Sunday, July 10, 2011

52 Blessings -- Lifestyle

I spent the last two weeks in Seattle with Ray, Cali, and Levin.  I had planned to go home after week one (I’m always conscientious when I’m staying with someone about that old saying that guests and fish are the same – they both stink after five days); however, Cali had some trouble healing so I stayed a week longer.  I had such a great time.  Ray took time off work to help Levin adjust to Earth, Cali heal, and to refinish their basement.  

Cali spent her time caring for Levin and repeating, “I’m just so blessed.  He’s so wonderful.  I’m just so glad we have him.”  I spent my time loving and enjoying all three of them.  I got to hold Levin lots and lots, enough so that even now when I’m standing I start to sway and coo, “Shhhhhhh, it’s okay.  Just burp and everything will be much better.”

Calvin came over both weekends and when I’d hear a noise in the driveway it reminded me of our dating time and watching and waiting excitedly for his pickup to pull in.  Calvin helped Ray with projects that required saws, hammers, and sanders.  When Calvin held Levin and Levin would smile in his dreams, he would say, “Look at this!  Come look!  He just killed a grizzly.”  But if he’d cry, Calvin would say, “Get him Levin.  Don't let him get you.”

Which reminds me of a funny thing Ray and I did one morning:  Ray had gotten Levin out of bed and was watching him in the living room.  Levin was making all kinds of funny baby faces as he slept.  Ray said, “Come on, let’s pass a story back and forth while we watch his face.”  Each of us would say a few lines and then the next one would add a few more, and every single time Ray said something about Levin getting a pocket knife or a bb gun or going hunting Levin would smile real big, but when I’d add my lines and try to curb the story back into something responsible Levin would grimace.  It went on for a good while and was pretty darn funny.  

Ande and Joe also live in Seattle, about thirty minutes from Ray and Cali.  Last Sunday we all got together and Joe and Ande made carne asadas, guacamole, and salsa.  It. was. good.  We ate out on Ray and Cali’s deck with the sun going down on the water.  Then we had root beer floats while we played Ticket to Ride.  I did not win. 

Last night (Saturday) we all went to Joe and Ande’s home for supper.  Ande and Joe strung lights on their back patio and Ande set the table with pink carnations in soda bottles.  It was festive and a beautiful evening.

Joe roasted chickpeas for an appetizer.  Have you ever tried roasted chickpeas?  They are good.  Who knew?  The bowl was soon empty.  Ande made onion rings from Walla Walla sweet onions (an old ad said you could eat them like an apple because they’re so sweet; while I wouldn’t boast that, they do make fine onion rings that I look forward to every summer).  Joe and Ande also wrapped basil and mozzarella cheese in squash blossoms, then rolled them in cornmeal and deep fried them.  Those were very good as well.  The main course was a Greek grilled chicken salad that was very, very good.    

After we had fresh berries and ice cream for dessert, Ande, Joe, Calvin, and I went to the new musical Aladdin.  There is a theater in Seattle where new musicals are often launched and Aladdin premiered this week.  The producer opened the show by telling the audience that workers were sitting amongst us to record our reactions so as to know how to improve the play.  I hope someone was sitting next to the little girl across the aisle from us – she gasped loudly and laughed often, her reactions were so genuine.  During the intermission Ande asked if we thought Cali and Ray felt bad they hadn’t been able to come.  Joe said, “How can they?  They get Levin instead.”  We had a great evening and Joe got us free parking which only makes a great evening better.

Ande and Joe spoke in their Sacrament meeting today, so Calvin and I attended church with them.  Their topic was on how the love and power of God is manifested through ordinances.  It was great being taught by them, I learned new things and they both gave wonderful talks.  It was fun to be with them in their new ward.

Calvin and I drove home this afternoon and also briefly talked to the rest of the kids on the phone. Ty and Michelle move to Maryland this week.  Abe and Grace and Ty and Michelle went swimming together yesterday and spent this afternoon playing games (Abe and Grace spoke in their Sacrament meeting today also).  Calvin and I are glad that all the kids have been able to live by a sibling for the last several months and have good friendships.    

For the last six months we have marked time by big events – Ande will move to Seattle, then Grace will move to Colorado, then Abe will return home from Iraq, then Ande and Joe will get married, then Ty will graduate, then Ty and Michelle will get married, then Ty and Michelle will stay with us for two weeks, and then Ray and Cali’s baby will be born.  They have been wonderful events, each and every one.  Now we have a new normal to live and a new timeline to establish, but the day to day details still won't change much – the broccoli and lettuce will still need to be picked, the chickens fed, the house cleaned, a blog post written, supper fixed, and the laundry will still need folded.  My lifestyle wouldn’t make everyone happy, but it certainly does make me and I’m so grateful the Lord has helped me to have it.  


Jill said...

It's so wonderful that you were able to stay for Levin's first two weeks of life to share the joy of that and to serve their family. It's so comforting to have someone there to take care of you when you have a baby, especially when you need time to heal.

It's so fun that Ande and Joe are close by and you got to hear them speak in church and enjoy their patio and dinner.

Your family has had a really big couple of years with all of these milestones, but they're all such good ones. I can definitely see how settling into life at home with just Calvin will be good've got a good life.

Leslie said...

What an adorable baby boy! He is so cute! It must be so fun being a grandma!

Barb said...

I loved Calvin's dream interpretations, I'm going to have to try that game. I'm off to Google carne asadas - I have no idea of what that is!

Deanna/Mimi said...

Again another beautiful post. I love the way you talk about life and family. Your world is good...great...beautiful and full of joy and contentment.
Little Levin...his smile is beautiful. I have heard that babies do not smile that early, but that it is a "gas bubble". You know my answer to that...."poppycock"!! They know where they came from, why they are here and they are overjoyed to get their bodies and be here with us at "school." Keep up the good works and good thoughts and your family are influencing us all with your life. God bless you my friend.

Cassidy said...

How fun! I'm sure Cali was glad you stayed extra. I always beg my mom to stay longer, and that's after a couple of weeks! haha. If you ever need more kid time, you are always welcome to come and stay at MY place. ;)
love you!

Cali said...


As usual, that was perfectly poetic and accurately captured the week. I cannot believe how blessed I am to have you as a mother and therefor mentor, example, friend. I loved every word and picture of it. Thank you for being my mom. I love you VERY, VERY much.


michelle said...

I can think of no better thing than having my mother to take care of me... anytime, really, but especially after giving birth. Having both parents would be even better!

I just love how close your family is, and that the new sons and daughters are embraced into the fold, it's a beautiful thing (as is Cali's comment).

clarkperrins said...

we so picutes is good for you

Rachel said...

How wonderful! Lots of new changes for your family. I am excited to hear that Ty and Michelle are moving! This week!! I hope Ty knows he's in trouble for not telling me yet! How can I be ready with housewarming brownies if I don't even know when they're coming??

Kathy said...

I loved this post. I was with you every event. Especially the story with the faces. What a bonding moment for the three of you. Who could be luckier than us to have this lifestyle!

Deidra said...

It amazes me how long two weeks are when you're waiting for a baby and how quickly they go when a baby is growing and changing before your eyes.

I hope Cali is feeling mug better. That recovery thing is no fun. None at all!

Living close to siblings and having them (and their spouses) as your dearest friends is a sweet, sweet blessing. One I'm so grateful to have had, but one I miss terribly!

Lucy said...

I've no doubt you were a blessing to little Levin and his sweet parents. I love reading about your love and gratitude and positiveness. You are a treasure.