Archive | April, 2012

Throwing It Out There

26 Apr

I’ve been dwelling on something.  Something so ridiculous that the second I start thinking about it I immediately get annoyed at myself for even thinking about it again, letting it bother me.  It’s like listening to a record.  The songs change, but none of them sound very good.  In fact it’s terrible music, but I just keep on singing along, and not in a fun, “I love bad pop music” way.  The record comes to an end and the needle automatically returns to its cradle and I just start that bad boy back up again.  It’s super annoying.  I’m annoying myself.  I’m the broken record cliche.

When my parents were here we got to talking one day about Hank.  “He’s your security,” my dad said after I professed my love for his royal grossness.  “What do you mean?”  “Sarah, when you were little and we would go to the mall, you would grip my hand so tight.  You’ve always been a little fearful.”  (Uh, you think?  Hello. Cougar insanity.)

But in all seriousness, he is right, about the security thing.  And Hank does deliver.

Yes, he has one heck of a bark, which he uses to scare the daylights out of most delivery people.  It’s more than that though.

If you look up the definition of security in the dictionary a couple of meanings come up:

1.  Freedom from danger or risk; safety

2.  Freedom from care, anxiety, or doubt; well-founded confidence

3.  Freedom from financial worries

4.  Precaution against crime

In this case, it’s the second one.

Just being around Hank it’s easy to relax.  (For me, he’s not everyone’s cup of tea.)  He helps me see life in a very simplified way.  A way that I can appreciate for its truth.

Are you fed?  Are you loved?  Did you have some kind of adventure today?


Well, then.  That’s all there really is.

And that other stuff?  The stuff I’m dwelling on.  Forget it.  Not that it isn’t important, it’s just not worth it.

So I’m taking that record I’ve been playing on repeat and chucking it like a frisbee into the abyss of our killer view, which just happens to look out over the rainbow super highway.  I can recognize a message when I see one.

I’m sure the songs from that bad record will pop into my head from time to time, but I’m not going to let it become a soundtrack.

I’m fed.  I’m loved.  Adventuring daily.


Leaping & Twirling

22 Apr

A lot of what I write about is based on my experiences of being a mother and surviving a big move. It gets pretty reflective sometimes because, as my dad says, I need to “give it away.” I write it, it’s out there, I move on for the time being.  Sometimes I take baby steps that make me feel like progress is never being made and other times I am leaping and twirling to new territory.

I did a little leaping and twirling this weekend. But before we explore that embarrassing mental image let me just put out a general disclaimer about our life here. We are happy. That’s the bottom line.

Sometimes I’m sad and emotional, sometimes I feel like Abigail is growing up unbelievably fast, lots of times I still call my girlfriends back home because I miss our easy friendships, and I still text my family “I miss you” messages on the regular. But everyone has their stuff to deal with, geography is just ours.

And our geography could be a lot worse.  I pedaled my bike along the water relishing in my total solitude thinking of absolutely nothing except.  I am not on vacation.  I live here.

We earn weekends like this one.  We endure months of total crap weather.  And when the sky clears and the air warms slightly you better believe Oregonians everywhere are out smiling and celebrating their good fortune.  

I rode my bike like a fool, smiling, stopping, backpedaling to snap photos.

If I would have been shouting it would have been something to the dorky effect of:

“Oh hello stinky fish cleaning station.  I love that I have a public fish de-gutting spot in my town!”

Or “I am afraid of cougars and I don’t care who knows it! But they won’t keep me from enjoying this trail!”

Or “Why yes I do know the answer to that!  Thank you, jetty, for changing the shoreline so I can ride my bike on land and not underwater.”

I’m not going to lie to you.  Our life is pretty incredible here.

I love that this morning when the guys went golfing, I got to have an impromptu play date at the beach.  I love that Hank’s floof smells like salty sea air long after we leave.  I love unrolling my jeans and having sand pour out onto freshly vacuumed floors.  Yes.  We are happy.  And I like to give that away, too.

Hope you had a great weekend!  I’m off to leap, twirl, ride my bike, and maybe even shout a little.

Words, Sweet Words

19 Apr

I’m a word person. It doesn’t matter what kind. I love ’em: the power a single sentence can punch when it comes to you at just the right moment, the content feeling you get after a fantastic conversation.  I had an experience with both this morning in a word lottery winning moment.

Abigail is becoming a word person. I’m captivated by her little caveman sentences. “mommy, chair” “lovies, bed, night night” “jelly toast more more.” Each little syntax error a chance to get to know her better. Her expanding vocabulary has been eye opening and sometimes I look at her with the biggest twinkle in my eye trying not to giggle at her precious missing phonemes. But sometimes she hits a word dead on, and I just want to give the girl a big high five.

Some words most 2 year olds around the country say on a regular basis. Words like: play, dog, potty, and cookie. There have been some words Abigail has taken a liking to that make me think, “You were born to live here you little Oregonian.” Words that crack me up to the deepest part of my southern soul.

In the mornings: “Blackberry jelly toast.”

When cleaning up: “Recycle.”

Driving to a friends house: “Ocean! Bye, bye beach!”

Taking a walk in crummy weather: “Rain pants stroller, yay!” (I’m still not sure what a rain pants stroller is, but let’s focus on the fact the kid says rain pants and “yay!” to rain.)

I love when I look at her and know that she is teaching me way more than I may ever teach her. How her words help patch my heart by showing me the goodness all around me — her bottled up words now spilling out in a wonderful rush.

This morning we stopped our cleaning and playing to have a snack. On the table was the card from my sister that came in the mail last week. I pulled the card out of the envelope to read it again but already knew the words, words she thought described me perfectly. Words that just happen to be the Oregon State Motto.

And for someone that still feels like an outsider at times it made me feel like a part of this place was mine for the taking, too.

“Love you, Mommy.” I looked up from the card to my beautiful Oregon girl. “Twinkle, star?”

Words, sweet words.  Jackpot.

Miss Independence

15 Apr

The drive to the airport is about two and a half hours. Usually, I dread it. I don’t like being in the car, especially when it means saying goodbye. But on Saturday morning it seemed to go by in a flash. At some point the conversation turned to the blind date that set my parents up for the first time and 45 cent hamburgers, weekends at a Tennessee lake and chevelle malibus. Facts like, they used a pay phone to call home when they did and it wasn’t very often, springing up like billboards.

Cruising along the highway we simultaneously cruised through the memories of their life as a young married couple, the stories of their first jobs and big moves to Ohio and finally Virginia. We coasted over golden years and hard times and hilarious moments that I had never heard before.

I liked hearing the condensed story of their life. How they came together, set off on their own, and established a grand life somewhere ordinary, somewhere somewhat unexpected. They weren’t handed the life I knew growing up on a silver platter. They cultivated it, tilled the soil, and set down roots when they were ready. They had support and love and advice, but the decisions they made were bold acts of independence, doing what they thought was best at the time.

Independence. We long for it from the time we can walk and when we finally get it it can be both exhilirating and scary. That is our ultimate goal as parents, isn’t it? To hold our children’s hands until they are brave enough and strong enough to go off on their own. And when they do, we are proud beyond measure – all the while leaving our arms outstretched to be there to push, support, or catch.

I’ve never understood why I’m so lucky. Why when I call home on a bad day and say, “I just want to come home” they don’t say, “We miss you so much. We want you to come home, too.” Instead they say, “You all made a good decision. You have a wonderful life there.” But now I do. Because they don’t want to hold us back. They want us to cultivate our own life, just like they did. And they are proud to see us doing just that.

So we will continue to work in the garden of our little life here in the spirit of independence, knowing that it’s sometimes scary…

And sometimes exhilarating…

But most importantly, always a beautiful thing.  Always.


11 Apr

We stumbled upon a research project at the lighthouse on Monday.

And also a field trip that lucked into the perfect conditions for tide-pooling.

I feel like I’ve been invested in my own little research project on contentment.

The findings have been pretty impressive.


My conclusion to all of this research?

I’m pretty sure that my perfect world would look a whole lot like the Oregon Coast with my family and friends from here and there scattered around us and a whole lot of sunshine thrown in for good measure.

Yep.  That sounds about right.

That would be my fairy tale.

But everyone knows your book doesn’t have to be a fairy tale to tell a happy story.  We have lots of proof of that thanks to our extensive research.


Happy, Happy Birthday to You

9 Apr

I’ve sat down three times now to write up this birthday bash of a weekend and every time I start I seem to come up short.  Between party preparations (thank you Annie-Eats for the inspiration and fantastic cupcake how-to), my parents’ arrival, Easter, and taking my proverbial candle and burning it at both ends until all that seems to be left is a tiny pool of wax and a wick so charred it snaps off in protest when you try to light it, I am officially spent.  Thankfully, Mom and Dad are here to help me deal with the backlash aka 10 loads of laundry and very grimy floors.

So I present to you “Abigail’s Birthday – A Photo Essay in a few words and way too many photos.”  Those of you who helped out and/or celebrated with us, it was a blast!  Thank you!


A perfect package was delivered at the perfect moment by some best friends across the country.

“Marathon Friend” – (n) Def. Someone who helps you bake cupcakes, wrangle a toddler, and doesn’t flinch when you say: Want to help me draw some Sesame Street characters? 

Help Wanted:  Back up glue applier.  Willingness to apply glue to face desired, but not required.

Time:  Approximately 10PM.  “We have how many cupcakes left?” “20”


Early Morning Tea…

For Two.

After lunch, Abigail comes down to find her brand new kitchen…

Just kidding!  Totally oblivious.  Presents instead.

Annnd still oblivious…

Wait a second….what is that?!

Getting down to business.


“Yeah, I’m still at Abs’ birthday.  She’s just finishing up. Oh!  It looks like Uncle Kurt got her some play-doh, I’ll have to call you back.”

For those of you that actually made it to the end of this post I congratulate you.  Come on over to claim your prize.  A variety of 3 day old cupcakes, assortment includes: two Big Birds, one Oscar, and one Elmo.  While supplies last.


3 Apr

Dear Abigail,

Tomorrow is your 2nd birthday. I have been feeling like it is a big deal and today Joy reassured me that it is, but then we were talking about how Henry’s upcoming 5th birthday is a big deal, too, and so maybe your birthdays will never stop being a big deal.

Two years ago, it would have been Saturday night. I was in the hospital, finally able to sleep after being up all of Friday night, walking in circles, due to Ashley’s labor enducing Devil’s Food Cupcakes. I love that my contractions started shortly after eating that cupcake, it’s a funny coincidence that begs to be associated with the sweetness we see in you today. But you weren’t coming Friday or Saturday for that matter

You took your sweet time and that was okay with us. You wanted to make the perfect entrance into the world and you did. You were born at 6:24AM on Easter Sunday.

I couldn’t believe you were finally here, it felt so good to hold you and kiss you and have you in the world. I wanted to hold you all the time, and so I did. It was wonderful. But I shared you, too, with all of the amazing people that loved you even before they knew you.

One day, I hope you want to read all of these stories I’ve written. The ones that tell tales of happy times and silly moments, and also the stories of change and how it was hard sometimes. Our story is your story, too.

There’s been a lot of changes for us in your two years, but what I want to focus on is not what has changed. No, right now at this moment what I want you to know is what has stayed the same.

You are loved. You are beautiful. You are perfectly you.

So happy birthday sweet giver of cuddles. May you always linger over a nice dinner, but may you start to eat at least a few vegetables. May you always strive to give the best of yourself while remembering that the only definition of perfection that matters is the one you write. And may you compose a beautiful symphony wherever you go, recognizing the various movements of your life are not played alone but in harmony with the different instruments that accompany you.

And if only one thing sticks with you, may it be that I love you – forever and always.