Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Fashion Statement

There is no question amongst our children that Our Big Guy is the most industrious. The most loyal and hardest worker. He is bound to be a strong leader, an entrepreneur, or quite possibly an engineer.

Or a whale trainer (according to him).

In the meantime, he is fascinated with the logistics of building, planning, selection of tools, etc.

And he is his father's shadow.

If only I could convince him not to wear white while working.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The White Swan

Pretty Girl - sometimes that "little voice" is your mom.

Every girl, young and old, has to face her own reflection
Twirl around, stare it down, what's the mirror gonna say?
"With some luck, you'll measure up.
But you might not hold a candle to the rest.
Is that your best?"
Says the mirror to the mess.

But there's a whisper in the noise
Can you hear a little voice?
And it says..

Has anybody told you, you're beautiful!
You might agree if you could see what I see
Because everything about you is incredible!
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you
For me.

-Nichole Nordeman, Beautiful For Me-

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Two Fathers

This year I pay tribute to the two fathers in my life.

#1 - This one gave me life.

He teaches me patience, perseverance and above all, forgiveness. He has shown me true sacrifice and endurance and what you must bring to your own personal alter to become like Jesus Christ.

He's rejoiced with me in my successes. Cried with me in my failures.

He's urged me on multiple bad days of self introspection to stay strong and have courage. After a brutal freshman final, he reminded me that mountains must be scaled - no matter what path I chose. And the night my best friend left across the world for 2 years, my dad let me curl up next to him and bawl my eyes out for a few hours.

#2 - This one gave me his life.
Of all the decisions I have ever made - or will make - in my life, marrying this man was the best one.

He calms and reasons with the upset little boy. He reasures the dramatic drama queen that her concerns are always valid. And when days are short and free time non-existent, he coaches little league and reshuffles his schedule to be in the needed audience.

The most joyous time of the day is when he walks through the door.

We love him. We lean on him constantly. He carries the weight of our family on strong shoulders that never seem to shake or falter.

Happy Fathers Day to the sweet fathers in my life!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Official Day of Summer...

...and not a customer in sight.

Oh, wait. I see one! I see one!



We need a new plan.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Ripples of Loss

Last summer a beautiful, young mother was killed while road biking. The spot where she was hit is located 2 blocks from where I swim in the early dawn hours. And I've biked that length of road many times.

I haven't biked it since.

She was killed in those AM hours. I drove past the spot roughly 10 minutes before it happened, which means I passed her - without any knowledge - as she biked towards the final minutes of her life.

Morbid, I know.

I found out about the crash 2 hours later when my brother frantically called me at home. The story was already breaking on the morning commute and he was worried the un-named road biker was me.

Police reports say she was doing everything right. She was biking with friends and had her helmet on correctly. The driver crashed into the middle of the group - swerving to miss hitting a girl coming the opposite way who was answering a text and had veered too far into the other lane.

She left behind 2 baby girls - one 4 months old, the other 3.

I think about her every time I get on my bike.

Every time - like this morning as I crept quietly through my house, clipless shoes in one hand and helmet in the other, careful not to rouse my babies upstairs - a brief thought hits if I'm coming back. If maybe this is my last moment with my children.

I say a lot more prayers on my bike than I ever have before.

And I didn't even know her.

Life isn't meant to be lived in fear. But every so often you start to wonder if events around you are warning calls as opposed to random, horrific accidents.

She haunts me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Our First Baptism

The pictures are hiding a very hectic morning with last minute ironing, polishing and frantic rushing to get loaded in the car. If you look close, you can see a child who decided to throw a grumpy fit right before the baptism. And someone in the photo still needs to lose 15 pounds.

And while the pictures might show some of the amazing joy and peace we felt throughout the day. Or the happiness our Big Guy felt weeks leading up to his baptism. Photos can never adequately capture family moments like when we got home - where both kids and parents collapsed on Mom & Dad's bed to simply be together for most of the afternoon. These are days for rejoicing!

Oh, the joy!

My sweet sister-in-law tells me that once your oldest is baptized, the rest start flying like dominos. I have a scary feeling she might be right.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Great Compromise of Books and Movies

To My Darling Children,

Ever since Tuesday evening, life has been a bit anxious. That was the evening we finished reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. You all loved it, you ate up every chapter, you've made drawings of the characters and we've talked so many times about the good and evil sides to the story.

I wish you were this fascinated with the Gospel.

And up until this book, we have enjoyed three wonderful, popcorn-filled evenings huddled together watching the Harry Potter movies after finishing the respective book.

But now comes the problem.

From here on out - as we have talked about - the movies become PG-13. And as you know, in our family, we don't watch those shows until you turn 13. In fact, you know there are lots of PG-13 shows we don't watch period. Many, many of these will be up to your personal discretion and we pray you chose wisely when the time comes.

Aside from the scary moments, the situations that you're not ready to jump into yet, and the basic fact that following Hollywood standards is like buying expired meat from Mexico - you have a sweetness about you right now that is slowly depleting - even without watching these movies. You will never have this again - never be like this again. And as your mother, I'd like to make this a more hallowed time as opposed to what society would rather do to you instead.

So here's my deal. And because you know how much your mother adores a good book discussion. I will let you watch the Harry Potter movies (and for that matter - the Lord of the Rings movies). But you must READ THE BOOK FIRST.

By yourself alone.

After you are done, we will have a lively, spirited discussion on character development, plot, how it relates to your life and your goals, etc. I want to know what you loved about these books as well as what you hated, and if it changed any way you perceive life around you.

Yep - I know. You're not thrilled about reading books that advanced on your own. I know you can't right now. It's all part of the wisdom of this plan. It could in fact buy me a few more years post age 13 when you can finally watch the movies. Or it might motivate you to start reading earlier. Either way, it's a good ending.

And then - I'll provide tons and tons of popcorn, loads of candy and soda.

And hopefully you'll let me watch with you.



PS - May I suggest somewhere along the way to try reading Gone With the Wind and Pride and Prejudice?? You wont be able to top those film adaptations.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Time for Planting

Last year, our Big Guy pulled a discarded perennial plant from the trash, dug up some soil from the yard, found an old pot in our shed and tended the plant all summer long. By September he had a gigantic, beautiful spread of flowers.

I decided if he can do that with 1 perennial, just think of what he can do with some serious supplies.

Hence our new McKinnon tradition...

Pretty Girl is too young - but the boys will each be responsible for planting and maintaining a large, beautiful pot this year on our back porch.

If this goes well, I have big garden plans for next year...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Little Perspective

This fall marks 3 years since we left the Gold Coast to come west. Time to look at a few "before" and "after" pictures of our yard. Remember it was abandoned, overgrown, dead and so very sad when we found it.

And this was on a good day...

And now an even better day...

PS - try to ignore that garden section in the rear with the sawdust and wood piles. For the sake of my young, energetic, digging-crazed boys, that's staying put for now.