Tuesday, November 2

Halloween in our New Home

**

After just three months in our new home, I thought we might have a smaller Halloween party than usual. Not sure how many people would come to the "new comer's party," I invited more people than I usually do. HA!! All 55, plus a few extra RSVP'd and showed up!!

I was a huge party, and soooo fun! Adults and kids in costume, a big bouncy, games, and the traditional pinata!! So awesome....,

**

Monday, October 25

Momma

**

390 times a day I hear the word "Momma."

After staying with us for the weekend, Julia said next time she's here she's going to keep count. "That would drive me NUTs," she said.

It's become so much a part of my daily life that I don't even notice, but I realized that someday they'll be gone and I won't hear "Momma" countless times a day, every day. The thought of my world becoming oddly silent without it made me sad.

"Momma"

That little word expresses so much. Love. Need. Hurt. Want. Kindness.

To be needed and loved and appreciated - there is nothing more wonderful in this life. It makes it all worthwhile.

**

Friday, October 15

**

OK - The kids are settled. Dave is settled. Now it's time to start my new life in Colorado.

I read a quote on a friends FaceBook page today; "The only thing that stands between a person and what they want in life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe its possible."

Couldn't have said it better. I dream of building a photography business and creating beautiful images that people will cherish for a life time and the only thing standing between me and my dream is my fear.

*sigh*

I need a plan, a time line...,

**

Tuesday, September 7

the next surgery

There is the dreaded probability that she'll need a second surgery to improve her hearing. Oh - I'm dreading this. The first surgery she went into with excitement for her ear piercing, without fear because she had no idea what to expect.

Sunday, September 5

Missing the Pictures

**

OK, we've been in Colorado for a month now. The girls are getting settled into their new school and making new friends. Dave is getting settled into his new job, wrapping his head around the new challenges and differing personalities.

Dave is happy. Alex and Rachel's transition is moving along, though Rachel had a few struggles early on. I'm amazingly happy too, but I haven't picked up a camera seriously since we left California. I miss the view of the world through the lens, the challenge of manipulating the light and creating images of  multi-dimensional personalities in a two-dimensional medium.

It's time....,

**

Sunday, August 22

Treasuring the ones you love...,

Normal day,
let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Let me learn from you,
love you,
bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass you by
in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I may,
for it may not always be so.
One day I shall dig my nails into the earth,
or bury my face in the pillow,
or stretch myself taut,
or raise my hands to the sky and want,
more than all the world, your return.
~Mary Jean Iron

Tuesday, August 17

Progress??

Regrets and worries marked this first day of school for me
Trepidation and anxiety for Rachel
Nervous excitement for Alex

Rachel's new ear. It's supposed to be this wonderful thing - but I'm not sure it is. She was fine before. Her ear was this cute little nub. She couldn't hear out of it - but it didn't seem to bother her at all. We did what we thought was best - we got it fixed. Functionally and asthetically (in theory).

But now that the surgery is behind us - I'm not so sure. There has been more attention called to her ear after the surgery than before, and the jury is still out on her hearing. The new ear is far more noticeable than the 'missing' ear ever was. It's big, gooey looking from the ointment, and different colors. Other children stare and inquire. One little girl was actually pretty nasty about it - but Momma Bear set her straight pretty quickly.

But I won't always be with Rachel, to fend off the stares and comments. At her old school, she was pretty tough. Confident and secure, with lots of friends, Rachel was better able or better prepared to fend for her self and verbally knock down the nastiness. But in her new school, with no friends, she's unsure and alone and scared. Her confidence is lacking and it makes her so vulnerable.

I fended off the comments and stares as well as I could this morning. I saw little Lennon staring intently at Lil' Ray's new ear, and true to form, I addressed it head on. "That's her new ear," I said. "Isn't it cool. The doctors gave her a new ear from the inside out - Cool, huh?"

"What happened to her other ear?" Lennon asked, as other kids started listening and looking.

"She was born without one," I explained. "and the doctors had to make a new one - from the ear drum out. And she got her ears pierced too."

Lennon continued to stare. Not quite sure what to make of it. "I think it's cute," one of the little girls said. "Cool!" said one of the boys.

After a few more sentences, Rachel pulled me close and, with a sad little look on her face said, "Momma, I don't want you to tell every one."

"OK, babe. I'm sorry. But you DO have the coolest ear in the school!"

"I know momma, but I just don't want you to tell everyone."

*sigh*

Rachel's my kid who doesn't like being the center of attention - good or bad. She's the kid who develops a few solid friendships, with many at the periphery - but a few loyal, close friends. She's smart and generous, but seems to draw her outward confidence and security from those relationships. (Oh little Corinnie! Where are you?!? Today would have been so different had we stayed in Poway :-(  )

I'm hopeful that the end of today will bring smiles and the beginnings of new friendships.

**

Monday, June 14

Knock - Knock...,

**

Rachel's first joke...,

"Momma?"

"Yes, hun?"

"Why did the TV cross the road?"

"I don't know. Why?"

"Because it wanted to be a flat screen!"

BWAAA HAAAA HAAAAA!!!!

**

Friday, June 11

My kids ROCK!!

**

Today for no reason at all, my kids served me breakfast in bed w/ oatmeal, cinnamon toast and coffee. AWESOME!!!!

**

Thursday, June 10

Another chapter...,

**

Still Woman, Wife, Mom, but combining all the life that I want to live with my husband, children and friends doesn't really leave much time for a full scale, traditional career. Or so I've learned these past three years. So, here I go, once again into an unknown landscape. This time as an aspiring photographer, full time WWM, and fulfillment seeker.

I'm in this great place - free to pursue my love of photography and available to be present in my daily relationships outside of an office. It's such a great gift. The gift of time, and the freedom to to what *I* want to with it.

As we head off to Boulder, I imagine trying on several different hats before I find one that's feels almost molded for my head. One that fits snugly enough as to not be blown off w/ a strong wind, but not so tight that it pinches by head. The perfect hat, snug and warm on cool days, cool on hot days. One that I can take off from time to time, and, after a long-ish absence, it will fit just as perfectly as the day I took it off.

The beauty is, there is no rush. I'm going to resist the urge to immediately find my path and settle in. I'm going to take my time and enjoy each day-remembering to be present and in the moment.

I imagine trying to cook, volunteering in the kids school, volunteering with people in need, using my photography in a charitable way, studying photography and light, trying my hand at meditation, trying my hand in the kitchen, mucking stalls and spending time with horses, and so much more.....,

I'm open to all possibilities. I'm excited and apprehensive about leaving the safety of the prescribed life. Uprooting the family, away from the land of the sun to snowy Colorado..., It's ALL new - except for the most important constants in my life - Dave, Rachel and Alex.

**

Saturday, May 29

Just two months...,

**
Will be landing August 1 to start our new adventure!! Can hardly believe it's happening. I keep looking around me at all the beauty that is San Diego, knowing that it's going to break my heart to leave. It's a bitter sweet excitement for our future...,
**

Saturday, May 22

Growing up, and letting them do the same

**

I've come to the realization that it's really not possible to escape this life, childhood in particular, with out angst, worry, fear and pain. All the flip sides of the wonders of elation, joy, anticipation, and love.

As adults, we can all look back at our childhoods and identify sources of pain, cling to the anger or hurt caused by those who let us down, those who loved us and, simultaneously, hurt us. It's a fairly pointless exercise - except to maybe learn how to insulate ourselves from the pain/angst and open ourselves to the joy and love.

This goes for my kids too. I'm sure they'll be times when I/we inadvertently let them downin reality or perception, though it may not matter which. I know others will as well, but on balance I hope they find (are finding) more joy, elation, anticipation and love..., and hope.

Part of me wishes that I could script it for them, protecting them from all the bad stuff, but I know it's a matter of degrees and part of the journey. I can do my best to protect them and arm themblunting the worst of the blowsbut I don't want to rob them of any of it.

Balance. Seems everything is a matter of balance. Balance and perception...,

Hope we get it right, or close enough. Not perfect, but close enough.

**

Monday, May 17

Moving forward

**

Changes. They are a happening. We are making the move. Leaving my beloved sunny San Diego for the snow capped mountains of Boulder, Colorado.

Once again I'll be facing the question of where I fit in the world. Somehow that question seems tougher to answer when I'm not working outside the house. I know, I know - I'm a mom. I'm clear on this - it's the other demensions of me that get blurry.

This time though, I'm hoping it's a little different. Better. I'll hopefully be doing a little freelance writing. I'll be starting my photography business (which all by itself - could prove daunting), volunteering at the girls' school, getting involved in the local community, making new friends, and learning to ski.

Fingers crossed - I'm readying for our next adventure.

**

Monday, May 10

Mothers Day - It doesn't get any better

**

I planned a simple day with my girls. Movies and lunch with a friend and her daughter. Dave is out of town so I didn't expect anythng special, but Rachel and Alex had different plans.

7 a.m. Knock, knock softly at my door.

"Mommy," Rachel says in her sweet little voice. When she says I'm waking up, she giggles and squeals, "Close your eyes!"

"Close your eyes, Mommy," Alex echoes.

"Ok. Ok!"

"Are they closed?" in unison.

"Yes"

A moment passes, and then whispers and giggles.

"HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!"

And I opened my eyes to find the two cutest girls ever carrying in my breakfast. "It's for you!! It's BREAKFAST IN BED!!" Alex is beaming!!

"Your life long dream!!" Rachel chirps.

Bringing mommy Mother's Day Bed the girls are soooo happy. It's a priceles moment.

OH MY GOD - They ae sooo adorable and they did ths all for me. All on their own - together. I could have burst with happiness, love and pride. These are two great kids!

On the tray was a plate with one of Daddy's famous pancakes (heated in the microwave) a chunk of peanut brittle, three gummy fish a huge tumbler cup full of orange juice, handmade cards and notes, and Rachel even drew a portrait of me.

After I complied with their requests to "EAT! Mommy! EAT!" and answered over and over that, yes, I do like it, the negotations began.

"Mommy, we brought you three gummies and there are three of us. And we brought one in your favorite colors - red. Can WE have the other two?" So - we all ate the gummies together...,

"Mommy, that's a lot of peanut brittle. Can we have some of that too?!?"

Ah - Mother's Day!!

**

Saturday, May 1

Too much to process

**

With Rachel's ear surgery just around the corner, I've found a plethora of other things to focus on to keep me just distracted enough to avoid excessive worry and any minor or major freak outs. The plus is that, with my lack of apparent worry, Rachel is taking it all in stride, and she's even a little excited. (Both she and Alex will be getting their ear's pierced after the surgery.)

Distraction = a calming, self-defense mechanism. So in that vain...,

I've turned my focus to Dave's dad's health, which has taken a sudden and surprising downturn. And all the planning about what his future may hold.

I've turned my focus to real estate. The need to of sell some property. The possibility of moving. The timing of the sale, tax implications, financing...., and sooo, sooo much more.

I've turned my focus to the possibility of leaving my job to be home with my girls, and managing my ever changing place and identity in the world.

I've turned my focus to learning and starting my own photography business.

And, I've turned my focus to a few other BIG things that aren't yet ready for publication.

So, with all of this, I've remained calm in the face of Rachel's surgery. I think that's the blessing of this confluence of chaotic upheavals currently in our lives - the blessing of distraction.

**

Thursday, April 1

Where Babies Come From

**
So, tonight I spent the evening explaining where babies come from. Rachel's been a bit confused.

"So we got the egg from another woman and daddy's 'cells,' (that's called sperm) and put them in a dish. They swam around for awhile, then kissed and came together and started to grow into embryoes. Then we put them in mommy's tummy and one of them grew into Alex."

"But what about me Mommy."

"Well, the egg and Daddy's cells met in Mommy's body and you grew from there. So, yes, you were both born from Mommy's tummy. Do you understand?"

"Yeah, I like the part where they kissed."

Fertility in the Hart House is an interesting discussion. Thank god she didn't ask how Daddy's cells got into Mommy's tummy. Dodged that bullet for a while!

**

Wednesday, March 10

Whew...,

**
2010 is shaping up to be a pretty complicated year. Still ahead, we have;

** Rachel's surgeries in June and November
** Both Dave and I quitting our jobs
** The girls leaving their school and all their friends
** Dave starting a new one
** Me looking for consulting and freelance work
** Me starting a new photography business
** The girls starting a new school, finding new friends, missing their old ones
** Dave and I finding a place to live
** Dave and I making new friends, missing the old ones
** Starting over
** Adjusting to life without perpetual warmth and sun

And that's just the stuff I already know about...,
**

Monday, March 8

Times are a changin'

**
Woman wife mom is about to change into Woman Wife Mom Photographer. I'm in the scary process of building my portfolio. Not sure why I find it scary - but I'm intimidated by the expectations of others.

**

Saturday, February 27

My LIttle Girl

**

Gotta hold on easy as I let you go
Gonna tell you how much I love you though you think you already know
I remember I thought you looked like an angel wrapped in pink so soft and warm
You’ve had me wrapped around your finger since the day you were born

You beautiful baby from the outside in
Chase your dreams but always know the road that'll lead you home again
Go on take on this old world but to me you know you will always be
My little girl

When you were in trouble that crooked little smile would melt my heart of stone
Now look at you I’ve turned around and you’ve almost grown
Sometimes your asleep I whisper I love you in the moonlight at your door
As I walk away I hear you say “daddy love you more”

You beautiful baby from the outside in
Chase your dreams but always know the road that'll lead you home again
Go on take on this old world but to me you know you will always be
My little girl

Someday some boy will come and ask me for your hand
But I won’t say yes to him unless I know
He’s the half that makes you whole
He has a poets soul
And the heart of a mans man
I know he’ll say that he’s in love, but between you and me
He won’t be good enough

You beautiful baby from the outside in
Chase your dreams but always know the road that'll lead you home again
Go on take on this old world but to me you know you will always be
My little girl

 ~ Tim McGraw ~

**

Saturday, February 13

Movies and Bandaids

**

Movie night with my girls is a salve for the wounds of my childhood.

I don't remember a night when my mom cuddled with me, or held me as we watched a movie together. I don't remember her soothing my wounds or easing my heartache. Maybe she did and its just been lost with all the other craziness.

As I hold my girls, not only am I giving to and loving my girls from a place within my soul, but at the same time my soul is healing. Healing from the wounds of childhood - and even the more recent wounds heaped on top of those at the hands of a sister who didn't escape childhood with any less wounds, and hasn't found her own salve in adulthood.

Snuggling on the couch with my girls, and holding my hubby's hand, a tear rolls down my cheek. I am soooo blessed. So lucky to get a second chance at mother-daughter-sister love and acceptance. It's an amazing, healing gift.

**

Sunday, February 7

Change...,

**

I've been languishing for a couple of months. Restless and wondering "What's next?"

Work's fine - humming along. Truth be told, I could do my job in my sleep. But I really like the people and the flexibility that the job gives me - not to mention the paycheck. But stimulating and/or challenging, it is not.

And the personal life? Well, that's humming along too; a nice balance of mom friends and work friends, old friends and new friends.

Of course you know how I feel about my hubby and kids. There are no words to adequately express how wonderful and fulfilling my home life is.

It seems like forever ago that I wrote about "the equation," and how important it was that every member of the family mattered in the family equation.

At that time, my life was out of balance. Skewed one way, with little or no me in the picture. That was just a little less than three years ago. And since that time I've turned it around. With the support of Dave, I've created a life in which we all matter. Not in equal parts ALL the time, but with an ebb and flow that works really well for us.

I'm at peace and happier than I've ever been.

Sooooo, about two months ago, I decided "let's mix it up a bit."

It all started with a phone call from Dave's old boss, Anke. She's very aware of his precarious situation with the grant funding for his current organization, and knows his work well. She called to tell him about a job that she thought would be great for himin Boulder, CO.

Dave, mentioning it to me in passing, was surprised at my level of interest in this new possibility. And has since been toying, pretty seriously with the idea of relocating.

For my part, I've done enough research on Boulder that I could write a term paper on the place. Sounds beautiful, and shares the same liberal bent that we do. The issue? 83" of snow annually!! That sort of freaks me out a bit - I hate the cold.

What's holding my interest?
  • The possibility of a bigger house - with a basement and a big bath tub.
  • The opportunity to re-invent myself - from PR maven to photographic artist.
  • The opportunity to spend more time with my kids.
  • The opportunity to prove that I can do it!! And do it well!!

We'll be traveling to Boulder in two weeks, staying with friends and checking out this new opportunity. We'll visit the new organization. We'll tour the town and visit neighborhoods and schools.

The opportunity is at once exhilarating and unnerving.

Only time will tell.

**

Thursday, January 14

Decisions

Heavy decisions about our family's future. To stay where we're perfectly happy and integrated into the community. Both with good jobs, friends, hobbies. The girls love their school, their Daisy Troops, their friends. Or to move to Boulder. A place I've never been. A place that has cold and snowy winters and a whole lot of unknowns.

Doesn't seem like a great decision to make.

I may be just trying to escape my job - which I really do like and am doing well at. But it may go the way of others and end anyway so maybe I'll just clip the cord first.

Seems hasty.

hmmm.

Sunday, January 3

Giving the ultimate thanks

**
Not sure why - but one of the scariest moments in my life sprang to my mind today. The day that my placenta tore. The day that they told me there was nothing they could do. It would either repair itself or it wouldn't. Our baby would either continue to grow in the warmth of my womb, or her tenuous grasp would slip and we would lose her. There was nothing they could do. 

I sat there, bleeding, waiting for the doctor to come. But he didn't come. The bleeding stopped and they attempted to send this terrified, horrified mother home. 

No. She wouldn't go. The bleeding starting again and this mom demanded to see a physician. ("If the doctor on call is too busy, find me one who isn't!!")

A physician finally arrived and did an ultra sound. "The baby's heart is still beating. She's still there. You haven't lost her (yet)."

And so, we went home, scared that this little life we had tried so hard to create would slip away from us.

We waited. We waited, hoping nothing would happen. There would be no more bleeding. There would be no more cramping. That our little baby would hang onto that uterine wall, that the placenta tear would heal itself, and that nothing would happen to that little life growing inside of me.

And she was spared. She continued to grow and thrive, and today she is our 6 year-old little Alex. Full of life, wonder, and joy.

She is a miracle.

**

Saturday, January 2

Contemplating 2010

**

Our life is pretty terrific. We don't want for much. Not that we're in any way wealthy - just pretty happy. Our basic needs are met, and we have enough extras to make our work seem worthwhile and make our choices seem on track.

And now we're thinking about shaking it up. Making a big move that would change everything. I'm oddly attracted to the idea of change. Almost for the sake of change itself.

I'm sure there's some benefit to routine - though looking back, I've never really had a routine for long. Five years in one spot is as long as I've lived anywhere since living home. Granted, all but one of these addresses have been in San Diego. Still, each was significantly different.

This change is a bit more calculated for our family than one I would have made in my single days. Weighing all the options, pros and cons, and (maybe to Dave's dismay) discussing it ad naseum.

Whatever we decide, the plus is that nothing is written in stone and it's nothing that can't be undone - with a little effort. Though, once the decision is made I can't rely on this escape hatch. I've got to go into this as a final decision and bring our happiness along for the ride.

hmmmm.

2010 could be a very interesting year.

**