Sunday, August 30, 2009

Inside looking out

I've been remiss in posting lately, I know, but our time has been swallowed up with the kids starting school, me working at the hospital a bit more and this little thing called an addition. If it was just one room in and of itself it might not have such a big impact on our living space, but as it is (and I'm so happy with the way it is) it affects every space on the front of the house as you can see.

We're missing some walls,

we have some new windows,

and some major feats of framing and engineering have been accomplished, a.k.a. sawing the wall in half that holds up the second floor and putting a beam in so we can be wall-less in this section of the house that will become our new bedroom. I don't know how he does it without the house falling down, but by now I just know he can and that's probably all I need to know.

I can now stand in what will soon become my office and dream about how it will be laid out and what kind of storage I'll need. Kevin says he'll make me some built-in cabinets/shelves/whatever, I just need to tell him what I want. He's also informed me that he's going to be tired after this addition's all done, tired, "for like TWO YEARS" he says.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What is real

"I don't understand it, Daddy, I just love Big Bear so much" she said. He's been riding this tricycle all over the yard, fields, and driveway for the past three days or so. If I ever thought she'd come out of the little make-believe imaginary life where she's spent most of her time since toddlerhood, I was sorely wrong. That world for her has only expanded and become more textured, colorful and deep. I wish she'd take me there some time, but I'm afraid it's not a place for grownups.

When I notice I've become too busy for my own good, or that I've lost my imagination, it helps me to stop and pay attention to the little ones around. They have a way of finding the good space, where the innanimate becomes real, where what's fair is obvious and undisputed, and time has no importance or pull in the progress of the day. It's so far removed from my often regimented daily schedule that I wonder if there's a way to make freedom and order coexist or if the magic of childhood is what it is because it eventually is lost.

Monday, August 24, 2009


When the first day somehow feels like the last day too,

when leaving home and starting a new phase brings trepidation and worry,

it means everything to have a big brother and sister to lead you.

So today I spent some time looking to my own "big sisters" if you will, let's just call them girlfriends, to guide me along a new path that now looks as wide open as when I first stopped working to stay home and raise children.

I tried for a minute or two to shove myself back into the physical therapy box, thinking that I would just let it take over and let all my other pursuits fall to the wayside, that I needed to see myself as just one thing, a producer, a financial contributor, an outside-the-house-working-mom. And while that may be part of what I am or what I do, it is just one part and to let the others fade just doesn't feel right.

I'm left once again feeling my way through the future and looking all around for guidance, finding it in the openness and enthusiasm of my children, the welcoming arms of new friends, the silent urging that comes from within, and a heart that knows much more than I about which way to go.

Moving fast...

Amazing how much can happen in just one day. The framing isn't quite finished, but they have the roofing plywood on and it's papered in. Good thing, wet weather is imminent and hurricane season is upon us.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

From the looks of it

The view out our front door will reveal that it'd be an uncomfortable first step if you happened not to notice that there's something missing, the front porch, that is. You may remember it was torn off the house some time ago to make way for an addition. Not a big, sprawling addition, but rather one that adds just enough space to make things a bit more comfortable and livable inside.

To be as brief as possible, I'll just say that this will allow each of our kids to have their own room and share 1 bathroom upstairs, Kevin and I will move downstairs and have our own bathroom, the foyer will be extended to make a place for the piano and there will be a new home office/She Knits headquarters and we'll be down to one living room instead of two.

Dodging the torrential rain from tropical storm Bill, the floor joists went on today and a concrete footing was added around an existing brick pier to support the current house better. It is old and apparently they didn't see the need for minor things like, say, a foundation way back when.

It's here that I must again hand it to the resident jack-of-all-trades, handyman, builder extraordinaire, hardworking machine that is my husband who just today, with his rain soaked hair standing on end (and he has a head full of it) like Billy Idol, had a coming to terms with himself about the benefits or lack thereof of doing all the work himself. It is a dilemma of epic proportions that I'm afraid he must struggle with internally. Will he continue to be a do-it-yourself-er or will one day he become a pay-someone-to-do-it-for-you-er? I think we already have our answer.

But in the meantime while he soul searches, let's just have a little look at his boots, shall we?

Can you see what I see?

It must be the mud in part that's getting to him, or maybe it's the grunt work. Neither of which are much fun.

And in response to the comments and emails from friends wondering how or why I seemed to have had a job and lost it, let me just say that I didn't explain myself very well. The job is still there, it's just that I'm one of the expendible folks who isn't full time and can either be scheduled last minute or cancelled last minute based on the sometimes vast fluctuation in patient census.

So, this time of the year like every year (I should know by now), many doctors schedule vacations not surgeries and there aren't as many folks in the hospital. The end result is I have some unplanned free time on my hands which at first bummed me out and set the chain reaction in motion of slight panic, which led to irritation, which led to imagination, and then mild elation. Let's just say I'm over it. And as I said in my last post, things can, will and do change on on a dime. In a month or two the hospitals will be overflowing and I'll be wishing for these days again. It's that whole grass-is-greener thing.

Friday, August 21, 2009

In limbo

Like the sudden summer rain that seems to arrive from nowhere, things can turn on a dime. I was all geared up to go back to the hospital on Monday when the kids start school, but that turned out to be just as uncertain as the rain and now it looks like I'll be cleaning closets or weeding through the tangled mess that is the girls' bedroom, or spreading mulch, or knitting my hands off, or baking (yes, definitely baking), or getting ready to paint any number of rooms in the house, or laundry, or enough already, you get the picture.

I don't know whether to be excited or disappointed, this whole "figuring my life out" thing has me stumped and feeling like I'm in nowhere-land. But I suppose anticipation is my biggest enemy in the whole grand scheme of things, that, and the nagging feeling that somehow I'm not doing my part if I'm not working non-stop in one capacity or another. Yes, I'd say those two things in and of themselves will give me plenty to work on while I'm not working. Hello sunshine, good-bye umbrella.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Here I am. Sitting right here in the middle, feeling like I've got one foot stuck back in maternity clothes, diapers, spit up, nap times, preschool and home. Lots of home. Meanwhile my other foot has been standing for some time in the pool that is grade school, homework, tests, grades, sleepovers, sports and independence. Lots of independence.

While I'm eager for the future and all of its prospects for our children, there's a nagging little something that frankly has me sad and I can't quite put it into words. Maybe it's the quiet that will come, maybe it's that I already know how little I'll see them during the day, maybe it's just the change that has me choked up thinking about my littlest heading off to kindergarten.

I try to reassure myself. They all have great teachers this year. They are all more than ready and excited. We are ready to put preschool days behind us. We've seen each year what wonderful things growth and learning are and how they, along with a safe home base help create self-assurance, confidence and exhuberance for life. But. There's still that little something. It gets lodged in my throat every time I think about it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

March of the tomatoes

I found these forgotten photos in a recent search for a friend, the friend who invites us to the river from time to time, the friend who has nearly killed me on many a violent spill from waterskis, tubes or waverunners while jumping enormous tour boat wakes. And yet I still love her.

She's also the friend who unknowingly has helped my youngest become much less afraid and anxious around big dogs.

She has no choice but to come to love them, there are 4 at the river, all big, all black, all sweet and usually very wet.

This day we picked tomatoes.

Allie carried them.

And made the trek,

back down the hill,

to the beautiful place on the water. I'm trying my best to get adopted.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Winding down, or is it up?

I feel it coming to a close, the summer that is. The tomatoes are still trickling in but the squash and zuchini are long gone. The outdoors still beckon but the light is changing, you can see it, feel it.

Games in the yard reflect the timelessness of summer, that while it's end is inevitable and soon, there are moments when it seems suspended, frozen in time. For example, you take a nut,

you throw it at the yellow chalk circle drawn on the century old oak tree in the yard, that is the game, and it goes on and on and on.

And while this stage is all but over, the undercurrent of what is about to start is palpable, ever-present, bringing forth an unsettled excitement that seems to make every last moment of summer that much more special.

School will start, schedules will change and I can't help but think of this next milestone from my perspective. After all I did decide to stay home raising children for the past 8 1/2 years, and just as that transition has faded and the familiarity of life as a stay at home (sometimes working) mom is ingrained in me, I look now to a future with full days of school and I wonder if I'm still a "stay-at-home-mom" or if I'm something else altogether now, or am I just getting a little too hung up on labels?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Testing, testing...

So the transition to cable tv, phone and internet after life in the dark ages hasn't beeen all that smooth sailing like I thought it'd be. I won't go into all the unimportant details, but we've only had spotty (at best) internet service these past two weeks and if we ever hoped to connect we had to reset (unplug) the router every time to reset it for 5-15 minutes worth of connection before it'd go out again.

After many visits from technicians we now have a new router and quite a few credits to our bill and it seems to have done the trick.

In the process I've learned a few things. Communicating with the cable company and having a problem fixed is no easy task, and that as far as tv channels go, I'm afraid the satellite was, ahem, better. But we'll take what we can get to have the high speed internet which is hopefully fixed so I can show you more pictures. I took these with a 30+ year old lens and I can't tell if it just needs a good cleaning, if someone needs like years of photography lessons, or if that same someone just might need glasses to be able to adequately focus a manual lens. Hmmmm...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The chickens don't care

One thing I really like about chickens and dogs and my kids is that they're basic. Oh sure, the kids have funny and even insightful things to say on a pretty regular basis, and they can have complicated thoughts at times, but if you stopped to ask them if they were concerned in the slightest about all the things their mom had on her "list" to accomplish in a day they'd look at you with a blank stare as if to say, "Mom has a list?".

That's right. Not a one of them, not the 8 chickens, the dog, the three kids and let's throw in the cat too, care one bit about mom's list.

And that's probably as it should be.

And maybe mom shouldn't put so much stock in her list either. Because maybe things like food, water, shelter and love are some of the best things they've got going. So it's on days like this when I look around me at the indifference to my "busyness" and question it's merit, and worth and how much space it's occupying in my life. It's fair to say that the list, albeit whittled down to a minimum, has been trumped by 8 chickens, 1 dog, 3 kids and 1 thirteen year old cat. Enough said.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Here's a brief little picture-list for you of some recent summer favorites. I hate to see this time of year pass so quickly, as I've always wished it could be summer year round. But while some of these are seasonless as you'll see, they are merely what's around me today and so I thought I'd share.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Egg(s)

It is Sunday morning. I'd let the chickens out early and went for a run with Sunny and afterward, slipped on the pink plastic shoes that are so appropriate for cleaning out a chicken coop, or gardening, or any job where I either get muddy or could step in poop, and I went back down to check on the progress. You see, last night I found their first egg. It was exciting, I immediately started talking to them and was saying things like, "good girl! what a big day! I'm so proud of you!". All the things that could make me seem like someone who's a little off kilter, or either totally normal. I leave that judgement up to the reader.

So I headed back down to the coop, past the beans,

rounded the corner,

opened the door with that pretty little knob that everyone knows doesn't belong on a chicken coop,

and there was another...little...egg.

They are just perfect.

It's hot and steamy here, can you see?

But I've managed to not only keep my butterfly bush alive and thriving this year (it's taller than me), but also 8 chickens. I recently joined facebook and reconnected with so many old friends from home and I wonder if I'm really the same girl who grew up in suburban St. Louis. One thing's for sure, I bet they all think I'm crazy.