Monday, October 31, 2011

Favorite Facebook Updates from September and October

Adelaide just gave me some encouraging news: "I'm tired of being a bad girl. I guess I'll be a good girl now."

Oh my gosh... Josie just completely cracked me up while we were playing ball. She said, "I am not the goal. I am the government. If I get the ball, I am going to KEEP it."

Rabid raccoon in our backyard. Kids are strangely excited. Waiting for police.

Jedidiah is on a steady diet of leaves... He eats them off the floor faster than I can sweep them up. Mmm, crunchy.

"Would you like for me to turn this down? You would? Well, I'm not going to."

‎15 kids, 5 adults, 1 runaway dog, a double rainbow, one firepit, some kamikaze swinging and some hail = the end of the second annual family fun night! Phew.

‎1,2,3, set, go! - Adelaide

Jedidiah saw his first mariachi band tonight. Of course, Josie and Sadie requested "La Bamba," so he didn't hear an actual song. :)

Sunny Saturday
Snuggling my baby boy
Mommy's heart is full.

Sadie: Stop a-hoverin' over me! It's a-drivin' me crazy!

Adelaide: If I dweam about ice cweam, can we have it for bweakfast in the morning?

Poor Sadie just got conked on the head by a fire truck. She has a huge knot on her head... The child cannot dodge (literally) her mother's influence.

In between coughing fits, Adelaide serenaded me today with that old and beloved but seldom-heard spiritual: "Swing Low, Sweet Cheerio."

Josie: "Never look a dinosaur in the eye."

Adelaide reading to Jed out of her bible: "Once upon a time there was a little old lady whispering hush the naked bear will get thee. Amen."

Sadie, after a discussion about track and field events: "I bet I would be good at the high jump." Adelaide adds: "And I would be good at the low jump."

So Jed is crawling with just one leg, dragging the other one across the floor behind him. He's also drooling. Grandpa Roy (recently had a stroke) walks in, sees this, and says, "Kid, you look just like your grandpa." 9/14/11

Sunday, October 30, 2011

All About the Candy

For months, my kids have been consumed by one all-important question.

For months they’ve planned. They’ve dreamed. They've schemed.

“What should I be for Halloween?”

From a child's point of view, it’s not a matter to be taken lightly. They have one night. One chance. They must develop a strategy that will get them what they want: the prize to end all prizes. The be all, end all.


Not just any candy, mind you. A giant BAG of candy. All for them. No forced sharing mandates. A free pass from mom to eat however much they want of whatever they want.

Their reasoning?

It’s all mine! I worked for this! This was all my idea! My cuteness! My tricking, my treating!

Now, there was never any doubt as to what Adelaide would be for Halloween. For months, she has been practicing to be “Dorofee.” So, it was up to her older sisters Sadie and Josie to develop a complementary plan. Last year, they were Mary and Laura Ingalls and Suki the cow from the Little House books. They have not forgotten all the compliments, the smiles, the “how cutes!” and the extra candy that little costume trio earned for them.

I could see the little wheels in their brains turning as they tried to figure out a plan.

They don’t really care about The Wizard of Oz. They care about the candy.

“What will make us look the cutest?” they discussed. “What will get us noticed?” they wondered.

“What will get us… candy?”

Josie saw the light first. She made the decision. She will be The Cowardly Lion. She got Grandma to make her the cutest, furriest lion suit ever. She has walked around the house “in character” for the past two weeks. She has practiced her goofy laugh and her lines: “Who pulled my tail?” and “Unusual weather we’re having, ain’t it?”

One down.

Sadie saw the wisdom in Josie’s plan, but she flat out refused to be the Tin Man or a flying monkey. Not her – dress-wearing, ballet-dancing, fancy-pants that she is. No way, no how.

But suddenly, inspiration struck! My aunt offered her a poofy, bubblegum pink concoction of a prom dress that my cousin had worn for Halloween fifteen years ago. The iridescent pink lightbulb in Sadie’s head went off: she would be be the girliest, sparkliest witch this side of the rainbow! Glinda the Good Witch!

That made two.

Last but not least was the cute little unassuming baby brother. He really had no say in this. They unashamedly planned to use him for their own sheer greed and candy profit. There was discussion of making him into Toto, since he crawls around on the floor anyway. After some flashbacks of Suki the cow being yanked around at the end of a rope last year, I decided to veto this idea in favor of something that doesn't involve a dog leash: a baby scarecrow.

The Tin Man will be missing, but no one is exempt from their secret candy agenda. I overheard this little discussion yesterday: “let’s beg Daddy to put the funnel from the garage on his head!”

Yep, it’s all about the candy.

-from my October 30th article for

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mommy Moment

Yesterday I had one of those "Mom Moments" that you hear about. I never actually HAD one, that I can remember off the top of my head, but yesterday, I did. Sadie and I were doing her writing in her notebook (as usual, she did a little bit of actual writing, and I did a lot of dictation-taking for her). We were talking about World War II, since we had recently finished Grandfather's Journey for our FIAR time. They've also been watching The Sound of Music in short increments and we've been talking a little bit about the Nazis, Hitler, and terrible things like the holocaust (in age appropriate terms, of course). Anyway, as she dictated to me, her eyes grew wide and she said how it's so bad to try to get rid of one group of people just because you don't like them... or because you think they are "less of a person than you are." She drew her own parallels (I love this about my child!) to a group of people who are being killed today because of their "personhood" status being in question. She said, "It's like the little tiny babies who aren't born yet! Just because they are small doesn't mean that they aren't people too!" I was floored and started crying, since this topic is so near and dear to my heart. She asked me why I was crying and I told her the truth... I am just so proud of her, and I KNOW that she has such strength within her - and the POWER inside her to do the right thing, and to tell other people what the right thing is! I am excited about the person she is becoming.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Stick in the Mud

What is it about mud that magnetically attracts children?

We have a low-lying area in our backyard that almost always has standing water in it. This natural mud hole somehow puts out a siren call to anyone under four feet tall, and I have to physically restrain my kids from going back there and sinking in mud up to their knees.

How do they find it? Even if my backyard wasn’t reminiscent of the La Brea Tar Pits, it wouldn’t matter. They would search out the inevitable scooped out area at the bottom of the slide on the playground or the mulch-free spot that is always under the swings.

Their shoes would still be caked in it, their socks still dried and prickly.

Keep in mind that these are my girls. I can’t help but wonder what is going to happen to the mud situation at my house when baby Jedidiah gets old enough to join in the fun.

A friend of mine recently told me that her little boy used to take a handful and chomp into it like it was an apple. Great.

Last week (and this was before the two-week long mud-creating monsoon hit) we all went over to a friend’s house. I visited with the mom inside while all the kids went out to play in the fenced-in yard. We could hear squeals of glee, peals of laughter, the occasional good natured shriek. Then, we heard something a bit more sinister: plop! Plop-plop. PLOP!

I saw Sadie through the window, holding a giant mud ball – we’re talking bowling-ball size here – in her hand. She whirled around like she was preparing to heave a discus at the Olympics. Instead, PLOP! She threw it right against the nice white fence. Her audience cheered.

She bent to pick up another (pre-formed) ready-made ball. I tapped on the window, but to no avail. She spun and struck again. They all roared.

So did I, but in a different way.

I mean, after all, it wasn’t OUR fence.

With mud splattered all over their pants and stuck to the insides of their shoes, I shoved all their belongings into a plastic grocery bag (kept under the seat in the car for just such an occasion) and we went home.

Sadie (sort of) explained what had happened. “But Mommy, we just love mud. I don’t know why. Well, yes I do. Mud just feels so squishy and good! We were going to wash it off with the hose!”

“Yeah,” chimed in Josie. “And we like building dams out of mud, too. Because as you know, beavers are pretty much the coolest thing ever. And, Mom, it is also good for patching things because when you put mud on some tree bark and stick in on a place that has a hole in it, mud is like glue.”

And of course, Adelaide had to give me her three-year-old opinion. “Well, Mommy, I like to stick mud in holes and play around with it AND throw it at the fence.”

None of these were a good defense, in my opinion.

I seriously hope that this rain is over soon. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but sticks and mud are driving me bonkers.

-from my 10/23/11 article for

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day in the Life

Today was basically a good day. Jedidiah woke up first (as usual) and proceeded to smack the bluebird music box on the side of his crib - BANG BANG! Bang BANG! over and over until I came in to get him. Then he looked up at me with his gorgeous little moon-shaped face, pulled on the crib rails and stood up, all wobbly in his fuzzy yellow gown (Jesse gets mad when I call it a gown, but it is what it is) and reached for me. I love quiet mornings with him when I first get him up, change him (as wiggly as he is, I can usually buy some butt-wiping time by handing him the little cat figurine from the shelf above the changing table), and sit down with him in the rocking chair. He's VERY impatient in the mornings, though, and he starts his "Eh! Eh eh!" grunting cries pretty quick if I'm not fast enough. I love the way he nuzzles his little fuzzy haired head down between my neck and my shoulder... we snuggle under his fuzzy blue and yellow ducky blanket and nurse and rock and usually I sing him a song or two and tell him how cute he is and how much I love him. Then Adelaide staggers in, all bedheaded and big smiles. She flops down on the ottoman by my feet and scrunches under the blanket too and says, "Is bweakfast weady? I peed in this pull-up but not not not in my pants. And not on my shirt eider." She goes off to throw her pull-up in the trash and her pants in the laundry room. She comes back, half of a nudie-butt, and gets back under the covers after she picks out her panties (blue with yellow flowers) for the day. We read Panda Bear Panda Bear What do you See?. I get up, leaving her and Jed to play on the floor. I put in laundry. I take out laundry. I straighten the schoolroom, help make up Adelaide's bed. I pick up tiny things off the floor that Jed would (definitely) try to put in his mouth. I open the shades. I put toothpaste on toothbrushes. I make breakfast (very berry oatmeal and their southern, if not healthy, favorite: Spam!. They gobble it up, once Sadie and Josie have traipsed down the stairs. Sadie is dressed in her favorite outfit - the long sleeved black shirt with the pink ribbon stitched on the collar and her burgandy velvety pants. She checks the calendar to see what's going on today, then remembers we're going to the museum - AND that we need to make Grammie's birthday cake in two days. Josie sleeps in a litte (as usual) but comes down rubbing her eyes with her blankie, new gap in her bottom row of teeth, and a cute sunshiny Josie-bean smile. She kisses Jed good morning and sits down in her spot on the bench at the table. Adelaide sings "God our father, we thank you for our blessings! Ahhhmen!" We read from "Growing up When Jesus Did" and Sadie makes lots of observations. Not one to eat breakfast, Josie picks at her food. Adelaide says, "This is the best oatmeal I ever had!" and finishes off Josie's. We get teeth brushed, some responsibilites checked off our new magnetic responsibility chart, and get shoes on. We wait for Melissa, Donna, and Caroline to get here and then we caravan to the museum. Adelaide really wants to go in the star tunnel, so we go there first thing. Then we meander around, checking out the different galleries, eating lunch in the Blue Planet (Sadie really wants a baked potato, but I didn't want to open that can of worms and buy anything in there - it's so overpriced - so they all had to eat what I packed. Adelaide and Caroline had a great time playing together while Sadie and Josie went into their Weather class. Josie wanted me to come in and sit with her, but since I had her little brother and sister, they would've been a HUGE distraction to the class. She was fine in there with Sadie and James and Teagan, but I kind of wanted to go and sit with her. I'm glad she still even wants me around. I know that one day soon she probably won't want me to hang out with her. Sigh. I'm having some mixed emotions today. Probably because my LAST baby has filled out an 18 MONTH PJ SET. Anyway, we had fun at the museum. On the way home, the little ones fell asleep and Sadie and Josie listened to The Magic Treehouse on CD. We got home right at the climax of the story and then Sadie spent the next half hour trying to find a stinking CD player in our house that would actually work so she could find out what happened. Josie didn't care much - she just wanted to play with her "Pollies," as she calls her little teeny doll stuff. Adelaide and Jed took naps (sort of) and I relaxed for my allotted 30 minutes out of 24 hours. Then up for the store with Josie, then dinner (baked potatoes - Sadie's choice) baths, and stories - Sadie read Panda Bear Panda Bear, What do you See?, so all in all, the day came full circle. I just put in another load of laundry, and it's after 11... so my day must be done too.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What Really Matters?

Some things just don’t matter as much now as they used to.

Do ladies need to wear hats and gloves when they go shopping these days? No. It doesn’t matter. Do gentlemen need to wear a coat and tie to go out to the movies? No. It doesn’t matter. Are we frowned upon when we don’t bake our own bread, or grow our own vegetables, or change our own tires? NO.

That’s right. According to Bill Murray, “It just doesn't matter!”

Life has changed in many ways since I became a mom. Do I still get dressed up and put makeup on every day? No. It doesn’t matter to my kids if I do. Do I still go out and buy fancy shoes with every paycheck I earn? No, (unfortunately) I now wear comfortable “mom shoes.” Shoes don’t matter anymore either.

Staying up late, eating out, overnight trips, specialty coffees – these things have taken a demotion on the totem pole of importance in my life since my children came along.

Here is my assessment of some of the things that don’t matter nearly as much – and the things that do – now that I have children:

Crumbs on my clean floor don’t matter. Crumbs mean that I have kids that don’t have to go to bed hungry.

Fingerprints and smudges on the walls don’t matter. They mean that I have toddlers who are healthy and able to play (though I would prefer that they learn to use a paper towel.)

Not having enough free time to surf the Internet doesn’t matter. It means that I have an extra five minutes for lullaby-singing. Who needs to know who has the worse beach body this year, anyway?

Piles of unfolded laundry don’t matter. They mean that I have a houseful of people that I love. Messy people, yes, but I love them!

A house cluttered with toys, books and fishing gear doesn’t matter. It means that my family is comfortable here and they can do all the things they love at home.

Missing the beginning of my favorite TV show doesn’t matter. It means that I have time to read two extra bedtime stories to someone who is growing up too fast.

A puddle of spilled grape juice on the kitchen counter doesn’t matter. A sticky kiss from little grape-juice-flavored lips does.

Toys left out in the yard and in the driveway don’t matter. The fact that I have room for my kids to run around outside – and to breathe fresh air – that’s what matters.

Muddy shoe prints on the floor don’t really matter. They mean that my children are exploring and learning to love nature. Besides, I like to mop. Really.

Water all over the bathroom walls doesn’t matter. What matters is having fun in the tub with bubbles and your favorite squeaky duck!

In the great scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter that my girls are not asleep when they are supposed to be. What matters is that they are safe and sound, giggling and telling stories to each other in their room.

Wearing the latest name-brand styles does not matter. What matters is learning that what’s on the inside is what counts.

Being able to afford the newest technological toys and gadgets doesn’t matter. Learning to be content with what you have does.

Whether or not my three-year-old eats all her green peas does not matter. Sharing meals together as a family does (and I don’t like green peas either, so there.)

Being able to sleep in on Saturday morning doesn’t matter. Spending the night rocking my baby to sleep does.

Laughter matters. Patience matters. Sacrifice matters.

Love matters.

Bill Murray was right. Lots of things just don’t matter at all.

But some things still do.

-from my 10/16/11 article for

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Chips and Dips

Sadie and Josie are fighting over a bag of chips (a rare commodity in this house, since I hardly EVER buy them). Sadie already had a bunch; Josie has the bag now and Sadie wants more. Josie refuses. Sadie, drama in full effect, says, "Nothing, but NOTHING, will she give me!"

Josie says, "Well, you didn't share with me either."
Sadie: "Next time, I'll get Adelaide something and NOT YOU!"
Josie: "You know what the Bible says!"
Sadie: "So do you!"
Josie: "Well, just because someone does something to you...."
Sadie: "Shush! Just Shush!"

What Season are You?

The first flutter of gold and brown leaves swirled down around us with a breath of chilly air.

Josie turned her face toward the sun, squinting her blue eyes up at the trees. She ran out into the squishy grass with arms outstretched. She twirled around and tried to catch the first crunchy leaves as they somersaulted through the air.

“It’s fall!” she yelled. “Summer is over and it’s finally fall!”

I guess I was in a contemplative mood, because her 6-year old exuberance paired up with the falling leaves led me to wonder:

What season am I in?

Every mom’s life is a whirlwind of seasons. They change from one to the next with barely any warning at all. Somehow we all manage to weather the seasons, whether they are gentle and warm or hard and unforgiving.

My children are in the springtime of their youth. I’m always there to help them, to take care of them, to watch them grow, to help them dig in their roots. Their lives are new, exciting, and full of energy. Sometimes we forget that we moms have had a former life, too. We spent time in the childhood season of friends, silliness, playing and carefree lazy afternoons.

I guess right now, I’m in the summer of my life. I’ve made it through the difficult years of growing up and “finding myself.” I’m comfortable with who I am and how I’ve chosen to live. I’ve learned to be happy with being a wife, being pregnant, being a new mom, being a mom of toddlers and pre-schoolers and 7-year olds.

Sometimes I find myself twisting, reeling in the summer storms of life, grasping for something to hold on to. But in my own way, I’m flourishing, tending the garden I’ve planted – my marriage, my children.

But the season of fall, the season Josie is so happy to twirl into, is when you reap the real harvest, right? I think of my own mom, who is like my best friend now that I'm an adult.

Not only do we have a good relationship, but she also completely adores her grandchildren. She plays all kinds of crazy games with them, lets them make terrible messes, tells them endless stories, listens to all their corny jokes, lets them eat whatever they want, buys them whatever they ask for – all because she loves them so much she can hardly bear it. I can’t help but think that they are part of the bountiful harvest she planted when she sowed her own garden back when I was small.

My wonderful, wise grandmother has moved into the years of winter’s rest – quiet, deep, sheltered. She spends her days reminiscing about the days of her youth, sharing the insights of her child-rearing days, telling me about her own harvest of grandchildren, and now, her great-grandchildren. Winter is a time to reflect and to remember.

My fellow moms, before we know it, this summer season of our lives will be over.

We all want our kids to grow up slowly, but maybe by the time they do we’ll be like Josie. Maybe we won't be sad. Maybe our children will end up being our best friends. Maybe our grandchildren will be the best thing that ever happened to us. Maybe we’ll say “Hooray! Summer is over and it’s finally fall!”

Let’s all tend our summer gardens well, so we can truly enjoy what we reap in the harvest.

-from my article for on 10/9/11

Friday, October 07, 2011


"Would you like for me to turn this down? You would? Well, I'm not going to."

Sunday, October 02, 2011


Last night, Sadie was playing with her Twinkle Twinkle Little Star crank music box. I was standing with her, humming along. At the end, she "tooted" REALLY loud. Then she looked at me, laughed, and said, "There's a couple of new notes for you." I laughed and came to tell Jesse that Sadie was definitely his daughter. As I was telling him, Josie came in behind me, tripped, and fell flat in the floor. Jesse said, without missing a beat, "And that one is definitely yours."

Liar, Liar

Kids lie.

Most parents would agree with that fact. They don’t really learn it from anyone; it just seems to come naturally.

They exaggerate, they hide facts, they make up wild stories and they deny the (blatantly) obvious. Though most of them are really bad at it, they still do it.

I’m trying to teach my three girls the difference between what’s true and what isn’t, but a great deal of the time, they walk around with their proverbial pants on fire.

I remember a few years ago when Josie was probably only two. She swiped Sadie's Snoopy while we were in the car and then dropped him down next to the car-seat where Sadie couldn't get him.

Sadie accused her: "Hey! You took my Snoop, JO-SAY!" Josie grinned, rolled her eyes, and said, "Nope!" "Oh yes you did! You took my Snoop!" "Noooope!"

It was my child’s very first lie, and I witnessed it firsthand! Unfortunately, it was cute. Lies get less and less cute the older a child gets, though, so I’ve collected a few of my favorites before they get too ugly.

Lies of omission:

I heard a big crash from upstairs. Sadie stomped into the kitchen, grabbed a roll of paper towels, and turned to go back upstairs. She said, “Never mind what just happened.”

Quick-change of heart:

Josie, did you clean your room? “Yes, I already did it. Okay, no I didn’t.”

Adelaide, did you eat your carrots yet? “I ate one! One of those. Oh, wait. No, I didn’t eat it yet!”

Adelaide snuck into my bedroom after her dad had already tucked her in for the night. “Does Daddy know you’re in here?” “Yes.” “Do I need to tell him?” “NO!”

And, most common in our family, the lie when one sister accuses the other:

There is neon green Play-doh on the living room rug. I know SOMEBODY did it. I don’t waste my time asking my husband if he did it. I mean, when is the last time I saw him rolling out Play-doh cookies anywhere, much less on the beige living room carpet? The baby isn’t exactly ready for Play-doh yet. No, I’m positive the guilty party is standing in front of me; the only thing I have to do is figure out which one she is. “She did it, Mom.” “It wasn’t me, Mommy! I promise it wasn’t!” “If I did it, I don’t remember it at ALL.”

While planning my next move in response to the little accusatory fingers pointing at each other, something strange happens. Miss Guilty confesses. Why, I do not know. It’s not like I would have ever been able to figure out the truth after all the “she said/she said” stuff.

They don’t do any better with denial:

“Who took my York peppermint patty?” I asked Adelaide, whose face was smeared with chocolate. “I didn’t mess with your mint, Mommy! I didn’t!” she managed to splutter around a mouth full of minty goodness. It was hard not to laugh.

"I don’t think she was trying to hit you with the stick, Sadie." Her sister interrupts, "Oh yes I WAS trying to hit her with the stick! I tried to hit her in the arm but I missed and hit her in the leg instead!”

Sometimes I think we might be making some progress, like when Josie slunk into my bedroom, with her lower lip jutted out and her hands on her hips.

She looked me right in the eye and said, "Mommy. I cannot tell a lie. I snooped and I found two of my birthday presents and I saw them and I know what they are but I had to tell you the truth. You can keep them and give them to me next year if you want to because I will probably forget what they are by then anyway.”

My kids have a lot to learn before they finish law school.

For now, I’m just glad that they don’t quite get it. Lying well is one skill that I hope it takes them a long time to learn (or maybe never learn at all.)

from my 10/2/11 article for