Thursday, May 21, 2015

It is finished!

Extra curricular activities, including housecleaning, came to a halt recently as I frantically worked to finish my renewal entries for my National Board teaching certification. Last year was just too hard, on too many levels, to take advantage of the first opportunity to renew, so this was my only shot. The process was less rigorous that the first go-around, but now I have two kids and a more demanding job. I finished my four papers, which included videos and work samples from my teaching, with 43 minutes to spare! That sentence makes it sound too easy. To provide some perspective, my mother's day and birthday present requests were for time to write and editing services. I've skipped the girls soccer games and fallen very behind in every area of my life.

I would not have been able to finish without my dear friends and former Bellingham colleagues, Amanda and Scott. They provided valuable feedback and support from afar. But most of all I would have been lost without Brian. He put his pursuits on hold the last few weeks to help me with my writing, handle more of the parenting, and put up with my near nervous breakdown moments. His Facebook status during the thick of the editing indicates he might have been nearing a breakdown of his own. 

I won't find out if I pass until December 2015, but that's out of my hands. For now a huge weight feels lifted and I can start chipping away at all that has been postponed. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Word of the week: Tasumi

Tasumi (noun): A long high sea wave caused by an earthquake, submarine landslide, or other disturbance 
Magnolia: Papa, are we on the highest floor? 
Brian: Yep.  
M: Good. 
B: Why “good”? 
M: Because it says if there’s a tasumi to go to the highest floors.
A few seconds later...
B: Maggie, if you were pronouncing a word wrong, would you want someone to tell you? 
M (happily): Papa, I know I’m pronouncing a word wrong. 
B (laughs): Which word? 
M: Tasuemi
Sometimes we wonder how much to correct these mistakes and how much to let them just figure things out.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sisters...watch scary movies together.

They're watching the Lego Movie.
Usually this scene is reversed with Magnolia comforting Kaleia during a "scary movie."
I hope they always lean into each other or hold hands when things are scary. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Pet Day 2015: Best Waver

Trudy attended Pet Day today at Maggie's school. She was awarded a certificate for "Best Paw Wave to Say Hi!" We think every pet received an award, but we aren't telling Trudy.

video

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Origami Dogs from Around the World

Yay! The powers of the internet! Magnolia was very excited to have friends and family sent in pictures of their origami dogs after her instructional video.
Sent in by our friend Jemma in New Zealand

 Sent in by Maggie's Nana in Washington

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Prayers for Motherhood

This has been one of those weeks where the reality of motherhood makes my pre-kid romanticized vision laughable. One of those weeks where more than once I've had to say or do things I never imagine.
"Mom, can you check my bum? I have these weird bumps." 
"That's dried poop. Please don't scratch it. Head to the bathroom." 
The battle my family has waged against a nasty stomach bug has left loads of laundry, dirty floors, stinky garbage, and discarded meals, all adding to the craziness of trying to finish up my renewal process for my National Board Teaching certificate during a super intense time at school with more responsibilities than usual.

One of those weeks, where I'm reminded that the sacrifice of motherhood is one opportunity I have to practice the self-denying love of Christ. All I can do is take a deep breath and pray for mercy and strength.

The last year and a half, The Ascetic Lives of Mothers: A prayer book for Orthodox Moms has become one of my go-to prayer books, helping me put my thoughts and feelings into words to pray during times like these. Though it should be entitled "The Ascetic Lives of Women: A prayer book". It is full of encouraging scripture and stories of women of faith with themes that transcend the realm of motherhood such as anxiety, depression, financial strain, enemies, pride, forgiveness, and safety. I've adapted the prayers for situations with my siblings, co-workers, and my husband and many times through them I have found calm and focus as I poured out my heart.

When I woke up this morning, a prayer shared at a women's retreat by a favorite blogger, Molly Sabourin, came to mind and seemed fitting for Mother's Day:
O heavenly Father, make me a better parent. Teach me to understand my children, to listen patiently to what they have to say, and to answer all their questions kindly. Keep me from interrupting them or contradicting them. Make me as courteous to them as I would have them be to me. Forbid that I should ever laugh at their mistakes or resort to shame or ridicule when they displease me. May I never punish them for my own selfish satisfaction or to show my power. Let me not tempt my children to lie or steal. And guide me hour by hour that I may demonstrate by all that I say and do that honesty produces happiness. Reduce, I pray, the meanness in me. And when I'm out of sorts, help me, o Lord, to hold my tongue. May I ever be mindful that my children are children and I should not expect from them the judgement of adults. Let me not rob them of the opportunity to wait on themselves and to make decisions. Bless me with the bigness to grant them all their reasonable requests and the courage to deny them privileges I know will do them harm. Make me fair and just and kind and fit, o Lord to be loved and respected and imitated by my children. Amen. 

Be encouraged, new mother, and do not lose heart, seasoned mother, or think that the trials you are facing in your calling will disqualify you from the prize. Pray for patience, mother-to-be, for the Lord knows the desires of your heart. Pray with faith, grandmother; approach the throne room of Christ, dear godmother, for the children you have been entrusted with. Dear Women, the Lord Himself holds your hand and wants you to succeed through His love, by the power of His Cross, through the prayers of His holy Mother and all the saints. *

Lord, have mercy on us all.

*Adapted from The Ascetic Lives of Mothers

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sisters...play soccer together.

After a little finagling, we got both girls on the same soccer team -- the Pink Pandas! They LOVE playing on the same team!


This 2-minute video of little kid soccer is probably too long for most folks. The last minute is the best if you only want to watch some of it. Kaleia is in pink shorts, glasses and wears #2. Maggie has black shorts and wears #3. 
video
This was there first game -- April 11th

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Unusual Recess

THE UNUSUAL RECESS  by Magnolia

One day at recess something unusual happened. As I was walking out of the lunch room, I saw my friend, Clementine running out in the Fir Grove. I met up with her and asked, "Why are you in the Fir Grove?" Clementine answered, "Because the playground is closed." Then I asked, "Why are you running around?" Clementine answered, "Because I think some boys are spying on us." Then I said, "O.K. I'm going to put my lunch box away."

After Clementine and I met up again, we talked more about the boys spying on us. The boys were spying on us by hiding and then running toward us. When we saw the boys hiding and running, we ran away.

The hiding and running kept repeating for all of recess. I liked it but I couldn't tell them that because it wouldn't be fun any more if they knew I like it.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Sister Superpowers

I bring the groceries in from the car to the bottom of the stairs and the girls take them to the kitchen. Anything too heavy for them, I bring up on my last trip. It is a good system. 

Today, I was imagining carrying the heavy 25 pound bag of rice myself. 

Instead I hear a voice reminiscent of childhood superhero cartoons, "This is heavy. I think this needs to be...a sister-thing!"

With their strengths combined