Spring Mememberies

Chica doesn’t talk about her Memembery Book anymore, but I still think that I need one.  Here’s the spring 2015 edition…

1.  In March, I ran the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach.  My time was right under  two hours, and I couldn’t have been more pleased.  Two of my favorite mememberies from that weekend include biking to the start in the dark with Jay and seeing my sweet family on the course twice.  While I was there, I mapped out my racing and training plan for the next six months or so.  I’ve got 4 races on the calendar:  XTERRA Richmond in June, Percival’s Island Five Miler in July, Virginia 10 Miler in September, and the Richmond Marathon in November.  I am SO enjoying the training right now.
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2.  Each year our fourth graders go on an overnight field trip to an outdoor education camp.  This year we tried out a new location, W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Conference Center, and we loved it!  We went canoeing, fishing, tried out archery, held snakes, made s’mores by the campfire, practiced using a compass, and learned how to start a fire without matches.  I have three favorite mememberies from our time there….an early morning run with two mommas, playing adults vs. kids soccer, and a hilarious dinner conversation about the birds and the bees chickens and puppies.  Ask me sometime about the unfortunate consequences of having an OB-GYN doc for a mom.  🙂

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3.  Thanks to a too-good-to-pass-up Groupon deal, our family of four took a quick Spring Break trip to DC.  We stayed in Tyson’s Corner and took the Metro into the city two different days.  On our first day there we went to the new air & space museum and visited a friend’s church for his Saturday evening service.  On Sunday we toured the zoo, ate at Hard Rock Cafe, and checked out the Building Museum.  Monday was monument day, and we made quite the trek:  Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial.  We ate a very tired lunch at McDonald’s across from the White House then headed home.  A few of my favorite mememberies were watching Chica learn how to read the Metro map, a paper airplane contest in the air & space museum, and the gift from Jay of a free hour to sip sangria and read in the hotel restaurant.

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4.  For her birthday, grandma gifted Chica with a weekend at Mom & Me at Eagle Eyrie.  We met my friend Stephanie and her daughter Gracie there.  Chica had a fabulous time, and I had fun watching her have fun.  I’m not sure what she would offer as her favorite part, but I enjoyed packing shoeboxes, eating ice cream, visiting with Stephanie, and just having a chance to focus on one kid.

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5.  We spent Mother’s Day in Richmond with my mom.  It was delightful.  Saturday morning I got to go on a long trail run on the Buttermilk Trail.  After my run I took several laps around the South of the James Farmer’s Market in Forest Hill Park.  The rest of the time we mostly rested and cooked.  I used this weekend as an excuse to try out two new recipes:  stuffed shells and spinach salad.  They were keepers, and I have repeated both once since that weekend.  A few more mememberies from that weekend include an early morning walk with my mom, fishing with the kids and Grandma on the dock, and a brief photo shoot with Jay. He wanted me to try to capture a new head shot he could use for work and school:

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6.  The other major event for that weekend was applying for college.  What the what!?!  I know….as if two kids, a job, a husband, a house, and marathon training were not enough, I’ve decided to start working on my masters.  Woohoo!  I’m going to working on a M.A. in Mathematics Education (K-6) from Western Governors University.  If all goes well with my admissions interview this week, I start July 1.  I can’t wait, actually.  Here’s my excited-but-whattheheckhaveigotteninto face:
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7.  The very next weekend brought a long awaited visit from my college friend, Sarah-Anne.  She arrived the day of my final SOL, so I was able to take off the next day to spend with her and three other college friends in Richmond.  Perhaps my favorite part of her visit is that life just continued to happen ’round here, and she got to be a part of it.  Doing dishes, packing lunches, going for weekend long runs, hanging out with my momma….it was fun to do all of those things together.  I felt blessed to be able to do Friday kid-free so that I could soak in the sweetness of my friends’ kids instead of worrying about mine.   Also, Saturday morning SAL and I returned to the same farmer’s market from the weekend before.  My mom gave us each $20 to spend, and we eeked every cent out of it…goat cheese, quinoa bowl, ripe strawberries, fresh juice, crepe, homemade granola bar, and snap peas.  Yum.

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8.  We were double blessed with cross country guests that weekend.  Uncle Justin and Aunt Rachel came in from California, and we were able to celebrate the upcoming birth of the latest baby Proffitt.  At some point during the weekend Bubba caught wind of the fact that there was a baby growing in Rachel’s belly and asked, “Can I pet it?”  I think that story is going to get a lot of miles!  Chica and I thoroughly enjoyed the baby shower together.  We so can’t wait to meet Baby Proffitt!

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9.  My kids really rocked their SOL tests.  I am so proud of them.  As promised, they were rewarded with extra recess, popsicles, and the privilege of pieing me.  Here’s the video of me getting pied for your viewing pleasure….

 

10.  And finally, this past week Jay and I treated four fun fourth graders to an afternoon of Science & S’mores.  This was a silent auction idea that we dreamed up for our spring carnival.  We microwaved ivory soap, made everyone’s favorite non-Newtonian fluid, played with snap circuits, attempted a popsicle stick chain reaction, and…best of all…played with dry ice to our hearts’ content.

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Since we never really got the popsicle thing to work at school, we of course had to try it again at home:

 

11.  I was going to stop at 10 mememberies, but I found this picture in my phone as I was looking at others.  It was too good to pass up.  Bubba insisted on wearing his bowtie to school twice this week.  He would have worn it a third day, but he ran out of clean polo shirts.  He’s convinced that button down shirts need neckties, not bowties.  I’m certain he won’t stop asking about it until he gets one.  Funny guy.

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How about you, friends?  What’s your favorite spring memembery?  I hope you’ll leave me a comment and share!

 

 

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Fractions of an Inch

I just finished a super indulgent, Sunday afternoon nap, and can you guess what was on my list to do first when I finally rolled out of bed? Right up there next to check Facebook, pee, and grab a handful of Hot Tamales? I’m quite surprised by my new obsession, but I couldn’t wait to go outside and take a peek at my plants.

As I walked outside in my bare feet and bed hair, I had to wonder what my neighbors might think. I wonder if they catch me strolling out there, five or six times a day, seemingly inspecting the exact same plants that were there just two hours ago. They can’t possibly be any different, can they? Except they are.

IMG_1498This time I noticed the basil. Not the almost-mature plant that I got at the market because I wasn’t patient enough to wait for some to eat. This time I noticed the teeny tiny seedlings that Papa planted from seed for us to transplant into our own bigger pots. For weeks they’ve looked seemingly exactly the same…no progress. But today, after nap, I noticed new leaves. Specifically I noticed that, just like the bigger plant a few feet away, the baby plants also have leaves that grow at right angles to each other, in perpendicular pairs all the way down the stem. There’s something orderly about the way that basil grows that I think I like.

Last week I watched with anticipation as blooms appeared on these irises and then finally burst into their beautiful, floppy selves.

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Yesterday I found buds on these super spiky stems for which I still don’t know the name. Lillies, maybe?

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Today I noticed the mystery sprouts Chica brought me for Mother’s Day are taller,

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and the once questionable beefsteak tomato plant looks like it just might make a comeback, new healthy leaves sprouting from the center.

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My daily inspections have me pondering growth these days. I’m fascinated by the tiny plants taking root in the dirt, thinking ahead of the fruit I might enjoy in the summer months. The excitement I feel over the fraction-of-an-inch growth and a new leaf or bud or two is great. But I’m constantly looking for it. Slowing down enough to look and compare and be excited.

My morning’s stroll made me wonder if I would see the same kind of tiny but steady growth in my kids if I started slowing down and looking for it. There are the physical things, like the fact that Bubba is now just tall enough to push the green button as we leave his school or dexterous enough to blow bubbles without spilling the bottle three seconds later. That Chica, when motivated, can get dressed from head to toe without it taking two eternities, or put together a 100 piece puzzle without help. But there are also the more important things, the growth I really have to watch for to realize. Like the moment when Chica just went ahead and gave Bubba the book he wanted to carry into the dining room instead of insisting on keeping the one she found first. Or, just now, when Bubba asked for a treat only 6 times (instead of 20 + a tantrum), gave up, and went willingly back downstairs to play.

And what if I celebrated that growth with them? Even more, what if I attempted to water their growth like my thirsty plants at the base of the driveway? I do know the Source of living water, after all.

As much as I am reluctant to go there, I guess I have to. Don’t you think Jesus must be watching us (er…me) with just as much anticipation, searching for that millimeter of growth to celebrate? I know my peppers and cucumbers and tomatoes and squash are likely months from producing fruit, but I keep watching, keep watering, keep celebrating. I’m tempted to think most days that He gives up watching for my growth after months of being stagnant, stuck spinning my wheels with the same regrets and promises for “once the summer comes.”

But now that I’m tending my own little garden, I’m thinking it’s not like that at all. I’m thinking He’s pleased and maybe even celebrating the millimeter steps I take towards Him once in a while. Like the apology I issued my kids after my own mini-meltdown in the parking lot of the Plaza Dollar Tree last Sunday. Or the prayer I prayed with Bubba when I realized all my own words in the world would ever be enough to help him make better choices at school. Or the grace I (however reluctantly) extended to three boys that irked me in a big way last week at school. Millimeter steps. I’d like to think He may rejoice over those tiny steps instead of just thinking that it’s never enough, always waiting for the fruit of the summer.

Maybe I should do the same.

All my changes come from Him
He who never changes
I’m held firm in the grasp
Of the Rock of all the ages

All is well with my soul
He is God, in control I
know not, all His plans
But I know I’m in His hands

All is Well by Robin Mark

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My garden companion this evening, growing bigger every day.  I love that kid.

 

Recipe for a Perfect Spring Saturday

Ingredients:

3 flat miles of creekside trail
5 tiny seedlings of mixed variety (Roma tomatoes, sweet peppers, basil, etc.)
6 classic children’s books on CD
2 dozen pieces of toddler boy clothing (YardSale brand preferred)
3 free market-fresh tomatoes
1 sweet conversation with a finally pregnant friend
6 cubic feet of potting soil
5 hideous orange buckets
4 bowls of ice cream on the porch
2 new pairs of kiddie shoes
6 clean-out-the-fridge quesadillas
80 photographs with a new camera
4 chapters of a Flat Stanley book
2 100-piece puzzles
600 papers to grade

Directions:

  1. Awake late and run three fast miles with a delightful friend. Talk non-stop about school and summer and everything in-between.
  2. Collect seedlings from Master Gardeners, in-laws, Home Depot, and the market. While these are waiting, peruse the library, childless and slowly.
  3. At the yard sale, gather a mound of 4T and 5T clothes for less than the price of one item at the store.
  4. Spot the pudgy belly of a friend while scoping out the first of summer tomatoes. Throw caution to the wind and ask. Celebrate because the fourth time’s a charm for this blessed mama.
  5. Take the whole family to Home Depot to complete Project Bucket Garden. Move quickly to combat the grumpiness that comes with no lunch and no nap.
  6. Soak in the perfect day while eating chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and willing the tiny seedlings to grow.
  7. Catch another whim and take both kids to get summer shoes. Pray your kid will follow through with soccer camp while buying tiny cleats, shin guards, and socks.
  8. Eat dinner with no yelling. Whatsoever.
  9. Practice with the new camera while the little people fight the tree in the front yard, David & Goliath style.
  10. At bedtime, read a book that both mom and baby girl enjoy. Work a puzzle together to fight the I’m-not-tired complaints.
  11. Leave the papers in the car. Don’t worry about them until tomorrow.
  12. Serve it up with joy. In Joy.  Enjoy.

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Poop or Puke?

Turns out it’s poop.

Today is one of those days that I try to remember what we ever did before Google.  I seem to remember that if the set of 25 year old encyclopedias on the shelf in the den didn’t have what you were looking for, then you were out of luck.  I’m pretty sure I would have never found today’s question in the 1962 edition of the Golden Book Encyclopedia.  (And you better bet my momma’s pulling those bad boys out now, trying to prove me wrong.  Let me know what you find, Mom.)

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This afternoon I sat perched in Nana’s living room watching a family of robins.  Chica and Nana had done the same for about an hour earlier today, so Bubba and I had to check out what was so intriguing too.

Just as expected, Mama Bird brings a mouthful of juicy worms to the nest.  Next, the tiny, fuzzy (ugly!) heads emerge, mouths wide open and searching.  Mama picks a lucky winner, and the meal is gobbled up in seconds.

But then something happened that I had never seen before….Mama Bird grabbed something white from the nest, and she proceeded to eat it.  The first time I observed the mysterious white blob, I guessed it was maybe a grub that she had brought earlier and the babies had rejected.  I know all about picky eaters!  As I watched longer, though, and saw her pick up something from the nest every time she returned, I knew this white blob had to be something else.

“Poop or puke?” I wondered.

I’ve heard of animal mommies chewing up their food for babies, but the order of things just didn’t seem right as I watched the robins today.  Actually, I seem to remember reading an article about some celebrity who did the same for her baby.  (I just Googled that too….Alicia Silverstone.  Ok, I digressed.)  So if it wasn’t some form of premastication or regurgitation, then it had to be poop, right?

Right.  I found my answer here.

So you think your infant goes through a bunch of dirty diapers?  Turns out the baby robin poops every time it eats something.  Every. Single. Time.  And almost right away, too.  The cool part is (or maybe gross…it’s all about perspective) that when they are just a few days old, their poop comes enclosed in a neat package made from mucous, and it doesn’t contain bacteria at first.  So Momma Bird and Daddy Bird grab the package (called a fecal sac) right off the baby’s rear end and eat it.  It’s actually mostly undigested food, so this keeps them from eating all of the food they should be bringing to their hungry babies.  After a while their digestive system becomes more developed, and the poop starts to have bacteria.  When this happens, the parents stop eating the fecal sac, but they continue to cart it away from the nest to help keep things clean.  Once the babies finally leave the nest, their bodies stop making the sac…just regular poop from there on out.  Wow.

In case you care to watch…

So why am I telling you this?  (I almost wrote, “Why should you give a crap?” but that was just too obvious.)

I’m telling you this because in less than one week, it will be summer.  Glorious summer.  And one of the things I am looking forward to the most is time to just sit, observe, and be.  Even better than that, I can’t wait to observe and be and learn WITH my kids.  Today was like a tiny little taste of that.

After watching the birds’ business, we also hunted for live cicadas and made a collection of a dozen of them in Nana’s big blue pail.  FYI—no top needed.  Apparently they are too dumb or lazy or just incompetent to get out.

Kew!” Bubba said repeatedly.  I agree, Bubba.  Kew.

Come summer.

Image:  LILLY  © shudrbug  | Flickr Creative Commons

I Just Wanted To Be Grouchy

I wanted to be a grouch this morning.

With drawers (finally) full of clean clothes for Bubba, Jay still picked a hideous outfit for today.  Picture it:  A longsleeve, faded blue shirt with horizontal stripes, bright red basketball shorts with vertical stripes, and water shoes.  It was too late to turn back, though, once I caught a glimpse of this eye sore.

I have stayed up until midnight on the last two nights working on school stuff, and I still have three unfinished huge projects to complete.  How does this happen?

We now have a set of sheets, two comforters, a mattress pad, and a sleeping bag that all need to go to the laundry mat.  Getting over this hump of bed-wetting is going to be the death of one of us.  Who has time to sit at the laundry mat for hours with three unfinished projects still hanging?  Seriously.

But I just couldn’t.  I couldn’t stay a grouch.  She wouldn’t let me.

As soon as we got in the car, Chica was singing her ode to spring.  Making it up as she went along, it was full of the “highlights” (her word) of this season that is finally upon us…

*The winter takes off its mittens so that it can do its job to make us warm
*The leaves are coming out, and they will all be out by summer 
*We don’t have to wear our heavy coats or our boots
*We get to go to school in the sunshine

Oh, and the best part….the summer is almost here, and then “we can do whatever we want”. 

Ok, Chica, I’ll take it.  I’ll take the wet sheets, and the late nights, and the crazy outfits and remember that it is spring, that I have plenty to be joyful about. 

Thanks, sweet girl.