Friday, July 31, 2009


sleeping through the night
sippy cups
potty training
temper tantrums
big girl bed
big school
losing teeth
riding a 2-wheeler

I wonder what's next?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Letting them know

It wasn't my most shining moment as a mother, but then I have those every now and again and it's worth talking about. It's worth the humility that comes from admitting when you're wrong, it's worth bearing all and the accountability that comes with doing just that, and it's worth acknowledging my wrongdoing so I can hopefully do better next time.

On the surface the misunderstanding between Allie and I wasn't some great, earth-shattering event, it was just that, a misunderstanding but one that left her feeling sad, dejected and wronged in a big way. To me it may not have seemed like a big deal, but to her it was. I had hurt her feelings without intending to (who really ever intends to hurt another's feelings?) and quickly realized just how deeply I'd offended her.

And that's right when I said I was sorry, over and over, scooped her up and hugged and rocked and rubbed her back and explained what I'd really meant and acknowledged her feelings and said I was sorry again. It's one of the greatest tools we have as people, I think, the apology. It breaks down walls, it levels the playing field, it humbles, it warms and embraces and brings closer.

Even though I'm a parent I'm not above the apology. I know full well that I'm not always right, in fact, I'm seldom right and welcome the opinions of others, especially my children. They are so worth it.

But what amazes me most are these two things: that children know instinctively true right from true wrong, good from bad, and that they will forgive more freely than any adult I've ever known. I felt her forgiveness as I held her in my arms, I heard her breathing ease, I felt her body relax and that electric warmth that traveled from her heart to mine. They heal me, these children of mine, they really, really do.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Letting it be

Today we are lazy. More like, the kids are. I got up a little later than normal but still took a morning run with Sunny, then started in with orders, work stuff, laundry, you know the drill. Then after late morning errands I tried to coerce everyone into going to the pool, well, maybe I didn't try too hard, they seemed not to hear me when I suggested it and I could tell they'd slipped deeply into summer-zombie-kid mode and I decided the best course would just to let them be. To let laziness take over if that's what the day held, to stop trying to force what wasn't happening naturally and follow the course for the day, whatever that meant.

That's how we ended up here:

To clarify, that's how they ended up there, with John stuck in his relentless pursuit to win solitaire (the old-fashioned kind) every time he plays and the girls glued to the furniture.

We really aren't a bunch of couch potatoes here and so I let them indulge every once in a while, after all, who can be on the go constantly and it be a good thing?

Anyway, it's giving me time to write, take pictures and make more jewelry. A good day all around.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Addition progress

We have a footing, that's the thing the foundation sits on for the construction illiterate like I was not too many years ago. Digging and putting one in is quite a bit more work than one would expect. Both physical and mental work with lots of measuring, leveling, looking at elevations, etc. Thankfully all of that is out of my hands and in some very good ones.

Progress in motion.

The men were digging and getting ready, lucky for Kevin and I he has some extra helping hands to employ, especially when the red clay's as hard as concrete.

Enter "Mr. Old Timer in the Conrete Truck",

and, TADA! We have a footing. A bit anticlimactic I know, but it's important as I'm told. Very important to get it right. But it doesn't look like much, does it?

Now if the house were level we'd be getting somewhere fast, but after 80 years what can you expect?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Riding the wave

As promised here's the new hat. I think it's cuter in person, but you'd only know that if you could see it in person so that doesn't help much, but if you do come to see me at the market on Saturday you'll see it and the other color/fabric combinations I come up with between now and then.

As for the rest of this post I thought I'd give you a little photo montage of what life has been like around here lately with three wound up, crazy, happy, giddy, silly, goofy, relaxed, spaced out, nutty, widgets that are my children with whom I spend every day.

My brief attempt at summer organization has fallen by the wayside with the quick realization that it wasn't worth making myself crazy over. They help out and do some chores but are paid according to how much they actually accomplish in a week which lately hasn't been all that I'd hoped for. Fair, I think, when you consider that we just instituted allowance this summer and I figure that's how the real world works (for the most part) anyway. Work=paycheck.

But what these pictures make me wonder mostly is this: how can their free-spiritedness rub off on me, even just a little?

They start out all calm and nice,

then the wrestling ensues,

Allie tries to appear all "angelic-like" though she's the biggest hellion in the bunch.

Then the faces start and I give up,

some sort of goofy moaning of course,

sudden sleep,

and a gratuitous look up the nose,

followed by more sleep,

rounded out with more random flailing.

Perhaps now you understand my plight as a mother.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


"Whinin' a little bit today, aren't cha babe?" Kevin said to me about my post yesterday.

"Yep" I said, suddenly regretting my rant. Please forgive my momentary lapse of better judgement, but I'm hoping that with an apology and some more pleasant pictures I can redeem myself.

Attending the funeral of a family friend today made me think again about living simply and working hard, complaining less, giving more, being satisfied with what is, cherishing those around me and looking forward not back, reaching out rather than withdrawing or becoming self-absorbed. And that life doesn't have to be so complicated, or we don't all have to do enormous, great, astonishing, earth-shattering things to live the way we're meant to live or to be admired. That some of the greatest gifts we give to the world are our attitudes toward others, toward hard work, about ourselves, quirks and all. This is what I learned from Buck.

So here I go with pictures from tonight of what is, life at this moment, the simple, the mundane, the every day.

The red cannas at the top are probably 9 feet tall this year and beans are growing all around us now. My tomatoes are huge, but very very late and still green. I can't wait till they're ready.

Allie's mystery plant did turn out to be a pumpkin. I had to chop off all the vines before they invaded the yard and the rest of the garden. Healthy. Healthy.

Kevin has begun the footing for the addition,

and can you believe it? Comcast says we're ready.

Tomorrow there may be some knitting to show, I have a new little hat design for boys I'm excited about, inspired by the beach. That is, I'll show it if all goes well after the third go around of the dreaded Kindergarten shots. Wish us luck and not too much shrieking from Allie.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I hate the dentist. Well, not the dentist, himself, the person, he's actually a nice guy, I just hate going to the dentist. I don't really want anyone messing around in my mouth, and it hurts to have my jaw open for so long. I find myself wringing my hands and sweating during the whole process and I dread it every time.

I'm pretty sure it's a physiologic reaction I have to very bad memories from when I was 7, and when some terrible oral surgeon pulled and cut 11 teeth out of my mouth, all at once in the hospital. Remember I was 7. I can't imagine doing that to my 7 year old. Then I was allergic to the medicine and that was a whole other scene I won't describe, nor will I describe what probably was a pretty horrible looking mouth for quite some time after, because I really can't remember what it looked like. I'm positive I've just blocked that whole vision out of my mind.

That whole ordeal only snowballed into early braces and years of headgear, a perfectly terrible embarassment that I remember vividly, and then once those braces came off they were replaced with more years of braces and rubber bands and other modern devices of torture.

I won't go into the wisdom teeth experience and how swollen and in pain I was for weeks and then the medicine allergy all over again and how they had to break my teeth with a chisel and hammer just to get them out of my head. No, I'd probably better not go there or you might stop reading.

I'll stop there, but just know the whole person-messing-around-scraping-xraying-poking-prodding-and-picking experience never bodes well with me. The fact that I have to pay large sums of money just to have it all done practically does me in. But the final straw, the absolute last great injustice is the fact that my kids love the dentist, and they love going to the dentist.


p.s. Did I mention we all went to the dentist today? 2 1/2 hours for all 4 of us. I think I'll split us up next time.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Going away

It's hard sometimes to take a good look at your life when you're right in the middle of it, and the best thing to do, maybe the only thing, is to take a big break. A stay at home break or a vacation sort of break, either will do and we were fortunate enough to have had the latter this past week.

At the risk of showing the neverending vacation slide show or telling story after story about what happened this past week, I'll just try to hit the high points and not drag you through every detail.

For the first time on a vacation since having kids I feel like I actually found time to relax. Deep, long, winding down to the bone relaxation, the kind I really needed. I read a few books, put down the knitting, took pictures, played, watched tv, and even dozed a bit on the beach once or twice. Bliss.

The kids had non-stop board games going of one kind or another all week. My favorite is to watch Lauren and John play chess and listen to how they bargain with one another.

"Okay, well, if you take my pawn then I can get your castle, do you want to do that?"


Don't ask. Somehow they get along much better than a brother and sister should.

Legos were still everywhere.

The kids had a ball finding hermit crabs in the Bay, that was a first for all of us. John made them a little corral one day.

Then there was the relentless search for blue crabs. Their only motive is to catch them and release them back into the water, not eat them. That may change over the years, but for now they don't understand the whole appeal of the blue crab, they just know they're tricky and fun to catch. I could pick crabs all day if I had enough. Hmmm. This might be a good system, they catch, I eat.

Fishing was all around us.

Nearly consuming some of us.

And astonishing the rest of us. Below you can see John reeling in his five-foot shark. Yes. Shark. Chills.

We ate plenty of seafood. Just not the sharks.

On our last day, a hike through the woods to an unadvertised part of the beach,

yielded a jar full of sea glass, and an impromtu scavenger hunt. I love those. And I love sea glass especially when I find it myself.

But perhaps what will stand out most in my mind was the calm, the slowing down, the change of pace and the chance to reprioritize, to plan for the future, and soak up the present. Now if I can just carry on the vacation mentality we'll be getting somewhere.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

When the words won't come

One good thing about this blog (at least from my vantage point) is that when there are days like today and I don't have much to say, I can always fall back on the pictures to do the talking for me. So enjoy a few and I promise I'll follow up with some stories later.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Signs everywhere

Signs of summer.

Shells, sharks, frayed rope.

A lesson here and there.

Like this one: if you catch a shark,

it's best to release it at the boat, you know, there's those pesky teeth and all.

And if you see a frayed rope and instantly cliches come to mind like, "coming undone", "frayed and frazzled", "the end of the rope" and you think the rope is talking directly to and about you, instead listen to the little voice inside that tells you that coming undone is a welcome necessity. That it means you're relaxed, you're loosening what's too tight, you're settling into what surrounds and supports you, that you're reaching in new directions, extending out, going your own way. Breathe deep, walk on, smile, it's summer.