For the Love of Mimi

Beloved Mimi, 2005

This is Mimi.  But don’t remember her like this (except the smile).    Remember her in her kitchen…baking chocolate chip cookies, making toffee, roast beef, mashed potatoes and green salads with kidney and garbanzo beans on top.  Remember jello pudding with cool whip, canned peaches, apricot cobbler and mini pizzas.  And remember that old high chair where we all sat, watching her and nibbling on samples while she cooked?

The old high chair with new tray and seat cushion

Well, here it is…revisited.  When I had Leif, Mimi passed the old high chair on to me.  I was thrilled to have something so nostalgic and functional. I used it for both of my boys and it has been resting in the basement ever since.  Until recently, when my eldest cousin had a baby.  This meant that the old high chair needed to be pulled out, cleaned up and passed on.  When I dragged it out of the basement, I realized it needed some love to be usable by another baby.  First, it needed a new tray.  The old one had huge cracks in it filled with food and was held together by old staples.  It also needed a new cushion.  You can see both renovations in the picture above.

And, when I turned the high chair upside down in the process of making the cushion I noticed this sweet little note stuck to the bottom.

Note from Mimi

Happy days, indeed.  Add Leif and Kai to the list…that makes a lot of kids who have sat in this high chair.

Leif in the old high chair

Kai in the old high chair

And, now…baby Ever.

To many good times in kitchen to come.  I still love you so, sweet Mimi.

The history lesson

A couple of days a week we have the honor of having our friend Ryan at our house after school.  She’s nine and we love her.  One day last week she and Leif came into the house from school engrossed in a deep conversation.  Turns out they were talking about the Civil War.

The Civil War

Ryan is in fourth grade and is learning about the civil war.  Leif was the perfect audience for her to explore her newly acquired knowledge…he has a love for all things war and fighting related and he knows nothing about the subject , so he couldn’t interrupt her or challenge her on her facts.  The two kids sat together and talked over banana bread muffins and glasses of milk, for nearly an hour.

We often have a long piece of easel paper spread across our art table.  It gets used throughout the day for random acts of creative expression.  I love how Ryan used it to draw graphics to go along with her story.

Harriet Tubman

"Underground Railroad"

What I didn’t capture in a photo was the absolute look of attention Leif was giving Ryan while she spoke.  And the sweet, simple explanations Ryan was giving for big, complicated topics such as slavery, war, and what it means to be an “American”.  The very best thing was how this long, engaging conversation slipped away in a seconds time…as they both got distracted and started playing Ode to Joy on the piano.

A different lens

Leif with Kite

My brother in law, Steve, took these pictures of the kids with the Hipstamatic camera app on his iphone. They’re cool pictures, right?  But taken with a regular camera would they have been so neat?  Perhaps.  Not only do these pictures make me want to get the cool Hipstamatic app on Dan’s iphone, but they also got me thinking about the idea of seeing things through a different lens of my own.  In my life as a parent, this is a reoccurring theme.

Kai on Wave

In relationship to my kids, so often I recognize how a situation can either be way cool or way bad depending on how I see it, respond to it, and navigate through it.  For me, parenting is so much about growing up myself…I mean, like, becoming WAY more mature and together than I ever expected was necessary in life.  At the time that I got married and began a family, I’d say I was completely prepared for a life of interacting with other adults with a special ability to connect well with other people’s kids.  But, parenting my own children in the way I desire seems to require super-hero powers that I don’t always seem to possess.  Yes, the ability to quickly retreat to my bathroom and *presto*, see a situation through a different, hipsta-something, lens, would be a pretty awesome super power to have.

Leif digging

So, the next time I find myself all crazy mad because the cushions are off the couch (yet again!), I’ll try to squint my eyes and really see the “fort” the children have built, rather than a messy couch.  And, when Leif yells, “Who wants to play with me?” and ignores my answer of  “Me!”, while he waits expectantly for any one of his many aunts or uncles to come forward, I’ll see the admiration he has for his family rather than get bogged down by my feelings of rejection. Because, really, I am in love with Leif’s love for his family…it’s a beautiful thing.

The truth is, this is what this blog is all about.  It’s my practice in cultivating the super-hero power of seeing with the lens of my heart.

Big Love for Bapa

This past weekend we celebrated Bill’s 70th birthday.  The arrival of Dan, the kids and I on Thursday night was the party Bill was expecting, but the arrival of the rest of his kids (minus a few spouses…you were missed, ladies!) was the surprise. For the special event, we made the trek to the family house at Wrightsville beach. A little chilly in January, but still a perfect place to be to celebrate Bill.  Bundled in hoodies and warm socks, we took to the beach to do the usual beachy things we do…digging, chasing sea gulls, watching the waves, playing random games of chase, ball and hop scotch.

Kai & Bapa at Wrightsville Beach

Why is digging holes in the sand so irresistible?  Clearly, once the task begins, one can’t help but get in there and toss a few sand granules around.  Why let the little kids have all the fun?  Besides, as we all well know…”everyone works!”

Bapa helped too, just not yet...

And, inevitably, when one boy wants to dig a hole, the other boy wants to fill his hole in.  Resulting in…

not brotherly love

On Saturday we found ourselves unable to enjoy the sand and sea because it SNOWED!  So, off to the aquarium.

Alligator eating Scott...the boys thought he was pretty brave to do this, even though the alligator wasn't actually alive

Porcupine fish + Kai

Sunday, we awoke to sunny skies and gentle winds.  It warmed up enough to get back outside for some more play time before we had to head home.  It was a special time together, in honor of Bill, who I am so blessed to have as my second dad.   Happy Birthday, Bill!  You are so loved!

Happy Birthday, Bapa!

Bapa & Leif

Snowy Times

We have been blessed with tons of snow this January.  This has meant a whole bunch of snow days to play, cook, read and enjoy the coziness (and craziness) of being together in our little home.

Stella & Kai take the sled for a test ride

London & Leif

When we have all been cooped up in our houses all day with our children, beer thirty comes early…

neighborhood crew

That would be Ryan ripping it up on the snowboard down our street.

Dan & Rosie

Leif, making a...

...snow angel.

For as much fun as it looks, we’re ready to get back to some routine around here.  A little thawing out, perhaps…and some school days rather than snow days might be nice. 🙂

So Big

Yesterday Kai said goodbye to “milkies”. Surrounded by good friends and a little ice cream, he seemed up for letting it go.

Trading "milkies" for ice cream...not such a bad idea

Decisions, Decisions

Micah is so big, too

The spies among us

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