Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Friday, November 6, 2020

How to Become a Rockstar

I have a pile of partially written posts that never made it to the main page. This is one from before Covid. Maybe someone out there needs it now more than before. 

I replaced a GFI outlet the other day.  I know that's not a big deal for most.  It wouldn't really be for me either (except for a slight fear of death by electrocution), but I have had to really lower my expectations lately, and I'm (trying to be) okay with that.  

Not long ago, I responded to a woman's post on the Hashimoto's Facebook page.  She was so sad, was just barely diagnosed, and feeling guilty about not being enough for her children, not being well enough to take her daughter to the doctor when she got sick, etc.  After I read my response back to myself, I decided I should keep my own copy to read on some future day when I need to hear the same words.  Here they are...

“Sweet, sweet, darling mama. You’re going to be OK. This is hard, no doubt about it. But you can do it.  Don’t  feel guilty for putting yourself first, and taking care of yourself. Try not to use the words like “failure”, or “terrible mom” when describing yourself, because your heart is listening. 

If your sweetest, dearest friend was going through this right now, how would you talk to her? What words would you use? Would you give her permission to be sad? Would you tell her she just got this diagnosis, and it will take time to adjust? Would you tell her that she has to give the medicine time to work, the information time to sink in?  Would you tell her that she is strong, and good, and capable, and that she will get through this?

I promise you will have better days. You will have bad ones too, but not all of them will be bad. One of the things that Hashimoto’s has given me that is really a gift, is to tell me to slow down, bring my babies up onto my lap and snuggle with them.  On days when I feel bad, we read. If I don’t feel up to reading, we watch a nature show together and talk about it. We play little games, sometimes with me laying down and the game resting on my tummy. My daughter has officially labeled me, “the best pony mom in the world” because I play ponies with her. A world title... not so shabby for a sick lady.

Here are my new rules:

If I’m tired I sit down.

If I am sleepy, I cancel plans and take a nap.

I don’t schedule more than one "outside" activity a day if I can help it.

As far as housework goes, if I get ONE thing done a day, I am a rockstar! And if I don’t, I have grace for myself for taking the day to rest.

Three months ago, I spent every waking minute on the couch or in bed. Unless I was absolutely forced to go get groceries or to take a child somewhere, I was on the couch laying down.  I now take two naps a week, instead of two a day. I’m getting my house tidied up little by little. I’m doing more things with my kids outside of the house. I’m starting to work on projects again. I am more cheerful and my anxiety is decreasing. My Hashimoto’s symptoms are less intense, and I’m feeling more hopeful. 

You’re going to be okay.  It’s going to be hard, 
but you’re good at doing hard things!"


I can't think of anyone to whom this simple note does not apply.  We all need to take better care of ourselves.  This world we live in, with it's schedules and expectations, is so hard on us.  We are all suffering from being overbooked, undernourished, sleep-deprived, toxicified and spiritually drained.  If we don't care for ourselves, who will?

So, I am proud of the day I put in the GFI.  It took a long time, in an awkward spot in the hot garage.  I have about twenty more outlets to change out, but hey, one down!

That makes me a Rockstar, baby.

July 2019

Sunday, October 18, 2020


She may remember this night for the rest of her life. Maybe not. But it stands out as different from all the other nights in the seven years before it. 

Natalie is a hummingbird on speed, a hopped up rabbit, a spastic housefly. She flutters and dances and chatters non-stop, all the live-long day. She runs everywhere she goes.  You would think with the frenzied energy that drives her through fourteen waking hours, she would collapse in an exhausted little pink heap by 8:00 pm each night, but instead, though she is sent to bed by 8:30, you can hear her running about, playing and talking after 11:00 pm. She has been heard singing in her bed well past midnight (she’s like her mama; the night owl doesn’t fly far from the tree!).  No amount of scolding or timeouts on the stairs have helped.  They say that there are several things you can’t force a child to do; sleep is definitely one of them. 

And, as I’m sure you can imagine, unlike her bunny relatives, she doesn’t hop out of bed in the morning, because she is too bushed from her late night escapades.

When the big kids used to do this, I made them plop down on a hard kitchen chair in the boring ol’ entryway until they were plumb tuckered out. Recently, the big kids were laughing and joking about it. “Do you remember how Mom used to sit us on a wooden chair till we were tired when we wouldn’t go to sleep?”  They talked about all of the ways they would flip and turn in the chair to try to get comfortable. They would soon begin begging to go to bed. “No,” I would say with hesitation, as though I were considering it, “I just don’t think you’re tired enough.”  But eventually I learned that this technique wasn’t quite doing the job.  They were still goofing off after-hours. 

Then, whilst wandering the dark corridors of my diabolical child-rearing chambers, I came upon an almost fool proof method for inducing sleep without Benadryl. And it worked. 

I haven’t had to dust off this particular parenting tactic in a few years, mostly because Jonah tends to just lay the heck down and go to sleep.  But for Natalie, it was time to pull out the big guns. 

“Natalie, come down here.”

She tentatively descended the stairs, and stood on one foot hugging the door jamb.

“You have a lot of energy tonight. Let’s not waste it.  Go get a washcloth and a spray bottle.”

She looked at me suspiciously.

“Go on”, I coaxed. 

When she returned with the rag she held it out to me as though I were the one who would be using it.  I gave her the simple instruction, “Okay, go scrub the spots off the kitchen floor.”

She was shocked, but didn’t protest. How could she? What would she say? “I can’t, Mom, and I have to go to sleep.”  Her shoulders did droop a bit as she dragged her little feet back into the kitchen. 

She disappeared from sight for a while, but I could hear the spray bottle, so I knew she was working. Soon she migrated to the doorway to be sure I could see that she was crying, but she never quit working. I let her go on like that for another ten minutes, and then called her to me. 

“Do you think you’re tired enough to go to sleep now, or do you need a little more scrubbing time?”

“Noooooooooo,” she whimpered. 

“Oh, good,” I said, intentionally sounding very relieved that she chose to be done.  “I’m glad you’re tired. You should sleep really well now.”

I hugged and kissed her, and told her I loved her. The lesson is built in, after all. No need for a lecture. 

*Post scrub script: Some kids are tougher than others. Natalie has gotten the opportunity to scrub the bathroom floor this week, as well.  This time there were no tears. She hummed as she worked. I think she simply knew what to expect this time, and seemed somehow content with the situation. Maybe she was relieved to have something to do with her energy. Some children are a quandary.  

When she was done, she went straight to sleep. 

I imagine she’ll be doing the baseboards sometime later this week.  I picture her, years from now, at a family reunion, telling her older siblings how hard she had it compared to them. 

“You guys got to sit on chairs. I had to scrub the floor!”

Monday, October 12, 2020

The One

So, Adam has Covid. We chose not to tell the Littles until he started feeling better because Natalie is very nervous about it all.  Every time she prays, she asks God to protect “Adam and Ethan and the whole earth-planet-world” from covid. She’s covering all her bases.  Adam is doing much better now, so we decided to tell them, partly because it is getting challenging to talk about it in code, and partly because they might find out by accident, and we didn’t want that. 

Jonah simply said, “I thought he might have it, when you guys said he was sick.”  He’s been paying attention. He was content to know Adam was on the mend, and casually headed out of the room. 

Natalie stood still holding her little white bear and disappeared behind her blue eyes. After a few moments I asked her if she was okay with what we told her, and she said, “I’m not sure”.  She was processing the months of prayers for the world, the masks and hand sanitizer and the closed stores; the fear. And the deaths. We hadn’t been able to protect her from knowing about those. “Will he die?”

After assuring her he was almost as healthy now as she is. I tried to explain, but then I stopped and said, “wait a minute”.

I ran to the studio and grabbed all of our pencil jars, and colored pencils and began counting them out in tens. When I got to 100, Natalie said, “is that all of the people who die?” I told her to wait for a moment and counted out my second hundred. Then I stepped back.

“If each one of these pencils is like one person who got sick with Covid,” then I reached out into the pile and choose a small pencil,  “...this is how many would possibly die.” She took a minute, gave me a critique on the pencil color I had chosen, and then stepped back to let me know she understood. 

It must have been enough for her. She seemed to relax. I again assured her that Adam was doing great, and she trotted away.

I looked at the pile of pencils. It’s an easy thing to explain it to a child that way, overly simplified. No point in upsetting her the way all of the grown-ups have been. She’s going to see enough of the hardships of life soon enough.

I looked at the single pencil in my hand. That pencil represents someone.  Someone’s son or daughter, even if they died at 90.  Hundreds and thousands, hundreds of thousands... of someones.  I’m grateful today it wasn’t our someone

 I’m almost not worried anymore. There is still that tiny chance that I’ve heard about, the one of the young, healthy twenty-something who gets a mild case of Covid, and three weeks later dies suddenly of a stroke or heart failure. I stand with a pencil in my hand like someone drawing straws, and say another prayer for Adam. 

“...and the whole earth-planet-world.”

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Road Maps from Above

I had to borrow this photo because, at the time these thoughts were coming to me, I was driving and couldn’t snap one. And of course, this happens to be a lush, green road in England, not our dry, golden landscape in Amador, but it’s not about the greenery. It’s all about the road.

As we were driving home from Sacramento today, my navigation had me take a different route than usual. Looking down at my phone, I saw a straight road stretching out for three or so miles ahead of my little blue arrow. But looking out my windshield, Whoa! I saw an undulating roller coaster ride, still three miles long, and linear as the crow flies - not turning from side to side - but certainly not “straight “.

It got me thinking how, from afar, a person’s road might look really straight. Even, well... “even”. No insanely obvious jerks to the left or right; no health scare, car accident, or lost job. But if you were on their road, riding shotgun, and could see the peaks and valleys - one after the other in succession, and maybe feel the sinking pressure in your chest and head as the car tilted skyward, the dizzying weightlessness at the top of each crest, the flip-flop of your stomach as you slid down the other side, and finally the sinking weight of your body pressing heavily into your seat at the bottom of the hill, the next hill looming before you - you might see it differently. Of course you would see it differently! You would feel it. 

As a kid, we called these “Tickle-belly Hills”. We would chant for my dad to drive faster so we could feel them more intensely.  Each of my own kids feels Tickle-belly Hills differently. My girls say it hurts their heads and makes them feel dizzy. Jonah says he feels it in his thighs, and Natalie says it makes her headachy. My big boys used to laugh because they could feel it… well, let’s just say they could feel it down there, somewhere. Some of them hate it, some love it.  For me, it hits me in the chest and in the pit of my stomach.  It’s part thrill, part dread. 

Lately, I keep hearing people say how overwhelmed they are, saying they have “a lot going on“. And it seems more often than not, someone in the peanut gallery answers back “yah, we all do.”

Yah, we all do. 

Probably. But that certainly isn’t helpful. Because while we all have a lot on our plates right now, everyone’s plate is different. Everyone feels that road in a different way.  And it’s easy to look at someone else’s map from above and see it as a straight road, but that doesn’t mean it actually is.  It doesn’t work to compare, and we should try not to, but we do sometimes.  I do. We feel like no one knows how hard our road is right now. And hey, they probably don’t. Because you can’t compare caring for twins to being laid off, or being on quarantine to moving. And when someone says, “we all do”, they might be saying, “don’t forget me, I’m hurting too,” or even, “I can’t help you carry your load right now. Mine is already too heavy.”

Maybe we just need to answer the weary wave of that white flag that laments, “I have a lot going on”, with a call of “shotgun!”, and take their road with them for a while. 

Yeah, (I think) we all do. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020


I miss writing.  I am not sure how on earth I can fit it in.  Days blur by.  We homeschool.  We cook and clean.  We tend Grandpa.  We deal with the forest and it's surprises.  I try "to Art" (as my secret brain calls it), but am usually too tired.  So, blog-schmog.

But there are a few things happening that should really be recorded.

Jonah has begun reading.  Really, really reading.  Last year at this time he was agonizing through, "Pat can tap the map.  Tap, Pat, tap!"  One year later, and he is reading a 5th grade chapter book called  Because of Winn-Dixie (which he prounounces WINN-dixie, like Windex).  It is still a struggle.  He still gets stuck on words with b's and d's (bdbdbdbdbdb...wouldn't you?), and we bumble along together slowly, but HE chose the book, and he chooses it again and again every day at reading time.  And he choses every day to try, very, very hard.  I am in awe of him.  And because he loves being read to, he pays me for “extra chapters” in the books I read aloud to him, by reading TO ME for five extra minutes per mom-read chapter.  Deliciously, the author we are currently reading is the master of chapter cliff hangers, always leaving him wanting.

Tessa has begun high school.  It has been a brutal transition.  Tessa was a "casual" student in middle school, not worried or terribly serious.  Very chill.  But she is our first child to hold any interest in College, with its high degree of scholarly expectation.  Her online high school is full of teachers to hold her accountable that don't share her DNA.  She is newly motivated to succeed, and has already been heard to say, "But I'm ALMOST down to a B!!!"  It's uncharted territory for me as a parent.

Ellie is transitioning.  Adulthood is around the very near corner, and she is making plans.  She talks about moving out, and job plans.  She got her covid-belated driver's license today. She suddenly cares about school.  I hear the rustling from within her cocoon.

Adam is thriving in Utah.  He is learning to balance life.  Adam never learned to "hang out with friends" until the last two months of his senior year.  While the sudden joy of that discovery was really a relief to me (isolated and introverted teenagers worry mamas), there was a learning curve that took it's toll on his savings.  He has struck a lovely balance now between work and play, and is expanding his social circle, which was tiny for too long.  He has found a real  love-of-learning about all things Viking, which has expanded to history, archeology, ancient languages and even his own genealogy.  It's a glorious thing to watch, and I have been learning along side him so that I can understand all that he is absorbing.  This week I found myself touring an online Norwegian Viking museum, and attempting tablet weaving.  I failed, but I will keep trying.  I have a goal to make Adam a gift for Christmas; a woven Viking belt, a replica of the one found on the Oseberg Burial Ship.  Yep, I'm geeking out.

Ethan's not very vocal about his world, but work seems good, and he is coping well with lame car disappointments.  Between work and his own personal study, he has piled more skills onto his already broad knowledge of all things mechanical and electrical.  I'm so proud of him.

The sea-sickness Guy was suffering from the wildly rolling waves of his new principal job seems to be subsiding.  He is learning which wheels are truly in need of aid, and which will continue to squeak unappreciative to any amount of oil given.  We are finding a rhythm, which includes some later nights, and my learning an all-new jargon.  There should be an "Orientation for Spouses of New Admins", including a dictionary, program flow charts, and a little training on grief counseling.  The first two months were very hard.  Hard, plus covid.  Everybody is mad at school administrators, as though they knew this was coming and hadn't bothered to plan for it.  "Fair" has lost all meaning in a world where there simply are not answers, where need and demand outnumber available manhours threefold, and where people are screaming to get their never-again "normal" back, and they are screaming it at YOU.  Try stepping into that chaos on your first day.  Hard.  Really hard.

One more thing... I found a new doctor.  It's just the very beginning of what will likely become a long and difficult process.  But I am hopeful that by this time next year, I will show as much improvement in my health as Jonah has in his reading. 

Oh!  And Natalie lost her first two teeth, and one more is starting the dangle-dance.  There is a comfortable, if not slightly sad, predictability in that little detail.  I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that tooth isn't going to be there come Thanksgiving.  

Monday, July 13, 2020

Weekend Away - Act III

It wouldn’t seem our day could have gotten any better, but the sun hadn’t set yet, and we were going to drink in the last few hours that were left to us, right down to the bottom of the hourglass. We had seen a website for a pottery (the studio, not the vessel), and decided we would try to find it.  Well, of course you know that for me, that was already something special, but an hour later, it had become almost otherworldly.

The Quyle Kilns Pottery sat on a shady hilltop surrounded by gardens, lush maples and tall pines. After talking shop with owner Pamela for a while, I guess we proved we were part of the clay clan inner circle, because soon we were whisked away on a tour of the entire enterprise, built of brick and native stone over 80 years ago by her grandfather as barns and stables, then passed on to her parents who turned it into a pottery. 

For decades the family has mined granite runoff in the Sierras, mixing it in giant vats, pushing it through an ancient and enormous filtering press, then on to the pug mill and extruder, to be bagged into ready-to-use clay.  Just that morning, as every morning, the 80 year old fellow that has worked there since Pamela was a girl, hand shoveled 4,000 pounds of clay dust into the vat to begin his work day.  Pallets of bagged clay, the fruits of his efforts in vivo, rested before their journey to faraway stores where simpletons like me will casually buy them, never knowing of the skill, labor and pure history used to create them.

Talking so fast we could barely keep up, Pamela took us through her glaze mixing room, built into what has one been horse stalls, it’s cool stone walls splashed with faded, unfired glazes. She flipping casually through her handwritten glaze recipe book in front of shelves laden with huge colorant-filled antique butter crocks marked by labels like “cobalt oxide” and “copper carbonate”.  This felt like the vault of family secrets.

Next, she wandered us through the throwing studio, the hand building areas and past walk-in kilns and dozens of racks of pottery in various stages of new existence.  We were then led on to the casting room, it’s shelves balanced high with plaster molds.  A light layer of white clay dust rested on most everything, the sign of a well used but mostly tidy studio.  

Eventually, we stepped out into the courtyard and then snaked back through a side door to what I could now see was the heart of the pottery. It’s walls hung with old posters of past shows, uplifting quotes, cartoon strips and artist cards from ceramics festivals gone by. I told Guy that every pottery I have ever been in has had a wall like that.  Now Pamela and I were like old friends, exchanging banter freely, as though I was standing in this room for the hundredth time.

Back in the gallery, Guy and I easily agreed on a Naked Raku style pot to bring home, and I asked for a bag of that precious clay.  As we said goodbye, I felt deep appreciation and simultaneous shame.  I bought my first bag of clay when I was 14, and have bought scads of them since, never once considering the people and the work that went into making them for me; the eighty year old man shoveling clay dust at 6 am.  I’d just grab a bag off the shelf, throw it into the van, open it, use it, and claim the results as my own, as though it was all my effort alone.  These folks are the orchestra behind the opera, the toiling farmer for the acclaimed chef (not that I am or ever hope to be the caliber of opera or chef, of course, but now you understand). I was humbled. 

“I am ashamed that I have been taking my clay for granted all these years, never thinking about the people behind it,” I said, suddenly misty eyed. “I’ll never do it again. It will be an honor to use this clay, and I hope I’ll do it justice.”

"We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours."

12th century theologian and author John of Salisbury

A Weekend Away - Act II

During Day Two of our splendid “Pretend-we-are-empty-nesters-even-though-we-have-a-seven-year-old” weekend away, we tootled around (which my spellcheck does not recognize as: "verb; the act of cheerful and mindless wandering, sampling of ice cream from 150 year old mercantiles, and reading of ALL novelty mugs, with complete disregard to schedules, time constraints or dinner times".  Whatever, Spellcheck).  We had the novel experience of finding a dish in an antique shop that was 1. Not "one my grandma had", 2. Not "one my mom had', but, 3. "One we got for our wedding"... and still use.  Big ol' bite of reality sandwich with that one.  Our dishes are getting old.

We talked and teased and held hands, bought ridiculously over-priced toffee, and remembered why we thought it might be swell to spend our lives together. Kids have a way of beating all of that out of ya', what with their constant need of love and guidance, clothing and shelter, and something to eat besides Fruit Loops. I don't care how often I delude myself into thinking that we haven't been wedged apart a little by life, all it takes is one night away for me to see that we have. It's good to floss your marriage once in a while. We did what any married couple of 25 years would do when they are at last alone at an Inn... nap. Before dinner. There is the possibility that other shenanigans were had, but I can neither confirm, nor deny the rumors. The rumors that I just started. Shhhh.

On our last morning, Guy and I planned for breakfast in a quirky cafe off of the touristy main street in old town, that was covid-style-packed with locals, cow print, and a funny old hostess who called herself Cha Cha (who talked to me in Spanish using curse words I didn't understand... 'cuz missionaries don't tend to learn curse words).  While we waited for a table, we chatted with a couple across the foyer, whose company we enjoyed so well that when our table was ready, and because the wait was so long, we invited to join us (it’s okay.  It’s been 14 days and we didn’t die).  We talked all through ordering, waiting and eating, shared stories of hard times, pictures of our kids at arm's length, and the best food I never should have eaten (you know, Hashimoto's.  Bleh.  It gave me hives).  We parted with warm and simple goodbyes.

I often wonder how many lovely friends I am missing out on because life is short and I don't live in Scarsdale or Toledo or Tanzania, and also, may or may not speak Swahili. But mostly not.

In the last few hours before we headed home, we wandered the old roads looking for "something special", and found it at the edge of a well loved neighborhood, marked by a simple hand painted sign that read Bonsai Nursery.  The "Wife of the Gardener" as she called herself, Anne, was such a gentle soul.  We strolled her back yard-turned-gallery (for truly, bonsai is an art), and admired the 70 or so magical little (and some, surprisingly, big) trees, each as carefully tended and shaped as the one beside it.  She spoke with such kindness, and we visited about faith and integrity and parenting and hard work.  She openly shared tree-wisdom, something I have found that confident artists do freely, revealing the secret for growing moss, bonsai and succulents happily all in the same pot without a grain of soil.  To my comment on their dedication to their craft, she replied that most of their trees were young-ish, "only ten years old or so", and pointed out the 75 year old tree that stood regally among it's mates. Her husband was it's steward, not it's owner, she explained. It had come to him, and if he did his job well, someday it would move on to another. Hmmm. Has a nice ring to it.

We brought home two gorgeous potted plants for just $5 each (I am not ready for bonsai trees in my life again yet, as they are sweetly needy), and left her waving gracious thank yous at the gate.  It had indeed been "something special".

I always leave the presence of Life Masters feeling a bit changed. A little lost for a moment, at having to walk away from all of that wisdom and life experience, a pilgrim on the return descent from the holy mountain, cup not quite full enough. But then I feel invigorated knowing that amidst the uncertainty and chaos of this life, there are wise ones and sages hidden on quiet lanes, disguised as the Wives of Gardeners.

Continued in Act III

Sunday, July 5, 2020

A Weekend Away, in Three Acts.

Technology.  Beautiful, terrible technology.  It's the thing that allows us to have 6,000 photos on our phones (for better AND for worse).

The internet, like a great cosmic dryer sucking up single socks, never to be seen again, has just dumped a post that really mattered to me.  One that was history- and tear-filled.  I wept right out in public while writing it, but told myself it didn't matter; it had to be written, tears or not.


.... nothing.

*blank page*

I will try again. But not now.  Now I will tell you about now, and try again soon to write that dear, tender post.


Act I

We have reached a magical age, my sweetie and me; the age when our kids only kinda-sorta need us, and we can sneak away for a night or two and return to mostly intact children (although Jonah's self-mashed toe was bandaged and Tessa now knows that cooking oil is flammable).  Guy's new job as a principal for Sacramento County Office of Education started last week, so before he embarked on this very intense adventure, we stole away for a weekend ALONE.

Not far.  Ellie doesn't have her licence yet (thanks Covid, they’re not even making appointments at the DMV), so we stayed within an hour's drive of home.  In these hills of "Gold Country" are tucked many tiny towns all staking a claim, pun much intended, on the Gold Rush.  "Birth Place" of this and "Gateway" to that, and all.  The towns are mostly cute and somewhat run down, with boutiques and bistros tucked in amongst old hotels and DOZENS of antique stores.  We strolled past manor homes with historical landmark signs out side, and hair salons and notary offices inside, humoring over the modern attempts at mending 200 year old brick walls and wooden window frames with Gorilla Glue and duct tape.

I don't know that there was anything particularly unique about this venture, except for us.  We are different these days.  We recognize and appreciate this little lull in our typical chaos, but we are battening down the hatches.  I don't know that anything specific is coming, but something always does.  In February, just before the universe spiraled out of control for everyone else, we were hustling back and forth to a hospital in Sacramento for my dad, who had a heart attack, a bleeding ulcer, plummeting blood sugars, bladder issues and pneumonia, all at once.  He's doing better these days, but there will be hard times to come.  That's just how mortality works.

And Guy's new job is a bit of a wild card.  Who knows what the school year will look like with Covid in the mix.  His hours will be longer, days off fewer, and stresses much, much greater.  Add to that Chex-Mix of life our six kids and you have predictable unpredictability. The summer days are warm, but like an old mariner, I feel storms coming. 

My mom would say, "Don't borrow trouble".  That was her way of cautioning that we not worry before we know what we have to worry about.  And truly, I'm not worried.  I've just been in enough antique stores to know that I'll see Carnival Glass, dusty smelling furniture and old lace doilies in the next one, same as the last. 

Continued in Act II

Monday, June 8, 2020

First Homecoming -A Photo Album

Back in January, Adam set off for his grand adventure of life on his own. There’s a whole post about it waiting in the wings, I just haven’t gotten it finished yet. But now it’s been six months, and we finally got to see our boy again.

We surprised Natalie and Jonah, who did not know he was coming. I told them we had to go pick something up in Sacramento and if they were very good, we would bring them a surprise. They were very good! (which is kind of a good thing, because I wasn’t going to take Adam back if they had been naughty!).

Adam stayed for 10 days, and Natalie stayed right beside him for about five. 

Reading Ralph S. Mouse, in person!  Their phone storytime is great, but real life snuggles are better. 

Adam tolerated Natalie’s near constant touch and attention, and I noticed that every time Natalie asked, “Adam, do you want to...”, His answer was a solid, “Sure”.


Rock chiseling lessons from brother BFF

Adam came specifically for Nano’s birthday. Ellie has pretty much taken over all cake duties around here, but she had me help this time. 

Strawberry chocolate checkerboard cake with rainbow frosting by Ellie, stuffed unicorn by Mom.

Natalie didn’t know what to expect…

... but she loved it!

It feels so good to see all of my little chickens in the same room!

A unicorn AND a Pegasus...Ethan knows what Sister loves!

An outdoor adventure kit from Ellie and Tessa. Those binoculars actually work really well! The first specimen she gathered was a bird’s wing. It smelled great. I know, because she shoved it right under my nose to show me. Yum. 

I made Natalie a set of fairies and gnomes from doll blanks, and a little fairy house to play with in a little moss garden I made for her outside. She loved it!

I even added freckles. Natalie loves her freckles. 

The bigger kids got the idea to recreate one of my favorite of my kid’s childhood photos.  The day the original was taken, Tessa REFUSED to cooperate. The only way we got her to finally look at the camera was to have her hold a long forgotten prop bunny we found on a high shelf. 

So, of course, we needed a bunny for the new photo, too. 

Jonah sweetly played all day long the next day with Nano and her new toys, including fairies, sand toys, and safari gear. 

These two. I swear. I can’t believe how close they still are. I hope that never changes. 

Natalie also got sandbox toys for her birthday. The gravel driveway is probably not the best place for her to play with them, so we are building a sandbox in the back.

(In other news- Ellie taking driver’s training, complete with face mask, gloves and a temperature scan.  Life goes on, even with #2 son at home). 

On our last day with Adam we tootled off to a favorite swimming hole along Sutter Creek. Jonah and Nano caught minnows and Adam taught Tessa to skip stones, while I napped on a huge rock in the shade. 

Adam left beautiful stacked rock totems all around the creek. I hope whoever came upon them later appreciated them. 

Alas, the time came for Adam to go to the place he now calls home. 

Then came the goodbyes...

And mama, last of all. 

And then he was off into the blue beyond. 

I don’t know long it will be till I see my boy again. We are back to weekly phone calls, but I’ll get used to it again.