Thursday, January 29, 2015

Farm life update no. 5

It's hard to believe it's January here, with the sunshine and warm weather we've been having. The farm is coming to life. (As are its occupants.) Dar's been putting in a trellis system to set up an irrigation system in a young blueberry field. I've been taking lunch out to him & we have a low key picnic in the sunshine the past few days.  
The slow pace of winter is speeding up, delightfully so. Little calves are being born in the pasture, lambs frolic at the neighbors and I've got babies on the brain too. I'm so glad I'm due in the spring. It just feels right: everything is budding and blooming, shaking off the winter. Now, like our birthing class teacher told us, I probably shouldn't be so excited. Spring, and our little one, are probably not quite ready to be here yet. But with the filbert trees budding, Dar getting home later & later (my biggest clue that spring is coming), temperatures in the 60s, & crocuses, CROCUSES, popping up, I'm having a hard time reining in my spring fever. 
The blueberry bushes are still wearing their  glorious scarlet winter wear, but it seems like they've already started to put on a tinge of green. The Sinn family has migrated from their winter hibernation of evenings spent sipping tea around the fire to being outdoors en masse. 
And what else do you do when it's a glorious warm day but wash all the vehicles? (I strategically parked mine so it would make it in the line up.)
A filbert bud. 
And how better to enjoy the farm & good life than a long walk around the dirt & growing green things with the entire clan?  That's something I appreciate about the Sinn family: everyone's always up for a jaunt through the fields to scope out the land & get a better view of Mt. Hood. They are so good at being spontaneous & taking advantage of the fleeting moment. Because tomorrow, it could be foggy. (We've had a very mild winter here: not much rain. Lots of fog, though. The days of sunshine break it up nicely however, & I think I'm safe saying I will successfully survive my second PNW winter.)
And I'll end this farm update with a parting shot of our favorite Sinn niece. She is as full of spunk as she looks!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

a life well-lived

Monday morning, dear Grammy passed from this life. She left this life the way she lived it; not splashy or dramatic, but just peacefully & graciously slipping away with her loved ones around her. She was an ordinary woman of seemingly little importance by the world's standards. But to her family, & everyone that knew her, she was a jewel of a woman. I didn't have the opportunity to know her as long as most; I heard about her from my friend, then sister-in-law Carmen, before I got to know her as my own Grammy. But even then, I admired her spunk & bright outlook on life. She worked really hard raising her family when her husband was confined to a wheelchair. Life didn't always treat her gently. She had a child, husband, & grand-children precede her in death. But I never got the sense that she was bitter about any of it. She'd tell me when I'd go visit her on sunny afternoons after eating lunch with Dar on the farm, "It'd be easy to look around at this world & all its problems & get down. But really, here in our little part of the world, we've still got it pretty good." Then she'd look out her big living room window at Mt. Hood rising majestically over the blueberry fields, embroidery in her lap, and I knew she was happy. She loved her little home so much. It wasn't fancy, it wasn't much, but she felt safe & enclosed in it & appreciated it. In the days before she died, she would say, "I just hope that whoever lives here after me appreciates this little house as much as I did." 
People outside of her small circle of influence will never know what they missed out on by not knowing Marion Sinn. But she radiated peace & contentment, no matter what her circumstances were. Knowing her makes me want to be more content wherever I am, with whatever I have now. I see how people felt so comfortable dropping by her house, calling her on the phone (it was a rare occurrence to be at her house & not have the phone ring from someone just wanting to chat) & I want my life to be that way. She makes me embrace being "just a mom" because I see how much influence & difference she made in the world by loving her children & grandchildren & just quietly praying for them & teaching them by a godly, consistent example. If, at the end of my life, I have been a fraction of the woman Grammy was, I will have lived a life well-lived. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

nine weeks to go

Only nine weeks to go...our home is filling up with bright, plastic baby accessories. We've started birthing classes (yikes!). I catch myself almost waddling. I'm not really ready for a baby. But I can't wait to meet our little one, too. My mind fluctuates between panic & excitement.
I've been panicking that I can't do this after all. That I'll think our baby's ugly. 
That I won't be able to handle labor. 
That I'll love the baby more than Dar. 
That he'll love the baby more than me. 
That I'll no longer care about my nieces & nephews I'll be so absorbed in my own child.
That I'll have a stillborn & be more sad about the wasted nine months than the loss of my baby.
That I'll lose my patience when they cry & shake them to smithereens.
That the sleepless nights will ruin my marriage.

Life as we know it will change. I know it's a positive change. Everyone tells me you'd never go back to being just the two of you, even with the sleepless nights & teething & frustrations. And I truly believe them. The first time my baby, my baby, reaches for me because I am their mother & the one who can comfort & love them best will be worth it all. It seems so narcissistic in words, but I can't wait to be the one they love best. And as much involvement I've had with my niblings & nannying in California, my own child will be solely my responsibility. And with that weighty responsibility comes an even greater fulfillment, I suspect. 

I'm so grateful for the people surrounding me that love their children & embody patience & grace towards them when I think I'd go nuts in their shoes. It gives me hope:). Not that there won't be mistakes made, or times of frustration, or moments of feeling helpless, but at the end of the day, I see them tiptoe into their children's darkened room & kiss their sleepy little heads no matter what that day was like. And that is what I focus on when I eye the flight of steps going into our apartment & think how many times I will lug this baby up & down. It will be worth it!

While we excitedly await the arrival of this little one, though, there is another loved one we are saying goodbye to. Grammy doesn't seem to have much time left here. I feel unqualified to talk about how much I love her & how much I've learned from her. She is an amazing, strong, spunky lady who let the hardships, & they were hard, of her life make her better, not bitter. Her family has the utmost love & respect for Grammy & will miss her terribly. Pray for them & her, that these moments could be sweet & beautiful & not too full of pain.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

welcome to the Dotterer's

Sometimes, I get a little shallow, & only want to post pretty photos. Photos with good lighting & cute people. Photos that look like they stepped out of pinterest or an anthropologie catalogue. Photos that reflect on me, the photographer, as having it all together. This photo has none of that (except the cute people part!) But it is one of the best photos ever, in my opinion.
 Yup, that's us. All of us. We're rarely all together anymore. But when we are, we are together. I adore my family. They're weird & fun & have good taste in jokes & board games. We all have a sweet tooth. Pudding is a side dish, not a dessert. We've got memories that won't quit. Quotes from our favorite children's stories crop up & are recycled to fit in our adulthoods. Our nieces & nephews are teased & harassed in hopes of making them tough & able to handle whatever life might throw at them. But they know they are deeply loved, too. The in-laws, amazingly, found their places amongst our Dottererness, & I can't imagine our family without them anymore. This photo is far from perfect in a professional sense, but it captures everyone. Evan? When I asked him why he didn't move out from behind Mom's head, because surely he KNEW he was being blocked, he said, "No one told me to." Wes looks goony, which is just Wesley Scott. the nephews are trying to be tough. (Where did my sweet little nephies go?!) Roxy is stubbornly refusing to cooperate. The babies aren't looking. But it's us. No pretending we aren't a little weird, unorganized, & uncoordinated. I love the family I belong to. I sometimes wonder why we get along so well. But then I forget wondering & just love & appreciate them.
 Dan is an amazing husband to my mom. He is a quiet, gentle, considerate man. All we have to do is casually mention, "It would be nice to have a mirror in our guest room..." & voila. Done. He lets us borrow his sweet new truck & drives around the Buick when we are in Illinois, which Dar thoroughly enjoys.

 The two nieces are full of vivacity. Which they have to be, to hold their own against the seven nephews. They need a girl cousin, don't you think? Come March, we'll see!

 These are the hardest reasons to leave Illinois & go back to Oregon, as much as I love & feel it's home now. They grow every time I see them. It's hard not to feel like I'm missing out terribly.
 And for fun. Because I know you've been dying to see a belly shot. It's a little disconcerting that Carmen's due in a few weeks & I'm as large as she is!