Happy Birthday, Christmas Eva!

Today is our first born girl’s birthday. My Eva is nine.

The cool thing is that today is a teacher’s workday, so there is no school. Therefore, we get to celebrate Eva’s birthday all day long! She started out her day with a big birthday breakfast from Dad. That was followed by a mother-daughter mani/pedi and lunch. Next, a play date. After that, presents and cake with family, followed by dinner and a movie with Dad before Dad unties the lines and takes the boat and 500 Dungeness crab pots south to the open ocean.

As I drove Eva to her afternoon playdate, she told me this was the “best day ever!” That made me feel especially good, because Eva has had a lot on her plate this year and there is nothing I want more than for her to enjoy her special day. Between starting a new school after our own school was closed, and the difficulties at home, it’s more than any third-grader should have to endure.

G and I chose “Eva Grace” as the name of our first child for a reason; after years of infertility, we were blessed at last. Eva means “life.” I chose Grace because I wanted Eva’s life to be filled with grace–or at the very least, for my daughter to learn grace and how to respond to life with grace.

Eva definitely has. She is a smart, sunshine-filled girl whose heart is filled with love for her family, friends, school, and God. She is sharp as a tack, observant, and misses nothing. As the first born, Eva takes the weight of the world on her shoulders; so much so that the adults surrounding her must be continuously aware and vigilant about taking that weight from her.

She is like a little Border Collie pup, herding all of us. “Vincent, no. That wasn’t nice. You shouldn’t do that.” “Valerie, no. Come here and let me help.” “Mom, don’t forget we are supposed to do this.” “Dad, remember I need this or that.”

Happy Birthday, sweet girl. You fill all of our lives with joy, purpose, beauty, fun, and grace.




Not “Just” a Mom and Housewife

I gathered with a group of people last night. In answer to a question from the group leader, I replied “Well…I am just a mom…and housewife.”

My reply has bothered me since I made it.

“Just” a mom and housewife? That’s not what I meant when I answered. This morning, as I tracked down lost lunch boxes for my oldest children, as I cleaned and vacuumed their rooms, as I fed my very youngest lunch, my reply of being “just a mom and housewife” continued to bother me.

There is nothing I love more than being a mom and housewife. I do have a Bachelor’s degree in English. I have worked in law offices, at my family’s seafood store, and as a West Coast correspondent for National Fisherman magazine and as a Jazzercise instructor. As it turned out, I was terrible at working in offices. I did well at teaching Jazzercise and continue to enjoy freelance writing.

But most of all, being a mom has been the most natural gig for me. I enjoy making the kids’ beds in the morning and vacuuming their floors, knowing they will have a clean, organized and cozy room to come home to and go to sleep in. I love having my little Valerie with me as I run errands. I like folding the kids’ laundry and putting it in their drawers and on their shelves, knowing they will have clean clothes to wear.

I like getting new things for the children and placing them on their beds so they will be surprised when they get home from school. I eagerly await their emergence from the schoolhouse doors or the school bus doors, depending on the day.

The Dungeness crab crew is here getting ready for the winter crab season, and G is preparing to head out for a good portion of the winter. The thought of a husband and father leaving for a stint might strike some wives as frightening or cause for panic. Not me. This is what my mother did, as well as my grandmother and great-grandmother. It’s our time to be of special value and comfort to our children and ourselves.

I can’t wait to jump back into my natural role.

And that’s what I am thinking about today. Children, mothers, and homes. As long as I have my children, my job as mother, and a cozy home, I am beyond content and happy.


Always Grateful, Always Thankful.

In spite of trouble, I am thankful for many things this holiday season. I am thankful for loyal family. Fun friends. Fun and loyal family and friends. Confusion and sorrow may be in the midst, but they cannot possibly win against forgiveness, joy, hope, and redemption. I couldn’t think of how to incorporate all of this into a regular post, so here is my list of things for which I am thankful this season.

  • Vincent’s surgery. Vincent underwent a second surgery to restore his hearing and speech. I was blessed to spend each day of Vincent’s recovery with him, lying by his side, cuddling and reassuring my only son. All I ever wanted to be was a stay-at-home mom so I could be there for all of my children, no matter what.
  • My children. 8-year old Eva, 7-year old Vincent, 2-year old Valerie. They have always made life worth living and then some. Their jokes, hugs, kisses, and snuggles are beyond compare.
  • My family. My family is comprised of some of the most funny, honest, loyal, and giving people I know. They don’t give free passes, but they do communicate, understand, and move forward.
  • My house. I love my house. It is a space I have created that represents healing, joy, love, and security. My children spent all of yesterday cuddled on my bed, watching Christmas movies, happy and content. It was the best day ever.
  • My friends. My friends offer words of support, insight, hope, and laughter. They offer love and understanding, a movie, an open ear, a cup of coffee.
  • Friends I’ve made along the way. I have met so many smart, funny, and honest people in the past three months. They make me smile and help give me the courage to keep marching forward.

This Thanksgiving has been strange. I know, however, that I am by far not the only one for whom this Thanksgiving was strange and different. I am grateful for the community of friends and family that help keep all of our ships afloat, when otherwise we feel we might sink.






God is Within Her; She Will Not Fall

I have just entered my eighth year writing this blog. My blog has taken a lot of different turns over the years, all of which are recorded here in the blog archives. There have been children born, pets who have passed away, celebrations and goodbyes with crew, consistent and inconsistent fisheries, departures and homecomings, parties and sorrow. And always, family.

The past two months, however, have passed without a word from me online and hardly anywhere else. I know people have been checking the blog and my Facebook page, wondering where I’ve gone and what is going on. I have not been able to come up with words for where I’ve been and what’s been going on, save that my immediate family has been rocked by shock and grief. For the first time in my life, I have been unable to do much of anything but sit and then put one foot in front of the other, and only when I have to.

I don’t want to go into details, but I want you all to know things are getting better. As time passes, I feel better. The hurt decreases a bit and the pain lessens. Some days I feel betrayed and angry, and some days I feel happy and hopeful. Other days I feel filled with apology and regret, and then those are replaced by relief and optimism.  Some days there are tears, and some days there is laughter.

Through it all, my community of family, friends, church, and professional support has carried me through. It is never good to be alone, and all of these people have made sure that I am not alone, my children are cared for and loved and secure, and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I’ll be back with a more lighthearted post later; one that describes how wonderfully my children have settled into their new elementary school since our previous school was closed, and the way they were both honored with the Leadership Award at a school assembly.

The way both Eva and Vincent trained and successfully tested for their next level of karate belts. The way Valerie “graduated” from speech therapy after a year of regular sessions.

I’ll write about how George and I noticed Vincent’s speech seemed to revert to some of its previous characteristics (loud and somewhat garbled) and how it turned out his hearing has decreased since having surgery to restore it two years ago. He’ll be having surgery again on November 10.

For now, I leave you with some verses that have sustained me the past two months. The entire book of Psalms has lifted me up and carried me through on days I felt hopeless and helpless. Here are a few of my favorites:

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalms 31:24

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”

“Be merciful to me, oh Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.” Psalms 30:9

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

“God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” Psalm 46:5

The Summer of Friends and Family

I wasn’t sure how this summer was going to go. The only thing I could see ahead of me for two months was home construction chaos. My entire house has, in fact, been in an upheaval due to the kitchen, dining, and family room remodel I’ve wanted and waited eight years for. And while I’m grateful for progress, it’s true that my house has been in a total upheaval since the remodel started.

My family room is in my living room. I still can’t file my childrens’ schoolwork from the last school year because my filing cabinets are buried in boxes of dishes and surrounded by end tables and large framed pictures and art. Our pantry was minimized and rendered down to three industrial shelves in the basement. For anyone who has anxiety and OCD (like me), you can only imagine what this has been like to live with the past two months.

However…I do always try to look at the positives, and as far as this summer goes, there have been many. More than ever, actually. For one thing, because there was nothing to clean in my house, I didn’t have to clean. This made me feel free to take off and leave town whenever we had the chance. We went to Florida, to Long Beach, and even down the road to Whidbey Island. The kids took karate, swimming, and diving lessons. Vincent, George, and I all had birthdays.

Something that we didn’t exactly plan for, but happened anyway, was meeting up with family and friends the entire summer! In Florida, we met up with family from George’s clan as well as mine. Back in Bellingham, we got together with more Karuza cousins. In Whidbey Island, we met up for a day of singing and play with family on my mom’s side. We helped celebrate the birthdays of friends–adults and little ones alike–all summer long. We checked out the water slides, the fair, the go karts, went on morning bike rides, and enjoyed lazy afternoons at the pool.

When I look back at this summer, I feel frustrated about my physical house. However, I feel satisfied and happy about my house of friends and family. I feel lucky to be part of a community that is fun and loving and considerate. I’m not looking forward to the start of school, in which alarm clocks must again be set and schedules must be adhered to, but knowing we are all doing it together makes it so much better.


Some Schile and Karuza fam in Florida.


Schile Fam in Florida.


Karuza Cousins in Birch Bay.


Some Karuzas at an undisclosed location ;)


George and me at my 40th birthday cruise.


George family (mom’s side, not my G) camping on Whidbey Island.


Music, family, and more music.

Forty, Yo. Is It Really So?

I’ve been thinking off and on for the past few months about how I would open this particular post regarding my 40th birthday. I just didn’t know. For once, I was actually stumped for something to say write.

As it turns out, the best lead came to me the other week when I wasn’t even looking.

I was at a party store, purchasing a few token 40th birthday items for my upcoming mini birthday boat cruise down the hill in Bellingham Bay. The teenage girl at the counter asked, “Are you excited about your party, or do you just feel old?”

Wow. Old. First of all, I’d hoped the clerk would think I was purchasing these 40th birthday items for someone else.  Someone else turning 40. Someone else who looked and appeared far older than me.

The fact that the clerk assumed right away that the 40th-themed party plates, beaded necklace, and tablecloth were for me caught me off guard.

My mind raced. I considered possible replies.

“Well, I have three children, including a TWO-year old, at home who really keep me young.”

“I work out at the gym every day. I taught dance aerobics for seven years.”

“I have friends of all ages. In fact, my own husband is seven years older than me.”

“Haven’t my thousands of dollars into Lancome, Estee Lauder, and Clinique the past twenty years kept me looking young? I guess not.”

I didn’t say any of those things.

“I’m indifferent,” I finally said.

It was the best answer I could offer. I’m not especially excited about this milestone, yet, I don’t feel old. I don’t feel much of anything as it pertains to turning 40.

Actually, that’s not true. I do feel something.

As I have officially reached middle age, I have discovered many things. First of all, it’s much harder to lose weight than gain it. It took me nine months to lose seven pounds last year and three weeks to gain it all back.

I’m more tired and go to bed long before the sun sets right alongside my 8, 7, and 2-year olds.

Now that I am 40, I can’t tease my husband, who reached this decade a while ago, while I stayed blissfully back in my 30s.

However, there’s more. I feel proud turning 40. I actually made it to middle age. If you were there to witness a large part of my life a decade or two before, you’d be as surprised as me that I made it this far.

In spite of some dangerous choices, silly decisions, and roads taken that could have ruined my entire life, I came out the other side.

I’ve always been open with my children about my feelings and my experiences (as long as they were age-appropriate). Before I had children, I always told myself that if I was lucky enough to become a mother, I would be honest and open with my children. I wanted them to feel safe coming to me, no matter what it was they were coming to me about.

Whether those concerns were 8-year old squabbles or 18-year old problems or 28-year old issues, I wanted them to feel safe sharing with me. I wanted to share with them from my own experience. Maybe it would help, maybe it wouldn’t. Time would tell.

As a professional writer of articles, essays, and interviews the past fifteen years, I’ve always found the personal essay to be my favorite and most rewarding genre. Along those lines, on my 40th birthday, I’ve decided to introduce a new writing project. Some of it will take form as a new blog series.  I’d like to share a bit of what I have learned along my twisting and turning road in the form of short essays for my children.  I hope the forth-coming collection of snippets about what I have learned along the way—the good and bad—will be of use to my children as they grow.

I hope that one day my children will read my words and benefit. I also know that if they are anything like their mother, they will go their own way and learn what they need in their own time and in their own way.

And that’s okay. I made it this far, and they will, too.

Time to celebrate.

I’ve Never Had Much Patience…Delayed Home Remodels Don’t Help.

Well, we came home from our Florida vacation and I saw immediately that we were still a LONG WAYS OUT on this kitchen/family room remodel. I  went directly to the kitchen calendar. Only, since we don’t have a kitchen, it’s now the bedroom calendar. I spotted a week in which nothing was going on for anyone in the family.

“Let’s leave again!” I suggested. Actually, “suggestion” is too kind. “Firmly decided” and “not taking no for an answer” is more like it.

I’d made up my mind. It was a great idea. We don’t have an oven, a dishwasher, family room, kitchen, or otherwise. The remodel, which should have taken just a little over one month to complete is still going on…and on…and on.

As has become my mantra for this summer: Get me out of here!

So, down the road we went to my parent’s beach house in Long Beach, Washington. I looked forward to spending a pleasant week in a sweet little house that actually had an oven, dishwasher, and rooms without piles of junk and chaos. I have been going to my family’s beach house for breaks and fun for over twenty years. I’ve traveled there with my own family,  with friends in college, and while on assignment for National Fisherman magazine.  G and I even spent part of our honeymoon there twelve years ago, crashed out on couches recovering from all things wedding.

I remember traveling to Long Beach for spring break in college one year. My girlfriends and I met up with other friends also there for the break. We were not planning a town-wide party, but for some reason, word got out in the small coastal town that a party was going on. We watched cars and trucks travel down the road to our house until I finally sent my cousin out to redirect traffic back the other way and assure everyone there was not, in fact, a party happening.

Anyway, I am so glad my parents still have the house. As always, it was awesome to visit the coast and fly kites, ride bikes, eat ice cream, and take a spin on the go carts. It was especially nice this year to stay in a little house with everything a house should have, including peace. Clean bedrooms. A kitchen. Dunes. The wide open expanse of beach and roar of the Pacific Ocean. We even celebrated Vincent’s 7th birthday while we were there.

We are back home again, and things are still not progressing very quickly. I’m annoyed and concerned. Honestly, though, my annoyance has mostly to do with our own choices.  We knew from the outset there was going to be a few weeks’ delay due to reasons beyond our control, and we didn’t spend enough time making a thoughtful decision about how that delay would impact the family.  The work that has been done so far is fantastic and all that we wanted. Even though we are still at least another month out, I need to stay calm and patient. I know it will be worth it in the end….



Riding along the Lewis & Clark Discovery Trail in Long Beach, WA.


Hey, we don’t need the fake baby for this doll bed. We have our own baby!




Most likely our good old girl Mandy’s last trip to the beach.


Happy 7th Birthday, my little buddy.


Don’t worry, it’s root beer.


Heading home along the trail.

Goodbye For Now, Anna Maria Island. As Always, You’re the Best!

I did not in any way, shape, or form want to come home from vacation this year. And that is putting it mildly! I shed a couple of tears as we drove off Anna Maria Island.

What a relief it was to leave my own town for a couple of weeks. The stress around here has taken a large toll; between the final days of school, the closure of our school, and this long, annoying house remodel we have going, I was ready to get out of here, and as quickly as possible.

My house has been in shambles for over a month. I don’t have a kitchen. I’ve gained seven pounds because I can’t cook anything I like that is healthy in the microwave downstairs. I have nowhere in the house to chill out and even nothing to clean, because it is all a disaster.

So when we hopped in the Jeep and took off for Seattle and the airport, I was ready! Get me out of here!

Our first stop was Disney World and the Magic Kingdom. To be honest, the Magic Kingdom wasn’t really my thing. I appreciated that my older kids and G enjoyed it, and I also appreciated that G went all out on rooms at the Polynesian Resort so we could simply ride the monorail to and from the Kingdom. Because after four hours of sweating, hour-long lines for ten-minute rides, crowds, and general chaos that is the Magic Kingdom, my youngest daughter and I were ready to hop back on the monorail and get back to the hotel pool. Quickly.

Next stop on the vacay was Anna Maria Island on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. I’ve been to Anna Maria several times with George; before marriage, after marriage, before kids, and after kids, and it remains my favorite place in the world. There is not one thing about Anna Maria I don’t like. No matter where we stay or what we do while we are there, I love it all.

This year, especially. It was nice to be in a house with a kitchen. A house that was clean and open. With a dock and waterway outside, and a pool, and tables aplenty for outdoor eating. We swam in the pool and the Gulf, walked, ate at our favorite outdoor bar and grill, boated, played, and slept, all the while taking it slow and easy.

Nowhere to go and nowhere to be. I couldn’t believe my good luck and I was grateful for and relished every single minute and moment of our time in this house and on Anna Maria Island this year.

I have posted some pictures of our trip in this post to give you a general idea of where we were and what we did.

One different thing we made time for this year was visiting the Caylee Anthony memorial when we got to Orlando on our way back to the airport. I’d wanted to visit the memorial in the past, but it never happened. We had extra time this year and it was nearby, so we found it. Having followed the case of the murdered two-year-old from start to finish, read a book on it, and watched the trial on TV, it seemed surreal to finally find the spot and pay respects to the little angel, who was left in a swampy area near the end of her own street.

My Eva was also two years old when Caylee was murdered, so that might have been part of my original interest in the case. My Valerie is now two, which accounts in part for my continuing interest. As we drove down the street leading to the memorial, three smiling brown-haired little girls who appeared to be about eight (the age Caylee would have been now) rode past us on scooters on the sidewalk. We couldn’t help but think that Caylee could and should have been riding with them on her own street. Instead, I looked at the spot where her little body was left, and saw how swampy it was. How overgrown and neglected and sad.

I don’t regret stopping to pay respects, though. I am glad we made the effort. I just wish someone would come through and clean it up and create a memorial befitting a precious two-year old whose life was caught tragically short.

* * *

Please enjoy some pictures of our trip. We are now back home to all the chaos that is construction, and I am already planning what I hope will be next year’s trip back to my favorite place in the world.


On the Disney Bus from the Orlando airport, headed to the Polynesian Resort and the Magic Kingdom.


Phew! Out of Disney World and back to the resort pool, the pool bar, music and pool games.


This photo of Valerie sort of represents the way Valerie and I felt about the Magic Kingdom.


Standing on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico on Anna Maria Island, Florida.


The pontoon G rented and docked right outside the house.


Heading back to the harbor in Anna Maria Island after a day on the water.


Getting ready to jump off the boat and walk through the water to the sandbar and bird sanctuary near Eggmont Key.


Standing on the dock outside the house.


Organizing the loot from the best 4th of July parade ever, in Anna Maria. Candy, frisbees, necklaces, popsicles, and toys were all enthusiastically tossed from floats and captured by the little ones lining the street.


At the outdoor Island Time Bar & Grill on Anna Maria, which features the best burgers ever and awesome live music everyone can enjoy.


We met up with my cousin and his family for dinner, conversation, and cheer in St. Armands Circle in Sarasota.


The kids sitting on the bench on the dock.


The house came with a pool; what a treat to have it all to ourselves!


Valerie playing on the beach on the Gulf of Mexico.


G and Eva jumping waves.


Not surprisingly, this tired baby slept most of the six-hour flight home.


We visited the Caylee Anthony memorial in Orlando to pay respects to that little angel. We were surprised about the condition of the memorial. It appeared neglected, overgrown, and of course, unbelievably sad.


Goodbye, Regular Life. Hello, Vacation!

I had to take a small break from vacation-packing to write a quick post.

We are heading off to Florida tomorrow. Technically, we’ll be in Seattle tomorrow and arrive in Florida on Tuesday.

G and I traveled with baby Eva to Florida, Nashville, and Arkansas when Eva was ten months old. We traveled on the plane again when Eva was four and Vincent three. We have since been back to Arkansas and Florida with Eva and Vincent…and also baby Valerie.

Today, as I helped my eight-year-old Eva, my (almost) seven-year-old Vincent, and two-year-old Valerie pack their bags, my mind started to drift.

While packing Valerie’s diapers, diaper cream, little swimmers, and disposable changing pads, I felt in a different world. Haven’t I been here before? At almost 47 and 40, shouldn’t G and I be past this particular stage by now?

So many of my friends have tweens. Teens. Their kids are middle-and-high school athletes. Graduating from eighth grade. Soccer champs. Dance stars. While I know many my age who have children in elementary school, most of my friends are certainly not still packing diapers, diaper powder, and wondering how to keep a two-year-old engaged for six hours on a plane.

I’m so grateful, though. I don’t want my little ones to grow up too fast. I waited so long for them to arrive.  I recently discovered a note from my little Vincent yesterday. It read “I love Jen. From Vincent. Free Meal.”  The “J” was backwards, and the note included a happy face. It made me smile and filled my heart with gratitude. That’s all I ever wanted; children, sweet notes, and unconditional love. How lucky I feel to have it still.

My children keep me young. They keep me busy, and keep me with purpose.

I cannot wait to leave town tomorrow. I’m excited to leave my state and my entire side of the country.  Bags are packed, airplane activities for three children are sorted, and I am ready.

Diapers, diaper cream, sippy cups, and all. :)



Goodbye, Dear Larrabee Elementary. For Real This Time.

I’ve spent much of my (largely non-existent) thinking and quiet time the past year deciding how I would write my final post regarding our dear Larrabee Elementary and the closing of a small, historic school. I know that many of my Facebook friends have likely grown tired of my Larrabee posts on the subject. However, each of my posts was well-thought out and crafted before I clicked “post.” I thought each snippet and picture was important to help capture the closing process, and I wanted to honor in some small way our school, children, and families.

I love history, community, friends, and moments. The last two years, from the initial motion to close our school, to the school board vote to close it, to our last year spent celebrating and honoring our Larrabee families past and present, have been an experience most of us never wanted to experience, but one in which we have learned and gained so much.

There were several families, who upon hearing the final vote to close Larrabee, pulled their children from the school. I don’t blame them. I half-considered it myself as I weighed my options. I could integrate my children into their new schools more quickly, avoid what one parent called “the slow death” of our school, and basically just cut ties and move on. My son entered kindergarten this year; should I have him spend one year at a school doomed for closure, or put him in the school in which he’d finish his elementary years?

The principals from the two schools our children will now attend, as well as our own Larrabee principal, have been supportive and kind during this transition for our children and families. I remain surprised and unimpressed by some personal friends and parents from other Bellingham schools who could not have cared less about our children or the transition and offered no support or care at all. I hope when and if your school closes or you ever need help, you will meet with a different and more caring response.

Anyway, along with many other families, I decided to stay put for Larrabee’s final year. My daughter is delightfully happy at Larrabee. My son would have a great year. I was committed to helping give Larrabee Elementary the closing year it deserved after serving as a public elementary school for 124 years. I have to say that I am proud, pleased, and have a peaceful heart about what we ALL did this past year to make that happen.

Throughout this entire process, I grew closer to many folks at Larrabee than I would have otherwise. We grew to appreciate and respect each other while engaging in the challenge to save Larrabee, discussing the bond and school board issues, attending community and school board meetings, and finally, to the acceptance that we had lost on all fronts. We grieved, we hurt, we felt angry. Finally,  the only thing left to do was pick up the pieces and move on in the most positive manner possible for our children and families.

And so it ends. I am proud of what we did. We held the jog-a-thon fundraiser even while people wondered why we would waste our time for a school to close. We held our movie nights in our little gym, where the kids wore pajamas and the parents popped the popcorn. We continued our after-school enrichment activities (the most active in the city). We held our evenings of hip hop, choir, drama, and strings performances. Children painted salmon that now hang along the Larrabee fence; a permanent mark of their time at our school and a symbol of their migration to the next.

I sat at the bottom of the stairs near the gazebo with my toddler most every afternoon this year, waiting for my two “big kids” to emerge from the doors and descend the Larrabee steps. I gathered my kindergartener and second-grader to my side for after-school hugs before releasing them to run and play on the school grounds. I talked with some parents, annoyed others, and laughed with many. All the while savoring each moment, for I knew it was all about to end and it was going to be a very quick year. It was.

We participated in the parade, featuring bright yellow-and-black  banners.  Hundreds of Larrabee Bees and their families dressed in Larrabee spirit wear and cheered. We held a “Then-And-Now-Night” that honored the old-timers and the rich history of Larrabee. The PTA spent our last Larrabee funds on bouncy houses, pizza, music, and ice cream for the Larrabee community for the end-of school block party, which everyone enjoyed and earned a front-page article and great video in our local newspaper.

So, this is it. My final Larrabee post. It’s sadly, officially, time to move on. Some friends will travel together to our new schools and some will not. We will always see each other in our side of town, at activities, at the grocery store.

The closure of our school is not what most of us wanted, but it is what it is. Am I sad? Yes. Angry? Yes. It’s a sad day for small neighborhood schools everywhere. Although I don’t always succeed, I remind and encourage myself regularly to not give in to my feelings of anger and sadness.

I try to look at it as a great lesson for the little ones and a reminder for the parents; things don’t always happen the way you’d like. Regardless, you must pick up the pieces, put on a smile, learn something, and move forward.

And that’s what we are all doing.

Love you, our little brick Larrabee Elementary on the hill, and all of your staff, children, and families! Thank you for 124 years, and for one final lesson in how say goodbye with grace and dignity.