Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Last man standing

First Lanie ... then Shane ... and this morning: Erin. She came into my room to cuddle, then a bathroom break, then panicked cries of nausea and heaving.

Cartoon marathon on the couch, 101.5 fever, noo-noos in hand (her baby blanket), and my busy day of teaching the last pages of Arthur and running around town at a halt to hang at home with my mini me.

I was just bragging the other night that Erin and I must have the supergenes. Another mama looked at me cautiously like I had just jinxed myself.

I will not succumb.

I found an adorable rhinestone super(wo)man shirt decal on Amazon the other day. Ordering it as a reminder--UNSTOPPABLE.

On, on.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The trick

Facebook pretty picture and words.

"The trick is to enjoy life. Don't wish away your days waiting for better ones ahead."

I get this.

Two-hour icy delay meant, at Erin's request, that I crawl into bed next to her and cuddle her in the morning instead of waking her up for a co-op day. I'd already had two cups of coffee, awaiting the announcement. I still dozed.

Lanie was sick last week. Then Shane came down with something else (imagine this guy bundled and chilled and trying to get as much rest as possible, then to go out and plow a driveway 1/8 of a mile long, and 10 inches deep of snow). He was sick for four days. (I would have plowed the driveway if he taught me how to use it, but has held off on that lesson because he knows once I know: I will be UNSTOPPABLE. Seriously, after living here, what can't I do? Besides plow the driveway...)

Kids in jammies today. Erin out in 20 degree weather sliding down the hills, squealing and shrieking and it's music to this heart. She's my all-weather girl. We got a fire going in the school room and read about ancient history Persians and Athenians and pulled out the atlas and looked at the region. Talked about religions today and life in other countries and made wishes of places we'd like to visit. (She wants to go to France, and so do I.) Followed by math flash cards, grammar, spelling, and other stories. This is the delight of a home day, when there is no Monday-Wednesday crunch, and it's everything I love about our life.

The kids dressed up when lessons were completed to ride sleds again. Lanie popped her head inside to say, "Hot chocolate and some popcorn might be nice in about half an hour."

"I can do that," I told her.


They loved sledding backwards down the hill into the field. I seriously need to get some snow pants.
 Wine cork Pinterest project and a glue gun ready. Laundry to fold. A list of to-do for February's end, then March, then April.

But for now, I've got popcorn to pop, because I know the trick. 

Those little mugs. A wilty tulip. Dishes on a counter to put away.

Enjoy these days, all of them. The laundry, the cleaning, the shoveling, the sick (days), the schooling, the sweeping, the dishes, the fires, the mess, the running ... enjoy these things.

The kids were so happy when I pulled out whipped cream and marshmallows. Is that all it takes?

And still counting (6653-6684)

decisions made
moving through
wood for the fires

blankets and robes
peppermint oil
a load of coffee
sangria chilling

snow cream for four
naps on the couch
socks, doubled on my feet
a garage attendant with a sense of humor
arms up high on the ride down from the top level

a car load of kids
a museum trip
medieval pieces that were once someone's treasure
docents who showed up just for us

skate day
sore legs
snow showers and many inches
a Saturday at home
family on the mend

mild temps for shoveling
a snowball fight
a full fridge
friendships reflected

clean floors under the couches
pushing through with character
King Arthur's knights
Marshall's mom

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snowy day

We're on a home day anyway, but it sure was nice to wake up to snow (and hopes for delays in the morning that could score us another cozy morning).

My phone chimed a reminder it's trash day.

"Do we have to take the cans up?" Lanie asked.

"No," I said. It's probably 3-4 inches and a serious workout dragging full cans to the road. Somehow, winter lengthens the walk. I already know that the postal carrier will be holding onto my coffee order until we get this driveway plowed (insert pout).

Erin suited up and sled down the hills. She looked so little. I struggle to think of Lanie at this age, when we moved here, so little. So young. I snagged a few photos of Erin.

"I love you, Mommy!" she called out at the bottom of the hill.

"I love you too!"

This afternoon she wants to patch up some holes in her stuffed animals. I'm on a fourth load of laundry. Schooling at a leisurely pace, as later this week we've got "no homework days" for field trips.

I made a pot of soup for lunch and a side of bacon. Lanie crumbled slices of bacon on a plate of rice, chicken and cheese. Erin ate a cheese sandwich. I sneaked out half a bar of chocolate from the freezer while the kids played upstairs.

There's no place like home.

Still, I find myself saying more and more often, "Only a few more weeks till March."

I miss the green of spring.

Monday, February 16, 2015

And still counting (6630-6652)

a week in limbo
hard conversations and transparency
freedom in truth
and how God knocked every single obstacle off the list before the day was over

a Friday date
a place that thrives

a voting day about Launcelot and Gareth in a high school class
romantic (and sometimes odd) medieval read-alouds on a Valentines week
finding time in a whirlwind to bake cookies
his smile when he realized I was tackling a day
Shane standing by as I prepare coffee saying, "Run your race!"

time to read a book that Lanie thought I might like
yeses to a study and group for moms
a gift from a dear friend in the mail
coffee pods on route
knitting with Lanie in a waiting room

the technician who was human
her hug goodbye
volleyball with friends
blankets on a couch
a day to read by the fire

a chat with Greg

Monday, February 9, 2015

And still counting (6598-6629)

an afternoon at David's
his fatherly welcome
Anita's hugs and kisses

a night out to dinner with Lisa
cheesecake rounds for one
honest talks with her
a child's list of pros and cons

pastries at Wegman's for little hands
the hot hands warmer for a few minutes
burrito bowls
a good read on 66 Books
Ephesians 4

a desire for change
dinner reservations on a Friday night
celebrating Linda's retirement
the most amazing raspberry cake
seated sandwiched between Lanie and Erin

coffee with Kellie
how we get each other
a Saturday photo shoot in the woods
and Erin's delight to accompany

Erin's looking so grown up to me

a busy weekend turned calm
a visit from my dad and Linda (twice in the same day)
gifted crocheted blanket by my dad
coconut cream pie and apple pie delivery
my dad and Lanie knitting together

plans for next Sunday: knitting for four with tea and scones
Nora on the calendar
a playdate for Erin with her best friend

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The happy things

I love photographing families. Got to spend this morning with a really fun bunch. Some good laughs. Lots of walking, a few locations, and a couple that was definitely up for adventure.

I asked them, "Do you want to be my family?" (Meaning, can I call you up when I get the photo-bug and want to go places and take pictures?!?)

They said yes.

I hope they know I was serious.

For real.

Love, love, love.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

What matters

This morning I asked Lanie if she was planning to hand out Valentines at school.

"No," she said. She walked away to get her things together for piano.

I followed, concerned. I love Valentine's Day.

"Why not?" I asked.

"Because the Valentines look like they're for babies and some of the kids make fun of them," she said.

Why is it I felt the sting? That someone would be rude about a kind gesture. That my child's feelings were ever hurt by the unkind remarks of another. That some kids' hearts were already tainted, that the fun of getting a card or a treat was a platform for shunning and mocking and ingratitude. The giving spirit I was trying to cultivate in my child was being chipped away by the very people I was encouraging her to reach out to.

I stayed quiet.

She murmured something under her breath.

"What?" I asked, tentatively.


This year, we'll bake chocolate heart cookies (and maybe a new kind that has marshmallow fluff because they look so pretty!). I will package them up for our neighbors, and the kids and I will go and deliver them.

I was thinking on a scripture about not giving up on doing good, because there were plenty of times I did want to give up.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9, NLT.

There was a time I reached out repeatedly and there was no harvest--but maybe the harvest wasn't quite what I thought it would be. Maybe the harvest was a principle that would grow and mature in my children. How do I teach this to a daughter who's been wounded by words?

I remember last year she gave out cards to classmates, and she included every person. Other kids handed out Valentines too. A boy thanked her and said, "You're the only one who gave me something."

We talked and I tried to get her to see that what matters isn't the unkindness of others, but the kindness in her to another.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

On his own

We spoke while he was in the hospital. He went from one location to another and the switch was good, but he wasn't up for visitors.

"That's ok," I said. "I just wanted to call and hear your voice."

He called me when he got home yesterday and said he was ready for visitors. I went by his house today while the girls were in school. He greeted me at the door as I wheeled up trash cans so Anita wouldn't have to.

"This weather!" he said, smiling.

I smiled back. What a nice break from the freezing temperatures.

Before I could say more than hello, before he even let me step foot in his home, he reached out slowly and cupped my face and looked at me. He kissed my cheek and hugged me. I have never doubted his love for me.

We went inside.

"Is Anita here?" I asked.

"No," he said, and then proceeded to catch me up on how he was doing.

He told me about his health. He told me about his new painting projects. I noticed new work on his walls and felt happy that he was doing what he loves. We talked about marriage and home repairs and teaching art and writing. The way he sees images is just like how I see words--we do the same things with them, just different media. I felt like I was sitting with a kindred soul ... blanket rumpled next to him on the couch, a napkin crumpled on a table top, a drink of water nearby.

"If Anita was here, this would all be cleaned up," he said with a sweeping gesture. "But I don't care if it's out when company is over."

I told him where I hung his pictures. Told him how the one of the river was so bright and cheerful, vibrant. I sat looking at it one day, and it reminded me of a story called Pearl, about a father who mourns the loss of his daughter, sees her in a vision--alive and vibrant, a river separating them, a divide between life and death.

Anita came home some time later, and I chatted her, saying how David had called me yesterday.

"He called you?" she asked.

"Yes, he told me he was ready for visitors," I said, and I realized in that moment: no sweet wife had stood next to him reminding him to call me, he did it on his own--and I treasured it all the more.

He walked me to the door when it was time for me to get the kids from school.

"It's so nice out," he commented again. "I think I'm going to sit outside for a while."

The picture of the river is on my bedroom wall.

It will always remind me of a father's love, even should death divide.

the one on the right reminds me of Pearl

Monday, February 2, 2015

Two-hour delay

I wasn't expecting it--slurping down coffee at 3:30 this morning, history book opened to Justinian 2 and his mutilated nose, a pen in my hand. Later, I checked for delays in case the streets were icy. Two counties called it, two-hour delay. Translated: we're closed. Translated further: fire up the wood stoves and bake cookies today.

I went upstairs shortly before six to tell Lanie the news. I climbed into bed with her as she chatted me about a dream. It's been years since I've laid next to her, she was such a little girl, maybe four? Now she's headed to thirteen. She said to me the other day, "I have always wanted to be a teenager."

These moments hit me hard. It goes so fast.

Later I went to Erin's room to tell her there was no school. She opened up her blanket for me to climb in and I held her close. Soon, she was back to sleep in my arms. I think we dozed until eight.

Two fires going, school assignments detailed. The pattering spurts of rain. This afternoon we sat around the kitchen table and ate lunch together. Sometimes we're all running on different time tables that we don't get to do this.

We worked in school lessons and other lessons about kindness and cookies. Days like today when life is so, so good, I wonder why we're in a co-op. Home is such a sweet haven.

Erin assisted baking cookies today. And later, Lanie is helping me make Cindy's apple pie. Chicken thighs covered in Wegman's BBQ sauce in the crock pot. And the house is warm. No place I'd rather be.

She cracks eggs too.

white chip/chocolate chunk

David's painting on the wall; Marshall's mom's pitcher, gifted

blurry, stretchy hound dog waiting for crumbs

Erin copying a recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies--tomorrow's batch

David comes home from the hospital today.

I love that man.

the view from his hospital room

And still counting (6565-6597)

the red cardinals against a snowy backdrop
woods walking with Erin
neighbors with tree stands
popcorn with butter and salt
camera 2
a chocolate cake favorite

a gifted blender from a neighbor
red tulips, for us and for her
pine lined drives
women who pray around a table
a thermos for a photo prop

chocolate in the freezer
phone calls with David
phone calls with Anita
no doubt of their love
his paintings on my walls

warm fires
gloves and hats
dinner with Christy
window shopping with her afterwards
a date for Shane and Erin

good words with Teena
seven dozen fire starters
Nicole for coffee
a sermon with Hebrews 12
a scarf to knit for Erin

hugs from Lanie
seeing friends at church
quiet Fridays
a Saturday nap
that man of mine

everything, here
a request to lead