Friday, March 10, 2017

Seven Years

Hi Muscles! 

I cannot even believe that you are seven. SEVEN! It's an odd thing to have a seven year old in my house. You get dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed, bed made and ready for school without my prompting. You set the table and help wash dishes. You vacuum and help your sisters. You have becomg strong, not just in the physical sense by participating on soccer and swim team and playing tennis and bike ridiing, but also developing a moral and intellectual strength that continues to amaze me daily. We have conversations about politics and books and history and science. You ask insightful questions and make thoughtful observations about the world you live in. 
Waiting for your first ski lesson. You love every aspect of it. Except finishing. 

At night, I stand at your bed to tuck you in. We snuggle and giggle and talk about leprechauns and fairies and magic. We talk about your favorite books and you ask if you can buy lunch the next day. We discuss your preference for leggings over jeans and how exactly the tooth fairy knows how to get to our house. Although I know I’ll forget many of these highlights, I also know I won’t forget the ones I need to carry with me.
You had a "late-over" birthday party that included pizza, cupcakes and the watching of Moana with a few of your favorite friends. 
Last night we sat together flipping through a new book you received from your birthday: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. You wanted us to pick out a story together for you to read independently. As we flipped through the book we talked about feminism and what is means to be a rebel. We talked about having courage and being brave. We talked how feminism doesn’t look like any one thing but to support and encourage women and we defined rebel as someone who exhibits independence in both thought and action. You looked me straight in the eye and said that you were going to grow up to be a rebel girl. I asked you how you knew that, and you just simply responded: My gut knows.

And Daisy, here is what my gut knows about you: You’re sweet and kind and charming and smart and fierce. Since you were a baby you have always been one to observe first. And still now, you make sense of your world and the environment around you, quietly, until you see something that isn’t quite right. And when you notice it, you speak. You act.

It’s easy in this world to remain silent. I don’t know why injustice happens, but I know it breaks hearts and strangles spirits. And I know that we are meant for more. My gut knows.

Becoming a mother – your mother – a mother of daughters – has created a fire in me to speak to what I see. I know that I alone cannot restore the injustices in this world. I know I don’t have the power or the capability or the persistence to change the story, but as a believer in God. I believe He can. My gut knows.

And as His children I believe our job is to encourage. To speak the truths and to come alongside the broken and bruised and offer what we know; whether it’s a lasagna in a casserole dish or a slew of prayers or a tear-stain shoulder and always, always, with an open hand.
On your actual birthday I came down with a stomach virus, so we had a "make-up" birthday a few days later complete iwth a six-mile bike ride and a frozen yogurt outing. 
There are many people who will see this as an empty, optimistic view. And without faith, it looks that way. But faith is something you have in spades sweetheart. You are a watcher and a thinker and a kind-hearted soul, and you’ve been filled with a never-ending supply of faith.

May your gut always speak loudly, and may your faith never remain silent.

I love you more than all the waters in the ocean and all the stars in the sky.

Xo, Momma

Sunday, March 05, 2017

My Girl is 7

Last week was Daisy's birthday. In lieu of a babybook, I ask the following 20 questions to my birthday girl (starting with the third birthday). You can see Daisy's previous answers, here, here, here and here. 

  1. What is your favorite color: purple, red & blue
  2. What is your favorite toy: the wave (it's just like the simon says memory game, but you wave your hand instead. It's a birthday gift from her Grandma Jo & Papa) and lego's 
  3. What is your favorite fruit: watermelon & kiwi
  4. What is your favorite movie: Hook 
  5. What is your favorite thing to wear: leggings with skirts over them (Momma's Note: Now, this is what she is wearing today as she went to church. Normally she just wears leggings and a t-shirt. Also, she specifically asked for workout leggings and shirts with thumb holes for her birthday.) 
  6. What is your favorite animal: zebra, elephant, owl & giraffe 
  7. What is your favorite song: all songs (Mom's Note: she have never been one to latch on to one particular song. But, she happens to be partial to Britney Spears. She has also recently learned This Land is Your Land on the piano, so we are constantly playing it and humming it)
  8.  What is your favorite book: Rainbow Magic series and The Kingdom of Wrenly series 
  9. Who is your best friend: Adell, Sadie & Violet
  10. What is your favorite breakfast: ceral
  11. What is your favorite lunch: peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Luke's cheddar clouds, fruit 
  12. What is your favorite dinner: soup
  13. What is your favorite snack: crackers and grapes 
  14. What is your favorite dessert: soft chocolate chip cookies
  15. What do you sleep with at night: blankie  
  16. What is your favorite thing to play outside: ride my bike 
  17. What do you want for your birthday dinner: fish tacos (Mom's note: I came down with a violent stomach virus the afternoon of Daisy's birthday. So J cooked up fish tacos and made the chocolate syrup for her cake while I hid in the upstairs bathroom.) 
  18. What do you want to be when you grow-up: I don’t know because I want to be everything. (Mom's note: My money is on a school principle)   
  19. Where is your favorite place to go: grandma and grandpa’s house (in the summer when we swim)
  20. What is your favorite game: clue jr. 

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Two point five

Dear Violet, 

Two and a half is cracker crumbs and puzzle pieces and crayon wrappers strewn around the playroom floor. Two and a half is singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" loudly from the car seat. It's cut-up grapes and whole apples and Minnie Mouse songs at any opportunity.  
Two and a half is - day after day -  negotiation of which shirt to wear and which shoes to put on. It's blanket forts and telling elaborate stories about the hungry monster who accidentally ate your boot or how you lost a tooth at ballet class. Two and a half is a parade around the living room ribbon streamers in one hand, a baby doll in the other. It's potty training and sleep regression and bubble baths. It's early mornings, before dawn has broken, whispering in my ear, "snuggles, peas, Momma, peas." 
Two and a half is a dinner-time prayer, chubby toddler hands clasped, eyes tight shut "Thank you God for Daddy, and Momma's milk and Madeline and Reagan and Casey, my blue balloon and oh! my sisters." Two and a half is balls and playgrounds and finger puppets and books. It's Biscuit and Ollie and Peter Pan. It's scooter rides and chalk drawings.  It's helping to mix the pancakes for breakfast and hot cocoa dates. Two and a half is exhausting and endearing. A bridge between a baby and a big girl.

It's another pan dirtied by home-made play-doh and another masterpiece to hang on the wall, another pair of mismatched socks in the laundry. Two and half is collecting every rock and stick and leaf along the half mile walk to pick sister up from school. It's nap-time snuggles and and kisses sprinkled throughout the day. 
It's a hidden confidence. An unspoken independence. A holy ordinary. Two and a half is my heart melting with every post-slide giggle. 

My dearest Violet, I love you more than all the waters in the oceans and all the stars in the sky. 

Love, Momma 

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Five Rotations of the Sun

Monday was Lily's birthday. In lieu of a babybook, I ask the following the following 20 questions to my birthday girl (starting with the third birthday). You can see previous here's answers here and here. So, this morning on our weekly hot cocoa date, I fired away: 
  1. What is your favorite color: hot pink
  2. What is your favorite toy:  jewelry make-up doll and my dress-up clothes 
  3. What is your favorite fruit: avocado (She reminded me that avocado is a fruit because the seed is on the inside. She is waaay too smart.) 
  4. What is your favorite movie: Cinderella, Princess & the Frog, Aladdin, and Beauty & the Beast (She really had a hard time narrowing this one down). 
  5. What is your favorite thing to wear: fancy dresses or regular dresses with leggings  
  6. What is your favorite animal: ostrich, elephant and giraffe 
  7. What is your favorite song: Stories Podcast: Songs, Volume 1 (She is still rather obsessed with Stories Podcast and just recently they came out with an album of all their songs & poems. It was love at first listen)
  8.  What is your favorite book: All of them. (Note: She hasn't met a book that she hasn't loved. But, if as her Mom I was to answer this for her I would say anything Angelina Ballerina or James Mayhew as those are always ones she request when we hit up our local library or used book store.) 
  9. Who is your best friend: Simone and my sisters 
  10. What is your favorite breakfast: daddy's pancakes (Note: this tradition started during my last marathon training. Daddy makes pancakes on Saturday morning while I go on my long run. As a child who thrives on routine, this cannot be deviated from and I am okay with that.)
  11. What is your favorite lunch: peanut butter and jelly 
  12. What is your favorite dinner: hamburgers or anything with a loaf of bread that she can dip into olive oil and vinegar 
  13. What is your favorite snack: cheddar bunnies 
  14. What is your favorite dessert: cake or brownies  
  15. What do you sleep with at night: rainbow brite starlight pillow pet and a stuffed Minnie Mouse
  16. What is your favorite thing to play outside: ride my scooter or to make potions in the playhouse. 
  17. What do you want for your birthday dinner: She had four birthday dinners: Pineapple & Pepperoni Pizza, Hamburgers and French Fries, Mac & Cheese and Fish Tacos (This year her birthday fell on a Monday night, a night I teach. So we kicked off the weekend with her choice for Pizza Movie Night, and finished it off last night with her choice of Taco's and the last of her homemade five-layer rainbow birthday cake. 
  18. What do you want to be when you grow-up: a famous ballerina space artist (She has stayed firm on her professional ambitions. If anyone can do this, it will be she). 
  19. Where is your favorite place to go: Rockin' Jump 
  20. What is your favorite game: Who Shook Hook (Honestly, she's not a huge fan of games, as she really doesn't like to lose. BUT, she has recently become interested in puzzles which makes this puzzle loving family really happy.) 

Monday, January 30, 2017

A birthday letter

Dear Lily,

This morning a picture from my facebook feed popped up: A picture of you and I hours after your birth. I realized that I couldn't remember what those first few days were like. As I sat down to write your birthday letter, I re-read the letters I wrote you from last year. I can't remember which nuances in your personality have been apparent since birth and which ones have just sprouted up. And Lily, you've grown sure (nearly two inches in just a few short months) and changed quite a bit, but you are still the same beautiful, independent firecracker you've been since birth. 
You are still fierce and creative and wise and soulful and funny and sensitive and bold and cautious. You sing at the top of your lungs and constantly dance around rooms. You love stories - audiobooks, picture books, chapter books and movies and fairytales. You love to color and paint. You draw wonderful pictures.  Your feelings are easily hurt and you love to always be first. You love rainbows and fairies, princesses and unicorns. But, lately you seem to be learning a little more just how the world works and just exactly how you fit in. Each new experience buffs your edges and softens you – from wild and reckless to smooth and refined.

I remember, so clearly, standing in a phone booth somewhere in Dublin, Ireland, the last days into my semester long study abroad stint. The phone connection was static-y, but I was on the phone with your grandfather. We were talking logistics of the pick-up at the airport in Los Angeles. I made an off-hand comments that my time abroad had changed me. "I was changed," I boldly said. He laughed and said that I could not ever change. He claimed that we never change, we are always the same.

That comment has always stuck with me – because, Lily, we do change. We evolve. We grow. That is part of God’s great design. Hebrews 13:8 say “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” He is the only one to stay the same, but we change. It's human. Even mountains move with time, and the rockiest of boulders become smooth from sand and wind and water. Part of me aches to keep your edges in their purest form. They’re a part of you, the spikes on your cactus, and a portion of me wishes the world – the culture pressures and social nuances and the sandy hourglass – could never file down your spikes. But, I know that change is inevitable. 

I once read that, when Michelangelo was asked how he managed to sculpt such beautiful creations, he replied: “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.” And I suppose that’s the beauty of it all, Lily. Your father and I aren’t really the sculptors at all. Our statues have been created by something bigger than us, and our job is to withstand the chiseling – firm enough to stand, soft enough to be carved.

I see these attributes in you now, five beautiful years around the sun. You are marble, Lily. You swirl with strength and sensitivity, with steadiness and flexibility. And someday, you are going to make a beautiful statue – even despite the rusty, imperfect tools your father and I are working with. You’ll stand tall and beautiful, a house for whatever light you choose to shine. 
I love you more than all stars in the sky and all the water in the oceans.

Love, Momma