Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Spy, on the 4th of July...

... a pirate, the Master of the Grill, two sets of love-birds, a conservative pachyderm, Old Navy's best cowboy boots, pulled pork Cafe Rio salad (only the best in Olney, MD!), Mom's date, a JessieChin original (YUM), someone getting tickled, two Uncles, one tired girl in her silly Dad's arms, and...
perhaps a little bit of skinny-dipping?....

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Hats Off to My 6-year-old!

The big dude turned 6 on Wednesday, and had a rip-roaring great day. He started it off at IHOP with his siblings and best friend Quincy. They had a great time bouncing around, slurping OJ loudly from their straws, and singing "Happy Burp-Day," which ellicited dark glares from a half-dozen high-society senior citizens who proudly dine there. I was slightly amused and slightly embarrassed.
The day continued with his cello lesson, where Jack's amazingly patient teacher, Mrs. B, pinned an "I LOVE MUSIC" badge on his shirt in honor of the big day. A surprise appearance mid-day from Dad made the birthday ever so much cooler. Nate managed to join us for lunch, which consisted of hot dogs, Cheetos, orange soda, and a doughnut stack (I threw some cantaloupe in for good measure...)
And in the evening, we were joined by 16 exuberant young humans who came for the JEDI TRAINING ACADEMY. In Jack's eyes, it was a huge success, although his parents were both heard muttering, "this is the last birthday party we'll ever throw" under their breaths from time to time.
I have attached a letter that I wrote to Jack last Sunday. I try to write my kids a letter at each birthday, but truthfully, I'm about at a sad 45% success rate here. Vowing to do better. I sure love my big 6-year-old boy.

Dear Jack,
On Wednesday you're going to turn 6! I cannot believe it. You have grown up so fast. In the blink of an eye, you went from being my little blond, curly-haired 2-year-old to being a big boy graduating from kindergarten. How did that happen?
Thank you so much for a wonderful year, Jack. How I've loved having our mornings together, and especially our little "bus walk" up to the corner bus stop. In the fall we sat on the grass and looked at the leaves. In the winter we huddled together to keep each other warm. In the spring we laid down on the grass and looked at the sky and felt the breeze on our face. And every day, you'd let me give you a little hug right before you got on the bus to join your friends and face the world.
I love you very much, Jack. You are a very, very special person. You have a kind, compassionate, and generous heart. You care deeply about the feelings of others, and are sensitive and passionate. You are good with your hands. I love watching you create imaginary worlds in your drawings, marvel at the Lego creations that you build, and have glowed with pride as your little fingers grasp the positions for your pieces on the cello.
I want to tell you how proud I am of you for completing this kindergarten year. It's not easy to go to school, surrounded by so many kids, many of whom are not especially kind or sweet. You always try to do what is right, to listen and follow the directions of your teacher, and to be kind to others. I hope you will always do this. And I hope you will always, always know that you have parents and siblings who love you. Home will always be a safe place where you can feel loved and supported.
As you turn 6, I have a feeling that there are many wonderful things in store for you this year! You'll start first grade. You'll make new friends! I bet you'll lose a tooth or two. And I know you're going to find joy in things that might be hard, if you keep trying and have the courage and confidence to do so. Tonight, you prayed with tears in your eyes and asked Heavenly Father to help you be brave for your swimming lesson tomorrow. I know that He will, Jack. Trust Him and ask Him, and He will always answer your prayers.
I am so grateful to be able to be your mom. You fill my whole soul with joy. I can't WAIT to celebrate your birthday with you on Wednesday!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Let's try this again, shall we?

It's been a long, long time. I really sort of got sick of writing and have been resorting to little facebook blurbs and writing in my journal now and again. But after reading through some older entries, I feel nostalgic. I want to resume posting, if for no other reason than to document my kids' lives. I'm viewing this as an opportunity to improve!
I came downstairs on this Sunday night to pay bills. How exciting. And then I got sucked in, and have spent the last hour drying my eyeballs out and giving myself a headache from trying to update my stinking blog settings. But, I'm done. It is what it is. I'm no good when it comes to HTML, nor am I crafty or artistic, but I am committing here and now to write more, so I can remember and articulate some of the details that would otherwise wither in my mind.

Today was such a great day! I love my life. I love my kids. (Here they are, posing delightfully in a recent photo shoot in Elfreth's Alley.)

I love the salad we had for dinner (well, a couple of us ate it anyway...) I love Nate, even when he surprises me by telling me he has a moonlighting shift tonight, tomorrow night, and Tuesday night. Hummph... (Really though, that man works harder than anyone on the planet, and does a darn good job as SuperDad, too...)
For a very brief update: We went camping on Friday night with 7 families! I forgot to bring half of our food, but good thing our friends made up for that. It was a much more excellent meal with all their goodies anyway! The boys' highlight was definitely the 45 minutes they spent splashing around wild and free in Scott's Run Lake. It was a picture-perfect day and, though a desperately short amount of sleep had me feeling sort of intoxicated, we all had a fantastic time.
I feel very grateful for wonderful, talented, and intelligent friends who surround me and inspire me. I feel grateful to be the mother to three intense children who make me laugh and think hard. I feel grateful for my calling as Primary president in our inner-city ward. This opportunity has been one of the most joyful and stretching experiences of my life. I'm grateful for summer nights, good music, sneaky early-morning runs, and the prospect of clean sheets waiting upstairs. Let's see how I do this time around. (I'm wishing myself luck.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

proof of non-existence...

hello. this is nate....

or rather, the shell of what was once nate.

I don't really exist.

ask jenny.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010


We sat up until midnight last night watching a great program on the History Channel: "An i-Witness to 9/11." There isn't much to be said that hasn't already been said; not much to show that hasn't already been shown. But Nate and I feel like the day just can't pass by without our acknowledging the tragic loss of life and the reality of our vulnerability, and also reflecting with gratitude on the freedoms offered to us as American citizens.

I remember like it was yesterday hauling it up Broadway on my cruddy 15-speed bike, trying to make sense of what was happening. I was grateful I'd ridden my bike down to work that day; I was teaching at a music school on West 85th Street while completing my Masters degree. Little did I know that public transit would be completely down for several days, and that having my bike that day got me safely-- and quickly, home. Home to our little apartment, where we held onto each other and watched--along with everyone else--the hellish day unfolding, just 7 miles away.

I remember standing in line for several hours to donate blood that afternoon at Columbia University, trying to DO something other than stare at the harsh images on the TV. We were stunned. It was quiet and somber. I remember Nate quietly and severely telling me he would enlist if it was necessary. Standing in line with us was our good friend, who had received a call the previous evening from the law firm he was scheduled to interview for that morning. The firm was based on the 98th floor of the North Tower. The call had been to reschedule: could he come the afternoon of the 11th, rather than in the morning? As he stood with us, he was blank, almost trembling, with shock.

I remember, most profoundly, walking that evening from 38th Street (where Nate's parents were staying a hotel; incredibly, they were visiting that week) all the way back home to 122nd and Amsterdam. This walk took us through Times Square at 9:30 pm. As if we were witnessing a scene from Armageddon, Times Square was utterly dark. It was hollow. It was silent. It was completely surreal. We saw a total of 7 people in the 10 blocks between 40th and 50th Street. Five of them were police officers. The moving marquee strips only showed numbers to call to report missing people. There are no pictures of this. I don't think we would have taken any even if we'd had the camera with us, but this is a picture that will always be ingrained in my memory. It is a haunting picture; one that I hope never to witness again.

I remember. Do you? Where were you on that fateful day?

Friday, September 10, 2010

just livin' MY dream

Threw the kids in the car after breakfast and drove up to Manhattan. Spent the day with 2 sisters, 2 boroughs, 2 crepes, and 2 sleeping kids all the way home. Grant even made it home in time for soccer practice, much to his great relief! (Thank you, Rosh Hashanah.)

Thought I was seeing things when Nate waltzed in at noon not one, not two, but three days this week. This out-patient gig was an unexpected freebie! Put Jack on the kindergarten bus, put Caroline down for her nap, put my feet up, and sipped a smoothie with my man.

Mmm, mmm. Good times.