Daddy Day

It’s always special when Daddy is the principal point person for the kids all day. They love it and have action packed adventures.

This one was fit to bursting with Spring sunshine!

Greenlake Park

I believe there were parks visited, high school track meets attended, and films (cartoons) screened at a local independent theater.

Discovery Park

A perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with Daddy!

Yes, Baby.

The kids like to ask me if we can play this game they invented that they call “Yes, Baby.”

They love it when I agree to play “Yes, baby.” (Which is every time they’ve ever asked.) The rules of the game are they ask me questions and I agree to them by saying “Yes, baby,” in a really sweet, high sing-song voice and then I have to do what they are asking me —it is imperative that I follow through with their request. It’s usually starting when we’re eating an afterschool snack around the kitchen table and Michael is working one of his evening-shift days.

One of their first questions is typically regarding can they watch a certain Hayao Miyazaki film or another, and one of their final questions is almost always, “Will you make us a cake?“

And then they praise me for being “such a nice mama; such a kind mama.”

The whole thing is very funny to me and speaks to how often they’re being asked to say “Yes, mama,” such as me last weekend, “let’s get dressed up and go down to see the cherry blossoms!”

Yes, mama!

I’ve even heard Lady Kitty ask Lake if they could play “Yes, baby,” and she would be the mama and he could be the baby. And then he immediately asked her if he could do some thing with guns, and she said sweetly “Yes.”

Apparently Lady Kitty also occasionally asks Linnéa to play “Yes, baby” and sometimes she’ll want to be the mama and sometimes she’ll want Linnéa to be the mama. And this is also a bit funny, because Lake actually made up the game, and Lady Kitty constantly insists that she’s not Baby if anyone refers to her that way. She’s “Big Girl!” Lake will even catch himself calling her “Baby” by habit sometimes and then he will correct himself, to call her “Big Girl.”

Lady Kitty is so funny so I have to close by sharing an anecdote from last night.

Funny “big girl”

We were having one of our weekly family fun night activities with our out of town guests from Sweden, as well, Linnea’s best friend who is visiting for the week.

Michael made a lovely dinner and then afterwards we were sitting around the table, playing a version of Monopoly, where it’s set in the Olympic Peninsula, and all the properties and landmarks are from the Olympics (who knew such a game existed?!).

It started getting late and nearing bedtime and Lady Kitty starts sundowning —running around the table, running on the chairs on the table and the like— Finally, she pauses and asks the question:

“What can I do to help?!” and then she makes this funny laugh p’shaw noise literally cracking herself up. “Tsee tsee tsee…”

A perfect day! I’m glad I could spend it with these funny kiddos!

Snow White

We went to see the family oriented student PNB production of Snow White Sunday for the matinée. (Michael and I like to feed Lake’s love of dance and theater and keep him inspired, so social pressures for boys not to dance don’t artificially bring him down.)

Lady Kitty was thrilled to be included in the ballet this time! Since it was the student production it was tailored for littles as well.

Everyone had a great time and the kids were at rapt attention during the entire ballet. We let our wiggles out before and afterwards for sure!

Lady Kitty’s joie de vivre!

Speaking of colours— (eg Snow White), Lady Kitty was wearing a turquoise puffer from Nana this morning and I said, that is going to be one of your colours. She answered back with big serious eyes, “it is one of my colours right now.”

A perfect day… I’m glad I could share it with you!

Sweet Tea Sweeties

Both these cutie kiddos love it when I make for them “Hot Tea— then Warm” as Lady Kitty clarifies in her requests.

Lady Kitty asks of her stevia sweetened peppermint tea, “But why it so tasty?

She inquires to me with such seriousness. We know how to have some fun in the kitchen too! We made an almond cake together for UK Mothering Sunday yesterday.

These kids know the joy of the real sugar too! Licking the bowl— always the best part of baking the cake. Lady Kitty was ready for a ‘nother birthday. She asked why we didn’t sing the whole song? So we sang all together the whole song for her. Then she asked why there no candles? Okay, we’ll back a ‘nother cake soon!

Lake decorated the cake whilst Lady Kitty napped. Thank you especially to Luisa Jehle for the fun and pretty cake toppers!

Happy Spring, loves! May it be sweet and tasty!

Lady Kitty’s Happy Birthday

Lady Kitty had been looking forward to celebrating her happy birthday at Baba House for quite some time. The time finally arrived, and they went off to have a splendid half-term holiday.

Lady Kitty said, “Good bye-bye! A big hug and a big tiss [kiss]?? Another hug!”

They had a great time with their NanaBaba : Team Extraordinaire.

Lady Kitty asked me, “Do you have some kind of suit like this?” No, unfortunately I don’t I told her. “Maybe you can wear this one… when you get three!” she answered with a laugh and a twinkle in both eyes.

She’s becoming her own person. She knows her preferences.

“I don’t like sriracha. I don’t like psice [spice].”

And if these photos are any indication, she might prefer firefighter to pretty dresses.

Party Princess with sad face

Although, Lake zoomed in, looked really closely at the photos, though and proclaimed “naw, she was just cold. Look pimples! [goosebumps]!”

She is getting bigger day by day.

She celebrates it: “I’m three-girl. I’m on three! I’m three but I need a mamas to come with me when I do anything. But when I’m bigger…”

Linnéa shared this sweet anecdote …

“I can’t be at two places at once” Linnéa told Lady Kitty
“Why” she asked
“Because I’m only one person,” Linnéa answered.
“I thought you were two persons!” She said with the biggest smile that made it obvious that she was joking. Linnéa reflected, “I can tell she’s growing up as she’s been joking with me more and more! So sweet☺️”

And I’ll leave you with some kids comedy:

“What do you call this kind of melon?” Lady Kitty asked, as both of the kids delightedly gobbled it up.

“Cantaloupe,” I said

“That’s an animal too,” explained Lake to his little sister, in teacher voice.

“That’s not an antelope. It’s a cat a lope,” refuted Lady Kitty with worldly wisdom and seriousness. 😂 She holds her own.

Lady Kitty Loves Mama

Where you going Lady Kitty? “To the twerium. How bout you do dis? How bout dat?”

“I like you Mama. Don’t die Mama.” Lady Kitty says this often.

“I love you too Lady Kitty,” I say.

“Do you want me to don’t die?” She asks.

“Well, we all die someday, Lady Kitty. I hope that day is a long time from now for both of us,” I say.

“Mama you’re cute. You’re a cutie pie. Mama your first name is cutie pie. Then your nother name is Tolle.”

Regarding seeing Michael and my wedding photos, “Was I there? I want to be there next time. I wanna be mewied [married] to you. Can I please be mewied to you?”

Lady Kitty likes to race into my home office and lock the door and scuttle under my standing desk, racing away from Linnéa any chance she gets. She gets comfortable and reflective on growing. “I’m going [growing]. When I get big I can’ [can’t] fit in hew [here]. I wanna get big like my Mama.”

“It’s nice to have a happy mama and a done with work mama.”

“N-O-P,” Lady Kitty is singing over and over like a loud lullaby to Mr. Cat. She’s heard Lake call her nap time. N-O-P [N-A-P] As in we’re spelling it so she won’t catch on and Lakes picked up on it as well, and has added his own twist on the spelling of ‘nap’. Except it sounds like the cats out of the bag. She seems to know exactly what a N-O-P is! And it’s N-O-P time for Mr. Cat.

“Mama, am I going right now in Baba house? When I get my clothes on? For my happy birthday? Can I please go in Baba house right now?”

Then she gets reflective … “Mama— I don’t know how to have a birthday.”

“Maybe you could ask Lake and Linnéa. They’ve had a lot of birthdays…”

Lady Kitty said, “I’m gonna ask only Bro Bro.”

He’s her other big love.

“I’m a big girl and a tiny girl at the same time. Can can I be a little girl, a big girl and a baby the same time? And a baby? Puz Michael call me Baby. Peez mama”

Yes, darling girl.

“Dank you Mama!”

Happy Birthday Happy Mama

Happy Birthday Happy Mama

On Thursday I had my perfect day, and during our family dinner celebration at home Lady Kitty said, “Happy birthday, happy Mama!”

Indeed! This special day of mine was really quite ordinary and yet it was infused with joy from start to finish. What’s your perfect day?

This astonishingly mundane and exquisitely special birthday included pre-dawn yoga, work, British afternoon tea with a dear friend out at Queen Mary’s tearoom, phone calls and text messages from dear old friends and inspo from Brené Brown in her Unlocking Us podcast. Her interviews with the Gottman are poignant and powerful. John Gottman: I love the equation in the Beatles song: “In the end, the love you take is equal to love you make.” So I’m a mathematician, too, and I love to see an equation like that.

It all added up to a beautiful day, and Michael was being so thoughtful about dinner plans trying to pick the perfect evening plan and restaurant. Option after option was not feeling quite right and then I realized I wanted nothing more than to enjoy a home cooked meal together with my family around our own dining table. As it turned out some time-saving hacks were in order— my list is always longer than the day has hours. I had fun shopping at Metropolitan Market for some catered prepared foods and voilà, a (semi)-home cooked meal at home!

Happy Birthday, happy Mama!

I’m truly blessed with wonderful friends and family, and I was able to revel in the gratitude of these beautiful relationships all day. Lady Kitty, though, really takes the cake. She might just be my biggest supporter and fan. She regularly says, “I take care of you Mama, puz I don’t want you to die.” And “don’t hurt yourself Mama puz then you’ll have to go to the hospital to get medicine and a band-aid that makes you feel better!”

The love you make…

A perfect birthday day… I’m glad I spent it with you!

On Inspirement and Compassion

The gift of sibling love and compassion. 📸 Jason Gerend

Today’s pearl is coming to you compliments of Brené Brown, and is this quote from Harvard clinical psychologist Chris Germer PhD: “compassion is love plus suffering. So, when suffering meets love and stays loving, then we have compassion. A moment of compassion is always a kind of mixture between suffering and love, but compassion is also a positive emotion… it transforms the experience of suffering into something positive. That’s compassion.

“Often when love meets suffering, it turns into fear, it turns into anger, it turns into disgust, it turns into aversion because we just get overwhelmed. But if we can stay loving, then we have compassion. So compassion is actually a taller order than love because suffering is a challenge to love.”

And the cute quotes are coming in strong from the kiddos. As always it’s difficult to capture them all, but here are a few gems.

Lady Kitty on a film Lake wanted to watch, when she came running to me and Lake had his head under the sofa pillow: Iss wery swery [it’s very scary]. But iss not a lot of swery [scary].

Lake: I got the “inspire-ment” of have pirates in my legs because there’s pirates in Porco Rosso.

Lake, said, in response to me passing on almond cake for dessert because I had a big piece for breakfast along with my protein bar said,

“Wow, you’re… That’s really living a life!“

Lady Kitty, “I like aw-mon cake. I love aw-mon cake this much. That’s a lotta much!”

We hope your day includes some sweetness and compassion— that’s really living a life, as Lake would say!

After the Rain

Listening to Brené Brown’s podcasts whist Linnéa and Lady Kitty are out adventuring. The house is quiet and I have my daily work awaiting me. Lake is at school and Michael is working at the hospital.

If this message doesn’t speak to you, at least enjoy the gorgeous photos.

Brené highlights in her 14 Dec 2022 Unlocking Us podcast this moving passage that stunned me, and I wanted to share together with some photos taken by Linnéa this morning at Gasworks Park. Father Richard Rohr wrote in his book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps first published in 1989:

“We suffer to get well. We surrender to win. We die to live. We give it away to keep it. This counterintuitive wisdom will forever be resisted as true. It’ll be denied and avoided until it’s forced upon us by some reality over which we are powerless, and if we are honest, we are all powerless to the presence of full reality.”

Wishing you all a blessed and beautiful day!