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

-- Robert Frost

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

when you are in the thick of it ...

... because it always feels thick.

Whether it's Christmas or finals week or summer rush or crunch time ..


I loved this.

Regardless of its commercial aspect,

It was a reminder today of where we began, what we wanted, and what is in front of us that is most important.

Friday, December 6, 2013

factual friday

The real life that is going on around us.

This is how we officially knew that Halloween was over.

Nothing could have made my heart melt more than watching my son pass the sacrament with his new friends in the Chennai branch.

And sneaking a peak at my girl who understood nothing from the lesson other than the Young Women motto.

I think grandparents ran a little too gleefully for their car when we walked in the door.

Grandma said that Grandpa was trying to stop some arguing by announcing that contention was of the devil.  Eliza stopped still and wide-eyed asked him to prove it.

Doesn't he look happy to be on his way again?

I love little sibling secret surprises that spring up to make birthdays special. Most especially when I had no idea they were happening.

Just cuz she's cute.

Realizing there was only one school Thanksgiving dinner to look forward to. No more days of sitting through three hours of lunch shifts, nursing one plate of turkey and hoping everyone feels like I came for them and them alone.

Despite my past feelings ... nostalgia kicked in.

Lately, if I don't pay attention, I may get forked, I may get my toes tapped on, or I may get both simultaneously.

Every one of Eliza's "happinesses" had to do with a color of the day.

Janie made the highest honors of the honor society .... she craves being celebrated by her fan club.

Celia was inducted into the National Honor's Society.

Fun to see her with her friends in their world, though she craves motherly fan club attention less.

Especially when mother's wrinkle their brows at accidentally capturing close encounters of attentive young men :/

Charlotte has become so darn clingy lately ... most especially during dinner hours.

Some times I just quit trying because this won't last forever and I'll miss it.

Sometimes the show must go on and I enlist the help of others.

I loved the littlest pet shop.

And those tap shoes when they aren't on my own toes.

It's been so cold around here that we had to build a fort on the heater.

One week an entire village sprung up in my living room.

I cam home from date night on Friday and there were people actually living in those houses.

Even big people.

Reminded me of those Dr. Seuss books where the people's feet stick out of the beds .. or houses. Whatever.

I had a melt down fit about public school's move toward a "paperless" society. How's a family our size supposed to get math and reading done on just a few family computers?

I found out folks were skipping assignments because they didn't have it in them to fight for time.

I have one boy who looses concentration really easily when asked to read or calculate on a screen.

I don't leave to run a child somewhere with other's left behind on computers.

And where is that book fee I paid at the beginning of the year going anyway?

My pleas to teachers for books and paper homework were fruitless.



I gave up on having a proper dining room and turned ours into a computer lab after scrounging computers from Newel's office.

It's been a workable solution to an uphill battle I can't seem to win.

And just because I love watching her little chubby fist dig at the bottom of that box for that last few raisins. If I were a container manufacturer, I'd make those boxes round just to accommodate.

Those are our facts.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

christian is 15

A few weeks ago, Christian had a birthday and I'd be remiss not to celebrate him. I've thought about him every day since.

Eliza was most excited to celebrate him. We were out of wrapping paper and tape so she helped make do.

What's not to love about a boy thrilled to receive snacks for his high school locker and bb's for his gun to shoot with his brother.

And a cell phone that he was apparently excited about since it's been left on the counter more than it's been in his pocket.

He's not a phone/texting kind of guy. He'd rather have a good old fashioned conversation.


Reflecting on him these last couple of weeks since his birthday, I couldn't help but remember a very frustrated little person. Full of energy. Quick to throw a fit. Slow to understand that we don't throw the neighbor's pumpkins in the streets or use the bathroom in their yard.

I cast my eyes to heaven more times than I can count and wondered what I'd done to deserve this.

And yes ... he still makes me hopping mad when he teases sisters too far or can't remember his homework or freaks because a haircut went awry ;)

But I find myself casting my heart to heaven more often than not, wondering what I've done to deserve this young man.

Like how he joked that his birthday lunch fortune would be so fitting because he seems to reign supreme in the series of misfortunate events category.

Like the way he craves a Sunday walk with the family.

And how he and Celia pal around together all of the time.

Last night, we attended a play she stage directed while he served as her spotlight man. I soaked in the experience without a camera. Loving every moment watching them set the stage, direct the acting cast and then throwing such a polished version of Peter Pan for a full auditorium.

On our return from India, I loved watching his daily afternoon efforts to produce the perfect mango lassi.

The critics agreed ... he finally got it right.

How he gets so excited over the littlest things like wild raspberries we found in the woods on our camping trip over Labor Day.

And how he still gets a thrill out of helping me decorate our Christmas tree whilst listing to Bing croon I'll Be Home For Christmas.

How the other night, he took kids downstairs and entertained them royally so that I could throw a Sadie Hawkins dinner party for Celia, her friends and their dates. (More on that to come ....)

And afterward, he helped me with dishes wanting to know how it all went and would I do the same for him when he starts dating next year.

How he loves to do everything with Grant. Most especially the actively dangerous.

And how I seem to be shrinking daily.

Even more so, when you throw a baby into the picture.

When he gives me a hug on the way out of the door every morning, I can't believe how incredible lucky I am to call him my very own.

Better late than never, Christian ... Happiest of Birthdays! We do love you so.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

the root of all gratitude is happiness

We are celebrating a family reunion over our Thanksgiving holiday. 

Before we left, we wrapped up half of the refrigerator post-its to send to my sister for her own project. Then realized I'd not grabbed a full picture of our Happiness Project.

But, I could not help getting a closer look at what was left. 

Throughout this month I have spent many a day that felt just too cold, too long or too full ... basking in the warmth of each and every one.

I don't want to take them down.

Some of them warmed my heart.

Some of them made me laugh.

Some were laughingly reproachful ;)

And some of them were just wishful thinking.

But each and every one filled me with happiness and gratitude to be able to share this time together and experience so many simple pleasures throughout this life. 

Happy Thanksgiving. May it be full of happiness!