Sunday, June 27, 2010


Summer has finally arrived in Portland, so we've been taking advantage of our new friend the sun. Lots of trips to the park, playing in fountains, late evening walks, and homemade ice cream.

We took Eli fishing for the first time this weekend. We went to a funny little place called Horning's Hideout in North Plains. It's basically somebody's old house with a giant pond and rambling property. But for $3 you get a pole and some bait, and the "lake" is well-stocked. We brought home seven big, tasty rainbow trout.

Eli tried fishing with Daddy, but he was about as patient as you'd imagine. He was more interested in catching salamanders with the net. Or himself.

Summer makes me so happy. I love every season and I'm so thankful to live in a place where we experience all four. But summer is special. The sounds, the smells, the experiences bring back a flood of happy memories from my childhood. I was raised in rural Idaho (I know, what other kind of Idaho is there?), and I spent summers outdoors. My parents were both teachers, and they loved to travel. We spent weeks at a time traveling the country in our RV. We camped in the beautiful Idaho mountains, fished and swam in the rivers and lakes, drank hot cocoa in our pajamas around the campfire. Something about camping is just... magical.

Close to home, most of the summer days were spent outdoors. We had a big, above-ground pool and I was an absolute fish, swimming and diving and splashing for hours. I've always had a thing for swimming, for bodies of water in general, and chlorine is still one of my favorite smells. We played in the sprinklers and dug in the dirt and took long, late walks in the waning evening light. As a teenager, I loved driving home through the country after dusk, the windows rolled down and the fresh breeze blowing through my old clunker car. The scent of mint and onion fields still transports me back to those lovely summer nights.

As my children grow, I realize how much I long to raise them to be nature lovers. Parks and playgrounds are amazing, and we are blessed with an abundance of them here. But in reality, they are man-made, still an artificial substitute for real, wide-open spaces. It is certainly easier to stay home, watch TV and play in the yard. But I trust that the hassle and effort of planning, packing, hauling, driving - everything it takes to get our family "out there" - is well worth it. I think we are raising our boys to love the outdoors, to find beauty and adventure in tall grass and jagged mountains, in crashing waves and gurgling streams, in ladybugs and snakes and bluejays. And, oh yes, in post-adventure sno-cones. Most definitely in sno-cones.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I stumbled across something yesterday. Completely insignificant, it nonetheless represented a small personal victory. I wanted to share it.

But it was snarky and catty and downright mean.

So I kept it to myself.

All day, I fought the temptation to tell someone. My sister, my husband, my best friend... surely, sharing it with one little person wouldn't matter. Right?

But the Holy Spirit made it clear. No.

As I lay in bed, I almost turned to my husband and blurted it out. "You won't believe --"

But then I thought of Mary. And I decided to "treasure these things in my heart," instead.

And then I smiled in the dark with self-satisfaction.

And then the Lord reminded me that that's really not the point of the verse. And also, that I should probably repent. And then pray for that person. Sincerely.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

a peek inside

A friend recently mentioned that she is sometimes discouraged by "perfect mom" blogs. "Sometimes?" I thought.

So as proof that this blog is written by the most imperfect of women, a sample of my thoughts today. Don't ever be fooled... it is only by His grace that I do anything.

* * * * *
I'm not reading enough with Lucas. I'm not playing enough with Lucas.
He's never going to talk. Or walk. But I should be helping with the talk.
Poor Lucas. Good thing he's cute.
He's not as photogenic as Eli. Sometimes he looks like a really ugly baby in his pictures.
I didn't say that.

Eli won't poop on the potty. A year later, he still won't poop on the potty. I suck.
No, I don't suck. He sucks.
I didn't say that.

I should clip coupons.
I should make a shopping list so I might actually use the coupons.
I should plan meals so I could make the shopping list to use the coupons.
I should get the paper so I would get the coupons.
I spend more on the paper than I save in coupons.
I hate coupons. Screw it.

Where is my Bible?
How I can not know where my Bible is?
When did I last read my Bible?
I really do love God's word.
No, really. Like, I love it.
So why do I find it so stinking hard to read it every day?
Lord, thank you for always showing up.
Thank you for always feeding me.
Thank you for meeting me where I am.
Even when where I am is miles from where you want me.
Even more miles from where I want to be.

I'm not going to read US Weekly ever again.
I'll read my Bible instead.
Maybe I can read it after I read my Bible.
For crying out loud, Alisa. Read a book.

Is there anything good on the DVR?
No. Darn it.
I should clean house instead.
I should fold the laundry. I've dewrinkled that load of t-shirts five times already.
No, I should clean the kitchen. And put away toys.
And organize the toys.
And organize the office.
And clean the bathrooms.
And behind the stove.
Can I even move the stove?
I've got to get up and get busy.
Oooh... Top Chef!

There's the stupid dinosaur book I've been looking for all week.
Eli will be thrilled.
When did the dinosaurs live? I should look it up.
Bless you, Wikipedia.

Eli still doesn't know his colors. Or letters. Or sounds.
And he can't write his name.
Some great teacher I am.
Doesn't matter. He can't go to preschool if he won't poop in the potty.

Lucas is awake. I should get him up to play.
Sometimes I hate playing with my baby. I get bored.
I'm a terrible mother.

I should exercise. As soon as we get home, I'm going to exercise.
When's the last time I exercised? Last Tuesday? Man, that's sad.
Maybe if I exercise, I can have some ice cream.
I should buy some ice cream. Then I'll be motivated to work out.
Or just eat ice cream.

Oh, God, thank you for your grace. I would be lost without it.
Hopeless without it.
Helpless without it.
I can barely function with it, for pete's sake.

Crap, it's five o'clock. What am I going to make for dinner?
I hate cooking dinner.
I love to cook, but I hate cooking dinner. Weird.
No, not weird. Normal. My mom says so.
My mom is great.
I should call her.

Eli's awake. I bet he pooped.

* * * * *

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

confessions of an unfit mother

I came across this article tonight All I can say is, "Finally!" Thank you, thank you, thank you, mystery woman, for being a mother I can relate to. You see, I am That Mom. I am the mom who has left her two young children in the car, doors locked, alarm armed, to go into the grocery store for FIVE MINUTES and buy milk... and have returned to find my car surrounded by several Very Concerned Mothers taking down my license plate number and yelling at me about Who Do I Think I Am?!! Yep, I'm that mom. I'm the mom who doesn't freak out when her baby eats a little dirt, the mom who lets her three-year-old ride his tricycle without a helmet (heck, without shoes), the mom who would let her kids play in the front yard by themselves... if only the neighbors wouldn't call CPS. I'm a mom who insists on "Yes Ma'am" and "May I please?" I'm a mom with spanking spoon.

Don't get me wrong. I am responsible. My kids wear their seatbelts. They sleep on their backs. I hold their hands when we cross the street. They wear helmets in the bike trailer and eat organic fruit and sit far, far away from the television. I am caring, engaged, and conscientious. I am, in fact, a really good mom.

And I, too, am sick of irrational fears being shoved down my throat. The way Nancy Grace tells it, with her nightly BOMBSHELL news, there is little hope that my children won't be abducted and sold into slavery - that is, if I ever let them out of my sight. I realize how much the world has changed since I was a kid, but I desperately want my children to have a taste of the sense of freedom I had. I want to send my son on his bike to a friend's house on a summer evening without immediately playing scenes from The Lovely Bones in my mind. I hate feeling so afraid for them. But I hate even more the pressure that I should feel ten times more afraid, the damning judgment from other mothers who are, clearly, so much better suited to raise my children.

So if you ever see my poor little boys trapped in the car in front of the coffee shop, please, just shake your head and walk on by. You can rant about it later on your blog.