My brother Josh asked me why I haven't been blogging so much lately and I had to stop and think about it for a moment. The past several months of life have created a disequilibrium of sorts and it has led me to write less on this blog. Descriptive words have not flowed during this time of uncertainty.
However, something in this season calls me to put a pen to paper, so to speak. The churning in my gut, the swimming in my mind, the aching in my heart, it is more than I can bear, so I reluctantly type, wondering if I can even begin to paint of picture of the journey we are on.
I feel the need to start with what I know to be true. Seasons of challenge seem to clarify what is real and clinging to those gifts brings life. God is present. God loves, cares, knows, redeems. We are designed with unique hopes and dreams and when things turn out different, what we do with that difference has the potential to bring some kind of beauty, even when unseen. Life is damn complicated. God is present.
Perhaps nothing more needs to be said.
God has been taking me on a journey. I went through a six-month, consuming job application process that ended up with me being the second choice for the job. Disappointment. Big time.
Garett's job has been more intense than usual and I waver between being the supportive partner I desire to be and the nagging wife I can't stand. The bottom line is that I miss my teammate when he's around the house less while I am also deeply grateful that he has meaningful work that brings him joy.
Garett and I started learning more about what adoption might look like for our family in January. We've read, filled out paperwork, taken classes, prayed, been interviewed, filled out more paperwork, discussed our sex life with a social worker, been fingerprinted, and been interviewed some more.
The best way I can describe our process is to say that we keep talking and every single discussion brings forth something new. We are blessed with an honest relationship and each meaningful conversation allows us to be even more honest than the one before. As we've peeled back the layers of our souls, God has graciously revealed our hopes.
The difficult thing is that those hopes are not the same. The beautiful thing is that we are clear in our togetherness in spite of this difference. We are also clear on God's direction - to take a pause to seek a path together - a new vision, if you will.
And so we wait and pray and trust. In my desire for a quick answer, I feel a nudging to simply be. I hope to appreciate what is instead of what isn't. I'm looking forward to a new semester at Cuesta teaching a Marketing class and using a different part of my brain. I have never felt more connected to Garett and can't believe we get to do life together. Wyatt's version of four and a half is more delightful than not. God is present.
We celebrated 10 years at the end of May and it is hard to imagine that it has been a decade since we got married on that giant metal platform built with love by Garett. I remember the night fondly but more than that, I think of the journey that God has taken us on since. These pictures are from a beautiful weekend at a cozy one room cabin in Big Sur.
We are back in our home and thankful to be settling in. Wyatt and I are just finishing up our first four weeks of summer vacation and are heading back to school tomorrow for six weeks. I think we are both feeling ready although summer has been nice too. We've spent many days swimming at the Elk's Lodge with friends and got to spend last week in the Santa Cruz mountains with a friend and her two boys. We were both in heaven other than missing Garett.
Our big news is that Wyatt is now wearing glasses during all waking moments of the day. A few months back he began telling us about "seeing two things" so we followed up his normal pediatrician visit with a trip to the eye doctor. Thankfully we discovered his significant farsightedness that was creating a crossing problem and now we are hoping that eye glasses correct it. He chose these hip black Ray Bans that get comments everywhere he goes. He was decidedly selective about which glasses he liked and every single other pair made him say, "I look just like an old lady!" when he tried them on. This was especially awkward in a room full of old ladies. So he chose the black ones, as well as the same pair in bright red because he thought he looked like a rock star. I am pretty sure this is related to my brother, Josh, who just wrapped up filling in as guitarist for the band Barcelona.
It has been and probably will continue to be a learning process on a variety of levels. Wyatt has been very clear since our first appointment that he does not want to wear glasses. When the doctor told us that glasses were the first step, I cheered and Wyatt cried. He did not know that the alternative first step was surgery. He literally cried for an hour, wailing about the stupid, poopit (his made up word that is not quite "poop") eye doctor. When he finally calmed down and I was able to ask him why he didn't want to wear glasses, he said, "Mommy, I don't want to be different." I stopped in my tracks. I could not believe that this feeling was so present for my little four year old boy. What an opportunity to discuss how our differences make us who we are and that God is the creative one that delights in our uniqueness. And my boy needed to know that he was not alone in his desire to not be different. We are talking more about that little voice in our heads and hearts that tells us that different is less good than alike. Oh, that lie that we so easily buy into. I buy into it all the time, most recently in my inner struggle being okay with the kind of mom I am. Sometimes I feel like I don't fit because I see my role as a mom as a part (a small part, if I am completely honest) of who I am made to be. Saying that aloud doesn't always feel okay but it is only the part of me that thinks there is some official way of being a mom.
God seems to be taking Wyatt and I through a similar season - learning to thank God for who we are - all of who we are - and spending less energy comparing ourselves to someone or something else.
Yesterday Wyatt and I stopped at 7-11 to pick up some water. We grabbed our water and got in line behind a large group of dressed up college age boys buying gobs of beer. As Wyatt held my hand, I saw him studying these boys, watching their every move. I tried to talk with Wyatt to drown out their salty language but we couldn't avoid hearing the disrespectful way they spoke to the cashier.
As I buckled Wyatt into his car seat, I asked him what he noticed about the boys in 7-11. He said, "Mommy, they were not talking kind to the worker, and I saw one kick another in the booty. That wasn't nice."
I blinked back tears as I buckled my own seatbelt, thinking about my sweet four year old son becoming twenty. I wonder who he will be and pray that his life is a reflection of the love of Jesus.
Life has felt full the past couple of months but is seems to be slowing down a bit. I'm reading Abundant Simplicity by Jan Johnson and am noticing how being still allows God's spirit in new ways. More of that, please.
Wyatt is still making us laugh and pull our hair out, sometimes at the same time. A few weeks back, I came around the corner to find him in the bathroom with his entire head jammed into the toilet bowl. You can imagine my shriek, "Wyatt, what are you doing?" His response still bring tears of joy and horror to my eyes. "I thought it would be funny to be a poop head."
Yesterday we saw Chimpanzee at the movie theatre. It is a beautifully simple film about a tribe of chimpanzees following one particular relationship between a young chimpanzee and his mother. Wyatt was enthralled and leaned over during a poignant scene and said, "Mommy, my eyes feel like they are going to cry because I am so sad." What a great opportunity to talk about the range of feelings we experience through art. His depth of feeling continues to move me. As his deeply feeling mother, I can imagine the way that pain will impact him greatly and joy will flow from deep within. There is great opportunity to know God through intense feelings and I hope we are able to continue learning together how to do this.
The longer days have been a joy. When Garett gets home and the sun is still shining the days are just so much better. I has also been nice that Wyatt is now usually sleeping until 7.
We are learning how to be parents to our increasingly sassy boy. The words and tone kill me and I can sometimes hear my thirteen year old self in my four year old child. Any good book recommendations? Or general encouragement? I need it.
The house project is moving along. A midpoint inspection is taking place this week and then the drywall goes up. After that it's pretty much all of the finishes that will happen. We are still hoping to be done in May and continue to be thankful for our contractor. We've experienced a high level of communication throughout the project and feel like it's really been a team effort. The joyful part for me has been the creativity that Garett and I are taking part in most days. We have fun creating together and it's been fun looking at different ways to use non-traditional materials. For example, yesterday Garett suggested legos or tailgates for our fireplace mantle. We probably won't do either of those but the fact that Garett came up with that makes me love him even more. The minutiae of daily decision-making can be a bit much for me but we are trying to keep moving forward and feeling thankful for the gift of this home.
In some ways this project feels like the opposite of this season of Lent so I'm asking God to give me more opportunities to think of others. It is amazing how God answers that prayer in real ways. Garett and I are not watching television right now and that has been surprisingly heart expanding. We're talking, reading and sleeping more, and I love it. I'm not sure I'm ready to commit for the long haul but I can see how that would be a good thing for us.
Wyatt turned four yesterday. To celebrate we rode our bikes down to the beach with a picnic dinner. The time change gave us more daylight and we enjoyed the beauty of our surroundings.
Three has been a long year with high highs and low lows. I've laughed more than I thought possible and said things that I never pictured saying like, "Please don't stand on the toilet seat while you are peeing." We've discovered the wonder of Nick Jr. on television and embraced a love of sharks, dinosaurs, and pretty much all living creatures. Wyatt asks a lot of questions about how things work together and how things are made. He seems a lot like his dad in this way. Bikes rides are daily and he can find mud anywhere and have it all over his body in a matter of seconds. I always keep a change of clothes or two in the car for any given outing. I sometimes assume that Wyatt is following along with us with the details of life and then he asks me, "Mommy, will I ever see my things from my bedroom again?" and I see that sometimes I forget to explain things like our construction project thoroughly to him. One of my favorite moments each day is when he wakes up from an afternoon rest and wants to snuggle up with me for a bit. He curls his growing body into my lap and rests his head on my chest while he holds his blue blanket in his mouth and sucks his thumb. While I am usually sad that his rest has come to an end, it does make it a bit more sweet. Wyatt has a zest for life that bubbles up and out during even the most simple life moments. A decorative tree in my mom's bathroom becomes a laser beam shooter. My iPod becomes an activator to make monsters appear. The cardboard tube from our friend Uma becomes a Spiderman tool. Wyatt believes himself to be an expert negotiator and I am learning how to nip it in the bud with a line borrowed from a wise friend that goes, "Wyatt, I love you too much to argue with you."
There have been moments this year when I've wished that I could just push fast forward to get to the "easier" part but I'm glad I didn't have that option because I would have missed so much. I am thankful for my spirited, strong, and tender hearted boy and am curious to see how four unfolds.
Last night we had a bonfire in Cayucos to celebrate the birthdays of my two favorite boys. We were given the gift of an especially warm, clear day. We hung out, roasted marshmallows and the kids got to be wild on the beach. Or wait, was that just my wild child? Wyatt was in the ocean up to his waist in his jeans, shirts, shoes and socks within the hour. Thankfully his thoughtful friend brought an extra swimsuit for him. We sang Happy Birthday to a ukulele played by an exceptionally talented and lovely friend and sipped hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows (which were better in the hot drink than roasted because they started melting away pretty quickly). We are thankful for friends who often feel like family in all the best ways.
First things first. Happy birthday, Garett! You don't look a day over 9.
We spent last weekend at Kirk Creek and my dad joined us for a night. It was a bit colder than it's been but we enjoyed every minute of it. I am beginning to crave an excuse to turn off my iPhone and camping gives me 48 hours of just that.
Progress is being made on our house. These pictures were taken about a week apart. I think the roof goes on next week. Thankfully (for us, not for farmers) it's been a pretty dry couple of months.
We also took a special trip to Hawaii with my folks and brother over a long weekend earlier this month. We read, swam, played in the tide pools and ate good food together. My parents rented an amazing home where we could spread out or be together. My favorite moment was snorkeling with Wyatt. We practiced in the pool with the mask, snorkel and life jacket. I had very low expectations for how he'd do in the open ocean. The moment he peeked underwater through his mask he was hooked. His love of ocean life completely canceled out any fear and he pushed me away so that he could float on his own. We saw bright fish that we've only read about and he got to float above a sea turtle. After about 20 minutes he'd had enough. He surprised me, and I ponder that while I am his parent and I believe I know him well, I am only beginning to really know all of who he is and am excited to know all of who he becomes. What a joy. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for this gift of time with you and Josh.
And one more pic from a sunset walk last week. We are still enjoying Morro Bay.
A few last pictures from San Francisco from the top of Twin Peaks.
The house project continues. We are very thankful for a fantastic contractor, creative architects and subs who are on time providing quality work.
We camped late in January. The first night was our worst ever and everything after that was lovely. I did not take any pictures of the crazy wind we experienced the first night but if I had it would have shown the corners of our tent caved in, slapping against our heads as we tried to sleep and the video that I didn't take would have shown the way we had to shout to one another inside our tent to be heard over the wind. The morning found me sleeping on Wyatt's bed and Wyatt sleeping curled up next to Garett. The wind died down by the afternoon and we all took a much needed nap.
I like how we work together during camping. Garett does the lion's share of the work but we are learning how to be a team. We also like to pull off the road when inspiration strikes to see if we can find a little rabbit trail that leads somewhere cool. I think Garett put it best during our last Highway 1 drive, "Sometimes you've just got to pull off the road." That rings true to me for most of life. These next two shots are from one of those explorations. We brought some snacks for lunch, a couple of beers, and our chairs and found the most beautiful lookout point just a short walk from the road.
It seems like I am forever taking pictures of Wyatt on his bike with his shark helmet. I think it sums up our life most days. We do a lot of bike and big wheel riding. We're heading back to Kirk Creek this coming weekend so you can look forward to even more camping pictures. I promise I'll only post if I have anything different.
The garage was already pretty much entirely gone but now the kitchen, dining and living room is also demolished. The whole roof over all of our home except the bedrooms and bathrooms is gone. I get a little overwhelmed when we are there and am thankful to have a different place to lay my head during construction.
My dad came down to hang out this weekend and we spent a little time this morning at the beach playing hide and seek, tag and "sledding" down the dunes on a cardboard box. Playing with my family is one of my favorite things to do. Wyatt likes to pretend he is Spiderman in all pictures. At this point, he is hoping for a Spiderman birthday party in March. I guess I'm glad we've moved past a hyena party.
After a wonderful dentist appointment that included a growling tiger and remote control helicopter, we got home and I locked the keys in the car with Wyatt in his car seat. Garett's got the only other set of car keys and works a good 40 minutes away. Such a bummer. I tried not to panic and had Wyatt pop open the back window with his foot. It only opens about two inches but it was enough that he could pass me my iPhone through the crack. Thank goodness he was playing Angry Birds on the way home.
First I tried to talk him through unbuckling the car seat. We haven't worked on this before because, frankly, I've been happy that he can't get himself out of the seat by himself. He got the top of the buckle after only about five minutes and was proud of himself. The bottom buckle is much more difficult so we took a little break and then started working on it. "Pinch the buckle with both of your thumbs on the red button. Listen and feel for the click, then slide it down." I must have said this or a version of this 30 times. This was very frustrating for him.
Meanwhile I called AAA and they said it would be about 40 minutes. I then called 911 (I know, non-emergency, but 40 minutes felt like too long.) As I was on hold with 911, Wyatt asked me to go inside and get his pliers from his tool bench. I brought back a couple of screwdrivers and a wrench which he informed me would not work. I finally found the pliers and slipped them through the window crack to Wyatt while I was still on hold with 911. In under a minute, he opened the buckle using the pliers and the crisis was averted. AAA pulled up at this very moment and praised Wyatt for being a problem solver. The driver asked Wyatt if he'd like to start working with him and Wyatt beamed.
Wyatt's patience, persistence and creativity amaze me. I had exhausted my reserve of creativity but he kept thinking and eventually figured it out. I see the qualities that I love in Garett in three year old form in Wyatt. Wyatt's persistence sometimes shows up at moments when I wish it didn't but I am trusting that God will use this beautiful strength for His purposes during the course of Wyatt's life. I got a simple glimpse of that today and am thankful for my determined child.
We're doing a big house project and my parents graciously offered their Morro Bay home to us during construction. We've been here for a week and still feel like we are on vacation. Being in Morro Bay feels so familiar and it seems like my to-do list is a lot smaller not living in my own home. We took several family bike rides over the weekend and Wyatt and I rode more today. Tonight when Garett got home from work we rode down to the pet store to get Ruby food. Bike riding is so much fun, almost as fun as being on the water.
Park #1 - A three minute big-wheel ride.
Park #2 - A ten minute big-wheel ride.
Beach and Dunes - A ten minute big-wheel ride.
The roof of the garage is ripped off and a bedroom and bathroom will be built on top. We're also pushing out a couple of walls a bit and putting the kitchen in new spot. It's probably going to take about four months. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to many bike rides and quick beach trips. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the home!