Saturday, December 31, 2011


The new year is coming.  Just hours away.  All things will be made new.  I hold onto that promise and try to remember when I am tired or angry or lonely or just overwhelmed by the tidal wave that is 2 (and we just found out, soon 3) children and their needs and joys and clutter and wonder. 
Ignore the mess and drink in with joy the little wee man babe who is on the verge of walking and spends his days waving various and sundry objects at me while grunting and growling.  Ah, my boy who gently puts his hand on his Papa's bearded face and says 'pah pah' when he is happy and cries 'mamamamama' and reaches for me when he is sad. And the little girl child who flits through my day and imagines and dresses up every chance she gets and asks me earnest questions with her blue-green doe eyes upturned to me.  Why are things dead, Mama? How do reindeer fly, Mama? Are you losing your mind, Mama? (actual questions) and I laugh (sometimes internally) and do my best to answer.  My joyful boy and my serious girl who I lead again and again to joy.  And I wonder how I will stay afloat and then I realize that the things I'm worried about don't matter.  This season will pass and my little girl won't want to take me by the hand and say "I want to swing AND slide, with you, Mama" on our little 'date' to the park.  And my boy will be to big for kisses.  Oh those darling squishy cheeks! Never too big for kisses! And baby will become middle and 4 will become 5 and Matt and I will look at our dear babies and then look at each other and smile.  They are ours and the year/day/hour/moment is being made new.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Wonder - Welcome the Light

Something about December and the beauty of celebrating Christmas creates wonder every year.  This year, Cora, now three, asked her Papa if our house could have lights.  That girl has him wrapped around her finger!  So Papa got the lights out (that I bought 2 years ago in hopes), borrowed a ladder and put them up.  This is how the kids feel about it.  I feel the same way about them and the beautiful way they see the world.


This is Cora wondering why I am outside in the cold taking pictures of her through the window

And Judah wondering why he can't come outside too!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Still here - bandwidth wars

This picture-less post is brought to you by the Geek and his bandwidth hogging, working from home lately ways.  I'm still here, still snapping photos like crazy, but the battle of the bandwidth is ever present at my house.  The only time I have free to blog, or upload photos is after the kids (one of whom no longer naps) are in bed and since that doesn't happen in the daytime (see previous nap comment), it happens at night.  But the Geek is home at night, and inevitably, on his computer.  So I put off uploading so I don't have to clear it with him before hand.  Granted, I could plan better and put everything on the flickr uploadr with nice labels etc, but I'm the MUSICIAN half of this equation, so just read "non-planner" as a descriptive...mmmkay? 

Darling, if you are reading this, I love you.  I really, really, really do.  Can I please have some photo uploading time?  Kthnx!

(I can try blame it all on him, but it's me really; the slacker blogger who can't get it together lately.  Sorry.  I've done projects and taken pictures, I promise!  And I'll get back on the stick soon.  And you won't believe how big and beautiful the kids have gotten in the last month!  Delicious, I tell ya!)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Halloween is all crammed in there with Cora's birthday celebration so we just go with it.  Her birthday activities usually have a lot to do with costumes and fall themed fun.  This year was not much different.  We went as characters from Shaun the Sheep, at Cora's request.  I was Timmy's mom, Judah was Timmy, Matt was Shaun and Cora wanted to be Shirley.  I didn't have black socks so everyone wore wool socks.  I thought that was appropriate! (Costumes are just black shirts and pants, a tunic sewn from some white wooly material from Jo-ann Fabric, plus black $1 hats with black felt ears stitched on.  Mine is fancy with "rollers" made from toilet paper tubes painted pink.)
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Matt herding the sheep toward our neighborhood Trick or Treat gathering.  (Matt's dad and step-mom also pictured)

And of course there is the requisite pumpkin carving, headed up by the Papa, himself. Cora always wants a happy jack-o-lantern, so here he is along with the carving and "helping" which boiled down to Cora drawing on herself with a Sharpie after the eyes and mouth were chosen. And a shot of me and the kids that Matt totally photobombed.
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Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Birthday Week - my girl turned 3

Around here, we don't celebrate a Birth'day'.  Oh no.  We have birthday WEEK! Cora turned 3 this year amidst a festival of beautiful Autumn leaves and gloriously sunny and yet cooler days.  Matt and I painted a mural on her walls that have long been languishing with just blue sky and green grass.  She asked for a tree.  She asked for flowers.  We gladly obliged.
IMG_3317 IMG_3316 This is how she feels about her  new walls. IMG_3311
She asked for a party with her favorite friends.  She asked for cake with carrots.  How can we deny her that?  And so, on a chilly and foggy morning, we packed up her requested pink tablecloth and carrot cake cupcakes and celebrated her in the park with her favorite friends.  Then the fog lifted and we could not have ordered a better day.  She wore her birthday crown (from The Creative Family - Amanda Blake Soule) and her new pink boots (ebay!).  She gathered 'bouquets of flowers' (ie. dried leaves) with her best gal pal, Suzi, and in general enjoyed everything that is delightful for a young girl on her third birthday.
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I wrote in her journal a little love letter to her, all about her and who she is.  I put in all of the good and a little of the frustrating parts of her character because it's important to know who we are and who we were and where are roots are laid down deep.  My girl, with her beautiful imagination, her love of dancing and music, her shy face when I ask her to sing for anyone but me and Papa, her introverted tendencies, her temper, her passion for things, her meticulous nature that shines through in some areas, but not in how she cleans up her toys. My sweet Cora.  I'm sad and glad to see three arrive.  She's so very big, and yet so very small.  Happy birthday, my girl. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Wonder of Creative Play

In my last post, I talked about how wonderful it was to see the children at the campsite playing cooperatively with what they found and no one fought.  I also noticed that children who normally don't play together because of age difference were playing alongside each other and creating and using their brains!  It was pretty amazing.  Then Alice, one of the other moms at the camp out, linked to this amazing youtube video (on the free-range kids website) showing kids playing with 'found objects' in a school setting.  It made me so excited!  The other mothers in my local MOMS Club were practically giddy with the idea of setting up our own playpod for back yards, and for functions.  I am too!  Watch and enjoy the wonder of childhood imagination.  I may be raiding the scrap yard on Dickerson Road soon!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Camping with the Kids

MOMS Club Camping Trip 2011 MOMS Club Camping Trip 2011 MOMS Club Camping Trip 2011 MOMS Club Camping Trip 2011 MOMS Club Camping Trip 2011 MOMS Club Camping Trip 2011 MOMS Club Camping Trip 2011 MOMS Club Camping Trip 2011 
So by now, dear reader, you know that I have a nearly 3 year old and a nine month old.  (I didn't post about it, but he is.  Just a few days ago.  Happy 9 months little man!)  So what in the world would possess me to take them camping?   Yes, you read that right.  Camping.  Well, read on.

Nearly a year ago, while still pregnant with Judah, I discussed the possibility of a camp out with a sweet friend, but winter and a newborn and then spring and summer passed by and I never got around to it.  But this lovely fall weather was coming and I wanted to camp!  So we planned it.  Our MOMS Club and I.  I wrote lists, I gathered, I grocery shopped, and packed and packed.  I asked for the sage advice of my mother who camped with us while my siblings and I were little.  And it would not all fit in the car!  And so I left the one thing that she said I had to bring (a pack n play) and later did the one thing she said not to do with toddlers (had an open fire).

In spite of all that, it was, by far the most glorious camping trip I have ever been on.  Perfect weather, gorgeous changing leaves, wonderful friends to help and work and cook together with, an unrelated (to me) gramma to hold the baby (thanks Bobci!), campfires, food cooked in the coals, a beautiful display of the Moon and Jupiter dancing across the night sky, gorgeous sticky and grubby kids wired on s'mores, making 'force fields' with their glow sticks, a baby who napped like he had been sleeping in a tent his entire life, hiking, fishing, kite flying, star gazing, and children playing together and no one fighting!  There were no toys to be declared 'Mine!', just more nature objects to be found, and compiled, discussed, and examined.  I wish I had taken a picture of Cora's 'secret garden' aka a beautiful leaf sculpture she made upon arriving.  But I was too busy pitching a tent in the fading light.

The Geek, bless his non-outdoorsy self, joined us for one of the two nights but had it pretty rough with no extra warm clothes and getting crowded off the air mattress by the baby and me.  Then he had to drive back to town to work the next morning, poor guy!  We discussed how to make it better next time.  At least he's still willing to try! 

Tired and slightly sunburnt, I drove the short trip back home from Montgomery Bell State Park and unpacked the car.  Cora protested, "I don't want to go inside.  I'm gonna stay out here in this (camp) chair."  And why not?  She had been outside for three days!  It felt strange to me to be inside again too, where dirt suddenly made my house dirty.  Cora brought home a "box of nature" to show her Papa, including sticks, leaves, rocks, moss and some cold chunks of coals that she got from somewhere.  (Hopefully not the fire pit!)  At dinner she declared that she was going to sleep outside on the porch.  I understood what she meant.  Had we had a fenced in back yard, I would have pitched the tent back there and had another night under the stars.  I learned a few lessons about camping with kids, but we will be doing it again.  Hopefully in the Spring!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


Golden Leaves at Centennial Park


The longed-for summer goes;
Dwindles away
To its last rose,
Its narrowest day.

No heaven-sweet air but must die;
Softlier float
Breathe lingeringly
Its final note.

Oh, what dull truths to tell!
Now is the all-sufficing all
Wherein to love the lovely well,
Whate’er befall.

~ Walter de la Mare (1873-1956), English writer, most famous for his ghost stories and children’s poetry

The chill of the morning persists each and every day.  The summer is quickly flown away.  My babies grown so brown and tall, or so very pink and round as the case may be. The sun moves in its course (or appears to) as we tilt toward the coming cold.  I measure it in morning sunbeams on my bedroom wall and the precise moment that 'suntime' arrives and wakes my darling girl, who must, in turn, wake me.  Before chores and duties and breakfast and the other pressing demands of the day call us from our bed, we hold our sweet babes and read and snuggle under flannel sheets and giggle at the blessings we possess.  Sweet moments in taking time to "love the lovely well." 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Morning walk in the woods

I woke to little voices talking to each other.  Cora didn't wake me this morning, she just came into our room to read and talk to Judah, who was awake in his little bed beside me.  This morning I wasn't greeted with 'It's Suntime, Mama!'  And I missed it, a little.

So we drove, just my girl and I, almost running out of gas and praying to Jesus to get us to the gas dying just as I coasted up to the pump.  Through the curving roads of morning green and hills and rocky cliffs to the hidden park...not the playing kind, but the walking kind, I tell my little, who is confused by no jungle gym in sight.  With a sweet friend and her small girl, we walked.  My old dog Freckles exploring the trail ahead of us and taking it all in.  We didn't get very far down the path.  The sparkling light of the morning sun on the creek called to us and we headed down the bank.  Crawdads and minnows and snails and leaves and an odd rock with a hole through it, like a seeing stone to view the wood fairies.  Cora was all in.  Splashing turned to wading and eventually sitting...occasionally slipping, but mostly on purpose, in spite of sneakers and all her clothes on.  I'm glad for the warm(ish) sun on our shoulders...stacking rocks, slipping, splashing, and squealing and snippets of good conversation with an old friend...mixed in with rescuing my little from deeper pools and pointing out the crawdads.  Relishing the sweetness of her baby girl with wild curls on her beautiful head...who watched me with wide eyes as I sang-called the dog back to us.

Back to the trailhead, strip the wet clothes off...lucky I had a random towel in the car!  Dry in the sun and eat some grapes.  Help the old dog, whose legs are failing her and the half dressed girl (I only had dry shorts and undies for her to put on) back in the car and drive through the green again.  The winding beauty of the country roads and small crossroad towns.  Home again, home again.  Laughing with my girl.  My brave little "Shield Maiden of Rohan" who never met an outdoor adventure she didn't love.  My little girl, soaked and loving it.  She is All In.  And so am I.

Friday, September 16, 2011

[This Moment]

SouleMama does a great weekly post called This Moment.  No words, just a beautiful image or memory captured.  This is mine.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pause. Breathe. Unpause. Run!

Baby toes and broken washing machines. 
Sweet story time with 'little miss questions' and piles of languishing dirty cloth diapers (which I am unable to wash!)
Sweet little scooching across the room with arms and one foot on his way to mama and dog hair coating the front of his jammies.
A little girl's bright eyed joy at being able to wear her new (pink!) fall dress and a trip to the home supply store to drop $500+...(ack!) on a new washing machine. 
A new washing machine(!) that we are blessed to be able to afford...(Yay!) and piles of clothes to wash
A warm, safe home to live in and a list of repairs that I never get to.
Two wonderful babies who I spend my days loving on rather than fixing the house.

Eventually I run out of the things that I tend to focus on rather than the gifts of today and I am left with piles and piles of beauty and blessings and kisses and questions and stories and a baby who has learned to hug mama and crawl and eat bananas (so amusing to watch) and 'boing'  and give kisses, and take in life with wide eyes and a beautiful little girl who I just can't get enough of with her curiosity and her little matter o' fact statements and her bookwormness and flitting around the house on a mission to create or dream or invent or dance.  I want to drink in the things I am learning about them, who they are becoming and hold it still in my memory so I won't for get it.  (and find the time to write it in their books, because I know I will) The wind in the leaves on this cool gray September day.  Teaching my little one to find the joy in everything we do, even when it's something we don't want to do.  Reminding myself to do the same. 

Today is a gift for which I am so grateful.  Now I gotta run fish a clump paper out of the baby's mouth!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Summer Girl in her Fancy Dress

Oh how my girl loves to dress up and be fancy. It's somehow engrained in her being. And there is nothing sweeter than a fancy little girl, barefoot in the grass.

Cora Running Cora Running Cora Running Cora Running

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Meager harvests but still so sweet!

I seem to be unable to grow anything but tomatoes and sadly misshapen and small cantaloupes.  Even my pepper plant (which was finally going gangbusters) got rained into the ground last week during a little cold snap and several days worth of rain.  We shall see if part of it recovers,  I am less than hopeful. 

But I can grow tomatoes!  Here's a small harvest from August.  We hardly gave the plants a chance to catch up every day, before we were out there checking for little red ripe ones hiding in the leaves.  And the best part of all, my little helper, Cora, loves to garden with me! (read eat tons of tomatoes)

August Harvest August Harvest

Monday, September 12, 2011

Beautiful baby boy! (8 months old)

Judah is 8 months today!  And while these photos are from last month (I haven't done his 8 month photos yet), I can't resist showing them to you.  The blue eyes! The cheeks! The giggles! The chubby little thighs!  I am so in love with this little guy.  Get ready.  It's a feast of sweet baby.  I can hardly resist eating him up!

Judah - August 2011 Judah - August 2011 Judah - August 2011 Judah - August 2011 Judah - August 2011 Judah - August 2011 Bathtime Baby - Judah Bathtime Baby - Judah

Happy 8 months, little guy. Our love for you is expanding like the universe with no end in sight!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Covenant Child (number 2)

On August 7th, our small boy was baptized at our church.  People have lots of opinions on this and while we don't believe this is a sign of his salvation, we do believe that we, his parents, and the church make a covenant (with water) to point this little guy to Christ.  It was a sweet time with family and a small group of friends to celebrate.  Then later, at the service, we got to celebrate our covenant child, Judah with our family of believers.  (complete with gown that I made for him, in spite of Geek protests.  Sorry honey!  It's traditional, not girly.  I swear!) We love you, little guy!

By the way, these photos DID NOT happen on August 7th, but about a week later, after I had washed the sweet potato spit up out of his gown. Just so you don't go round thinkin' I'm on top of things.

Judah's Baptism Judah's Baptism Judah's Baptism Judah's Baptism Cora and Judah August 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"When You Find Yourself in the Thick of It...

Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you, silly girl."
~ Martha My Dear - by Paul McCartney credited to Lennon/McCartney

Words to live by in the crazy days of motherhood where I often find that all I can do is sit down in the middle of the floor and laugh.  Hold my sweet chubby little man up over my head and dodge the drool that comes flying out when he smiles.  Watch his two little teeth creep up his gum line, ready to pop out and my tiny baby boy becomes my big baby boy.  Crawl all over the floor with my girl in order to "teach" my wee son to crawl.  Laugh and giggle with my girl who thinks this is a very fun game and play a round of wrestling with the dog who thinks so too. 

To spend the morning baby naptimes in the window seat with my girl, stacks of library books, and the bright morning sunlight that every day grows more golden with the approach of Autumn.  To have big conversations about little things with little people who are trying so hard to put all the pieces of a complicated world into a picture that works for them.  To teach my little one to nap in the Ergo, so we aren't stuck home every morning for his marathon nap.  To each cherry tomatoes from the branches and wonder at my complete inability to cultivate anything but tomatoes and very misshapen and small cantaloupe. To write lists of things that may or may not ever get done.  To enjoy watching two little bugs take their evening bath and laugh and laugh at each other for reasons Mama is not privy to.  For breakfast together as a family, every morning.  Even if I have to cook it every morning.  For snuggles with my littles every night, while my wee man does his darndest to eat the pages of every book and my wee girl does her darndest to rescue said books from certain disaster.  For sweet little sleepy eye rubs and little yawns to tell me the day is done.  And an hour and a half with my love on the couch, watching a campy Jackie Chan movie. 

Yes, I will help myself to a bit of what is all around me.  Sweet family and choosing the gifts of today rather than living in all of the drama, mess, flooding, and craziness that has been going on this last week. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Man is a Motorcycle Man

So my sweet geek is looking less geeky these days.  Instead of a second car, I mentioned maybe he could get a motorcycle.  You should have seen his eyes get wide!  It was pretty cute.  Long story short, (which involved an older bike that couldn't be repaired and an intense learn to ride class) he chose this bike (and was officially certified to ride it!).  A Honda Shadow.
A Man and his motorcycle
But I gotta tell you this.  I (plus kiddos) took him to pick it up for the first time and my man, who I already think is pretty handsome, climbed on that machine and the very first thought that went through my head was "That's pretty sexy."  Who knew?  I mean, I had seen motorcycle guys before and was never very impressed.  But something about my own sweet hubs on  Now he rides it to work every day and I love to watch him pull out of the driveway, a man and his machine riding down our quiet street.
A Man and his motorcycle
There is a good reason for this, and here it is.  I'm not gonna lie to you, my man is not the outdoorsy, rugged, camping type.  His idea of camping involves a cabin and showers.  I've always hoped his outdoorsy side would develop, but after seven years, chances are looking slim.  I mean, he has a rugged and manly beard, and if he has to, can build a great campfire, but it's not something he loves.  But this, riding a motorcycle, is the most outdoorsy he has ever been.  He comes home smelling like the road, and sweat, and a bit like gasoline.  It's kinda rugged. I like it.  And he loves it.  I'd say that's pretty awesome arrangement!
A Man and his motorcycle
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