Thursday, August 27, 2009

Morning At The Monkey Ranch

Our new camera arrived this week to replace its worn and weary predecessor who has opted to no longer point nor shoot. As soon as my new toy was out of the box I took these photos. I love how they reflect the peaceful (albeit rare) moments around here when the boys are engrossed in their world and I in mine.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summer Nights

This is what I'm gonna remember come February when I haven't seen the sun for 93 straight days and the lawn is too wet to walk on, let alone lay down and dream upon:

I'll remember this ordinary, yet magical, night when the boys came home from swim lessons and launched their new foam rockets with the force of air and laughter and joy.

I'll remember how they burst over and through the ripe blackberries with the fuel of giggles and cheers, smelling of summer's magical mixture of pool chemicals and fresh tomato sauce. I'll remember how Summer serenaded us with birds in the woods and speedboats on The Sound.

I will remember the far-away laughs of neighborhood children and the nearby tackles and songs of my Monkeyboys launching their rocket ships to the heavens as they aimed for the nearest cloud.

And I'll remember how we all seemed to sense that nights like this were going to end soon as the days grow cooler, damper and darker and school and responsibility creep upon us. And I'll remember how, on this ordinary and yet magical night, we all wished that we could have this feeling forever.

Freedom's Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose

Among Sam's many charms and endearments is the adorable way that he says his age, "My Free" and holds up five fingers.

Our little "free"dom rider has been in quite a state of three this week. He's been defiant, objectionable and veeerrrrryyyy whiny. Part of this may be attributed to the lack of sleep he's been getting as he's transitioned to a "big boy bed" and has been staying up very late reading and playing. He's also been deprived of his normal nap ritual this week due to some scheduling craziness surrounding his brother's sports camp. Sensing that he really needed some quality sleep last night, I put Sam to bed back in his crib and watched him fall into peaceful slumber faster than you could say "Meltdown at Target".

He awoke this morning and yelled from his crib "Mommy! Get me out of here! Right now!", then proceeded to kick me and wiggle out of my arms whining about how he didn't want to be carried. Charming. Clearly, he wants some independence and to be a big boy, and yet, sometimes, he's all about being the baby.

This attitude continued this morning as I made the wrong breakfast, put his bowl down at the wrong chair and did, in general, all the wrong things. I made it clear I didn't appreciate the way he was acting. Then, he brought me over to the fridge and asked me to pick him up and talk about the picture of me and my Grandpa Ralph on the horse.

He asked if it was him and his Grandpa. When I told him (for the umpteenth millionth time) that no, it was me when I was a baby , he said oh so sweetly..."When you whined?"

I smiled and hugged my impressive little man. Yes, Sam, that one time that I whined. That one time that I felt conflicted and confused and not quite right in my skin. That one time that I didn't quite know who I was or how to act or why people were expecting so much of me. That one time that I was learning all sorts of new vocabulary and trying to figure out a new schedule and just really wanted to hug somebody all the time but also felt like I needed to act like I didn't need a hug all the time.

Kind of like that one time when my first child started Kindergarten. Kind of like that time when I have to start thinking about putting the kid who cheers for firetrucks! and cement mixers! and garbage trucks! onto a school bus while praying that he gets from my hugging and high-five-ing arms into the arms of someone else who will love him, understand him and honor him as much as we do. Kind of like learning about late-start Wednesdays and manipulative math curriculum and literacy boxes and lunch boxes and peanut free zones and filling out a field trip permission slip for the child who still can't even make a trip to the bathroom without some parental assistance.

Kind of like that time that I whined.

Freedom, Sam. It's not *just* another word for nothing left to lose, as Janice Joplin said. It's a little about loss, and also a little about something to gain. Like more time to spend with your sweet little face...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Last month we took a little family road trip to see my in-laws and their adored farm. Along the way we drove through an eternity of forests and mountains; following long, wide highways with pull-outs perfect for viewing volcanic destruction or for disciplining small children, depending on your needs. We also traveled on the treacherous dirt roads normally driven by the Forest Service and logging trucks. "Roads" that bump and haul their way up and down winding, steep passes while jostling the minivan's suspension and sloshing my vertigous stomach juices. It's never a good sign when your vacation involves focusing on the horizon while telling everyone in the car to stop talking; especially if they are under the age of five.

Fortunately, some technology saint invented this cure for road-weary travelers:

On our travels, we even drove by to catch a closer glimpse of Mt. Rainier, whose majestic white tip is visible from where we live. Each day, the boys eagerly await the moment when we cross the bridge to see if they can be the first to spot it or if it's hidden by the clouds. Locals refer to a day when she's visible as "The Mountain is Out"; but in the getsited way that Max enjoys abbreviation and contraction, he has come to simply calling it, "Outin'".

It was certainly "Outin" from up there.

We stopped for a picnic and our ever-present travel buddy offered up his interpretation of the National Park:
These Happy Campers were far more interested in the pic-a-nic basket.

And asking the age-old question on the meaning of life and true existentialism... "Are we there yet?"

Yes, boys. I think we're right where we need to be.