Archive for May 2010

I wish it wasn't under these circumstances.....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

...isnt' that what we always say when we see someone from long ago at a funeral? Last week I had the sad but fortunate experience to pay tribute to one of my favorite childhood friends. Loretta and I met in Sister Kathleen's first grade class at St. Vincent de Paul elementary school. Her last name started with "M" and mine followed with "N" so she had to endure me as a seat mate for 9 months. As we begin our school career, we don't have enough life savvy to choose our friends--which can be a good thing. By middle school we become more choosy and particular about with whom we spend our time. Chances are that maybe one or two of our classmates will remain our friends throughout life. (A lesson I keep trying to remind my teenager of) Loretta was one of those friends who was in my circle all the way to high school graduation.

Loretta had an older half sister who didn't live with her so she was essentially an only child. The kind of friend everyone with multiple siblings needs. I have wonderful memories of camping with her family, belting out hit songs on her stereo with the microphone, slumber parties galore and sneaking out to meet boys--it was always her idea. Smile. We came of age together. I didn't know it back then, and neither did she, but Loretta had Lupus for many years before she was diagnosed. A short time ago she learned she was also suffering from Diabetes. Both diseases took their toll on her and left her susceptible to complications which eventually took her life. As many took their turns at the microphone, the phrase I kept hearing to describe my friend was "unconditional love". She offered it to everyone who crossed her path. As I listened I felt so much regret that the most we'd spoken in the last few years was only by "chat" on Facebook. Yet, I know she didn't expect any more than that for that's who she was. She loved and appreciated everyone and every day.

Sitting in the church and watching most of my former teachers pass by was bittersweet. ( Loretta's mom was my second grade teacher) Afterwards at the luncheon we reminisced about days gone by and laughed until we cried. Three hours later a few of us were still there long after the tables and chairs were loaded in the closets and her family members drove away. Our friend Terri suggested we head over to the school and take a trip down memory lane.

Terri, Laura and walked the halls of the elementary school thirty some years later in search of those indiscreet places where we scrawled our names back in the 70's; we recounted stories of our principal who was more like a dictator and concurred that she was abusive and would have truly been thrown in the slammer for pulling similar acts today. We laughed about writing naughty Mad Libs and then being busted by one of the nuns who threatened to ban us from the coveted sixth grade picnic. (We went) We traded stories about our many antics that none of us had been aware of way back when and asked forgiveness over taunting one another about our tacky shoe choices over the years. (When you wear uniforms everyday), there isn't much else to make fun of. In the moment I just wanted to transport myself back to that place of innocence and pure joy and make time stand still. A time when we were so sheltered the outside world rarely had a chance to harm us. Our parents devoted their lives to protecting our childhood and most parentingvalues lined up with one another's. Although most of us rarely correspond, other than infrequent Facebook posts and now funerals, there is a bond that can never be broken between our classmates. At the milestones of the 10 & 20 year reunions many in attendance there still had axes to grind over inane, immature memories. But once you enter 40 and life seems much more sobering and --we've all had one of those life altering events rear its ugly head and wreak havoc on our lives.Those silly little issues have faded into memories that thankfully don't resurface on occasions such as a memorial service.

Loretta, I am deeply sorry you left us so soon. But you really haven't left because that unconditional love you so freely gave has lived on in the souls of St. Vincent's and the hearts of us all. Rest in Peace, beautiful friend.

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Another Rite of Passage

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

So last week Ben arrived at one of the big rites of passage by losing both of his two top teeth. Being that it was my "baby" these events always makes me think "this is the last time I'll have this experience." I prefer to chronicle these happy times but every once in a while a not-so-happy one invades your world--just like this past weekend.

Friday night we were able to get all three boys farmed out for sleepovers. A nice dinner on a beautiful spring evening was on the agenda when the front door swings open and Ben walks in holding his wrist and the tears were flowing. His friend's dad relayed the story of him falling off the swing and added "it's probably broken. You should get an x-ray." Being that it wasn't swollen, and being that we're typically in the "it's fine" camp, we gave him a hot bath, some Advil
and a some TLC.

Saturday morning there was no swelling so off he went to his last soccer game. This sealed the deal. An opponent got under his feet and down he went--on the same wrist. When he woke up Sunday morning with major swelling and complaining of pain, we shuttled over to the ER for a look. Three hours later they announced the ARM was broken. Huh? Although he fell on the wrist, it was a buckle fracture of the bone just above it.

Because the ER was so backed up (when is it not???) he was forced to go home with a wrap and a sling and schedule the cast for the following day. I can't recall ever spending two hours in a doctor's office of any variety and having my child in a permanent grin for all 120 minutes. A cast is a big deal when you're 8.

Here's hoping that the hot weather holds off for these next four weeks or the novelty of this lovely blue accessory will be over faster than it happened. Keep smiling, Ben!


Toothless on Top

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ben has passed the first grade school "rite of passage". Last week he finally lost the second of his two front teeth. He has been a frustrated late bloomer in the dental category--he lost his first tooth almost a year ago and the second one three months later. So it's been a lengthy dry spell for the tooth fairy. She had to make two pit stops here last week, and because of his patience, he had double the usual amount under his pillow. I don't think he has stopped smiling since.

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Mother's Day

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thank you, President Woodrow Wilson for signing the proclamation 1n 1914 officially making the second Sunday in May a day to honor mothers. For the past 13 years it has been my favorite holiday but particularly so once my kids entered preschool and began bringing home all those wonderful works of art stored throughout closets, cedar chests and attics.
In spite of all the many precious gifts my boys have made and given over the years, this was the very first time I was served breakfast in bed. My thoughtful Ian cooked up the idea and the meal itself. He was so darn cute and proud of his accomplishment. His brothers decided he was man enough to handle the task at hand while they snoozed away. (I'm sure they were with us in spirit). Below are some photos of the loot. I purposely did not include myself in them because, although I'm not the most vain woman around, I do draw the line at " bed head", sleep lines and sagging objects. :)

Can you tell who loves to call me "Hope"?

Hubby rocked with the PJ purchase. I wanted to wear them to work today.

Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to rotate this photo. After dinner, when I tried to cash in on Ben's promise of dish duty, he replied: "I meant that I would take them out of the dishwasher. " I guess homemade cards sometimes need disclaimers.

Isn't that sweet? Ben again.

Ian "loves my cooking" which is comical because there isn't much I cook that he likes to eat. Maybe he meant "I like the processed snacks you buy at the store." The necklace he made at school. His teacher is amazing.

After breakfast we went to church then out to a "fancy" lunch at Sonic Drive-In followed by a 3 hour family mountain bike excursion. As the boys were clamoring to hit the jumps and rougher trails, Trey gently reminded them that "this was mom's day." It was the equivalent of still being on training wheels for them but they were good sports. I probably spent more time pushing my bike uphill than actually pedaling but it was a beautiful sunny day and we were all together. After dinner my sweet neighbor brought over a card with a CD of a song by Trace Adkins called , "You're Gonna Miss These Days." How very, very true.


Girls' Beach Weekend

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Even though two of the three of us are "in our 40's" I still love referring to us as "girls." Especially when we get away for a long weekend together. I've been blessed with some pretty amazing female friendships. And this year I've gone a bit overboard with the "girls' weekends." In fact I realized that, so far this year, I've had a getaway every single month. I'm liking this trend.
This past weekend was the longest and most relaxing one so far. We were gone for 4 days and 3 nights to Long Beach, WA. My dear friend Joy's family has a cabin that has been passed down through 3 generations. Over the years it has been updated to accomodate more guests. The rest of my family have been guests down there at least 2 or 3 times but every time I've been invited something has always conspired to sabotage my impending trip. It soon became the big joke that I was the lone friend who " never made it to the cabin." So back in January when Joy suggested she, Kim and I try to get down there in the spring I half-heartedly agreed and figured something would get in the way and we'd laugh about it for another year or two. Not this time. Every little detail lined up and off we went.
Long Beach is known for its cloudy, cool weather and rain was in the forecast. However, the skies never opened on us when we ventured out for a walk on the beach, hitting the trails and--most importantly--shopping. I'm ready to get the next one on the calendar!
Ahhhhhh....we're finally here.

Trying on glasses....Minnie Pearl style.

Beautiful beach.

After our 90 minute walk on the trail.


Doing our "re-con" garbage run. It WAS a public trash can after all.

Our great finds from Ambiance and Farmhouse Funk. Yes, it all fit in the minivan.