"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No Cut-zies

The bus stop for the two youngest requires a short drive.
They're the only kids at this stop.
They wanted to wait on the side of the road for the bus rather than my car.
And then proceeded to push each other for the front of the line.
Each other.
For the front of their line.
On the side of the road.
Just the two of them.

I guess it's going to be that kind of day.
The push yourself to the front kind.

Best go push myself to the front of the laundry room.

Monday, August 30, 2010

What goes around comes around

No, these are not the same baby. (Pardon the snail trail below -- teething's a messy business.)

But I guess we've come around to the knowledge that we create one kind around here. And that my genes are recessive.

Maybe that's why these two are so connected.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Garage Sales

I have a love hate relationship with garage sales. You can find such good things ... but you drive around forever to find that one good thing. And sometimes, I end up taking something I don't need home and then standing there looking at my own pile of junk wondering why I thought I needed one more thing.

It also bugs the heck out of me when people try to capitalize on their junk. Your cleaning out your house for heavens sake and eliminating your garbage! What's with the mark up?

Take today for instance, with a few minutes to kill before picking up my girls from an activity, I chose to cruise the nearby neighborhoods to see what wares were being peddled on the curbs. Looking at a stack of books, I picked up one that I thought I'd like to add to my library collection at home -- if the price were right. I approached the garage saleswoman with visions of reading it perched in my rocking chair with my children gathered at my feet. "How much?" I asked with a dollar in hand. Marred, ear worn, and written in, it couldn't be but change. "One dollar" she says, taking the dollar out of my hand. Awkward moment, dollar relinquished, I headed back to my car and only started feeling robbed as I pulled away from the curb.

I hope it's a good book. I picked up my girls and happened to pass back by the same corner leading to the said garage sale. A family member now stood on the corner hefting a sign and calling out "Garage sale today -- Come this way!" I almost threw the book out the window at him. Just sayin'.

Friday, August 27, 2010


The dawning of a new day. With kids back in school, I had such high hopes of organization, cleaning and getting life back on track. I need new systems to get kids out the door on time, home work done, to manage my time and the sudden paper influx. I'm chomping at the bit to get this family running like clockwork.

But then there's this girl who teaches me to prioritize and that some things just need to sit on the back burner for a little while longer :

And this mail from my alma mater which makes me feel really old and tired at the same time. When did I qualify for the life insurance mailing list instead of the season football tickets one? :

And the half eaten cake on the counter because the girl's church activity this week was cake decorating and it took a few tries to get an "acceptable" cake to decorate leaving me with WAY too much extra cake :

(Lousy picture but only my iPhone was within reach and just so's ya know, my face looks identical behind the camera)

And the illness that came home from school this week to gleefully pass around the family, serving me days of differing children home and ending my week with my own sinus wrenching sniffle and dehabilitating sneeze. Welcome back, folks! :

Wind's out of my sails and this week's a wash. But I can't wallow too much because amongst it all, I didn't miss the dawning of her new day on her own two feet. I guess it's time to get busy because she's only just beginning. Better add "lock everything down" to my list. :

Monday, August 23, 2010


"Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,

Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I have grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."

Ruth Hulbert Hamilton, 1958

I couldn't help myself today. House is quiet. Everyone's gone. Just me and her and a nice patch of sunlight. Her doll house and an easy smile. I put everything else aside.

If it were my season I would so go here. And since it's not quite yet, I content myself with a quick pick-me-up read here. These ladies are doing such an amazing job at encouraging women to magnify the only call to serve from which there is no finality. Motherhood.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Worries of late

It's 2:00 A.M. Something has woken me up and now I lay awake doing what all moms do. List making and worrying about imaginary stuff in the dark. I'm sure it will all seem silly in the light of day but right now it circles around and around in my head.

Why has my teenage girl suddenly started holing up in her room as though the rest of us have the plague? Two weeks ago she was different. School has started and I know there comes an adjustment factor but I can't help but wonder what the cause is for the sudden moody disposition and aversion to our company.

Why did my oldest boy leave a paper on the counter answering a teacher's questions about himself saying that sometimes he doesn't feel very smart? Routine questions asked such as, what do you like, what don't you like, what are you good at -- that sort of thing. And why does he answer "I'm not good at anything?"

Does my middle child feel left out in our family? I hear her say, "I don't think anyone likes me." and I'm so afraid I didn't hug her enough today. I've got to do better at looking her in the eye and giving my undivided recognition to what she has to say.

When will number 4 and 5 stop fighting? Does there always have to be that much competition? And do I always have to walk away feeling like the unwelcome referee?

My baby will be bigger tomorrow than she was today and I'm not sure I was able to give her all of my full attention. So many external pulls on my time, not one of them as important as enjoying her smiles today and I'm pretty sure I missed the mark over dishes and laundry that could have waited to another time.

Doubt strikes in the midnight blackness and carries me off to the darkest of places. The what if's and the uncertainties are worse to me than monsters under my bed. And yet, I know it is the adversary's greatest wish to fill my head with self doubt and incapability. To grip my heart with distress over incompetent failure would be a victory there.

And so I remind myself that tomorrow is full of daylight and infinite possibility. I'll seize it and be better at what I was meant to be, to what I have chosen to be .. a mother. This "awakening" is more than just a single night's insomnia. It's an awareness to push forward, reach heavenward, and work harder at refining divinely inherent skills. It's a recollection of all the good and what I can do to magnify this stewardship. It's a renewal of spirit and reminder that I don't have to do it alone. Tomorrow has it's brand new start and I can rise and shine to it's occasion renewing resolve and shaking the blackness as I work to progress as mother to my children.

Goodnight, list of worries. Contending conscience, quiet down. There'll be work to do and tomorrow is another day.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to School

We're scattering across three different schools this year and it's been a staggered start. Some starting this day and others starting that. Those who've started have had enough already and those who haven't don't want to have to spend another day alone with me. I'm boring and itching to put my house back in order ... stragglers are volunteered to help.

I so wanted to spend the last days of our time together enjoying each hour. I so wanted to be that mom. But my time was needed elsewhere and such is life, so I'll try not to berate myself or feel incomplete. Now everyone's off and the house is a reflection of summer's tangled mess of madness ... albeit a silent one awaiting reorganization.

My early morning looked like this:

Who is that nice mom fulfilling five differing sandwich orders, you ask? Yeah, that's me -- as long as you don't talk to me above a whisper in the dark of the morning. 2 PB&J, turkey/cheese no mayo, turkey yes cheese yes mayo, PB&J no crust, half PB&J yes crust.... thank heavens Eliza has no opinion as of yet. Will this last? Maybe, but most likely not. It's 5:30 am.

But don't they look excited? I never was able to get my act together to snag a picture of my middle school children. They couldn't get their act together either. We've struggled to make it happen all week, though the two of them were so thrilled to be back with school friends.

And this girl so excited to go to her new school with a great friend. I understand they tried to convince everyone at school today that they were twin sisters with different last names. Hmm.

We went to purchase uniforms and she was overly thrilled about the knee high socks. I love the idea of uniforms because there are no judgments in regards to what you are wearing. It's nice. Except when you walk into a lunchroom chocked full of boxes bearing polo in all colors and a gazillion ways to do plaid and the sales lady says it's best to purchase "whatever her friends will be wearing." What's the point in a uniform then? I'm totally confused.

I'll miss them so. Now, off to put it all back together again ....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Grant is 6

Every birthday makes me reflect but I think this one hit me harder than any other recently. Maybe it's because everyone was off to school today leaving me to my silence with Eliza and a realization that my house is gradually emptying. Maybe it's because he's a first grader now with a full day and I so missed our past afternoons one on one. Whatever the reason, I spent my entire day reflecting on how fast six years can fly in a blink.

I was telling him his birthday story this morning about how every night I would listen to Christian's prayers as he added in how much he'd love to have a brother. It was so lonely being the only boy amongst so many girls and he wanted a brother so badly it hurt. And when Grant was born ....

"WERE YOU SO GLAD TO HAVE ME??" he broke in loudly.

Oh my goodness, yes. Could we ever have been gladder? From day one he's been a delight and I really have soaked in every moment. For the longest time I'd thought he was our last and I did my best to take notice of every little thing. And so happy that I did because I've enjoyed him to my hearts content.

6 Great things about the greatest six year old ever:

1. He's got the biggest heart in the world. He loves openly and gives affection without restraint. My cuddliest baby, he's by far the tenderest guy I know.

2. He plays so well with his siblings. And ... he lets Janie dictate his every move with such good nature. Where others would balk and crumble, he does his best to appease her wishes, wants and desires and it's such an endearing quality.

3. Grant has such a sunny disposition. He greets each morning with a smile ... and a bowl of oatmeal. He must get that from his father.

4. I love how he takes notice of the little things in nature. He's got such an appreciation for life's simple pleasures.

5. He makes friends so easily.

6. Grant could carry on a one way conversation all day long. He's got so much to say and it's worthwhile to pay attention because he's full of little gems of knowledge and humor. He must get that from his mother.

I love you so and have enjoyed every minute of our six years together. You light up my life and make me the "gladdest" mom on earth. Happy birthday!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, Grant appeared with a handful of Queen Anne's Lace and a soft smile on his face. "Smell these," he said, "Don't they just make you feel reverent?"

I questioned his use of the word. Did he really know what he was talking about? "What do you mean by that, Grant" I queried. "What do you mean they 'make you feel reverent?' "

"You know ..." he replied with a blush because by this time I think he realized he was revealing too much of himself, "Just calm and good inside."

As summer is drawing to it's close for us, I've had his words in my mind for the past week. I can't help thinking about all of those things that make me feel reverent ... just calm and good inside. Some are moments I've had, some are qualities I like and would like to see repeated, some are just life's simple pleasures. But whatever it is and no matter how small, as a mom those little things that make me feel calm and good inside are what I love and long for day after day. The peacefulness I get from the stuff that "makes me feel reverent".

Here's my "reverent" list:

  • That fleeting moment when all of the laundry is done and put away in it's proper place. It only lasts a brief second in a home with six children, but it's one of the most calming seconds of my life.
  • The smell of our woods after a cooling rain.
  • Yard work (or any job where there's no complaining for that matter) with all of my children around me talking and bantering together.
  • Nights that run smoothly. A great dinner done, homework in progress and everyone on track for a good bedtime. I feel the most "calm and good inside" when I'm truly at the crossroads of my home taking care of my family and enjoying an evening with them rather than in the car running them hither and yon.
  • Our brand new paved driveway. More on that later, but what could make a mom feel more reverent than less dirt chewing up the entry hall, carpets, car and garage.
  • My three youngest girls and their bubble baths together.
  • Peeking in on my oldest boy reading aloud in his twin bed to my youngest boy in his.
  • The sound of easy laughter and genuine togetherness. It's the best to hear them all building Lego's or car tracks together. It's calming to listen to the sounds of invented games going on in the next room or outside in the yard and know that they really do enjoy the company of one another.
  • A washed and vacuumed car .. again, brief but good.
  • The fabric store. 'Nuff said.
  • A great dad leading our family and watching that great dad with his children.
  • Eating green beans that my children grew and watching them bargain amongst themselves for the last bits.
  • A clean kitchen and the lingering scent of Pine sol.
  • Trips to the pool on days were there happen to be no friends present and they must all be each other's best friends. I could sit and watch that all day.
  • Silently observing my oldest children make their own decisions based on the things we've been teaching them all along.
  • Hot water.
  • Full nights of sleep. Sleeping until I open my own eyes to the light of day with no interruptions.
  • The aroma of baby lotion and the feel of the soft, doughy skinned girl who complacently allows me to slather her in it.
I suppose the list really could go on and on. But nothing instills reverence like the sweet disposition of a child who reminds his mother to stop and appreciate the calm and good things of life. Thanks for the recollection, Grant.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


As moms, there are just a few payoffs that make us smile and lift our eyes and hearts in thanks. Tight hugs before bed, companionable laughter overheard in another room, assistance without asking, and conversations that confirm that what's being taught is actually "sticking".

This weekend, that payoff moment has been what my children have called "the best activity ever." Don't know why (because the tour itself struggles to hold the attention of the very young) other than the fact that we parents in attendance were perfectly content to let our children play and run all over the park across the street while we sat, picnic-ed and visited as dusk set in. Never mind the grass stained Sunday pants.

Thanks, Annie, for this final shot. I love that you were so captivated by the striking colors and light. I hope you hold that last glimps in your heart forever as you are held in mine.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The end.

Breaking it down and back to reality. It all comes and goes so quickly.

Fly My Pretties, Fly! No doubt they are glad to be free of their cages. It's a long week of confinement ... for all of us.

Until next year.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fair photography faves

This one is called "Mom says no to buying a goat". Boy did we struggle with understanding that just because there was new income, we still had to ask permission for the purchase of new animals ... such as goats.

And this one is called. "If you say no to a goat, would you say yes to a llama??" Could I have captured more longing in her eyes?

Cute kids, just the same.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A-fair to remember

Holding so many memories, fair week is like living a lifetime for us.

Annie's leather crafting project that took Grand Champion of her unit. No money involved but her work is headed to the Colorado State Fair next week. Way to go Annie!

Celia's which took Reserve for her age group. Yes, she made that from nothing more than two pieces of cow hide. Not headed to State but a beautiful piece of work just the same.

While sharing a hamburger and lemonade with E, she mastered the most valuable skill of drinking through a straw making life a little easier.

A scavenger hunt all over the fair grounds to the different barns gathering the ingredients to make homemade crepes. My kids had so much fun with this and loved the crepe making.

In fifth grade, I lived next door to a boy who I had a terrible crush on. As luck would have it, he had a "girlfriend" and I never breathed a word of my infatuation out of shyness and fear. Just enjoyed being in his presence when he came over to play baseball in the yard with my brothers and hid my adoration. I think that's why I love watching Annie with this neighbor of ours. Same situation, only she was lucky enough to spend every waking moment of the fair with her crush. As she sighed about being "just friends" in a moment of confidance, I felt I'd been there and done that and loved having that connection with her.

Tractor pull in the cool of the big barn with my boys.

Best turkey legs ever, so says Celia.

The most awesome home schooled brother and sister duo I have ever met. She's so amazing it's almost enough to convince me to home school myself ....... almost. They're goat kids and I fell in love with their family. Wish I could have put her in my pocket and taken her home.

Fair wristbands for unlimited rides. Let's say nothing of how quick they put up and take down those rides. Christian says the element of danger adds to the fun.

Oh yeah, and my favorite. Funnel cakes made by genuine carnies. There is nothing like them ... the funnel cakes ... or the carnies for that matter.

And ... though I have no documentation, thanks to the politician handing out fruit snacks, m&m's, bottled water and caprisuns at his booth all week. I know our children took great advantage of you and we will probably never vote for you but thanks for the endless supply of free snacks. I hope you didn't go away feeling totally robbed.

That's all.