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

-- Robert Frost

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

where time stops still

I've been running non-stop for weeks on end, wondering why I can't be blessed with thirty hour days to another's twenty four. How is it possible that the post-it's stuck on my cabinets contain things like "Send money for teacher gifts", "Submit continuation baby pictures", "Complete awards banquet year end video" and the like?

There is much that is long over due but today ... today felt special. Inconsequentially so and yet special.

And so ... those things wait.

I have a barn. And I have a cat. She's not much to look at and not particularly skilled as barn cats go. But ... she's gentle and she's kind and Eliza spends some days following her to the ends of the earth.

Early morning yesterday, I sat in phone conversation with a friend as Eliza traipsed night gowned, boots and frowzy haired off to the barn to say her good mornings. She emerged with a simple, "Calli has kittens climbing all over her .... " and with that I closed the call and hurried to take a peek.

The cat was amiable .. as much as any mother in child labor may be. We shared a sad moment over a still born and another in trust as I turned her back to the living needs and away from her forlorn loss of the one.

She's a young cat. Research tells me that young cats often don't make very good mothers. She allowed my glove-handed guidance to assist in discovery of the feeding process. She was a quick learner and motherhood began to flow naturally.

I sat in awe.

I'd been a young mother once too. Some might have thought the same of my inexperience.

I busied my afternoon in tidying the barn whilst keeping a distant eye out to ensure her attendance to the helpless infants. Bales were stacked, cages moved, feed bags hauled. I swept, I straightened, I removed.

The barn remained hushed and dimmed amidst my gentle declutter. She remained in her corner oblivious to it all. Completely enraptured with her little ones.

For her ... a simple cat made mother in an instant ... she stood where time stops still.

Today was my fortieth birthday.

Many beloved friends inquired over plans and offered celebration. In decline, I simply looked forward to a day to regroup, tidy, and bring myself back to the top of the swirling, whirling life around me.

I awoke this morning with grand plans of shaking the cobwebs from multiple weeks worth of to-do's. Tackling all that awaited. Climbing the mountain of unfinished business.

Yet as my day unfolded ... one moment to the next ... I thought of our dear Calli.

And brushing the busy-ness aside, I conscientiously allowed time to stop still.

I savored a breakfast made by little hands, the comsumption of which was proudly scrutinized by anxious to please faces.
I breathed deeply the aroma of the week's baked bread.
I felt lulled by the hum of the dryer.
I soaked in the warmth of the day's sunshine on green grass to infantile laughter.
I wrapped myself in the softness of a naptime little girl sandwich.
I read words from books that came to life.
I hugged with intent.

And just for today ... all else swept aside like a cat who only just discovered these joy's ...

I stood where time stops still.

Friday, April 12, 2013

factual friday

My current top favorite picture.

Janie was in the school spelling bee a bit ago. (Pardon the really bad iPhone pic)

That girl is ... obsessive about some things .... compulsive about others. She has routines and sticks to them. She does things her way. She rarely changes direction. She doesn't deviate or break rules. The years have taught me that will help her in life. But ...

When it comes to spelling bees, words come with certain rules to the English language. And breaking those rules for any reason makes for really hard study practice sessions. And the English language breaks all the rules.

Somehow we got through it without killing each other.

Somehow she made it to the fifth out of six rounds getting out on the word "Defiance".


She asked to use my tub for a bubble bath one night. Later that night whilst brushing my teeth, I found these wet used wash clothes just so on the tub edge. Yup. That's Janie.

Sometimes it's hard.

Sometimes it's so darn appreciated.

Celia had that first date she was a-flutter over.

I laughed at the planning hoopla, the coordination, girl friend banter, scheduled timing for hair, makeup, what to wear for the big event ...  boy (optional) ;)

I'm kidding.

He was not optional.

He made her entire 16 years worth living just to have been asked out.

And was so great to endure a dad's grilling at the door, even though our families are such great friends it was unnecessary ... just parental-ly fun to watch them squirm.

This has finally gotten too big for the sink.

But how do you keep a newly mobile girl from climbing the sides of the tub?

It's all fun until there's another boat in the marina with better toys.

Frustrated with boy's long hair and a week without enough hours for cuts, I pulled out the shears on a Sunday morning before church and asked Newel if he'd ever cut hair before.

"No .. but I'd like to try!!" I haven't seen him so excited since that ER doc handed him a removing tool for the staples in our oldest boys head injury at age six.

Needless to say, the boys weren't excited (so much so, I've been forbidden to post Christian's picture)

In the end, however, Grant thought it pretty great.

I walked into my room and found this happening.

I'm so in trouble.

This is one of my favorite moments at the end of the day.

Christian took home economics this semester for an easy A.

He's found it's not so easy.

And he's not getting an A.

At the top of Christian's to do list for summer ...

ever since this.

Oh boy.

Grant got his religious knot badge for scouts. That's a big one because it carries over to the boy scout uniform. Proud of him.

Charlotte and I wake up pretty early to get the first round of folks out the door with lunch and breakfast. Sometimes, it's just too hard and we can climb back in bed for a minute before shift three.

Incidentally, Newel hates my snowman pj's but on the comfort scale ... they are a 10.

Funny story about those pjs. One negative degree morning when Newel was out of town, we missed the bus and I blitzed kids to school in my snowman pjs. The car decided to die yards before the gas station at the four way stop in the center of our town. Coasting, we barely made it. Cell phoneless as well, my teens and I had to hang out sharing a microwave burrito with the cashier in the Conoco until my neighbor could come get us.

They were mortified.

Kids, not neighbors ;)

Jake the Cashier and I are on a first name basis.

And my mother was right ... don't leave home in your pjs.

Especially your snowman ones.

I have no shame.

We are in full swing of Colorado spring. Which means going between this :

And that.

And this.

And that.

And this.

And that.

And this.

It's not much different than yo-yo dieting and sort of has the same psychological effects.

However ... when the snow does come, Christian comes flying in the door from school with some sort of X-game in mind for him and Grant.

Like ski jumping down the back hill.

Personally, I'm ready for more of the warm ones. Eliza is ready for warm days too .... well, that and a hairbrush.

Soaking in the occasional warm days, we are becoming quite the competitive badminton players.

And last but not least ... if you .. like me ... are spring cleaning like mad, make sure that nothing you throw in the thrift shop bag pokes it's head out on it's way out of the car or you will bring home pitifully distrustful sadness and that stuffed friend you tried to rehome. Just sayin'.   

And those are our Friday facts.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

spring break 2012

Spring break is prime skiing. I vividly recall being pregnant last year and swallowing discomfort to follow these folks all over the slope on foot.

This year, I had teens wanting to ease into their mornings and willing to hang with little ones, allowing me time to slip off to attempt jumping back into the business after so many years out.

I have a long way to go to catch up with these guys. By the end of the week they were all testing black runs.

I love that aside from a few lessons, Newel has taught all of these little people of mine. It's such a highlight to watch them all race down the hill together.

I couldn't help but get a kick out of the chair lift exit strategy ...

... and Eliza's stories.

When I just couldn't keep up any longer, some girls and I took an ice cream break at the village cafe.

No ski trip is complete without our traditional gondola cruise with gummy snacks.

Never got a picture of Christian ... though he was with us ... he was just off and away every spare moment.

Nothing says spring break relax like turning the master bathroom into a spa.

I'm pretty sure Grant spent the entire week with his pj's on under his ski clothes, not getting out of them once.

Our town home had an in-residence elevator that I could have lived without. Or maybe I just could have lived without the competitive ownership regarding it.

Like it or not our family policeman was dubbed bellhop ;)

Sometimes it's just nice to get away and leave the cares and responsibilities of home and school behind.