Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Friends in Groves (and Other Places)

(disclaimer:  I use the word "super" a lot in this post.)

 Life is busy but we have been blessed to have had some nice time with friends lately.  I have been realizing that I used to think that because God gave me a strong desire to connect with other people and build deep relationships that it must be justification for why I shouldn't have to move or say goodbye to people I love so much.  I mean, I could relate to Pam Halpert in "The Office" last week when she told Jim she liked her life in Flagstaff  Scranton and didn't want to leave (my fingers literally typed Flagstaff even though I was thinking Scranton).  But lately, I've been changing my perspective (or it's being changed for me by Someone who knows better than I) to see that maybe I have this personality and ability/gift for making good friends so that I am never lonely and am able to keep in touch with friends around the world.  It is the cause of much joy (even though it means heartache in the goodbyes).

I have reconnected with a friend from high school and she has become such a kindred spirit.  And the best part is that our kids like each other a lot, too!  She took us to a secret hidden redwood grove right down the street--I had no idea it was there!

Look at Annie's sassy-ness even when lugging a giant tumbleweed behind her.  Man, the kids were oddly attached to that tumbleweed.  They wanted to take it home with us.  I'm sure my dad would have loved that as an addition to his landscaping.

Even though we were surrounded by city, it felt adventurous and free and was super fun!  Thanks, Kristen!
And then, the following weekend, I got to meet my friend and her family from Flagstaff at The Grove in LA.  They came all the way out here with their 5 kids to get a puppy from an animal shelter...must be some dog!  (You already know how I feel about this :))

Here's us waiting for them...I know there are better pictures than this one but can any other mommas relate to when you say to your spouse "Can you take a picture of me in this cute moment with my cute kids because there aren't many pictures of us together and I actually did my makeup and put on my new blingy earrings?" and then this is what you get?  A stranger's butt, a fuzzy 5-year-old, a distracted 8-year-old, a fake smile on the 3-year-old...and an earnest face on the momma who is hoping the picture will turn out good but didn't realize it was being taken right then.  And the spouse shrugs and says it turned out good and hands the camera back.  Yeah.
Oh, wait, he did take another that turned out...better-ish. 
It seems I will never tire of taking pictures of the backs of my kids.

Fronts!  Pretending that they aren't impressed with the water and music but they really were.
We met our friends and ate at the Farmer's Market which was super fun and super cool and yet a bit stressful with 8 children and 4 adults and so many choices.  Hence, no picture of dinner with all of us.  But we did find a Russian bakery and spoke Russian to the lady working but it turned out she was from Armenia or something.

What my husband lacks in photography, he makes up for immensely in situations like this where he finds the cool place with the cheap treats and gets the lady to give us a super big discount.  Okay, I will stop saying super.
Then we tried again to get a picture of my friend, Emily, and I and all our kids and this was the best "we" could do (ahem).  6 out of 8 isn't too bad, though the baby doesn't count because she was strapped in and didn't have a choice.

I have mentioned thatI have become friends with a great group of moms from Evan's class, one of whom is my neighbor, Julie, who just got finished with a year of chemo treatments.  We had a little surprise celebration for her because I knew she wanted to run an 8k to celebrate the end of treatment, but the doctor had said she wasn't ready yet.  My friend, Sara, hosted us on a rainy Friday in February.
The cupcakes had different hairstyles she might be able to wear when her hair grows in!  (and I made some that looked like her other family members that are celebrating her health as well)
I love these ladies!  And the picture was taken by Sam!

And finally, we got to see some friends from Flagstaff this weekend in Prescott, AZ.   Jeremy was asked to be the speaker at a NAU Cru retreat so he and Annie and I went and left the boys with my parents.  Annie got to be reunited with her "first best friend", Bethany.  They giggled and played in a church basement all weekend.
While we were there, we got to see our former neighbor (and good friends) Brooke (that's her arm and hair in the pic) and her daughter, Claire.  I'm so glad!
And now, sadly, we are the family that sees a sad patch of melted grey snow and gets all excited and takes a picture of our kid standing next to it. Things have changed.  We caught a glimpse of the snow-covered peaks that define Flagstaff in the distance as we pulled into Prescott and my heart definitely climbed up into my throat and I had to look away.  But hopefully we will be visiting soon!
So if you are one of my friends who is reading this from near or far, know that I appreciate you and love you and am going to do my best to stay in touch with you over the years.  And also know that I (and hopefully Pam Halpert soon) have learned that there is more joy in following my husband near or far than planting my feet firmly and refusing to leave the place where my heart longs to stay.  Just look at what I would have been missing!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How She That Has Two Brothers Plays

 This is how a girl with 2 older brothers plays...

"Hello, Batman.  I'm glad you could take some time off from rescuing people to come visit me.  I thought I was supposed to be expecting a prince, but you will do.  Even though you dwarf me with your size, we can work it out.  I can use your cape as a blanket on cold days." (Hello Kitty and her friends look on jealously).
"Would you like to come in for some cookies? You might have to duck a little so you don't hit your head."

"Princess, will you marry me?"  "My hero (deep sigh)."  Happily Ever After.  (I just wrote words to what she was babbling about, but that's about the gist of it and I should know because I was a little girl once, too).
This little girl isn't singing Someday My Prince Will Come.  Nope, for her, it's Someday My Superhero Will Come.  She'll settle for nothing less.  (But he has to come on a pink pony that smells of artificial strawberries.)