Island Tidings: pictures and prose about our recent adventures on and off our tiny island
I’m having a hard time writing coherent, intelligible thoughts. In the past five days, we’ve attended a fundraiser, celebrated a birthday. In the past five days, I’ve run a 10k. In the past five days, all five of us have had the stomach flu.
With that, here’s to sloppy, untidy Tidings.
On Friday I acted like an adult. I got a sitter, a pedicure and into a tight, black dress. Maybe acted just half-adult, since I wore fancy flip flops with the silky black number. I ironed a favorite shirt of Luke’s, custom bowling shirt with Reddy Kilowatt on the back, and he even rocked a clean pair of jeans. Oh, and he sported a PBR hat from dear friends. We rocked fancy with a splash of comfort; we rocked true Northwest style.
We filled island’s north pavilion for a PTA fundraiser: a Mr. San Juan Island talent show. Drinks, a live auction, balloons for sale filled with surprises written on a slip of paper – oh boy. These PTA ladies go all out. That’s just the start. Contest’s dads go all out with a game and talent show – everything from a yo-yo champion, roller blading Elvis, original song performance to a heartfelt narrative tale, near-disco strip. Yup. Smoke machine, midnight DJ dance party. Mr. San Juan is crowned from tallied votes; one vote equals one dollar. Rad.
The room of moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, raised over $9,800 for our tiny elementary school. Awesome. So proud to be a part of this community. (It’s a lot of fun, too).
The next day, we let Lucy plan her 4th Birthday Party. She chose a pajama dance party at a beautiful, local studio. We are so lucky to be a part of such a beautiful, available and rentable space. Studio XYZ with airport and evergreen views was perfectly shadowed and sunlit.
Lucy helped compile the playlist, which on party’s day sang out while, mostly, the under five crowd twirled and galloped through pizza, ice cream cake, pinata. She chose hip hop, nursery rhymes even I Like Big Butts by Sir Mix-A-Lot on the stereo.
I had wanted to have a quiet evening with four of her little friends. Maybe dinner, maybe trampoline romping. But she was so, so excited to turn four. I think she began counting down the sleeps from Christmas’ next day. She begged and pleaded for a dance party. On a mainland trip in parking lot’s maze of strip mall, strip mall, traffic light we ended up in front of a party store.
It’s funny when you don’t know how you arrived at a decision. Only remembering eyes batted and hugs given stack atop one another until these gestures give way to,
Sure, let’s go in, but you have to push the cart, I said. Let’s see if you can think of everything you’ll need for your party.
It was as if I’d given her the keys to her magical, orange owl-ed kingdom. Two years ago, I sewed her an owl pillow. Every night since, she’s slept on it and loved, loved it. She wanted a party as cool as her best friend, Owl E. Pillow. So, she picked an owl pinata, matching plates, tablecloth, the works. She filled the pinata with 34 bouncy balls and ring pops. I had to draw the line at stick-on mustaches; they were $1.00 a piece.
She thought of everything; she thought I was the greatest.
We got to the studio on party’s afternoon a bit early to set up. Below, my best friend’s daughter comforts the party girl who’s stricken solemn, thinking little friends are not ever, ever going to come. It was the sweetest, listening to this conversation’s exchange. My friend is constantly telling me things will work out, asking how she can help and ending it all with a giggle.
Lucy, your friends are all in car seats, on their way here. Their mommies and daddies are driving really slow. Should we dance with balloons? Can I find you a snack? Hey, why did the elephant cross the…
It melts me how much my friend’s babes have their mommy’s hearts.
As soon as our little friends tricked in, they gleefully explored the dance floor in rolls, fist steps, comfortable crawls
[The following pics were taken by my talented mama-friend and owner of Sandpebble, Carolyn. I’m so grateful, since I got to shuffle about the party knowing the best moments were captured.]
and ticklish, giggly princess twirls.
While babies had conversations of familiar babble in the corners, the party danced right along.
In an aisle of our downtown market, there’s a freezer shelf with an ice cream cake, lots of sprinkle-y frosting and pretty, gooey, sugary flowers. For two years Lucy’s asked for this cake for her birthday pleeeaasssee, Mama? each time. I would have made any cake, shaped it into a strawberry if she’d asked, but we rolled with her planning the big day.
She was so happy. Funny how it’s the little things that earn us our gold star mommy badges.
Love this baby girl so much. Oh, Olive June you’re the sweetest.
Especially when you kick it in the corner, play DJ while turning up, up, up the volume as you watch the big kiddos boogie.
And, oh how they boogie so silly, so joyful.
I made a pin-the-wings-on-the-owl game. My girls thought it was perfect, but I think it looks a bit like an egg in a hula skirt. And, when you’ve forgotten a blindfold know that an exceptionally large scarf will work just fine and even deter the peekers.
With all the dance-y twirl-y activity about the studio, it was cute to see my girl snuggle up with some preschool best-ies for a few whispers, few giggles.
Luke finally had to rip it apart with his fingers and fling owl’s contents overhead. Turns out, 34 clear, glittery bounce-y balls are really hard to photograph and capture.
[The following pics were taken by me. Thanks, Carolyn, for the awesome job above.]
Next month I turn 35 and I’m a bit skeptical I’m in the midst of some mid-life issue. I’m noticing wrinkles. I’ve joined a gym, worked out with a personal trainer. But after three babies in five years, three broken coccyx after three natural births, it feels good to be strong again. Some mama-pals organize, participate and rock Run Ladies Run. My husband, not a runner, calls it Work Daddy Work since that’s what’s going on while the ladies are movin’ and shakin’ it on the streets. He’s silly.
On the drive out, we thought we’d walk. Well, it looks like it might rain so let’s walk swiftly. Well, if we jog we’ll be able to eat a cheeseburger faster and the 10k won’t take all morning.
Well, it is a fundraiser for our beautiful mama-friend Marlis [check out her tragic, inspiring, beautiful, oh-my-thank-god story] so we should run because she can’t.
I painted it on thick from the back seat. We agreed to walk up the hills.
So at 10 in the morning, amongst 80-something ladies, along island’s north shores we ran.
Then at the bottom of the hill, in between eighty-two women, someone was blaring Eye of the Tiger from their car stereo. Then I thought of Marlis. Then we ran up the hills. Well, most hills that followed. My mama friend and I laughed a lot.
More, we enjoyed ourselves. It felt good to push ourselves. Then my fingers swelled. A lot. So we walked. We laughed a lot more. Then we ran a bit more, until we ran into the roller-blading Elvis from Friday’s fundraiser, rockin’ the costume once more to cheer on some island ladies.
Wow. Imagine what we could do if we trained? And, with that, we’re training for the Halloween half-marathon. Then, our babes from our friendship formed in-utero will be two. Well, the marathon isn’t exactly on Halloween, but to me, the word October is synonymous with Halloween.
[Kerry, thanks for the pics.]
My family couldn’t meet me at the finish line. When I called Luke an hour and a half from race’s start,
You half way, honey? Luke asked.
Um. I’m done. I said, ecstatically. I’ve eaten two donuts, received my free sticker and am chugging water, dreaming of cheeseburgers.
It’s good to surprise those who know us best. He thought I’d walk real, real slow. And on the way out to pick me up and lead me to said cheeseburger, Betty got the stomach flu. So he drove real, real slow.
At 2 o’clock on birthday’s early morning, Lucy got the stomach flu. It was miserable, sad and so unfair to spend a much-awaited birthday day that way. She was only able to open one much-awaited present herself, and spent the rest of the day flopping all feverish with belly-aches and barfs on the couch.
Some time ago, while playing in my sewing room, Lucy found my old Strawberry Shortcake patch. She wanted to know all about her cat, Custard, I still had after all these years. We found a book at the local library and she was entirely smitten. All she wanted for her birthday was a Strawberry Shortcake house, compete with 24 tiny, choking-hazard parts.
Maybe this is the year of giving in, because we ordered the Made in China plastic toy. We have enough of this material in our home, and as much as I weed away at it, take it to the thrift house, it regrows, resurfaces.
So, oh well. Plastics give way to really, really big smiles.