This Business of Being Siblings

As I was walking out from a coffee shop with my brother, he commented on my children, He copies everything she is doing. A glance behind and I could see my daughter was twirling around, hiding behind a sign, and jumping through the bike racks. All with her younger brother right behind, a step-for-step shadow of each movement. My brother responded thoughtfully, It’s interesting to think, what would he be like without a big sister?

It is an interesting thought but the beauty of it is that there is no other way. He was a second born child and he will always have an older sibling to mimic, an older sibling to get mad at, an older sibling to be jealous of.

My brother, Peter, joined me at the Episcopal church I attend while he was visiting. He sat with us in the church and as we moved about heads turned and eyes discreetly yet noticeably followed him wherever he went. My brother is Catholic Dominican friar and dresses in white robes with a rosary dangling from his belt and a hood draped across his back. It is very medieval looking. He introduced himself to all who were bold enough to question his ensemble; those who were not will still remember him. He has this tendency. A tendency to be remembered. I have no doubt that people who never noticed me in church before will now remember who I am.

As a young child, many didn’t know it but my second name was “Pete’s sister.” When meeting my middle school history teacher, “You must be Peter’s sister,” she exclaimed, seeing our remarkable similarities within an instance. Meeting an upper-classman in high school, “You’re Pete’s sister, right?” Whether it was academic achievements, athletic accomplishments, or a visit to the headmaster, Peter somehow managed to burn an imprint of himself within others.

I am a second born child. My life knows nothing other than an older brother. Who would I be without him? Who knows. Who would my son be without his sister? Who knows. One thing I do know is that having a sibling makes jumping through bike racks more fun.

Family Vacation At The Lake

We went to Lake Cascade for the 4th of July. This four day trip felt like we truly were getting away. Just under a two hour drive north of Boise you encounter the small town of Cascade. Don’t blink on the drive through town, you may miss it. It’s population is around 1,000 with a large influx during the summer of vacationers. The 4th of July is its busiest time of year, I believe. We rented a small cabin, put on our bathing suits and basked in the sun. Or maybe the truth is that we chased our kids around all weekend. Overall, we had a great time getting out of town and enjoying mother nature for a few days.

Being that we were headed outdoors I didn’t think we would need much. I was right and in the end we didn’t even wear everything we brought. I think each of us had clothing we didn’t wear. Truly, when I’m at a lake all I really need is a bathing suit, pair of board shorts, and a sundress. The only toys I took for the kids were some floaties for in the water-which we didn’t end up using-and a bucket and shovel. I did bring us all some reading material. In addition, all of our meals was prepared at the cabin so groceries are in the car, as well.

Here is a picture tour.

IMG_0412

Clothing for all four of us. (Piles from left to right: husband, daughter, son, kids pajamas, me, swimsuits. Not pictured: Each kid took a pair of flip-flops and my husband and I each took a pair of running shoes and flip-flops; I also threw in a pair of running shorts and shirt.)

Our toiletries. The smaller bag is medication for kid emergencies. I've learned this is unwise to leave behind.

Our toiletries. The smaller bag is medication for kid emergencies. I’ve learned this is unwise to leave behind.

Our suitcase. All four in a carry on suitcase.

Our suitcase. All four of us in a carry on.

Kids books.

Kids books.

My reading material.

My book.

My favorite sundress. (If you're really observant you will notice my flip flops were not in my original Project 333 items. I traded my multi-colored ones for solid black.)

My favorite sundress. (If you’re really observant you will notice my flip-flops were not in my original Project 333 items. I traded my multi-colored ones for solid black.)

Our van packed and ready to go. Did I mention we took our dog?

Our van packed and ready to go. Did I mention we took our dog? And we ended up putting the kids bikes in, too. A good last minute decision.

View from the road south of the Lake Cascade. You can see the lake in the distance.

View looking north from the road on the south side of Lake Cascade. You can see the lake in the distance.

View looking south. (I didn't get any lake pictures because lake + kids + camera = DANGER.)

View looking south.

My only shot of the lake. (I didn't get many pictures because lake + kids + camera = DANGER.)

My only shot of the lake. (I didn’t get many pictures because lake + kids + camera = DANGER.)

The lake was beautiful and the trip memorable. My daughter and I even got to go boating on the lake. A kind offer from a friend who was vacationing there, too. One of things I find funny is that, with the exception of food, we could have taken a two week trip and required the same amount of items. At the rate I was reading I didn’t need another book…let me try that again…At the rate I was tending to my children, I didn’t need another book!

 

 

Project 333 at 33. My first attempt at a capsule wardrobe.

Welcome back to Going On Growing. It’s been a while.

I have been taking some time to focus on family but am coming back because I have a new project brewing and I wanted to share it with you. In honor of my 33rd birthday this month I’m giving myself the gift of Project 333. Project 333 comes from the blog Be More With Less, authored by minimalist Courtney Carver. I have followed her blog for quite some time now always eyeing Project 333 from afar but not being quite ready to take the challenge. The premise is that your closet consists of only 33 items that you wear on a regular basis. Every 3 months you rotate essential items in and out, such as a warm sweater in place of a summer tank. Rules can be found in the link provided above but main points to know are:

1. This is meant to include clothing you wear when you step out the door to go somewhere (work, friends for drinks, date nights, etc.).

2. Pajamas, lounge wear, workout clothing are not included.

3. Purse, sunglasses, jewelry, other accessories are included.

4. You don’t get rid of everything else you own. Maybe some of it, or a lot of it, but the rest goes in a box. If you get desperate, it’s there to comfort you and let you know everything will be okay.

I’ve been afraid to take the leap because it is so limiting but I know without a doubt that the clutter I’ve cleared out of my life previously has made way for greater things. I’m positive this project will do the same for me.

Here is my closet:

Capsule Wardrobe spring 2014_1

 

Capsule Wardrobe spring 2014)2

I have two challenges to work around. First, I love color. Can’t say I’ve ever seen a capsule wardrobe with so much color. When minimizing this was challenging because I really don’t have a base wardrobe to build upon. However, this is what I’ve been wearing so it must work! Second, shoes were surprisingly difficult to choose and I’m not sure I love what I ended up with. However, my goal was to not spend money to complete my wardrobe so here it is.

My exceptions:

1. I am not including accessories but will still limit them. Because I’m trying not to buy something and because of my color issues excluding these allowed me the flexibility I needed to make this transition. In time I hope to add these into my 33.

  • sunglasses
  • earrings
  • bracelet
  • necklace
  • purse

2. I work one Saturday a month at a hospital. I put on scrubs and my clunky Danskos for this and only this day every month. These are not included.

3. I will attend my brother’s ordination into the Catholic priesthood (equivalent to a wedding) next weekend and for this I’ll wear a fancy dress and shoes not included in here.

Lastly, and my favorite part is that this has helped me see gaps in my wardrobe. I would like to incorporate more skirts, scarves, and belts into future wardrobes. I lack completer items which tend to pull outfits together. For now, my current wardrobe will do.

I’m way more excited about this project than I thought I would be. Here goes nothin’ and thank you Courtney for inspiring me to make yet another change in my life for the better!

A Break For Now

Hi Readers,

I want to thank all of you for reading my blog. As you can see I’ve taken a hiatus for a bit to focus on family and other musings but hope to be back in the near future. Thank you to everyone who has checked back from time to time to see what was here. This process has been quite cathartic and I appreciate everyone who has shared this experience with me!

Ashley

Bunny Crackers

Curious George (book)

Curious George (book) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We walked up the stairs together her little feet ahead of mine, cherry socks poking out below her pants.

“I want to read the George book today. The one where he goes swimming.”

“We can do that.” As we walked down the hall towards her room I prompted, “I would like you to try to go potty before stories and quiet time.”

“Nope,” she said in determined toddler fashion. As I looked into those blue sapphire eyes that now glowed with the test of power I decided not to protest.

She immediately found Curious George on the bookshelf and cuddled into my lap. As I read I could feel her soft blond hair tickle my lip. I lifted my chin just enough so that it rested on top of her head. I felt her weight become soft in my lap, arms relaxed, legs hanging loose, her head cocked to the side. The quietness of our moment and energy from the morning began to lull her into an afternoon meditation.

She was liking the new routine of quiet time in place of a nap. After all, she had decided naps were a past time weeks ago and this new arrangement meant she had a chance to play freely in her room. However, staying in her room had proved to be a challenge.

When the story was over she awoke from her trance and settled onto the quilt with her teddy and a few more books. She looked at me with hesitant eyes. The silence between us needed no words. The moment of separation is always so intense.

“Remember, if you stay in here the whole time you can have some bunny crackers when it’s over.”

She nodded, serious eyes but I could see a tip of the lip with delight for the possibility of something sweet. Upon her request I did not close the door but left it cracked. I walked down the hall to my room and settled onto the bed with my book for twenty-five minutes of respite.

She did it. Twenty-five minutes all by herself without coming out. I was enthused to greet her in her room and congratulate her. Upon entering I found her lurking by the door and then my nose was met with the unmistakable scent of a code brown. I refrained from stating the obvious.

She initiated, “Mom, I pooped.” And a moment later, “And I peed. There’s some on the floor over there.” She pointed to two small spots on the carpet by the bed.

“You did?” I remarked trying to mask my sadness.  “Okay, well let’s go into the bathroom and get changed.”

After helping her clean up I said, “If you need to go potty that bad you know you can always call for me.”

She replied using my own words of warning, “But you said then I wouldn’t get any bunny crackers.”