February started out with tons of excitement and a huge let down. Our favorite team and family entertainment, the Seahawks, made it to the Super Bowl. We gathered with our "Framily" . . . our great neighbor friends that have become more like family . . . and cheered, clapped, enjoyed food, couldn't believe all the excitement and then literally collapsed on the floor at the devastating last minute loss. It was NOT the outcome we were hoping for.
Hannah decided in honor of the big game, she'd make a cake from scratch. It was quite time intensive as we learned the valuable lesson of checking for all ingredients before undertaking a big project. There were quite a lot of starting and stopping but the end result was quite delicious.
And in case you can't read the personalized lettering, it says, "Go Hawks!" (I'll refrain from mentioning how much bright Seahawks colored homemade frosting got all over my kitchen . . . )
Football season ended and we decided as a family to give up TV. It was partially a financial decision as our bill was crazy (is it just me or are cable companies a racket?!) and partially a family decision to spend more time just hanging out . . . reading, playing games, playing instruments (we're getting quite a collection around here with both girls playing piano, Haley playing violin, Hannah playing trumpet, Travis working on the guitar, me with the viola, and the new electric drum set we got for Christmas). The girls have particularly liked a "rap night" we had - a lot of ridiculous going on!! It's surprising been easier than we thought and quite a lot of fun.
One of my favorite little people in the world has been studying hard to have deep literary discussions with his "Hattie" . . .
And although he is attempting to branch out from "Mr. Brown can Moo," he's falling deeper in love with Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse and I love getting pictures of his "mouserbooty."
For the first time ever, Travis is assistant coaching wrestling this year. I told him in all honesty that for the last 15 years, I have made an effort to attend at least one game of each of the teams and sports and seasons he's coached but I would NOT be coming to watch a wrestling match/meet/game (still don't know what it's called?!). Well the stars aligned and they happened to be having a match/meet/game (whatever!!) at Hannah's middle school and the timing fit in right between two other commitments we had in the same area so we went. All the way there the girls expressed how much they didn't want to be going. Haley said it was going to be too bloody and she didn't want to see people punching each other. I informed her they were not allowed to punch and aside from the occasional bloody nose, it's not a bloody sport - it's like when Dad tackles you. I also told them how much I didn't want to be going either but as a family we support each other and we were going for Dad and blah blah blah. So we went . . . and don't tell anyone . . . but it was a ton of crazy fun and excitement! We were literally holding our breath watching these guys put their heart and soul into each match/meet/pairing/competition/thingy . . . and the refs have to practically lay on the floor to check contact and pinning . . . and the exhilaration they felt when they succeeded in winning . . . and the disappointment they felt when they tried so hard and at the last minute got flipped with some crazy move you weren't expecting. Anyhoo - we didn't want to leave! I had to eat some crow . . .
Over the Valentine's Day/Presidents' Day holiday weekend, we headed up to Birch Bay for a mini-vacation thanks to the generosity of the Marsh family. We spent four days playing games, reading, swimming in the 80 degree outdoor pool, and walking the beach. The kids found shells, watched an eagle catch a fish and a swarm of seagulls try to get it away, climbed on drift wood, jumped the waves until their boots were full of salt water and sand and enjoyed the fresh air.
And of course the cozy nights by the fire with some tea (or cocoa) were quite lovely . . . and silly!
We got to visit Auntie a few times while we were there as she works at Starbucks only 15mins from where we were staying. In honor of Valentine's Day, they had some fun props to take pictures with.
We returned home and my lovely compromised immune system picked up a sinus infection while we were gone so along with some more antibiotics, I got some cough drops, tissues, and tea . . . this was the ironic message on the tea bag . . .
I had the incredible opportunity to attend another Beth Moore conference in Seattle with some great ladies. It was a time of laughter, learning and a much needed filling of the tank.
And last but not least, I had a great mother of the year award experience. I took the girls to the library to find some books for the weekend. We spent almost an hour together choosing books to read alone, together, listen to on CD, placing holds on the computer to pick up later, finding things that will work for school projects etc. When we went to check out our books, we discovered there was one book that was over-due blocking our account. I knew right where it was and as the library is only 10 minutes away from home, I told the girls we'd jump in the car real quick allowing us to check out our selections.
At this point, they plead their case to stay alone. I know if I do my job well, I'm training them to successfully leave the nest . . . but it is hard to start letting them go. My instant reaction was, "NO - they are way to little, a million things could happen, there's no way!!" Then I began to look around at our tiny little library full of students, other families and a gaggle of librarians. And when I say our library is tiny, it's tiny. There are literally 10 or so rows of shelves, a kids section and a teen section on the other side. And, our house is 10 mins away. It was the perfect opportunity to trial run a little safe separation. I gave them a thousand instructions on what to do if they needed help, where they had to stay (only in the tiny, well contained, well monitored kid section), and how long I'd be gone. Haley reassured me that Hannah could just pretend to be her mom and they'd be fine! With much trepidation, anxiety and prayer, away I went.
I drove way to fast, stressed way to much and even checked in with Travis to reassure myself I wasn't a horrible person. He reassured me that they are 9 and 11, our tiny local library is a safe place and I'd be back before they had time to finish two books. I made it home (in under 10 mins - don't tell our local law enforcement), found the book in a snap and headed right back. I finally felt my shoulders relax and the small victory as a parent in letting go in a safe scenario . . . when my phone rang. It was Hannah. She said, "Mom, the library is closing in 5 mins." I was instantly thrown back into a dither, reassured her in the calmest voice I could muster that I'd be right there and hit the gas (in a very safe way . . .) What I didn't remember, was that on Friday, they close 4 hours earlier than the other days of the week. (Again - small town tiny library.)
Needless to say, I got there as they were locking the doors, had to smile and mouth that my children were still inside to the not-pleased-to-have-children-left-in-the-library librarian and face the gauntlet of small town library ladies ready to go home. I said grateful things like, "Ok ladies - let's hurry and check out our books as these ladies were kind enough to let us finish" . . . etc. blah blah . . . as I was given the stink eye and one of the women literally stood looking with her arms crossed. Like I didn't feel bad enough!!! The ONE time I leave them . . . and ONE time I start to let go . . . of course this happened!!!!! There was finally one of the women who gave me a little knowing smile and so I guiltily started spilling my guts about how this was the first time I left them like this and I was trying to come back as soon as I could and I didn't mean to leave them and I'm so sorry and I'd never do it again and I talked way to much and way to fast until she smiled again and reassured me that they "never leave anybody at the library." Needless to say, I'll probably never leave them any where again for the next 10 years or so!
February was a short month on the calendar but a full month (like most are) if you stop and pay attention to the little things (and the big things) that fill each day. We're continuing to learn and trying to focus on noticing and appreciating those little things. It's finding that one rock on the beach that looks like a heart. It's pointing out the irony of the tea bag message. It's being able to laugh at myself and the ridiculous library experience. And it's the willingness to share and record all these little things so in the days, weeks, months and years to come, we can look back as a family and remember just what each one of these fast fleeting moments were like.