Monday, July 16, 2012

A New Day

A year ago I embarked on a new project of blogging.  It started off with inspiration from Pinterest and also doubled as a way for me to express myself during a year that involved much change.  It has helped me to cope with the loss of my mom and also to share with family and friends the miracle that is our Oliver. I started off with the goal of trying something new from Pinterest each week and blogging about it.  To that effect it was a major fail.  My energy and writing shifted from projects to just marveling at what my life has become.  A little boy has totally overtaken my life and my heart and these days that is what I love sharing.  So I accept the failure that was my goal of blogging about Pinterest projects. I still am completely in love with Pinterest and how it has changed the way I organize and decorate and cook but my writing has been so much more fulfilling when I have written about the adventures in this new life I have.  So with that being said I am putting to rest A Year on Pins and shifting to a new blog.  It's titled Dirt, Snails and Alligator Tails.  That's what little boys are made of afterall. I have always envisioned myself raising a brood of boys.  Maybe because I grew up in an estrogen filled house of 6 women.  However in execution I realize I know nothing about raising boys.  I hate dirt, bugs and anything icky.  I am deathly afraid of snakes, frogs, lizards and anything of the green scaly variety.  So here I am raising this boy and I know that my life is going to be filled with scary moments and dirt and snakes and other wiggly creatures.  I'm loving every minute of being out of my comfort zone and I want to share this life with you.  So thank you for reading my first blog and I hope that you will continue to join me on my journey and read my new blog which you can find here: Dirt, Snails and Alligator Tails

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Enjoying Summer

Just a little blog post to let you all know that we are still alive and kicking around here.  We've been trying our best to enjoy every bit of summer, no matter how hot it gets and how little rain we have. We've enjoyed visits from grandparents and aunties.  We've taken trips to Chicago.  It's hard to believe that the 4th of July has come and gone and that Labor Day is right around the corner.  We have a few more exciting trips and visits planned and among it all we've tried to sit back and relax a little too. I'm short on time and on eloquent thoughts so here is the first half of our summer in pictures.
 We were so excited to meet the newest addition to our clan, our buddy baby Jameson Caley.
I bring you an orange dry erase marker, the symbol of eternal friendship.

Fun with Grandpa Rekers.

Relaxation with Grandpa Lisk.
 We took a fun trip to Chicago. It was hotter than Hades so we made a short visit to the Bean and cooled off in the fountains at Millennium Park,

 and enjoyed pizza in the park.
 We've enjoyed water activities inside and out. Splash pads and bath time buddies make the best summer memories.

We have made sure to fit in lots of silliness.
 But it can't all be fun and games. A kid has got to start doing chores early.
We hope you are all enjoying your summer as much as we are. We're going to squeeze every last drop of goodness out of it. Next week Oliver will get to experience our family camping trip for the first time, we're praying for cool temperatures, no mosquitoes and lots of gooey s'more filled fun. Then we embark on what is becoming our annual Iowa trip.  Corey will be riding in RAGBRAI again and Oliver and I will be visiting grandparents and friends across the great state of Iowa that I will always consider home. We'll be off the grid for a while and we hope that you are enjoying your summer as much as we are.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Farmer's Market!

I don't really have much of an excuse for not blogging for over a month besides that we've been here and there and everywhere and when we are home chasing after a one year old wears me out!  We've had lots of adventures in the past month.  We've had weddings and 5K walks to raise money for cancer research. We've had graduations and birthdays and in between all these exciting life moments we've had quiet times to read books and eat dinner as a family.  This weekend we met Oliver's posse at the Farmer's Market.  
Not pictured: Miss Greta Norton. She turned one this weekend and is celebrating in Detroit Rock City
The Farmer's Market in Bloomington is nothing short of amazing.  Any given Saturday morning from April until October you can venture downtown and be welcomed by the smell of kettle corn and find vendors selling everything from beautiful hand spun yarn to pussy willows to black raspberries still warm from the sun.

We bought these black raspberries and peaches from a young boy with the type of lilting Appalachian accent that only sounds charming coming from the mouth of a Mennonite boy wearing a crisp white collared shirt and black suspenders. 

In addition to these lovely fruits we also brought home Oliver's very first balloon animal.  A monkey in a tree with bananas of course.  We stood patiently in line waiting our turn.  Of course I was very aware of the fact that this poor balloon animal would most likely be popped by the time we made it to the other side of the market but sometimes the joy is in the moment of watching and observing, transfixed on the balloon man mastering his craft.

Amazingly enough the monkey in the tree with bananas made it all the way home.  He rode in the car next to another monkey, fast asleep with another adventure under his belt.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

To My Momma

Up and down. Bitter and sweet.  Happy and sad.  Just like the last Mother's Day.  Next year will be the same and so will the next year and the one after that. I wish that I could have the privilege to share just one Mother's Day with my mom, as a mom.  But it is not to be.  

I went through this week a bit on edge, not really knowing why and then it came to me, I was missing my mom.  Just another way that grief rears its ugly head.  Last year I was only a mom for a few weeks before I was faced with my first Mother's Day.  A time that should have been exciting and purely happy.  But it was also the first Mother's Day I was facing without my mom.  I was a mother with a newborn so I went through the day bleary eyed and exhausted.  Crying often for the mother I was missing but also smiling often for the baby that had made me a mom.  The day came and went, I enjoyed as much as I could, appreciative of the flowers and cards but I have to admit I was secretly glad to let that day slip behind me because I didn't need yet another reminder that my mom was gone.

This Mother's Day my eyes are a bit brighter, my body is better rested and my mind is much sharper.  Despite all of that, a year later the loss of my mom and her absence on this day is still just as painful.  In the weeks leading up to Mother's Day I have seen countless Hallmark ads reminding me to get a card to thank my mother for all she has done for me.  Initially the ads made me want to throw a shoe at the TV or mutter some sort of expletive about how my mom isn't here.  Instead of being angry and boycotting Mother's Day I decided to write a card to my mom and say all the things I would like to say to her now. 


I've lost count of the number of times over the past year that I've had the urge to pick up the phone and call you. I suppose that urge might never go away.  I want to thank you for being the mom you were for 29 years.  I'm sure there were days that you wanted to lose your cool, especially during our teenage years when the days with fights among sisters outnumbered the days without fights. I've realized this year how much you have taught me about being a mother.  I wish that you were here to teach it to me first-hand but you lived your life setting an example for which I strive to meet. Your patience, your love and your sense of humor live on. I really wish that you could see your grandson and what an amazing little human he is.  There are times when he does something that makes me think of you, I think about how it would make you laugh if I could call you up and tell you about it.  I feel closer to you on these days. If I have one wish as a mother it would be that my children love me the way that your children love you.  


As I reflect on this Mother's Day I try to embrace what it is to be a mother.  I could definitely use more patience but I'll never be lacking on love for my child. As I rocked Oliver to sleep tonight I felt closer than ever to my mom.  I thought of all the nights she spent rocking us as babies and the nights she spent reading us stories, tucking us into bed and laying with us just a few minutes longer. She probably didn't realize the profound impact that those simple acts would have on me 30 years later. 

Please love the mom in your life a little bit harder and hug her a little bit tighter. Today and tomorrow and the day after that.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ebb and Flow

What a good day.  I'm not going to make this a long post because it's 9:30 pm and the chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven aren't going to eat themselves.  The day didn't present itself to be such a special one.  We were up several times in the night due to teething. Boo. So at 6 am we were up and at 'em.  The baby was grouchy, Lola was being obnoxious and I was counting down the hours until bed time. But after 8:30 am nappies Oliver woke up refreshed and in an excellent mood.  We met Greta and Josephine for a playdate where we worked on our driving skills.
You can't see it but Greta is perfectly at 10 and 2, Oliver likes to roll a bit dangerously by just using one hand.
After the playdate we went and ate some excellent Thai food where Oliver and Greta enjoyed some Pad See Aiew and about a pound of cantaloupe. With yummy food fresh in their bellies Oliver and Greta parted ways to go take their afternoon naps.  After his nap we had a little sensory fun in the driveway.  I filled some tupperware with flour, uncooked oatmeal and uncooked rotini pasta.  It was great fun and occupied Oliver for over 30 minutes.  He loved stirring and transferring ingredients from one dish to the other.  I like to think he was practicing for all of the cooking he will someday do for me.

The fun was topped off by dumping the flour over his head.  Always a good idea.  Good thing we were outside or daddy would have had a aneurysm.

The rest of the evening flowed from dinner to a walk down our trail in our new backyard. Something Corey has been begging me to do for weeks but I have been dodging due to the fact that there are snakes and ticks in the woods and I want nothing to do with either.  But I can't avoid it forever so I finally succumbed to his requests and dressed quite appropriately in jeans, long sleeves, a hat, and my Ugg boots (I think a pair of Hunter rain boots are a necessity now that we live in the woods, hint hint my love, Mother's Day is Sunday). I dressed the baby the same, minus the Ugg boots, slathered on the all-natural bug repellent and off we went.  Lola led the way and despite my constant look out for slithery creatures I have to say it was so lovely.  We walked quietly through the forest, I half expected Bella and Edward to come running through the trees Twilight vampire style but we didn't see them or any other large creatures thankfully.  We just walked and talked and the only thing we left behind us were our footprints in the soft mud and the faint smell of citronella and cedar oil.  Towards the end of our walk it started to rain a bit but we were sheltered by the canopy of trees so the only evidence we had of it was the soft sound of the drops hitting the leaves overhead.

After our walk we made a quick trip to the grocery and then had a little bit of play time in Oliver's room before bedtime.  I love days like these. Where one activity flows effortlessly and spontaneously into the next.  I'm a planner by nature and I'm constantly trying to plan fun family days and force moments of greatness but these are the great moments. The ones that aren't planned. The ones where you bypass your debilitating fear of serpents and decide that bath time can be skipped and bedtime can be pushed back an hour.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Each week for the past year I have been getting a weekly message in my Inbox.  It's a message from Babycenter with an update on my baby's progress.  The subject line reads something like, "Your Baby, Month 4 Week 3" and within the message is information about milestones he may be accomplishing, challenges we may be having and fun activities to help my little one learn.  But this week the subject line read, "Your Toddler This Week, Your 1 Year Old".  Cue the tears, the aching heart and the immediate need to look through his baby book. There are differing opinions on when a baby officially makes the transition to a toddler.  Some say as soon as he starts walking and others say that the one year mark is the gateway to toddler-dom.  Either way you look at it O is officially a toddler.

To celebrate the occasion we had a birthday party for him this weekend.  The aunties came, Grandpa and Grandma Rekers came, Great Aunt Fonda and second cousin Amanda made the trip from Iowa too.  Along with a few of his little friends and their mommies and daddies we had a lovely little party on an otherwise gloomy, cloudy Saturday.  We brightened things up with balloons...lots of balloons. And also with lemonade, a cake and of course presents.

After weeks of planning a menu and crafting and cleaning it was so good to relax and watch the people I love love on my baby toddler. I hope that when he looks back on these pictures and moments he truly knows what a loved human he is.

I realized a day or two after the party that I got absolutely no pictures of Oliver with Corey and I and also didn't get any pictures with Grandpa and Grandma Rekers. Worst. Mom. Ever. This is the closest thing we got to pictures with mom and dad.

I guess my only defense is that photographing a whirling twirling toddler all hopped up on cake is crazy hard.  Speaking of cake. Did he ever love his cake. It went exactly as it should go. The first taste, a bit tentative then when the sugar hit his blood and the receptors in his brain received the message that went something like this, "sugar? What is this delicious treat, it tastes so swe---GAHHHH sugar!!!!!" And then he dove right in. Face first, hands back, the way you should be obligated to eat cake.

He quite obviously is in heaven.

It was an awesome weekend.  When all the wrapping paper was picked up, the food put away, the dishes done and the last car had left the driveway I found myself a little sad.  Sad for the baby that is now a toddler and sad that our family lives so far from us that we can't do this every weekend.  I remember growing up each Sunday we would go to my Grandpa and Grandma's house and have dinner after church.  All the cousins would play together, the aunts would do the dishes and then we would all sit around in the afternoon.  No TV, no video games just family being family. The birthday week is being extended into this next weekend.  Grandpa and Grandma Lisk and Uncle Carson are coming and we're looking forward to more celebration and more hugs and kisses. I wish that we all lived close enough to get together every Sunday.  Unfortunately that's not the case right now.  We live in different states and different time zones and these large gatherings can only happen a few times a year.  I guess the silver lining is that when these gatherings do happen you hug a bit tighter and laugh a bit harder because you know these moments are few and far between.

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