Stockton is learning to read and it's been a bit rough for both of us. After a particularly frustrating practice session, he turned to me and growled, "My wife WILL NOT know how to read!"
"Why on earth would you say that?" I asked him.
"So she can't say," he replied, adopting a high-pitched nasally girly voice, "My husband doesn't know how to read!"
He then proceeded to stomp out of the room.
After picking myself up off the floor where I collapsed in a fit of laughter, I knelt down to say a little prayer of thanks for funny little people and to petition the reading gods for a some help in this matter.
Because it is SOOOOO hard to get into the holiday spirit in a place that feels like a truly endless summer (not complaining), I'm living vicariously through last years photos of last year's Halloween decorating extravaganza.
Somehow it just doesn't seem like Halloween without skulls, spiders, and brain-shaped rocks lying about the house.
This guy looks pretty real, doesn't he?
He scared a few people.
He would move in the wind.
(Not that it's windy very often in Idaho.)
I lied about not having any spiders here in Hawaii.
Actually there are spiders around here that look just like this, only they're brown and they're bigger.
It's no secret that I've been in a bit of a creative lull lately.
I blame it on the fact that my studio has shrunk to miniscule proportions.
(As in, it doesn't exist.)
And the fact that my poor man's studio--dining room table--will hold 3 dinner plates at a time with no room to spare, doesn't help. Seeing no change on the horizon, I finally schlepped my supplies out into the middle of the living room, stopped making excuses, and started sewing.
Several hours (and much sweat and tears, but no blood thank goodness) later, my new pillows were born.
I'm quite smitten with them. Of course, I'd be smitten with anything made out of linen. Especially white linen.
"It's my favorite," says the ten year old in me.
I love how it is wrinkly and heavy and drapes beautifully.
I'd eat it for breakfast if I could.
Oh yes, and buttons.
I love buttons too. Especially mother of pearl buttons.
I used buttons of all different sizes and shapes and shades because...
Because I could.
That and the fact that I really hate things that match.
(It could explain why my fashion-conscious sixteen year old refuses to walk next to me at times.)
I cried last night for a long time. Cried and cried. I laid down on my bed with tears streaming down my temples and puddling in my ears. I went through a half a box of Kleenex crying. My eleven year old laid on the bed next to me with tears running down his cheeks, trying not to let me see that he was crying too.
It was wonderful.
There are moments in life that one wouldn't trade for anything. Among my favorites are the sweet, stolen moments, serendipitously found between the yellowed, dog-eared pages of a book.
We shared one of these last night, my sweet boy and I. We were reading the book "A Day No Pigs Would Die" by Robert Newton Peck. In a hurry to finish a book report for school, we picked the shortest book we could find in our bookshelf and launched into what we thought would be a quick and easy foray into the life of a backward Shaker boy in the early 1900's.
What we got was something completely different. True, the story was about a backward Shaker boy in the 1900's, but what we learned, felt and shared was so much more than that. We learned that it is more than age that makes a man out of a boy. We learned that some things just have to be done no matter how hard or painful it is to do them. We learned that life is not always fair, but that the character built in a man in the face of unfairness is the hard-won prize.
And we learned that reading and crying together creates a bond. I loved my son more after sharing that time together than before. And I like to think he loved his teary-eyed, runny-nosed mom just a little bit more too.
Must mean You-know-who is coming home and there will be other activities keeping me busy for a while.
You know, activities like cooking...and cleaning...and darning socks and such.
Mmhmm...that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
I've been experimenting with Photoshop and I must say, "WOW!" What a difference it can make in a photo. Given my technological handicaps and less than stellar photography skills, I'm amazed at what it can do. Okay, okay, you all know this already. I'm a little slow in the cool new stuff and gadgets department, but I must comment on it, simply because it's news to me.
I'm boosting color and increasing exposure and contrast like crazy around here. I'm especially fond of the effects toolbar that lets me see it in antique and sepia and black and white all at one time.
A little slice of heaven on earth.
By the way, the magazine in the photo above is one of my favorite publications. It is published by Somerset Hill who has a number of really unique magazines that it puts out quarterly. They're a little pricey, but worth every penny if they feature a favorite artist or two.
"Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities."
(Frank Lloyd Wright)
Stacks of lovely white color-boosted linen and computer faded florals.
You know what they say, "When in Rome, do what the Romans do..."
Well, in Maui, they paddle.
That's right, paddling.
Unlike canoeing, which is done in murky ponds and mountain lakes in Idaho.
Not one to be left out of all the fun, Child No. 3 has taken up paddling.
(He's the little brown speck in the 2nd seat from the front of the canoe.)
Take a look at the size of those paddles, would ya?
Awwwww, a hug from his coach for a job well done.
It was fascinating to see all of the canoes lined up and the teams warming up and getting ready to go out. The regatta was held in Lahaina and there were teams of all ages competing, from middle school age to adults.
You should have seen the gunson some of those big guys paddle teams...
I woke up this morning at 5:00 a.m. for no good reason at all. No seminary today. No walking buddy waiting on me. Just awake. Thinking. You know, that dreamy, guazy, can't-get-back-to- sleep thinking. I like it. Some of my best ideas, most profound thoughts, and greatest epiphanies come during these times. I can't share what I thought specifically about this morning, it's too personal, but I can share what it made me feel.
I feel so incredibly grateful for motherhood. What an incredible gift we have been given as women. The ability to create life. A little God-like science experiment going on inside our bellies for 9 months--and then, presto! A real-live human being. Ten little fingers, ten little toes. A body and spirit--ours to mould into a beautiful, moral, intelligent soul. Powerful and heady stuff.
What I am most grateful for is that knowing that even when things don't turn out perfectly, when things don't go according to our plan, it will be okay. Because there is Someone who is in charge of the real plan. The best plan. Not everyone can say that they know this. I feel lucky to know what I know and to have been tutored at the knee of humble parents who knew and loved me enough to share this gift with me. Blessings to them.
Back to blogging, back to Maui, and back in the saddle. Yessirree.
My only excuse for not having blogged for so long is that I have been so busy living life, that I haven't had time to chronicle it. Clearly, I could NEVER be a scrap-booker. I would have piles and piles of photos laying around languishing in heaps, waiting to be scrapped. The guilt and shame of it would kill me. No, an empty blog is enough.
So you wanna know what I've been doing? Well, most of you who care enough to read this blog already know, but here goes. A summer spent in Idaho included: Rain, a dusting and cob-web-ridding binge, swimming and canoeing in the pond, COLD early morning walks, thunder and lightning storms, girl's days (although not enough), dinner with friends, trips to Alturas, lots of mosquito-slapping, play-time in my studio, a family reunion, antiquing, dirt-bike riding, 4th of July parade, bbq, and fireworks, airplane rides, a trip to Blackfoot, a girls only trip to SLC, gardening (or as I like to put it "playing in the dirt"), swinging in the hammock, a community picnic, water-skiing on the Snake, dr. and dentist appointments, sewing, weeding, trips to KB's, 24th of July parade, oh yeah, and enough cleaning of the homestead to satisfy this neat-freak for a long time. Needless to say, it was immensely satisfying and waaaaaaaay too short. Kind of like eating an ice-cream cone in the summer-time. I already miss it.
I can't help myself any longer. I simplyMUST share a few of my favorite photos of France with you.
Eric and I have discovered the perfect antidote for guests that stay too long:
a slide show of our trip to Europe.
We learned this after having unintentionally run off or put to sleep a number of close friends and relatives. Lucky for you, I'm only going to share a few at a time. I'll bore you to death in small doses.
Kind of me, no?
I had this thing for flower shops in Paris.
Oh yeah, and in Switzerland.
Alright, alright. In ALL of Europe.
I have more pictures of flowers than I do of my children growing up.
(Forgive me kids.)
Sweet Sixteen in front of one of her favorite finds in Paris.
Look at the light fixtures in the window. They're tutu's! Have you ever seen anything more adorable?
And take a closer look at the rows and rows of pointe shoes in the cubbies in the store. Dreamy colors of pink and peach andivory.
The French have such incredible style. So many storefronts looked like they came right out of a photo-shoot.
Can I be French?
That's me on the left. Fat, dumb, and happy. Silly grin on my face. Content to just soak it all in.
That's my girl on the right. Studiously and seriously getting down to the business of making art in the city of light. Doing what truly creative people do when surrounded by hundreds of years of art and architecture and culture.
We're still arguing that point.
How can I not include a picture of the Eiffel Tower in our little tour of France?
And just in case you're wondering, there really is only one bathroom in the huge park surrounding this famous landmark. And yes, they do shut it down to clean it for about an hour each day.
The French are not really big on public facilities, if you know what I mean.
Not only do they possess incredible style, but they have the largestbladders on the planet.
Living proof that not all French men are rude.
(Or short and fat and smelling of garlic, Marty!)
This guy was VERYfriendly.
He was our waiter at a cute little cafe near Notre Dame.
I seriously contemplated having Christmas cards made up of this one.
My little tribe loves the ocean. They love it so much, they have been known to frequent the ocean all times of day and night. Occasionally the thought crosses my mind, 'Hey, there are sharks in them thar waters.' Sharks who like to eat. Eat at like, dusk and dawn. Just when my kids are in the water. Yikes. Okay, maybe I'm paranoid, but just the thought of providing the local sharks with a tasty little snack in the form of my offspring makes me shiver.
Mind you, I'm no baby when it comes to wild animals. For instance, during our annual "Sariah and Michelle Plus our 9 kids and their friends" camping trip to Alturas Lake that we take every summer, I--me, just little ol' me--traipse through through the woods to go the bathroom.
A looong, stinkin' way from the cabins.
Usually without a flashlight.
(I can't find anything in a cabin with 15 people in it.)
While Sariah, my dear sweet Sariah, requires company to go the loo. In the form of moi, yours truly. Or whomever else she can con into walking in the dark with her. You see, Sariah's afraid of bears. And wolves. Anything with claws and teeth, really. But this year, Sariah's got it all figured out. Get this. Sariah is the proud new owner of a old-fashioned chamber pot. Thanks to her thoughtful grandma. Yessirree. No more scary walks in the dark for us. We're not proud. Just watch out for the full moon(s) in August.
Back to my shark issue. I think I've got that one figured out too. Skim boarding has become one of my kids favorite water activities. Notice how shallow the water is. No self-respecting shark would dare venture there, so... dusk-time skim boarding it is! (At least for this tasty little family.)