Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year 2010

Eli turned Roy Orbison on, invited all to come dance and the wild rumpus began. Anna spinned and twirled with her pinky in my palm, her Easter colored skirt flowing out just the way a proper skirt should when you dance. She moved always with grace and beauty on her mind. A perfect spin accentuated her blushing, tired cheeks. She reminded me of a tulip, just a sleepy one. Wow, Rainbow was blown away by the amount of energy created by four blossoming kids and two blooming parents. Joy was her middle name. Eli held her little hands and she danced-occasionally moving her head side to side to stir things up. But the laughter was what couldn't be stopped. That dimple of hers worked overtime tonight. On a solo step she supported herself on the cedar chest my Dad made for me...When the musical climax reached its point she balanced herself-raised her hands as high as they could go-wrapped her hands around the top of her head-and fake fainted on the ground and laughed and smiled. What a performance. Sunny suggested the next song be judged, leave it to the oldest to keep status and achievement at the forefront. So I sat out and wrote out points and took notes on all their fantastic moves:
Sunny-rhythmic stomps (5 points), stop and spin to ground (7 points-it was impressive, an amalgamation of hip hop and Sunny Carolina and the Tin Man), 2 points awarded for great use of the entire body in dancing. Moses-props for led kicks, a cool style, great improvisational skills, a smattering of martial art technique, leaps, and a smile-also proficient use of the whole body. Anna's tally: points awarded for soft, pretty balance, graceful movements, spins (to die for), poise and charm-believe in her story and beauty above all. Surprisingly (remember the mother was judge) all dancers received the exact same score (gasp!). Monumental-never before has a competition been this engaging! The dance session was interrupted by a dart gun fight. Who would have guessed Scott Summers and Optimus Prime were up for the battle of the century January 31, 2009. Watch out 2010. Jean Gray (or Storm...Adrianna insists she is both of these marvelous characters at any particular moment) was "asleep" on the couch. It seemed the battle may have been over her. So the fun was paused for an announcement from Dad. He just wanted all to know the reason we were dancing was that 10 years ago, at just about this time a handsome prince and a beautiful princess met. They, too were dancing (althought not yet together)The princess fell in love. (He left out for the story's sake that at that time the prince hadn't yet fallen in love with the princess...) They all groaned and giggled and just knew who the prince and princess were. They of course were right. Adrianna had an important question: "Mom, did you have long hair when you got married?" Heaven knows long hair is a prerequisite for happily ever after princesses. Phew, the answer was yes. Today I find myself looking disturbingly like Prince Valiant. Good thing we met ten years ago. Blessed we are to have a mere ten years passing result in all the joy and wonder we have. A houseful of giggly, blond angels, a love stronger than ever and hope for the future together.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

First Steps.

Sunday is Rainbow's extra special day with Daddy. He's always there for her but on Sunday their devotion runs deeper. Right now church begins at 11:00-an interruption to a sweet dreamer's nap. Around 11:30 the gal can't hold out any longer so Eli takes her into the hallway and cradles her in his arms. Sometimes the lady protesteth much but usually it all ends in hums and songs and then sleep-often for the both of them-Eli claims he may occasionally nod his eyes but likely not for more than a few seconds. Although, from several witnesses at church commenting to me on the sweet site they see of Daddy and daughter together sleeping-I suspect he might be wrong. Eli brings Rainbow with him to Elders Quorum because quite frankly she would just rather be with him. Today Eli tried leaving her with me and apparently he missed the girl and found himself peeking in on us through the window, initially unbeknown st to us-but then Rainbow spotted him. I knew from her loud chirps and brightened eyes, "Dada! Daddy! Dada! Daddy, Daddy!" Her calls become more persistent and darn right insistent to the point that Eli couldn't resist. He came in and swept her from my arms. She was quite pleased. Oh, by the way, Miss Daddy's girl took her first steps today. Where did those fancy steps take her might you ask? To Daddy, naturally.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


We began watching The Sound of Music, my favorite musical of all time this evening. My kids have never seen it before. As it began they quickly caught on the Maria's vagabond spirit. Carolina thought the convent chanting was in honor of the dead. I found that observation very acute. Definitely feels more like that than maybe the Southern Baptist joyful-joyful. They thought the other nuns were mean for noticing Maria's failings in a nunnery match up. Moses, introspective as ever commented after Maria sang "The Hills Are Alive" trepassing through the mountains in all their splendor and the nuns were singing "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" that, "Maria is like, goes everywhere."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Moses loses his first tooth.

Moses wanted me to buy brussel sprouts at the store. Our dinner was macaroni and cheese, little smokies and those brussel sprouts. Rainbow expressed her contempt by depositing the sausages on the floor. She didn't know what to do with the "litttle cabbages." Carolina complained a tad but ate them. Moses was excited, began eating and complained his tooth was hurting from eating them. I rolled my eyes as he and Adrianna bantered their reasons of abstaining. Moses took my attitude for a directive that he'd better eat them. He chewed and then burst into tears. Impatiently, I asked him "What is your problem." He sobbed and said, "My tooth hurts!" And then I realized the crimson tinge couldn't be brussel sprouts. Those things dislodged that tooth of his. I told him his tooth had fallen out and his tears morphed into a joyful giggle. He rinsed his mouth and plotted all he would do, "Tell Mrs. Hunter, tell Joshua, and Jaden...and put it under my pillow, drink from a straw with the hole in my mouth!" The possibilities are endless. Miss Jaded Carolina was swift to inform her naive brother the Tooth Fairy was not real. She tried to help by having Moses leave the room and extracting his tooth herself from underneath his pillow and planting a nice, shiny quarter. Moses wants to believe and so I ruined her good intentions. Mr. Moses is growing up.

A day at school.

A trip to school.

Publishing Party in Sunny's class today! Parents were invited, Eli thinks the reason I took the opportunity surrounded the donuts and fruit punch. Had he have gone he would swiftly realized this highlight paled in comparison to a certain young lady, Miss Sunny Carolina and her presentation of her narrative story, I quoth "One sunny day I was going fishing with my Dad. I caught a really big fish. We were just about to leave when I noticed something. That's when I saw it. An island!(which she pronounced 'is-land') I was so excited that I nearly fell out of the boat. My Dad swung his arm at me. He pulled me into the boat and I pointed at the is-land. He nodded his head and turned the boat around. As soon as we were on dry land I picked up my gear and began to fish again. The end." Quite a rousing performance. She pointed out some of her friends, Claudia, Victoria, a boy went on and on thankful that he had an audience about his parents being from Europe-Bulgaria. He told me the story his grandmother told him of how the Americas were discovered, they thought it was Asia, etc, and etc, of how he went to Bulgaria when he was four. She beamed and smiled a pleased, shy smile and politely applauded her peers as they took their turns reading. Sunny took part in cleaning of the tables in preparation for the event-even sacrificing a recess for the cause, noting to me that she even cleaned Cecilia's spot-the messiest of all. Her efforts did not go unnoticed. The room had "Publishing Party" signs and a great appearance. It was a great event.
Before, I stopped into Moses' class to return the loaner bear, Taffy so another friend could take it home. He forgot to take it back yesterday. Taffy has a journal each child writes about what he does the whole evening with his buddy. Moses was coloring a "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Turn Around" book when I stopped in-so excited to see me and to give me a hug. Apparently, this was the 'best day ever' largely in part to my grand appearance. Way to make a mom feel like a million bucks, Moses.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A trip to school.

Publishing Party in Sunny's class today! Parents were invited, Eli thinks the reason I took the opportunity surrounded the donuts and fruit punch. Had he have gone he would swiftly realized this highlight paled in comparison to a certain young lady, Miss Sunny Carolina and her presentation of her narrative story, I quoth "One sunny day I was going fishing with my Dad. I caught a really big fish. We were just about to leave when I noticed something. That's when I saw it. An island!(which she pronounced 'is-land') I was so excited that I nearly fell out of the boat. My Dad swung his arm at me. He pulled me into the boat and I pointed at the is-land. He nodded his head and turned the boat around. As soon as we were on dry land I picked up my gear and began to fish again. The end." Quite a rousing performance. She pointed out some of her friends, Claudia, Victoria, a boy went on and on thankful that he had an audience about his parents being from Europe-Bulgaria. He told me the story his grandmother told him of how the Americas were discovered, they thought it was Asia, etc, and etc, of how he went to Bulgaria when he was four. She beamed and smiled a pleased, shy smile and politely applauded her peers as they took their turns reading. Sunny took part in cleaning of the tables in preparation for the event-even sacrificing a recess for the cause, noting to me that she even cleaned Cecilia's spot-the messiest of all. Her efforts did not go unnoticed. The room had "Publishing Party" signs and a great appearance. It was a great event.
Before, I stopped into Moses' class to return the loaner bear, Taffy so another friend could take it home. He forgot to take it back yesterday. Taffy has a journal each child writes about what he does the whole evening with his buddy. Moses was coloring a "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Turn Around" book when I stopped in-so excited to see me and to give me a hug. Apparently, this was the 'best day ever' largely in part to my grand appearance. Way to make a mom feel like a million bucks, Moses.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Goddess of Love and Beauty

I love my little girl who is not so little anymore. She has wanted my help in detailing a Halloween costume. She's got a great getup basket of costume items with sashes, scarfs, dresses and you name it that i am constantly sifting through and eliminating things from(and constantly being called on my actions, "Do you know what happened to my cat mask...It would have been perfect for "Kitty Pride" (the X Men girl, I guess). She tried a variety of things. We brainstormed characters she likes, books she likes..Jean Gray, Matilda? Ramona? (She kaboshed that one indicating she didn't want to be a pest), Word Girl? And then out came the mother load of brainstorm resources. Her heavy volume of Greek Gods and Goddesses. She devours these morbid twisted tales of husbands eating wives and children sentenced to the underworld, it is worse than Daytime Soaps for SAHM's. She begins to browse through the wealth of long, prism haired maidens, topless mermaid waifs (desiring some in the modesty category) and sees on the cover one of her personal favorites, Aphrodite. She fingers through the pages until she finds a story with Aphrodite in it. Inspired by a gossamery, light reflecting gown she begins to create a costume. A bright, dark blue dress of mine is the foundation.. A tulle pink ballet skirt is tied into a shawl, looking a little like wings. We cut a piece from a gold curtain to make a skirt addition for some sparkle. A black veil as a headdress frames her pixie bob. On the way out of the house I told her to put socks on. She furrowed her eyebrows in distress but came back with Alaska socks (which she hoped no on would notice). I put some magenta lipstick on her and she asked if she could spray some perfume in her hair (Of course!). The kids paraded around the church gym for the trunk or treating activity. I stopped Carolina and whispered to her, "I think you have the best costume." Little Aphrodite floating amongst the princesses, Hannah Montana's and witches. She's an original, my girl.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The bus stop

Like a vigilante, today I stopped the orange-yellow cheese, size of an elephant mobile-the school bus. Sunny took just a little too long getting ready this morning. In her zombie stupor each morning she insists she must be the one to pick out her outfit (why, oh why don't I insist the night before she make her choice, I am a masochist, that's why.) I tried giving her a variety of options, knowing full well she would not approve of any of them. Sensible long sleeve shirts, cute prints on all of them. Her stylish pants she's not into either, she prefers the Mahona sweat pants and comfy capris. Some one's got to teach this girl fashion is not about comfort. Ever heard of stiletto's? I saw the bus through the blinds called to Sunny and told her I had her backpack and encouraged her to high tail it out of there and forget the rest of teeth brushing. The bus driver paused and was about to give up since Sunny was not surfacing. I ran back to the door and fed her to the mouth of elephant cheese slice. Luckily for me I don't think this incident was anymore than a moment for her but I had flashbacks of what a bus means to me.
"Run, Forest, run!" "Run home to your mommy!" Familiar calls directed at me as I leaped off the bus running as hard and fast as Florence Joyner Kersee (remember those nails...see Sunny, fashion has its saves!) down the pebbly, dust-ridden hill-I wouldn't stop until I turned the corner, I triumphed every time. I high tailed it as quick as possible primarily to distance myself from those tobacco chewing, shorts-wearing in twenty below Alaskan winter weather teenage boys whom I had developed a healthy measure of contempt for. Then, there was each cold, dark morning walking to the bus stop, alone. Being the oldest by six years in my family I grew accustomed to solo so it was fine but waiting the 12-20 minutes at the bus stop was not on my top ten list of favored past times. Being a blindly obedient child my parents, sensibly told me to bundle up in such weather. And I certainly had proof the insulation made a difference: my winter attire reminds me of the brother and sister bears in Richard Scarry's "What People Do All Day"-each has every article of clothing imaginable including petticoat, rubbers, legwarmers, over coat, dust coat etc. My junior high get up warmly included light blue snow pants (suspender, zipper-type style), a neat invention of a polar fleece neck warmer, mittens (keeps your fingers warmer as the fingers each other to produce warmth-some kindergarten science for all), a warm, double lined Colombia jacket and a warm hat. The only problem, which isn't necessarily a problem, although if I find cause to hash it out 10+ years down the road... These pesky teenagers, all older than me would mock me to no end with my snow pants and my mommy and obviously how much better they were than me. Do not worry, oh, I showed them who was who-by day by day standing on the opposite side of the road from them. Social suicide complete. Another chapter on the yellow submarine: Clinton, my cub scout younger brother I was so proud of is going on his first Cub Scout Day Camp trip. And thanks to me, his last. He conceded to let me go with him kind of as a junior chaperone. I was excited to spend some fun, outdoor time with him. Archery, leather work, scavenger hunts, pond exploration, swimming (something we both enjoyed) all on the agenda. The change of the weather had brought on a cold for me so on the bus, in route to the lake campsite I retrieved a pre-used gnarled tissue from my jeans pocket. Gingerly unwrapping it like a lace doillie made by Aunt Louise I held my receptacle up to my nose and blow long and hard, three times I believe is what it took to empty the phlegmish substance from my nostrils. Glancing at Clinton I realized something. That a 15 year old sister focused on determining the most effective way to dislodge mucus from a most stubborn nostril is a hair away from the epitome of cool for your average nine year old who works hard on his image (he even trained his hair part to spread in the middle for a slick surfer look, all it took was two pinkies and plenty of repetition) Tragically, although I realized my thoughtlessness, I got so caught in the moment of how hilarious this was that my laughter bubbled over like bubble and squeak on some English dude's stovetop. I did not improve the situation. For the record, Clinton did not pursue scouting, leatherwork and lives in a box today. But hey, a man is his own agent, right? Can't sit around and blame your problems on everyone else. Still, maybe I better cool it with the bus hold ups if I want Sunny Carolina to have any chance at going to college.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pronuncations and Perceptions

Driving home from school today Eli asked Moses questions about his day. He has been struggling with recess and lunch time. Problems encountered with recess include loneliness, boredom and the hot sun. It's easy to see your problems magnified when their analyzed. He sulks in the shade and feels sad. Once Sunny showed up at his recess-unfortunatley this was because she lost track of time, didn't hear the bell ring and spent some time with Moses. This made his day. He reported he was so happy to see her but felt so sad when she had to go. He was all alone. Tears came in his eyes. Cafeteria dilemmas include: too many people, a general feeling of chaotic commotion and it doesn's smell good in there. He is his father's son. No Christenson in their right mind would turn their nose up at cafeteria food-we are the ones known to visit the town hospital to visit the "restaurant" there-and that is what we call a treat. Each day recess and lunch are the low points of his day. Then lunch and recess have to happen. Mrs. Hunter makes him feel safe and loved, there is organization and fun games to play. But today great things happened. Moses made friends with Angelo at recess. He is so funny and so crazy! They laugh and play fun games together and he had hot lunch for the first time and loved it: waffles, sausage and chocolate milk-maybe that makes the smell tolerable. Eli checked in with Carolina while she read her Box Car children book looking up to show us the 1/3 portion of the book she had already read. He asked her if she hads made any new friends. Silence. Asked again. "What?" She was busy reading, we dropped it. Walking to the park last night we reached the intersection where the kids are well trained (most of the time) to wait until slow Mommy and Rainbow in arms catch up to cross together. Carolina tagged with me and told me of the book she is reading. Benny had found a clue and they were already at the Blue Bay...(Box Car Children Blue Bay mystery). I delight in her joy reading the series, I loved them when I was young. She told me, "They are are on an 'is-land' " Her reading prowess made known through pronunciation. Tonight I checked in on her as I could still hear her mulling about the room when the others had zonked out. She had a piece of tarp like fabric spread out near the heater register, three bent curtain rods, a pile of beads, rope caulk tape mangled into a ball of funtional gray clay and several clay forms: a duck complete with breathing nostrils above the beak, a snail, a whale which was smaller than the snail and a few sharpened and unsharpened pencils. Obviously, she had undergone a surgical procedure to extract carelessly dropped beads from the heater's cavity and found inspiration in that resurrection and was forced to create by the divine powers within by whatever inspired materials she could accumulate. This could not wait until morning, the magic would inevitably be gone. I could take a lesson from this girl. Stuck to her bed was one more creation: a clay sign with writing etched. I couldn't decipher the writing yet. She told me it says, "Sunny's caf." I thought I heard her wrong and asked, "A baby cow?" "No, you know the food place..., a restaurant." "Oh, cafe!" I can tell she has been reading an awful lot.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

1st day of school.

They are at school. Moses just started afternoon, Sunny has been there all day. As Moses' class line followed his gray-haired grandmotherly smiling teacher, Mrs. Hunter his class passed Sunny's class. She said hi to me but I don't think Moses saw her. He was focusing on the procedure he was in. This morning we met Sunny's teacher, Ms. Mulligan, a tall, athletic blond. She introduced herself to Sunny and asked what school she had come from and what grade she was in. She told her she had a desk just for her. Then we joinied the other 2nd and 3rd graders in the library. Gabrielle, her assigned helper friend was given the duty to show her all around the library. Then the bell rang. All morning Moses has been asking, "Is it time for school yet?" Phew, am session would have been better but finally the time came. Also waiting were a pile of girls, a small blond boy with a Mohawk whose Dad had several piercings, a chubby hispanic boy. He pleasantly took his place in line and gave me a hug. No tears, no worries. What a brave guy. See you at 3:00.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Oh yeah, I am not guilty.

When I exit a clothing store where the greeter/loss prevention specialist cordially bids me goodbye suddenly I nervously look away, find myself slurping my own spit in nervous manner. Whoa, maybe I do need to be checked on-perhaps by someone with a slighly different expertise. Then again, maybe I am a thief and I don't even know it. Kleptomaniac. Images of Dana Carvey in Lost In Paradise. I am pretty sure in my odd nervous state I wouldn't pass a lie detector test. And I am innocent! What would I do if I were guilty? Hey, maybe I've a future...I just might be the coolest, calmest, most innocent criminal to grace this side of the Willamette. And today we had a pre-employment drug test. My warped senses rear their nasty heads again. Maybe I've breathed stale skunk-like air that had something else in it just walking down the street, maybe I ate a poppyseed muffin. You just never know. How sensitive are these things. They wouldn't let me flush the toilet after filling the specimen cup, he checked the bathroom after I left, wouldn't allow me to wash my hands unless in his presence. Senor Phlebotomist even checked around the sink piping to make sure I hadn't switched specimens. Real nice guy, very thorough, friendly manner, just doing his job but nothing like the third degree to make you think even you'd missed something.

We signed the kids up for school on day two today, we got there midmorning so the secretary suggested we just wait until tomorrow for attendance. We walked around the school and all felt great about the place. Moses' nerves were calmed an awful lot after seeing his enticing, colorful classroom with cubbies, baskets, books and toys. Paper apples the size of dinner plates and a welcome sign adorned his classroom door. Carolina will be in a 2/3 split. Day three will be for real.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Just kidding about the first day of school.

I am a woman fairly hip around the edges with this obnoxious unraveling thread from a wool cotton blend sweater that seems to dangle and catch things in its path like a tumbleweed. Things like dry babywipes attached to misplaced spoons, a lone flax seed planted on my shoulder yearning to be back with his friends in the half eaten bag of Dave's Killer Bread and a sweet four year old's plump hand, sticky with Oregon strawberry freezer jam. Things like a tidy, well-placed office, a silverware separator free of crumbs and the ability to manage 6 loads of matching, folded laundry usually escape me. Thus, I can be a challenge for a type B personality. But at the end of the day in front of me I see (within view) 42 boxes ready to be filled with the contents of our abode for a move approximately two weeks away, the Sprint bill strewn upon the floor (that will show the man what I think about that Corporate Big Brother) a mirror with little hand prints, cards taped to the walls with Portuguese words, a barbie doll and an empty baby bottle. The things I feel ahead are a new adventure upon us-one that we are unsure and partly worried about how it will materialize. Stepping one foot into the unknown clinging, to faith that God will see us though, grateful to have apartment management skills that have allowed us security and friendships, confident the Lord gives us what we need not always what we want. The gentle muffle of The Subterranean Howling, "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" trying to get it mixed ASAP to enter a local contest in hopes of landing a spot to be the opening act for "The Killers" Portland show. Thinking of many type A activities that might help balance today's strong leaning towards B for tomorrow-turning in kindergarten shot records, signing a job offer, organizing some orders for the business, maybe sorting and packing some of these 42 boxes. But today was for memories-the day we missed the first day of school.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Squeakie's blog

Carolina started a blog today. Her blog can be found among my blogs. It is
She named her blog "Sunshine Canyon" and the url is in honor of her own given nickname "Squeakie"-the sound her favorite animal, a mouse makes. She wrote this beautiful entry. Keep an eye on her, she'll go places.

Friday, September 4, 2009


A sweet girl in our ward babysat the kids yesterday while we went to a second interview on the property of the place we are seeking to get a team management position. Having gotten accustomed to a sitter that just keeps the kids alive while we are away my expectations are pretty low. You really can't expect too much when we pay what we do. But we were surprised-She was so cute, thanking me for letting her babysit and asking about so many details. Worried about what they could eat, checked to see if they were supposed to put away their toys after playing with them etc. So we left, when we came home she had even washed the dishes they had used. Wow. When we entered the door she was down on the floor interacting with them. She had read stories, played. This morning Moses told me A played the piano for them and "She's really good! It was kind of twinkling. She changed it...And then the other side....I don't really know how. She changed it. I think Daddy should go to piano lessons. " I said, "Daddy can teach you how." "Do only girls do it?" I said, "Oh no, boys can definitely do it." "I'm gonna ask him now if he can teach me today." Way to seize the day, Moses.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Moments of the day

Adrianna said "You betcha" today although I don't recall the context it was unexpected. Carolina and I escalated a power struggle before bed like no other. Water, violence, mayhem. No holds barred. Pretty. Pretty shameful. I received a rejection letter from a literary submission I did earlier this year but no regrets, at least I submitted. I forgot to write a thank you note for the interview yesterday, I still plan to do it tonight but it would have reached them earlier if I had it in the mail today. We went swimming. After 15 minutes Rainbow had had enough so I got out and dried her and rewrapped her in a towel and reentered the water standing up trying my best to keep her dry so the other kids could stay in the water longer. Carolina made a new best friend (although she can't remember her name) and she told me the game was boys vs. girls. Found some tennis shoes for Moses at the thrift store. Spent some time going through cupboards and corners trying to think minimalist. So much stuff!! Rainbow pulled herself up to a stool and used it as a walker for the first time. She's taking a bottle and loves it.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Adrianna swims!

Swimming tonight was fun. We saw teenagers from our ward-they allowed Carolina to ruck it up and played with her to the point that she asked me if any one of them could babysit her sometime. They made her feel like the most hilarious thing since grilled cheese (ok, not the best parallel...) And Adrianna...she made an exciting break through learning to swim. For the past few days she has jumped from the stairs to my arms at a safe distance "swimming." She often wants me to come closer in and I try to push her comfort zone as much as possible. Well she got brave and put her face in and swam to me. Typical to a beginner she didn't have much of any movement propelling her forward. Her body was crooked and she wasn't orchestrating arms and legs together but she had some float to her "stroke" keeping her near the top and was kicking and made it to me. It was so exciting to see her do that. She felt just on top of the world with this great accomplishment. It gave her the confidence to do a perfect back float for about 5 seconds, too. She wanted to try everything she could think of to prove she could swim and was suddenly able to do more than she thought she could. It was the most beautiful swim I had ever seen. Recently I read a book on teaching your baby to swim by Virginia Hunt Newman who taught the first baby, Mary Frances Crosby to pass the beginner American Red Cross test. It was very helpful. Before I had been approaching teaching the kids from the view I had been trained to do which is often an older kid. Instead I learned some redirection to teach a child or a baby enough "swimming" skills to save their life if needed. In other words, doggie paddle and any kind ofr propulsion forward is good enough. This backbone feels like a more natural way to teach, more effective skills can be built upon later. Seeing Adrianna's peak in confidence confirms to me that this is the way to go. She is more willing to try other things now that she has seen some results. You should have seen that ear to ear smile and glow in that little girl's face. I am going to go hug her.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Registering Moses for kindergarten

Rainbow started out buckled in the red wagon with sad, leaning wheels. Her smiles compensated for its lack. Down the sidewalk we trotted. Adrianna brought toys including Jerry and her elephant. Moses had plastic zebra and elephant. The toys had a mean mom, I overheard. She was really bratty. We stopped at the library to get the last summer reading program stamped. They scored awesome T-shirts for their reading and listening labors which they left behind at the kids school as our next stop was registering Moses for kindergarten. Easy come, easy go... Moses offically a kindergartener and Sunny a second grader. Mrs Baker said to say hi to her (lucky Sunny was invited to go to the zoo with Kierie today). Rainbow mopped up the freshly polished linoleum at the school while I filled out paperwork all the while making friends with the custodian (is that the politically correct term, how is that so much better than 'janitor.'), the principal, a lady with a cast and the neatest scooter walker I had ever seen. Moses and Anna met a guinea pig and played at a desk in the hall. Adrianna was reprimanded by the southern principal for running in the halls. I brought the wrong shot record so its not really official. Moses made Rainbow laugh harder than he ever has before. She "hougs"him tight. What a guy. He'll make a fine kindergartener.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Moonlit night

At dusk Carolina, Moses, Adrianna and I walked to the library to return my ghastly overdue books. We talked about the day, about the new backpacks and school supplies, Adrianna swiveled in her new skirt (just a little too big) hugging her hips and I noticed she was wearing two different sandals. By now it was dark. We went to the park anyway and headed to the tennis court which was illuminated by lights. Two young women were playing a casual game of tennis and bantering the ball and exchanging reasons why he was not a good boyfriend. They let the kids play with one of their balls and we created our own version of tennis on the opposite side. Carolina wanted to be her own team. There weren't too many rules unless you did something wrong. Then we played goblins and ghosts on the playground equipment. Lying down atop the twisty slide in silence, still close to Adrianna and Moses (they got a little scared when Carolina's counting was up and she transformed into Goblin, it was dark, mind you) and looked up at the stars. Little specks of light. Reverse chocolate chip cookies. I learned I was not allowed to grab a Goblin because they are like a ghost-your arm just goes right through them...Funny think was, MY arm didn't actually just go through this Goblin-I decided not to press the issue further. It was nine, the witching hour and thus the fun had to end. We walked home and now they are sleeping, all except for a certain Goblin who reads late into the night.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rooster Rock, Colombia River.

We have planned to go to the beach all summer and haven't made it yet. Rainbow has never seen the ocean in her nearly 11 months of life. So Monday was our scheduled, absolute, definite day we were going to the coast! But then...Recording of The Subterranean Howl's second album, "The Tyranny of the Visual" has been in full swing for the last few weeks and Monday happened to be a day where two band members had the day off from work, and I am headed to a beach trip this weekend with church friends so it is imperative for Eli to cram as much recording in as possible before I take off etc...So much to the dismay of the darlings we changed the day yet again to Tuesday, today. Picnic vittles-check. Ice-check. Enough diapers-check. Extra clothes-check. All systems ago. Alarm set. We awake in the morning and think to check the coastal weather forecast. Chance of showers 60 degrees. Wednesday's temperature is ten degrees warmer....We considered postponing and came to a compromise. So as not to upset our careful balance of other appointments Wednesday and more importantly these fragile, hopeful hearts we pack in the car and head to Rooster Rock by the Colombia River. Rumor has it going east leads to more sun. As we arrive there are hints of rain and a gray cast. We check our options along the rocky shore hoping for a patch of sand, head to the left (the opposite direction) of the "Clothing Optional" portion. As an aside, the nicest portion is reserved for the weirdos who feel so burdened by a measly piece of fabric called shorts, ruining the possibility for morally discerning families the enjoyment of this portion. Hoping to add some cinnamon to the search and long walk for a suitable spot I sing, "Going on a Tiger hunt, I'm not scared, got my lunch by my side and my camera, too. Comin' to some tall grass...Gotta get through it...." No eye contact made and I could sense the groanings of Carolina and her lack of appreciation for my musical prowess. In my defense it did look like a grassy safari trek. Then a random sign tells us beyond this point clothing is optional. What? So much for this way being safe. Eli investigated to see if there were people there. Unfortunately the report was true so we turned around giving limited information and answers to the kids. Turned around, headed toward wooden pillars and a dike we balanced the whole strip. Moses jumped/fell off just before it got too dangerous to jump. Eli hoisted him to safety and to the end we went hoping again for sand at the end. There was plently of squishy, silty mud instead. I nursed a tired Rainbow who fell asleep in my arms for a cat nap while Eli took the Adventure Crew into the mud. I loved seeing their enlightened forms charge to nature, where they belong. Holding Rainbow still I heard many things: a small, steady rattle sound. I think it was a cricket. A flock of crows squack and fly low, the batting of their hollow wings, wind sorting the grass and tendering particles of sand. The wooden pillars as a backdrop, green erratic grasses and boulders formed in my minds eye a decent composition. I slowly stretched to my camera disturbing Rainbow a bit so I settle back to home base so as nopt to wake her. This composition must be painted only in my mind for now. The gang comes back ready for peanut butter crackers and juice, whetting their appetites for lunch. Adrianna protests the long journey back to the playground and grassy park area. Her shoes are muddy. "I'm uhsausted! I need help Mudder." Rainbow enjoys a pear, some yogurt, a raw carrot. At first I took it away assuming it to be too hard but she keeps kinding it so persistance serves her well and she enjoys its teething qualities for awhile. Moses takes his granola bar to go, in motion on the swing. When we get home he tells me he didn't eat much. I ask him why and he says he was just having too much fun to eat. Sunny and Moses' work on their frizbee skills with Eli. Rainbow sings a sobbing, sweet sorrowful tune of not enough sleep. The kids ask to go back into the water. Swimsuits on and ready the sun is breaking and sharing its smiles on my spirit. Suddenly free-spirited adventure crew and sunshine unite to convince me this is a good idea. The mud was so squishy and wonderful. Wet and shlunky it made the most satisfying sound when you pulled your foot out. Mud splattered on my leg. Adrianna and I dance and spin "like ballet" she interprets. The pools are surprisingly sun-kissed and the flat and shallow water extends for quite a while. It was sooooo fun! Rainbow was quick to note all the fun we seemed to be having and insisted she be allowed to participate. She kicked in the water and splashed and stirred her hands. Ate some silty sand. A few times-she didn't catch on that it wasn't good the first time and wouldn't be so great the next time. Happy sounds. Sunny roamed as far as she could pushing the boundaries of her freedom. Oh how that girl loves to be free. Sunny found a small peninsula and the trio began to make two mud jellos-which I overheard Sunny say they were best when they were 'plump.' So, if you ever make mud jello, you'll know.

Hollywood Implants.

Sunny Carolina adorned in shades of violet and saphire (make-up done by co-conspirator and friend with broken arm:Rhoyah Johnson) pleads "Can we play dress-up?" I say "Uh, I don't know...(thinking of the aftermath souffle of sequins, sashes and puffy-sleeves) Ok but remember to be modest" The girls shriek with glee. Moses thinks they disn't hear my tail comment, "Ok, Sunny? Be modest!" As they slam the door to the transformed dressing room Moses expounds, explaining his understanding of modesty. He implies he's kind of uncomfortable talking abour it...but says he knows its about 'boobs' They don't really look nice. They look weird, when girls are a grown up." Thankfully, to Moses they come out fully modest with the introduction, "Hollywood!" Carolina has pink-shimmer rimmed shades, purple-tulle skirt, hair parted ever so artisitically, my black leather heel dress boots, Rhoyah has a recycled costume with a rich heritage passed worn by many starry-eyed imaginative engenues, a blazer and ratted hair straight out of a B 80's movie. Modest, yes. Conservative, not so much.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Adrianna called me "Mudder" several times today. My name is usually Mom, Mama or Mommy or babe, depending on who's hollering...But 'mother,' never. She called me mother when we were floating down the current stream in the pool, "Mudder, hold my hand" as she tip toe bobbed with the waves just barely tall enough to keep her head above water. I must remind her to keep her mouth closed as she gags on the water. While she floated on the pink turtle board-apparently it is named "Tortellini." I caught her intentionally slurping up the water while floating on Tortellini-and also mind you she told me just a few minutes earlier, she was goin' bafroom-yes in the pool. So she drinks pool water, I eat floor cookies (when nobody's watching)-and I will let you draw your own parallel conclusions about how much 'p' is in our 'ool.' Come on, don't tell me you've never done it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pretty close to inspiration

After church on Sunday I went back to my families pew to gather up our belongings (i.e stuff the clean cloth diapers, dirty tissues, package of strewn about Crayolas back into my purse-by the way I have officially decided I will not carry a 'diaper bag' anymore. Whatever receptacle contains diapers or relations therein must be in resemblance of a purse.) So-purse packed. I glance under the bench once more and to the side of the far wooden leg I see something. To interject, I am hungry. I ate cookies for breakfast and it is going on 4:00. So the something, it is a crispy, lone chocolate teddy graham. My flight instinct was to pick it up and eat it. It was not ours, we had not caught our neighbors savoring such chocolate morsels either. Quite likely it was a week old and missed by the clean up volunteers. Oh, sure what SHOULD have been foremost in my was on the floor. Nah, didn't care. The sweet buzz of chocolate crisped flour was all that motivated my pathetic excuse for a soul. A force pulled me back. It felt physical but I am convinced it was spiritual. I was at church, remember. I sat up and allowed a moment for the blood to disperse from my fuzzy head. Perhaps I had just had a vision. What do to now. I did what I had to do. I touched Eli's arm, pulled his ear towards my lips and relayed to him the occurence that had just taken place. I told him of The Force I had just felt. That Force was Eli's presence. The sole reason I did not partake of that chocolate teddy graham was that I knew Eli would be appalled. Then I asked him, "What does that say about me?" He shook his head and repeated twice, "That you need me." And so I do.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Vote The Subterranean Howl local band to play at ZOO

One more shameless plug. Please go to and write in The Subterranean Howl to play for your favorite local band in July at the zoo! They are inspiring, talented and worthwhile and would put on a life-affirming show! Thanks, its easy, just a couple clicks. Only one vote is allowed per computer so if you have access to more than one computer, ya know...You can vote even if you are not local! THe show is in July. Shannon (The Subterranean Howl's #1 fan!) Thank you!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dandelion Summers

We have been busy preparing to launch into a new business. Dandelion Summers is our new web based business ran by Simon and I. We are commited to providing high quality organic and natural products for baby and adults. I would love to have you visit our new website to see our beautiful products. Also feel free to visit our new blog to follow new developments. A naturally beautiful childhood leads into a fulfilling, sustainable adulthood.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Rainbow touches my hand

Between mediating fights and picking up sweaters and doing dishes Rainbow had more than her desire of alone time. Supine, tears welled in her the corner of her eyes as she stared at the ceiling, which was about as responsive to her needs as I was. One tear ducts seems over-productive because of her cold. Picking her up I nestled her into my face, feeling the transfer of life and simple amazing power of another's elevating touch. A confirmation that together we'll be ok. I wouldn't be surprised if something physically changed within us when we feel the touch of another. At least there is a spiritual transformation just as when the spirit leaves the body the mass weight is changed. How woven are our spirits and our bodies. And in a baby, they are so connected still. They don't know how to compartmentalize these strong parts and they shouldn't be. To develop ourselves the way we are intended we need all our parts and passions in a balanced unison. We see a baby and are drawn in because they are so amazing. Feeling her soft warm chubby cheeks I can't think of anything more wonderful or soft. The warmth of the sun on my face and the smooth feel of nearly perfect grains of sand beneath my feet is as close to the feeling of heavenly ascension. A feeling that we feel so rarely, like a precious gem. The wonder a newborn baby attracts to draw in strangers doors are opened and brick overcoat's of resistance are put aside. The baby mediates and reminds us of the intricate and gentle details of our Creator. We feel drawn to the baby and feel affirmation that as children of God, we ought to accept that draw we have toward one another. Personally wonderous to feel the trust and gift I have been given as a co-creator. I take a few moments to sit with Rainbow as I wait for the other kids to complete their orders of cleaning their bedrooms. In awe, I watch Rainbow. In my lap she sits reaching for my magazine. I turn her around so I can see the details of her face and to watch her think. She reaches her hands, like little stars and fingers my pinky. She keeps grasping at my finger, touching it again and again. Each time she touches with a different pressure, a different stroke, like a delicate paintbrush painting the smallest of details, the mast of a boat, the light in a child's eye. Her touch is special for what it is not: strong, deliberate or well-thought out. Her curiosity is fresh and completely optimistic. The painter may choose not to paint the light in the child's eye-instead, he manipulates the white paper by painting around it, leaving only that sparkle alone. But his choice was considered, her Godly inspiration comes like water cascading from a spring into every choice she makes. The wisdom of allowing nature to reveal its beauty with subtlety. She never seems to tire of something so simple. Her eyebrows furrow and change. Maybe she is trying to spell a message with her eyebrows. I love how she causes me to wonder what she wonders about.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Adrianna and Carolina frolicked in a circle with enough happiness that pansies and posies might have blossomed underfoot. They sang together, "The sisters! We're sisters! The sisters!" Only trouble was Moses, the brother-felt ostracized. Eli called over to the girls referencing Moses crying in his room, "Girls, I am glad you are happy to be sisters but do you see Moses feels sad and left out because he's not a sister? Could you be nice to him and sing 'brothers and sisters'?" Thankfully they were in a receptive mode and quickly shifted gears and invited Moses to join the fun. The happiness Moses felt from being brought back into the flock reminded me of the unconditional, unwavering love I feel from my Savior when I repent. Instantly the love and trust cascades affirming my self worth and delivering joy and hope for the present and the future. What happened moments ago no longer matters at all. There is a residue of remembrance only because we compare the great feeling we have now to the dark and dismal state we were in. Moses wiped the tears with the back of his sleeve. His blotchy face had an illustrious, token lip-corner turn up Moses style as he completed the fulcrum of the pinwheel. With their arms joined and laughter in the air the siblings sang on.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Reading Charlotte's Web to my kids.

A hopeful, vibrant and full of life little piglet named Wilbur has an uncanny resemblance to myself. And Eli, my dear love, an awful lot like a wise spider. Charlotte shares her ways of spinning a web and her tools of spidery with this curious soul. They become fast bound friends as they admire one another's ways. Wilbur asks too many questions but never fears asking too many questions. He sees no harm in wondering and using his resources and friends around him as a source of inspiration- a place where answers can be found. As Charlotte explains how to spin a web Wilbur is thrilled to try his hand at this creative endeavor. After Templeton, the rat ties a piece of sting onto Wilbur's tail he gives it another go, "Wilbur climbed again to the top of the manure pile, full of energy and hope. 'Everybody watch!' he cried. And summoning all his strength, he threw himself into the air, headfirst. The string trailed behind him. But as he had neglected to fasten the other end to anything, it didn't really do any good, and Wilbur landed with a thud, crushed and hurt. Tears came to his eyes. Templeton grinned. Charlotte just sat quietly. After a bit she spoke. " She fairly surmises that Wilbur lacks know how and spinnerets. He can't spin a web, but that it is ok, he has his meals brought to him each day. He has other talents. Wilbur sighed. "You're ever so much cleverer and brighter than I am, Charlotte. I guess i was just trying to show off. Serves me right." I think this exact scenario has played out in my household. I recall the time I had a grandiose idea. My palette was large and i had a vision to paint my razzled beauty, Adrianna in a scene by the ducks. I sketched quickly and bought the paints and chose the colors. I sketched quickly but was most excited so I jumped right in. The result was flat, unbalanced colors, nothing stood out, no distance or depth existed. most disappointing was the lack of execution that I had delivered to the little spirit of my baby girl. My slop of paint had no life. Like Wilbur I cried in my little pile of manure. I put off spinning all together. Eli with out bias tried to direct me to improve it. To start anew, to find new directions and to bring my strengths into it. To give it time and space. Wilbur desperately wants to find out how Charlotte plans to save his life, her naturally patient ways are not begetting the answers he craves. She encourage him to take care of himself. Never hurry and never worry. Another time I sat behind the drum set and experimented with the symbols, the snare and an occasional bass thump. I did it with a misguided thought that Eli might notice a hidden talent I had for rhythm. Well, my Christenson DNA reared its unrhythmic head and well, the truth shall set you free. I looked beyond my misgivings and found I have other tricks up my sleeve more suited to my development. So the story goes and we find Charlotte's slow steady ways create a magnum opus, an egg sac that she has created perfectly and will be her kin. Without Wilbur, those eggs would not have survived. She needed him and he needed her. They learn and complement one another beautifully. They lift one another to a higher beam in the barn. This week I watched Eli and his band play. It has been so long since I have been to a show. I love to go and to be reminded that this is what Eli must do. His music and more precisely Eli, himself elevates me and causes me to think beyond the mundane.