Sunday, May 31, 2015

.....tap tap....this thing on?

There were a few moments yesterday, and possibly the day before, when I felt a great clarity.  An appreciation for each of my children came to me, a gratitude for who they are, on their own, and a deep love for the moment I am in with them right now.

This will not last, I know.  For Friday was the last day of school, and summer vacation kicks my ass every single year.  And with the increased HOT AS HELL factor of the Wasatch front, well, who's to say what could happen with my delicate temperament.

The prayer I have in my heart is that I can remember the impressions from yesterday.  That I can be at peace with who each of my children is.  That I can be at peace with where I am in my journey.  In this moment.  And let the rest go.

Kenneth took me on a surprise hike last week, to the infamous G spot of Utah.  (I wonder if I am the only person who calls it that.  But honestly, if I am the only one, then what is wrong with people?  Its hilarious.  The mythical G spot can be found smack dab in the middle of Utah County.  Who knew).   The night was beautiful, and the escape into nature is something I always need.  Kenneth and I had been on a downhill slope for almost three weeks, and it was only getting worse.  He told me "I started to think that if I can't give you what you need you're going to go looking for it somewhere else" . So he surprised me with a date up in the mountains, away from the business and crowds that I still can't get used to.  It was silly and romantic and just the perfect thing to re connect.

Our 16th anniversary the next weekend was consumed by Father Son Campout, a race for Eden (I'd like to bear my testimony that I know the Girls on the Run program is true) , soccer games, preparing for my last work trip, trying to get ready for the remodel demolition  (!!!!), and coordinating schedules for the first week of summer.  Our 16th anniversary was consumed by basic life together, life with four kids, life with projects and plans.  And how funny that he would think I would go elsewhere for my needs.... when half the time I'm not even sure what I need, except to perhaps including wine in my nightly routine.  Ha.  But being consumed with LIFE while having Kenneth at my side is exactly where I want to be.   And also a lot more hikes together.  

Around the end of March I think the deep depression I felt since moving to Utah started to break.  I finally confided in Kenneth how bad things were for me, and the thoughts that circled again and again in my brain were overwhelming me.   It scared him enough that he immediately went downstairs and dismantled all guns in our safe.  This does not sound at all funny, it is scary and why didn't I go for help?  I'll tell you why.  Number One:  Trusting doctors is hard for me, and mental health issues are so complicated, I did not have anyone I could trust and I could not bare to start from the beginning again with some random dude.  Number Two:   Because the drugs they give for things like that take away my opportunity to enjoy sex, and if there is one joy in my life that I do not want to give up, it's knowing that part of me. Sexuality is a powerful force, and I have been without it before and felt dead.

So I guess I just yoga'd my way out of it (which means maybe I was not really that sick in the first place?).  I had to choose yoga since I can't run STILL (akilles tendon has done me in).  Imagine.  Such a major life change and NO RUNNING.  Perhaps this is why the depression lingered for so long.    

I think that Sundance Ski Resort saved my family.  It helped us through this transition into Utah.  The peaks of the mountains became familiar beacons of refuge, and riding up the lift with my children gave me quality time with them that some of the older ones avoid these days.  I think the move has been the hardest on my Eden, who tried so very hard to fit in.  Such a painful age.  And the girls she most wanted to be friends with ended up being the meanest there were.  You know, the kind who are generally nice and all smiles around you, but who exclude you and know they are better than you, the passive aggressive MEAN GIRLS of box office fame.  Anyway.  It has been a painful year for my oldest child, and my heart has ached for her, knowing I can't fix things .  But riding up that ski lift and just being together now and then, I am hoping it helped.  My favorite time to go up was on Sunday afternoons, and Mormon rules be dammed, I swear those were the most peaceful, happy, bonding days we had together as a family.  God's power is in the trees, in the mountains, in the fresh fallen snow, the crisp blue sky, and in the joy of my Littles who went from crying and wailing at the sight of the mountain to speeding down all pell nell, screaming with excitement by the end of the season.  God's power was present in the hours my otherwise lost Oakley spent exploring the mountain side, breaking new ski trails through the trees and working his body to near exhaustion.  This is where God's power is, and this is why I will continue to ski with my family on Sunday for the rest of eternity (or at least for as long as we live 30 minutes from a lovely mountain spot called Sundance).

Oh, and the other thing... my nieces.  Little Dixie and Lucy who come to our Mountain Home (We might actually name our lovely little Lindon property, which is super cliche..... Mountain Home, Quail Run.  Which sounds better?) and play Wild Girls amid the weeds and overgrown bushes of our back yard.  My Littles have developed sister-cousin bonds with these girls and I love them a million times over.  Eve, my little sister who I learn from constantly, has been gracious, kind and understanding in these months of transition.  Taking me to classes with her, letting me hitch hike on her friendships and hang out on her front lawn or couch whenever I felt the need.  She and Sean have shared parenting with us, trusted us with their girlees, and helped with kid pick-ups and transfers so that I could continue to work.  Being near family, being near my a wonderful gift... I still can't believe it's actually my gift to open!

These moments of my life are all precious to me.  I feel enveloped by love and kindness, and I feel greater peace than I have in many years.  It's amazing to me that the more I learn to trust myself, the less my life looks like what I thought it was SUPPOSED to be, but the more happiness I feel at what its turning out to be.  

I want this summer to be less anxiety and more embracing.  I want to remember what I felt yesterday doing the day to day busy LIFE things that can not be avoided.  I want to be kind.  I want gentleness to come first.  I want to love my new home, for it is part of the moment I am in. And this moment is really all I have.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Wheels of my Brain go Round and Round

We'll hello 3 am. We meet again. In fact, you're and I have become more intimately acquainted than I had ever imagined.  Since the September decision accept a job transfer for Kenneth which require us to relocate our family, 3 am has been privy to more thoughts, feelings and memories than I share with my sister friends in any given three-month period. 

Today 3 am reminded me that I still haven't paid the piano teacher, followed by a true to life re- enactment of the hours following the birth of my youngest child.... When I fainted in the bathroom and, after a good snooze, ate every last bite of the celebratory steak dinner courtesy of the hospital cafeteria, even though it was stone cold by the time I got to it.  And because that was not nearly enough to sustain me at the time I immediately devoured  a Costco sized gift bag of deluxe holiday M&Ms.  Thanks, 3 am.  I almost forgot about those M&Ms. 

I've been plagued by the expanse of worry only a mother knows when 3 am reminds me of the major changes my children are facing.  In particular, the depth of my uncertainty about my sweet son, with bursts of hope that I will be led to resources and ideas that will make his life more manageable. 

Thoughts of home renovation for our new-to-us 1970s brick rancher by the mountains swirl through my head at 3am.  Thanks to my handy Houzz app  I've dreamed up dozens of kitchens I love, how will I ever decide!?   Well, at 3 am there is plenty of time to think about it.  The possibilities are endless. 

3 am took me back to my first experience with  Motherhood, when my chubby brown eyed baby Eden learned to walk in that farm house out in the country that was a big mistake to buy, and then It whisked me over to the family snuggle on the first morning we were together after Ivy came home from Ethiopia. 

I don't know why, but the other day 3 am was insistent that I take our kids down to Rossures to say goodbye to our favorite grocery bagger. Which, crap.  I didn't do. I wonder if he is working this weekend because we pull out on Monday morning and we will miss him. 

3 am makes me mentally comb through the contents of our house house (which are now packed into big brown boxes waiting to be shipped) wondering where in the world those last few library books could have gone.  I would hate to leave with bad library karma, so at 3 am I make a mental note to go down there and settle up. 

The gratitude I feel for the Colfax chapter of my life embraces me at 3 am like the cozy blankets I am wrapped in. It brings me to tears which may be mistaken for tears of grief, but are actually the tears of true love. 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

August. Revisited.

Iconic America

Iconic Team Workman

August has come and gone, but my mind continues to drift back to the magic that was the last month of Summer 2014. #teamworkmansummerextravaganza2014

three out of four team workman participants agree that Bear Country was fun.
 one of four team workman participants pouted. 

In hind sight, of course, the road trip squabbles have faded from memory and, thankfully, our little green house was quick to forgive the abuse suffered at the hands of four energetic growing children at home all day.

We took a road trip and spent time with friends-that-feel-like-family in South Dakota.  The Litchfields have been part of my life for 25 years now.  We explored caves, saw the historic Mount Rushmore and were generally reminded that it feels good to be loved, embraced, and needed.  Bonus cousins for the kids never hurt anyone.

Add caption

We were fortunate enough to turn right around from our journey into the middle of America and head out to the edge of the world, the grand and glorious Oregon Coast.

This time was a solo journey for Team Workman.  Just the six of us.

The ocean soothes my heart, it brings out the best in my kids, and my calm steady husband gets a bit animated at the prospect of catching crab.  Our week at the ocean was the best one yet... perhaps because this time we rented a house rather than camped?  I have to admit that the availability of a washer and drier to take care of salt-water-sandy clothing was luxurious.

I convinced that kids that if they gave me thirty minutes of their time for some family pictures that I would leave them alone for the rest of the trip.  They did, in fact, give me the thirty minutes, and it happened to be on the clearest, bluest morning I've ever experienced on the Oregon Coast.

Sadly, I could not keep my end of the bargain and I continued to snap shots of them for the remainder of the trip.  The difference this time was that I used my Dad's old 35 mm Nikorr circa 1973 to capture the magic.  The challenge to shoot with film, to focus manually and to think about specific shots and exposures was great.  Sadly, the film remains undeveloped at the bottom of my purse.  Photographer fail.  When I finally send it out to be processed, I will share.  I think I can learn a lot about patience and well thought out, deliberate intentions from 'old skool' film photography.  Perhaps a way to curb my sporadic,  impulsive ways.

I started work a full two weeks before my own kids school started... this was a bit of a challenge, I'm not going to lie.  I work in a school district that is a 90 minute drive from our home in Colfax.  And though I love the job and the population that requires me to pull out all of my Bilingual Speech Language Pathology skillz... the distance from home is a pain, and with all the irresponsible drivers who insist on passing at 110 mph on a 2-lane highway chalk full of travelling farm machinery and semi trucks... well... I'm just a little terrified of being smished to smitharines and leaving Mr. Workman alone to raise the Littles sans their Mother.


Team Workman started school at the end of August with all the pomp and circumstance that this entails.  All four of them are in elementary school now.  Time is slipping through my fingers.  I am thankful that by 39 I have learned to love each moment.  My life is a good one.

I love these children to an impossible depth.  When I sit and let myself feel the full magnitude of this feeling, I have to catch my breath.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Pu-Pu Platter of Summer

Eden only likes the waffles if I ONLY ADD WATER.

"What do you mean, only water? What else would I put in waffles?"

"I don't know. Just all that STUFF."

"I don't know what you're talking about. These are just normal waffles."


Between you and me.... I have been known to add the following things to the waffles:

Apple sauce.
Apple chunks.
Pumpkin, puréed.
Squash, puréed.
Carrots, puréed.
Bananas, smashed.

Also for the record, the waffles in the photo had apple sauce added to the mix. And she loved them.

Note to self: children may be getting too big to trick into eating healthy.

Ahh, summer days. Big breakfasts after swim practice, tired children because of many swim meets, not to mention for fun swimming in the afternoons and evenings.... And our swim meets are held at places like this, where the John Deere Dealership is just a stone's throw from the community pool. Go Ivy go!!

I've even been able to escape for lane swimming (alone!!) and have been teaching myself the flip turn. I can't do it without plugging my nose though.

Our journeys through wheat fields to attend meets in neighboring communities are sometimes long, but there is always the perfect contrast of blue and gold to marvel at along the way. Sure, it would be a lot nicer if there were a Target nestled in between the lentils and the wheat, but you know

I've been doing all of my running alone lately. Summer running season is at it's finest, and the only thing that could make it better is the return of my running parter. Oh Sarah, you are dearly missed.

Running alone gives me plenty of time to scope the landscape for abandoned lavender plants and then return to the site, clippers in hand, to more-than-help-myself to a big bundle. Perfect for little gifts, also to put around the house so the kids can knock the bouquets over and get lavender pods all over the carpet.

Below you will see a photo of my sons bicycle. It is 7:20 am and he is at the home of his teacher, who lives in our neighborhood. She has offered to give him some help with reading a few days a week. He loves it so much he actually does his homework with me with (almost) no opposition.

Things like this make me never want to leave our little Colfax. It's nice to feel safe, and to know there are people who like my kids and help them just because they can.

Kids home all day means a lot more patience required from me regarding messes. If they are going to be home and not wasting away in front of the tv then I must tolerate some craziness.

For Team Workman, creativity seems to flourish with a certain degree of chaos.

I use my yoga breathing to manage, also a deliberate sort of "live in this moment" appreciation for this stage of life. I've been working a lot on understanding my brain and how/why it works the way it does. It's helping me give up some rigidity for things that make no sense, like having a clean house at all hours.

We are all just learning.

It helps, of course, that they are a bit older and can mange clean up and house things in a way that is actually helpful. The Littles are now big enough to do chores. In fact, they can empty the dish washer with almost no help, and they only sometimes break the plates all over the floor.

In addition, Eden mopped the floor the other day, solo, and Oakley can clean the bathroom as long as he doesn't get distracted by the window, the curtain, the door knob, the broom, the Lego piece, the hair brush....

Life is good.

Another summer treat was a weekend with Auntie Nu Nu. It was a classic Colfax event... Summer sunsets, free field trips, ice cream, hiking, and a lot of visiting.

I treasure the time I get to spend with my family

In closing, please remember that summer storms resulting in power outages can be treacherous. Especially when boiling eggs.

You will leave the house, sans electricity, in search of a fast food dinner and come home to the power restored and the eggs on the stove will have exploded all over kingdom come. It will stink horribly, and you will thank your lucky stars that the house didn't blow up in one gigantic egg fart.

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Country Mice

Some things we love about big cities: 



Sky scrapers! 

Good food! 


It's a great thing to spent four days exploring with thousands of people milling about and not know a single person.  As much as I heart my little Colfax, I have to admit it is nice to be anonymous for a bit. 

My children have yet to perfect the art of maintaing composure in public places. Their tendency to walk zig zag across all sidewalks regardless of how many people are zooming past disrupts pedestrian flow terribly. 

We are pretty excited about trains and trams, and don't get me started on street cars. It's almost like Disneyland. 

I'm happy to day that each child packed a lunch every morning and carried it in their Aloha backpacks to eat as they wished. Hashtag field trip mom. 

They also like to climb statues. I highly suspect this is not favorable in the eyes of city folk. 

Oh yes. And the zoo. We heart the Portland Zoo. 

Did you know that the  Zoo rents wheelchairs?  It's true. For only $7.00 one can push their freshly-sick son around the whole zoo. This way the other three children can still enjoy the day rather than sit in a hotel room all day.   Theybhave even conveniently placed garbage cans at every turn. For the puking. 

I was foolishly optimistic that his predicament would keep him close to me. Perhaps THIS would be the zoo day when I did not have to search for him. 

How silly of me. 

Even in his diminished state he still managed to wander off when I was returning the chair at the end of our visit. 

After searching for awhile with three (now very tired and hungry and complaining) girls I finally sought the help of zoo security. 

I found out another tidbit about the zoo I didn't know before.  If a child is suspected to have left the zoo premesis while missing, a City wide code is called. 

Thankfully I returned with the "lost boy" (found laying beside our van) just before the code was called. 


I wouldn't want the City of Portland to be mad at us. We want to come back soon!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2014 - 1975 = 39

We left Mo's Chowder House with our bellies full of butter laden clam chowder and, for me, fish tacos.  

The kids' hair was full of sand from an afternoon of frolicking on the beach and it had started to rain.  It's the Oregon Coast, so of course it started to rain. 

Three of my four chickadees ran up beside me for some warming snuggles. Ivy was full of "thank you for taking us to the beach and thank you for the licorice and thank you for buying us a nice dinner and thank you for the snuggles". Oakley (who will be taller than me by December if not sooner) was crawling all over me because I guess I am no longer big enough to give him the snuggle input he requires, and Georgia was shivering cold, clinging to my thigh.   

Eden held off a bit. But when we strolled down to the edge of Cannon Beach to the tune of "DO NOT GET MORE SAND IN YOUR HAIR I MEAN IT" She put her head on my shoulder for just a moment.

"Happy Birthday Mom".  

Then she was off. 

Gods gift to me on the thirty ninth anniversary of my life on this earth was an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the four. 





Very different, unique, challenging, beautiful and great children who all call me Mom. 

And this guy is alright too. I guess. 

Life gets a little bit better each day. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Week two of summer vacation is on the books....

Some things about this summer (so far). 

My son is almost always missing.  I felt an urge to pull out his Cub Scout book for some summer enrichment. If he comes home, that is.  I often feel that if I were just a schmidge more creative, a tad more interactive and a mite more organized that I could get him involved in a project a day that would keep him around and keep him learning. 

My Mom came to visit and it was just lovely. I have to admit, I made her drive a high and windy gravel road just for the fun seeing her reaction.  It really was the next best thing to riding a roller coaster with my Mom, which is a life experience I will forever be grateful for.   Oh, the tears of laughter.   We also hiked, explord, swam, visited and ate. A lot. In fact, I cooked dinner almost every night she was here.  A modern day miracle I tell you. 

There were a lot of smiles and fun times during her week with us and I have to say that I am really enjoying this process of getting to know the person that she is, the one that was hidden for so long. 

Eden turned twelve (!!!!!????) while her a grandma was in town, and to celebrate they watched 37 episodes of Alfrred Hitchcock Presents together.   There were a fair number of Little Debbie's involved, and several hand made  dish cloths  to add to my pile.    

Kenneth received a last minute work assignment to teach a course in Portland next week.... So guess where  this mom is headed?  Portlandia, of course. I am looking forward to a week of exploring with my little summer camp entourage.  

A few years ago when we spent the entire summer in Portland it was a daily occurrence to be asked by random people if I ran a daycare. It dawned on me that to these city folk saw my rainbow of children, and that there were SO MANY OF THEM and could only assume that I was tending the children of others. For cash. 

Funnier still is that when we went to Utah after that, people who cared to comment on my crew would almost always mention adoption. Four children is status quo over there in the jello belt. No one blinks an eye.

News that some prominent LDS people in social media are up for excommunication has dominated my Facebook feed this week.   Google "John Dehlin" or "Kate Kelly" if you want the details. 

Here is a little tidbit I became aware of in this horrifying "Mormon Moment"..... a man, when excommunication is a possibility, attends a church court of 12-15 people including the Stake Presidency, several high councilmen and some brethren who are there to provide evidence on behalf of the person whose neck is on the line. 

For a woman, however, she attends a smaller meeting with no one else but her bishopric there. And no one is there to advocate on her behalf. 

I may be status quo for my large family and my deep rooted desire to can fruit, but there is so much about the way I live and express my Mormonism that is  far from status quo... And I have to say, I am scared.  

Which I consider ridiculous.  Because what is an almost-39-year-old woman doing in a place that makes her scared to be who she is?  

I always thought when I got to this stage in life that I would have a lot more answers than I actually do. 

I have to share this poem because it speaks to my Mormon heart...after which we will adjourn to the cultural hall where light refreshments will be served. 

Pioneers - Carol Lynn Pearson
My people were Mormon pioneers.
Is the blood still good?
They stood in awe as truth
Flew by like a dove
And dropped a feather in the West.
Where truth flies you follow
If you are a pioneer.
I have searched the skies
And now and then
Another feather has fallen.
I have packed the handcart again
Packed it with the precious things
And thrown away the rest.
I will sing by the fires at night
Out there on uncharted ground
Where I am my own captain of tens
Where I blow the bugle
Bring myself to morning prayer
Map out the miles
And never know when or where
Or if at all I will finally say,
“This is the place,”
I face the plains
On a good day for walking.
The sun rises
And the mist clears.
I will be all right:
My people were Mormon Pioneers.