Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Race, a Conert, and a House

The weather did not cooperate with our March 14th Lucky Leprechaun race, but we were not deterred! We brought garbage bags to wear while standing in the heavy rain before the race, and we packed a dry change of clothes for post race.

Elise won 1st place in her age group, and I got 3rd in my age group. But my favorite moments of the race was running next to two 10-year-old boys who purposefully splashed in the biggest puddles, breakfast with Karen and Elise (the orange tea hit the spot!), and Elise snagging an entire grocery bag of green bagels after the race ended.  Score!

 More joy: a concert with my girls! We went to Jammin Java in Vienna to see Taylor Barrett.

 The only thing better than good music...sharing it with friends!!
I have to celebrate these moments because really, March has been a challenging month. Hang-ups with our house construction, lice (yes lice! yes it sucked), a broken washing machine (the same week as the lice - oh yes, it was epic!), cold cold weather, conflicts with some crazy things at school, and altogether feeling stretched too thin with basically all parts of my life.

So a race, a concert, and seeing some progress on the house make me feel happy.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Madi at 15

She wakes up on her own and gets ready for school without complaint. She urges me to hurry so she will be on time for seminary. 

She loves blueberry muffins, pumpkin muffins, white bread, peanut butter ice cream and chocolate chip cookies (especially the dough). For her birthday "cake" she requested pecan sticky buns.  She still does not like mixed food or food with sauce.

She plays the cello and is at this point, basically self-taught with the piano. She's made incredible progress to learn hymns and beautiful lyrical music. She will sit at the piano for hours just playing and playing. My favorite songs to hear her play are from the movie soundtrack of "Pride and Prejudice."

 She studies without needing any prodding or nagging from Owen and I. She has her sights set on a college scholarship (already) and strives to do well in school. 

On Sunday morning, she wants to be on time for church. This often leads to frustration when her siblings or Mom (ahem!) isn't ready. 

She is independent and busy.

She consumes books. I've known her to read an anticipated sequel in a single day.  Just yesterday she brought her book in the car to read at the stop signs and stop lights (she gets motion sick and can't read when the car is moving).

She picked High School track over soccer this spring - a remarkable decision considering her love of soccer. In the end, it came down to coaches she loves, fellow team members, and a sport in which she feels she can truly make a mark. She has trained through the winter months in snow, ice, wind, and rain - a show not just of dedication but of a love of running.

All this striving, studying, and exercising sometimes results in grumpiness and some harsh judgements. But she's working on this.

Her siblings flock around her when she's willing to play. I always know when she's leading an epoch play session from the tell-tale squeals and overall volume which can reach earthquake levels.    

I love to hear late-night whispers and giggling come from Madi's room where I know she and Elise are confiding in each other. 

It's not easy being the oldest. We've talked about this many times. Yes, it's unfair to have to be the eternal Guinea Pig of all our home rules and consequences. But there are privileges too. Late nights, time with friends, trips with me to Bali and NYC, and solo-flights from Indonesia to the US. 

My dear Madi, I am grateful you are my first. My first baby, my first teenager, my first high schooler. You strive and reach. You are an example. You are a joy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Happy Places in the Dead of Winter

What is your happy Winter place? I'm not talking about a fantasy destination...what is happy in your present life that gets you through the dead of winter?

February is hard. There's a general consensus among my friends that February is the hardest of all the months. Dark. Cold. Things seem to break (aka cars, furnaces, pipes, tree limbs). So while I'm extremely pleased we have made it to March - which has got to be better, right?! - I can't leave behind February without a fight.

February may have hit hard, but there were some happy moments too. Here are my February happy places:

#1 - My Gym! I love Anytime Fitness! My handy dandy fob lets me in anytime I want. I have been there at 5:15AM, braving the snowy streets, just to get in my workout. I love how warm and clean it is. My personal favorite: spin classes with Vicki.

The photo above also represents my #2 Happy Place. I started work at Ocular Melanoma Foundation in January. During the month of February I started working more closely with patients (Warriors!) who want to raise awareness and funds for the organization. It is hard to stay gloomy after talking with these amazing inspirational people. 

Happy Place #3: Music with Charlotte. Charlotte is a cheerful, dancing, singing girl. When the rest of us mope around the house, complaining about the cold, Charlotte sings made up songs about her life. We've heard melodies about cereal, upbeat tempos about her hamster, and ballads about how hard it is when someone is angry at her. It's a constant Charlotte broadway musical.
Happy Place #4 Okay, it's not really a place; it's a day. Madi turned 15 on February 18th! Yes, 15 years old - the heart of teenagehood, the age of most heroines in young adult novels! I surprised Madi by arranging breakfast at Coney Island Diner with some of her friends. Balloons, noise makers, pancakes, maple syrup, and omelettes can turn a normal, cold, wintery day, into a sunny celebration!
So while I'm not sorry to see February go, I'm grateful for these happy places that got me through.