Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mama Bear

"You're hovering. They're doing great~let's go." Carrie said to me last evening as we dropped the kids off at an overnight swim and gymnastics party at the local academy.

Audrey had been in a fabulous dance recital earlier in the day and did not get to bed until nearly midnite the night before since we went to dinner and hung out with friends.

Plus, neither of my girls swim much so they are not too experienced which was causing me some concern.

AND Audrey is still only 4 and the youngest camper (although she did attend the same swim/gymnastics overnighter last year at age 3 and lived to tell about it!)

The lack of sleep, lack of swimming skills, and the fact that Eric was out of town and I would be all alone in the house in the middle of the night apparently was causing me to "hover." Unnecessarily.

A relaxing time with a couple of girlfriends enjoying apps and yummy cocktails occupied several hours of the evening. It wasn't until 2 a.m. that I fell into bed and slept poorly for just 5 hours before pick-up.

My girls were still asleep when I arrived this morning. The camp counselor gave me the skinny on how the night went--Audrey cried after swimming as she wanted me and was starving. After the pizza party she got better until it was time for movies (midnight!) and she was upset again. Thankfully, she fell fast asleep just moments into Ratatouille but did wake crying in the middle of the night and required a soothing back pat to ease her back to sleep (I have already bought the Starbucks thank you card for that dear counselor!) Liv proudly announced that she watched BOTH movies and went to bed around 4 a.m. oof.

Clearly, naps were on the horizon. After shutting off the phones, locking Frib in our bedroom and allowing the girls to choose where they'd slumber they finally slept.

An hour later Liv was up and at 'em. With a clearer, more refreshed mind I asked her about the night- what her favorite part was (she won the hula hoop contest so that was top on her list) how all of her friends got along (some of them were growing tired and grumpy, she said. "But, I understand.")how the swimming went (I had to stay in the "safe" area and I wanted to go in the deep end.) So I asked her about lessons and if she wanted to spend more time at the pool learning to swim. "Mom, NO, I don't want to talk about it."

"Shall we grab lunch and then go out and paint rocks or play a game?" I asked her changing the subject.

"Mom, NO. Leave me alone."

I then heard Carrie's practical, honest truth she spoke to me the night before, "You're hovering".

So off I went to the kitchen to make lunch. Moments later Liv happily bound into the kitchen chatting me up about the great game of "Swim Fishy Swim" she'd played the night before. My little cub was out of hibernation once I backed more parenthood lesson learned.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Journal Entry

At the end of each year I am thinking of printing out the posts I've written and putting copies in each of my girls memory boxes for a future read. As I've said before, Smilelines serves as my online journal of sorts. In today's post I am recapping life at Wilkinson Manor over the past few weeks. As is the case with all journal entries not everything written is interesting but instead offers a glimpse of days in the life...


For starters, the sun came out late the other evening just before it set for the night. It was a rare sight and oh, so welcome. I took this picture off of our deck as we were settling the girls into bed. Bedtime was much sweeter thanks to the sunbeams.


I popped into one of my client's restaurants the other day and grabbed lunch before our meeting. The Seattle waterfront setting with the ferry sailing by was idyllic. My lunch was so divine (fresh halibut, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, balsamic, polenta) that I snapped a picture. Clearly this is but one of the reasons I need to lose 10 pounds!


For the eleventh year we hit the Beerfest over Father's Day weekend. It proved to be a relatively mellow event this year. The kids had a great time on the bounce houses and even the sun managed to shine. We were joined by fabulous friends. A sore back, intestinal bug, and general malaise proved that while Eric is a trooper he may be feeling his 40 years OR perhaps the same gig for 11 years is growing a tad tiresome.


Our neighbor had a baby girl. We all enjoyed holding her the other evening and these pictures reminded me of when my girls were babies and would do the "seven mile stare" just before the fell asleep. Here they are doing it again each while holding the baby. How relaxed they both were. I recall my mom holding Olivia mere days after her birth and describing how peaceful she felt and how low her blood pressure was and what a joy it is to hold this beautiful new life full of promise---I think Olivia & Audrey would concur.


Audrey got out the week before Liv. Here she is the first morning out enjoying her one hour per day of TV. The girls summertime nanny started this week. Lauren and Audrey spent the days at the park, Starbucks, playing Barbies, playdoh, and watercolors.

Olivia is over the moon about being a third grader now. Here she is leaving the mall the other day (the boots, the bag, my, how they grow!) She was on TV working the pottery wheel with a couple of my clients the other day. Apparently one of my clients heard her say as we entered the station, "Stars coming through..." !


I could not find Fribble the other evening anywhere. From my bathroom window I spotted him-in the neighbor's backyard. He greets Eric at the door each evening and then Eric lets him loose in the neighborhood to roam as he wishes (yes, it's against the law and yes, we have super neighbors who think of Frib as their own). He then goes to the neighbor's house around the corner and waits for the dad to come home. He will spend the next hour there as they prepare and eat dinner.

Eric left for a "mancation"the other evening.

The girls and I spent yesterday at the beach and park before going for ice cream. May this summer prove to be a sunny, relaxing one for all --with Frib hangin' with the neighbors as much as his heart desires!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ebb & Flow

Eric is notorious for reminding me of life's ebb & flow. He counsels me through the ebbs ---from parenting, to my job, to relationships and on and on. He reminds me to take the good with the bad, to face the challenges head on, and to embrace them with the right spirit. He advises that as I ride the events out that I am vigilant and do not miss the boat on the lessons to be learned. Wow, not an easy feat for me. But as Eric says I choose how I move through this life.

In addition to juggling summer camp plans, family travel plans, clients needs, kids issues, upcoming birthday parties, rescheduling parties, and just the usual game of life--

I lost a big account this week. I'd had it for years and now that my client left the new Director of Marketing eliminated all outside vendors who handle PR, marketing, and special events. On one hand it is a relief since I have not had a point person since her departure and I've been floundering and pestering other managers to try to get anything done. On the other hand, losing a coveted account hurts the pocketbook--and the ego.

I heard an interview yesterday where the person said, "I was joy drenched." I was so envious as I could not say the same.

In a quest to go with the flow and find the silver lining I've been taking Eric's advice to heart and thinking about the way I look at things. For starters--less workload may give me more time for impromptu tea parties

and school visits. Here is Audrey celebrating her fifth birthday a month early (before school lets out so she can enjoy a mini party with her school friends).

Here is Liv at her Living History Museum event as "Jackie Robinson" with her friends, "Pocahontas" and "Alice in Wonderland".

Perhaps I will "focus" more when I'm with the kids on their field trips (rather than checking my PDA). This picture was taken on a school trip to a local lighthouse with Olivia's class. Here is Liv love with her classmate Joel. They have a "crush" on each other and it really is a sight to watch them exchange glances across the classroom!

A bright spot to note--Olivia has been doing better with her behavior for the most part and continues to love gymnastics which keeps her active and entertained. She has been doing the local circuit with weekend appearances at area events. Here she is at a local festival before the event was cancelled due to the rain.

Audrey girl has been the challenge as of late. She seems to be either burned out as it's the end of the school year or just going through a phase of pushing the limits. She cried yesterday over her clothes, melted down today at church because she did not want to go to class and this afternoon she lost it over her hair. Yesterday I was on my game and managed well. Today---not so much. In fact, I walked into the church sanctuary (she won & came into the "big church" with me) and the worship director said, "I feel compelled to pray for parents right now. Often times we get caught up in, 'Why do I have to make dinner? Care for everyone in the household? Be the grown-up when I want to lose it like everyone else?' She went on--, "God wants us to lean on Him in the midst of the chaos as that 'WHY ME' frame of thinking can lead to bitterness and we can then lose the joy in the role we have as a parent." I held Audrey tighter in my lap (she was still crying) and I joined her. This is such a hard gig for me.

Yet I need to remember that advice as there are definitely dark times

but the sun always manages to shine again. If I pay attention long enough to bask in the glow I, too, can say I am joy drenched. Afterall as Eric so wisely reminds me-- it's a choice.

Happy Birthday: Take Two

We finally celebrated Eric's 40th...4 weeks late (a prior post mentions the delay).

We enjoyed a close group of fabulous friends

tasty bites courtesy of Whole Foods

and plenty of beverages (delicious keg of Diamond Knot ESB thanks to Lizzie & Doug, homemade sangria and much more!)

The night was fun, relaxing, and most of all--uneventful. Bliss!

Devils in the Details

"Look, Mama, these are organic! Can we get them then?" Audrey asked me at the market the other day as she presented me with a can of Pringles.

"Organic? What do you mean?" I asked her.

O-R-I-G-I-N-A-L she spelled out pointing to the letters on the can.

"Sound it out, Aud." I told her. A few moments later she softly commented, "Oh, original, not organic, " she replied, deflated. I let her buy them anyway.

Later that evening en route to Olivia's piano recital (after the grocery and bank run, a quick dinner out, and preparing the batter for Snickerdoodles for her early birthday party at school) Audrey said, "You're one busy mama. I wonder how you do it sometimes." Was this my four year old talking or a girlfriend? How do parents do it? We all find our way somehow...Apparently, she did not see the yummy frothy Porter beer I ordered over dinner while they enjoyed their chicken fingers--details, details.