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

-- Robert Frost

Friday, March 30, 2012

not too much further than the back yard

I only have a minute because the troops are up on the mountain waiting for E and me to bring a picnic up the gondola for lunch.  We've fled the homestead and headed to the slopes because sometimes it takes getting away to get all of them all to myself.

I like to ski, though I'm out for awhile and that's okay because mostly I love to watch the ducks in a row ...

Follow this man's every move.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

spring board to spring break

75 degree weather starts vacation no further than the driveway... where I think I could live forever.

With ... the lifeguards.

The swimming pool.

The chore doer that did not have to be asked :)

The kindle reader/ sunscreen hater.

The novel the world is talking about ...
(and the total mother-dread that I blindly let my teenage children read it).

And sunny balm to my soul melting all other cares away.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Dejunking, spring cleaning ... whatever.

On this eve of our spring break, I'm enjoying the fruits of some labor around here.

The last couple of weeks have been spent enduring plenty of moaning and moping, though I have no pictures of the helpers at work. I was otherwise preoccupied with hands on hips and a "get 'er done" expression.

But ...

The closets are dejunked.
The drawers are all cleared.
The cars are washed and vacuumed ... though not for long on unpaved road.
The garage is de-dirted.
Work equipment stowed in the shed.
Bags upon bags given "salvation".
The chicken coop is refreshed.
And the house feels so clean.

It makes things so....much.... easier ... right now.  The freedom from "stuff" = less need to bend over.  If you didn't pick it up, nail it down or profess your undying love, it's found its' way to a new home.

And with the arrival of spring, I'm itching to remodel it all into a more modern brightness of color **sigh**.

Now bring on the crumbs and dirty feet, but don't get too comfortable kids. There's still acres of pine needles to rake off of new spring grass over the break :)

And I'm going to enjoy this if only for a moment.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

don't cherry bomb me

Sitting on the driveway, soaking in the warm afternoon rays of late, I watched my children playing a game of 4-square.  I'd played that game nearly every day at recess through my elementary years ... when I hadn't been picked for kickball ... which was pretty darn often.

This particular afternoon, I sat as casual observer and occasional referee. Our competitive bunch requires plenty of "celebration penalties" else things get out of hand pretty quickly.

Newel, home from work at a decent time, joined me in the moment.

One child passed to another and as the play took fevered pitch, there was a spike to the ground afoot and the ball sailed wildly over Grant's head, skittering off to the yard.

"HEY!!! You CHERRY BOMBED me!!" he hollered as one who's inner sense of audibility has long been lost from woodland living.

Newel and I laughed at the term used for a surprise sneak attack and stunned reaction to elapsed opportunity.

Then we tried to wipe smiles off our faces and as-seriously-as-possible remind big ones not to target little ones in the game.  And then as teasing families are wont to do, we used the "don't cherry bomb me" phrase again and again in various references over the next couple of days ... much to Grant's growling displeasure and our controlled snickering.

Newel made a recent visit to his oldest brother's home in Utah.  He and our sister-in-law are the parents of six children, nearly all grown and off on their own.  On Newel's return, he related to me the quiet nature of their home by comparison to ours.  I found it hard to picture as my last visit had been a fun-loving tangle of teenage comings and goings.  I'd remember thinking, this was the place to be.

Similarly, this weekend we made a stop by friends in the self same position and I saw the phenomenon in action, myself.  A home where last I'd spent such quality time, alive with the ins and outs of a busy and youthful family life.  As a mother of littler ones, I'd longed time and again for that exciting atmosphere they'd created in their home and now, though still youthful :) all was different.  Things were tidy and neat and calm.  I wondered if she once thought that there would ever come a moment when the sink would be dish-less or the mounds of school paper trail would cease to exist.  And yet, it seemed they were heading toward that very reality leaving us alone in our hub.

Later on the drive home in our car, Newel remarked, "So quiet .. huh? ... So different than what seems like yesterday ... what will we do when things are so quiet?"

"I think I'll feel cherry bombed" was all I could say and his knowingly silent nod and reach for my hand in the darkness, told me that he felt the same.

Friday, March 16, 2012

lost communication

I lost my cell phone this week.

Well, not really lost as much as little hands stashed it.  One moment charging on the night stand -- the next in the hands of a little girl as I distractedly got ready for the day thinking to myself, "You ought to stop her or you'll never find that."

And that's exactly what happened.

It was gone for four whole days.  Newel kept urging me to find it.  My brain kept telling me I should when time allowed it.  The kids half heartedly looked for a dollar reward.  And life merrily went on.

Until ... Newel's urging got more insistent and Christian looked up from his oblivious world with a reminder of a locator app on the phone.  He tracked it using my computer.  First an aerial picture of our house showed and then we heard a muted alarm.

We went on the hunt which took us to the craft cabinet ... and found the phone tucked neatly into the play dough box I'd asked Eliza four days back to clean up .... as I'd distractedly gotten ready whilst thinking to myself I'd never find it again.  Spot on, cuz I'd have never thought to look for it there as I'm not a regular play dough mom.

Christian, in his genius, remarked that all gadgets should have locators.  That way we might be able to find the apple tv remote she carried off as well :)

Husband relieved and phone back in hand, I headed up to town and as I drove, rather than feel gratified, I felt a renewed sense of loss.  Weird, cuz I'd found the phone.  Only ... I'd once again lost the freedom I'd had from it for the last four days. I'm not crazy addicted and make a conscious effort to stow it most of the time but I realized that like it or not, it's still in my head.

Other than the fleeting thought when I'd left the house in those days, that a child at school might need me for some illness or injury ... though all were healthy and well ... I'd not missed it one bit.

I'd not missed a text.  I'd not missed a call.  I'd not missed checking email messages more periodically than I would have otherwise with a computer.  I'd not missed cruising the newspaper or articles at the table during a downtime moment.

Sure, they were all there, piled up on the phone.

But I hadn't missed them.

Instead, I'd enjoyed a picnic out in the woods with Eliza with nothing but a breeze to listen to and pine cones to throw in competition.  I'd walked our dirt road and chatted all the way breathing in the freshness of air. I'd listened to stories from kids without the nagging in my brain of checking to see if I'd been texted or emailed something important.  I'd soaked in bike riding, play and conversation on the driveway, literally drinking in the warmth of the afternoon sun without it at my side.

And my brain had been free.

I thought about the iPads, iPods, iPhones, iTouches.  The world that, though entertaining, convenient and loaded with great stuff, so quickly becomes an  ....i, i, I, .... Me, Me, Me world. And whose plan was that, anyway?  The selfish nature of an adversary would delight to have me lose my attention to inward distraction even if it is only occasional ... and focus only on "I". It happens so easily and doesn't even have to take much more than a clouding of my brain with thoughts of "needing" to be connected, even when my gadgetry isn't actually in hand!

Will I get rid of my iPhone, just to be free once again? No. It really is a great and useful little electronic.  But I'll make it a little less "I" by leaving it stashed just a little more often, far away from my niggling attention.

Now that apple tv remote, I'm beginning to miss.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

pavlov's dog

Is it wrong to brainwash so that no matter where they are or how far they roam, certain sensory impulses will always produce a "conditioned reflex" for home? 

White Rolls
2 Dozen

Dissolve 1 Tbls yeast, 1 Tbls sugar and 1/4 Cup of warm water in a small bowl. Set aside.

Scald 1 Cup milk, 1 stick of butter and 1/2 Cup of sugar in a pot on the stove.

Pour milk mix into a mixing bowl.  Let cool for a minute then add 2 eggs beaten.  Mix while adding 2 cups flour and 1 1/2 tsp salt.  (For my altitude, I add 2 tsp dough enhancer).

Continue to beat while adding yeast mixture about 3-4 minutes.

Add up to 3 Cups of flour more, a little at a time, until dough is no longer sticky and should be sliding around the bowl. 

Cover with non-stick sprayed saran wrap in a greased bowl to rise to double.  I set mine in the oven with the light on.

Punch down after doubled (about 1 hour).  Divide dough into two pieces.  Roll out on a piece of parchment to a large circle about 1/4 inch thick.  Brush with melted butter.  Cut with a pizza cutter to 12 pie sliced pieces.  Roll crescent style from the big end and place on a sprayed cookie sheet with a little space between them.  Rise in the oven till double (about 1 hour).  Bake 350 for 10-13 minutes.

Recipe easily doubled.

My scientific method proves the hypothesis positive.  I get loads of after school teenage conversation this way ... almost in over-load :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

sunlight and longer days

Yes, please.

We'll iron out the return of morning darkness soon enough.

My big kids were relating to younger ones last night over dinner, of days when I blackout blinded their windows and enforced 7 o'clock-actually-in-bed-bedtime as they listened to neighborhood kids continue playing in the cul-de-sac below.

They were waking up at 5 a.m regardless of the bedtime in those days.

And none attending a full day of school yet.

And some were refusing naps.

And I was juggling three in diapers making quiet evening time preciously precious.

Every day buzzed to exhaustion.

Things do evolve, I reminded them.  Though I'm still getting up in the 5 o'clock hour and sending folks off to bed around 8ish on a school night, there is a huge difference.  People take their own showers and do their own hair.  There's eager assistance with the only one who really needs help.  They are sent and they go.  They are called and they come.  These days are so different from those.

So, even though many around me choke when I mention, yes, this baby is my seventh, I cannot compare to friends having their second or third or fourth.  I look at them in amazement at what they do ... at what I did.

And then be ever grateful for the extra helpful hands that over time, have learned to bring just a little more sunlight into my longer days.

Monday, March 5, 2012

where I get an "I survived" t-shirt

This is for my favorite algebra tutor pictured below:

p = a(e+f)

in other words:

Permit = adrenaline(excitement for another driver + practice fear)
one year

Friday, March 2, 2012

to be 15 again

Eliza and I squeezed against lockers in the main hall of the high school, waiting to intercept Celia during lunch passing period.  Teenagers en masse can be pretty intimidating, especially to one another, but we quickly realized how many we knew by their surprise and delight to see our familiar faces.

Standing there flooded with memories, Celia came down the hall looking much more at ease than when we'd taken her at the beginning of the school year. 

Still, we had to steal her away for an hour to a birthday lunch.

Nothing says good fortune to a teen like a mega variety pack of gum.  That stuff is currency on the inside.

Happy Birthday, gal.  That brief moment inside your high school world reminded me of how glad I am to be a pregnant mom of six and a half, pushing middle age ;)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

celia is 15

The day's exhaustion is setting in and as I hugged this girl good night, it all felt somewhat deja vu.  Fifteen years ago, I was pregnant and uncomfortable and tired and trying to survive one more day — every bit a copy of this day.   Only, that one ended with my very first baby to look at and marvel over.  She was perfect.  Perfectly perfect.  I couldn't believe how perfect and she had me hooked from the get go.

She really is one of my very best friends.  These fifteen years as a mother .... I would have caved so many times without her helpful nature, her smile, her one last hug telling me that I could do anything with her as my second set of hands.

And for that ... among so many reasons .... she will eternally hold a special place in my heart.