Friday, December 26, 2008

A little girl that loves "skirtsies" and Daddy.
The carved wooden mouse that Eli and Moses made for Sunny Carolina. She loves mice for some reason and this one fashioned with love she is surely enjoying.
Carolina working practicing some techniques Dad just shared with her. Watch out Hannah Montana. There's a new girl in town.

Moses' face reminds me of me when I was his age in this picture.

Christmas Eve

Uncle Clinton and Rainbow
Adrianna age 3

Little Rainbow, a whole 2 1/2 months old looking so cute and organic in her cloth diapers. Don't you just want to squeeze her?
Sunny reading to her little sister. Rainbow appears to be enjoying the experience. The children's library celebrates Beverly Cleary since she is a Portland native.

Moses at Pioneer Courthouse Square pre-hot chocolate. Doesn't he look like he needs a "pick me up?"

Anticipating Chrismas visiting downtown Portland

Visiting Central Library Downtown
I took the kids downtown before Christmas and we saw three Santas, eyed all the cool toy stores, read books at the library and sent letters to Santa at Macy's department store. They had quite a lovely Christmas ambiance. The kids enjoyed the train and all the moving reindeer. We were downtown about eight hours. All four of them versus me could have been a disaster but they were so sweet and enjoyed our big day so much. They played around Pioneer Courthouse square and we stopped to get hot chocolate, too.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fibrous pea pods mashing in my teeth, I wrapped my scarf around my neck again since it kept slipping and looked over my shoulder watching my footsteps appear in the slushy snow. The peas brought me back to spring. The snow back to the current. Adrianna and I made a lovely snowman this afternoon. I had the peapod in my pocket because we had no carrots in the fridge for a nose so Moses suggested using the pea instead. We used a stick in the end, thus when I slipped my hand into the wool corner, I found it. I could see Carolina's school now. i thought of this mornign when i took her to school. Kitty corner to her desk a boy with mussed, dusty brown hair and brown eyes said something to greet "Sunny." He told her "You need to get a paper and write your name on it." Seeing me he seemed to address the rest of his conversation comfortable with both of us hearing, "We're frosting gingerbread cookies today! I am going to make one for Sunny. It will be great." Sunny beamed when she heard they were making cookies as she tried to shovel in her biscuit cheese breakfast. We were a few minutes late to class so i was helping her get settled in faster by taking her jacket andd backpack off and putting them in her locker and following her request to remove the canadian bacon slice in her sandwich and the egg (which she said didn't tast good.) The garbage disposal in me shoveled them in my own mouth discreetly and I
admit I even agree the egg wasn't so great. I took note of the boys nametag on his desk. I had a feeling this must be "Arizona." Three days ago when I picked Carolina up from school her girlfriend was giddy to share with me "Sunny got a note from Arizona!" Sunny smiled a sheepish one tooth missing smile (since then, she is now missing both her front teeth) and had a glimmer of excitement and willingness to share with me more about "the note." So Sunny pulled from her backpack a wrinkled, well-read note that said, "I love you Sunny." It also had a hand drawn heart. As we walked through the soccer field homeward i asked her what she thought about it. She said with an understated heffalump sort of a laugh, "I dunno!" Still smiling all the while, mind you. She mentioned, "Wait till i tell Dad. i know he's gonna laugh." My delight in this whole episode comes from the ease in which she felt telling dear old Mom and Dad. When we got home she had sort of moved on to other things and i pulled her aside and asked her if it was all right if I told Dad. She said it was and shyly ran to the edge of the room so it might appear she wasn't around but she was still at comfortable hearing distance to hear the reaction. She had pinned her note to her wall as well. She must not be too ashamed of this admirer. She also showed it off to another friend that came to play afterschool the next day. Ahh, her first love letter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~Nelson Mandela

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I heard the bells

What is your favorite Christmas memory? I was asked to share this at my ward enrichment activity tonight. All week I have sifted through my minds corridors and like the rest of my life, it's dusty, disorganized and devilishly scattered up there. Quite frankly I didn't know what the heck to say. On the drive to the church I still didn't know. The carol before I was to present my thoughts....I still didn't know. I have no lack of rich and pleasant memories but choosing one was the trick. I garbled several snippets into a costume of being one "memory." Apparently I passed the test as their was applause afterward. Also tomatoes. But it got me thinking about a few of my memories (this is where some lovely chimes should be heard as an interlude)Every Christmas eve as a child all my siblings would sleep in my room. We would giggle and not get any sleep and tell stories of the Cinnamon bears that lived in a magical candy land. Clinton without exception would sneak upstairs to take a peek at the loot from Santa which was never wrapped and report on the appearance of the gift spread. I always chastised him party wanting the surprise but partly thrilled that he had done the deed and I didn't have to. I don't believe there was a Christmas that passed where Clinton did not know each and every one of his gifts as he couldn't stand the suspense and my parents are very unoriginal present hiders....(tip for the kids at home...under the bed and in their closet...) Every Christmas eve we read Luke 2 as a family and acted out the holy story. With a few variations it would proceed with necessary elements like...the narrator screaming, a crying angel (not from a sacred cathartic moment), no Mary (she was Mary last year and wanted a new part), the sheep hitting the baby Jesus.
Each December 6th my mother carried the German tradition of putting out your shoes for Saint Nicholas to fill with candy and goodies or coal. The benevolent woman that she is, no one ever got coal. One thing I love about my Mom is that she believes in good chocolate, even for kids so no Palmers crap for us, the good, creamy, full-bodied stuff that saves souls.
Gift-giving was always a highlight. We had fun sharing what gifts we had chosen for one another. I remember Feeling so proud to give my Dad a fishing fanny pack since his had worn out. I never knew what to give to my mom. She regifted soaps and lotions (but was always discreet about it.) I find myelf doing the same these days. Most of the excitement came from knowing the dollars from babysitting racked up for months had been spent on something my brother or sister would love for sure. We had a ward party all decorated like Bethlehem with shops and bartering. We travelled the "markets" and used our clay chips and coins to buy flatbread, olives and figs. I can smell the unleavened bread. The energy in the air felt like a warm summer evening on a day the ages had prophecied of.
Our first Christmas together was one of hope. Just the two of us and a little heartbeat we would hear just a few days later. We were full of wonder and excitement already eagerly making plans about bringing our baby home to Alaska with our parents. Our love was creating a life. Eli was so excited Christmas morning, just like a little kid. I loved how happy it made him to give things to me that would make me happy. Maybe the Lord withheld all truths of what would come to pass with her Godly son so that she could enjoy the little moments, not drowning in the sorrows of loss. So it was with my little son.
Spending Christmas's with Eli's family was a delightful addition. The taste of buttercream frosting and soft sugar cookies lingers as we load into the delivery van that used to belong to Uncle Dave, These folks know carols I have never heard of. They ALL know them, in parts, too. Emily and Eli were able to teach me "Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please to put a penny in the old man's hat." I believe that's the only one I was able to master. As we tumbled out of the van to drop off a plate at the Statt's my heart warmed to see the look of delight on these people who love my other family so much. Matching pajamas for all of the kids. Like purple and green grapes Kelsey, Zach, Eli and I formed a pathetic body "X-mas" for a photo op. Someone should have warned me, the Christmas eve program was not your ordinary reading. It is talent show galore. I love how how happy Mom Milliman gets to tell that sweet story with such beautiful talented mediums, her family that she loves. I am touched that whatever it is I am included whole-heartedly as an official family member that might as well have been around since my first cry.
The 1st presidency Christmas devotional always brings me joy and a desire to put our Savior foremost in the celebration. I remember the simple and beautiful stories the then, Elder Monson shared about helping the widows and the children. Elder Packer's war experiences make me consider simplicity in the celebration and that we are alike. How beautiful and inspiring to be in tune with the needs of others and to act on impressions of helping others. Mr. Krueger's Christmas. Now that I am a mother the wonder of watching my own children anticipate the special day fills me with awe. As I have a mind like a trap when it comes to song lyrics (my mind traps them and never lets them out) I tend to recycle Christmas songs as lullabies to my precious baby buntings. One Christmas I held little Moses in my arms and sang him the carols of old. His innocent eyes batted as he drifted off to sleep. How Mary must have felt with the Christ child in her trust. When Carolina was about two I recall the stars in her eyes when we finally placed the lights on the tree and dimmed the lights. The illumination was too much for her! She was translated immediately. So many saints have reached out to our children and brought an extra dose of wonder and excitement to their Christmas celebration. How rejuvenating it is to witness the miracle through their eyes and purifying to see others extend their love to my most precious jewels. Throughout much of tonight's program I enjoyed Rainbow's sweet presence. She has a cold today and the poor dear has congestion which causes her to spit up which causes her to cry and feel ever so sad. Her little red eyes are so sad, too. A few kind women around me took turns holding her when she fussed or made sure I had a chance to eat. Noticing that they sought out my needs touches me but after awhile I sensed poor little Rainbow wanted only her Momma whom she trusts infinitely. She looked so relieved to get me back. I enjoyed having just her with me. In fact, I missed the girl. At times having to shuffle the necessary shuffling of picking up peed panties, washing the dishes, picking up toys, trying to make time to play superheros but never seeming to fit them in (and I am just a pathetic fighter. I am a lover. Moses must dictate to me sentence by sentence what my guy should be doing and saying.) the attachment necessary for mother and infant is trying and tiring and one more rhythmic cry just doesn't seem cute. But for this extended time I had the freedom to just prop her in my arms facing me and to share with her my time. I smiled and smiled at her and she smiled and smiled right back. When she smiles the left side of her lip curls a little more than her right. She loved the engagement we shared so dearly. Her whole developing face twitched and lit up in so many subtle inquisitive expressions. While the congregation prayed I continued to hold my gaze with her. She's closer to heaven than any of us. She gave me an exaggerated smile and a single coo that was darn near close to a laugh. I think to make it an official laugh, it must be two consecutive smile coos. Its coming soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Up the mountain.

Rainbow is wiggled into her front carrier forward for the first time for a walk to Papa Murphy's pizza to acquire a pepperoni pizza, half olive, half mushroom. Two years have passed since the baby bjorn and I were constant companions, i found myself a shy bride when trying to figure it out. I buttoned Rainbow's arms so they protruded out raised just a bit, reminding me somehow of John McCain. She seemed to like it ok so off we went. Turning the corner onto 79th I see a mirror image of a baby travelling via bjorn toward us! As our distance lessened we exchanged understated, knowing smiles and the parents asked how old she was. Her eyes were open only a sliver like little crescent moons. When we stopped motion she expressed her uneasiness. The couple I approached like an oracle wore loose, natural weaved, organic cloth. he had long dreadlocks and wore the papoose. She had a gentle hum about her and said "She wet herself...or is uncomfortable." Then shared that they were on their way to return a Dunstan baby language book back to the library if I was interested. Decoding what each cry means to empower parents. The analyzed cry Rainbow had omitted was what I think of as a "recovery cry", after she gets all fired up she submits with a gentler sigh of a cry. Like a prophetess the kind woman shared her knowledge. But alas, to me it does seem a fairly safe bet that a baby cries a great percentage of the time for one of those two is it really the cry that reveals the truth? I snobbishly chuckle internally thinking I've cornered the market on knowing my childrens needs. I assume these are two first time parents and I assume they assume I am as well. Alas I think of baby Sunny Carolina and her endless crying. Quite frankly I think these prophets might truly have had something I could have used if I had croseed this street 6 years ago in a linear co-existant world for this daughter I think in the same linear co-existant world was surely a red-head. Moses' early tears greatly caused by his weakened lungs....was "uncomfortable." Adrianna "wet herself" with her sweet coos? I pummel through my motherhood experiences and each of my children's needs and think of the baby we lost. What might he have cried for. I cried because I was "uncomfortable." Rainbow has already had two little colds. Before it was clearly apparent my honed skills surfaced and I recognized her cry being one of definite pain. Chalk one up for learnign something as a mother. Simple, predictable dialogue ensues when stranger parents connect. "How old is your child?" "What is her name?" "Oh, how fast they grow." Kind and sweet intentions but nothing more. The prophets offering was more. I might grow if I listened to others stories rather than presuming my experiences are conclusive. Next time I see a parent maybe I'll ask something new.

I'm taking life too seriously

I will tell you who I am not. I am not the angst ridden, downtrodden spirit battling self. I am not the girl too weak to exercise. I don’t fear the indigo night, I get angry and I put on my new Nike shoes that look like they belong to Spiderman and I get out the door and run. That’s when I listen to Eli’s album. That’s when I find out who he is. I don’t hide my paints and pencils and new sable brushes in a chest. They come out every night and develop a human form in two dimensional form. I delight and think where I went wrong when the cranium is too big and the eyes are to close together. The nose is right on the money. I turn on an album I love and dance and move. I swoop levels and use my space. My living room is a stage for me alone. I imagine Bruce Springsteen singing for a crowd of a thousand. I think of some way that I felt like “Mary in high school” and I wring that feeling out of me when I kick a flexed foot forward. In my mind the form is raw beautiful. Bruce Springsteen at a democratic convention rally…crooning of hope and idealism. What’s so wrong with that? Dad’s my favorite dance partner. Dancing because its fun and you can do whatever you want. Democrats are generally bad, Republicans generally good. Liberals…evil. Conservatives…saints. What this country needs is one big free for all ball. What the world needs now is dance, sweet dance. Without planning the real me puts off laundry and takes the kids outside to gather veiny fall leaves. We make collages and spontaneously decide to make a pile which transforms into a big pot of stew. A melting pot. Then we jump in the stew. Some more of wha t our country needs. The shortcut to the bus stop and its leading lines and rusted foliage is my fallen memory. I photographed Katelin, leading lines, disappearing vantage point, age two there with her back to my camera and underwear.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Taking a walk.

I am a jukebox of an odd amalgamation of songs I almost know by heart. Rainbow is in my arms and is my safe audience. I don't remember the last time I sang out at the top of my lungs but I did for her and she didn't judge me. Cat Stevens, hymns, patriotic songs, primary songs, ballads from high school choir, This Land is Your Land, Les Miserables, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash. In the still of the night porch lights are on. "Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums where is a life about to start When tomorrow comes!"
A guy in ripped tight jeans and a quasi-trench coat scissors by us. I wonder what he is thinking of. what worries him. Rainbow is swaddled in her soft baby fleece blanket from Grandma Christenson. She tries so hard to free her imprisoned arms. A chill wind tossles the purple and orange leaves in their own personal tornadoes, the trees look like flames. "All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside, Its hard, but its harder to ignore it. If they were right, I'd agree, but its them you know not me. Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away. I know I have to go. " From Rainbows desperate anguish cry the fire theory seems believable. Fire and going away. After six blocks her rhythmic cry subsides. An equilibrium is found. Her deep eyes have a tired smile. "In the beauty of the lily's Christ was born across the sea. With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me." Singing this I think of ward choir singing with my Dad and singing for President Hinckley. I sense Rainbow feels its peace. We pass by Holly's house. Should I stop? She's probably busy I convince myself. I look at the time on my cell phone. Audrey would be asleep already. "As testimony fills my heart it dulls the pain of day. For one brief moment heaven's view appears before my gaze." I block out my conscience and my own calibrated side reminding myself of the senior devil in the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis instructing dear Wormwood in the art of damning souls. Pacify the people with their own concerns, fill them with self doubt, and make them feel how unnecessary it is to reach out. Rainbow in all of her innocence cries out again, I use that as confirmation that Holly couldn't possibly want to see me with a crying child, potentially awakening her own. Alas Wormwood succeeds again as I walk by her house. This little girl in my arm has a flawed and hopeful mother. "At my door the leaves are falling ... I go out to a party to have me a little fun but I find me a darkened corner but I still miss someone."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Adrianna's 3rd birthday! She savored that she finally got her own birthday celebration! What an honor.

Sunny Carolina and her amazing creations.