Friday, August 31, 2012


I came across this picture on my phone today and it made me realize that summer is almost over. This photo seems like it was snapped just a few days ago, and at the time, it seemed like we had all the time in the world. The sun was warm and the air was filled with the smell of sunscreen and the sweet sound of laughter... just the way a summer day should feel.

Now the days are getting shorter and the nights turning cool. I do enjoy the transition to Autumn, but there is something about the back to school time that feels final. Like fun needs to be metered and the sunscreen put away. That must go back to when I was a kid, in nervous anticipation of the first day back to school.

There's still fun to be had and as we get back into the school-year routine, we won't let the shorter days tell us that we can't have fun just because our laid-back summer is over.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


He's four now.

When asked about the big event, he said it very simply, but very well... "I was three when I went to sleep last night. When I woke up this morning, I was four."

I've noticed him changing in recent months. A gradual, persistent shift inwards. Not in terms of his personality, he's no introvert... but in terms of his behavior. I can see him thinking things through... using his great imagination to devise these fantastical play scenarios.

His imagination seems to be running at full tilt. I can't wait to see him in the mornings, to find out what kind of animal he transformed himself into in the night. As he makes his way up to see me in the mornings, I know by the barking or the mooing what kind of animal he's going to be for the day. He tends to stay in character for the majority of the day... especially at meal times.

All of this growing and changing takes a lot out of Benett. After all, his emotions are growing and changing too... becoming more complex. He and I are both trying to figure out that change... as a result, I see this face quite often. I'm certain that the look on my face that he sees gazing back at him is infinitely less cute and much more bewildered on many occasions.

He went to sleep at night and woke up the next day a whole year older.

I went to sleep that same night, wondering if I should tip-toe down the stairs to sit at his side, as the clock mercilessly ticked and tocked, to watch his sleeping face change to that of a four-year-old. I didn't, because the rational me knew it wouldn't. The emotional me wasn't so sure... I only wanted to watch this little boy sleep... suspending time just a bit by recalling the baby and toddler and child that he was... wondering about how much different and the same he is, all at once.

He went to sleep at night and woke up the next day as a four-year-old... who was a dinosaur. So on his special day, we were a dinosaur family... especially at meal times.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Sometimes it feels good to give up... well... maybe it feels better to let go than to give up. Either way, for the first time in recent memory; perhaps for the first time ever, I've been able to let go of so many things. Things that in the long run didn't really matter anyway. Things that stole time and bandwidth only to dissipate as the current of life swiftly moved us on to the next thing.

I'd like to say this letting go thing came naturally, that it was an easy thing to do once I set my mind to it... but that's not even close to the truth. In reality, lets just say lean towards a Type A mentality. I like to know what's going on and when. I like to know what to expect and be prepared for any outcome.

I didn't wake up one morning and realize that life isn't always neat and orderly. At all. Maybe there are parts of life that could be fashioned to fit within my rigid requirements, but certainly not where my little people are concerned. (Although we ALL love a good, consistent routine.)

These little people are teaching me that there is only so much I can do to change a situation. I feel like I have less control than ever. However, I can guide most situations to an outcome that we can all live with... eventually. Before, I would have considered that any easy route... just following along... but in reality following along is not always easy. It does however, feel more like working with the current of life than fighting against it.

This whole thing is a work in progress. Sometimes I'm unable to let go as much as I should... those are the days I go head to head with Benett. We're so much alike. That likeness leaves little room for compromise on some days... so we try to find common ground.

As it happens, the chickens live on that common ground. All of the little people have come to regard our flock as their own. And although we enjoy how much they love being free to come and go on our property, they are a traveling mess.

You see, they really love to follow us everywhere, leaving a mess of trampled flowers, scratched dirt and droppings in their wake. They've also adopted the back patio as their own. I'm convinced it's because they can see us and hear our voices. It comforts then. But makes us crazy... We tried shooing them away, but to no avail. So, we've given up for now... but we're also building a fence. When it's complete, we'll let the gals out to follow us around only occasionally... I'm sure it will be an outcome we can all live with... eventually.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


We're trying to make the most of this tail end of summer. There were so many things that we had on our summer 'to-do' list that we just hadn't gotten to... so we're trying to get as much in as we can. It makes for some full weeks.

I'm not sure if it's a result of being so busy trying to squeeze in all of the fun stuff, or just because everyone is ready to get back into a school-year routine, but it seems like some fuses have become a bit short. (Mine included.) Gavin too seems to be easily frustrated with his brother. He needs a change of routine. I think the start of school will be a good thing for him.

Lately, I've also been hearing the little people say things that make me stop in my tracks. I wonder how they come up with some of the things they say... and then I realize that they're just repeaters. They repeat what they hear. Ellie especially is like a little parrot, repeating my words to the boys... correcting them when I do and even when I don't. She's becoming quite good at policing... to the boys' dismay... and mine sometimes as well.

It's funny to think about how we are reflected in our children. Different phases show different reflections... sometimes it might be a gesture or a phrase or even the way they look. And before we know it, all those things have changed and they're on to something else. It happens so quickly.

I've noticed how much Benett has changed this summer. He'll be four soon and although he still looks just the same to me as he always has, he's gotten so grown up. He acts older. He plays older. His imagination seems new and different. I hope he always remains silly though.

Those changes come fast in the little ones, but I notice now too that Gavin seems changed as well. He had a few friends over this week and to hear him interacting with them was fun for me. It was like a little window into his life that I don't get to see that often. He's normally the big brother, running the show with his siblings, but on this day it was a new dynamic.

We have a few more things to pack into our summer... and then before we know it the days will have grown shorter and the nights cooler and we'll be looking at our summer in the rear view mirror.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Friday mornings are my favorite place, right now. I say place, because they've become this familiar routine where I feel a little like I've escaped something.

Early on Friday mornings, Ellie slips from her bed and pads over to my room in time to catch me emerging from the bathroom. While I'm freshly showered and ready for my day, Ellie is still sleepy and happily complies with my request to snuggle. On Friday morning, we don't have anywhere to be. No commitment to rush off to, no obligation to fulfill. Our pace can be as relaxed as we'd like it to be.

The details vary; sometimes she reads a book and sometimes she just tucks herself under my arm and burrows down into the covers. I always have a cup of coffee to sip on... she always asks for a sip herself. (Or as she calls it, a "soup" of coffee.) She always sips the steaming brew carefully and then giggles and licks her lips. It's always the same... and if I close my eyes now, I can see and hear her. That's a memory that I'd like to live with forever.

I say this is a place because it very much feels like one. It's not a time... or even a moment... it feels more permanent than a moment. It's a little like we need to meet in the place in order to properly finish out our week, just the two of us.

Being at home has been filled with trade-offs. Some of those trades have been easier to make than others. I know that this life is a journey and I know the time that I've been blessed to be here more for my little people may not last forever... but of the things that I've come to enjoy and really appreciate, today I say that Friday mornings might be the single best thing.

This morning we stayed in our little cocoon for nearly an hour and a half. Not once did I feel like I should be doing something else... there was no other place to be.

Then, with a little tummy grumbling and a brother to wake up, we got up to start our day. It was time to leave our place and start our day in earnest... although I'm sure we'll meet back there next week.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


We're having a bumper crop, in the tomato section of the garden. Although the vines seem to have an endless supply of fruit on them, they aren't very pretty looking. My entire garden for that matter is a wreck.

I had these grand ideas that our summer routine would include a few hours each day spent tending the garden; the little people helping out as only little people can. My garden was going to look the best it ever has... I was already enjoying that beautiful place before the summer even began.

Sadly, that has not been the case. In my fantasy, I forgot how much work it is to keep everyone moving from milestone to milestone throughout the day. Our schedule is full of nothing particular, but full nonetheless.

I guess I'll have to come to terms with the fact that the gals are the only ones tending the garden this summer... and be glad that they haven't figured out how good tomatoes taste.

Monday, August 13, 2012


This is a sight that just a few short weeks ago, I never thought I'd see; two little people wearing unders. Ellie has been doing a great job, for a two-year-old. Her brothers were no where near ready at her age. Some days I think she's not ready either... but we're just going for it. Regardless of whether they are or not, I'm so ready to be done with diapers.

It's funny to think back to when Gavin came home from the hospital and then a few years later, Benett, the tiny diapers were so cute. The soft and tiny things were a symbol of a new life and a growing family, as much as they were a necessity. I recall it being fun pick up the swaddlers at the store. Now, the thought of them makes me shiver. Four years of straight diapers will do that to a person.

So, there is a lot of bribery and a few accidents happening at our house. Ellie will sit on the potty anytime, when promised a small piece of gum or a skittle. Benett is very independent and so that helps Ellie... she's motivated by competition as well as treats. Accidents do happen... Benett won't say a word if he's a little late getting to the bathroom. Instead, I'll find a pair of unders hidden under the treadmill or in some other obscure location. (Ugh)While Ellie, on the other hand, will proudly proclaim, "I Pee'd!" (Always at the top of her lungs.) (We don't go out in public much.)

We do quite a bit of laundry around here. But when faced with a choice, I'm all for laundry.

Friday, August 10, 2012


All of the sudden, Benett has become a ham for the camera. In this photo he was "eating" an ice cream cup, with some chocolate sauce. I burst out laughing and just had to snap a shot of him... But actually, Benett will take any opportunity to pose and make some kind of goofy face. I'm happy to oblige most times, but I swear... I'd like to get a picture of someone else from time to time, without Benett lurking in the corner of the frame.

I should enjoy it while it lasts. I know there will come a time when letting Mom take his picture won't rank very high on Benett's priority list. Gavin is slowly becoming more camera shy. He's got such a great smile and a silly personality, but I guess being almost nine means that smiling for the camera isn't always cool.

Since we don't have much on tap for the weekend, I think we'll try to get everyone in front of the camera. The willing and the not-so-willing alike.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


My love affair with Pinterest continues. I know I'm not alone... after all, with all of the fantastic images and good ideas to be found there, it's hard to stay away. Some ideas are better than others, and I love a site I've recently found that digs into those fantastic looking pictures and supposed great ideas. 

Since the little people and I are looking for fun new things to try every day, Pinterest is a great source for inspiration. We've got a few boards that we refer to for photography ideas or crafty endeavors. Yesterday seemed like a perfect day to try some sidewalk chalk photos. All of the little people were good sports, but I was surprised at how eager Ellie was to participate. That little girl surprises me each and every day.

I think my favorite photo from the day was this one of Benett coaching Ellie on how to make a 'floating away with balloons' expression. He is such a big brother... always ready to lend a hand.

I'm not sure if we'll try this again... we didn't fill in our picture enough to make the chalk colors pop. I have also decided that photographing from a ladder isn't really my thing. I just do much better with my feet planted firmly on the ground. Literally and figuratively.

Monday, August 6, 2012


I feel like we need to be retrained to spend time outside, during the day. The hot and humid weather has kept us indoors for the last several weeks, with the air conditioning blasting. But now, the weather has been quite lovely and yet we don't automatically think to spend time in it.

While we've been holed up inside, the gals have been venturing out from their coop, further and further each day.  It's fun to see them bravely (in a tentative sort of way) exploring more of their home. We're enjoying the new members of our flock although I'm not sure the two 'old gals' would say the same. They have been spending their days keeping the young ones in line... I suppose I can relate.

Maybe the little people and I will brave the back yard ourselves this afternoon... find a little shade and play in the fresh air. I have no doubt the gals will find us and play alongside too.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Everything was covered in dew this morning. It is so great to see some signs that the hot and dry weather may be changing a bit. It's amazing how that little bit of water can breathe new life into a weary landscape.

I'm beginning to really enjoy the early morning hours, before the house is a buzz with activity. The quiet calm is my time. I don't get to sit and enjoy it every morning... but on days like today, when I can savor it, I realize how precious it is. I never thought of myself as a morning person... but maybe that is beginning to change.

Today Gavin has an outing, so it's just going to be Benett, Ellie and me. It's amazing to me how much the dynamic changes when the lineup is different. I predict that by the end of the day there will be a huge mess of toys on the living room floor. Benett and Ellie tend to play big when their big brother is gone. They're fun to watch... and considerably less fun to chase after at clean-up time. We'll have fun nonetheless.

I hear that my quiet time is nearing an end... Since Ellie loves to 'help' me type, I think it's best if I sign off for now. I hope you have some quiet time of your own to savor today.