October 1, 2015

Dear Son …


Dear Son,

Yesterday, just minutes after you finished your race, Conrad’s mom approached me.  “Are you Chris’ mom?” she said.  I answered yes.

Then out of nowhere, she hugged me!

I’m sure the look of bewilderment on my face caused her to explain further. She told me that two weeks ago, at that impossibly hilly, impossibly hot Oatlands race, her son had collapsed. And you, my son, were there to help him. She said you didn’t leave his side. You rode in the medical vehicle with him. You stayed with him as the medics helped him.

She was so grateful. She said your presence was such a comfort to Conrad and to her.  Then she congratulated me on doing such a good job raising such a compassionate, kind son. She may have even said something about you being “at the next level” when it comes to teenagers.

I have to admit, as a mother, hearing something like this is akin to getting a huge bonus at an incredibly tough job. But I need you to know that I immediately checked myself and told her that everything she told me is just who you are. It has nothing to do with me.

You are a really wonderful person. I am in awe of all that you do and who you have become.

Best of all, you didn’t come home from the race and tell us that you were so helpful to Conrad. You just did it and moved on without thought of reward or praise.

So, son, even though yesterday was your best showing at a race all season long and I was screaming your name as you crossed the line, the thing that made me proudest is learning that you helped another human being in a time of need. That is winning.

I love you. Keep on running!


September 15, 2015

Wrapping Up Summer . . .


The first week of school was the last week our neighborhood pool stayed open. Temperatures were in the mid-nineties so we avoided homework a few days and went to the pool.

It’s been a great pool Summer for Owlie. He started the Summer out in water wings and ended it jumping in all by himself, swimming around like a little fish.


We noticed early on that he was using one hand to plug his nose whenever he was in the water, not matter what we told him or tried to teach him. He just wasn’t confident about blowing bubbles out of his nose yet.

I had a pair of snorkling goggles his size at home, so we let him wear them and it immediately solved the problem since his nose was covered. He then had two arms free to actually swim!


I usually get in my suit and sit on the side of the pool unless it’s really hot. I can keep an eye on my little guy who plays in the shallow end mostly doing this:


Sorry if that picture blinded you. Our kids are a little on the pale side. This is Owlie’s tan after the entire Summer. He wore a surf shirt every time we were at the pool until the day I took this picture!

So long, Summer. The leaves are falling in our back yard and the temperatures have finally dipped down into the seventies. I need S’mores and a cardigan and I couldn’t be happier about it!

September 1, 2015

On His Way …


Yesterday the smallest Lee went to Kindergarten!

He woke up really early, proclaiming that he was no longer nervous, just really excited. All morning long he kept asking me if it was time for school yet. I assured him the time would come and he should get his chores done, get dressed, play for a while and have lunch before school.

He obliged me with the traditional picture in front of our red door. This look on his face is all sorts of killing me. It is sweetness to the max.


We spent time on our driveway trying to shrink the amount of time before the bus came. He ran around like a crazy pants kid who was really stoked about something. He looked very dapper in a button down shirt and shorts, hair slicked back just so.


We walked together to the bus stop. Actually, he walked faster in front of me, but I didn’t mind because I wanted to capture how independent he seemed and how big his back pack was on his little buddy body.

walking away

We got to the stop about eight minutes early. On a good day with no complications. Not on the first day, though. It ended up being a fifteen minute wait, during which my little Owlie turned to me and said, “It’s okay, Mom. You can go home now and I’ll just get on the bus by myself.”

Slay me now! There is no way I’m letting him be big and not need me like that! We waited together. I kissed him about fifty times. We hugged a bunch and then I could hear the bus coming. He practically jumped for joy.

Per my begging, he turned for a quick smile before finding a seat on the bus and leaving my heart feeling strangely empty and yet full at the same time.


And then, he was on his way.

bye ollie

August 20, 2015

Now That Summer Is All But Over . . .

ollie slide

I feel like this picture represents me facing Back-to-School. Eyes closed, nose plugged, just waiting for it to engulf us.

This Summer has been a study in contrasts. We’ve been very busy with camps and reunions. There have also been slow weeks where the atrocious B word (that’s BORED, if you didn’t know) has escaped out of a few mouths.

The beginning of Summer was glorious, cool and green. Our yard looked like a million bucks. Now the grass in back is brown and crunchy and we are shouting for joy because we finally had some rain today.

We have laughed and experienced true joy with family and friends. We have made glorious memories. We have also learned sad things that have made us weep and worry, pray and prepare. It is hard for me to imagine feeling such feelings at each end of the spectrum almost simultaneously.

Our kids are about to enter a year of first and lasts. We have a first time driver in Hannah. We have a first time bus rider in Owlie. Chris is in his last year of high school. I have to watch myself or I could view this whole year with Chris as just a long list of lasts.

In July at the Hubby’s family reunion, Owlie was in water wings, plugging his nose each time he entered the pool. Now, a mere month later, he is swimming in the pool like a fish with goggles, in the deep end, no nose pluggged. It finally clicked for him and I am so happy he figured it out.

I know going back to school will me much the same for me. I’ll figure it out. It will click for all of us. We will find our rhythm and swim like we’ve always known how to handle the water.

August 11, 2015

One Year …

chris tie


That’s me swallowing. Trying to push down the giant lump in my throat because I have one year left with this boy. One more year to love on him physically, teach and advise him while in his company, laugh at his goofy antics, tell him to clean up his pigsty of a room, tickle his feet to wake him up in the morning, make all his favorite foods, create lasting memories and hope that I’ve done my part as his momma to prepare him for life on his own.

And that’s why I say gulp.

Sometimes we’ll all be driving in the car together, kids probably fighting, and I try to imagine what it is going to be like in a year when there is one less person in the car. I can’t. It is too strange to even think of.

I know cutting the apron strings and letting children go out on their own is part of this job I signed up for as a parent. But knowing it and actually doing it are two different things.

We are already inundated with Senior stuff and the school year hasn’t even begun. Yearbook pictures, college applications, scholarship applications. I’m trying to stay ahead of it all so I don’t get swallowed. I’m trying to not fear the year and let it control me, but instead control it and have plenty of space in between activities and demands to create memorable moments with my first born child.

I love Chris so much. We really have settled into a place removed from hard core instructional parenting to watching him take applying the lessons we’ve taught him over the years. I see us as advisors – consultants of a sort. There is a beautiful give and take that is occurring. It is not without glitches and setbacks, but I can see him becoming the man he’s meant to be.

All this to say my mind is full of love and thoughts of stopping time and making time count and all sorts of other sentimental freak out stuff. Good times, for sure.

August 7, 2015

Confessions Of A Guilt Ridden Former Blogger . . .


I used to be a great blogger. Not that the content of my blog was great, but I wrote five days a week. I was devoted. Writing was just part of my every day.

Now I’m a bad blogger. Wait, I don’t think I can even say that. What I meant was, I’m a guilt ridden former blogger. I have walked by my computer no less than seventy-five times in the past month and a half and in my head said the words, “I don’t want to.”

I’m pretty sure the catalyst for this complete slump came by way of the absolute sabotage of the Spiritual Program I was supposed to present at our Stake Girls Camp due to freak weather, including torrential downpour, for the exact two hours the program was scheduled to happen. And so it didn’t happen. To say I had the wind knocked out of my sails would be an understatement. I’m still not recovered from it. The last time I wrote on this blog was two days before the NON-program.

Since then, I’ve hosted two family reunions (one in Arizona!), seen kids off to a week at EFY, had a husband gone on High Adventure, gotten over a nasty cold, and just relaxed and tried to relish the Summer with my kids. I can’t remember the last time I really just enjoyed Summer and my kids. Here are some more of my Summer confessions:

I’ve been walking for an hour every morning by myself, listening to spiritual enlightenment, followed by thumping music recommended by my teenager. Taking that time for ME has been extremely gratifying. It has also made me tired. I need to be tired, because my sleep has been quite messed up lately.

Sometimes, if I don’t get my walk in during the morning, I drag the Hubby out and he walks the hills around our neighborhood with me in the evening when the cicadas are humming and frogs are jumping out into the road. He rescues the frogs and I count rabbits in the grass. I need that time with him. We talk and work through our life’s problems. Mostly I talk and he listens.

I’ve made a conscious effort this Summer to take my younger boys to the pool frequently. We have a great pool in our neighborhood, but in past Summers I didn’t used it because Ollie was little and it was too much work. Plus I am allergic to most sunscreens, so it was a pain for me.  Now Ollie is a fish and I’ve found a sunscreen that works for me which means the boys beg me each day to take them swimming. I suit up and actually get in the water with them. It is good for all of us.

I’ve been cooking on the grill as much as possible. We’re enjoying shishkabobs, Naan pizzas, grilled pineapple, barbequed pork chops – anything I can grill. I love the simplicity of it. We’ve even had several days in July where the food came straight off the grill and onto the table outside because it was cool enough to dine al fresco.

I’m slowly checking some long overdue house projects off of my list. I’ve painted some furniture, recovered six chairs, gone through and organized all of our arts/crafts, cleaned the garage, donated trunk loads to the thrift store and washed all the windows. Two huge projects are hanging over my head to be finished up – our basement stairs and repainting the kitchen cabinets.

I’ve read for pleasure this Summer. I haven’t done that in a very long time. I have missed it like an old friend. So far I’ve read In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown, which I recommend highly to anyone looking good reads. Two are historical non-fiction but read like novels, which I’ve discovered I enjoy very much. I’ve also reread Heaven Is Here by Stephanie Nielson and Persuasion by Jane Austen. Thumbs up to both, again! I know it isn’t the last time for me to read either of these books. Now I am thoroughly enjoying The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Last confession. On Sunday nights this Summer, I’ve had a 9:00 date with PBS to watch the new Poldark. Last year, upon the insistence of my mother, I watched all twenty-eight hours of the original Poldark (starring Robin Ellis) which she had loved some thirty years ago. We are both enjoying the new adaptation very much and love discussing and comparing it with the original. And in an awesome twist, my mom has been emailing Robin Ellis’ wife!

So there you have it. Confessions. I’m alive. I’m just a bad blogger trying to do better.