Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Tuesday post

Schooling done. Heard word that outside temperatures were lovely. Sat on the bed and looked at the wedding pictures on the wall. Our anniversary is Thursday.

I noticed in the group shot that I'm standing next to my father and holding onto his hand. I don't know if it's a typical father-daughter response, or if it's a typical Courtney response. I tend to hold onto the hands of people I love--and I know that day I was so grateful to have a father live to hold mine, when a mother couldn't. I hold my daughters' hands sometimes just walking down a hallway. I've held hands of friends during church service. I've reached across a table a time or two as well. And when I go to David's house, he will sit next to me every time and hold my hand.

Every time.


Went out into the yard to rake some oak leaves out of the flower beds. Grabbed ear plugs for a tractor ride (but it didn't happen this time--spitting rain and a stubborn door knob). I sat in the field and Erin sat next to me and we looked out to the apple trees. One is clearly dying--weeping, bleeding, peeling apart. I'll probably get out in coming weeks with a chainsaw to take it down. I hope to plant a new one. I have always wanted fruit off my own tree. My sweet friend Beckie makes applesauce from the harvest in her yard, and it is delightful. I'd like to try that too.

I got underneath the branches where the two trees reach out and entwine. One tree is about forty, the other a younger one, maybe twenty-five. I stared up at the cloudy sky and looked through the webbing of branches. Spring buds will flower to be the most fragrant blossom.

"Erin, get my camera bag," I called to her. But then the rain started sputtering, so we went inside. I made popcorn and a mug of coffee. I need spring break. I just want a rake or a paintbrush in my hand, and hours ahead of me, and sunshine, and music. I would love the time to read the library books I got for me at the library.


Erin got a bike upgrade on Sunday. She and Lanie now ride the same sized bike (Lanie's seat is higher to accommodate her longer legs). They trade back and forth. They ride all over the property.

I still have the tricycle in the garage. She still rode it when we first got here. And then friends with little siblings would often ride it at play dates.

Next week we're loading our bikes up to hit the trails. (I really kinda love that part.)

I need this.

I need my hands back in the dirt.

This winter seemed so long.

Monday, March 30, 2015

And still counting (6797-6818)

tea with Teena
her friendship
our children's friendship
Jewish apple cake

library books in a bag
tulips in a pitcher on the counter
dinner with Linda
Sunday morning knitting with her and my dad

spring break coming up
pictures with Christy
coffee with Nicole
Ed and Emma at church
a Saturday night movie with the kids in the basement

a treat to Medieval Times
a playdate for Erin
socks for my feet
daffodil shoots exposed
flurries that amount to nothing

friends who are true too
hot tea
gift cards

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Weekend in March

The kids had gotten gift cards some time ago, and today we took them out to spend them.

Erin is an absolute hoot. Gifts and shopping thrill her. She was doing mad math, tallying the costs of the things she wanted. She ended up getting a bird (she'd seen advertised on TV), a Lego Friends set and a bottle of bubbles. She's been talking non-stop since we left.

Lanie got two Lego Friends things, and at the check-out, she asked Shane if she could get a package of candy. He said yes. I'm certain she asked him because I would probably say no.

"When we get home, let's build our Lego Friends in the living room. And we can eat candy!" Lanie suggested.

"Ok!" Erin said.

Shane and I sat in the front and laughed quietly.

These kids make my heart so happy.


I went out for lunch with a friend yesterday. She and her family are preparing to move to another state, and we have until the end of April left with them. We drove under flurries to the shop, sat in the car and talked probably an hour before heading in to eat; sampled a coconut curry soup (delightful!) and ordered a pot of tea to split. We had a charming window seat and a view of the town. I wished I'd had my camera to take her picture. She looked so pretty.

I will miss her.

She surprised me by her comments to me, comments that suggested she really listened to me and appreciated my perspective. I have always looked up to her for her faith, strength, and discernment. I've always felt like the student to her wisdom. She sent a note to my inbox today and it said several things I treasure. But this? Gold.

"Thank you so much for being true."

I will miss her.


Earlier today, I cornered my man and hugged him.

"Do me a favor, k?" I asked in a happy voice. "Try to show some excitement for the things we get to do around here this spring?"

Wishing this wintry cold away so I can get out in those beds and prepare them for spring. Right now, though? Sipping away at some chocolate chili truffle tea, the outside sound of my husband chopping wood, my girls inside with a non-stop dialogue.

Heading out for a woods walk.

This is the life.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The 'all about me'

She did these projects in first and second grades (though we did a similar project in kindergarten too, more in a show-and-tell kind of way with favorite books and likes. Hint, my bag of examples had coffee and M&M's.) We were packing up stuff to bring home from school at the end of the day, and she had her posters.

I looked at first grade. The photos I'd taken of her, her hands outlined, a list of likes. It was all about her and all about here and all about now: swimming, a dog, new friends, us, this place. Her sweet handwriting as captions to images--this is my dog; I am six; my best friend.

The poster she did this year was much more visual and a lot less wordy. The pictures she used? She took them all herself. Her poster adorned with colorful marker and ribbons. Pictures sticking out around the perimeter like quills. (Had I known that shot she took of me would be displayed for class and congregation, I might have brushed my hair and put on some make up for it.)

I love the first grade poster because it's a snapshot of that time.

I love the second grade poster because it truly is all about her.

I have no idea why this image loaded sideways.

Monday, March 23, 2015

And still counting (6765-6796)

a snowfall on the first day of spring (possibly the prettiest snow yet)
hot coffee
this year's reading plan through the Bible
the things I'm learning because of it
warm days

Shane in blankets watching TV
a chance to meet a friend's good neighbor
butternut bisque
lunch with Doris
her friendship

a blender, gifted
the hum of the heater
a fox in snow
the sound of laundry dropping down the chute
weekly dates with Nora

a chat with Karen on the school room couch
Erica picking up cookies and staying for lunch
Christy watching my kids so I could get a hair cut
the very awesome scalp massage
color I didn't have to do myself (what a treat)

this old, cold house
texts with Anita
a friends sleepover for Lanie and Erin
camera 2

a knitting hour with Dad and Linda
a yes to Good Friday dinner
seats for nine at an Easter service

these years on 66 Books

Friday, March 20, 2015


I watched snow fall on the first day of spring today, did crazy amounts of laundry and cleaning, felt overwhelmed by a workload of sorts and errands and plans and dinner. Somewhere in the mix, I cleaned toilets and scrubbed tubs and talked to a friend as she remembered her father, and later another as we made plans for pictures. It was nice to take a break and skate with friends this afternoon. And it was awesome to see my kids holding hands with their friends around the rink. This Friday night has now become a night off with leftovers--and an extra glass of wine.

I'm so glad it's Friday.

Monday, March 16, 2015

And still counting (6744-6764)

the start of a fourth quarter at school
garden beds on thaw

Linda at the table
a treat to the movies with friends
We saw Cinderella this weekend

oranges in the fridge

book reads with Erin
a mouse mansion she wants to build
cardboard boxes
and paint
German coffee

running into Lisa at her church
excellent messages (one on shame and transparency, another on children and forgiveness)
double weekend services
running into friends on Thursday
coffee and great conversation with Karen (S)

tulips in a vase
foggy days

an old cat
Lanie is totally her person

Monday, March 9, 2015

And still counting (6710-6743)

kids who try new foods
and have seconds!
snow days
home days
warm blankets
a beautiful cardinal outside the window

tracks in the snow
a huggy dog
breakfast with Nicole
an ancient reading list
the families at co-op

a student who asked me to recommend him
my class
sacrifices for a common goal
good olive oil
fresh bread

worship at church
camera 3
my kiddos
Erin's gratitude while she was sick
knowing the choices I make matter

good books
cold water
Friday night at home

buds on branch tips

a project for a neighbor
a coffee planned with a dance mom I haven't seen in a year at least
Wicked Winter Blend coffee (delish)

last of the season snow rides
coffee on a Monday morning

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Last of the snow days

Buds are formed on the tree tips. Spring is near.

Enjoying today accompanied by the drips and drops of melting snow from the rooftop, the squeals of my kids slip-sliding down the hill, my dog's tail wagging happily as she watches.

self: don't forget these good years

Spring is near. Spring is near.

Soon I'll be ordering mulch for the gardens, and gassing up the tractor for the first cut in April. March is a mad rush to finish inside projects: painting below the chair rail, the upper hall, a master bath, and maybe the bedroom.

Maybe I'll get it all done. Maybe I won't. But I know I'll try.

Recently, a friend questioned, "How will you finish life's race?"

And I know: running, gasping, sweating, panting, pushing, praising, reaching, singing, smiling.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

On, on.

Thursday, March 5, 2015





Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Our Friday nights typically include a baguette, olive oil, wine, company, and something for dinner. In fact, since we've moved here, we seem to have a new budget line item for coffee and wine. And now olive oil. I read about oil fraud and it bummed me out--because we on-purpose consume lots of olive oil for health. So it was disconcerting that we may have been undermining the effort unwittingly by consuming these oily cocktails of impurity.

Yesterday, I went to the store and got a few new brands to try out. I poured and peppered them on little plates and sliced up the baguette. One was absolutely delightful. (The other was good, but just not as wonderful.) I finished off a small dish of the oil with bread this morning for breakfast. YUM.


With Erin being sick, she was on a cartoon marathon of all her used-to-be favorites. At some point in the past year, they seemed too young for her, but there's something about being really sick that can return us to the comfort of younger days. Paw Patrol played frequently. Today, doing school work, I tried encouraging Erin to write her answers a little faster (she was feeling mopey about the missed work load). So I'd read her a question and then chant, "Go! Go! Go! Go!" She laughed and laughed.


I really haven't had time for the 52-week self-portrait project. Heating and keeping up after this place, homeschool like a full-time job, and the other things (Friday dinners, play dates, lessons and activities, serving at church, a knitting hour)--I'm so happy to squeeze in a family to photograph, but just don't have time to work it out for myself. I found a really great site by a woman who does a 365 project. Like, if I don't have time for a 52, how will I do a 365? She gives some really fun prompts that make me feel like I could possibly work them in.

The prompt for today is sound.


We just finished Le Morte D'Arthur in Great Books. There are so many times I think if I had a do-over, being a lit major would be at the top of the list to do over (as in picking a more useful major). I'd also have followed Jesus earlier/harder, married Shane sooner, and had more babies. But now I find I rather like that I was a lit major. It has given me a perspective of slowing down, looking at details, seeing how they relate to the whole, going beyond superficial. I'm often surprised by treasures I find in the Bible, kids' lit, medieval literature (I love it!), in stories and life in general.

Sir Percivale encounters his aunt in "The Tale of the Sangreal."

"Madam, do you know me?" he asks.

"I do, I am your aunt. Do not be deceived by my present poverty, for I can tell you that I am far happier now than I was as the possessor of great riches and known as the Queen of the Waste Lands." Le Morte D'Arthur, by Sir Thomas Malory, rendition by Keith Baines.

I would have reached through the pages to kiss that woman.


I found myself on the hound rescue site after a friend just adopted her third dog (she likes little dogs. Little dogs would be taken up by hawks around here, so we need a bigger dog.). I was looking at two different dogs: one named Norah, one named Stella. And I had a little laugh at the thought of having dogs named Nella and Stella. Both these dogs looked like they were from the same litter as our pooch. I'd get them in an instant.

"I don't want another dog," Shane said. But he didn't sound like there was no room for discussion. He sounded the same way when I lobbied for Nella.

Can you imagine?

Monday, March 2, 2015

And still counting (6685-6709)

I thought it was the stomach bug going around, a quickie that lasted a day or two--but on days three and four, a growing concern for Erin. She no longer wanted cuddles or talk or anyone close to her. She wouldn't budge from the couch for fear of throwing up. And as she is the resident cuddle-bug, my arms ached to hold her close. Never realized how often she'd come to me for hugs and kisses until she was no longer doing that. This morning, thankful for her smiling face and returned chatter--a wide-eyed, run-on list of everything she wanted to do ... starting with suiting up to go play outside at 7:30 in the morning because she missed the snow all these days. (I told her to wait till a bit later.)


for Gatorade, freezie pops, crackers, peppermints, gingerale (and her willingness to save some of all of it for Lanie)

celebration cakes for a kiddo who likes to crack the eggs
vanilla buttercream icing
Medieval Great Books
wood for fires

all the moments she'd let me hold her close
her sweet heart ("I feel so terrible! I don't want you to get this, Mom!"
and recovery hugs
full days emptied of tasks so I could sit next to my girl and comfort her

snow days
home days
Marshall's mom's kind words
an upcoming food shoot 
an apology note

laundry detergent
smiles, returned