first soccer season finale

Apparently, you were thinking "piston cup" when they told you 
there would be a trophy at the end of the the last game of the season.

Let's just say, you were not happy.

And when I look at these pictures I can't help but laugh at myself.
I was so disapointed in the way you were acting.
I remember feeling like you were taking away from my experience
of my only child's first soccer team finale and trophy receiving.
I was even more irritated that you were "ruining" our photographs 
of the event with your scowl and attitude.

I remember thinking back on Jaymee's final games and trophies
and how we celebrated with her with BIG HAPPY SMILES.
And, oh the photographs!

But these photographs of you and your little trophy are SO precious.
Especially with your frowns and crabby face-making.

And I'll try to keep in mind that any otherwise fun event or experience 
will be just as memorable and special as long as it's with you.
Even if you do display an over tired serious attitude problem.

I love you.

This season you kicked the ball about three times during games.
Two of your kicks were starts.
When we would talk to you about your reluctance to kick the ball
you would tell us you didn't think it was good to take the ball from other kids.
Not even from the opposing team. 
They were all trying to score goals, you know? :)

We just applauded your participation and 
encouraged you to take your own turn at the ball sometime.

You were always supportive, playing three out our the four quarters,
keeping up with your team-mates and the ball, 
running from one side of the field to the other.

It made Tuesdays the best afternoon of the week for me.

You have asked to play in the next season coming up in September.

We are hoping that this season you will kick the ball!
But either way we will enjoy watching your extra cuteness on the field! 


a quick money diet weigh in

It's been a couple of weeks and I'm doing great with my lightened budget. 

Things I've said "no" to buying:
tickets to see walking with dinosaurs
a new fabulous looking home magazine with a STELLAR three year offer
a truck of sand for Zeek's new sand area
a used, relatively inexpensive fishing boat and trailer up the street that I WANT

a fishing pole and bigger bike for Zeek
clothes, clothes, makeup, clothes
and pretty much whatever i want when i'm in a store

I've even gone into stores and left with one or two items totaling under $10. 

Things I've changed to suit the plan:
weekly menu with shopping list so we don't have to keep a small store in stock at the house
emptying and unplugging the gigantic freezer in the garage
purchasing homeschool curriculum and books used, online 
borrowing books, music and DVDs from the library
combining purposes for trips made into town
grocery shopping only at woodmans for all but our meats
making due with what we have instead of buying exactly what i want
sadly, less buying things for people and/or footing the bill at gatherings 

Things we still enjoy:
lunch or ice cream while we're in town now and then
organic and whole foods
girls' and guys' nights out
playdates with cost

Things that threaten to break me:
my disposable contact lenses
my herbs and supplements
my hair upkeep

I have trained Zeek to yell "walk away, Mom. walk away!" when I'm looking at things in a store that I shouldn't. Sometimes he even says it when I'm looking at something we need to buy. It's adorable. :)

I have stuck to the new budget and not gone over. I am proud of the savings. I am enjoying following a menu plan and grocery shopping with purpose. 
Today I spent 1/3 of what I normally would on groceries and household goods. 

I'm hoping to add my menu plans with links to recipes soon. We are having lots of fun cooking and baking. I feel so much less stress when I don't have decide everyday what I'm going to make. 

I will "weigh in" again in another couple of weeks to see how much I've lost gained! :) 


More "things you've come up with":

You have been asking us for weeks if you could have a desk in your room. 
You told me that you wanted shelves for your walls, too, so you could 
"display some of (your) favorite things". 
You wanted them high enough so that no one could reach them. 

I had a little wooden four drawer desk in my bedroom 
when I was a kid, and I LOVED it. 
I remember feeling so grown up deciding where to put my things in and on it. 

With all your mail, cards, and the invitations you write and hoard 
in your shoe boxes in your room, not to mention the whole homeschooling thing,
I thought a desk would be a great idea for you. 

We found the CUTEST kids roll-top desk on craigslist. 
I sold our baby papasan swing and seat set to make the extra money for it, 
and ta-da...

Your own desk!

SO cute the way you filled it right away with everything from books 
and "important papers" to clothes and stuffed animals. 
You even filled things in around it. 

Here are some cute/funny/smart things you've said lately:

me: yea! we sold the crib! way to go. no more babies!!!
{offering a hand to give you a high five, you give me a sad look.}
me: you can't be sad now. you have to be glad. aren't you glad? you didn't want any brothers or sisters, remember?
you: mmmm. i'll wait until i'm older.
me: well, i'm done having babies.
you: well mom, just you wait until i get married. then her brothers and sisters will be my brothers and sisters.

"hey mom, i really need one of those...did you ever hear of one of those pillow pets that turn into full sized pillows? well, i really need one of those because they said with just one hug i'll fall in love!"

you: hey mom, how long ago did you buy this car?
me: about six years
you: wow. before me. well, i'm glad you did, because it has the best radio stations. kind of like when you turn it up it makes the seat tingle...like a massage.

You saw an american eagle advertisement in the mail. It had models gazing off with stoic serious faces. You said, 
"wow, it looks like somebody's nauseous in that picture."

You pointed to a sand hill you and Jaymee had made and yelled, 
"it's the giant toe of antardia!"


Cabin Smiles

Familiar loving smiles and remnants of a peaceful early morning shuffle 
greet us at our gas station meet up. 
With pajamas and bare toes our little birds remain strapped in tight, pre-flight.

Three Mama's bow our heads together and thank Him for what He's given Us. 
For that which we are about to receive. 
We petition our God for health, safety, and His constant presence on our getaway.

Our caravan cavalcade pulls out for what feels like the 100th time together. 
I wonder if Nina or Nori are feeling the same sense of strength and belonging 
in the synergy of this flock, flying again in our usual formation. 
One that is becoming our signature.


Nearly four hours, three pit stops, and two new Love & Logic CDs later 
we pull into our final meet up destination.

Entering into about as "backwoods" as it gets 
we refuse to be segregated away from the main dinning room,
laughably, to order some of the worst food we've ever turned down.


We sit and visit and play and visit and finally check our clocks.

Two hours have passed, 
and with an ambiguous time frame set in which the guys should come and 
lead us back to where they've spent the night, in the middle of nowhere, 
we decide to attempt the dirt road maze on our own.

We find our way and the guys.
We pile what little we brought into a house they've already prepared for us.
Set the kids up to playing in the game room...


and get the scrabble rolling.

We play until we fear loosing our brains out of our noses. :)


Then the daddy's go fishing, 
and the mama's take the babies for a raspberry picking hike outdoors.

Back at the cabin we enjoy a delicious lasagna dinner together.

Zeek and I spend some time out on the dock by the lake 
while the rest pack up to boat and fish while I put him to sleep for the night.


I keep close to the boy who has chipped away at me these past weeks.
A hand holding that promises a forever heart to keep.

We sit quiet and good.
He loves the edge the way I used to.
I pray.


In our bed I nestle this summer boy in the yellow light 
streaming through the blinds in our glowing room.  
 I recall my own memory of being little,
sleeping in the yellow streams at my parents' friends beach house.

...I remember playing in the sand, on the paddle boat, 
eating lunch with bananas in that same light.

I curl up in a ball next to my baby and whisper into his ear, 
"don't ever forget this".

He's fast asleep. 

I creep downstairs,
and I'm alone for the first time in what feels like forever.

And I'm a grown up wife and mother, with a man and a child. 

And I'm still here. 

And I stand in front of God and whisper to myself,
"don't ever forget this."

Outside I hold a few of my dearest possessions.
Camera, Pen, and Journals.


The stillness calls to me.

I answer.

And I've sat in this same place, 
water's edge, camp, dock, ocean side, sand dune... 
with this very heart
usually all jumbled and taped up.
I've sat alone, gentle in this surrounding peace,
loosened flip-flops, pouring out my soul in ink.


I sit here again, to turn myself over in my hands
and see what has become of me yet.

This time, it is all me and Him and Him and me,
entwined sweetly together, 
wrapped in forgiveness and forever. 
"And I know I'll never be the same." -TD

And I'll never forget Who and why.


The smiles return on the water to lay down their own babies for the night.

Ben, Noah and I head out to boat through sunset. 

And my love reignites of gritty night crawlers coiling tight at hook's point,
of the ticking spin at casting reel,
of the plop, settle... and click of the pin. 

We cast and catch, cast and catch, endlessly.


Back at the cabin the kids are down and the adults play hand and foot.
All night long.
We share and poke, wink and smile, sparkle and laugh 
and being with them helps me, heals me.

Morning breaks and we...


This time Nori, Ben, Noah, Zeek and myself.


Zeek's first time, and he is NOT in love like his Mama.

(photo by a mortified Zeek)

Try as I might, I can not make him more comfortable with
slimy creatures on hooks. 
Not today.

But we cast and we catch, anyway.

(photo by Nori)

I keep him near, hold him tight.

(photo by Nori)

We smile warmly with our friends.


We cast and catch.

We return for lunch.

I look at my son, rested and full.
And I know in my heart what it's time to do.
I cringe at the thought that it goes all wrong.
That he lashes out and takes me down.
But I feel stronger here, 
and I push against my fear of disappointment.

"Would you like to go on the boat and fish, just you and me?"

And he would.


and he casts SO well.

And he sits and waits for his catch.

And I'm proud of him for being just four years old, brave and strong and sure.  
And he's proud of me for being the things he needs from his Mom
but can't express.


And something changes on that water, that afternoon.
Something finally.

We return, Mother and Son.

And everyone wants to go fishing, again.


We fish

and fish,

and fish.

We have a fishing contest.


Noah wins for largest fish caught.

(I'm sure this isn't his "whopper bass", 
but he catches SO much who can keep track?) 

Nini wins for the most caught: 39

The night goes on and on in smiles and catches.


We eat steak, corn on the cob, asparagus, onion halves, zucchini, and pilaf.  
We have a bon-fire with hoodies, smores, flash lights, and candles.

The kids fall asleep, hard.
The adults play hand and foot.
Laughing and healing in a place that's become 
more than a cabin to me, now.

Breakfast comes like all food that Nina and Nori serve.
Oversized, picture worthy, and unbelievably tasty.

We play a couple more games watching rain from the big windows.

We pack our things, give our hugs and kisses and head out.

He sleeps in the back seat while I drive home. 

I listen to more Love & Logic. Order pizza.

Reflect on all that this weekend has done for me and him.
Pray that this is a real turning point for us.

He wakes up for his half of the pizza. 
I look in the mirror facing him.

He's smiling wide,
and I smile with him.

My heart soars.