Who’s grander than Hawk?

by Lesley on March 23, 2014 · 6 comments

in family

HawkB&W_1[2]

He is called Hawk, but he’s also called my Grandpa Frank. And he was grand.

Hawk was easy to spot. In his younger days–like when he was 70–he wore a sailor’s cap that I’d always steal and put on my own head. In his older years–like when he was 80–he wore a cowboy hat. By that time in his life he’d traded Newport Beach for Park City, and the hat change just made sense.

My Grandpa Frank was nothing like your grandpa or any other grandpa, for that matter. He tried to catch the garter at my wedding. He went to Burning Man as a Senior Citizen. He told us tales of that one time he was in jail. He was friends with Poppa Neutrino and made photo albums of all the pictures he took at our family gatherings. And he was always having the Best Day Ever (BDEVER).

Some people would describe Grandpa Frank as a “character” and he was, but he was also never anything but loving and generous. He didn’t necessarily show his love by coming to my school plays or soccer games, but he was the guy who always slipped me a $100 bill on birthdays and Christmas, who sent approximately 10-12 e-mail forwards per day to stay in touch, and who basically made me feel like I could do no wrong.

“Mizzzzz Lezley!” he’d say when he saw me, and I took delight in the way he emphasized the Z even though I hated it when anyone else said it that way. Grandpa Frank would always give me a huge hug and a big wet kiss, which I also liked even though wet kisses are usually disgusting.

Last week, in the middle of packing, I traveled to Salt Lake City for a night just because we knew his final days were drawing near. I purchased a plane ticket at 3pm, hopped on a flight with Owen at 4:45pm, and was chatting with Grandpa Frank by 8pm. For a guy just days away from passing, he was very alert, happy and talkative. He asked about Jonathan’s new job, and our big move to Santa Barbara, and told me I’d love the streams running through our new San Roque neighborhood. He also wanted to know about my writing. About a year ago he’d told me about Erma Bombeck and I’d downloaded a collection of her newspaper articles about suburban mom life in the 1960s. Erma, in my opinion, was the original Dooce, and led the way for female writers, particularly moms. “You’re going to be like Erma,” he said, “But better.” I loved being able to tell him that I’d bought her book based on his suggestion. “When you publish that book someday,” he said, “I’ll be reading.” I told him he would have the advance copy, if he wanted.

When my Grandma Jeanne passed away last year, I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. And, even if I had, she may not have understood since dementia had taken hold of her mind for several years. I’m so grateful I had the chance to spend time with Grandpa Frank before he left this earth but I’m even more grateful to have had him in my life all these years.

I began this post last night, knowing my Grandpa’s time was drawing very near. He passed away peacefully this morning in Park City, Utah. We will miss him dearly.


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Erma Bombeck’s Who’s grander than grandparents?

4/6/2014…Hawk’s obituary can be found here. 

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Sacred space

by Lesley on March 22, 2014 · 14 comments

in growing up

Millers-3

There are cookies baking in our oven one last time, and their smell provides lures me to pause from the packing. I need one more night to write at my little corner desk, in my little white kitchen, in my first little home.

I never imagined we’d leave so soon.

Three years in a home is actually quite short in the grand scheme of things, but oh how we’ve loved in this house, and oh how we’ve lived in this kitchen.

The first time we saw our house I was newly pregnant, but didn’t know it yet. Just days after placing our offer, when kitchen remodeling plans were entering the conversation, I saw two faint pink lines pop-up on a home pregnancy test. By the time our baby bump emerged the kitchen had been torn down to nothing and I asked Shane to build me a corner desk near the windows because I was going to be a mom, and I was going to quit my job, and I was going to write.

This kitchen has seen my hope.

Shane built us a beautiful kitchen and just days after it was completed we hosted a small gender reveal party. On our new granite countertops we cut open a pink cake and I pumped my fist because a little girl was going to join our family.

This kitchen has seen my joy.

A few months after Anna arrived, I’d stand alone in our kitchen as Jonathan spilled out the words “Cancer.” I rocked back and forth, sobbing, as he promised to be home soon. And then I stood, frozen, staring out the windows before screaming to God:  “I don’t want to be a widow!”

This kitchen has seen my fear.

It’s in this kitchen I gave him Neupogen shots each morning before work so his white blood cells would grow, and then we’d hoist Anna into our arms and spin her round and round while Justin Bieber crooned on my laptop.

This kitchen has seen our fight.

It’s in this kitchen I wrote articles for Her.meneutics and penned much of my book proposal and interviewed literary agents.

This kitchen has seen my determination.

It’s in this kitchen that Jonathan and I made approximately 200 breakfast smoothies, loads of pancakes, our first Thanksgiving turkey, several Easter buffets, a pan of enchiladas that somehow ended up on the walls, and countless batches of granola.

This kitchen has seen our appetite.

It’s in this kitchen he called to tell me the PET scan was clear, again, and we rejoiced in his health.

This kitchen has seen my relief.

It’s in this kitchen where I made Anna’s first baby foods as she opened drawers and made messes. It’s also here that I once yelled at her for leaving Legos in my path, then dropped to my knees and begged forgiveness when I saw how much I’d crushed her spirit.

This kitchen has seen my anger.

It’s in this kitchen that my sister called to tell me Grandma Jeanne had passed, and it was here, just a days ago that I learned Grandpa Frank will not be far behind.

This kitchen has seen my sadness.

Just a few weeks ago I stood in this kitchen as Jonathan called from work and said, “There’s no longer a job for me in Sacramento. We have some choices to make.”

And again, this kitchen saw my tears.

Tonight I write in a sacred space and a holy place…

…it’s not an historical site or a church or a room with a view…

it’s my kitchen.

And it’s forever part of our story.

(Photo taken a few weeks ago by my lovely friend, Ashlee Gadd, to help us remember our home. It was in this kitchen that Ashlee told me she was pregnant with her first baby, Everett.)
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The next thing.

by Lesley on March 20, 2014 · 3 comments

in santa barbara

I mentioned last week that we’ve been facing some big decisions. I wanted to share that our family is moving to Santa Barbara early next week. It’s quite sudden and unexpected and wonderful and sad all at the same time. Wonderful because we’re heading closer to our families and closer to the ocean but sad because it means leaving a caring community, and a city we’ve come to love…not to mention the little house we’ve poured into. I’m still processing this big change but one thing is for certain: God wants us in Santa Barbara. I’m so thankful for the way He is working in our hearts and our home to make this change happen. I can’t wait to fill you in someday on all the little details of this move, but for tonight this quote will have to do:

“Everything is interim. Everything is a path or a preparation for the next thing, and we never know what the next thing is. Life is like that, of course, twisty and surprising. But life with God is like that exponentially. We can dig in, make plans, write in stone, pretend we’re not listening, but the voice of God has a way of being heard. It seeps in like smoke or vapor even when we’ve barred the door against any last-minute changes, and it moves us to different countries and different emotional territories and different ways of living. It keeps us moving and dancing and watching, and never lets us drop down into a life set on cruise control or a life ruled by remote control. Life with God is a dancing dream, full of flashes and last-minute exits and generally all the things we’ve said we’ll never do. And with the surprises comes great hope.” –Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life

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A lot has happened since early January but for some reason, as each week passes faster than the one before, it’s becoming harder to know where to start.

We were sick all of January, and then I had breastfeeding issues (which, I’ll admit, I’m kind of embarrassed to write about publicly so I’ve saved my whining for in-real-life-friends) and then we potty trained Anna (yahoo!) and my niece Lucy was born. Soon after that it was my birthday, and then Jonathan and I went to Tahoe for a night and skied, and then our sleep training efforts with Owen hit a major stopping point (boo!) and then I had a small breakdown so I went running to see my favorite counselor, Lori, and then our family made a big, huge, didn’t-see-it-coming life decision that I’m still processing in my head but haven’t yet attempted to put on paper.

There is so, so much I want to say.

There is so, so much I want to write about.

There is so, so little time and space and creativity.

It seems like such a shame for this blog to be so very empty when my life is so very full.

Maybe that’s why I feel the need to just pop in and say…

I haven’t forgotten about you.

And, I’ll be back soon.

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All you need to know about Stitch Fix

by Lesley on February 18, 2014 · 3 comments

in style

Gentleman, I give you permission to skip right over this post. Ladies, this one is for you.

Today’s post is all about shopping, which isn’t a topic I usually cover. I don’t consider myself a particularly stylish dresser, although I also don’t think I’m a bad dresser either. I try to keep up on trends, but I’m never one to try something unless it’s become popular. (I resisted skinny jeans FAR too long!) As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned how to dress right for my body type but I still make strange choices every once-in-awhile. My biggest shopping mistake, in my opinion, is that I continue to buy cheaply made clothes from places like Target and Old Navy. Sometimes my cheap purchases make me happy temporarily, but they never end up being my favorite, long lasting pieces.

I’ve been hearing about Stitch Fix ever since Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy started her reviews last year. I decided that once I lost most of my remaining baby weight I’d try out the service. Earlier this month, as a birthday gift to myself, I did just that.

Here’s how it works:

  • Create a Stitch Fix profile, which asks you lots and lots and lots of questions about your style preferences, sizes and clothing needs.
  • Pay a $20 styling fee (which will be put towards your purchase, if you make one).
  • Wait for a big box to arrive on your doorstep with five perfectly chosen items.

My fix came last week and it was just as fun as I’d hoped. I’m in a stage of life where it’s nearly impossible to get to the mall by myself. To be able to try on new clothes while the kids were napping…well…it was awesome.

 

I actually loved every item in the box although the cargo capris and green chevron maxi dress didn’t fit. Of the items that did fit, these were my favorites:

dress

stripe top

“My stylist” definitely figured me out. I have a thing for stripes, can you tell?

I fell in love with the Eight Sixty Kourt Striped Maxi Dress which was very flattering, super soft and long. (Tall girls can have trouble finding maxi dresses that fit, can I get an amen?) Of all the items in my box, I really, really wanted to keep this dress because it’s so versatile. I just know I’d wear it all summer long…to the park…to barbecues…to church. (It. was. PERFECT!) But, alas, this baby came in at $130ish dollars which, to be quite blunt, is way over my budget. While I’m willing to pay a bit more for clothing than I have in the past, I’m not yet ready to spend over $100 on a casual summer dress. Ultimately I decided to peruse Nordstrom.com and found a very similar dress for less than half the cost. I’m hoping it might work for me instead.

Stitch Fix includes a style sheet containing why each item was sent, as well as photos depicting styling suggestions. Even though I didn’t end up keeping anything, I loved this feature because it helped me to consider what I already own, and what I might want to add to my wardrobe in future months.

styling ideas 2

My overall feeling about Stitch Fix? It’s very fun and super convenient but pricey. Had the items been a little less, I probably would have purchased at least one item. But, despite not keeping anything in my box, I don’t feel like I wasted money. I loved trying on clothes I likely wouldn’t have chosen myself because it opened my eyes to new fashion ideas. I was also reminded that when clothes FEEL good and FIT right, I wear them more.

I think I’ll probably try Stitch Fix again at some point. If you’re curious about the service, please use my referral link and give it a shot.

p.s. Happy Birthday Hachoo!

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