Friday, September 30, 2011


Shane asked me what I wanted for my birthday. And if you know me even the slightest, you know that BABY was at the top of the list.

In order of preference: A baby, a dehumidifier, a necklace from Etsy that reminds me of peace, a book, or one of two cookbooks.

Erin said, "Mommy, you might not get a baby."

Thankful to wake to sunshine, hugs and cuddles from my people. An afternoon playdate with friends. Leeks and garlic simmering on the stove for birthday soup (baked potato soup). When my "love language" is time spent together, it's no wonder I feel full thanks to good friends, their hugs and smiles.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


We stopped by a Bed, Bath & Beyond to get a box of pumpkin spice coffee pods and I impulse purchased little wax tarts for the candle warmer ... fall scents, of course. The girls wanted to smell them, so I handed them over.

"Mmm, these smell good!" Erin said.

"Erin, when you were a baby, you thought they smelled so good that you ate them!" I told them the story of her toddler time sneaking into a gift bag I had set aside to take to Lanie's teacher one year.

Paint purchasing this afternoon with a quick slip into the area bounce place for some jumping. I snagged a picture of the girls.

While the kids were bouncing, I got a mad craving for Chinese food. Thankful for a smart phone, I located an area restaurant and placed the order.

Lanie was a champ and ate everything on her plate, with seconds ... her first time ever having Chinese food. Erin refused to eat. She sat on the steps and cried.

"Do you think kids in China cry when their families eat American food?" I wondered to Shane.

I got Erin and comforted her.

Lanie was eager to get a fortune cookie. She broke into it, read the fortune to herself and started eating the cookie.

"What did yours say?" Shane asked Lanie.

She giggled.

"You and your wife will be happy in your life together."

Monday, September 26, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (2293-2325)

his tired eyes
and graying hair
that he continues without complaining, despite the pain

his answer on the phone to my tears
for a broken heart
a deeper yearning
a lost voice

Hershey kisses
cuddle read-alouds on the couch
a cold Coke
Lanie's arm around my shoulders

daily dozen piano practice
the piano tuned
unexpected sunshine
trimmed tree branches
many hands that make light work

Off bug repellent wipes
double-hung windows
a vase of fall colored flowers
a crusty artisan bread
with Brie

found kids' music and girls dancing
the Hokey Pokey with a Santana background
clean window sills
a local library
these slate floors

a glass of Vouvray
with my dad
his blue eyes
my kids' warm welcome for him
rust-colored mums, gifted and gratefully received

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Falling down

Scootering in the driveway, Erin takes a tumble. Scraped knee. Big tears dropping. Mouth-wide wailing. I hold her close.

Holding my hand walking up the stairs at church, footing lost. She falls. Knee hurt. Mournful wailing. I carry her all the way to the car. My arm burns. She doesn't let go.

A call to the kitchen for ice cream--incredible peanut butter fudge made by a friend. She gallops full speed and stumbles into the kitchen. Hard fall. She cries and I scoop her up.

"I want to go back to our old house," she says. Because in memories, and not so realistically based, no one ever got hurt.

I hold her close and whisper into her ear, "I will give you an extra squirt of whipped cream."

Wailing stops. Teary eyes look into mine, and she smiles.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ninety percent chance of rain

Today's weather forecast: 90% chance of heavy rain and thunderstorms. Pouring cereal into a bowl for Erin, we hear drumming slaps slamming against the slate. We head to the door and watch the rain fall.

This has absolutely nothing to do with 66 Books.

Monday, September 19, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (2278-2292)

cooler temperatures
a red hoodie jacket

cheesy rolls with honey garlic butter
the smell of onion grass
a friend's fortieth birthday
her husband's prayer
cake and ice cream

a Veggietale hat that Erin wore everywhere
kids in a hot bath
weeding in the rain
half and half in my coffee
a good book

losing myself in the shuffle
quieter times

Saturday, September 17, 2011

These days

the orange fungi Lanie found down the hill

poison ivy, as identified by Reggie


in her Veggietale hat. Thanks, K!

yellow mums

Spanish lessons

front garden

playing with math shapes, by Erin. Looks like a snail.
These days, I find myself in a quieter place. And sometimes, silence is golden. Pictures of the goings-on until my voice returns.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Four point five

Sometimes, the moments are so rich I don't want to forget. On a day when clouds are shades of gray and hang thick and low, leaves arched to welcome rain, wind blowing through trees into open windows ... a moment bursts open wide.

As I help her, she says, "Mommy, I love you."

She looks at me seriously and speaks hushed, sacred love, "I'm so glad you're my mommy, because if you weren't ..." she looks low and hesitates, but it spills out, "I wouldn't have fun ... and I wouldn't be loved so much."

We hug and I never want to let her go.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Believing ... the sequel

A few months back, Shane tried to convince me that he didn't have allergies because he believed he didn't.

Over the holiday weekend, he was doing some demolition in the backyard. It was hard work with sledgehammer, loading, hauling, unloading. He had truck loads of things to take out. And then the heavy rains last week flooded his office building as he and others worked to prevent further damage. It was then he hurt his back. Days and days, a hurt back--workouts skipped, meals abbreviated because he couldn't sit upright for very long. It's been a week.

"When I was younger, I would have been over this in a day," he said. "I told you I'm old."

"You would heal a lot faster if you would believe you're younger," I offered. "You aren't healing because you've convinced yourself you're too old."

And then, "We should have another baby. That'll keep you young."

I never miss an opportunity. He smiled as his logic came back to haunt him.

Monday, September 12, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (2226-2277)

honey bear bottles at the store
chunky Ticonderoga pencils
stars in the night sky
looking at creation to know more about the Creator
sisters laughing into darkness

peaches in a crumble pie
music in the rooms
patches of blue in the sky
a cat who lived up to her potential
two dead mice

chocolates in the freezer
oh, peppermint patties
a smooth end to a first full week
Mary, Queen of Scots
dance moves to a song, choreographed by an 8 year old

a husband resting on the couch
clean floors
two long-legs hanging out all day on the window screen
color swatches taped to walls
the loud night frog

books organized
a pool skimmer
butterscotch chips in scones
appetizer plates
a new piano teacher minutes away (and near the library!)

flash cards
"Take Me Out to the Ballgame" over and over
long-sleeve shirts
socks on my feet
their second wind at night

a week of rain
and my kids playing outside in it
Hello Kitty boots
Quietly Chamomile tea
the way a quick couch nap feels with a book on my chest

someone to fill in for me on 66 Books last week
a friend who noticed my absence on the blog
five, six, pick up sticks--all along the front yard
a do-rag
how she hugs me goodnight and says it's her favorite part of the day

sunshine after rain
seven yard bags full
swept patios and walkways
friends over to play
a rake

school back in session
how she misses Becca
cold bottled water
the smell of fresh cut grass
a row of marigolds

the big girl who secretly listens in on read-alouds to a little sister
computer time at the library

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Please stand by

No Internet connection going on our fourth day with a restore date of next Thursday unless a super hero picks up our rush request. But I have to say, the days have been good. Things you can do when you don't have Internet:

Eat chocolate
Start school earlier
Read more books with kids
Make scones
Eat scones
Text friends
Pull weeds
Drink coffee
Clean floors
Write thank you notes
Read a grown-up book
Talk to people

Hoping to beg wifi off local friends because I do miss reading my online community. Be back soon. Hugs, Courtney This post brought to you by iPhone and a pokey finger.

Monday, September 5, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (2201-2225)

pumpkins in a box for sale at the grocery store
the whiff of cinnamon as I walk through the door
chocolate covered strawberries, gifted, delightfully received
star stickers
sunny days

happiness in deep down places
kids that act their ages
table time giggles
bug repellent
blue and red pencil and notebook boxes

a hair cut
how she interrupts to say, "I love you"
sidewalk chalk
picture tiles hung on a kitchen wall
power through the storm

God's hand in all the details
flip-flops and jeans
a friendship bracelet to a mom (me!)
cookbooks on a shelf
hard questions

that Shane can sleep late, three days in a row
earrings and perfume
a grill
another homeschool year

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Special agent

One of the ways I tried to keep the kids occupied at the hair salon was to ask Lanie to be a special agent, and see if she could spy on Erin and catch her doing three nice things. Lanie loves spy stuff.

Today I decided to keep the game going and created a 10-task mission for Lanie. She's all in. On the first mission card the front read: Task One--Help Me!

Starting tomorrow she is to find seven ways to help people in our house whether they ask for it or not. At the table tonight she announced to Erin, "Tomorrow I'm making your breakfast."

Erin looked skeptical. Then she replied, "All I want is a frozen yogurt tube. The end."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's just life

So random.

I went to the grocery store last night without any kids with me. It's a completely different vibe at night. I bought more than I might have because I actually browsed aisles. And I impulse purchased steel cut oatmeal. Shane told me I'm getting old if oatmeal is an impulse buy.

Discussing "a soft answer turns away wrath" over nighttime bed stories with Erin. And she told me, "It doesn't work." I scratched my head.

Bought a do-rag off I figured it's a good way to keep my hair out of my face and ticks off my head while I'm gardening. The do-rag is white with pretty black roses. I figured this was more my style than flames and skulls. The girls want one now and were modeling mine.

Drove three hours round-trip to get my hair cut today and realized the insanity of the task. Talked to my friend Pete, who suggested seeing someone closer. What can I say ... I'm brand loyal. Pete says guys go by the wallet. Fortunately the girls were great. I told the hair stylist I wouldn't see him again till November sometime, when the weekend yard stuff would be winding down and I could get by leaving the kids at home with Shane.

I realized I also moved with the kids, settled with the kids (twice), handled post office lines with the kids, did the MVA with the kids, and generally life at large with them. So, it's not insane really--it's just life.