu hike I did with a college chum on another occasion.

I am so tied to this mountain that soon I will get it’s beauty permanently marked on my body. When I die I want my ashes scattered here.

The sacred experience lives inside me. And so, this weekend, we had a meetup with my parents to pass along the wisdom to Potamus. The mountain was socked in. It’s so massive that it creates its own weather patterns. I knew it was there, majestic, behind the mystical fog. I only feel sad for the couple from Boston who was hiking for the day, that they wouldn’t get to see the glory. They seemed content with the view of the Tattoosh range, but they don’t know the glory up close. Like mistaking a statue for God.

We hiked to Myrtle falls with a bunch of other tourists. Potamus ran the .5 miles up the paved trail. We made friends with other ‘hikers.’ We saw a hoary marmot and the last remains of the wildflower season. Is winter coming early to the mountain this year after a glorious summer? When we were thoroughly tired, we explored the ‘new’ Jackson Visitor center. I marveled that I hadn’t been here since it opened in 2008. How could I go 6 years without visiting my spiritual center? Only getting small drinks in from a distance on clear days as I commute across the I-90 bridge.

When I was a child, almost through the end of high school, I wanted to be a park ranger in the Mt. Rainier National park. When I met my biological aunt, many years later, I learned she had. Perhaps this mountain is in my blood as well as in my experience. And now, maybe, it will live in my son’s blood and experience, as well.

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batman doesn’t need no trails

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stopping to educate himself on the various wildflowers present in this alpine meadow

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Myrtle Falls

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family portrait

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 “The mountain receives our expression and becomes part of us; we imprint our memories on it, and trust it with our dearest divisions of our lives. Mt. Rainier does not exist under our feet. Mt. Rainier lives in our minds.” Bruce Barcott

Embrace the Rain

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Okay, maybe I was a little hard on other moms in the whole bathing suit post I wrote earlier. Like maybe my point was lost, that it’s not so much about wearing a bathing suit (that was supposed to be my metaphor), it’s more about GETTING INVOLVED with your kid’s lives. It’s being in front of the camera so your kids will know that you weren’t just the photographer/bystander/witness of their life, that you were there both physically, but also emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Yesterday it rained. I don’t mean a normal Seattle rain, where it drizzles and the ground is moist (ugh, I hate that word), but it was a DOWNPOUR. I had so much paperwork to do from my on-call day, that I kept Potamus home from daycare and we snuggled in bed until 9:45 and then he watched Wild Kratts and I did my mental health assessments for the crazy crisis counseling day I’d had the day before. It was a perfect day to stay inside, curled up on the couch watching cartoons and working from home. Even the dog was mellowed by the downpour outside.

And then, when Potamus came up for air from his Wild Kratts binge, he noticed the rain. And we were off. Puddle jumping outside in his bare feet (I barely convinced him he at least needed a coat). This kid is so his mama’s boy it’s not funny. I remember the squishy feeling of puddle jumping in bare feet…in college (yes, I went a year without shoes ya’ll), that I risked the judgment from my neighbors and let him be a little barefoot hippie rainy Seattle baby.

I wasn’t wearing a bathing suit, though Potamus probably wanted his swim trunks on. Because it wasn’t about wearing a bathing suit, it was about getting involved. Being present. Puddle jumping with my toddler, whereas a week ago I was swimming in a pool with him, because these moments count. They are the things that we grow up to remember. Like the memory of jumping fearlessly into my daddy’s arms in the swimming pool as a kid, and how on the ride home we’d sing The Muffin Man.

Wear the goddamn bathing suit. Wear the rain jacket. Or take off your shoes and jump in puddles with your barefoot hippie kid. It’s that simple. Really. The dishes will wait. The pounds may never be shed. It’s okay.

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