Friday, June 29, 2007

It's 11:11 Make a Wish!


We went to Omsi yesterday and in their discovery room they had a cool "wishing wall" where they had also posted the story of Orihime and Kengyuu. According to legend, Orihime was a weaver and made her father many beautiful clothes. One day she was very sad because she'd been so busy weaving she didn't have time to fall in love. Her father, Tentei, felt sorry for her and arranged a marriage with Kengyuu. They were happily married, bathed in the sweetness that marriage brings. They seemed to be happier everyday thereafter. But Tentei became very angry, because in devoting so much time to her happy marriage, Orihime was neglecting her weaving. He seperated the couple by a river and it was only during one night of the year that he would allow them to meet, the 7th day of the 7th month. Their story was posted near the wishing wall and it filled me with all sorts of inspiration, as did the messages of hope hanging on the wishing wall. I tried to get Avery to make a wish (Jooge was off running amock with a friend) but she just wanted to draw on the papers and so instead I made wishes, wrote them on the triangles of trees and hung them gingerly. I wish at any opportunities, love the magic of wishing. What wish would you hang on the wishing wall?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Welcome to the Family Little One


Whelp, it's official. We've been in the market for another car, we weren't sure if it was going to be new or used. We considered lots of options, we thought long and hard.

Today the girls and I went to a BBQ while my husband stayed home because he's on call and never can relax at stuff like that if he's on call. He did have some mysterious appointment though at this same time and of course I was assuming it was a car-related mission, though I was not informed of any details because I knew he wanted to surprise me.

At some point during the shin dig I called to check in with him and he informed me that he had car trouble and was stuck and didn't have a way to get home. Later I checked my cell phone and he'd called four times so I called him and he was home, informing me his car had been towed, the tow truck guy had some in with the repair shop so they got it in the gate, blah blah blah. "Come home soon, I need TLC" was his last comment.

So the kids and I are walking home through the neighborhood and I see a black CRV parked a few blocks over from our house and I actually thought, that could be a new car, that's what I wanted, maybe he got that. I peered in to see if our car seats were in there but indeed there were none. It was completely spotless and fancy and I got excited imagining that he'd parked it there and that maybe when we got home he'd say, "Let's go walk and get the mail," and then there it'd be. I told the kids, "There's our new car."

So we hoof it home and I still think I just may see a new car in the driveway too, because what are the chances he's actually done what I'd imagined, bought a new car, parked it where he didn't think we'd see it, and then plan to walk and get the mail and there it was. He's wearing this super serious expression, but shrugging like, "Man, I've just been through hell with my whole car fiasco," and then I say, "Is that our new car? There's a brand new CRV parked in the next block. That's our car, isn't it." Excited. Nearly crying, am I. His serious expression breaks for a bit and he looks at me funny. His way of affirming that it is indeed our car is to say, "Let's go get the mail." IT WAS OUR NEW CAR! Isn't that terrible that I foiled his plan? It makes me wish I had planned along just to let him execute his genius schematics.

Anyway, she came to live with us today. She's in the driveway right now. I've never ever ever owned a new car but now we own her and she will drive us to many important occasions in the next 12 years before my kids start driving her.......Wait, one of my kids will be driving her in 12 years? She's safe, she's reliable, she's sporty and cute. She's exactly what this family needs and now loves. We took a test drive and all the little perks were so exciting, like a mirror to see the kids in back, a sunroof, an MP3 jack, tons of space in the back, LATCH anchors. Dude, can you tell how long we've been driving a car born many years back?

And so, I have the father of my children to thank for bringing home from the car hospital this new addition to the family. Lo, though it's Father's Day, he got a car for us, a car that I wanted, so we'd be safe. I'd like to give a proper shout-out to you hon, for your hard work and well-planned surprise, as well as your keen eye for a great car, your willingness to buy new, for trusting me to keep it clean and pretty, and all in all, for all the things you do to put a smile on my face, because there are many. I love you a lot and "thank you for it." But mostly, I love you because you are an AWESOME father and the kids are so lucky to have you for their dad. Happiest of Father's Days! I wish I could hide a Lexus LX 470 around the block for you. Someday..........

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sing It, Helen!


It's a transition phase around here lately. Moving from school ending to birthday to now, nearly here, summer. I want to be on top of things, have a plan, lead us through the days with purpose, as in fun being the number one goal. I've done it before, I was a Rec Leader in the summers, planning kids days, and a teacher planning their school lives. I'm sure I can do it for my own kids. Of course there will be days of nothing wedged comfortably between the somethings. I need to find the balance between being on the go and going nowhere, between routine and freedom.

We have been hit hard with allergy woe. The Jooge turned four and boom, is miserable on beautiful and windy days. She looks a little like Rocky Balboa after a fight and there's not a whole heck of a lot we can do other than the daily dose of loratadin and saline drops, should we bo so lucky as to get to drop them in her tense, fearful, screaming eyes. We can't stay indoors all summer, but we can avoid large fieldy areas. Poor girl.

One of Jooge's most classic presents was the soundtrack to Pete's Dragon. That movie has become one of their favorites, as it was for my brothers and I back in the day. I called my brother Ryan yesterday and when he said, "Hey Teets," all he got was an earful of the Gogans singing about their bill of sale giving them a legal claim. I was laughing so hard and when I put the phone up to my ear, so was he. Then later Avery sang him a few bars of Candle on the Water and at the end she was singing, "I'll never let youuu goooooo." If you know that song, you know that part and it was a true laughing/crying moment.Jooge also likes to dance to the songs and wear her twirly skirt, swishing it all around like Nora did in the movie. RICHNESS!

I really want to gather up my pals who might appreciate this and take a trip down memory lane. I loved Judy Blume in every form she took, love that there's a tribute to her, love that Portland is the place where that tribute will happen.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Jooge!


Julia, you are four. FOUR! Such a fine, even number.

You are quite the girl these days. You want to do things right, play by the rules. What a change from the olden days of fits and fancy. You are an expert at puzzles, you write your name quite clearly, save the backwards J, you draw amazing faces, alternately scribbling or making designs. You love playing with the neighbor boys across the street and call to them from the window, telling them tales. They love you in return. When they see you are out to play with them(playing means riding your trike around and around or chasing or scheming, shoulders together on the lawn)
they yell, "JULIA!"

You have a grand imagination. We've been reading Little House on the Prairie and you were making a prairie in your room last night. You love "telling stories" too and this usually means particularly arranged items in and around your space, fun to see after the fact. You will on occasion read to your sister.

You are a strong body, running, moving tall, though you've only grown a few inches this year, which means you're evening out, leaving the off-the-charts tall for sister. You have developed allergies, causing your eyes to swell in the evenings that you've been out amongst the pollen. You sniff and itch and itch and sniff, poor thing. Your hair is long and you are getting better about letting mommy comb it into submission. You love to have braids too. You fall often, but less often than before.
Bruises line your shins and knees. You have chosen to wear no underwear when you sleep. You are great at bedtime, doing what you need to do and then settling in for some books.

You are full of questions when we read, and when we talked about the giraffe at the zoo dying you were especially interested to see it, wondering what it might look like. You got to see butterflies too, and since then have been looking for them in your surroundings, as though they might be sitting perched on a branch of a tree. You are completely unafraid of bugs, trapping spiders, roly poly bugs, ants, etc. with glee.

You can be SO SWEET to your sister, and love to teach her things. Lately you two have been playing a game where you're the mommy and you tuck your sister in and say, "Goodnight sweetie." I wish I could record moments like that in some sort of in-brain recording device. I can picture you now with your arm around her, telling her something like, "Sister likes ....." to try and convince her that she should like it too, or talking to her in the back seat of the car, about how she might die if she doesn't keep her seat belt on.

Today we went to a park to play and you were the ringleader, urging kids to come with you to get water, or go here to play. It was a snap for you to make new friends, yet sometimes new faces, especially of adults, throw you for a loop and make you need to be nearer to me. When a girl threw wet sand at you you said, "Don't throw sand at me. I don't like that." You love your Aunt Jen, your grandparents, your friends, your family. For awhile there you were talking a lot about how you never wanted me to die, or grandma to die. You told one grandma she was going to die before the other one because she was older.

You are such a big girl, we just recently went into the city on the Max just you and I to get Marbles for Maggie at Finnegans and then to eat at Pizza Schmizza. You loved it. You are very smart and very curious, asking why about most things. You remember everything and are still really good at figuring out where we are driving. You are still cautious about new foods, claiming you will eat them when you're six. Six seems to be the age you feel you will, blossom. You enjoy six year olds and hanging out with friend's older siblings who are six. Maybe this is why. I bought you a smock and you won't wear it because it's a dress.

You have been showering me with a new genre of love and appreciation, gentle kisses on my cheek while I take a nap, sweet smiles in my direction when we snuggle. You love your daddy and time with him. Today your feelings were hurt and you ran over and buried your face in my shorts and cried. You have beautiful robust emotions and I don't ever want you to change, even though mommy doesn't always know quite how to handle their intensity.

You love your Care Bear and your big rubbery dragon and dresses and when I tell you you're cute you say ,"No, I'm beautiful." At the library's story time you follow every story so well and now you join in the songs and smile big. You love digging up sand in the back yard and are very adept with the hose, aiming it at the right place, being the boss. When we're in the car you demand "your music" and feel quite content to sing and rock when it's on. (When mommy doesn't want to listen to it, well, there's a bit of hell to pay.) You love to play that you are getting married and have had a "fake ceremony" twice now with two different boys, Joshua and Tenne.

I am so proud of who you are and hope that I can always appreciate you just as you are because you are great and I am lucky lucky lucky to be your mom. I learn so much from you ever day and am endlessly endlessly in love with your tender kisses and sweet smiles, of your flexibility and strength and kindness and heart.
I love you so much Jooge! Welcome to four.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Princess Party Recap


Today was the Jooge's Princess Party. Let me tell you, it was a doozy in every pink, positive, screaming, happy kid way.

She got a beautiful new princess dress for the occasion. This is not a thin, skimpy little number. There is no hiking at the waist. There are no scratchy seams and Disney-princess medallions. It is her new favorite garment, though a tad big (the size said 2-10) but WORTH. It. (t drags a good inch or two, totally hemmable). We put her hair up in a bun and she got to wear lipstick. Yes. Mommy said YES to lipstick.

In terms of decor, I rolled out a huge roll of red craft paper that I found for $4 at Joanns as our "red carpet." We put our chalk board easel by the front door and as the picture shows, I wrote in fancy writing: Welcome All Ye Who Enter Here and then listed the guests: Princess Cora, etc.... We had a balloon bouquet that the kids played around with when they first got there, that was kind of fun. We also did the pink plastic table cloth and pink plates/napkins and purple cups.

She had six friends over, one whom was a boy. We had dancing to beautiful princess music. I had them practice walking around with books on their heads, because all princes and princesses have great posture.We made magic wands. The dollar store had foam rubber princess cone type hats with a thin strip of tulle coming out of the top and I let them decorate those. All of the kids were 3, 4 year olds so that got a small amount of their attention. We used glitter glue sticks, little puff balls, and stickers.

We had cupcakes, cherry chip with homemade butter cream frosting. I served strawberry ice cream (pre-scooped) in cupcake papers but was then not sure about using spoons or not. We used spoons. I found little"glass slippers" at the dollar store that I filled with jelly beans, I mean shucks, they hadn't eaten enough sugar yet, why not load 'em up with more. (Plus pink lemonade.) The kids had time to run around a bit and then we did gifts. She was so excited about her presents and got some great things that I never would have thought to get her. How fun! When it was time to go her friend (the lone Prince at the party) said, "Can I have a goodbye kiss?" And they came together in a little lip-kiss. There happened to be a grandma standing nearby that gasped in disbelief but I thought it was so dang cute.

I sent them off with their butterfly decorated goody bags: a princess pen, ring pop, candy bracelet, plus their wands, hats, and glass slippers. But the best part of all, is that I got them all together in the hallway and I whispered in excitement that I'd just heard some bells and when I looked there were these little vials, and do you know what they are? (Picture the very height of excitement being dramatized by me). These are from a FAIRY GODMOTHER and she said we all needed our very own vial of MAGIC DUST! But, beware, you can't open them here, they don't work at our house. They are only magical at your house. AND, you can only sprinkle a tiny bit for it to work. Each and every face was aghast and thrilled all at once. In fact a mom arrived just them to pick them up and one of the kids who she didn't even know came up to her and screamed, "WE JUST GOT MAGIC FAIRY DUST FROM A FAIRY GODMOTHER!" It was really pretty sinister to send them off with glitter, but each and every mom there was equipped to further my efforts at the proper dispensing of the magical matter. I hope.

What made the party so grand was the people there, great kids, great moms, and the magic that comes with seeing your kid happy, surrounded by friends and yeses and cupcakes and a celebration of her. I WAS going to go above and beyond and construct a throne for pictures, do a lot more detail with the cupcakes, make mixes for each princess to take home. But none of those details were missed and in not doing them I had time to do other things, like sweep the floor and dust and vacuum.

We were sitting outside after the party, Jooge still dressed in her "regalia" when a swallowtail looking butterfly flew by. This never happens, it was such a treat. Not only does she love all things princess but she loves all things butterfly. It was as though the butterfly was twittering by to say hello and wish her a happy day.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Flunking the Slide


We've been in parent/child swimming lessons for the past four weeks (having missed about two of those because of aforementioned death cough), and tonight we went to our last lesson. One of the things they typically do at the last lesson is to let the participants ride down the slide. It's not the craziest of slides, not the wildest of rides, yet I have developed my own, well, fear of it. The first time I was too afraid and had the teacher do it. The second time I went down with Jooge and I went WAY TOO FAST and rocketed into the water, taking my frightened child under with me. It was awful.

So tonight I'm climbing the stairs with Avery who is sporting her little life-jacket, teeth chattering but not at all alarmed at the height we've reached and the prospect of what we're about to do. I'm trying to be brave. But. There's a but. Upon descent I again learn that I can't go down without rocketing, without feeling completely and utterly out of control, without fear paralyzing me at the bottom, threatening to drown my poor dependent two year old. People told me to lean forward, that you wouldn't go too fast, but that just did not work for me. What ended up happening was us gaining momentum with each and every curve so that when we shot into the pool we both were submerged and Avery had to be pulled up by our on-the-ball instructor, waiting for us at the bottom. I might add we gave the bigger women whose water aerobics was momentarily interrupted quite a view. If our landing didn't demand all eyes, my wailing child must have. "You must have a really slippery swimming suit," was the swimming teacher's only supposition.

What is wrong with me? NOBODY ELSE HAD THIS PROBLEM. Everybody, and I mean each and every perky, brave, able mother, launched their bodies down the pink chute, emerging on the other side smiling, kids wearing expressions of excitement.

I didn't attempt it again. Instead, I handed my kid over and thankfully watched the instructor bring her down. Avery made it without tears but was definitely afraid until my sideline cheers calmed her grimace. So I was dually frustrated. My fear had rubbed off on her. This bothers me about myself, both the contagious fear and the ineptitude. It made me feel pretty crappy. And so, I will not be sad that our parent/child swimming class has ended. Having never really experienced swimming-pool specific anxieties before, this is a new one for me that I am happy to leave right there at the pool.