Sunday, February 03, 2008

44 in 2007 - A List of Life Events, Small & Huge.

I'm taking this opportunity to reflect on 2007 through the lens of a list (thanks Ali for the prompt). The 44 is from my age, and 2007....well that's obvious. This is a real challenge for me as this has been an extraordinary year of good and bad events, and I'm not sure I've really taken a breath. Since "Breathe" is my word for 2008, this seems a perfect exercise. Also, while I'm getting proficient at the blog thing, I find it challenging to organize this will be another challenge as the prompt was to provide photos whenever possible. Here goes:

1. I started the year where I would end it - in Arcata. This photo of Anna and Nathaniel is taken in front of my dear friend Debbie's house, on a stump that has been a photo ritual for almost 20 years. To be completely honest, I'm not certain how long it's been a stump, it used to be a tree... We gathered at Debbie's for Christmas, as always, and it was a lovely end to what had been for me a hard year - professionally, relationally, and just in general. I had been actively looking for a new job for some time and having no luck. I was tired.

2. This is a photo of my kids heading home - to Fresno. My best thing - being a mom.

3. My word for 2007 (Ali Edward's prompt "one little word"): Roots

4. Autism continued to be a struggle for Nathaniel, and our entire family. While one on one therapy began to help Nathaniel communicate more and he found a routine and began to sleep through the night consistently, we had several epsiode where he "took a walk" and we had to call the police to help us find him. (So far, that hasn't happened in the past six months.) It was terrifying and we were forced to create barriers - our house shaped cage.

5. Anna's shoes - she is finding her voice. : )

6. Finding space and time to scrapbook - my space, and the opportunity to meet Ali in the valley at a class and at CKC Seattle. Very fun! I love scrapbooking - the artistic parts, the chance to reflect, to connect with my feelings about my family and my life.

7. Fresh, home-grown, oranges - when I first visited the house I would rent right by Fresno City College for two years I smelled the strong scent of the orange blossoms and jasmine. It wasn't until the last winter we lived there that the oranges were full and sweet and amazing to eat. We probably picked more than a hundred. We ate oranges with every meal. They were indescribably good. Sometimes life surprises you.

8. John bought me these beautiful black chairs for my dining room table - my first matching chairs, and enough for everyone in the family to sit for dinner at the same time! So excited.

9. This is a great story - the perfect girly best friend kind of day. Once a year Deb and Terry travel to southern Cal for a conference they like and to visit family. While I was living in Fresno, they would always stay a night there - Deb and I would have an afternoon to play and then Terry and us would have a lovely dinner. It was a generous and incredibly thoughtful thing that Terry added to the trip just for Deb and I. This time we went bra shopping - we were fitted and bought bras at Macy's and this lovely saleslady helped us. It was one of those easy, funny times when everything was hilarious and we took everyone we met along with us. So funny - like the lady we met in the elevator who said she was having the best day because although she was a size 10, she fit a size 6 skirt from Gap. We told her, no way was she a 10 - now she was a 6, Gap skirts don't lie!

10. Self Portrait - this was the year I really go into photography. John bought me this camera for Christmas, and I really enjoyed it. I love taking digital photos - of everything. Thanks Ali!

11. Collecting jars of ribbon - what can I say? Beautiful stuff.

12. The Fresno Zoo - we fell in love with the zoo in Fresno. They had beautiful giraffes (this is a photo of Jack actually feeding one), hot pink flamingos, elephants (Nathaniel's favorite every time), sting rays (the clip the stingers off, like we cut our fingernails), and much more. We spent many afternoons walking through the zoo, eating ice cream cones, and taking photos.

13. (My lucky number!) In April I was offered my dream job - assistant director at Humboldt State University's Children's Center. It was huge for us - a really big decision. John, generously, agreed and we had two months to prepare. Trudi, also incredibly generously, let me finish teaching my class at Fresno City College before coming up - this gave us time to earn a little extra money and to go through our possessions and thin things out. We still had a huge truck full, but really did get rid or donate many, many things. Moving to Arcata - by far the best thing that happened this year.

14. During the last month we lived in Fresno we moved to an apartment - the owners decided to sell the house we had been renting and loved - but the redeeming factor was the pool. We went everyday. Nathaniel would wake up, collect the swim suits and bring them to us. He loved it! And, he was fearless. Jack learned to float and to swim. Alice learned to dive. We had such a great time just being together in the pool.

15. I loved my work in Fresno - the little bits of beauty, especially at the great early education programs. I learned so much - it was definitely time well spent. And really important people, who I hope to know a long while.

16. Irony - while in Fresno I had the great privilege of spending a lot of time with Anna. We formed a new, and closer relationship. Including a shared sense of humor - and there was never a lack of things to laugh about.

17. My first meeting with the staff at HSU - a retreat at Arrington's Apples.

18. Our new home in Arcata.

19. Gilroy Gardens - a great family vacation idea from John.

20. Great America - our favorite roller coaster park. Right in Santa Clara, by John.

21. Anna testing at Tae Kwon Do - in 2007 Anna achieved her green belt, Alice her orange belt, and Jack earned a gold belt. We spent a lot of evenings driving back and forth to practice.

22. Gilroy Gardens again.

23. So much many boxes of books.

24. Taking the challenge to look at things close up from behind the camera - to see things differently.

25. Paw Pals - Nathaniel got to meet two companion dogs from Paw Pals. Paw Pals is looking for a puppy to raise specifically for Nathaniel. This dog would be highly trained, and his job would be to be Nathaniel's best friend. We pray everyday for the right puppy to come up and do well in training - a two year process - a puppy who would be "perfect" for my son.

26. Settling In - I decided to upack all our books. I love them.

27. Anna turned 17 - here Dad is helping her put accessories on her new bike.

28. Humboldt County Fair - we are rollercoaster people. John took the girls and I to the county fair when we were dating, he only half-jokingly told me that he tested us to see if we were rollercoaster people. My hunch is that would have been our last date if he'd found that I only liked to watch. But really, wheeeeee haaaaaaa, we are rollercoaster people.

28. The Beach. Moving back to Arcata put us right up close to the Pacific Ocean and we made good use of it. We spent several afternoons just hanging at the beach - kids mostly in the water. I took pictures and walked in the sand. We always came home exhausted and happy, happy, happy. Hot showers and pizza are perfect after the beach.

29. New schools for Nathaniel (Glen Paul) and for Alice and Jack (Arcata Christian School). Anna is attending Humboldt State University - everyone is really happy in their schools. This is a big deal for us, and such a relief.

30. Spending more time with Debbie.

31. Me and my girls.

32. Love my job - it's such a lovely center, accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, but it's really my co-workers that make my job so great. I really enjoy working with them - it's amazing to work with such a group of dedicated, educated, and just nice women. I'm so lucky!

33. Mural of Dutch Bros Coffee taken in Medford at our scrapbooking weekend - Deb, Sandie and I went to Medford and enjoyed a lovely weekend of scrapbooking, chick flicks, and great food. It was a blast picking up the Oregon trash talk about California - comment about a couple who seemed challenged, "oh them, they arn't stupid, they're just from California." And this great joke, "Here about the rash of dyslexics attempting suicide - they kept throwing themselves behind busses."

34. In October we took a trip to San Francisco to have a photo session w/Tara Whitney - awesome gal, great photos. She really sees kids and families. We had our session at the Palace of Fine Arts and then we went to the Exploratorium. Very fun! I love the Exploratorium - although with Nathaniel it was a bit of an unexpected challenge. Still he found some things that fit his learning style - full run!

35. Bumming around Old Town in Eureka with the kids - this is a fun mirror in front of the Toy Box. It was raining, but we tramped around and had a ton of fun. There are so many interesting places to explore around here - and of course there is our own history. Years ago, when Beanie Babies were the thing, Anna and Alice and I used to stand in line in the rain to buy beanies at this toy store. I love living somewhere where we have history - even silly history.

36. Trip to Oregon with John - we saw Elk (John took this photo, and they considered him an intrusion and almost came after him) had a great car trip, and saw his Dad and Brother. It was a great day.

37. Tuba Santa - the kids and I got to see an entire Tuba Christmas band in McKinleyville, this is the Tuba Santa...and the kids watching from the car. I love Nathaniel's expression!

38. Jack as an angel in his school Christmas play. Jack sang and did motions for the play in the angel choir. It was so fun to see him up there - he did a great job.

39. Holy cupcakes! it's Shimelle - I got to take three classes from Shimelle, what a blast. I love her easy going style, her sense of humor, and she can bake a great cupcake.

40. A sunny day, swinging at the park. What can be better than happy kids on a lovely day playing at the park? Nothing. I love this park - it's smack in the middle of the community here in Arcata. We played soccer here. You can see the bay, and the clouds floating by. I love living here.

41. Rain and 42. Los Bagels - it's rained as many days as it's been dry since we moved here in June. I love the rain. We all love it. The first few times it rained we walked outside and let it soak into us. Los Bagels has been a favorite haunt for twenty years - Bill and I went there while we were new college kids, we took Anna there as a baby for teething bagels, and all my kids love it. It's our Saturday morning ritual to get bagels and listen to NPR - Radio Talk and Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.

43. Jack picking presents for his Christmas list from the Target mailer.

44. Me at the end of 3007 - a year of tremendous change that brought us home to where our roots are - Arcata.

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