Monday, September 28, 2009

In love with the pink room. Again.

Next to the sunroom, the pink room has often been one of my favorite rooms.

Once upon a time it was a guest room. Then we painted it yellow, with green shades, a grass green crib (yes the one that is now the compost bin) and grass green rocking chair, with a beautiful rainbow mobile. I used to sit in there and rock and stare at the mobile for hours on end after work when I was expecting each girl.

I've spent countless hours in that room over the years, rocking babies, struggling to get little ones to stay in their new beds, playing puzzles and dress up and store and tea-party. It was easy to keep clean and lovely when they were too little to clean up without my help. But then there were two and then three. Three girls who went to school and started growing out of clothes at alarming rates and bringing home pictures colored with wide swipes of a crayon that only they could describe. "Horse? Elephant? House? Oh, it's your best friend - how lovely." Papers painted green or purple from edge to edge. Treat bags that had to be saved even though the candy and note were long gone.

I started to despise that room, and not because we painted it pink. Barbie shoes and plastic tiaras hidden on the carpet under innocent dress-up clothes were the enemy. Puzzle pieces were lost, clothes mingled with the dress-ups. Papers and broken toy parts I heartlessly suggested be thrown away ("Yes moommmmm," followed by a long sad sigh) mysteriously found themselves tucked in dresser drawers, on closet shelves behind games and under the beds. It made me crazy to go in there.

Almost two years ago we took everything out, sorted through the boxes of minutia, separated game parts and, well, junk. It took a week + to get it all back in... it was insane.

This weekend I was there again - at the point where I hated even to walk past and didn't dare enter the room with bare feet. It was particularly bad after an entire summer of playing and 'cleaning' episodes where the 4 year old sits on her bed while the 8 year old alternately reads or plays with whatever she's picked up, then frantically stashes things under the bed when she hears me coming to check on their progress.

So this weekend I cleared the floor and reclaimed some of Mira's dresses and shorts from the dress-up box. I filled a large garbage bag with papers, gum wrappers, scribbled notes, papers painted solid blue. I filled a second garbage bag with stuffed animals (note, the girls were sent outside at this point, and there are still two large baskets filled with the animals they play with). I sorted clothes and made them try everything on (and later sneaked a few too small favorites out of their closet). I turned one avalanche of a dresser into a dress up dream with containers of play rings, necklaces, hair do-dads. I recovered countless headbands and hair clips from Ponies and dolls heads so once again I can tame Mira's curly head. You don't want to know about the beaded dust bunnies I vacuumed. I (gasp) sorted out a box of books from one of the bookshelves. And - AND - I did all this without yelling. That alone is a miracle, but I suppose that if being horribly messy is their only fault then I guess I can just dig in and get it done.

Once again the room is lovely, calm, peaceful. Mira and I spent most of this morning actually sitting on the rug playing games, building puzzles, dressing dolls and reading. I love this part of parenting...

No, Natasha's room is NOT next. Thankfully she sorts her own clothes and can clean her own room when she feels the need, though I do have to talk to her about not shoving everything she no longer wears directly into Sarah's dresser whether it fits Sarah or not. I like it when the drawers actually close.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Good Grief Blog

To gather. To grieve. To celebrate. To praise. To mourn. To love.
A Scrapbooking Journey through Loss and Healing.

Those are the taglines on the new blog my good friend Amanda began recently. Amanda is an incredibly talented scrapbooker and while I could list her scrapping resume*, all you really need to know is this: she is a very creative, funny, caring person who knows how to tell a story. She also lost her Dad two years ago in an accident, and kinda got lost herself for awhile.

Until she returned to her scrapbooking and began recording stories about her Dad. She found her way again and felt compelled to share her journey of healing through the Good Grief Blog.

To quote Amanda, the Good Grief Blog is "intended to help in that process of loss and be a source of inspiration and motivation...and to simply be a place to share and know that others understand."

There are scrapbooking challenges which will be added to twice a month - challenges helpful to anyone who wants to record memories and feelings about someone they've lost. Even if you aren't a scrapbooker, the challenges may help you focus your thoughts whether you keep them private, in a journal, or decide to share them in letters to family and friends. There is a message board with space for discussions on grieving and prayer requests, an area for celebrating those loved ones, and galleries for sharing your creations, if you feel like doing so.

It's a lovely place. Check it out and bookmark it even if you aren't currently grieving. And I pray that you won't need to visit for a long time to come.

*Amanda has a monthly column in Creating Keepsakes magazine, her own book Month to Month Scrapbooking, and is a Design team member for Prism Papers. She is also a wonderfully attentive mother who home schools her three beautiful boys, and an amazing friend.

(post edited 9/20/09)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Beaverdal Fall Festival

It's a gorgeous Fall morning... yes, ok. Most mornings this summer could have been classified as a Fall morning. But the sun is out, crickets are chirping, and for once no one in the neighborhood is having a tree cut down or a driveway ground out.

The girls have no school today, so Sarah is off to a playdate with a friend who changed schools last year. I still have some projects to work on, but we'll do some gardening and neighborhood walks in between. Then tonight Beaverdale Fall Festival Starts.

Last year was a doozy. We had dinner at the various stands, walked around, watched Mira groove to the awesome street bands. Then I needed to go home. Couldn't stand any longer. Despite 6 weeks on two new anti-arthritic drugs I couldn't fathom the thought of walking back down the street to watch the fireworks. Three stinkin' blocks. Or two, depending which side of the street you walk on. So Rich walked down with the girls. I felt guilty. I tried to watch from the porch but too many trees in the way. I tried to hobble down the driveway but it was too much and I went back and just listened. Apparently this bad memory is going to stick - I was just at the point where I was giving up on the idea this arthritis disease was virus induced, and I wasn't happy about the idea of taking even the mild meds I was then on for the rest of my life. And I was missing doing something I loved with my family. Turned out to be a good thing I missed the fireworks. Rich said a renegade firework went off course and headed straight toward them. Didn't come near and all were safe, but yeah, I would have freaked. Freaked that my girls were in danger, freaked that I couldn't have helped move them out of the way.

The next day we enjoyed the 2 hour parade drinking our coffee, girls catching more than enough candy, waving at friends, dashing off for cinnamon rolls. We walked around the neighborhood awhile longer before heading home to relax in the backyard. Only I ended up with hives from the combo of my non-working med and the sun. That part I can laugh about!

This year, I actually contemplated walking in the parade, thanks to stronger meds. Natasha and a friend are walking with our church, passing out flyers and pencils (trust me, anyone watching from the sidelines ends up with enough tootsie rolls to make candy shopping for Halloween unnecessary).

Sarah wanted so badly to ride her bike with her elementary school, and Mira wanted to walk with her preschool, dressed with wings (the Butterfly lady visited her class this week). However each school requires parents. And I'm a bit selfish - I want to enjoy this years' parade, sitting on the sidelines with Rich and my coffee, watching one last little girl dashing for candy and oooh-ing at the bands.

So that's what we'll do. Sarah will ride with the church group and her sister. The parade route ends a few blocks from our street so they'll just walk back and join us for the end of the parade. Mira will wear her wings, and if she still wants we'll join her preschool for the last few blocks. Everyone happy. But first we'll watch the fireworks tonight. Together.

Beaverdale Fall Festival

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hello September and 40!

Short post to get back in the swing! Here's me, day after my 40th. Not so bad, eh?

I had a great birthday, breakfast with friends, afternoon getting my hair done, dinner at home, and a scavenger hunt for my present - the girls set it up, and I had to solve each clue to find the next. Two weeks later I'm still having lunches with friends who couldn't make it to my breakfast! The weekend after we were camping (as always at Labor Day) with my parents. Beautiful weather, and my Mom gave me a beautiful scrapbook celebrating many of my 40 birthdays :). Lovely.Rich just celebrated his birthday yesterday. He isn't like me, and likes to keep things simple, though he is happy we are in the same decade again. Silly.

The girls are back in school, have been for weeks. Three schools, 3 dismissal times (although. 3 of the same dismissal time would be more disturbing I think)! Natasha is again in Band, and playing volleyball as well. She and I have piano lessons right after each other (yes, I am taking piano this year!). Sarah gets her piano lessons in school and is SO excited to be in 4th grade math. Mira goes to preschool in the afternoons 4 days a week and this year jumped right in. No shyness at all. She also has Kindermusik once a week which she still loves.

In the meantime I've been working on a project for HEN, which is in it's end stage. A new website, which should debut before the mid October annual meeting. So I've been busy, along with a few other people and about to get busier for a few weeks, but oh so worth it. On top of that, I'm President of my Women's Circle at church this year, and helping with several other things at church, the girls school, and HEN. Going to be a great but busy Fall!