Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I swore I was not going to be one of those mothers who starts sentences (both good and bad) with "just wait until....."  They are so cliche and often patronizing when I am at the other end of them.  But here I am saying it to everyone who has babies, "Just WAIT until they start to read!"

Sweet Dick and Jane, like so many boys and girls before him, you are teaching my baby to read! And he doesn't want to stop.  He loves your silly stories and repetitions and we are both about bursting with pride these last few days.  I am dreaming of him curled in bed with the light on much too late, unable to put down his Hardy Boys mystery or unable to leave Narnia for just ONE more chapter.  And the best part is that I am ok with it, loving it in fact!  It seems just when I feel sort of misty eyed and sentimental about them getting older, I am greeted with a fabulous new accomplishment that never would happen if they didn't grow. And so, while it's true that time flies, each fleeting stage is replaced with a new one to embrace.  

So, while I am excited for the worlds that await my new reader, I am savoring these first new words and discoveries.  If Dick and Jane stand for anything, it is joy in the simple things.  What could be more cliche than that? ;-)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My First Entry Ever

Well, today I am officially entering the Greater World of Blogdom.  I am entering a contest over at Blue Yonder.  Still, because I am largely a chicken,  I believe I have (intentionally) thwarted any REAL possibility of winning by choosing a repurposed entry that is not entirely my own creation.... depending on how you define creation.  I'm just trying to participate and be a good sport and I really do love this repurposed project and thought some of Stefani's readers might as well.  

The pictures below are of my bed.  It is made from a church pew from the old sanctuary in the church I grew up in and that my father attended as a boy.  It used to be about 12 feet long and sat, for years, both in my parents' basement and on their side porch.  After Mike and I were married for a year or so, we decided to buy a queen sized mattress, but really didn't have money to buy a nice bed frame.  So, while it was my idea to take the old church bench to make a headboard and frame, my parents are the ones who carried out my vision.  Dad cut it down and refit one end, using the long bench seats to frame in the box spring.  My mother did the refinishing and Mike and I got a beautiful gift.  

It really is a beautiful bed.  Gives real meaning to "Bedside Baptist!"  And I love that it gives me a connection to my family and my hometown.

The repurpose isn't finished yet, as the hymnal racks are awaiting new homes as bedside book racks for the boys' bunk beds after we move.  And, I still have the paper and pencil holder too, maybe for notes by the phone.  

Stefani, thanks for the encouragement.   

Thursday, April 24, 2008


This here is Sophie.  She is the best teething toy on earth and has been a good friend for dear Ellerie this week.  Ellie is cutting all four top front teeth and has been crabby as anything for the past few days.  Soft, chewy Sophie is so patient as she has her head and feet gnawed frantically.  Look at that face; she's not the least upset!  Ellerie is also thrilled that she has learned to squeeze her and make her squeak and gives some squeaks of her own in return.  Hopefully Baby Girl will soon feel better and all those teeth will pop through.  In the meantime, I'm so glad we dug THIS little girl out of the bottom of the toy bin.  

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Week in Summary

Well, I'm back.  The first part of last week was miserable.  Mike (oddly enough) was the only one to escape this last round of nasty, coughing virus and secondary infections.  I was rather grateful for my antibiotics, I must say.  After we were all feeling a little better, I took the kids to my parents' for the rest of our "spring break."  I feel like I could post a hundred pictures. (I'm sure I took more than that.)  But with Earth Day being here, I am feeling rather green.  Apparently so are the locals, as for months now the horizon has been broken with this army of windmills.  They could stand a post of their own; this picture does nothing to convey how massive they are and how MANY of them are there.  

The weather has been so lovely for a week now, that all those May flowers are coming without the April showers (and we do need those).  My mother's daffodils and jonquils were blooming all over the place, but for some reason I was captured by this clump only on the verge of bursting buds.  

I am terribly looking forward to hanging laundry on the the line at the new house.  Here, when I hang out diapers, they are confined to a drying rack and sometimes flung over the kids' playset.  I loved being able to string them up in the backyard at "home" while the boys rambled around the barn and Ellerie tottered around on the grass.  Part of the reason I am so looking forward to our new home being finished is that it reminds me so much, in odd little ways, of my first home.

"Down Back" was feeling springy as well.  Among all the still brown trees and dry grass and reeds by the creek, the grass and ground cover around the trails almost glowed with greenness. 

This last picture isn't green at all, but it's my boy with a "recycled" treasure:  a gear likely from an old lawn mower (according to Papa), crusted with rocks and debris from sitting rusted for years in a creek bed.  The creek has crept a bit north again this year, leaving a lovely dry bed of stones and fossils and other treasures to be found and saved.  They can't wait to go back and look for more.  Neither can I.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Calvin put my breast pump together tonight, like a puzzle.  He did get a couple of hints from me, but otherwise was very crafty in assembling it.  "What does it do, Mama?"

Oh yeesh.  "Well, it gets the milk from Mommy's body into a bottle, if I ever needed to do that." Whew.  That seems vague enough.

"I want to see it work.  I want to pump stuff.  Show me how it works, Mama."  

Hmmmm.  Maybe too vague. "Um.  No."

"Well, then I'll do it on myself!" (in a defiant "I'm-mad-at-you-for-not-doing-what-I-want" sort of way)  Then, after a bit of shirt lifting (his, not mine) and some poking, "That tickles."

These kids crack my can.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Good For What Ails Ya

Well, hope really does spring eternal.  and there is nothing like a new season and a new property to be reminded of that.

And if buds and new growth don't fire up your passion for life, then try doing some yard work,

pulling some trees with your papa,

or hanging a bird feeder at its new home with your nana.

Raking leaves, pulling off the dead brush, reshaping and rejuvenating the land (that's really fun to say, even if it is just a little suburban lot) is a pretty darn cleansing process.  Hard work outside with proper results just can't be beat, even if it leaves you with a CRAZY mess inside and an overcooked crockpot chicken and boxed (yup.  boxed.) mashed potato dinner.  Even dinner was salvaged (although mostly not EATEN) because the cranky boys were threatening to not eat their dinners until they got their lima beans.  "I will NOT eat until I get the lima beans!  WHERE       ARE       MY      LIMA     BEANS?"  That's just priceless.  

Now to tackle the inside of the "old" house for a showing today while the kids rot their brains with television.  Hey, you can't live the ideal ALL the time.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


There is a good sort of slow motion living and a bad.  When you are in a groove of the good sort you are able to savor little moments, you can reflect on the past and look to the future with perspective and grace.  It's a place where you can let go of a lot of guilt and pressure and just BE.  But the other kind of slow motion is the stuff of nightmares:  of always running but never moving, of falling suspended like Alice while the wonderland of your life spins and whirls around you, the feeling of a body made of honey with no ability to pull your stretching limbs and your oozing brain together, no control over where and when you flow.  In that slow motion place your children dance and race around you and choices bombard you and you are plowing through your day like trying to run underwater.

Lately I feel like I have been bouncing back and forth between these two places like a paddle ball: stretching out to suspended freedom and then slamming back into a wall of frustration, disorganization and discontent.  For a few days I feel I am doing the best I can with what I have, but then I become acutely aware that something is missing.  Spiritually, emotionally, socially.  I feel heavy hearted, unmotivated, burdened by the "what ifs."    I feel constantly on overload, not necessarily from activity, but from STUFF.  I feel like there are too many choices around me, too many ways to spend my time, too many thoughts to prioritize, too many places to spend my money.  I want to have less toys, less waste, less clutter, less tv, less computer, less impact on the planet.  I want to have more flowers, more books, more dinners with friends.  I want to have better connections  spiritually, emotionally, socially. Instead I find myself torn in a million directions but never going anywhere, always doing but never getting done, unfocused, undisciplined, unfulfilled.  I feel guilt when I don't live up to my ideals.  I feel guilt when I spend more money in an effort to do so.  I have a zillion and one ideas swimming around in my head at any given moment, but can rarely tack one down in a tangible way.  I feel overwhelmed by possessions, but lack a clear plan to clear out the clutter. When I do, more comes in.  There are days I wish I could just shut it all off and hide.

Today is one of those days.  

I want so badly for my life to be in sync.  To enjoy the rhythm and the pace, whether they are fast or slow.  To have clarity about my choices and regain a passion for everyday living.   I want peace.

Monday, April 7, 2008

She's One

There was cake.

There were presents.

And I so badly want to write something poignant and important.  But I still can't believe that my sweet,


beautiful baby girl

is one.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Sound of Silence

Daddy is away on business.  I think I mentioned that.  The last couple of days have been maybe just a little bit crazier and a little bit more disorganized and a little bit noisier than usual.  Last night was the icing on the cake, or should I say the cymbal on the drum set?

The boys started their own little kitchen band.  Banging away on old storage containers of my Gram's and testing out different sizes and shapes and combinations of drumsticks and sounds. I was rather impressed at their creativity for rhythm.  It actually, although loud, wasn't terrible to listen to.  Even Elle joined in with her rattle and a bouncy bum dance.  They put on quite a show for Nana Sue and Papa Paul and me.  With all the wiggling and dancing and stomping around involved, Nana thought they ought to take their show on the road!

It was also very interesting to see their personalities emerge in this little drum session.  Calvin was more methodical, testing and listening with care and purposeful choice and repetition. Tate was a maniac, banging on everything, bopping up and down, stomping his feet, growling and bashing the pans.  It was really a lovely kind of noise and a very sweet moment for me as I watched and listened and tried to just soak them in.

Today they are gone to stay with Nana and Papa for a couple of days.  Ellerie is napping and the house is eerily quiet.  The sound of silence can be sweet and sometimes, in the midst of all the daily chaos, I crave it.  But right now it feels a little empty.  I spend a lot of moments longing for a break from them, but when I get it, I almost always find I am longing for their loud, exuberant little bodies to burst through the door and yell a word even sweeter than silence....Mama.... 

Thursday, April 3, 2008

1/2 Price Wednesday

Half-price Wednesday, how I love thee.  Let me count the ways: 1,2,3 dollars for these fun yellow "muck-muck" boots.  Now I can splash with the kids!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Men in Trees

I was all set this morning to do a post about what a lovely day for boots it is and some drivel about the magnetism of boys to the absolute wettest and muddiest spot in the whole yard.  

It IS a lovely day for boots.  Warm, breezy, and absolutely wet and muddy.  But the town had something else in mind for us today than just splashing about in puddles, although there was plenty of that.  Truth be told, I often lament the fact that we are in the suburbs for a vast and varied number of reasons.  When we were trying to decide whether or not to move last summer/fall, we really did try to look for a place with some acreage and privacy.  We found, however, that what we could afford and what we actually wanted didn't exactly coincide and the new house is in the suburbs again, albeit a slightly larger and more private yard and a lovely feel to the neighborhood with many big, old trees.

Although our current house has NO big, old trees, we are flanked by them on all sides.  And this morning we had chain saw surround sound as the town trimmed back branches around power and phone lines.

The boys (especially Calvin) were fascinated by these guys clamoring up trunks large and small with spiked boots and ropes and clips.  They worked together, 3 or 4 cutting at one time-but always a safe distance apart- and 2 or 3 cleaning up, making quick work of a lot of trees in our field of vision.  

I did ask them at one point if they minded an audience; still I think they probably wondered what was wrong with the lady leaning out of her kitchen window to take pictures of them.  

Well, what else are you going to do in the 'burbs?