Adding it Up

Around here, I welcome Fall with her short ferry lines, available parking and deserted sidewalks the way I welcome quiet moments alone. Last Friday with a parking space at theater’s front, a pocket full of Pez and a Boppy pillow for Olive to snooze on, we couldn’t wait for our family Friday movie night to start. Olive’s normally asleep by the opening scene, and the girls are happily wide-eyed for a picture show in the darkness. With popcorn less a habit and more a pass time, this whole sleepy baby on my lap so I can enjoy a movie works out great.
Or, rather, it used to.
I could have walked the empty pavement home but there was something in the way the streetlights soothed my fussy, teething babe wrapped tightly in a sling. She fell asleep almost instantly and would wake just the same each time I stepped back into the show.
So I spent my movie ticket refund on the world’s best candy bar and a celebrity trash magazine at my favorite grocery across the street. I might have looked odd to the off loading ferry traffic – luckily there was only a dozen or so who glanced at me swaying and catching up amidst the corner of Second and Spring. With three children five years old and under, I’ve learned to take my alone time as it comes and even when I least expect it. I thought about getting excercise, maybe walking the docks and looking at boats. But my Theo chocolate and articles on fashion mishaps had me captive on street’s corner and had me so, so mentally rested when Luke and the two girls came giggling out of the show an hour later.
Betty has started playing soccer and loves it. It’s the first time an under six league has been on the island and I think it’s going well. She’s got some good buddies on the team and they all have a blast. We lead silly warm-ups with inspiring cheers and do a few two-minute drills before the game. So far, each game has been an incredible tie with a strong emphasis on fun and form.
When we drove to the game on Saturday in our minivan with our three children, we joked about the stereotype. With coach’s clipboard in hand I said,

sometimes stereotypes feel pretty darn good.
Luke is from a small Montana ski town; he’s never before kicked a soccer ball. Growing up in suburban Massachusetts I wanted to go to soccer camp so I could wear Lifesaver soccer socks with a new pair of lemon-colored polyester shorts. I was a lacrosse player, envious of soccer attire.
Somehow with a new baby, a preschooler and a major house addition we’re coaching soccer. On the field, Olive likes the view from Luke’s back. On the field, we leave our stress behind to stress fun above all else. With a slight miracle our team has some amazing and talented young players.


On Saturday, maybe it was their breakfasts in their tummies or the way the sun didn’t shine in their eyes as they headed down to the goal but it was very obvious it wasn’t a tie. On our league, every game score is “another amazing tie.” Morale was down on the other team as they sulked in obvious defeat. The other coach was awesome in his cheers; the other parents clapped and sang the moral up. One parent playfully skipped alongside their players on the team to bring spirits up, to bring their score up. As the coach of my daughter’s team, I began cheering for the opposite team. After all, we wanted every kid to have an awesome experience on the field that morning.
Just then, a stereotype appeared. A parent began yelling from the sidelines that it was unfair and we shouldn’t count the opposing team’s (dad’s) score. Really, the scene goes on and on from here. What’s important is how Luke walked away from this person with a chuckle in disbelief while singling me out as “coach.” He always brings just the right amount of humor to a tense situation. I tried and tried to explain how we want fun instead of scores, love of the sport and experience above all else. As this discussion continued past a thirty minute mark, I was remined of all those You Tube videos with irate sports parents singlehandedly ruining the fun. I’m just suprised it came here. Luckily, the serious and competitive bubble rained only on this one individual and the children were unphased. Again, I’m suprised it came here. On our tiny island. On the drive home I said,

sometimes stereotypes feel pretty darn bad.

Lucy started school by clearing the very early morning air,

This is not Betty’s Old school any-MORE! This is Lucy’s new school now.

So if you want to fire her up, ask how her sister’s old school is.
On her very first day she woke up early, finished her plate and picked out a sparkly butterfly outfit. With a half hour to spare, she asked if she could wait by the door. Worried that Yellow Blankie couldn’t lie in her arms on such an important day, she quietly tucked ‘him’ into her backpack. He has comforting white fringe. I should know since my Aunt crocheted me that blanket as a baby. Three years ago Blankie found himself out from our linen’s trunk and into her arms.

Mommy, I am not going to miss you when I am at school. I am not. Mommy, I don’t want to cry there. I want to have fun and play with my friends. Besides, I’ll have Yellow Blankie.

[moments later]…Mommy, act-tull-ally, I’m gonna miss you. A lot.

When the door opened and it was time for all of us to take milestone’s step Lucy’s excitement became infectious,

I am so excited – I am here – it’s time for my school, MY school. Yea, yea, yea!

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Last week, Betty went on a big girl Kindergarten playdate, so I asked my two tiniest girls out on a date. It was a gorgeous, crisp and sunny day so I thought beach picnic or playground escape. Lucy’s choice was no surprise.
We ordered Lucy’s favorite: pineapple and bacon pizza and chose the most beautiful of all open lanes. It took an hour for Lucy to bowl a 36 and each roll of the ball might as well have been her first in life. She loved it; she adored every minute of it. Olive loved watching it roll and magically come up the special bowling ball elevator as much as Lucy. Each daughter kicked, danced and squealed in delight each frame, each time.
We had a great time. In the grand scheme of my busy day and what I thought I had to get done on my endless to-do list, I was reminded 0f the joy in letting things go and making things happen. I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else on a beautiful, sunny day.

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I don’t know where to begin with what’s new in terms of construction around here. The back part of our house has been ripped off and a beautiful cement foundation spans half our house and wraps itself like an L. We’ll have a master bedroom and a garage; we’ll have more space in our tiny bungalow home.
Our last house was such an all-consuming renovation that we’ve learned to approach this project with a certain amount of humor and nonchalance in order to maintain our stamina. Luke took a week’s vacation and hired a fabulous and hardworking friend to help frame and sheathe the addition. Since I’ve downloaded these pictures, we’ve received trusses. Progress is happening each day and it’s kind of a miracle with, you know, three daughters who want someone to push them on the swing, to play Tinker Toys or to read them a story.
At one point or another, each of our babes has lived within construction, slept through nail gun’s unsteady beats and finger painted sheet rock dust. It’s why they love their tool box, want Carhartt work pants and build elaborate fairy houses out of construction scraps and landscaping debris.
Olive likes to crawl around our new space and turn her head in and out of the shadows. She enjoys licking sawdust as much as she likes learning how to nap amidst a miter saw. Looks like it’s Olive’s turn now to earn her renovation baby badge.

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The girls like to stand in the doorway and look out into the project and imagine they’re about to walk into a garage. They like to open the door and hand Daddy snacks they’ve packed him while he plays carpenter.

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It’s no secret school days and school’s early schedule have had me neglecting our garden. Somehow, we’re still pickling cucumbers, harvesting squash and admiring our artichokes. Powder mildew has raged on since I’ve unfortunately stopped spraying a chamomile tea solution [2 pints boiling water, 6 chamomile tea bags. Cool, add to spray bottle & spray affected leaves once a day].

The sunshine feels so good on our faces on walks after naps, after dinners and after mornings spent in fog’s grey drizzle.

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Betty’s been taking a lot of pictures. I love how handing over a camera to a child shows you their love of the ordinary view, simple scene.
She said I should show people on the blog that we’re almost out of our Wheat Montana 50 lb. bag of super-awesome flour [note: giant Ziplock bag on stove’s top contained only a portion of the giant bag]. We made this bread recipe with a large zucchini harvested from our garden and a tub of local herbed goat cheese. It’s my absolute favorite. Our seventeen inch zucchini was obviously meant for this recipe since we only added two tablespoons of water with the yeast.

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  • hayley j says:

    your family is beautiful. how lucky are you to live in one of the most beautiful places ever 🙂

  • What a delicious post to wake up and devour!
    I love your family. I can totally imagine Luke bringing a sense of chill-the-hell-out in his even-keel way to the soccer field. And way to coach the team, mama. You rock!
    Eric sat down to read/look at the new house addition (and ended up reading this whole post with me~I think he loves your family, too). 🙂

    Loved how you chose to spend your time on movie night. Classic. Perfect.

    Miss you guys tons. xo

    ps..your blog header is fabulous~love it!

  • clove says:

    Oh, good. So I'm not the only one who *tries* to take a babe to the movies? Next time my chickadee isn't into it, I'll keep your past-time of choice in mind!

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