Monday, January 30, 2012


This child seems to be perpetually happy. Even when he's not, he puts on a smile and tries his best to be felicitous.

A big part of his happiness is just his nature, and I love that happy Gavin. That kind of happy is whole and pure and filled with light. It's original and seems to radiate from him. It's contagious.

The other part of Gavin's seemingly perpetual happiness is his desire to please. That part I would like to quell. That version of happy is quiet and staid. That version of happy makes me sad. It makes me want to scoop him up and tell him that he can be sad... after all, everyone is sad from time to time. He can be disappointed... we're all let down at times.

Sad and disappointed is something that nobody likes to feel... little boy or otherwise... but we have to feel it when it happens. That's a lesson I didn't think I'd have to teach. It's a perplexing one...

Happily, today's jubilant boy is genuinely so. He's all-consumed by football and the impending Superbowl has him aflutter with excited anticipation. I think we'll happily watch the game together... him for the "awesome routes and plays" and me for the ads... both of which are sure to please Gavin and me.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Oh, I miss this place... growing wild and green, smelling of fresh earth and overrun with little people.

It's inevitable, by the time February rolls around, I find myself dreaming of the garden. Even the most mundane of summer tasks... like pulling weeds would be a welcome respite from this frozen tundra.

I'm certain that this fantasy isn't mine alone, because each day the mailman brings me a new bundle of seed catalogs. Those catalogs make me very happy, and In the evening I sit,  with catalog in hand, dreaming of green things.

Even Gavin took a rare break from his playing to sit and thumb through the Gurney's catalog... marking pages and making suggestions.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Swedish Fish

Getting Benett to eat meals has been a real challenge lately. The word "meals" is operative in that last sentence... you see, he'll eat many other things... just not the food lovingly prepared to be consumed together as a family.

Case in point, we found Benett sitting on the floor in the dark pantry yesterday morning, eating Swedish Fish and Wheat Thins. When asked "why..." His response was so honest, "I just love them so much, Mama." His anguished look made it impossible for me to keep a straight face.

I'm afraid that little slip in my composure belied the fact that I do not want him helping himself to Swedish Fish (even when paired with Wheat Thins) before breakfast.

Monday, January 23, 2012


In the not-so-distant past, this is the kind of desktop that children learned at. Where they sat, putting pencil to paper, learning.

This particular desk came from a one-room school house where my dad and a good many of my lineage began their educational careers. That was another time. A place where the current desktop and virtual learning didn't exist.

It may be the act of becoming mother that has made me sentimental about these kinds of things... but I love this old desk. The color and patina... the engraved embellishments and signs of wear. All of the things that prove that this desk had a life.

So when it was gifted to me at Christmastime, I was smitten. I love every bit of it's rusty charm... the story is has to tell... and best of all, in my sentimental eyes, I see recognition of a not-so-distant past in the faces of each of my children who's own desktops are very, very different.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I have decided that the ability to walk away from a frustrating situation is an art form. A form of art at which I'm woefully inept.

I'd rather talk. I'd rather explain why something isn't right, or remind someone of a task for the 384th time, or explain why two little people shouldn't argue/push/chase/yell... I'd rather get it off my chest. Walking away isn't conducive to liberating a chest.

But my chest and I agree that we're going to need to work at walking away. That's because, at my house, 8-year-olds are a breed all their own. A breed that likes to talk and ask questions, yet somehow remains utterly care free and oblivious. A breed that lives fully in the present, with only a scant memory of the past 30 seconds.

And then, as if by Divine intervention, he says something brilliant. Something so brilliant that I'm dumbfounded. I don't bother to consider that a tidbit of my pleading and cajoling and hounding and scolding and talking have managed to sink in...

Divine it must be. Speaking to me through Gavin, God is trying to direct me... directing my hands in that most difficult job of parenting, if not my feet, to walk away more often... Reminding me that to be called Mama is a name earned through sweat and tears. But rewarded in a heart filled with love.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Being Mom is how I define myself. It's not an easy job, but like most careers, it's not the easy part that makes the job fulfilling or worthwhile. Being Mom is the most important thing that I've done. The most important thing I'll do in this life.

That's a big deal. I want my kids to know how much I love each. How much I want them to be well-rounded and empathetic and nurturing and strong and faithful. That is work that can only be done fully through love.

But even when you love your little people to the moon and back, mothering can be perplexing. Lately, being Mom has been less easy... maybe even difficult. Nothing particular or earth-shattering... just filled with stuff that can't be patched up with a kiss or a band aid or a heart-to-heart. The kinds of things that make Moms think and worry and work even harder to do what's best for their little people.

This too shall pass, and being Mom will fall back into a more comfortable cadence... but the recent stress has made me appreciate Ellie's role as Mom to her new baby.

Ellie loves her baby and has been adamant about caring for all her needs... sharing her diapers included. It made me realize that little moms-in-training tackle the tough stuff too. Ellie could have chosen to just sit in a quiet chair and feed the baby... or put the baby in a new outfit... or put the baby in a stroller and go for a stroll... you know, the easy stuff. But she chooses to embark on the mind-bending task of figuring out how to put a ginormous diaper on a small baby... and to gracefully deal with the un-glamorous stuff.

Turns out, little moms like Ellie and big Moms like me both love our jobs so much, that mind-bending and un-glamorous stuff doesn't matter. It's all just what we do... easy or not.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I may or may not have romanticized the concept of molding and shaping little people into creative and expressive and productive and contributing members of society.

The first two items; creative and expressive, we have all but mastered... or so I tell myself by the non-stop chatter and endlessness of the creative messes the little people leave in their wake...

But the latter two, Productive and Contributing, are a bit more elusive. I don't have outlandish expectations... right now I would simply rather not have to be so doggedly in my requests... especially where the biggest of the little people is concerned.

It's amazing to me how much impact Gavin's attitude and willingness to help has on Benett and Ell. He doesn't realize how much he sets the tone... it becomes contagious when Gavin doesn't want to help.

After several failed attempts at other ways to encourage Gavin to be a little more responsible for his roles, I think we've landed on something with potential.

Gavin and I worked to create pictures of his chores. We glued those discs to clothes pins. The pins are clipped to one of two little boards... "To Do" and "Done." Gavin loves "clipping over" as he calls it... or in my vernacular... crossing things off the list. (Hooray for lists!)

I'm not sure how long this idea will last... but for now, we're happy campers... with the biggest of the little people being more productive and contributing... which happily, is contagious.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Why is it that the most simplistic things are sometimes the most difficult to overcome?

For Gavin, teasing his brother comes naturally. It may very well be the role of an older sibling... to toughen up those that come after... but it's obviously more difficult to stop himself from tormenting his brother, than it is to acknowledge that it's not always the right thing to do.

When he came home from religion with this sweet little heart, it made me realize that Gavin places importance on the relationship that he has with Benett... but the follow-through can be tricky.

I wish I could say that this little phenomenon was exclusive to children. Although I've learned to play nice with my brother, I've found that I can relate to this simply crafted heart. To me, this heart reads, "Do what's right, no matter how uncomfortable... and regardless if someone else is watching."

It's not a resolution, by any means... but I have a feeling that 2012 will go down in the family archives as a year filled with change. There are parts that will force us to step outside of that precious comfort zone... and with a little practice we will make it through, having done what's right... no matter who's watching.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Yesterday, we disassembled Benett's crib. It was time... for him to be out of the crib and into a "Big Boy Bed."

For me, on the other hand, it definitely was not time for this milestone. I'm not sure why I do this to myself, but the sentimental part of me is tortured by these kinds of things... these milestones that make me acknowledge the sobering reality that the little people won't be little forever. They're growing up.

Last night, Benett was excited about his new sleeping arrangements. He was seeing his bedroom in a new way... from a different vantage point... with big boy eyes. He was excited to jump on a big boy bed.

But to me, that big bed made my little boy even smaller. He looked so tiny, trying to snuggle into the large expanse. A little like the infant version of him looked when we first brought him home and laid him to snooze for the first time in his crib. The crib he's now outgrown.

The world revolved around that tiny human sleeping in that large crib. The sun still rises and sets for him. Though, I'd say that for all of my little people. They're each miraculous and amazing and the center of my world. Singularly and together, all at once.

Even though they're growing so fast, some things from infancy remain in our home. Rocking chairs which have rocked to and fro countless times... working their rhythmic magic on infant and adult alike. Warm blankets made with love for each of the little people are loved right back by each of them... especially as they cling to them in order to fall asleep...

Yes, much of the baby things have been tucked away... not yet parted with... that may never happen, especially if the sentimental me has her way. Those things are like keys that unlock the memories that my heart treasures most.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


This is a snowball maker. A great tool for making the perfect snowball. There will be no shortage of perfectly round snowballs, or the cold hands that go with that sort of game, with this handy contraption.

Sadly, Benett has resorted to using it on his cheeks. He wants to sled... he wants to make snow forts... he wants to shovel the snow... We need some snow, stat!

So, if Old Man Winter is listening, Benett is saying, "Please."

Monday, January 9, 2012


I'm so happy that Gavin enjoys reading. It's been so much fun to watch him develop as a reader... going from asking (repeatedly) to be read to (which we happily obliged). To going off and reading on his own.

Tonight, Gavin decided to read to his baby sister. She didn't play the attentive audience... but that didn't deter him... Gavin read on, pausing to enjoy the pictures... getting lost in the words.

He's a young reader, but I hope this love is one that lasts.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Aren't weekends lovely? Quiet, slow time spent doing anything.... and nothing. It's a land where schedules, appointments and meetings don't exist.

To celebrate that liberating feeling, we made chocolate chip cookies for breakfast... I'm not THAT easy going though... we ate them for lunch. After all, isn't it nice to have fresh cookies to look forward to?

Because we could, we also went for a little walk at our local state park. It was nearly 40 degrees! The boys zipped around on their bikes, and Ellie happily ran after them. It was hard not to smile...

Thursday, January 5, 2012


When she was born, Ellie was tiny. She instantly made little Benett look like a giant. Although he was a slim 18 months older, he loved that role of big brother. He still takes that role as seriously as he can.

But now, Miss Ellie has caught up to that big brother and is so close to his size. They're so similar, in fact, that I find myself comparing them.

To tell you the truth, I think Ellie does the same thing. Anything that Benett does or has, she needs as well. That can be a challenge... but it has also been a good thing, especially where potty-training is concerned.

But for all of their similarities, there are stark difference between these two, and I think they can be perfectly illustrated by the way each of them react to burping. Yes, burping. It's a natural bodily function and I guess nature also dictates how the genders react when presented with a burp.

Ellie, although I wouldn't normally describe her as delicate, reacts that way. Always saying, "Cuse me..." So polite is she, that if you don't acknowledge her, she'll shout "Cuse me! - Cuse me!" repeatedly until you thank her. (To which she will undoubtedly say, "Welcome.")

Benett, on the other hand, is overcome with a fit of laughter each time he burps... and then without fail, tries to repeat the offending sound.... which creates even more laughter. And much to my chagrin, this little scene is infectious, and usually spreads to Gavin.

This collection of quirks, differences and similarities really defines each individually... and all of us together. It's fun to watch all of it unfold... but if I'm being honest, I could really do with far less burping at my house.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Having little people in the house, especially the boy variety, means that injuries are common. Bumps, bruises, scrapes and scratches... they all come with the territory. But for some reason, today was filled with an extra dose of calamity.

It started off with a call from Benett's daycare... a cut on his chin. It didn't look deep, and though it's a bit wide, Monte and I opted to bring him home and apply some steri-strips. I'm not sure if they would have stitched it... but the idea of traumatizing Benett with a trip to the emergency department didn't sound all that appealing (or necessary).

It must have been telepathy of some kind...  so with Gavin being so competitive, he also came home tonight with a jumbo-size band aid on his knee, and a significant hole in his jeans. (He's an accomplished child, when it comes to creating holes in otherwise perfectly good clothing... I'm certain he could do it in his sleep.)

The icy playground was the culprit in Gavin's case. For Benett, he somehow managed to slip under a table and catch his chubby little chin on the corner of said table... These boys seem to have taken on some kind of challenge... or perhaps it's a little boy oath... to be in a constant state of scabbiness... to always be laden with a bit of band aid residue to mark their most recent injury.

The one good part... they both still think that a kiss from Mama helps to make it all better.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Although yesterday was the last day of the year, it also contained a first. Yep. The gals delivered their first egg. Even though it's very petite, the little egg was weighty with just a couple of speckles... perfect in every way.

I don't know about you, but I think that the timing of this perfect little egg must mean good luck for the brand new year.

My wish for you is for this new year be filled with your kind of good luck as well.