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Month: June 2016

rallying

rallying

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The kids had the day off last Thursday, so of course we got up at the normal time and headed into Manhattan anyway. There was a rally at city hall to promote putting speed safety cameras outside every school in NYC. We decided it was a worthy endeavor, especially since we are kind of anti-car and love any opportunity to remind drivers that cyclists and pedestrians are people too. IMG_0003

We were a little late, but we suited up in some t-shirts and held some signs and stood on listened to speeches and participated in whatever call-and-response happened. And I took a bunch of pictures. I must admit to being a little camera-happy because I wanted to post on instagram and promote the cause among my friends and followers. But I was also a little clueless and awkward and ended up getting the kids in some photos that were supposed to be just school groups who have had a student killed by a car on the way to or from school. Oops.

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Even though I felt a little uncomfortable and awkward—not being the rallying type—I was glad we went. And the kids seemed to be happy to have gone as well. When we talked about it afterward, they were a little confused about parts of it (Why did we sometimes yell “Every school!”? What were the speakers talking about? Why did they want to take so many pictures?) but were happy to have supported the cause. They did say, however, that what they really want is more protected bike lanes, so if we go to another rally, it better be for cyclist safety. I think we can definitely raise our voices in favor of that.

lost, and not quite lost

lost, and not quite lost

Several weeks ago I took the kids to the city to meet up with Micah and have dinner and such. (We were going to see one of his co-worker’s senior projects and almost couldn’t because the building had a ban on CHILDREN. We eventually got things worked out, but seriously, people. No kids in institutions of higher learning?!?) We were waiting for the train and when it came, I was keeping an eye out to see if there was a car that looked emptier than another. The two cars that stopped right in front of us were both pretty open, but one looked a bit more open than the other, so I grabbed Oliver’s and Elsa’s hands and called for Simon to follow. We got on the train and the doors closed and  I noticed that Simon wasn’t there. I thought he was messing with me, hiding right behind me or something, but no. The train hadn’t started, so I looked out on the platform to see if he hadn’t gotten on, but he wasn’t there either. And then I realized he must have gotten on the other car. I looked through the windows between cars and, sure enough, there were some people waving at me and pointing to Simon. He was fine, though we were both a little shaken by the unexpected turn of events. After the long ride between express stops, a lady in his car walked him over to our car and we were reunited

Lost, but not really.

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Then a couple of weeks later we were about to head out the door to catch the train to church when I realized I didn’t have my wallet, which had my metrocard and all my ways of buying a new one. Without it, we were stuck. After much searching, I said a little prayer and immediately remembered that the last time I lost it had been a laundry day and I’d left it on the stroller, which I mostly just use for carting laundry. And sure enough, there it was. We were soon on our way.

And finally, a few days after that we were having a pretty special day. Elsa had put her hand over the steam release of the pressure cooker and slightly burned it right before we had to go get the boys. She was extremely distressed and while there was no indication of her having been burned, she would not stop crying, even after I put some ointment on it and wrapped it up, she cried and cried and cried. She didn’t stop until we were almost at the stop closest to the school, and even then, it was because she had fallen asleep. I ended up carrying sleeping Elsa in my arms while Felix was in the wrap. (It’s much more difficult than carrying sleeping Elsa while 8 months pregnant.) Did I mention it was raining? I had tried to distract her and get her to stop crying by letting her watch me play a game on my phone to no avail. After we had the boys and were back on the train heading home, I let them take turns playing the game while we waited at the stations. It wasn’t until we were almost home when Simon realized he didn’t have his rain jacket. He’d left it at another station. He had his piano lesson that day, but we still had half an hour, which I thought would be enough time to go back and look. So we went back to the station and looked on the bench where we’d been sitting. No dice. We talked to the station attendant and janitor. They clearly thought we were crazy to think that it might still be there, even if it had only been 20 minutes. So we went back down to wait for the train home. Simon started walking down the platform and got to a nearly empty bench—and there was the jacket. We’d been looking at the wrong bench before. We hopped on the next train and made it home in time for piano.

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These near losses, answered prayers, unexpected turns of event, and relief at having found the missing party had me thinking about how often when we talk about answered prayers, we are talking about things we lost. Or feeling that we are lost. It seems as though there are very few categories of things we really need divine help with in life, and being lost or losing things is a major one. Just something I’ve been thinking about lately.

serena

serena

So, years and years ago, back when I was a young and tender Beehive, or maybe Mia Maid (surely I couldn’t have been a Laurel?), I made this rag doll to represent my 5th great-grandmother, Serena. Serena who came from Norway after having been converted to the gospel. She left her home despite being offered gold by her brother if she stayed. She took her kids across the plains by herself because her husband had died back in Norway. She was a strong woman and an inspiration to her descendants. So I made a doll to memorialize her.

I had limited sewing skills and limited access to sewing machines, so her dress and hair and face were glued on with hot glue. And it wasn’t until I was finished that I realized that I’d glued her hair and face to the wrong sides of her head. Under her long skirt, her feet were facing backward. But her skirts were long, so no one could see.

Well, over the years, she’s done a lot of traveling, and since Elsa joined the family, she’s become at home with the toys. Despite having been told that her name was Serena, and that she was modeled after my great-grandmother, Elsa has insisted on calling her Braidy. And also on pulling her blue button eyes and her pink fabric mouth off. They were just glued on, so it wasn’t too hard.

So she’s become a little dirty and a little faceless. Until a few weeks ago, when Elsa insisted I put her face back on. She found some buttons in my sewing box and took away all my excuses, so I dove right in and within, oh, 10 minutes, Serena/Braidy had a new face.

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And then I looked at her and realized that maybe I should I have taken an extra 10 minutes to make her look good. Or maybe to practice what I was doing. Or even watch some YouTube videos to get some pointers. But I didn’t. And now she looks . . . well, as Micah said, she looks like she would be right at home in a Tim Burton movie. And that it makes more sense that she has her feet on backward now.

Haha. Haha. Maybe one day I’ll start all over and get Serena right. But this is a fun little addition to Serena’s history for the time being.

cool cats

cool cats

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I don’t even know who I would pick to win the competition of coolest cat out of these two. Felix is kind of baiting the judges with those kitty specs . . . but Oliver looks so at home in the grass there. It’s a tough call.

Either way, it looks like we are ready to nail this summer to the wall, don’t you think?

at the park

at the park

Felix wore pink today. Mostly because I need to do laundry and Elsa’s old onesie was nearly all that was left in his drawer. It was no big deal, of course. He’s comfortable in his boyhood. But it was slightly confusing to the two teenage boys we met at the playground today. Elsa had wanted to play at a different playground than normal—not the one at the school, not the one by our house—so we went to Manhattan earlier than we usually do and went to the playground next to the school. That was different enough for her.

I had planned to sit on a bench and feed Felix and talk to Micah on the phone, but as soon as I pulled Felix out of his wrappings, these two young teenage boys made a beeline for me and started cooing over him. It was clear that these boys were no ordinary boys. They had limited sense of personal space. My baby was their baby. They jumped right into the questions: is it a girl? How old is he? Why is he wearing pink? How old is he? The mom of one of the boys was sitting nearby and came over to help supervise. She said they went to a school nearby, that her son was 13 and that the other boy was his friend. It was parent-teacher conferences today and she was watching the other boy while his mom was in talking to the teachers. The boys went to play for a bit, but quickly came back to poke and stroke little Felix, who amazingly enough, was not at all fussy, despite having not eaten in over 3 hours. They were so sweet and innocent, so amazed by the sight of a real baby, that I didn’t mind the fact that one of them was nearly sitting in my lap.

After a bit, they went to play again, and I took the opportunity to feed Felix. The other mom stayed and chatted with me, told me how her son is 13 and still learning to read, how her other son is at a boarding school in South Carolina, how her husband died when they were practically babies, how great it is that I can breastfeed my baby.

Felix finished eating and Elsa came back from playing to let me know she needed the restroom, so we had to leave. But I couldn’t help leave feeling really grateful to have met those boys and that mom and to have been able to let them coo over my baby. There are good people with hard things all over the place and it’s a blessing to be able to bring some lightness to them, even if it’s just for a minute.