Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Being singled out or embarrassed is the stuff of nightmares... especially for kids. For me, I was (and still am) very conscious about what I wear. I do not want to stand out. Period.

I vividly recall the process of deciding what to wear to school including a phone call to a friend. We'd come to a mutual conclusion, making sure everything was just right... even so, I still breathed a sigh of relief when I got on the bus in the morning and my friend was wearing her version of "our" outfit.

This week at Gavin's school is dress up week. Each day has a theme... today was Wacky Wednesday. But much to Gavin's chagrin, he was the only one wearing a wacky outfit.

When I dropped him off, he noticed right away that he was the only one. I felt so bad when I saw his cheeks go pink, and he tried to nonchalantly turn his "wacky" shirt the right way around. I would have driven home to get him a change of clothes, if he'd wanted me to.

But he didn't. He walked right into the fray without giving things a second thought. I admire him so much. I'm not sure I could have done that.

Tonight when he got home, I asked if there were any other wacky kids who showed up... but there were none. "But that's okay, Mom... I still had fun."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


A month ago, Gavin and I were running some errands and came across an estate sale sign. In our neck of the woods, that's a rarity in the wintertime. As if we needed a reason, rarity was enough of one to see what kinds of treasures we could find.

It was a small house, in an older neighborhood; where all of the homes have the feel of cottages... with charming little details and plenty of character. In my mind, even the people who live in these houses are petite. It's how I'd picture a neighborhood of gnomes. These gnomes happily going about their business in their small yards, shaded by huge, old trees.

I'm certain that the occupant of this home was not a gnome. Perhaps a bachelor lived there. There wasn't much in the way of linens or decor... no tchotchkies to speak of; but instead a plethora of tools and board games.

Amongst the board games was a box filled with clothes pins, for $1. I couldn't resist. I could practically see the people we'd make with them.

It's been several weeks, but we finally had a few spare minutes to work on our clothes pin people last weekend. We had so much fun, we make an entire family portrait. I think they're fun, but Ellie is smitten. She spent the longest time pointing out each of us... she even had a smooch for the clothes pin version of herself.

It was $1 well spent... and it will remind me of the adventure Gavin and I took in the gnome neighborhood.

Monday, February 27, 2012


I have to confess that I've never scalded milk... intentionally. I'm not sure if I did it correctly or not, but the resulting meal wasn't met with shouts of disapproval. Actually, one out of three asked for seconds. In my book, that's a success.

If you're curious, I made this... without the peppers. I knew those would be a show-stopper; not the good kind.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


We had a lovely little weekend. It was the kind where we didn't have any plans... we didn't even have to make a run to the grocery store. That's huge, in my book.

The only blip on our radar, was a play date invitation for Benett. He'd been looking forward to it all week long... but when Saturday morning arrived, he was tearful and adamant that he was NOT going to ANY ONE'S house to play.

I spent most of the morning cajoling and encouraging him. I just knew he'd have a wonderful time, if he just got past the part about getting there.

After lunch, I told him we'd just stop by his friend's house to say "Hello." I'd stay with him and hold his hand for as long has he wanted me to. If he didn't want to stay, he wouldn't have to; we could come back home.

His little hand was firmly folded into mind, squeezing my fingers tight. We walked up to his friend's house... and in we went. It took about 30 seconds for Benett to remove his shoes and coat; then run off to play. He didn't even look back. At that moment it was me, wishing he'd hold my hand just a little bit longer.

Benett had a wonderful time. He's since asked no less than 10 times if we can go back to play again. I'm pretty sure he's conquered his apprehension.

Friday, February 24, 2012


February is chock full of birthdays... five total. In my mind, February is a great month for birthdays. With winter in full swing, it's nice to have a reason to celebrate (and eat cake).

Monte turned 40-something this week. He certainly doesn't act his age... and I'm just fine with that.

Happy birthday, love.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I'm always so amazed when my house plants flower. Perhaps it's because I don't really notice them most of the time... or maybe it's just the rarity of it all... either way, I'm smitten with the delicate little pink and white flowers that have suddenly sprung forth from this much neglected plant.

These blooms are reminding us that spring will be right around the corner. Like me, the little people are ready to really spend some time outside... running and playing, without being encumbered with cold weather gear. It will be a good feeling when we can retire the heavy coats and boots and mittens and hats and snow pants... It makes me just a little bit giddy to think about how much easier it will be to get out of the house in the morning, without having to don all that extra stuff.

Monday, February 20, 2012


She's a wild tangle of a little girl, who on most days is more interested in keeping up with her brothers than anything.

Ellie has the occasional tea party, which is crashed joined by her brothers... but most of the time, she's following their lead. That means, if the boys are playing with trucks, then Ellie is playing with trucks. (Or some other roughhouse version of boy stuff.)

She's always worked hard to keep in step with those big brothers, but until our exchange tonight, I didn't understand just what that meant to Ell.

Ellie: "Mama, am I a good boy?"
Me: "You're a good Girl, Ell."
Melancholy Ellie on the Verge of Tears
Me: "What's wrong?"
Ellie: "I want to be a good BOY!"

(I make a conscious effort to catch the little people making good choices... and obviously, I point that out to them... But I didn't realize it sounded so much like praising a dog.)

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Your eyes do not deceive you. That is indeed a gigantic colander, filled with yarn. I didn't count how many skeins went in, but over half of my yarn has been relocated to a unique new display.

Gavin and I finally stopped at our favorite local antique place, last weekend. We've been talking about visiting for months... We were not disappointed, and came away with a few treasures. This large cooking implement included.

I'm pretty sure that Gavin was so excited about the colander, because he could imagine the bowl of spaghetti that could come from such a fantastic strainer. Little did he know, my intentions for its use were much different.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I'm a lucky girl. I know that every day... although some days the luckiness is clearer than others. To prove how lucky I am, Monte came home with the loveliest flowers on Tuesday. He's so thoughtful.

I love the roses. The pretty pink color brought instant cheer to the kitchen. But I have to admit... more than those gorgeous roses, I love the babies breath. It always captures my attention and I find myself wanting a bouquet of just those small white flowers.

Maybe it's because those small white flowers play second fiddle, and I love them for looking so cheerful despite being filler. Those little white flowers remind me of the simple pleasures that can be found in our day-to-day, if we take the time to recognize them... like a chat with a friend or a warm drink on a cold day or a funny conversation... maybe not necessarily the things we remember to count in our blessings at night... but the simple pleasures are like these small white flowers, which become something so much more... much more than filler... when we stop to see them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Traditions are really important to me. It helps me to feel connected to the memories that they evoke. The traditions also help me to pass a part of my childhood on to the little people.

It will be fun to learn which of our traditions become repeated in the adult versions of Gavin, Benett and Ellie. Which will they treasure most? What sights, sounds or smells will instantly trigger a fond memory? I hope there are many.

None of our traditions are grand gestures. They don't involve extravagance. Most are simple, like the huge valentine cookies, which were the order of the day today. It's just a simple (but delicious) sugar cookie recipe, shaped by hand... with icing and sprinkles.

As a child, I recall being so excited when my mom made these cookies for my brother and me... Valentine's Day just wouldn't seem right if I didn't do the same for my little people.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


It's true. I spent most of the day making valentines. Not the store bought kind, much to Gavin's chagrin, but crafted goodies instead.

For Gavin's classmates, we made little notebooks. They're just the right size for small hands. I think they turned out cute, but I'm not a big fan of the clown...

For Benett and Ellie, we simplified things a bit. They "signed" their names via thumbprint, which the both loved. I'm pretty sure they got ink just about everywhere possible.

It doesn't bother me that the valentines most likely won't get a second glance. More than anything, I just enjoy the process... and an opportunity to spend time creating with the little people. I'll take that kind of Sunday anytime.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Sometimes I catch myself looking at her with nothing less than pure amazement. Looking right at her, but not hearing what she's trying to say to me... because my mind is too engrossed in the process of trying to commit every single thing to memory

I have those moments with all of the little people, but there is something certainly different with Ms. Ellie. Maybe it's because she's the littlest, and I feel that slipping away. I want to capture it before the essence is replaced with something new and different.

Perhaps it's because I'm trying to see a bit of myself when I look at this little blond girl...

Or just maybe the bond between a mother and a daughter, in the midst of boys, is something to behold. Maybe we've mentally banded together knowing that we're stronger as a team... that we can tame these wild beasts if we try together.

What ever the reason, I find myself making excuses to stop what I'm doing and just be near her. Undoubtedly, I indulge myself and sit on the floor near where she's playing. While sitting cross-legged and quiet, she will climb into my lap and sit, like a bird in a nest. She'll continue playing and we'll chat... but it's just as easy for us to quietly sit... just the two of us... while the boys buzz too and fro, running noisy circles around us, doing all of the things that boys do.

Eventually, she climbs from my lap to join the wild rumpus. She's good at that too. But before she runs off, I can't help but run my fingers through that yellow hair, still amazed, but no longer feeling so much like I need to see myself in there. We have something special that requires no reflection.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


There is something very therapeutic about tea.

In it's real form... or in the pretend version, which this cup holds... tea is therapy in a cup. There is a quiet calm in the process of brewing and sipping the drink. It's funny how things usually become clearer when viewed from behind the steam rising from the cup.

I'm preparing my cup of steaming therapy now. I can almost smell the raspberry... filling my lungs and my heart... setting my mind at ease, and giving me the quiet strength to tuck Benett back in to bed for the 5th time tonight.

Perhaps he's the one in need of a cup?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


The gals have been taking good care of us. I guess that's because we've been taking good care of them. Each evening at chore time, we're greeted by three curious hens and on most occasions two smallish eggs.

Returning with my two coat pockets filled with precious cargo, I'm typically met at the door by Ellie. After we've washed the eggs, she points out the new ones and always asks to touch them. I like our simple little ritual and she seems to enjoy watching our abundant basket of eggs grow day by day.

I'm hoping that little ritual will help catapult Ellie into the category of egg-eater. So far she's not a fan... which I've decided to keep from the gals. I don't think they'd approve.

Monday, February 6, 2012


We're in the business of finding a new cadence. Establishing a new routine. Adjusting.

This little experience has taught me that if I am nothing else... I am a creature of habit, thriving on my routine. It's comforting. Having that comfort replaced with something new, even something seemingly simple, is cause for a bit of anxiety on my part.

I'll get used to it, but in the meantime, my anxiety seems to be a bit of a delight to the little people. They're adjusting right alongside me... yet they don't seem the least bit bothered by the bookends of our day. They're obviously much more malleable than I.

As we learn the steps in our new dance, Monte's focusing on his new work and I'm trying to take the lead in the mornings. Up until now, that had always been Monte's area of expertise. He's a great morning person. Me... not so much.

The worst part of mornings is that they carry on throughout the day. Somehow, an uncoordinated morning makes for a longer list of things to do in the evening. It was a brutal discovery when I realized that getting up earlier doesn't mean that more gets done...

So with that in mind, I'm off to set the stage for a successful Tuesday morning. With any luck, I'll get the hang of this thing and be back into a comfortable morning routine that includes being at the office on time, with coffee in hand.