Friday, March 30, 2012


Life isn't orderly. It's not a neat and tidy thing that can be organized into equal sense-making parts. In my experience, often times the harder I try to make things fit into my neat little grid, the more complicated it becomes.

I've been watching the dark cloud of melancholy hovering in the distance for some time. At least that's what the separations feel like to me. This thing we can't control, but have come to accept... it means that friendships formed through years of hard work are forever changed. Each time another of my friends leave, those remaining feel the loss. It hurts.

This change is just a result of business. It's not a death... Business is business; I get that. I understand the reasons that stack up to form a decision. And the people who leave, my friends, are wonderful and talented and amazing... they'll be okay. They'll be great. I think the tears that fell today are for me as much as anyone. Because I'm still here, wishing they were too. Selfishly missing them.

Things still aren't orderly, fitting into those tidy little stacks... but I've decided to turn my face towards the sunshine. That dark cloud still looms, but after today, it seems to look a little less menacing.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Last night we had so much going on, it was difficult to see what was right there before my eyes. Some days are like that, aren't they? So full of busy and worry that the real and important things become tiny... like viewing them from off in the distance.

My little Ell was so caught up in that chaos that she was forced to take matters into her own hands, and she put herself to bed.

That sweet little girl taking herself to her room, softly closing her door and crawling under her covers made me cry. I was so embroiled in everything else that was going on that I didn't see her. I was looking right at her, but didn't see her.

It's a difficult thing to be pulled in so many directions, but that is nothing compared to not being pulled at all. I want my kids to pull and cajole for as much as they need... not to be coddled, but getting my complete attention. Even when I'm pretending not to give it.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Yesterday was a perfect day for kiting. It was sunny and warm with just the right about of breeze. The weather this spring has been amazingly warm and wonderful. Monte keeps telling me we have to record this meteorological magnificence, so we can be depressed next spring when we endure the cold and snow well into April.

I'm just trying to enjoy what we have now... spending as much time outside as we can. Hence our eagerness to indulge the little people when they asked to fly kites. That eagerness quickly faded. That eagerness reminded me of four valuable truths: 

  1. Even something so simple as flying a kite on a windy day can be anything but simple.
  2. Give a flying kite to a two-year-old and she'll let go of the string. Every. Single. Time.
  3. A situation where there are three children and two kits never ends well.
  4. Chickens really don't like kites. Especially those which look like owls.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


About a month ago, on my commute to work, I spotted a message on one of those outdoor electronic boards that caught my attention. I'd been having one of those mornings. You know the kind... it was one of those stressful and frustration inducing situations that always leaves one feeling disappointed and upset.

This message was perfectly timed. It simply read, "It's not about you."

That's just what I needed at that moment. That message has been scrolling through my brain since I spotted it... a reminder that the "It" in my life is the little people. "It" is all about them.

Last night Ellie woke us at around 12:30 with her loud crying. Not the sick child kind of cry... but the 'what the heck is wrong with this child' kind of cry. The kind that carries on for hours, threatening to wake the entire house and possibly the neighborhood... the kind that carries on until everyone is ready to break down and weep.

I kept reminding myself, "... it's not about you... it's not about you..." But that only works for so long. I hit the wall at hour two. At that point, it was about me. I needed to sleep. As the minutes ticked by, I got more and more frustrated. Just wanting everyone to settle in and sleep.

Eventually, we all went back to sleep... in a tentative way. The alarm rang all to soon this morning and it was still all about me. The jumbo size cup of coffee... that was about me too. Even tonight at the dinner table, I told Ellie that she needed to get her sleep and let Mama and Daddy sleep too.

As it turns out, 80% of things indeed aren't about me. But that other 20%... well, let's just say it's best for everyone if I get my sleep.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


We're really enjoying this spring weather, except for the wind... The wind seems to be punishing us; like we're paying some debt owed by such a short and mild winter. But so eager are we for the fresh air that we spend as much time as possible outside... keeping our heads down and hoping the wind will die down soon.

When it doesn't, we head to our little refuge in the valley. Someday I imagine us exploring our own little corner of the forest and retreating to a small cabin, that is all ours. For now, we make due playing around this public rental.

We play in the open spaces, sheltered from the unrelenting wind. The paved pathways are perfect for the littlest people to ride their bikes. Around and around they ride, taking breaks to explore as they go. Gavin rides too, sometimes, but mostly he's eager to play catch. He's keyed into baseball 100% these days. It seems like he can't get enough... but I love watching him work so hard.

There is much exploring to do in the valley as well. Although the squirrels have cleaned up most of the acorns, there are many caps to find. Along with rocks, interesting leaves, critters and so many other things that bring out the curiosity in little boys... and send little girls running for her mama.

Most distressing of all, the gals are doing their best to put up with the windy weather. Only they can't escape quite as easily as we can. So they protest in the only way they know how... by laying soft eggs. I'll spare you the visual... but trust me when I say that shell-less eggs aren't pretty. Even the gals are disturbed by them, refusing to lay them in the nesting boxes.

I'm confident that they'll snap out of it, or get used to the wind, just like the rest of us. Until then, however, it looks like my refrigerator will be short on eggs.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Isn't it funny how the unremarkable, even mundane things have the power to produce some of the most precious memories?

There are quite a few little moments that have created some really powerful memories for me; especially recently. I can only hope that the same is happening for the little people. It's an important thing for Monte and me to remember... slowing down and just being in the moment is one of our most important responsibilities as parents.

I'm really looking forward to this summer... knowing there will be plenty of opportunity for moments and memories.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Every now and then I find myself caught off guard by the stark reality of things. Tonight it was the realization that I am completely and utterly responsible for three little lives.

It's not like that fact has completely escaped me until now... as if I've been fumbling through life unaware... but as 'Mama' I find on so many days it's a full-time job just keeping up with demands; the reality of what it really means to be called 'Mama' doesn't have time to take root in my mind.

These three little lives are being shaped and molded each and every day... on the good days where patience is plentiful and teaching opportunities are obvious... and the opposite of those days. You know the kind; when "difficult" seems like an improvement to the current state of affairs. Whether I like it or not, those little people are taking in everything; learning by my actions good, bad or otherwise.

It seems inexplicable that I'm an adult, when I still feel like a kid. That I'm responsible for the little people even though I don't have it all figured out yet. Aren't mom's supposed to have all of the answers?

What this whole though process has taught me is that I'm not afraid to be responsible... to be Mama. I'm just not as aware as I need to be. And those ever elusive "answers..." Well, I guess they'll come just like everything else; when least expected.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Round Two

Even though Sunday was Ellie's day, Benett stole the show. He woke up that morning, with a terrible barking cough. Our concern was so great that we made the decision to postpone Miss Ellie's birthday bash.

Even though we knew it was the only decision to make, we just didn't want to expose anyone else to this yucky bug, I had a twinge of guilt for the majority of the day... like we'd taken something from Ell.

It was such a beautiful day, that after cake... a red velvet cake, to be exact... we decided to head to our favorite little spot for a walk in the sunshine. I think it did all of us some good to be outside, soaking it all in. Benett rallied mid-day, but as evening came the poor little guy got clobbered. That darn cold had him home from daycare on Monday too.

Knock on wood... I think we're all healthy again. And  in an effort to not deprive Ell of her hostessing duties, we'll try to sneak that birthday bash in before the month is over.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Two years ago today, my heart learned to sing a new song. I'm fairly certain that heart of mine wouldn't know how to beat, without such a sweet little tune.

It's such a strange feeling, when I really think about today. It seems on one hand like just an ordinary day... filled with little bits of celebration... but like watching TV without the sound, what today looked like belies what's in my heart.

This little song made our family complete the night she came with gusto in the world and our lives. Complete not because she was to be the last; complete because that's how I felt. Complete because she reminded me of her biggest brother... to this day, she does more than ever... making our family a full circle of life and love. Not that fantasy of easy love, but the real kind that is difficult and worth fighting for.

How two years can pass so quickly, in a slowish way, is a miracle. Most days, I tell myself to remember a moment... like I'm willing it to remain in my memory no matter how small or trivial. But today that thought has been ever-present. I wanted to clock to stop. Since I couldn't make that happen, I snapped 187 photos... some blurry. Some random. Some with little more than a finger or a foot filling the frame, but the click of the shutter seemed to help me cope with the clock... like I wasn't going to give in, even as I heard the day tick-tick-ticking, in that slowish-fast way.

Miss Ellie is tucked into bed now. We rocked and sang "Happy Birthday" about 17 times. She was happy to listen and I was happy to sing... it isn't the song in my heart, which is okay, because Ell's the only one who knows how that one goes.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Baby feet have these magical powers that render perfectly sensible adults into a state of complete enamorment.  (Right… that’s not a word… but it should be; especially where baby feet are concerned.)

When each of the little people were delivered into this world… and even before, in ultrasound pictures, feet were a source of pure amazement. To see those little feet in the pictures and then finally after such a long wait, to be able to hold them in my hand… well that’s awe inspiring. In my mind, those little feet carried each of my little people on their own long journey, without bearing any weight.

Tonight, Benett came home talking about the new baby at daycare, and her tiny little feet; “with little pink piggy toes.” His interest in those baby toes made me think about his and how big he’s grown. His big little feet still make me pause… making me think about how small they once were… how much he’s grown… how far he’s journeyed, now bearing his own weight... it makes me wonder how far they'll take him in this world.

Benett and Ellie both have these feet with toes crammed together so much they overlap... and seem at first glance as if there are too many toes fighting for space on a little foot. When they were little I used to hold a foot in my hand, trying to imprint in my memory how soft those feet were. How small those feet were. How those amazing little feet were attached to amazing little people.

As those little feet grow, they’re no less mesmerizing… just like the people.

Monday, March 5, 2012


From a really young age, I had this understanding that my children wouldn't look like me. I'm not sure what prompted me to feel that way... it's just this thing that my heart knew.

For that reason, it never really seemed strange that Gavin was this blond-headed, blue-eyed boy. That's just the way he was supposed to be... looking very different than me. I have a similar feeling about Ellie... aside from her dark eyes; I struggle to see myself reflected in her face.

But not Benett. He is me... he's a living picture of my brother at that age, and my father too. My dear Grandmother, she sees it as well. Even though she has been fighting this battle with a merciless villain who hides her precious memories; she sees reflected in Benett's face, her own children as toddlers. She looks at him, and knows.

I love that connectedness.

But, regardless of who my little people look like, their hearts are what matter most to me. That those little hearts are filled with love and happiness. That the face reflected back at them in the mirror is one that has been showered with kisses... that they love themselves as much as I love musing over each of them... regardless of who they do or don't look like, each is an individual that I love more than I ever knew I could.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


This is the time of year when I start to push the envelope and get one step closer to being in my garden, by starting some seeds inside. Mostly tomatoes and this year strawberries as well, are started from seed in peat pots. It's really easy... and fun for the kids to help with too.

Last week we hydrated the pots and planted all 30 tomato seeds. By Wednesday, we had little shoots appearing. Today, I had to take the cover off and set the tray in a sunny spot. I only hesitated for a moment when I set the tray on the floor... after all, the boys know the routine and Ellie doesn't usually stray too far from a chaperone... either Monte or me... or one of the boys.

But today, two things happened:

  1. Ellie got extra curious.
  2. The terrible two's kicked in.
The result? Ellie "helped" to pull out all of the plants.

You know the moment, when the house is just too quiet, although it's full of little people, but NONE of them are making a sound. I found myself in that gut-clenching place and immediately knew that something horrifying was happening. As I cautiously stepped around the corner and bracing myself, I found Ellie, sitting there quiet as a mouse, with a pile of green stems strewn around her... smiling from ear to ear. 

I was too devastated to speak. 

I guess it could have been worse. The only things hurt were my very tender seedlings/feelings. And luckily, we had a survivor. A single little stem that little miss destruction overlooked... turns out, we may still have a tomato for the garden after all.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Miss Ellie has been under the weather. Being sick seems to be a semi-permanent condition of winter (and daycare).

This time, Ell has a low grade, intermittent fever with a rattly cough mixed in for good measure. It has reduced her to a weepy and clingy state. But the most obvious symptom that she's sick... when my good little eater just pushes food around on her plate, refusing to take even the smallest bite.

I'm hoping tomorrow will be a better day. And that nobody else catches this bug.