Friday, December 31, 2010

He still whispers

A beginning in January, an ending in December. These words a journey through his power, his grace. In his pages, the story of love and redemption. My story, forever touched.


Writing today, this last day of the reading plan and of 2010, over at 66 Books.

(Fortunately, we start fresh again tomorrow. Same plan, new writers--and some returning ones too.)

Relationship

I wonder how many bloggers who chose their word for 2010 still remember what it was? I was writing one day, commenting on this "word of the year" focus, and I had to check the archives to retrieve mine. Whoops.

It was God. 

Perhaps I should have written that out and framed it. He was an ambitious contemplation for a year. Reflecting these months of 2010, though, I see him ... even though I had forgotten he was my focus word for the year.

Because of counting gifts, I sought God and his work daily. (Ann Voskamp wrote a book about counting gifts, due out in January. Gift counting has been a valuable practice for me.)

By not having the fourteenth writer at 66 Books, I then became a weekly contributor. He would saturate this year for me with a growing understanding of who he is.

But more than words on a page and weekly time reading and writing, he became a life preserver, a rock, and a teacher during difficult times: a pivotal moment; a struggle for peace--a constant theme for me this year; I learned about love. And forgiveness.

In the midst of stresses, strains and broken hearts, he showed me friends. Through grief, I would go deeper with others and with myself--and he would use my grief for good. As I set my hope in him, he has taken me higher and higher.

More and more, I am filled in this: God is not religion.

God is relationship. I had heard people speak of this relationship thing and never quite understood how it was obtained. But thankfully this year, I got it--and I'm not letting go.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pink flippy phone
















The random shots on my phone. I had no idea how to get them. It's a pink flippy little phone I've had for about three years. It was horrible for texting, having to tap out on a key up to three times for each letter to get to the one I wanted. If I needed to say something so badly, it was better to just make the call.

A friend sent me a message on Christmas Eve saying about how awesome the instrumental was at the end of the service. I replied, "Ty Mc."

She wrote, "Huh?"

Translation: thank you merry christmas.

Shane showed me how to get the pictures off my pink phone, displayed randomly above. Pictures of me taken by Lanie and Erin. And other shots of us out and about.

Monday, December 27, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1263-1277)

1263. Hard, racing heartbeats fighting fear.
1264. Chamomile tea.
1265. My neighbor's mom.
1266. And my neighbor.
1267. Angel bread.
1268. Meeting John for the very first time after blogging with him for two years.
1269. For returning bloggers at 66 Books.
1270. A full rotation on the blog--with still a week to go, we are full. !!!
1271. Snow flurries on Christmas morning.
1272. Singing my favorite Christmas song during the Christmas Eve service at church. As loudly as I could, and I still couldn't hear myself--the room so full of music. Wonderful.
1273. Girls giggling, unwrapping gifts.
1274. Their joy and thankfulness.
1275. A day of pajamas (for me); tiaras, necklaces, high heels and perfume for the kids; Shane in red sweat pants.
1276. Candlelight on the mantle.
1277. Hugs, kisses and cuddles.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Flurry

Lanie was awake at 6:01. I had to wake Erin just after seven, reminding her it was Christmas morning. Coffee in hands, Shane and I sat down on couches and watched the flurry of paper flying, listened to squeals of thanks, enjoyed the quiet of snowfall.

"Santa! Santa!" Erin cried out. We don't push Santa around here. So I was surprised when she would say, "Look what Santa gave me!"

"How did that happen?" I whispered to Shane.

Lanie painted Erin's toe nails with nail polish. Then she painted mine. We spent the day playing games over and over. We read books, sang songs, ate cookies. The girls pranced around in Princess shoes. I changed clothes on Polly Pockets so often, I felt like I was actually the one playing with them. In the basement, Shane and I created an obstacle course for dueling remote race cars, and the girls raced them in the dark (the cars had headlights). I never changed out of pajamas.

It was a full day--full of nothing and full of everything. Enjoying family, relaxing, thinking over things, anticipating other things--hope springs. I felt thankful for propane heat, socks on my feet, sweet and creamy coffee, books to read, a comfy couch, cuddles from kids. 

Hoping you had a merry Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Seeing red

It's early morning on Christmas eve. My house is quiet. In a corner, the kids' gifts, wrapped--tucked in a bag until later to go under our Christmas tree. On my desk, Bible open. Coffee, second cup. And a melody in my mind, O Holy Night--my favorite Christmas song this year.

Writing over at 66 Books today.

Monday, December 20, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1249-1262)

Deck the Halls--Lanie playing at the quaint Christmas concert at the piano teacher's house.
Her excitement at being first to play.
Friends over for lunch.

A house showing ... a week before Christmas.
The woman who got bit by a dog in front of our house--and her unexpected message to bolster my faith.
The quiet of snowfall.

A clean house.
Free tickets to a holiday performance, with dancers, orchestra and pup tricks.
Coconut Christmas trees, gifted.
And M&Ms.
A smile on my face in perma-grin.

A treadmill.
The "yes" of new writers at 66 Books for 2011.
God's faithfulness.

Monday, December 13, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1233-1248)

1233. morning donut run, frosted with sprinkles in Christmas colors
1234. a good pair of jeans
1235. my husband's smile, returned

1236. peppermint whipped cream
1237. a mermaid pony
1238. savoring the last days of a three year old



1239. cuddles to little ones through nighttime coughing fits
1240. Vicks on bare fee
1241. Santa slippers

1242. snowflakes
1243. snickerdoodles
1244. snow flurries




1245. the unwrapping of gifts
1246. the deep blessing of David, Anita and Denise in our lives
1247. Grammas who scoop up little ones to cuddle on laps




1248. Thankful always for people who love us because they want to.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Four

I held my three close on the eve of four.

"Don't worry, Mommy. I will still love you when I'm four," she said. I held her closer. She said we could pretend she's still three for one more day, but then she'd be four. Even she knows wishes are sometimes just wishes.


Happy winter fudge cake with sugar snow.


Erin and Gramma Nita making wishes.






Happy birthday, sweet love.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A comfort food

I forgot to take anything out of the freezer for dinner last night. So I had to cook with stuff on hand. I found this recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara.

1 lb box spaghetti
6 slices of bacon, cut into pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
black pepper
salt to taste

Cook spaghetti to package directions. Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook the bacon pieces until slightly crisp. (I drained some of the fat out because I felt too guilty to leave it all in.) Add garlic and saute for one minute. Add wine and peas. Simmer for several minutes. Beat eggs in another bowl, then mix in bacon mixture (bacon to bowl. Not eggs to skillet). Mix in cheese and pepper. Drain the pasta and return to pan. Add egg mixture and stir to combine. Stir until heat from the spaghetti slightly cooks the eggs, but mixture is still like a sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6-8.

I didn't tell Lanie about the eggs in it. She loved it. I did too.

Photo fiasco--the making of the annual Christmas card picture

November flew by, and so did the mild temperatures for an outdoor picture. I thought the kids would look so nice posed on one of the farm fields in their fancy Christmas clothes. Didn't happen. Then the cold crept in. I wondered how I'd work with the heavy coats, because that could look cute too. But it always seemed too cold, or I'd forget, or it was crazy windy for a week.
Yesterday, I went to the mall to make some returns. I thought the girls would look sweet on the carousel together, and I brought my camera.

I managed to get them on the horse, despite protests at having to share. Lanie forced out a toothy grin. Erin flat out refused. I kept saying, "Look at Mommy! Smile!" We only had a few seconds before the ride began, and the operator was rushing me, "Let's go!"

"SMILE!" I'm pleading.




So we tried another location.


Oh well. Off to combing through the photo archives to find a substitute.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The privileges of being the birthday girl, unless Shane is serving

Busy baking day today. I had some overripe bananas to use up so I made a couple of banana chocolate chip breads. Tomorrow we are celebrating Erin's birthday with her Wednesday play group friends (she turns four on Saturday). I was baking chocolate cupcakes for that. Saturday we'll celebrate her real birthday with ice cream cake. You're only four once.

I had the banana breads and cupcakes cooling on a rack. Erin walks into the kitchen.

"Mommy?" Because all sentences start that way. "I get to pick the cupcake I want. And the banana chocolate chip bread I want. And the cake I want. Because I'm the birthday girl."

I had to explain the breads were for the freezer, but she could certainly pick her cupcake. And her slice of cake on Saturday. Lanie is still a bit indignant over Shane serving her not even the first or biggest piece of cake at her birthday!

I wish I had stumbled onto these little treats at Bakerella a couple weeks ago. Cute!

Monday, December 6, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1192-1232)

1192-1232

balcony views, red velvet seats, nearby parking, crossing guards

orchestras, tutus, sugar plum fairies, nutcrackers

happy meals, biggest blues across the table, hands in mine, Christmas music

emptiness in night shopping, feather comforters, toe socks, furry rimmed gloves

three hours of sleep, quiet time, crocheted blanket fifteen years old

ornaments, twinkling lights, lunch tables scootched together for seven, pizza with caramelized onion and applewood smoked bacon, cookies as big as my hand




melancholy days, pillow forts, tiny tire tracks in the carpet, cold-calling in faith, spontaneous hugs

a child yelling, "Mommy is the best!" into the play phone recorder, advent countdowns 

birthday party invitations, a warm scarf, brown socks

conversation with a great grandmother, her 87 years, her story

Christmas trees lighted and decorated, the Tigger talking box, snow flurries

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Recovering

It was really late one night, talking to a friend about hurtful things, tears welling up from places I didn't know existed, words tumbling out that linked experiences in ways I never imagined. I was grateful when she said I should read this book: Recovering from Losses in Life by H. Norman Wright. I perused the Amazon Look Inside feature and checked out the table of contents and first pages. I ordered a copy. It became a book read for a weekly book club. We just finished our study that started in September, my bookish friend and I ordered several copies to share with others. The sum: a must read. For everyone.

How many years did I brush aside losses in life, minimizing hurt, writing off disappointments, stunting grief? I was surprised by what I discovered.

Memorable quotes, like the chapter on losses we never considered. "With every loss, we are reminded of the fact that we are not in control and we are not self-sufficient. Every loss allows us to rest in the grace of God."

Saying good-bye, and the family that was preparing to move saying goodbye to each room so that they could "look forward to where they were going more than missing what they were leaving."

The loss of identity, however, proved wonderful affirmation.

The final chapter on helping others was eye-opening, if not convicting. Good advice for what to do and what not to do when someone is grieving. (I purchased two other books of his--one on helping kids through losses, and one on helping others--because of how much I stand to learn in this area. And that he has good stuff to say.)

In the back of the book are questions for reflection. I got a composition notebook to journal through, even though I had shredded all my journals years ago. I will also look forward to shredding those pages sometime soon, when I have completed my work.

In retrospect, in loss, I found gain, growth, hope, understanding, and God. Without my losses, perhaps I would have attained some level of happiness, but with these losses: a deeper, richer life experience; a fuller love, appreciation and reliance on God that never would have arisen had I continued to rely on man; and an unexpected confidence through survival and my identity in Christ.

Sounds like it wraps up neatly? It is a messy journey. Some losses, once held in a better light, I could move past with a clearer perspective. But other ones, sometimes those are just the shadow of who I am--nothing I can grasp, not defining, but a darker reflection of me, stretching out long in a winter sun.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Also known as grudge

Sometimes, “I repent” is never uttered. Sometimes wounding continues intentionally. And sometimes forgiveness is not feeling, but action. I am learning this daily, and often it’s not easy. Sometimes I feel like a big fake, putting on smiles and kindness when inside I groan and grieve. A persistent weight that does pin and stick, unforgiveness. But where does it lead? Bitterness? Hatred?

No thanks.

Writing today at 66 Books

Monday, November 29, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1172-1191)

1172. Friends over for Thanksgiving dinner.
1173. Friends over for dinner on Black Friday.
1174. Returning writers at 66 Books.
1175. Unsolicited email that reads, "I'm in!"
1176. Nighttime grocery run with Lanie.
1177. The wandering cow at Chik-fil-A that high-fived Erin.
1178. M&Ms gifted.
1179. Finding God in the wilderness.
1180. A book for $4.99 with a $3.50-off coupon. Fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen.
1181. Snow Queens.
1182. The last sweet, creamy sip of coffee in the mug.
1183. Propane heat.
1184. Blankets.
1185. Peanut butter cookies shaped like reindeer.
1186. A house full of kids running around.
1187. Laughter around the table.
1188. Friends who moonlight as piano movers.
1189. Music in our house.
1190. Divine humor.
1191. Socks with holes.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Still full

A full table. Kids playing. Fresh herbs, rain washed. Pumpkin dip. Hollow pie (or humble pie). Golden turkey. And, oh, the soup! Good smells. Good friends. Good time.





Traveler on the road

When it comes to loving a neighbor, there are no insults or repayments of evil. There is no passing by and pretending someone doesn’t exist.
Writing today at 66 Books.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey talk

I got up just after seven and walked into a kitchen that looked like someone had spent the night baking. Lots of prep work, and a feeling of "hurry up and wait." Turkey cooking. Potatoes baking. Other stuff planned out through the day with start and end times. The house smells wonderful.

Erin decided last night to boycott turkey.

"Well are you going to eat other stuff?" I asked.

"What kind of stuff?" she wondered.

"Well, there's stuff. And stuffy stuff. And other stuff. But don't eat the stuffy, stuffy stuff," I joked.

She laughed.

Today, she was mesmerized by Jack's Big Music Show. She sang and danced along with it. As I fixed her some juice and gave her a big hug, she shared these thoughts, "You know the mom on Jack's Big Music Show? I saw her open the door, but I didn't see her."

"You can hear her voice," I commented.

"Yes. But I think she's invisible."

Interesting.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Like a junkie

I had been watching a boxed set of Beatrix Potter books on eBay. The auction had just over a day left on it. It was for all twenty-three books--the cute, perfect for a three-year-old size like the library has. I was almost drooling. The starting offer was $19.99.

I curiously tapped in a few dollar bids to see where the threshold was. Then I decided I would wait to put in my real, final, not chasing after this item bid. The kids and I went to a bounce house place and jumped the morning away with a friend. Then we had lunch out, a novelty--being visited by a costumed employee who looked like a cow. Erin invited him to her birthday party. He nodded yes. They high fived.

I got home with at least fifty-five minutes to spare on the auction. Christy called and we chatted.

"Do you want to witness the moment?" I asked.

"Sure." So we chatted some more.

Four minutes. Three minutes.

"You should get your bid ready," she suggested. Amateur. I was going to wait. But she started to get me distracted with a new thread in the conversation so I told her to be quiet.

Fifty seconds. Forty.

"Should I ready the bid?"

"Yes!"

I put in my numbers, and with eleven seconds, sent it in. I was top bidder.

"Listen for it!" I said. "Six, five, four--NO, NO, NO! I got outbid!"

"Oh!" We laughed. "I thought you had it. I was sure you had it!"

"I know! Somewhere, someone is LAUGHING that they snatched it away!" It was actually rather entertaining.

Win some. Lose some.

Monday, November 22, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1156-1171)

A piano of our own

Christmas tree patterns and advent pockets
Sewing with a friend at the kitchen counter
Her homemade rolls
And her kindness in everything

Sleepy looking old man waiting for his wife to finish up shopping
His sweet smile when I said hello

Long grocery lines
and cheery patron faces
Quietly Chamomile tea

Gifted dulce de leche
Reggie
Chrisi

Deck the Halls played by Lanie. Fa la la la la, la la la la!
Intentional friends
Christmas lights, before Thanksgiving

Keep counting at A Holy Experience.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In the eye of the beholder

It was dark when we drove to church last night. I took the back road detour. As we drove along a quiet street, Shane muttered with disapproval, "Christmas lights. Before Thanksgiving."

Just as he finished speaking, Erin perked up and joyfully said, "WOW! Look at the Christmas house!"

I chuckled.

"I love my window!" she said.

And I melted.

It wasn't the window--she and Shane had the same view. It was her heart.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1135-1155)

God is awesome. So thankful for:

1135. Acceptance.
1136. Widowers loved and remembered.
1137. And the people who love and remember them.
1138. A beautiful skyline in the sideview mirror.
1139. Free turkey.
1140. A visit from my dad.
1141. Crafty friends.
1142. Coconut M&Ms to give away.
1143. Saturdays at church.
1144. The writers on 66 Books who show up every day. We're in the home stretch of our second year and I feel JOY.
1145. Fresh figs.
1146. Nightmares replaced by happy dreams.
1147. Heroes and she-roes who serve and have served this country.
1148. Movie night with the ladies.
1149. Coffee and donuts with my girl.
1150. A really great hug.
1151. Entertaining unexpected guests.
1152. Prayer.
1153. Lollipop trees.
1154. A cozy bed.
1155. Thanks that spills out of my kids' mouths while creating a mantle leaf garland.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The love language of thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I guess I just like it for its simplicity: spending time with people I love, singing thanks in my heart, enjoying good food. (Is food a love language?)

This year, I'm changing things up just a little.

The menu:

Spinach, bacon and onion dip (Nov. 2010 issue of Everyday Food)
Feta, scallions and tomatoes with french bread slices

Bacon corn chowder (Shane wants to know who, besides me, serves soup at Thanksgiving. I see nothing wrong with it.)
Salad (of some sort)
Luxurious mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and thyme
Cauliflower gratin (Nov. 2010 issue of Everyday Food)
Maple whipped sweet potatoes (Nov. 2010 issue of Everyday Food)
Sausage stuffing (as in, the holiday is OFF if this isn't on the table)
Turkey

Apple pie with ice cream
Pumpkin bread pudding with dulce de leche (Nov. 2010 issue of Everyday Food)

With the house being on the market, I'm having a hard time getting into the overall holiday spirit. It's almost as if I don't feel like we live here anymore and this house isn't ours. So far, the closest I've gotten to putting fall's stamp on our home is the pumpkin pie scented candle I burn in the kitchen sometimes and this leafy craft of giving thanks that adorns our mantle.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The chocolate in the freezer

The day after Halloween, I told the girls they could choose three candies a day from their Halloween bags. Erin carried her bag with her nearly every place she went. Lanie was quick to notice Erin's chocolates getting melty when set in the sunny spots on the floor.

"We should put Erin's chocolates in the freezer," she said. Smart girl. So we put the chocolates in the freezer.

Each day, Erin and Lanie selected their three choices. And from time to time, I would go to the freezer and get a misshapen Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Oh gosh, does anyone see where I'm going with this?

A few neighbors handed out full sized candy bars, including a lovely Hershey's milk chocolate. The day I snuck off with that one was memorable. I opened the wrapper carefully, because while my kids can't seem to hear me when I'm less than arm's length from them, they are keenly attuned to the sound of any treat wrapper being opened. Then I ate the chocolate.

Yesterday, Erin lamented being out of candy.

"Mommy, can you put some more candy in my bag?" she asked.

"Oh, honey, you get three treats a day while the Halloween candy lasts. It's not three treats forever," I explained.

"But Mommy, I had some chocolate in the freezer," she said. Does this kid take echinacea? "I had a really big chocolate bar."

I couldn't look at her. I remained silent. Oh, I was going to have some explaining to do.

"Mommy, did you eat my chocolate bar?" she asked.

"Oh Erin!" I exclaimed apologetically. "I'm sorry! I will get you another one."

"I knew you would eat it," she said to my astonishment. "But that's ok. I still love you."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Whatever

Having to laugh at the whatever in Whatever Monday Brings thankful item 1134.

I woke up to Lanie's cries at 5 a.m. from a nightmare. I comforted her and decided I might as well stay up since I was working at the co-op that day. I went to leisurely cruise the internet in search of a crafty template for a homemade advent calendar.

I found this cute little snowflake flurry calendar. And this adorable circle tree calendar. And, thanks to a friend who is going to help me sew with my sewing machine, we will be attempting to recreate this masterpiece, a la Pottery Barn Kids. (In fact, we just got all the supplies today. Yay!)

But while I was scooting around to another crafty site, I managed to pick up two viruses. Lights flashed on the computer, and a total cyber meltdown was about to ensue. I called Shane.

"I'm at work," he said. "I really can't do anything from here. But don't click anything that reads exe."

So I headed over to a software site and download the things I should have had to begin with and fix the problem. At that point, I was running late for school: wake up kids, get all dressed, teeth brushed, food fixed, lunches too, tidy house, into the car, get to school. Pant, pant.

Nearly had a table fall on me. Almost had fingers smashed twice from table legs that weren't locked. There were a couple of other things too that, fortunately, made me laugh.

But what I was really hoping to be thankful for was a decision we were waiting to hear at the end of the day. It was good. And I'm thankful.

Side note: Who's the creep who puts computer viruses on Christmas Advent Calendar sites? Scrooge! That is messed up. And you owe me $40. (As far as I know, the sites linked above are safe. Cruise away.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1121-1134)

1121. The wrestle of understanding ... shoes on other feet ... Him in the middle.
1122. Peace and hope in the waiting.
1123. Anticipation.
1124. Pumpkin streusel cake, gifted.
1125. Wednesday play dates.
1126. A fall picnic at the park, cold winds, runny noses and red hands.
1127. Free gourmet cupcakes.
1128. Vacuumed carpet.
1129. Chocolate in the freezer.
1130. Quiet time.
1131. Thanksgiving menus to plan.
1132. Clean films.
1133. Girls' morning out with Lanie on Sundays.
1134. Whatever Monday brings.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy thanksgiving

It took years of dealing with my own stubbornness trying to find my own solution that had to do with anything else but reconciliation. Relationships can get messy. Comments can still hurt.  But unforgiveness hurts worse, and it hurts everyone involved–be it the person unforgiving, the one unforgiven, or the bystanders caught in the middle.

Writing today at 66 Books

I used to think it was perfectly acceptable to love someone and not like them at the same time. Until I really looked at what love is and saw what it's not.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

She loves me, she loves me not

Carrying a three year old up the steps with bedtime protests, teeth brushing protests, pajama protests. I tried to appeal to her on a common ground, "How did you like your cupcake? Did it taste like mint?"

We got a free foursome from an area cupcake company: grasshopper, tiramisu, red velvet, strawberry mousse. They were delivered, free of charge, in the rain, with a smile, to my door. If the kids hadn't been home when I received them, I would have eaten them all. As it was, they saw the cupcakes and picked them out before I could lay claim on a single one. (I got red velvet, the last choice. A mother's plight ...)

She shook her head.

"Did it taste like grasshoppers?"

Grumpy headshakes. "NO!"

"Mine was red. And you know what it tasted like?" She waited intently. "Red!"

A half smile. "For real?" she asked.

I got her dressed and settled in bed, hugging, kissing and squeezing on her.

"Stop squeezing me! Stop kissing me!"

"I can't help it--that's what mamas do. They love their babies. And their three year olds. And when you're four, I'll love you more!"

"No! Don't love me!"

Goodnight wishes and into the hall, I opened Lanie's door to a darkened room and lean over to kiss her. She holds on tight and doesn't want to let go.

"I love you so much. I want to marry you!" She tells me this often. We made a date for tomorrow morning, that she would come join me for cuddles before breakfast.

"Goodnight!" she called as I closed the door. "Love you!"

"Goodnight. I love you."  Because that's what mamas do.

Smarty

Lanie has been wiggling a tooth for weeks. I watched her working on it tonight.

"That tooth is going to come out soon!" I said.

"I know!" she exclaimed. She's been waiting.

"I hope the tooth fairy has some dollars on her," I said. I happen to know she's been spending time at Panera lately--the tooth fairy, that is.

"I know it's you, Mom."

Smarty.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Asterisks

Erin's request for dinner, "Betchables."

***

Leaving the polling center, Erin says loudly and proudly, "Vote for Kaelyn and Becca!" (Our friends and next-door neighbors' daughters.)

***

Erin got a new pair of shoes that light up, like Lanie's. She's so excited to have them, I no longer have to put socks and shoes on her feet. She does it all on her own.

***

Last night, I was too tired to stay up and read. Shane told me he was going to bed and I said I was following. I was a few minutes behind him, and as I entered the darkened room, he waited till I walked past and made a sinister sound and reached out and grabbed my shoulder. I screamed. Then I girlie smacked him down while he howled with laughter. The whole time he was brushing his teeth, I could hear him laughing.

"We'll see if you're still laughing when there's no sandwich in your lunch tomorrow!" I threatened. He just kept laughing. (I made the sandwich anyway.)

***

Lanie has been a self-starter and taking initiative to help around the house. I was telling Shane about how helpful she's been, when I caught Erin reaching into the silverware drawer and heading over to the table. She was setting the table ... with baby spoons.

***

In jest (well, sort of, not really) I said, "Raise your hand if you think we should have another baby!" Lanie and I raised our hands. Erin said, "Raise your hand if you think we should have ice cream!" I was outnumbered.

Monday, November 1, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1100-1120)

1100. Seat heaters in the car.
1101. Crunchy leaves.
1102. Harvest parties.
1103. Backseat laughing.
1104. A great day at the zoo.
1105. House showings.Three in a row.
1106. Roller coasters.
1107. Banana chocolate chip bread to go.
1108. Hard cries.
1109. And the peace that follows.
1110. Cerebral retreats.
1111. Long-distance phone calls.
1112. Neighborly invitations.
1113. Book binges.
1114. Band-aids.
1115. Apple fritters, shared.
1116. Hugs.
1117. Good friends.
1118. Breakfast out with my eight year old.
1119. And a donut run for the three year old.
1120. A trick-or-treat with the girls.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Retreat














I know where the stone walkway lies hidden beneath fall's cover. The smell of autumn clings to my jacket, still. Erin picks up leaves and chases Lanie. Lanie laughs in protest through the crunch, crunch. Brick, slate, stone. The fragrance of a woodsy retreat. Garden gnome, little bunny, iron gate. Father holds hands as they balance on a fallen tree. Trails, hideaways, arboreal awnings. I look up, up at the tallest treetops, late morning light breaking through. And I don't mind the air is cold.