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Archive for October, 2010

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The Desert

We had a great week in the desert. It’s funny how life-stage has a way of shaping just about every corner of your existence, including where and how you choose to vacation. What constitutes a great trip in today’s terms is quite different from even two years ago before Littlest appeared on the scene.

That as the backdrop, here’s a recap of what made our week such a success. Under three hours to our final destination. A hotel with a kitchen (and Trader Joes within five miles). Arriving to rain (a surprise for the desert) and responding by making fancy hot chocolate (the kind that has blueberry and Acai infused into each morsel you melt) and turning on (yes turning on) the fireplace. Lots of time at the pool coupled with a Stone victory on the waterslide race (this time the champions were Phil and Hannah riding tandem). Enjoying the free smoothie they were awarded – strawberry and dairy-free!

The nicest docents ever at the Living Desert. The butterfly and hummingbird exhibit, the carousel and the giraffe habitat. The putting-green at the hotel (the 7 year-old lefty didn’t love this activity quite as much as the Mommy who was determined to get a hole-in-one). Chipotle. Reading each evening and sometimes during afternoon nap.  Finding friends from home in the pool on Saturday and again on Sunday. Hailey’s easy-going nature and her newfound love of the jacuzzi (this made toddler duty very desirable). An afternoon hike in Andreas Canyon. Spotting a tarantula along the way. Grandma Jo’s continued love for couch sleeping on all Stone vacations…a curious tradition that could leave the rest of us feeling like real jerks if you didn’t know better. No email. No computers. Golf carts.

Enjoying multiple servings of tapenade, bruschetta and honey roasted peanuts each day. Morning walks and fountains. Lap swimming and diving for coins. Drawing with colored pencils and reading Caddie Woodlawn to Hannah at bedtime. It was a great week and if the truth be told, home life is going to take a bit of getting used to again.

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We’re heading out of town with my mom for the week. I’ve been collecting books from various sources for all of those quiet moments I’m hoping to find. I’ll let you know what I think when I get back.

 

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A Wounded Healer

Two weeks ago, Hailey began spending  frequent stints in the downward dog position. Each time, it has brought a smile to my face because six October’s ago Hannah was doing the same thing.  

 We went to the pumpkin patch this week with Papa and Nana; this is our annual tradition dating back to Hannah’s first year of life. This Tuesday felt especially sentimental, as it was Hailey’s inaugural visit. Hannah took her last pony ride (she’s reached the height limit), the girls explored every inch of the farm, we enjoyed a frozen strawberry fruit bar to refuel mid-morning (it was really hot) and we then found the perfect pumpkins. 

Days like these often remind me of how formative Hannah’s first year of life turned out to be for me. Not only was I learning how to be a mother, I was also trying to figure out what it would feel like to never see my brother again.

This past month I went to a conference with Donald Miller. It was a day and a half devoted to stories – your own and those around you. One of the things he touched on was the critical distinction between the path of a victim and that of a wounded healer. This resonated with me. While I’ve never aspired to be a victim, I’ve found myself wrestling deeply for over seven years with what has felt like my inability to move beyond the ramifications of David’s death.

These two simple words (wounded healer) gave me a context that felt both accurate and challenging. They provided me with the space and the freedom to still feel the pain while also empowering me to live well and outwardly within it.

As I watched my girls on this warm October day I felt both the wounds and the hope. If I were the Senior Editor of my life, I would to this day delete the May Day chapter in its entirety. No amount of revisions would adequately bring this story around into an eloquently drafted account punctuated by redemption. As it turns out, I’m not the one with the red pen. And so, I walk wounded and empowered (some days better than others) trying not to miss the depth and richness that does in fact exists on each page.

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PAWS for Reading

I have a post that’s been swirling in my mind for weeks now. It has to do with beauty and depravity and learning to walk between the two each day.  But to be honest, I’m too tired to sit here long enough for the thoughts to take shape. The introvert in me has been trying to keep my head above water in what feels like a world dominated by extroverts. While I love the external processors of the world a lot (I happened to live with three) they wear me out, especially considering that solo time is more of a commodity than ever. 

So, for now I’ll leave you with a few pictures from today’s out loud reading time at the library. I love this program – it suits just about every type of child (and dog for that matter). Everyone walks away feeling warm inside – the reader, the parent, the dog owner and we must assume the canines as well.

Hannah and Promise getting acquainted

Settling in by chapter six

Hailey listening in while also making quiet animal noises throughout the session

The littlest two having a moment

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Bake Sale

Compassion has created a children’s publication that’s now inserted into their quarterly magazine. It’s called Compassion Explorer and they do a really great job of revealing  issues of poverty around the globe in tangible and realistic terms for young kids. They’ve also recently created a website called Quest For Compassion to help kids do more of the same.

A few print issues back they highlighted a young girl who had a bake sale in order to raise money for her sponsored kids. Hannah quickly decided she wanted to do the same, so this past month we weaved this project into school for a week.

First, she designed a poster that we then tacked up throughout the neighborhood while pulling Hailey along in the wagon (language arts and physical education). We created a budget, bought ingredients and then went about baking for the back half of the week (math meets home economics). When Saturday morning finally arrived, she loaded up her cash register and hit the curb for our annual neighborhood garage sale.

In the end, she sold out of all baked goods (less five packs of popcorn). She made sixty dollars which we then divided equally between our four sponsored girls in Africa. Being her father’s daughter, she’s already plotting how she will be revising and expanding next year’s sale (popcorn is out).

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