The Stream

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Not Eggxactly What I Wanted

Micah: "Mom can I have an egg (hard boiled) for a snack?"
Me, distracted and too tired to get it says: "Sure, just eat it at the counter."
Micah: "Rweady to hats (hatch) it! Oh no!"

Raw egg wasn't exactly what I wanted.

I took Mat to the airport on Friday and after his kiss goodbye, he realized he had left his wallet in HIS car AND not in his carry-on. CRAP is right!

Not exactly what I wanted, a one 1hr trip to the airport was plenty for me and Micah. Luckily, the people at "Delta, Delta, Can I help ya, help ya?", were nice enough to look up Mat's complete government profile since birth and asked him some pretty far out questions from his history. He passed his interrogation and they let him on the plane.

I cut Gretchen's stringy hair Sunday.

Not Exactly what she wanted, but it's the only hair cut I have figured out for her hair-type. Hair extensions will have to come later for the hair that never grows.

Lastly, sitting at the memorial for Shane the other night was something that none of us wanted. We were supposed to be talking about who was making the vanilla cream pies for Thanksgiving not listening to his life's tribute. Not exactly what ANY of us wanted.

It was nice to breathe stories of Shane and have the chance to laugh instead of cry at the memories. I was sitting by an incredible force-field of people when deep down--I was completely crumbling from the inside. I could not keep it together; Kelli and Jared's singing, a mother's tender-hearted words, Mat's family, and Shane's wife Holly. Especially, dear elegant Holly! She was the anchor to all of us. She had the strength, somewhere deep within her, for the hundreds in attendance and then some. She was amazing. Watching her and her families, gave me the challenge to love a little more and dig a little deeper to take care of others.

Finally, a little more at peace with Shane's sudden passing, but, my mind will often be centered in on Shane's family and Holly and Buddy. Oh Little Buddy, who doesn't love you? His grandpa said he was cuter than most kids, if not the cutest. I would dare say he is cuter than my own and I'm NOT kidding!

He looks like his daddy, and that cuteness will carry us all a long way.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I've tried to stay distracted tonight, but I can't. I've tried to stay busy, but I can't. A dear relative has passed away suddenly at a very young age (our age) and it is hard to swallow. For reasons unexplained, he's passed away this afternoon. I'm numb. I can't even wrap my head around it. Man! It's been a week. I can't stop thinking about his wife and child. Where do you even begin to pick up the pieces AND even begin to give them an order?

Tonight, I have a handicap on all my regular routines. I'm staring. I've tried to do some other things around the house, but I find my thoughts boomeranging back to him and his family. I did manage to boil a pot of water for the kid's mac and cheese, and poured and stirred until it looked familiar. I put on a movie for distraction purposes and now I am trying to wind down to sleep. My eyes are swollen and my nose is closing in with stuffiness. Mat's out of town, so the timing of this conference is not helping!

Lesson Learned: Little things don't matter anymore, at least for a little while. And squeeze the family you love.

I am not seeking sympathy, but only writing because it is my therapy.

Shane we love you! May your family be strong. May your wife be strong. May your little boy be strong. Love Always, the Harris Family

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No Bull Part II- Privates

After the last bullying incident, Becket started to tell me all the little incidents of his day. I told him to blow off the small stuff because you don't want to be a tattle, but if somebody hurts you then you should tell a teacher.

Well, when we were in the car yesterday, I asked Becket how things were going at school and he started to talk. First it was little stuff, like who got a bad mark and Jackson telling him how much stronger he was, but then he started talking about bigger issues. BIG ISSUES. I mean, showing your privates to others at recess issues. Yes, it makes you wince, but Mat and I both recalled a time when this happened to us in our early years of grade school. You want to ignore it like it never happened but we all know this VERY poop does indeed happen.

One of these same boys also pulled down Becket's pants while he was hanging from the monkey bars causing everyone else to laugh at him. Becket's crying now in the car, "They were all laughing at me and they wouldn't stop laughing!" "What did you do?" I asked. "I just walked away." He was afraid that he was going to get in trouble by the teacher.

Obviously we have a problem, a bigger problem than just tattling and petty 1st grade stuff. I had to make a decision on what to do. I don't like to step on the teacher's toes and be one of those parents that fight every battle for their kid, yet this was serious enough that I couldn't sweep it under the rug either. So, I called my mom, the veteran school teacher. She listened, while I cried. I'm glad she can still be my shoulder even if it is at a distance and I'm glad I have access to her wisdom. She gave me some ideas on how to approach it and I presented my ideas to her which we carefully planned and thought out.

I am happy to say that this incident is resolved for the most part. Gotta love communication. I believe it is the downfall of our entire society. Sometimes talking it out and being on the same page makes all the worry and assumptions go away. Becket's breathing! Becket's teacher is aware now and he knows that she is his advocate. He doesn't have to live under his backpack trying to deal with 1st grade life in his complex, deep mind, and I am at ease knowing he can pack away his anxious behavior and he can finally let his moppy blond hair blow carefree, for the first time in a long while.

I love you Becket.

(your trying hard, yet not so overbearing mother)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Scripture Scouts Mania!

Have you heard of the Scripture Scouts? It's these kids with a dog that talks and they act out this whole musical adventure. I swear it was made in the 70's and at first it is very annoying to listen to as a parent, but soon you will be singing the songs.

I ask my kids if they want to listen to music, they want to listen to scripture Scouts. I ask if they what they'd like to do for fun, it's Scripture Scouts.I ask if they would like to watch a show, and then they suggest the Scripture Scouts. They sit by the Ipod and listen, like I gather around chocolate to eat it. That's all they want to do. I've even tried mixing up the order a bit for variety, that was a mistake. We start from the beginning. Here they are singing one of the many songs:

Because they have learned the scriptures so well, I've ordered the New and Old Testament for them to listen to on our Fall trip in October. It's a secret, but I don't know if I can contain it--I am actually just as excited to listen to the Scripture Scouts myself.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Falling into Something

This weekend, Mat got his first wedding gig out of the way. Meet the McKnights:


Mat was asked by a colleague to take her friend's pictures. The professionals were a little out of her budget, so Mat nervously took it on. He took the traditionals and I was there with the 50mm taking the candids. In 6hrs, we took over 1700 photos and then realized we had spent another 6hrs over the weekend editing them. We definitely captured their entire evening and we made sure we had several in focus, but lesson learned: Don't take so many photos.

The next day we cashed in on our anniversary date way back in August. Earlier in the month we had all our ducks lined up with sitters and then Becket came down with a fever. I love it how life throws you a curve ball (more often than not)!

During our escape, we went on a bike ride sidelining the Youghiogheny river and just laughed and pedaled our hearts out until it was time for our tour at Fallingwater. I think I actually snorted at one point.

Micki getting loose

Next, Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright. While we were waiting for our 11AM tour an 81yr old man fell on the sidewalk knocking the back of his head. A relative asked if there was a doctor on site. "Doctor? Did someone say doctor?" Luckily, Mat jumped up and ran to the man while I just rehearsed scenes from movies in my head. He was conscious but had a good fall. They took him to the hospital for further scans and they rescheduled our tour.

On our tour, we got the ins and outs on why Frank put in low ceilings, how he tied in nature to this summer home, and how much he was way over budget when he was done. All very interesting and I mental noted a few ideas for my future home. A must see if you like that kind of artsy architecture stuff. Brad Pitt liked it, Angelina flew him out for his birthday just to see this piece of work. I wonder if they had their own personal tour?

At Fallingwater

Later, we stopped for lunch and ice cream. Still giggling and actually talking without interruptions. What a breath of fresh air this date back to the crazies.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

No Bull

Becket came off the bus looking so glum the other day. I thought he got a red light, which is the lowest mark on the school's behavior system. That would have been surprising considering his nature.

As it turns out, he was a victim of a bully. Poor guy! This bully was in his kindergarten class last year and Becket's so fortunate to have him in his class this year. The bully is a bit of free spirit and LOVES wrestling and the WWF. Becket said this kid pushed his head and kicked him while they were waiting for the bus to come to return them home. Becket reported it to the bus driver and when the bus driver called his name, the bully hid behind a seat in the bus. Nothing was done about it after that and there was no follow up. Unfortunately, the bully will think 2 secs about this and then move on, Becket stews and stews and internalizes the whys and the how could yous? I wish he thought about it for only 2 seconds.

His Hollywood answer at the dinner table: "Why would you want to be a bully at school? School is for learning, making friends, playing, and having fun. It's not for bullying. Why would anyone want to do that?" Mat and I tried to keep our food in our mouth and our eyebrows pinned down with surprise.

We talked endlessly about it the whole night and the whole next day. We wrote a note to the teacher and talked about being a superhero not a bad guy.

1st grade is tough!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day? More Like, Labor Intensive

"Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin...." remember that song? I've been singing it all weekend because whenever there is a weekend titled "Three Day," all housework gets shoved into the corners, the errands HAULT unless absolutely necessary (like for ice cream or gas) and we don't take time to nap, which is very regrettable come Tuesday.

We drove up to the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh

Mat captured the beauty




While I captured the kids (literally):



We took a break for lunch at Tamarind, our favorite Indian restaurant on Craig's street. It's in this old Victorian house making the atmosphere just as enjoyable as the food.


When I say OUR favorite restaurant, I mean MAT and ME. We bring the kids the traditional bland food.

Next the Natural History Museum. We quickly skimmed the dinosaur section, because we had never been to the art galleries on the other side. I think we need to take another trip back to finish it, there was just so much. Check out this functioning cabinetry made out of drawers:


And this table


The kids kept busy by pyramiding themselves on ALL the benches. We were a little noisy and had horrible museum etiquette, but C'est la Vie.


With a quick jaunt to Costco we were on our way home when we decided it was still light outside, why not go rock climbing? So, we did.

On Sunday, we messed around at our own Botanical Garden. It was gorgeous weather. The kind of weather you can't waste a second being indoors.




Monday we put together our own little 5K with friends.

Mat again, already ran his 1/2 marathon before the 5K and was willing to watch the kids. Thank you Mat!


While the rest of us tried to finish our 5K


Kelli, Sheila and I decided to sprint for the finish line when we got to the bathrooms. I can't really say who won, but Kelli's 3mths pregnant so whether I did or not, I still feel defeated.



Later that day there was only one thing to do, eat doughnuts and rock climb. We've got the fevah! Mat was giddy, he kept saying, "Monday I don't have to go to clinic, I'm eating doughnuts and rock climbing!" Life was sweet for him.

We managed a few overhangs and a few firsts!




and we managed to keep the kids entertained long enough to climb--but barely!


I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving. A "Four Day Weekend?" We won't know what to do with ourselves. Can I get a hallelujah?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back To School Night Reports

Me: "Hi, I'm Becket's mom, Micki, and this is Mat, his dad."
Mat: "Hi nice to meet you."
Teacher: "Hi."
Me: "Real quick, I have to share what Becket said in his prayer last night. He prayed that the class would be quiet while you were out in the hall so that the class wouldn't get in trouble when you came back in. He said the kids were being way too noisy and he was worried."
Teacher laughs then tries to explain why she was out in the hall and not in class, which I could care less and I completely understand why.
Me: "How's he doing?"
Teacher: "He is soooo quiet. He hardly says a peep, but he is doing well. He's a good kid."
Me: "Rewind, did you say, hardly says a peep?"

Moving onto Gretchen's teacher

Me: "Hi, nice to meet you again, this is Gretchen's Dad, Mat."
Miss Angel: "Gretchen is doing really well. Let's see, what can I tell you about Gretchen, she is a natural at public speaking. If the kids are to get up and tell about a picture they drew, she speaks clearly, enunciates, and and can talk to the audience as if she were giving a speech. I am just impressed how well she can communicate. She also like to answers questions. We can always count on her for that."
Me: "Uh-huh."
Miss Angel: " I do have to say that the other day she did break down because she was asked to cut out a heart and because she couldn't make one perfectly she started to cry and put her head down. I told her it was alright and that it didn't have to be perfect. I even got some play-dough and wadded it up in my hand and whacked it on the table to show her that this is what a real heart looks like. She then broke down even harder, bless her heart the little perfectionist, I just ended up making the heart for her because I felt so bad."
Me: "Uh-huh."

That about 'SPLAINS it!

Here's a picture of them the next morning after back to school night:

Micah is totally pretending, she doesn't know how bad her life is going to be in a few years. Gretchen told me that she would like to stay home from school today and do whatever Micah and I are doing.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Picture Perfect

Mat has been asked to take pictures for a wedding next Friday and in anticipation, he has been practicing at home by snapping pictures of us.

First, you hear the bench open and the flash click on. A few "beep, beeps" from the camera and then you feel this black hole of lens in your face. At first, I pose to be polite and supportive. This would be my polite and supportive face:


Then FlASH! A beam of light contracts the pupils and there is Mat standing there looking over the picture. He exams the aperture, shutter speed, white balance---whatever those camera words mean. And then SNAP! This is my, "I know what you're doing, but I'm going about my business anyway face."


More adjusting and zooming and fixing--and then SNAP. This is my, "Really? I might break your camera face."


So he moves onto other guinea pigs in the home.

Gretchen's "I've done this before face."


"And, I'll do it again, because I'm 5, and I don't have a choice face"


Becket's, "I'll smile for anyone with this toothless grin face"


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

BTW Mat's Mom is Famous

Fox News called Mat's mom Andrea, requesting an interview regarding the highway patrolmen crosses that were placed all around the state. An atheist group has protested against these crosses by suggesting that they represent Christianity, and the judge ruled in their favor.

Mat lost his dad awhile ago when he was killed in the line of duty. Since then, a cross has been placed in Parley's Canyon, north of SLC, UT to honor him.

Here is the interview.

Interview with Fox News

She was also featured on channel 2 news as well.