About Our Beginnings...

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Hiro was born January 17th at 12:07 am at Kaiser hospital, 48 hours after the water broke. It was a natural birth, and a very positive experience. Judah was born January 1, 2010 at 1:08 pm 7 hours after the water broke. Judah was delivered at Andaluz Waterbirth center, which was a completely magical experience that we highly recommend to anyone having a normal healthy pregnancy. Malakai was born on December 23, 2011 after three days of inactive labor labor and three hours of active labor (three hours after the water broke). Kai was born at Andaluz as well, this time in "Sienna" the red room. It was a relaxing and delightful way to spend our first Christmas with Malakai.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pictures from Sacre Coeur


What a handsome guy! I am so blessed to have him! THANK YOU For letting me leave you with all three kids, (or two or one) over the last two days! What a great man!

Is this the right place?

How do you know when you are in the right place? In a city that spirals out like a snail shell, has a bendy river that cuts through the middle, and has many circular plazas with 5+ roads rotating out...well, it's easy to get lost or turned around. I don't usually get lost very easily, but I am use to Portland, where the streets run generally in a square grid, the names are roughly alphabetical, and the river is downhill. None of these things are true of where we live in Paris. The first few days I came out of the metro and headed in exactly the wrong directions, much to my embarrassment. And this does not seem to be just a foreigner problem. On Sunday morning I was taking Hiro out, searching for Saint Severin, the oldest church in the latin quater (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-S%C3%A9verin,_Paris). Nat drew me a map, I took the metro and followed the map exactly. No ancient gothic church. I tried the opposite direction, asked several locals, of all different ages. They all sent me in different directions. The last one looked at Nat's map and pointed down the street. My eyes trailed after her as she walked away from where she pointed, and I say a sign above her head that said Église Saint-Séverin. Parisians don't know where they are either.

This week, I received a sweet serendipity, a confirmation that we are in the right place right now. It's been a long week for Paris...the illness really took it out of me, and then Judah got a fever, and we've had a couple of days of downpour and I just may be getting a little cabin fever in 384 sq feet...
Mommy was inpatient, to put it kindly.
Then I get a facebook....my dear friend who was my closest companion when I studied abroad in Spain, one who lives in Juno Alaska, I don't see often, but she knows me...she's in Paris!
Randomly, she's in Paris for a wedding of a friend of a friend. She's had a lot of changes in her life and we have a lot to catch up on. I adore this girl and right now, I need her. She suggests Saint Severin, Hiro and I meet her and her friend. The church (which I may have never gone to alone) has a gentle and genuine priest who seems to sincerely care for his patrons and want to connect in a real way. He blesses Hiro and dotes on him in French. Hiro doesn't understand the French service, but he reverently listens and watching everything that is happening. Afterwards he tells me he was praying in his head the whole time. The stain glass is breathtaking, echoing stories I have known my whole life, beauty that whispers of something more...more...

Although I am not Catholic and I don't speak French, the service was a blessing to me. I am thankful. Afterwards my friend Amy and her/my new friend Liz walked home, picking up fresh bread and pastries from Erik Kayser Boulangerie. We caught up over a multi-course several hour meal with at our apartment while the rain beats down outside. Judah had a fever still, so I was thankful that Liz was a nurse. Afterwards, the skies cleared and I bundled up Kai and Liz, Amy and I explored the Latin Quater.

We saw the courtyard garden of the Grand Mosque of Paris (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Mosque) -which is behind my apartment. We saw La Sorbonne (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Paris) and the Pantheon (http://www.pantheonparis.com/), the lit Eiffel tower in the distance, and the outside of the Jardin Du Luxembourg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jardin_du_Luxembourg). We ended up walking along the Seine and seeing a bridge covered with love locks and more stunning medieval, Renaissance, and classical architecture. We found Shakespeare and Company a fabulous bookstore that reminded me of  Powell's in Portland...only cozier and more European (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare_and_Company_(bookstore) http://www.shakespeareandcompany.com/index.php?categories=113:1).
We ended our evening in a bistro, Kai asleep under my coat, my first childless meal in Paris. We ate French onion soup and bourbon creme brulee. It was exactly what I needed: a relaxing day wardering around with a friend, a tiny break from from the daily rituals of motherhood that do not change, despite my location.   I am exactly where I need to me.

The next day, with Judah fully recovered from the fever, we all met again, this time all five of us and the two of them. It was a splendidly sunny day and we met at Place du Chatelet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Place_du_Ch%C3%A2telet) wandering around the Chatelet area for a while and dining at a maison du t before heading up to Sacre-Coeur (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacr%C3%A9-C%C5%93ur,_Paris). It was a lovely day up on the hill. The area around Sacre Coeur feels like a charming cobblestone village. There are artist around the back of the basilica -good artist - painting and selling their wares. The views are the very best in the city, outside the church was the best street performer I had ever seen...actually scaling a 20 foot high lamppost  while juggling a soccer ball on his feet. And the church itself...

Words are going to fail here. Stunning, prayerful, powerful and reverent. A lot would be lost if I didn't have the loving personal relational church and God that I experience on a regular basis. But in the context of my experience, the history and beauty of Sacre Coeur touched me. Everything from the gypsy begging out front to the soaring arches, the vibrant stain-glass, the magnitude of the mosaic depicting all nations and saints coming to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Surreal.

In the evening I got a complete girls night out...we went to a jazz club that actually had a cave in the basement where an exceptional live band played while whirling Parisians 20-60 somethings lindy-hopped and jitterbugged the night away.

My needs were met and exceded. I said good bye to Amy, both of us at crossroads in life, feeling refreshed and cared for. Sojourners, we could have carried on alone, but we didn't. We met and I hope she feels encouraged about her path as well. I may not see her for another year or two, but she played a very important role for me this week. She let me know, I am in exactly the right place.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Unpaved Territory

In previous (recent) posts, I have mentioned "leaving the paved path." I suppose we could have been leaving the paved path several years ago when we decided that homeownership may not be the best destiny for us, and started walking away from that well worn road that we had thought was so inevitable for adulthood. Or maybe the gravel started when we moved our little family of (then) four and the jack russell to a downtown Portland sky-rise. Did the road begin to crunch beneath our feet when we embarked on different adventures in communal living with family members? There have been many beautiful twist and turns that have brought us here, and here, for now, is Paris.
Ironically, Paris may be one of the OLDEST paved cities in the world.  We are starting with one month in the Latin Quater in the left bank of Paris. We found a lovely Parisian girl whose 384 sq ft apartment  is open for the month of October only. We honestly do not know where we will be after that. The plane leaves from Madrid in three months. I am okay with not knowing. Why are we here? because nat can work from anywhere because hiro isnt in school because we do not have a mortgage because the internet works in paris because rent was cheap and food isnt that expensive because because...because I have heard a calling to this unpaved road. I do not know where it leads, but I want to hear from the Caller. I want to walk with Him, I want to hear from Him. This place, while lovely, is not nearly as important as the going, the being, the hearing. 

The first weekend there, the Louvre was free on Sunday. We find the French people extremely accommodating to mothers and families! We always are given seats in the metro, we did not have to wait in lines at the Louvre, and every place we buy our groceries offers the children free treats to try. 

The playgrounds are not fancy, but they are all around the city. 

The boys have fun anywhere, anyways!

Do I look Parisian yet? Or is the HUGE child-carrying backpack a giveaway?

My men, relaxing after the Louvre

One way to make Paris more affordable: try to cook your own French food with local ingredients and recipes! Except for the pastries and bread...leave that for the real locals! Speaking of pastries, the macrons were devine, the madeleines had a lovely texture, but they could not hold a candle to my friend Maino's madeleines! Her's are superior to even the madeleines from the famed Eric Kayer Boulangerie.  

In the first week that we have been here, the only big rocks have been having the boys re-adjust to apartment living -meaning do everything QUIETER. They can get loud, but I also think I may hear them louder then anyone else because they are the only people around speaking english. Oh yea, and we don't speak French.  This has led to interesting issues, like accidentally buying the equivalent to peanut butter Cheetos (they were good) and ordering potatoes instead of roast chicken from a corner butcher. Luckily, the potatoes were awesome. The other issue, was Erin got severely ill. Erin rarely gets sick, so this may be the worse adult illness she ever had. Pain like getting kicked in the gut for almost two days, fever, chills, and everything else that comes with severe stomach flu symptoms. Not good. Luckily, she recovered by the end of the first week and no one else got it. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Home Again?

Nat and I are sleeping in my brother's room at my parent's house. We live here. There is no way to say that without acknowledging the pang of ...failure, inadequacy, risk to relationship, i'm 29 and living with my parents etc...Even the lady at the bank who needed our new addresses to order checks and also knows my family says "How's that working out?"

The truth is, it is working out beautifully so far. My number one goal in choosing to live with my parents was to minimize the emotional and transitional effects on my children. Already, I can tell this move is much more gentle, even exciting, for them. Whenever we have moved before, or someone has left our home, the boys melt down in random tantrums for weeks, or talk about how the old place was "falling apart" or come up with other explanations for why we had to leave.  When we move, my children feel out of control. It is not fair to them. This time, they are excited and at ease here. My parents home and the beautiful land where I grew up is a refuge for them. They are loved, safe, and familiar here.

there are other reasons we choose to live with my parents...i do believe in the principles of community, of living with less and sharing more. i wish we knew what our next step was, but as it is, we are on unpaved road...the future is unclear, and until we know a little more, it seemed unwise to pick a place to 'have roots' at random. In the meantime, we would much rather contribute to my parents mortgage, then to an apartment of equal value. Who knows? Maybe this little social experiment will open the doors to more community, not just between my folks and me, but expanded life together in a broader sense.

I am so thankful for this place, this "eagle's rest" as my parents have named the property. Along the way, I hope the extra cleaning, hot meals, and tiny hugs are all a blessing to my parents as well.

I do not know where we go, but for now, I sleep in my brother's room at my parents house, and my boys doze in the bonus room transformed by our meager belongings. Crunch-gravel-crunch. We are well on our way...