Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Summer Slips By

At the end of July, Andrew was treated to a trip of a lifetime! Thanks to his Dad, Andrew and all "the brothers" went to Alaska for a dream come true fishing adventure. He was in heaven!
"I want to move here." He told me in a text. "For our ten year anniversary trip, you know... the one we never took, let's come to Alaska." His interaction with the children and me, while he was away, was sparse. He was in full fisherman mode. I've never questioned his devotion to our family until Alaska happened. ;) The kids and I were pretty excited when he returned home.

We exchanged a few pictures while he was gone (and when I say "we"... the pictures I received were mostly courtesy of my brother's in law. These photos highlighted a most beautiful Alaskan setting and a lot of fish! In return, I did my best to remind him that he has darling children who love and miss him. Here's a sampling of what I sent.
These photos were taken Sunday night. 

While he was away, I took the children to church by myself.  So naturally, it was the first week in months that Forrest needed to leave Sacrament due to disruptive behavior. Thankfully, my neighbors quickly came to my aid as they sat with my other kids. After dropping a grumpy Forrest off to the best nursery leaders ever, I "relaxed" by shifting my focus to teaching my high energy sunbeam class. Coming home with a headache, I put Forrest down for a nap and proceeded to cry in my bed. Aside from that low moment (I blame exhaustion), we managed well while he was away.

Finding that there is strength (and maybe a little chaos) in numbers, we gathered at Nanna Teresa's for a cousin sleepover.
Cute Nanna loves to read stories.
When you combine her animated personality with her fun collection of books,
story time becomes very special. 
After putting our little cutie pies to bed (it took a few attempts), 
all the Mom's (plus Cece) crawled into Nanna's bed and watched a movie.
My family slept well that night. 
The boys and I slept until 9:00 a.m. 
That sleep was exactly what I needed!

Nanna serves in the relief society at a near by care center. She asked the kids and me to prepare a musical number for their weekly lesson the following morning. The kids and I sang, "I love to see the temple." It was a good service opportunity for all of us.

Another bright spot was attending the musical, "The Little Mermaid" at Hale theater with Nanna and our cousins. We loved it! Thank you so much Nanna and Bubba!
Everything in the Disney universe is still very "real" to Lottie. Despite trading in her voice to the evil sea witch Ursula, Ariel continues to sing additional songs as the musical progresses. As a viewer, you understand that she is "thinking" the lyrics so the other characters can't hear her. Lottie, however, didn't grasp that.

"Mom! Why is she singing? She gave her voice away! How is this happening?!" It was tricky to explain that one to her. Ha ha ha. And, Andrew Flegal be warned, it made my desire to return to Disneyland that much stronger.
The rest of today's post is a mish-mash of random cell phone photos.
A neighbor recently asked to borrow our rock and play. Having returned it, Forrest discovered it in our family room. Breaking my heart in the process, he climbed in it several times reminding me that my baby is a big boy now. He spent hours and hours in that little bed!
This was taken a little over a week after Henry's surgery. Since this was taken, the redness has pretty much disappeared. Hooray! His eyes remain very straight. We are pretty excited about it!

Eliza snapped these one night at bedtime. Andrew was out of town and I was tired...
I look gross and exhausted, hence the switch to black and white, 
but it's real life. 

As for these...

Sometimes, I get swallowed up in Mom guilt. Thinking back on summer, I didn't organize as many play dates as I intended. A few times, we were invited on an outing that I know my kids would have enjoyed but I I felt the need to decline. And then I'd wonder:

"Maybe if I had reserved an extra helping of energy or managed money just a little wiser, I could have made it happen." Sometimes, it was simply the need to be home and check off some to-do's on my list that made the decision for me.

Whatever the reason, I have to remind myself that I am doing the best I can. As I continue to mention, I am often sailing our little ship solo. It's okay if my personal pace and ambition isn't the same as another Mother's. Compared to some, I am wound more tightly. Others may think I'm a fairly easy breezy Mom. Parent's operate and manage differently and that's okay. So when I stumble upon scenes like this, it reinforces that time at home is a good thing. Happy memories can be made when marching to a slower, more ordinary, rhythm.
I spotted the children outside playing with Barbies (of all things). I was delighted as I watched their imaginations in sync with one another. I wanted to interrupt it all to say,

"See! You are friends! I told you so!"  Don't worry. I didn't do that. But I did snatch a few pictures. Some of my favorite moments this summer came courtesy of our own backyard. It's a well loved space and has saved my sanity several times.

"Here. Have a Popsicle. Now, go play outside!"
With school right around the corner, my heart breaks knowing that these summer days are coming to an end. I just hope the friendship they've grown keeps blossoming (blame the sunflowers for the use of the word "blossoming") when that separation hits.
Returning to Andrew's trip to Alaska, when he finally came home, the first thing I did was treat myself to a walk by myself through the neighborhood. This sunset was a lovely gift.


rachel garber said...

Ok, ok, I side with Andrew: Alaska is the very best. You need to see it sometime. I mean, I grew up in Washington and all its foresty goodness and when I went to Alaska I was BLOWN AWAY by its foresty goodness and grandeur.

You are a great mom! I have always looked up to you and thought, "What would Ali do?" --- so cut yourself some slack lady!

Katie Jensen said...

I feel overwhelmed like you do when Brent is gone. Why didn't our mothers tell us how hard this is? Hang in there. You are a great mom, Ali. Your kids love you and sometimes that is all that matters.