Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Remember

I often wonder what my kids will remember about their childhood.

What little things that I do or say (or don’t do or don’t say) will stick with them for the rest of their lives? What experiences will be permanently seared into their little memories?

Sadie, who is 7 and my oldest, has a great memory. She recalls things that happened when she was only 2. She remembers playing with her baby sister when she was her only sister, riding on the big blue tractor in North Carolina, going to pick out Christmas trees in the snow, living with her grandparents, even her very first haircut.

So far, that’s what she remembers. She hasn’t asked me what I remember.

From the second she burst into my world in the cold brightness of the operating room in the hospital to curl up, chubby-cheeked and perfect, pink as a rosebud, on the cotton fabric of my hospital gown, I remember.

From the way she used to try to “catch” the water dripping from the washcloth during her bath to the crazy piggy-face she made when she was learning to eat solid foods, I remember.

From the way she used to hold her book upside down and “read” in her car seat to her proud grin when she felt her newly sprouted teeth with her tongue, I remember.

The way her wispy hair blew in her face as we rode together on the hayride to pick out her first pumpkin for Halloween. The way she squished the pumpkin between her little fingers when we carved it. The way the crocheted hat with the long green yarn stems from the top curled over her tender ears.

The way her left thumb always seemed to find her mouth, the way her other hand “tweezled” her stuffed Snoopy’s ear back and forth as she went to sleep.

I remember the day she brought me a dandelion, the very first flower I had ever been given by my own child. I remember when she crawled, when she held on to the side of her crib and stood up on shaky chunky legs and squealed with delight. The day she took her first steps. The day she learned to clap, to dance, to sing “happy to you!” on her birthday. The way she would say something was “stuckin” if she couldn’t get it loose. The way she would ask, “What’s dis now? What’s dat now?” when she was trying to figure something out.

I remember the way she would snuggle in for a bedtime story, the way she would listen, blue eyes wide, to the song I made up for her about angels in the clouds.

I remember the way she liked for me to rub her back (under her gown, not on top!) during quiet time and the way she laughed like crazy at private jokes between her and her cousins.

I remember the way I kissed her good night last night. The way she laughed at my silly rendition of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." The way I tucked her in, snug as a bug, under her pink and yellow daisy quilt.

I assume that I’ll have thousands more chances to do the very same thing, but if for some reason I don’t, I remember.

No, right now she doesn’t really know or care what I remember. If she asked me, though, I think I probably would say, “everything.”

-from my 8/28/11 Mama Says article for

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Birthday trip remembrances

Some highlights from NC for my birthday trip:

-Adelaide playing with Aunt Sharon by sneaking up and smacking her on the butt, then laughing and yelling "Dat was me! Nah nah nah noo noo!"

-Sadie and Josie laughing and giggling in their bed until I finally had to shush them under threats of "a poppin'!"

-Adelaide hiding under the covers with the sheets over her head, singing Jingle Bells


-Swimming at Papaw's house, him tuning up our car and me saying (because of the pin in his finger) "your dexterity is impeded," instead of "It ain't working too good."

-Adelaide jumping in the pool, unafraid, and Sadie's invention of the sea horse "water noodle"

-Adelaide and Josie walking on Papaw's back

-Going to Tweetsie!

-Playing with Sydney and Carson and Bryce at Heather's house (and dancing to Justin Bieber and sleeping commando :), Heather telling me that they are tough girls because even though they are like me (Sadie falling and hurting herself) she jumped up and said, "I'm okay!"

-Me going to try Thai food with Angela for my birthday (not a fan - tastes like LOTION) and then staying up late to go to Ruby Tuesday's to laugh over my license picture, Mama's picture, and playing the Word Popper game

-Breakfast with Derek and Theda with Jedidiah and Adelaide

-Adelaide helping make Oreo cakes in Great Grandma's kitchen

-Swimming at Chasity's and loving Dalton, playing tag, doing flips, taking piggy-back rides with Noah, eating Noah's yummy mac-n-cheese recipe

-Adelaide being so tired she was staggering around like she was drunk

-Josie being so tired she was MEAN

-Taking naps then going to swim with Lauren & Angela at Papaw's house, ordering pizza for supper and Papaw playing with Jed at the pool while Mamaw brought all the food to the picnic table in a big laundry basket

-Visiting with Taylor and Evelyn at Great Grandma's

-Me going with Josh to Walmart and him cracking me up by being Captain Obvious when we couldn't get in the locked doors and "the cereal is probably down the cereal aisle."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

No Such thing as Typical

It’s 8:30 on a Tuesday night.

We had dinner, cleaned up, played with the dog and took a walk around the block. We bought a head of cabbage from a neighbor who sells vegetables from his garden.

I’ve given Jedidiah his bath and settled him into his crib; his sisters are still running around outside, getting a few more minutes of playing in before bedtime. I squeeze in a few minutes of scrapbooking as my husband finishes up with the mower outside.

It’s a typical night at our house.

Sadie is practicing the baton moves she learned at camp a few weeks ago. The silver flashes in the setting sun as she twirls it, her wrist a blur. Josie draws on the driveway with neon sidewalk chalk, her hands bright green and dusty, a pink and yellow sun sprawling next to her outstretched leg. Adelaide balances on the swing, pushing herself back with her tiptoes and staring into the branches of the tree above her. I work, cutting and pasting, and I’m alone with my thoughts.

As a mom, each section of my life seems to last an eternity. It doesn’t seem like I will ever be done changing diapers, like I will ever get a full night’s sleep again.

As I look back, though, it seems as if time has flown by. Sometimes I get bogged down with the mundane tasks I face every day. The laundry. The cleaning. The whining. The cooking. Sometimes it’s so repetitive and boring. But I realize that before I know it, my house will be full of teenagers and hormones and drama, so I should enjoy the simple monotony – the daily boredom – while I still have that luxury.

Looking through my scrapbook, I see visual tokens of my memories. I know that newborns and delivery rooms and baby showers are part of my past. Folding baby clothes, hearing first words and watching first steps are quickly becoming a part of that past, too. I know that dealing with broken hearts and developing friendships with my children are part of my future.

It seems like every time I think I have everything under control, like I finally feel like I might know what I’m doing, life changes again. Motherhood changes again. I am in constant limbo, constantly adapting to what these beautiful creatures do and learn with each passing day.

The only certain thing is uncertainty.

I call the girls inside and help them into the tub. I revel in their silliness, the shampoo horns in their hair and the bubble beards on their chins. I try to live for the moment and not worry about all the water on the floor or the heap of dirty clothes in the corner.

I listen to their laughter as they enjoy the simple pleasure of taking a bath. I help them brush their teeth, in all stages of development – little pearly baby teeth, barely showing permanent teeth poking up in empty spaces, grown-up teeth that seem just a bit too big for a 7-year-old mouth.

I’m surrounded by the normality that is my daily life.

But then, imperceptibly, a new normal will sneak in and take its place. What was normal will become just a memory. A memory of how they used to interact with each other. A memory of how they used to talk, to sing, to giggle. A memory of how they used to be with me. A memory of who I used to be with them.

Tuesday night won’t ever be the same again.

from my 8/21/11 Mama Says article for

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dorofee and the Wicked Witch

“I’m Dorofee!” Adelaide insisted.

She clutched her stuffed Toto dog to her chest and squinted up at me. “There’s no place like home and I am DORO-FEE!”

After we finished reading the book, Sadie, Josie and I had a "Wizard of Oz Party.” Adelaide, filled in on the highlights of the story by her sisters, insisted that she was going to watch, too.

So with glitter all over the floor and our newly minted Emerald City nametags in place, the girls and I filled our popcorn bowls and settled in for the long-awaited film debut. Sure that she would be terrified of the Wicked Witch of the West, I fully intended to keep 3-year-old Adelaide away from the TV.

But I underestimated her sneakiness. Though she was supposed to be in bed, she tiptoed in and watched silently from behind the couch. Sadie, Josie and I, engrossed in what’s arguably the best movie of all time, didn’t really notice the obsession developing in the small person behind the furniture.

Not only was she not terrified of the Wicked Witch, she thought the witch was funny! What? That green skin and wild cackle still creep me out, and I am an adult!

Now, when her sisters occasionally quote The Mayor of Munchkin City in silly voices, Adelaide responds with a resounding “Sing it low, sing it LOW!”

She goes a bit overboard. She has been won over by munchkins, broomsticks, "scarecwows,” and “wions.” She is officially obsessed.

When I gave her some little sparkly red shoes, she was ecstatic. Now, she wears her “Dorofee shoes” to church, to play in outside (in the snow or on the beach), to play dress-up, to go to the playground – everywhere.

At any moment, you may see her with her right leg poised in the air, toes pointed, ready to take that famous first dance step down the “yellow bwick woad.” You may hear her singing “Weeee’re OFF to see the wizard! The wonderful wizard of Oz!” or “Somewhere over the wainbow, bluebirds fwyyy….”

You may find yourself being propositioned: “Will you be my Tin Man?”

You may fall victim to her as she crouches behind the bathroom door, ready to jump out with a roar at unsuspecting passersby, yelling, “Somebody pulled my tail!”

For her third birthday, her grandma made her a beautiful blue-and-white gingham “Dorofee dress.” Never has there been more excitement – more fanfare – made about a dress. Adelaide could not wait to put it on, zip it up, twirl around and fall down into a field of imaginary poppies.

She insisted on wearing it to church the next day with her hair in pigtails, sparkly red shoes on her feet and basket (with stuffed Toto) in hand. To those who asked about her dress, she replied, “I just like it so much because I like Dorofee! And Grandma made it for me! And I want to go over the wainbow because it’s so pretty!"

When I check on her at night, I find her cuddled up to her dress, no doubt dreaming of rainbows and talking trees. When I ask her why she likes the story, she sings, “Because! Because, because, because because because! Because of the wonderful things he does!"

Her sisters have long since gotten over their initial excitement, but Adelaide can’t take a hint. When she told Josie, “You can help me fly over the wainbow. With an airplane! Let’s go!” Josie said, “Why don’t you just go?”

Tired of hearing about “lions and tigers and bears” from their little sister, they refuse to be either a good witch OR a bad witch during playtime.

Therefore, I am constantly forced into the role of the Wicked Witch. I’m beginning to get a complex.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, when you want to pretend to be Dorofee, there really is no place like home.

from my 8/14/11 article for

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mommy Loves Jeddy!

I love the way he waves his chubby little hands back and forth, bending at the wrists, while he's sitting in his high chair.

I love the way he hooks his little toes underneath the tray while he's eating.

I love the way he looks at me while he's nursing, like I'm the best thing in the world.

I love his belly laughs when his sisters goof off for him or when his daddy tickles him.

I love the way he sticks two fingers of his left hand in his mouth and rolls on his side to go to sleep (even though he won't let me ROCK him to sleep).

I love how he looks so proud of himself when he "stands up" while I hold his hands.

I love how he says "ma-ma-ma-ma-ma" and "Dad! Dad-dad-dad!"

I love how he plays quietly in his crib, looking all around with his big blue eyes, and then bursts into a brilliant grin when he sees me come in the room.

I love how he kick, kick, kicks his rolly little legs when he's excited.

I love the "angry wookie" sound he makes when he's mad.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Josie-bean is 6!

Josie's birthday always seems to get skipped over, because it's right in the middle of things. It's during our Bible Day Camp week at church, and it's right before The Gathering Bible School that lots of people go to. She seems to always get the shaft! It makes me feel bad for her. Well, at least it DID until this year. This year, she informed me that she really didn't want a party. She wanted a sleepover instead. I thought, hey, that works for me! We had a fun little tea party (with lacy tablecloth, fancy tea cups, the works) with the cutest little cucumber sandwiches with edible flowers (sent over by Laura with Sarah, Meghan, and Joyelle) AND pretty chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with flower rings on top.

Not only did we have a little party (with sprinkler, icing donuts, and dress-up) at Grammie's on Thursday, not only did the Bible Day Campers sing Happy Birthday to Josie, not only did Lydia and Darryl take her to the mall and to El Rodeo, not only did she get to go with her daddy to Toys-R-Us to pick out a special toy... she had her tea party and sleepover too. I guess she didn't get the shaft after all! :)

Josie often tells me that she doesn't want to grow up - that she wants to be my little girl forever. I tell her that she WILL be my baby forever, even when she IS grown up! That usually makes her smile, but she still says she's always going to live here with me and her daddy. :)

Monday, August 01, 2011

Summer Says

Adelaide: "Daddy looks like a girl. But only when we put flowers in his hair."

Sadie, after receiving another letter from her pen pal Courtney in NC: "Mommy, I just don't think I'm cut out for this pen pal thing.

Josie came running in the house tonight after we had a "family yard work night," mowing, weedeating, and pulling weeds. Breathless, she ran up to me and said, "Mommy! I got a wish for you!" She held out a lone little dandelion. "Since you didn't get to make a wish at the fountain today (I gave them nickels at the zoo) I thought you could make a wish with this instead!" SO SWEET. She's been super sweet to me for three days, wanting to hold my hand, snuggle, and say cute stuff to me - like "You're the best mommy in the whole world. Or even if there WAS another world, you'd be the best mommy in that one, too." That Josie... she just makes me smile. :)