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."

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sleeping Like a Baby

Takes on a whole new meaning, doesn't it?

When I was in High School I read the bible cover to cover.  
It mostly went over my head.

Before I go to sleep each night, I read.  It has varied over the years, but lately I am reading the New Testament.  Paul confuses me.  I have read the same chapter every night for four nights, trying to get the deeper meaning there.  He repeats himself over and over, and I have to believe there was more to it than that he figured the listener needed to have the message drummed into their skull.

I am also trying to read all of the classics I pretended to read in High School, and a few others that people I really respect have recommended.  I started with The Lonesome Gods, and about 50 pages in, I found myself daydreaming while reading.  I have a hard time not completing a book, and almost always will see a book through to the end, even if I hate it, but this time I decided that what made this a classic for some people didn't necessarily speak to my soul.  Not like To Kill a Mockingbird did, or Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.  Then I tried Patriots, but was utterly lost in the deep politics and history of the Founding Fathers.  I got halfway through John Adams and put it down.  I decided I should go with a book I had heard the name of often over the years.  In fact, that was the very reason I had never read it... I never have liked doing things just because everyone else liked doing them.  

Jane Eyre.

The first night was a doozy. I got four pages in and put it down, confused, and completely unable to follow the old language style used in the writing.  I felt rather stupid, frankly.  I closed the book and set it down, and suffered a little while in the darkness of my room.  Maybe, even though I really want to be a well educated, well rounded person, I haven't got the grey matter.  

What I lack in cerebral substance I generally make up for in an utter sick-to-it-ness.

Night two went better.  Way, way better.  I figured out who all the characters were and the impossibly eloquent language slowly began to congeal in my corpus callosum.

Now I do not sleep at night.  
Not like a baby, 
not before 2AM. 

Wow.  What a book.  What a writer.  What a story.
I wish I had a story to tell.  I wish I had words like that,
 that kind of passion and genius.

I may not sleep well till the book is done, and then I must remember what it did to me when I read Death of a Salesman, and could barely function for 2 weeks afterward.  Books can change who you are at your core.  Will this be that kind of book?

Oh, Miss Bronte.  
What have you done?

Thursday, July 26, 2012


No, I'm not on vacation.  
But I think I might be on hiatus.  
That's a funny word.  
It sounds like a sickness.  Or cheese.  

I think I might also get the Mother of the Century Award from 
League of Noisy Messy Girls.
Yes, I painted their room pink.
Celebration Pink.
"Screaming Pink" as the girls call it. 
Actually, Tessa squeals 
in ultra-sonic frequencies when she runs into the room;
Think tea kettle.  An incredibly messy-headed tea kettle.
 The boys came in to see and Ethan walked out holding his testicles to protect them from the rays.  The bonus is, though, that we don't need a new light at the end of the hall anymore because of the glow, and if NASA ever loses a shuttle, we will just leave the curtains open to guide it home.  If you go right now to Google Earth you can see a rosy glow in Northern California.  My girls will be brain damaged from it, but they will always remember their parents let them paint their room screamin' pink.

Oh, back to my award.  Yes, it is a three-fer.
One, for the PINK, of course.
Two, 'cuz I let the girls totally help me paint.
And three...yes - that grainy ipod picture does not lie-
I let Jonah paint.
(semi-dry roller.  I'm not an idiot)
Oh, and the photo didn't exactly lie about the pink either.  
As soon as we find the camera I'll prove it.

An interesting thing happened when we started painting.  Tessa wanted to help from the starting gate, whereas Ellie decided she would rather use her hour of media time.  Well, being as it takes slightly longer than an hour to paint a room (though slightly less than the three days it took while I was pregnant), Ellie showed up ready to help paint.  She plunged in and grabbed a roller, glopped it into the paint tray, and began drizzling her way to a nearby wall.

Whoa yeah, I stopped her.  

And it led to an interesting conversation.  I was able to explain to Ellie that while she was watching brain-melting mermaid shows, Tessa was learning, step by step,  how to carefully and cleanly paint a wall.  It was a huge learning moment for them both.  

It killed Ellie to have to start with taping and laying drop cloth, and oh! the agony of using a small brush to paint the corners, all the while Tessa was oh-so-proudly rolling out walls like a pro.  
But Ellie had to go through the paces, 
work her way through the ranks
pay the piper, baby.

One day, so many gifts.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jonah Jabber

It's here!!!

My favorite stage!
Language aquisition.

Here are just a few great things I have heard today:

mote - milk
poot - poop
hoaw- kitty
moo - cow
zng-shhhhu - sleep
brrrrm-brrrm (lips flapping) - car
hoo-hoo - dog
eat (this one he says perfectly)
hauwry - sorry
nah-naht - go to bed
sheat- chair (seat) 
(the boys make him say this one over and over... 
it sounds remarkably like another word)
wawa -yup, you guessed it... water
ha-mote - remote control
nana- nope, not banana, but anything he wants for which he has no name

He learns a new word or two every hour.
He runs like lightning.  

It all goes by so fast.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Little Thingies

 I went past the doll house 
 the other day and found the entire doll family (and various friends and fairytale characters in their underwear) crammed onto the couch watching TV.

 I hate TV.  I hate what it does to my family.  Don't get me wrong.  I watch the evil thing.  It has the same square-eyes effect on me as anyone else, but I try to keep TV watching to a minimum.  
That goes for dolls, too.

So  one night while the girls slept I wall papered another room, varnished the floors in two others, and made itty bitty sheet music and put the brother at the piano.  Dad was in the kitchen cooking, mama was changing the baby's dipe, and the TV was friendless.  Rapunzel was on the toilet (hey, we all do it, right?).

The girls got a real kick out of finding it.  And really they play beautifully with the dollhouse.  There is never a mess in any room (I know, really?  So not fair), though there are often dirty dishes in the sink.  I love to sit nearby and pretend to read while I listen to them play.  

It is my new thing, now.
 Each night I make a tiny "thingy" for the dollhouse.

The next night it was little throw rugs.

Last night it was eeinsie-weensie family photos and a tiny-whiny book.  I
posed the dad and brothers in a family-reading session.  

Tonight, I have a zebra rug and a little lamp in the works.  
Vincent Van Gogh also painted me a micro-copy of Starry Starry Night for tomorrow.  
Thanks, Vince.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Proud to be an American

 The 4th is a favorite around here.  We don't do anything spectacular, but we did bar-b-que, watch "The Music Man" and go to see the fireworks.  This year's show was different, because they didn't play all of the patriotic music I am used to, like the 1812 Overture.  
I missed it.  Right up till the end.

The last song they played for the finale was "Proud to be an American".  
As soon as the chorus started, a swell of voices came up from the crowd, 
and everyone around me was singing.  

"I'm proud to be an America, where at least I know I'm free
and I won't forget the men who died 
who gave that right to me."

Tears streamed down my cheeks as I listened.  I thought of the first Sunday after 9-11 when I heard that song with different ears.  I thought of our friends, the Roberts, whose son Derek died in Iraq 4 years ago.
I thought of all the brave men and women who have stood up for what is right in the face of tyranny and death since the first weary sea-farers tumbled onto the shores of freedom.

I know our county's history has it's dark corners.  I know that not every choice has been made in the name of a righteous cause.  But I also know, having lived in another country, what a rare and precious thing the freedom we enjoy here truly is.  We are blessed so much, we sometimes forget what it took to get us here.

I am grateful to God that he saw fit to guide brave men to follow the convictions of their hearts to establish this country, and though I could have been born anywhere, I got to come here where:
there is enough to feed my children
my girls can be educated
I can speak freely
my family is protected
my husband can earn a living that allows me to stay home to raise our children
I can worship God
and I am even allowed to have chickens in my backyard if I want to
(ok, maybe that is not uniquely American, but the law just changed here and I am excited
... pictures to come!).

Saturday, July 7, 2012


If you go to the farmer's market 
with the early birds, your best deals are on
"Cosmetically Challenged" produce.

If you show up right before they close down for the day because you see no point 
in setting an alarm on a Saturday, you get some screamin' deals,
 'cuz no farmer wants to bring food back to the farm.

I spent the week carefully ripening my screamin'-deal-peaches .  I once learned from our local store produce clerk that if you let fruit touch each other, those touching spots get too much ethylene gas and become over-ripe and even spoil before the rest of the same piece of fruit is ripe.  Even the surface they sit upon can cause the bottom to over ripen.  So to perfectly ripen the fruit you set them out on the table spaced out like cookies on a cookie sheet, and rotate them like a hen does her eggs twice a day.

Next I peeled for, like, a year.

And you know, even with all of my fruiticious dilligence, 
there were some peaches here and there with bad spots.  
I did what all good peeler-ers do.
I whacked 'em out and got on with the jamming.

I made freezer jam, and learned how important directions are (I have a lovely batch of delicious and runny ice cream topping now).  I froze the rest of the fruit on sheets to use on some sad autumn day when I long for a taste of summer.  
Or maybe next week. 
 I might be sad next week, you never know.

As I poured the would-have-been jam into plastic glad-ware, I looked heavenward and said, 
"Sorry, Mom."
She would have done it right.

Earlier in the week as I dumped a hot loaf of bread out of the breadmaker bucket, I looked up and said,
"Sorry, Mom."

When I helped dad move a few weeks ago, and noticed mom's beautiful 1920's Art Deco waterfall dressing table had become badly damaged from a leaky storage unit,
I rubbed my heart.
"Sorry, Mom."

I have been talking to mom a lot lately.  Maybe it's the pictures, and seeing her face at ages before I ever knew her.  I think of her making 8 loaves of homemade bread a week, canning dozens of jars of jam from her own fruit trees, and realize that she always had dinner ready on time, the house was always tidy and the laundry always done.  At least, that's the picture my memory conjures.  

She was a funny, wonderful lady. 
But she viewed herself as flawed.

I remember her sitting at that very dressing table and taking inventory 
of her cosmetic challenges, and other perceived inadequacies. 
It would probably make her laugh or even make her sad to know that
when I hold myself up against the measuring stick she left
I find myself lacking in so many ways.

I wonder if any of the things she ached over in this life still bother her
or if,
like the peaches,
once she had left behind the bumps and bruises
of mortality,
her life seemed sweet to her after all.

I don't imagine that I am unique in counting up my less refined traits.  I set out most days to have that proverbial attitude of gratitude, only to feel worse at the end of the day for not only not having it, but for knowing better.  

I hereby change the addage:

When life gives you bruised peaches
don't feel bad if you make runny jam.
It's a good excuse to have ice cream. 

Love my snoozy boy.  He falls asleep everywhere.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cookie Walk

 You have heard of a cake walk.  
Well, last night we had a cookie walk. 

For family night I decided we would try to focus on our talents.  I knew we wouldn't have a whole lot of cooperation from certain family members, so I planned ahead with a few suggestions.

We started off fine, with the girls volunteering easily with an impromptu ballet dance and a song.
When it came time for the boys, they were, shall we say, reluctant?

Enter: The Suggestion Bowl

(we started simple)
- Say the ABC's backwards

- Tell how you could get away secretly living at Disneyland 
(Ethan assures us he could pass as an animatronic pirate) 

- Stand on your head and list as many kinds of dogs as you can

(then  a little trickier)

- Picking up marbles with chopsticks

and finally;

 The Cookie Walk

it's a simple concept-

Begin with a cookie on your forehead
walk it down to your mouth.

I highly recommend you run out today and buy some cookies, 
and batteries for your camera.

 You don't want to miss this:

Epilogue to my day:

Someone drew a bunch of smiley faces in the dust on a cabinet in the bathroom.
When I began my accusations (no, I did not search out the lazy oaf on bathroom duty),
 I was met with perplexed denial on all sides.

Then Guy chirped,

"Maybe the cabinet is just really happy."

I think I know who did it.