"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."

~Robert Frost

Friday, December 31, 2010

A Goodbye Survey for 2010

What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?

I moved two hours away from my family! So many people here in St. Maries, when I say we came from Spokane, dismiss it with an, "Oh, that's not far." But I had never lived more than 30 minutes or so from my family before, and I reserve the right to consider two hours pretty far. It has been as hard as I expected it to be, but also easier than I expected in some ways because St. Maries is pretty amazing.

Also, I learned how to blow my nose. I am not kidding.

Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't make any last year. I was tired of failing. This year my resolution is to not let the fear of failure keep me from making the attempt.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Making it a second straight year without having another baby! ;-) Celebrating 5 years of marriage to the most wonderful man. Successfully completing my third round of potty training.

Hardest and best of all, becoming more vulnerable. God stripped away a lot of defenses and walls this year.

What was your biggets failure?

Can we go with mis-spelling "biggest" in the sentence above, and leave it at that?? ;-) Otherwise, we'll be here all night!

Did you suffer illness or injury?

THE TOE. Having the nail ripped off my big toe sounds sort of funny, but it was actually one of the most horrifying injuries I have ever had! My nail is barely starting to grow back, and it has been over six months.

What did you get really excited about?

I like my friend Laura's answer to this: "What didn't I get excited about??" I embrace joy and excitement whenever I can! This year held so much excitement, from moving our family to little St. Maries, Idaho, to milestones with my girlies such as preschool and dance classes and potty training, to trips to the Oregon coast, to finally getting back on stage in the spring and summer.

I am seriously excited this year about God yanking me out of my comfort zone and proving that He still wants me.

Where did most of your money go?

I'm thinking diapers...but 2011 will be different! ;-)

What song will always remind you of 2010?

"Anyway" ~ Martina McBride

Compared to this time last year, are you:

happier or sadder? ~ I'm not sure. I am more joyful.

thinner or fatter? ~ Well, I prefer not to say "fatter"...but I'm not thinner!

richer or poorer? ~ Richer in ways that make me more joyful. :-)

What do you wish you'd done more of this year?

Loving people, and appreciating each moment as I lived it.

What do you wish you'd done less of?

I wish I hadn't wasted so many of those moments in fruitless worrying!

What was the best book you read?

This one occurred mere weeks ago, when my new friend Becky loaned me her copy of Francine Rivers' "Redeeming Love". Have you read it? Read it!

In second place is "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge, which I am reading more slowly than I have ever read a book in my entire life. Try it and you'll see why. It is amazing -- and hard to read.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

My sweet husband took me to the Davenport in Spokane! And I turned 26...which (please do not scoff at me!) was actually not pleasant for me. It is a strange feeling to know that my early twenties are behind me, I am squarely in the middle of my mid-twenties, and I can now see 30 on the horizon. I really don't know how this happened!

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

I wouldn't....

What kept you sane?

If I am, in fact, still sane, it is because of love. The ever deepening love of my husband and soulmate, the mostly delightful love of my beautiful girls, the reassuring love of my precious family, the encouraging love of my dearest friends...and mostly, the never failing, always consistent, life-giving love of my heavenly father.

Who did you miss?

My grandma; she has been gone for a year and a half, but sometimes it still hurts as hard as when I first got that phone call.

I miss everyone we left in Spokane! We've been able to go back a lot and I'm so grateful for that, but I miss the easy, spur of the moment visits without hours of driving. Mum and Holly, please move to St. Maries...

Who was the best new person you met?

Um, I moved to St. Maries! I have met literally dozens of absolutely amazing new people! I have been overwhelmed by the flood of welcoming, friendly, fascinating people who have come into our lives here. Some are already becoming good friends, and I am so blessed to have met them all.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

It's not like I finished learning much of anything in 2010. I am slowly learning to recognize and cherish the individual moments in life -- the times when, if I am paying attention, I can hear God saying "I love you" right to me. I am learning that in the stressful, busy, never ending race to make everything perfect, I miss the moments of breathing in contentment and understanding and peace. I am learning that a moment of laughter with my daughters will outweigh everything else I can accomplish in a day. I am learning that God would rather have me searching in confusion and crying in frustration than remaining pleasantly passive, and that He will not leave me alone.

May you all be blessed and directed by the love of God in 2011! Thank you so much for following along as I've enjoyed my first year writing this blog! :-)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

This is a small fraction of the amazing mess that we made last night with this glittery, clingy red tinsel that my darling, wonderful, thoughtful mother in law brought to the girls. Incidentally, she is henceforth forbidden to enter our home until she promises never to bring any more gifts that keep on giving in such a messy fashion! ;-)
Christmas this year is a blessedly relaxing time for our little family, very welcome and wonderful after the busy-ness of this month. Yesterday Lamont's family came down to be with us and we enjoyed Christmas with them, and Boxing Day we'll head up to my family's place and celebrate with them...in between we get Christmas Eve and Christmas day to spend quietly by ourselves, and we are soaking it in. I'm excited to get to sing tonight at the candlelight service at church!

As I write this, my man and my girls are involved in some kind of very noisy game complete with shrieking, giggling, and giant smiles all around. I am incredibly blessed, and can say from my heart that my most treasured gifts this Christmas season are the ones tumbling and laughing around the livingroom right now. I am so grateful that God's love and grace have brought me to this beautiful day!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

On chaos and compromise...and snow angels

Have you made a snow angel yet this winter? I have! The girls have been trying to get me to do it since the snow first arrived, and a couple of nights ago I gave in -- that's right, I willingly destroyed my hair in the name of delighting my girls. It was kind of fun, but I forgot how awkward it is trying to stand up after making a snow angel without messing it up! The girls have it easy because I lift them up out of the snow so they don't have to stand up in the middle of their angels. :-)

We have so much going on this December that I don't feel like I can do it much justice in just a blog post here and there...between the three birthdays, our 5th anniversary, Lamont's six concerts with Midnight Cry plus the radio appearance, so many drives to Spokane, sports, music, and bible study activities at church, Christmas prep and celebration with both our families, etc., it has been a wee bit overwhelming. My mum asked me yesterday, "Are you going to sleep sometime soon?"

Yes. I will sleep more -- and also blog more! Soon. In one last important piece of news, I feel I should inform you all that my marriage is in serious trouble. Here is the issue: not only does Lamont eat multiple flavors/colors of jellybeans all at once with not a care to dividing them, but I have learned this month that he doesn't even glance at the design on the chocolate inside the advent calendar before he eats it!! *stunned silence* I know...I know. I understand the stunned horror that has gripped you upon reading that sentence; I have been feeling it all month. Tell me, friends and family, what can I do in this hopeless situation?

Friday, December 10, 2010

...and I thought I loved you then!

"I remember trying not to stare the night that I first met you. You had me mesmerized...I hadn't told you yet, but I thought I loved you then...Now you're my whole life, now you're my whole world. I just can't believe the way I feel about you...like a river meets the sea, stronger than it's ever been. We've come so far since that day, and I thought I loved you then!"

"With a little bit of live, little bit of learn, little bit of watching a few more candles burn, and finding out what life was. With a little bit of fuss, little bit of fight, little bit of kiss and makin' up all night, and one day waking up...in a real love."

"When I hear you stop and laugh out loud, when you're falling fast asleep, when you're in the middle of the crowd, when you're lying close to me, when I hear you softly say my name, when you're high and when you're low, when you don't need me to explain, 'cause you already know...when you smile that way, I know every night and day...that's when I love you, when I need you, when I care about you! That's when I know without a doubt that I can't live without you. Every day I find another reason, every season we go through...every little thing you do, that's when I love you."

Thank you for a beautiful first five years, my love! "This much I know is true...God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you."

Yes, it really is another birthday blog!

Two years ago today, we welcomed into our family our beautiful third daughter...on our third anniversary! It was a crazy time in our lives, especially since Bethany arrived 4 weeks early, and only a week after Hannah had turned one. There was very little sleep happening that December, but many worries and questions: "Can we do this?" "How do we take care of three tiny girls, ages 2 and under?" "Will we lose our sanity?" "Will they be happy?" "Can we really do this?"

In the middle of all that sleep-deprived uncertainty, Lamont and I fell in love with Bethany Rain Miles. This sparkling red-haired beauty took our hearts by storm. Somehow it has always seemed like she has given us more than she has taken...how is it possible for a baby to do that?
Happy birthday, my darling Bethany!

(Photo courtesy of Holly Clouse Photography)

"Precious girl, in our lives, making every moment bright...your mummy and daddy love you, you fill us with delight! Precious girl, so special too, God has got a plan for you...and we can see it clearly, as you shine His light. Do you realize when you shine everyone sees you? The lives you touch...you're worth so much, and that is just how God made you! Precious girl, can you see you're a precious part of our family? This one thing I promise, God's plan for you is true. You are worth so much and it's just by being you!"
~~(Veggie Tales "It's a Meaningful Life!")

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Greetings from Play-Doh Land...

Today was just begging for a creative activity of some kind. The girls have been antsy lately...the snow is hard and crunchy and not fun for playing, and last week was crazy with a bunch of traveling back and forth to Spokane, so the girls and I were overdue for some super fun playtime together. So out came the plastic tablecloth and the play-doh!
My parents gave the girls a *ton* of new play-doh and play-doh gadgets for their birthdays. They were so thrilled when I got it all out for them this morning...there may have been quite a lot of squealing and running around in circles going on here for a few minutes!
Bethany only tried eating it twice; she wrinkled up her face each time and seemed extremely disappointed that this lovely, colorful stuff didn't taste nearly as good as it looked. She was very serious about her playtime -- every picture I took of her she had this serious, focused look!
Hannah kept me busy helping her make these twisted ropes using the gizmo Bethany is holding in the above picture. She used every color she could find and wore the ropes as necklaces and bracelets. She told me, "I am a beautiful lady!"
Now I know that this picture of Ashley will make my mum cringe, because when I was a little girl we weren't allowed to get the colors all mixed up like this. ;-) Ashley spent over an hour perfecting this beautiful tower to her satisfaction!

The way it was going to work in my head was that I would get the girls all set up with their play-doh and then would be able to get all my chores done around them while they played happily. The way it worked in reality was that I eventually pulled up a chair because I got tired of standing while I played right along with them! We were at it for 1 1/2 hours. :-)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Birthday Interview with Hannah!

Are you happy that today is your birthday?
Yep. I'm thinking about me having my yummy cake!

How old are you now?
Three! That's pretty old. I'm growing into a big lady, but my legs are still little right now.

What makes birthdays fun?
Because if somebody turns 3, and they're really big, then they get a birthday cake!

Who else is in your family?
Us! I mostly love everybody. But I don't love mean mouses. But mean mouses are not in our family.

What do you like to do to have fun?
Play with my family and eat my birthday cake and have dinner! Yes yes yes yes yes! And I like to stomp. And doing puzzles, and coloring pictures with colored pencils for school.

What yummy foods do you like to eat?
Salad...spaghetti...macaroni...candy...and I think cake!

Do you think you are old enough to learn how to drive yet?
No...well...I'm big so I CAN drive!

What do your sisters like to do?
Play play play, and they like to eat cake!

What does Daddy like to do?
He likes to work. He likes to play "Hannah Banana", and tickle me and chase me. And to play music, and he likes driving.

What does Mummy like to do?
Play with us! Read books. Push buttons on computers. Some coloring and flashcards with me. And to cuddle.

What do you think about all the snow we have right now?
It's fun to play in it! I like to build snowmen and I like the pretty Christmas lights in the snow. It is cold and it makes me shiver and I wear a big coat!

Did you like answering all these questions?
Well Mummy, it's ok if you want to ask me questions. But I don't know everything, but I'm growing to be a big lady and then I will know more things!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tidbits for Tuesday

Hello, friends! It's been a busy holiday week since my last blog, combined with a foot and a half of snow to welcome winter -- much of which arrived in a crazy blizzard just over a week ago. As I write this morning it is snowing again, with another winter storm warning in place for today and four to eight inches of new snow expected. In our house, if you are four years old or younger, you are overjoyed by the dramatic beginning to this winter! If you are 25 or older -- and especially if you happen to be the unfortunate one who got her minivan stuck both in her driveway and in the driveway at the church building on Sunday -- you are not quite so thrilled. But I have to admit, winter in the mountains is beautiful!

This week my Hannah will turn three! She has been waiting for her birthday ever since her big sister turned four in October, and she has her whole day planned out. She will start out with "eggs and pop tarts" for breakfast. (Ashley asked for pop tarts for breakfast, too! It's a treat they've only had a few times in their lives -- I guess it's becoming their new birthday breakfast tradition.) She has specific books she wants me to read to her on her birthday and games she wants to play, and she's super excited about going to her daddy's Christmas band's first concert mid-day. For dinner she has ordered "lots of spaghetti, like more spaghetti than you usually give me, and lettuce and cheese, and bread -- but not the normal bread, the yummy bread -- and more punch than you usually give me." Translated, that is spaghetti, salad, french bread, and the birthday punch we like to make from fruit juice and 7Up. :-)

Here's Hannah apparently doing the splits while opening an early birthday present from her auntie and uncle and cousins -- she's so silly!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Follow-Up to Exciting PSA!

While most readers sympathized with my recent blog on the arrival of Starbucks holiday cups -- both the bright shaft of joyful light that they create in the world, and the severity of Lamont's error in neglecting to tell me of their joyous arrival -- I did receive, to my astonishment, a few comments suggesting that I had overplayed the importance of these cups. I am certain that my more astute readers are reeling in shock at this moment, just as I did! Nonetheless, I have graciously decided to provide further explanation, for those (weak minded) individuals who may require it.

Are you ready? Ok. This is what the world, the beautiful world, looks like with holiday cups!

And now...prepare yourselves...this is what the world, the dismal world, looks like without holiday cups.

If that didn't make it clear enough for you, I'm sorry to be the one to inform you, but there is actually no hope for you. None.

Friday, November 12, 2010

On my baby who is no longer a baby...

(Photo courtesy of www.hollyclousephotography.com)

Our first family dinner after Lamont returned from his business trip to Vegas this week, and following a naptime power struggle with Ashley that had her lying in bed for hours while her sisters played without her, this was what Bethany prayed:

"Thank you God that Daddy's home, and Ashley's back, and Hannah loves me, and Mummy's nice to me. In Jesus' name, amen." She looked carefully around the table at each one of us as she prayed, to make sure she wasn't missing anyone. :-)

Bethany has the most endearing way of saying everything twice, wrapping it around our name. So if I give her something, it's "Thanks, Mummy, thanks!" When Lamont is swinging her around the livingroom and she wants me to watch, she calls excitedly, "Wooka me, Mummy, wooka me!" And when Lamont was playing around with her the other day and pretended to cry after he got an "owie" in the game, she wrapped her baby arms around his neck and gently told him, "Don't cry, Daddy, don't cry." It was beyond precious, so this morning I tried the same pretend crying as I played with her; she looked me squarely in the eye and chirped, "Hi, puppy, hi!"

Hmm. Ok then.

I helped Bethany get herself potty trained a few weeks ago (yay for no more diapers! I do a happy dance inside every time I walk past them in the store and don't have to buy them!), and she is so delighted with herself for mastering this "big girl" skill. She's successful at least 95% of the time right now, and every time she goes in the toilet she beams up at me with her little eyes sparkling, and says, "See?!" It makes me laugh every.single.time. Yesterday evening she was even more delighted with herself than usual, so she threw her hands in the air and said, "Ta da!"

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Exciting PSA!

Who else gets giggly at the sight of Starbucks holiday cups?! Anybody? When I went through the Starbucks drive-through yesterday and the barista handed me this cup, there may have been some sort of involuntary exclamation on my part. Something like, "Oh my gosh, holiday cups!! *pointing at the cup in question while bouncing up and down on my seat* I'm so happy they're back! It's been so long! And they make me so HAPPY!!!" You know, not a big deal, just a little comment like that. Then I immediately texted Lamont to tell him that the holiday cups are back (!!!), only to receive his response: "I know, I had one on Monday." Say whaaaaat? Did I miss the memo that said we will no longer inform each other of drastically exciting news? No problem, buddy, just don't be surprised if next time I find out I'm pregnant I forget to tell you about it! No, really...if you needed any proof of how very much I love my husband, it comes now as I tell you that after 24 hours of wrestling with the shock of his neglect in the area of Starbucks holiday cup announcement, I have now completely forgiven him. Yes, I know. I am a paragon of graciousness and forgiveness.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

...and she will live happily ever after!

(Photo courtesy of www.hollyclousephotography.com.)

I feel like you can see in Ashley's far away eyes here some of the beautiful dreams and hopes and plans that she holds in her head and in her heart. A few of them are:

~She will have one hundred and nine puppies when she is grown up. They will all be the kinds of puppies that will lick her hands a lot, because that tickles and she likes it, and they will all sleep with her in her bed.

~She will have one son and three daughters. I think she's patterning that after her aunties and uncle, my little brother and three little sisters! Two of the girls will be named Leah and Sea. Oh, you think that's odd? Well, her son will be named Boykin!

~She will write beautiful songs to make God smile and laugh, and then she will dance to her songs, and that will make Him smile too.

~She will move to Seattle after she finds a "nice husband who will give her puppies for her birthday", and they will live there together for 40 years. They will then take a boat out on the ocean, and live on the ocean for 40 years as well.

~She will make pancakes every day. She will usually have eggs with them; fried, not scrambled like I usually make them for her. She will never make oatmeal.

~Should the one hundred and nine puppies fail to materialize, she will settle for a camel!

Monday, October 18, 2010

On Ashley Turning Four!

Dearest Ashley,

Four years ago today you burst into this world and into my heart, six weeks earlier than we expected you, eager as you always are for new experiences. In that moment when the doctor told us that you were dying inside me and I realized that I might never have the chance to hold you like I desperately longed to do, it felt like my world was ending. Your daddy held my hand and we stared at your tiny form on the ultrasound machine, praying and crying and loving you. Letting you go was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but as I asked God to hold you and do just what He had planned for your life from the beginning of time, I knew it was the very safest place you could ever be -- cradled in His arms.

And He gave you back to us, my darling girl, the most precious gift we could ever receive, hand delivered from our heavenly father. And as you have grown into the delightful four year old treasure that you are today, it has been clear each step of the way that you are His beautiful daughter, as well as ours.

Ashley, you absolutely sparkle! The vivacious way you just leap out and attack life leaves me amazed and thrilled -- even though sometimes it's hard for me to keep up with you. :-) You are always ready for the next adventure, the next challenge, the next bend in the road. You want to be learning something new every minute of every day, and you remind me of your daddy in that way. I love to see the way your sisters' faces light up when they see you, and how sweet and playful you are with them. And your love songs to God, sung at the top of your lungs with a beaming smile and usually a funny dance to go with them, are some of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard!

You are truly a miracle and an endless joy, and Daddy and I love you so very much. Happy birthday, sweetheart!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Children Are Nestled All Snug In Their Beds!

Hello! It's naptime, and this is Hannah pretending to sleep. I'm pretty sure she knows that I know that she's faking. But then again, maybe she really thinks she's that good! When I was young, I really was good at fake sleeping...wait...was I as transparent as my children are, thinking I fooled my parents while the whole time they quietly laughed in tolerant amusement?? Surely not! And Dad, no comments on that one. ;-)

And then Ashley -- well, I know that she knows she's not fooling me, since she obligingly lifted up her pillow when I came to sneak a picture, just so I could get a better shot!
I'm not sneaking in for a picture of Bethany, because she's been sleeping creatively lately (as in, sleeping on the floor in front of her bedroom door) and I don't want to smack her with the door when I open it. I may or may not have done that a few times, and let me tell you, when you wake your baby in the middle of her nap by slamming a door into her, you pretty much feel like the worst person alive!

So the girls are sleeping...or not...and I'm eating my rather late lunch, blogging, doing early prep for dinner, and folding laundry. Sometimes I wonder: once you've become a mom, is it ever possible to stop multi-tasking? I feel like I can't get my hands to stop moving sometimes. Even in the evening, if Lamont and I get a chance to curl up on the couch with a movie for a couple hours after the girls are in bed, and I think I'm completely relaxed, I realize I'm rubbing his back without thinking about it, or putting on lotion, or even eating. Never just doing nothing. It's not that it bothers me, really, because there are a lot of things to be done and I'm glad some of them can be done concurrently. But I'm just curious whether I will always be this way, just because motherhood is making it necessary for a season! Maybe over time, when I have time, I will relearn how to do only one thing at a time. :-)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tidbits for Tuesday

October has been a bit chaotic so far, from wonderful chaos like one of my best childhood friends coming for an overnight visit with her two little ones, to not-so-wonderful chaos like a stomach flu bug making its tedious way through our ranks. Unfortunately it's been too chaotic to allow me time to document any of it for my lovely blog, but here are a few somewhat random thoughts currently floating through my head, which may or may not be worth mentioning!

1) My camera is dead!!! *weep* *wail* *gnash teeth* Ok. It's not actually dead. One of the invisible people who seem to roam my house at night working random bits of mayhem has stolen my camera battery charger, and hidden it in some spot that even my most diligent and desperate searching could not find it. This has resulted in a slow disintegration of my mental health and a forlorn, unfocused look in my eyes, not to mention the twitching.... It's not pretty. My new battery charger is supposed to arrive on Thursday, a good three weeks after my poor battery died. Yes, I will be hovering around my window on Thursday watching for the mailman. There's no shame.

2) Unfortunately, here's another sad bit of news: my wedding ring has sustained some damage from an unknown source at an unknown time. (Another invisible person in the middle of the night? Perhaps?) I know, I was as shocked to discover this as you are! Joking aside, it was awful to glance down at my finger and realize that my diamond is twisted on the band, and I have no idea when or how it happened. Honestly, what on earth would do that kind of damage?? I would show you a picture, but...yes, let's not revisit point #1. Anyway, it seems solid but I'm afraid to wear it until it's fixed in case the diamond should actually come off somehow -- plus it looks strange. So until I can get it repaired (which will not happen in St. Maries, my dear little town with no stoplight, so it may be a while still), my finger is disturbingly naked. And call me paranoid, but I feel like everyone's judging me when I go out in public with three small children and no wedding ring!

3) Something cute to close off the night...Bethany has this heart melting way of apologizing if she accidentally hurts someone. Her little arms steal around your neck and she presses her soft baby cheek to yours, repeating, "sorry, sorry" with great concern. It has recently come to my attention that Lamont will sometimes exaggerate an "Ow!" if she even bumps into him, just to get that sweet apology! Bad Lamont...

Also, Ashley may be a tiny bit too enthralled with the story of Moses right now; everytime we go somewhere, even to the grocery store, she wants us to stay there and wander around for 40 years!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Good to the Last Drop!

If you know me at all, you know that I have a love affair with coffee. It's not at all just about the caffeine boost -- although, as Stephanie Piro says, "Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee!" And as a busy mom of three even busier little girls, I'm awfully grateful that caffeine comes in the form of the comforting deliciousness that is coffee! But really, for me coffee -- whether a steaming latte, a rich mocha, or even a strong cup of plain black coffee -- is the ultimate comfort food.

My amazing husband gave me an espresso machine for Christmas last year, and I've experimented endlessly with it -- Lamont always wants a caramel macchiato, so 9 times out of 10 that's what I make him in the morning before work, but I love to try new drinks all the time. I can do iced ones, but I prefer hot, and I think my all time favorite is a simple peppermint latte with a crushed peppermint candy on top. Oh my...it is simple perfection in a cup! Lamont loves peppermint mochas, and I love peppermint white mochas -- it's an important distinction, mind you.

And what situation in life doesn't call for coffee?? A strong cup to start out a blurry-eyed morning, a pumpkin spice latte to warm your hands on a chilly autumn day... My very dear friend Holly, at http://www.hollyclousephotography.com/, became my very dear friend over literally hundreds of delicious coffee dates! *happy sigh*

All that said, I'm sharing with you a couple of my decorating tributes to the delight of coffee -- just because. :-)
I love my kitchen clock! I seriously think I smile every single time I look at it.

And these adorable wall plaques are so delightful that just admiring them is almost enough by itself without me actually making coffee...almost.
My two other favorite coffee quotations (along with the Stephanie Piro one above), both by unknown authors:
"Mothers are those wonderful people who can get up in the morning before the smell of coffee."
"Sleep is a symptom of caffeine deprivation."

Monday, September 13, 2010

She's a dancing queen, young and sweet!

Today was Ashley's very first dance class, ahhhhh! I somehow managed to send her into the dance studio all by herself, and if I happened to be hovering outside peering through the window during her whole class, well -- that didn't hurt anyone, did it??

She did great, and had a huge smile stuck on her face the whole time. There are ten little girls in her class, and they already seem to be forming the strong, instant friendships that only three and four year old girls can manage. It was precious watching them holding hands in a big circle and skipping around together. :-) Her class is a tap/ballet combo class, but today seemed to be mostly getting to know each other and some basic stretching and jumping and dancing in circles. So cute!
Ashley wanted her picture taken at the house before we left...

And I stole this shot of her as she first surveyed the studio; she was a little overwhelmed for a moment, but then she jumped right in. Sometimes I feel like she is more poised than I am...

She flew straight into my arms after class with a heart stopping smile and declared, "That was so much fun, and now I'm ready to do it again!"

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

That Was Then...This Is Preschool!

I know that I'm overly sentimental, but I couldn't help posting this picture of my darling newborn Ashley almost four years ago...

Followed by the pictures I took today as she proudly sat down with me for her first day of "real" school.
A bona fide preschooler now, my firstborn daughter is racing through her early years with a zest and energy that makes me beam with pride at the same time I desperately want her to slow down now!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Day In The Life!

The last few weeks I've been coming down with a case of severe baby fever. I don't know exactly why...I suppose it's a bunch of different things. Friends are at all different stages of pregnancies, from adorable early baby bumps, to counting down the last few days until the due date. Their pictures and stories make me smile. And it's fall now (I can say that now that it's September, although it's been feeling like it for several days), and that smell of change in the air makes me restless. (I know, I know, "restless" doesn't exactly equal "baby fever". But this time it does.) It's also the time of year when I reached the ends of all three of my pregnancies, and even having taken last year off I still perk up around now and think of babies. And finally, Ashley will start preschool next week. I'll be teaching her here at home, but still. It'll be an official beginning of a new stage in our lives, a signal of my little girl growing up and reaching into her future. And that's actually shaken me a little bit, which I didn't expect. Anyway, however the reasons come together, I have been thinking seriously about the possibility of us having another baby, maybe kinda soon.

Today my girls teamed up to dispel me of that notion!

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I'm doing an 8 am workout with a bunch of ladies at the church, and the girls enjoy their playtime with our friend "Miss Shannon", at her house. We have to leave by 7:40 to get us all where we're going on time, so this morning I was busy working on our quick getaway when Bethany started crying... One sniff confirmed that a dirty diaper had entered the building, and one horrified look revealed that my daughter had decided on a taste test. (Um, excuse me? You think you are grossed out about that? I had to clean it up!!) Judging by the crying, she at least didn't approve of the taste, so if there is any justice in this world we will never have to deal with that again!

Having arrived slightly-but-not-too-terribly late and completed a great workout, I decided we would stop at the playground on our way home to enjoy some of this crisp fall weather. I've been trying to get outside with them everyday while the weather holds up, so yay me! However, we'd been there no more than 10 minutes when Hannah, halfway up the stairs on the playground equipment, suddenly shrieked and announced in a piercingly loud, distraught voice, "I'm going potty!!" There were at least 10 other people at the playground, giving me pitying looks. Sigh...double sigh....

Having dragged 3 disappointed little girls back to the car (you would think a mother of three would be prepared with extra outfits for a trip to the park, wouldn't you? Well, I'm afraid you would be wrong!), I was focused on getting Hannah out of her wet clothes, and missed seeing Bethany sneaking up to the front seat. Bethany is unbelievably obsessed with coffee, as in un.be.lievably! We have had more coffee incidents with her than I could fit into a blog post. Anyway, she managed to slip past me and grab my very full, very hot coffee. And yes, oh yes, she dumped it. Her jacket kept her from being burned, but her clothes were absolutely soaked and stained, and so were many, many things in the car. Triple sigh....

So back to that baby fever -- I think I can feel it cooling down right now. Thanks, girls!

Monday, August 30, 2010

On bunkbeds and best friends...

The big news around here is the bunkbeds that Ashley and Hannah moved into about a week ago. We have had entire songs created and sweet bedtime prayers of thanks devoted to their new bunkbeds! Ashley sleeps on top, and is overwhelmed by her good fortune and how amazingly big she must be to be trusted up there. :-) (I never would have thought a not-quite-4-year-old could sleep on the top bunk, but she has a guard rail the whole length of the bed and is actually a motionless sleeper!)
Hannah seems perfectly delighted with her lower bunk, and I love how little children are so excited and thankful for the things they're given that they don't think to wish for more...it hasn't seemed to occur to Hannah that she might wish she could be on top.

They really, really love their bunkbeds. :-) And finally, Bethany has also graduated -- she is now a big girl and the very proud owner of a toddler bed. After almost four years, we no longer have a crib in our house!
The girls all share a bedroom now, and I love having them all together. It seems like perfection, tucking my precious girls in together at night, praying for them to have a sweet sleep in the same breath that I pray they will always be best friends and share their lives together. It is strange but wonderful to watch our children growing up like this!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Livin' the Life!

Here in smalltown USA, everybody smiles and waves, every stranger is assumed to be a friend, and nobody locks their doors. (The previous renter of our house told us, "We never locked a door the whole time we lived there, day or night!") There is no suspicion toward anyone, and no concern about being taken advantage of by your neighbors. It is completely foreign to my previous mindset and the way people act toward each other back home, but I like it, and I'm trying to embrace it. My new outlook was tested today, however, when my doorbell rang and I opened the door to a long-haired, creatively pierced teen with a spaced-out look on his face. "Assume the best!" I chided myself internally as I pasted on a questioning smile. "People are friendly here, he's not going to bite!"

Then he opened his mouth and it was all I could do not to burst out laughing. If you've seen the kids' movie "Finding Nemo", the best description I can give is that this guy was the human version of Crush, the sea turtle/surfer bum in the movie.

"Dude!" He greeted me happily. "So how're you doing and everything?"

He lounged to the side as he talked, feet and hands moving rhythymically to a beat that only he could hear. As I stared at him in amazement, he continued,

"Check this out, you get to help me out today! See, I'm in a program that'll send me to college, which is a totally sweet place to go, ya know? Like, if I just do the program, then I get a scholarship to go, and I mean dude! That's the best plan for the future, ya know? So did you go to college and everything?"

Biting the inside of my cheek to keep back my laughter, I informed him seriously that so far I've done more of the "everything" part of that question than the "college" part, as I'm only partway through my degree but I'm married with three little girls. Pure delight took over his face.

"Ahhh, dude, you're livin' the life! For real! I mean, that's why I need to go to college, just to live the life. So like, do you love it?"

Strangely comfortable and greatly enjoying the encounter, I told him how we'd just moved to town and that I do, indeed, love my incredibly beautiful life. With a big grin he put his fingers to his temple and closed his eyes.

"Check it out, I'm psychic! I've got it, I've got it, you're from...Washington! Am I totally right?!"

Smiling wryly as I glanced at my Washington license plate on the car a few feet away from him, I told him that his talent was astonishing, and then tried to direct him back to his purpose in coming.

"Right, so I totally just get to travel around the country this summer and have people buy these magazines and books and everything from me," from nowhere he produced a list of various magazines, "and when they do, I get points, and when I get points, I get to have my scholarship, and start livin' the life like you are!"

As I looked over the list I told him thanks, but I don't need any of these....

"Oh totally! Like, nobody needs them, but they just do it to help me out, ya know? Are you sure you won't buy one? What'll I do if I don't get any points? I'll feel, like, unloved and everything!"

The anxious words were belied by a happy grin, and somewhat reluctantly I stuck to my refusal to buy, and offered him an icy Mt. Dew instead.

"Oh dude!" He joyfully poppped it open and gulped down half the drink at once. "You are so totally awesome! I mean you really do know how to live the life!"

"Well," the rhythymic movement stopped for a moment and he stared at me earnestly, "this has been so awesome. It's just what life is all about, ya know? And so we'll always have this, and that keeps it real. For real."

With that profound statement he nodded at me, and then the odd swaying movements started up again as he turned and sauntered casually out of my yard and back down the street, heading out into his totally sweet future. Livin' the life.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

On Moving, and Many Other Things!

First off, the answer is no.

No, I don't have pictures of our new house to show you. None of the inside, of rooms being slowly cleared of boxes and beginning to look a little tiny bit cozy and welcoming. None of the outside, with a wilderness of flower boxes and landscape beds which I am giddy about finding the time to start playing with. Not even one little picture of the swingset in the backyard that prompted Hannah to exclaim on our second day here, "I just love this new park that we have!" Sorry, I have not one single picture to show you!

But I will next week. ;-) I have been hobbling through this week, to the best of my ability, with severely limited internet access. Currently I am (perhaps? not totally sure) online via an uncertain connection Lamont rigged up for me on his work computer. It is slow (which may be the understatement of the year) and extremely unreliable, so unfortunately there is no way I can use it to upload pictures of our fabulous new house. Actually, it remains to be seen whether I can even post a blog post sans pictures...we shall see.

Next Tuesday our internet should be hooked up, and I will not quite admit to counting the hours, but let's just say that there is a possibility I could be that lame! On the plus side, the somewhat crippling lack of online connection to the world that is not in St. Maries has given me lots of time to focus on turning this new house of ours into a home. It's getting there. :-) This house is way bigger than our old house, and the furniture is a bit sparse in places for now, which is fun because my imagination gets to run wild. I should mention that other than a bed, the guest bedroom is currently pretty empty. And the walls are bare. I don't really feel like sharing my limited pictures and decorations with a room we hardly enter. So if you come visit us (and please do), don't feel too unloved. I promise to get to it eventually!

Predictably, I have so much to say I could write for hours. There are more interesting things to tell about the beginning of our new life as Idaho residents, honestly. But they, like the spare room, will have to wait! It's one of those seasons of life when there are too many things needing to be done to allow for much sitting and prosing on the computer. Let's see if my sensitive little internet connection feels inclined to post this now....

Monday, July 19, 2010

On husbands...

Recently Ashley decided that she would like to marry her daddy when she grows up. She had been looking at our wedding pictures and asking me if she could get married too...I told her that when she was a grown up lady (we're talking at least 30 here, just for the record!) then maybe God would bring her a wonderful man to be her husband, just like He did for me. She tilted her head to the side and looked at her daddy sitting with me on the couch, and happily decided, "When I am a big lady, Daddy can be my husband!"

While Lamont grinned like crazy over one of the biggest compliments a daddy can get, I laughed and told Ashley that he would always be her daddy, but he's already my husband, so she'll have a different husband someday. It seemed like pretty straightforward logic to me, so when she disappeared down the hall with a little smile I figured that she was sweetly accepting my prior claim on our favorite man.

Out she bounced again a few moments later holding Curly the teddy bear. With the world's most mischevious grin on her little impish face, she tossed the teddy bear casually into my lap and announced, "There you go, Curly will be your husband now, and Daddy is going to be my husband!!"

Friday, July 9, 2010

On swimming and sisters...

(I know I haven't blogged in...um...close to a month. And I've missed it -- a lot! I've tried over and over to blog about our upcoming move to St. Maries, ID. And because I have such mixed feelings about the whole adventure, my blog attempts haven't been coming out the way I want them to. So for now, we're skipping over the elephant in the room (hey, it's an elephant in MY room, ok?) and picking up where we left off...blogging about my silly, precious girlies!)

After a spring and early summer of steady 50-60 degree weather and endless rain, this last week has thrown some astonishing heat at us. The kind of heat that makes you hurry outside to play in the morning right after breakfast, because from about 10 o'clock on it's too hot to be comfortable, and even playing in the sprinkler doesn't sound too appealing because of the sun beating down on you... So when friends invited us to the river with them this morning, we jumped at the chance to have fun and stay cool splashing around for a while! To be honest, I didn't think we were going to the river -- whether it was something she said that confused me, or more likely just my brain doing its own thing, I understood we were going to a park with some sort of splash fountain or something. But following her directions took us right to a sandy beach on the edge of the little Spokane river, and at first I was a little panicked about having all three girls at the river by myself! It was a perfect spot, though, with lots of sand and shallow water, and we had so much fun. Now that I was tricked into doing it once, I can't wait to do it again!
Since we carried home with us about half the sand on the beach, the girls got to prolong their water fun with a bath before naps. (Even so, sand keeps mysteriously appearing around the house.) And after their bath I put them in these dresses that my little sisters made for them...

...and they were being so silly with big squeezing hugs and tackling each other!
When our girls were all born so close together I started praying they would grow up to be best friends. And oh my goodness -- they really are! So many people have skeptically told me that we would regret having three so close together. That more importantly, our children would regret it and resent it. Comments like that hurt and are frustrating, but they are also wrong. Our daughters are the joy of our lives, and the very fact that they are each only a year apart has already made them the best of friends and playmates. They are such gifts to each other and to us, and they know it, and I am so grateful for that!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Curls and Cute-isms

I love long hair on little girls. I love playing with it, putting it up in adorable little hairstyles...I've always been secretly thrilled when my girls were born with lots of hair, because it means it doesn't take as long to get to the fun hanging-down-to-their-shoulders length. But lately I keep chopping Hannah's hair off short -- because it's so precious curling all around her head! It does this 100% naturally, and I just can't resist that curly little head! I wonder how long she'll let me keep her hair this short?? :-)
Yesterday Ashley informed me very seriously that she is almost 12. When I protested, she said, "Well Mummy, I will be very busy until I am 12, so it will be very fast." How can a three year old be that wise?
And speaking of being wise...I usually let the girls try a sip of my latte or frappucino when I get a drink from Starbucks, or an espresso stand, or even when I make it myself. (No, that's not the wise part. Go ahead and judge me for that part!) Lately Ashley keeps insisting that since she is almost four (not until October -- but she's been claiming almost for a while now), she is surely old enough to have her very own coffee. So yesterday I tried to convince her that she was drinking "kid coffee". Suspiciously she sipped, eyed me, sipped again, and finally announced, "Mummy, your coffee tastes like coffee, but my coffee tastes like juice!"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On Being Reassembled!

When Lamont and I were first married he would come home from work and just wrap me up in a big, tight hug that went on and on. He'd rest his chin on my head and just hold me like that, and finally let go with a smile and the most tender look. He told me those hugs were when he let go of all the things from the day that had pulled and tugged him in a hundred different directions, and just put himself back together. He still does it now and then, when life has been roaring past us so quickly that little pieces of ourselves break off and fly away in the power of it. He'll pull me into a hug and whisper that he needs to put himself back together...it makes me feel so precious.

This week Lamont and the girls went to the Oregon coast for four days to visit with his family, and because I had a commitment here that I couldn't escape, I stayed home alone. (Note: in blog posts shortly to follow we will address the positive and possibly hilarious aspects of my time alone, but for now we are going to wallow wholeheartedly in sentimentality. Embrace it.) I may or may not have cried for a minute when they drove away, and I felt a little empty the whole time they were gone. I talked to the girls a couple times each day, and couldn't wait for those phone calls! Pieces of me were missing, and I felt it more every evening when I went to bed alone, every morning when I slept late and woke up at the rather heathenish hours of 8 or 9, and every time I came home and opened the door to a house that was spotless -- but silent.

Last night my precious ones came home. I was so excited that I spent the last 5 minutes or so waiting outside for them, hopping back and forth from one foot to the other and trying my best to look calm and casual so my neighbors wouldn't laugh at me. Urgent and very mature need to...uh...experiment with the springiness of the lawn, don't you know! Moments after they pulled in, the doors were all flung open, and I had Bethany and Hannah in my arms squeezing me tightly around the neck, Ashley dancing and swinging around my legs and chattering a million miles an hour, and Lamont kissing me with a smile over all the little heads.

And I knew exactly what Lamont always meant with that special hug, because in that moment as my family piled out of the van to smother me with hugs and kisses, I was putting myself back together.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Long and Bloody Tale...

Warning: slightly graphic. If blood makes you queasy, reconsider reading this!

Do you ever experience something terrible, and afterwards find yourself thinking of all the tiny "fork in the road" type decisions that led you to the point of it happening? Not bad decisions necessarily, just "If I had decided to take the other route to work this morning, I wouldn't have missed seeing that bag on the road in the dark, and driven over it, rupturing my tire on the broken bottle inside...." That sort of thing. Yesterday I found myself lying on a table with a thin paper sheet on it, trembling all over while a doctor worked on my mangled toe. It was unbelievably painful, and to divert my attention I kept obsessing over all the stupid little forks in the road that got me to that point. (Well, that and squeezing my nurse's hand until all the carpals and metacarpals and whatever all those bones are in there were all bunched together in the middle of her hand and she didn't look like she was enjoying the procedure much more than I was!)

All three girls and I had been shopping that morning. As we left the house I started to slip on my sandals, then glanced out at the chilly, drizzly morning and reconsidered. Cue fork in the road #1: Be sensible and wear something warmer and close-toed to stay warm and dry? Or wear the sandals anyway because...well, because they're cute! *sigh* Let's not linger here and consider the stupidity of my decision, but sandals it was.

A couple hours later we'd gotten some missions accomplished -- diapers, shampoo, sewing supplies for a new project -- but what was the highest priority on my list, and what was proving most elusive, was a dancing dress for the show starting in (eek!) just 6 days. It's hard to go from store to store...to store...with three little girls in tow, trying dresses on over and over. We made slow progress and I finally decided in frustration that I would need to come back without my entourage sometime this weekend. Cue fork in the road #2: it was nearing lunchtime and we were all burnt out, but also high on my list was a gift I needed to purchase from Target. Put it off along with the dress, or make one last stop on our way home?? As we drove toward Target my sense of efficiency kicked in, and we turned into the parking lot. (Dratted sense of efficiency!!)

We executed our well-practiced, smooth and quick out-of-the-car-and-into-the-store manuever (seriously, people stop and smile and have even commented on how cute and cooperative the girls are with this, we do it in probably two minutes, which is impressive considering I only have two hands and they're all so little!) and found to Ashley's great dismay that there were no "fun" carts. You know, the ones with a little car on the front that little ones can ride in, or extra plastic seats in the back. (They're a bear to steer, but once you get the technique it's a lot easier than pushing two carts, which I used to do all the time when the girls were younger.) Cue fork in the road #3: take two carts, squish Ashley and Hannah together in the body of one cart while Bethany sits in the baby seat in front, or put Bethany in the baby seat, Hannah in the body of the cart, and let Ashley enjoy her recently granted privilege of standing on the outside of the cart while I push it, holding on to the top of the cart and chatting over it with her sisters? It seemed like a no-brainer, but how I wished later that I'd sprung for two carts! Ashley hopped up on the cart in front of me and held on to the handle, leaning back into me as I pushed it through the store. It was fun, a nice end to our shopping excursion. For about three minutes.

Suddenly there were no more forks in the road. Without warning, Ashley stepped back and down, off the cart. I have no idea why -- she knows she's not supposed to try to get down while the cart is moving, but if children always did what they're supposed to they wouldn't need parents. I was stepping forward as she came down, and she somehow landed, sliding backwards, onto my big toe. We could probably never recreate it if we tried. But that split second manuever taught me what people mean when they describe "blinding pain"! Everything went bright, hot white for a moment and I couldn't breathe. As the world came back, I looked down at my foot and my stomach lurched. My toenail was standing straight up, while blood gushed out all around it, down onto my cute sandals that I'd just had to wear that morning. I forced myself to look closer and found the nail was ripped off about 80% of its bed, but as I tentatively touched it to see if I could move it, I discovered it was still securely attached the rest of the 20% and I couldn't move it either up or down. Meanwhile Ashley was horrified, trying not to cry, and gasping out apology after apology while rubbing my back as I crouched on the floor, Hannah and Bethany were craning to see what all the fuss was about, and I realized that we were still in the middle of Target. Ladies and gentlemen, of all the times in my mothering career so far that I have not had enough hands, or been at a loss as to how to approach the situation, this was probably the worst.

So of course I called my knight in shining armor! Lamont said if I could meet him at the urgent care clinic, he'd take the girls to lunch while I was in there. Have I mentioned lately how much I love that man??? I hobbled back out to the car, using kleenex from my purse to try not to leave a trail of blood behind (no, I'm not exaggerating! It was dripping steadily down my toe at this point) and my poor girls were very subdued and worried as we headed to the clinic. (It's the most disturbing looking injury any of them have seen so far.) Of course it was my right foot -- driving foot! The silly toe was just steadily throbbing at this point, and I peered down at it while stopped at a red light to find that it was swelling quickly.

Thus we arrive back to the beginning of this story, at the table with a thin paper sheet, bright light shining on my toe, doctor bent over it with a needle poised to enter. I will not describe this part in detail. It hurts when I even remember. Suffice it to say that he numbed the toe, which took five tries with the needle going in at different angles, including directly into the bed of the toenail, and cut the nail the rest of the way out of my toe. In the last eventful four years of my life I have experienced considerably too many medical procedures, including three surgeries and two natural childbirths. This one ranks right up at the top with the most painful things I have ever experienced.

Right now my toe is cozily bandaged, no longer bleeding, and much less swollen. It has subsided to a quiet ache and I don't think I'll need to take any more ibuprofen. The doctor told me while it will take a while (goodbye, pretty polished nails in sandals for summer!), the nail will eventually grow back. My last remaining concern is how painful it will be to fit into my dance shoes and cavort onstage in six days! I guess it's one of those "the show must go on" situations. I am so glad that experience is over...but I can't help wishing I could go back in time and take just one different fork in the road!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Know No Greater Joy

This conversation at the breakfast table today left tears in my eyes and joy in my heart...what precious gifts our daughters are, and how lovingly they must be watched from heaven!

Ashley, thoughtfully: "I don't want to have a black heart."

Me, startled: "What do you mean?"

Ashley: "If I disobey God and do naughty things, then my heart gets black and dirty, and that makes God sad."

Hannah, eagerly: "I don't want to have a black heart either!"

Ashley, very serious now: "Hannah, when we make God sad, that's called sin. Sin is black and that's why we get a black heart if we sin. Because when we disobey, then we say, 'Ok sin, you can come in!' And then sin makes our heart black."

Hannah, really upset: "But I don't like that!"

Ashley: "But God doesn't like our hearts to be black either, so if we obey God then we say, 'Ok God, you can come in!' And then sin has to go out and God is really happy, and I am really happy too!"

Hannah, after a long considering pause: "Then can God make my heart pink instead of black? I want a pink heart."

Ashley, beaming: "Yes, He can!"

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

On Magical Moments

It wasn't Mother's Day. It wasn't any "special" day, in fact. But a few nights ago I came home late from rehearsal and Lamont met me with a picture Ashley had made for me, at the top of which she had lovingly, painstakingly printed out "Mummy". As he told me how she had earnestly bent over the paper with the intense focus reserved for 3 year olds, and how before she went to bed she'd made him promise to make sure I would see it as soon as I came home, it felt like an awfully special day to me!

I know some of you have children who have been writing forever, but can you remember the first time they wrote your name - all by themselves - on a gift they made for you? I put Ashley's picture up in the kitchen where I see it probably 873 times per day. And each one of those 873 times, it creates a little magical moment in my heart!

Monday, May 17, 2010

On Crafts and Counting!

These interesting creations are the result of Ashley and Hannah and myself deciding to make magnets. They started out as crosses that we were decorating, but we decorated rather exuberantly. Now I'm afraid they just look like...interesting creations! Ashley's is on the left and maintains a little bit of the cross look, albeit a flowery, polka-dotty kind of cross. Hannah's masterpiece is possibly a distant cousin of the amoeba.
Saturday the girls and I went yard-saling again, this time with a bunch of friends. We all pinked up a bit despite being generous with the sunscreen -- it was a beautiful day! (We don't tan. We don't believe in tanning, apparently. All of us, Lamont included, do however believe very strongly in burning whenever the sun spares us the tiniest glance. It is extremely annoying.) Anyway, one of my happy finds was this adorable hopscotch mat, in beautiful condition, for only $2!

I love Bethany's thoughtful pose...she's trying to figure out how to copy her sisters. :-) For some reason (I did not teach them this, honestly!) when Ashley and Hannah are jumping they count, "81, 82, 81, 82" over and over. Every single time. What in the world?? I cannot convince them to do anything else!

Friday, May 14, 2010

"When I Was a Teenager...."

Last night at rehearsal for Northwoods' spring show, in the middle of a whispered conversation with the lady beside me, one quick sentence at a time while the director had his back turned (yes, I am a very cooperative and respectful person, why do you ask?), I received a compliment I thought was locked away in the past for good. We were discussing a man whose name had been mentioned, and as my partner-in-crime tried to ascertain his identity, she asked, "Isn't he an older man?" Innocently I answered, "No, I think he's only in his 50's." And she turned to me in some surprise and said,

"Doesn't that seem old to you? When I was a teenager, I thought anything over 40 was old!"

Did you catch that??? I went ahead and italicized it for you so you wouldn't miss it! This mother of three who is a good handful of years past her teens (how many years can fit into a handful? a lot, right?) was mistaken for a teenager last night!! :-D It made my night, and it's kinda making my day today too....

But now I need to know, how evil am I for not correcting her??

Friday, May 7, 2010

On Interesting Injuries...

This rather odd-angled shot is my poor little Hannah's scratched up leg. It looked so much worse in real life! Aside from the big, bloody scrape, there are little scratches and scrapes all around it and a big raised spot rubbed raw that is healing to look almost like a burn mark. She and I were both so sad! Sometimes I feel so sorry for my poor girlies when they're hurt that I really want to cry along with them, and I have to remind myself that I'm not supposed to cry about scratches anymore.

This one could have been a lot worse, though. We use these hard plastic tubs to organize and store the girls' toys, and Lamont calls them "evil tubs" because all the girls have had a tendency to like to dump the toys out of them, flip them over, and attempt aerobatic stunts off the tubs that inevitably result in tumbles and tears. Nothing more than a bruise, but as Hannah found out, it was only a matter of time until it got worse. I caught her jumping on the tub, and even as the words to stop her were forming on my tongue, the prediction of my quivering stomach came true as the plastic shattered and she crashed down to the floor. The jagged shards of hard plastic sticking out from the edges of the tub looked like glass.

I don't know if she had angel hands wrapped around her leg, but a nice collection of bloody but shallow scrapes is somehow all she took away from plunging her leg through the equivalent of a broken window! And while she cried her heart out and then took comfort in pretty princess bandaids, and finally submissively listened to a lecture she knew she fully deserved, I clung to the beautiful knowledge that we'd survived another heart-stopping moment with no serious injuries and all heart function fully restored.

Ugh. Evil tubs!! What heart-stoppping moments have you experienced with your children, and how bad or relieving were the injuries that resulted?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Behind Blue Eyes

Meet our beautiful youngest daughter. :-) I recently realized that, just like in life, Bethany is neglected a little bit in my blog because there's so much going on with the bigger girls to write about. So now she gets her very own blog post, all about her!

I guess it's not that she's neglected as much as that she just doesn't get as much attention as the other girls did at her age, because then there weren't quite so many little people running around, and now there are quite a lot. But little miss Bethany does demand attention when she's feeling left out! Earlier today Hannah asked me to lift her up on the counter to watch me make dinner, and Bethany turned to her sternly. "No, no, no!" She ordered. Then reached her arms to me with a sweet smile and asked, "Up?"

Several months ago, just past her first birthday, Bethany learned the concept of teasing, and started to giggle and announce "Tease!" whenever she figured out she was being teased. Since her giggle is so adorable she gets teased a lot! Every crazy shenanigan is worth it when she collapses into your arms in giggles, gasping, "Tease! Mummy tease!" over and over. She and Hannah get each other going a lot too, and they each have these amazing deep belly giggles that make it impossible not to join in.

She is the most amazingly polite 17 month old I've ever seen. Please and thank you are instinctive to her, she never fails. And she has the most charming way of saying, "There you go!" whenever she hands something to you.
Bethany is incredibly affectionate; sometimes I think she could spend all day going from one person to the next just giving hugs and cuddles. And it's so precious when she puts her hands gently on either side of your face to pull you in and just rest her forehead against yours...I melt, every time. She absolutely cannot go to bed without giving goodnight hugs and kisses to both of her sisters and her mummy and daddy -- one time recently when I tried to just whisk her off to bed she cried and called me so sadly until I brought her out to say goodnight all around!

And she's becoming such a little peacemaker. The other day Ashley was in trouble, and crying while Lamont explained to her what she had done wrong. Bethany, highly offended that somebody had upset her big sister, came and planted herself right in front of Lamont, put her finger to her lips and insistently told him to "shhh!" Then she turned and folded her arms around Ashley, patting her back and telling her, "Sorry, sorry, sorry...." :-)

But at the end of the day, my beautiful girl sometimes gives in like on our long drive last weekend and lets herself be a baby for just a little bit longer...and I'm so glad she does.