"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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best of Facebook 2013, Part 2

Just copying these quotes over from Facebook is getting me excited to start blogging again in the new year. It's been so long since I've blogged with any sort of regularity. I've missed it and I have a lot of things to work through in writing, as well as just trying to keep up with the fast pace of my crazy growing girls, so I don't forget and lose all these fun memories! Anyway...here is Part 2. :)


Ashley, holding up a ladybug: "I have a little friend!"

Bethany, holding up a drowned black bug: "And I have a little...dead friend!"

The ultimate in non-discrimination.


Bethany, singing at the top of her lungs: "I'm living in a Cheerio world, because I am a Cheerio girl!"

No offense, Madonna, but I like Bethany's lyrics better.


Ashley: "Hannah, I'm so glad that I didn't accidentally kill you, and to show you that I'm sorry that I almost did, I'm giving you my peacock feather!"

There are some things a mother should just NOT overhear.


Hannah, looking into her water cup: "Oh no, my fishies can't breathe in all this water and they are all drowning!"

I just...it's not...I don't even know where to start with that sentence.


Hannah: "I have never been run over by a car, not once in my life! That's why I'm not dead."


Bethany, eagerly: "Mummy, I've figured out what my gift is! It's blowing up balloons!"

As she held up the inflated balloon as proof, her fingers slipped and it flew away, zigzagging through the room as the air whooshed out of it. She stared after it in silence for a moment, then amended solemnly,

"Or maybe it's playing the violin. I haven't tried that yet, but it's probably easier."


Hannah: "I'm sorry to tell you this, Mummy, but you are starting to look pretty old."

Me: "Oh my...is that a bad thing?"

Hannah, matter-of-factly: "Yes, because it means you are getting ready to die."

Happy Thursday to me!


Bethany, fighting tears of indignation: "Ashley says that if I don't do everything she tells me to do, I can NEVER be a flying yak!"

Oh bitter, bitter life.


When does a happy face not inspire happiness? When it is carved into the dining room table with a thumb tack!


Hannah's build-a-bear, whom she calls her daughter, had a baby yesterday. Meet Bluebird.

This thing keeps following me around the house and, in a suspiciously Hannah-like voice, saying, "Hi, Great Grandma!" "I love you, Great Grandma!"


Hannah, casually as I turn around: "Hey Mummy, I just found out that I'm pregnant!"


For the record, it is a balloon. And she is never allowed to have a balloon again.

Ashley, sweetly: "Just so you know, Mummy, I wouldn't love you more if you were dead. I love you a lot even when you're alive!"

Ah yes...family. Where they love you even when you're alive.


Sleeping in this morning resulted in my opening my eyes to find three anxious little faces inches away, peering intensely into mine. Instantly there arose a shout of glee, "She is conscious! She's alive!"

Equal parts terrifying and comforting.


Hannah hugged me at bedtime and told me, "I love you more than you love me!"

"No, you can't possibly!" I teased her. "I love you more because my heart is bigger than yours!"

She thought for a moment and then agreed. "Everything about you is bigger. Your arms are bigger, and your tummy is bigger, and your legs are bigger, and your waist is bigger, and..."

Yeah. Just the big heart would have been enough, thanks, darlin'.


"What...this isn't my seat?"

Little scamp!

Ashley, whispering: "Don't tell God, but I am going to make Him a surprise birthday present!"

I'm...not quite sure that will work the way she is picturing. But she is so sweet about it that I agreed to do my part to keep the secret by not telling God. ;)


Things I never knew I would say to my children, #8,562: "Girls, I shouldn't be hearing anyone yell, 'So long, suckers!!' while you are decorating gingerbread men."

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Best of Facebook 2013, Part 1

This was so much fun for me last year, so I'm doing it again...

I use this blog mainly to help me remember all these precious stages of life that we are zipping through too quickly. I just don't have the memory space in my caffeine-deprived brain to hold on to all of this as it happens, and it is such a joy to read back through the blog and revisit times and experiences we've had together, things the girls have said/done as they've grown, and all the memories that would otherwise be lost. However, frequently one of the girls will say something, I will think, "Oh, I need to write that down!", and the fastest and easiest option is to just post it to Facebook. I realize how much less permanent that is than the blog, so I've decided to scan through the last year's worth of my Facebook status updates, and bring over here my favorites of the sweet or funny antics of the girls that I want to make sure I have recorded for good.

So here we go -- Part One!


Bethany asked me to draw a cow, and when I finished, she said in great surprise, "Wow, that's actually pretty good! I didn't think it would be! Just keep practicing and you will get better at it, ok?"

Oh, well then. Thank you, benevolent one! I am in SUCH a hurry to draw more cows for you...not. ;)


Ashley: "One thing that's against the law is killing people when they are being nice to you and helping you have what you need and taking care of you."

Wait. Like...me? Should I be worried?!


Ashley: "Even if I had lots of mummies, you would be the only one I would love!"

Six year olds' compliments are the best.


Bethany's opinion of grapefruit juice: "I don't like it because it tastes like ketchup!"

Well. I guess I wouldn't like to drink ketchup either...


Before he left for work, Lamont told the girls that I had been up most of the night with Katelyn (again) and to be gentle with me lest I turn into a sobbing puddle of sleep deprivation in the corner of the kitchen. (Those may not have been his exact words.) Now they are taking turns coming out of their room and offering me money from their piggy banks. I asked what it's for, and Ashley said, "So you can buy enough coffee!"

Bribes, then. I'll take it!


Ashley watched a clip of The Voice over my shoulder, and then told me confidently, "When I am 17, I will go on there and get a really good coach, because I know exactly what to sing."

"Oh really?" I asked. "What will you sing?"

"Well Mummy, I can't tell you today, because I'm not quite a rock star yet!"


Hannah: "Since you can only use one hand today, Mummy, I will help you with the important things! So...how do I make cookies?"


Bethany at 2 am, as I tucked her back into bed after a bad dream: "Mummy, if you ever have a scary dream in the night, you can come wake me up and I will pray for you too, ok?"


Bethany, horrified: "Mummy! What are you doing with my pink frog?!"

Me, sheepish: "Why I am...um...taking him out of this bag of things for Goodwill, of course. Can you believe someone put him in there? Goodness!"

Now she thinks I'm a hero, rather than would-be abductor of pink frogs.


When I come across a paper like this, is it paranoid of me to assume that it is a secret code that means something like, "We have almost made her crack. One more race through the house at top speed while belting out The Twelve Days of Christmas, and we will have her curled up in the fetal position on the kitchen floor. And then all the cookies will be ours, bwahahaha!!!" Anyone?

I asked the girls to move away from our neighbor's side of the duplex while they are playing outside. "Remember," I told them, "she sleeps during the day sometimes."

"Oh yeah," Ashley answered. "But why? Is she hibernating or something?"

"No," cut in Hannah, importantly. "I think she might be a bat!"


Hannah: "You are the prettiest Mummy I have ever had!"

Thanks, sweetie. Pretty sure I'm also the most unfortunate looking one you've ever had, so I won't let it go to my head!


I walked past the girls' bedroom to see Bethany with an arm around each of her sisters. "I love you guys so much," she said tenderly, "that when you die I will come to your funerals."

They all leaned their heads together and my heart began a bittersweet melt, which came to an abrupt halt when Bethany added thoughtfully, "Unless I am swimming. Because that would be more fun."


Ashley: "Mummy, your face is long and skinny, but I love you and you don't look like an alien."

Kids. Great for an ego boost on those days when you wonder if you're looking a little extraterrestrial!


Ashley, praying before dinner: "Thank you that Mummy makes our food and does most of the laundry, even though she doesn't do all of it!"

Yes, I suppose there really is no point in lying to God about the laundry.


Hannah: "Mum, what's an analogy?"

Me: "It's...a comparison of two things that have something in common..."

Hannah: "Oh, like you and cars."

Me: "Excuse me?"

Hannah: "You know, you need coffee and cars need gas. Is that an analogy?"

I don't think I should be proud of this!


Hannah: "What's a preference?"

Ashley: "It's if you want something more than something else. Like -- my preference is to have a pig instead of a chicken!"

Hannah: "But I would never say that, because pigs are muddy."

Ashley: "That's not the point, I'm just trying to teach you something!"

Welcome to my world, sweetheart.


Bethany: "Mummy, let's pretend that you're my mom, but let's pretend that you take care of me..."

My children are clearly going to need therapy.


Part 2 to follow! I am loving laughing my way through these, I had already forgotten most of them. :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Today is the day!

Breaking my blogging fast to announce a very special day! Everyone should be aware of this most exciting occasion, and I do my part annually to spread the word....
November 1st is Starbucks Holiday Cups Day!!!

I realize that our government is lagging shamefully in making today a national holiday, but that never stops me from celebrating on my blog with the proper amount of delight and hoopla! In fact, you can find my initial holiday cups post from 2010 here, and a fun follow up to that post here! Go read them, they will impress upon you the proper level of excitement. ;)
Thank you to my friend Kayley, who continued the fun tradition she began a couple years ago by showing up on my doorstep this morning with my beautiful red cup waiting for me to rejoice over it!
They are really here, people. REVEL in them with me!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Song of Summer

The summer stretched out before us, warm and welcoming
Whispering promises of easy laughter and baseball games and
Grass stains
Of splashing and sinking and finally, triumphantly
Of daring and dreaming and
Of skinned knees and ice cream pleas and
Climbing trees
Of gardens growing and children growing and yet sometimes
When one is overwhelmed by how small one still is
Of needing a safe place to
We reveled in the long, hot days and the languid nights and most of all the
We watched our last baby explore the world with eager
And whether throwing our hands in the air in exuberant
Or joining hands in a sacred sisterly circle of
We danced to the song of summer
Then followed that beautiful season... Summer...
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back in the saddle

I'm just going to jump in and pretend it hasn't been something like three months since my last blog post. If I haven't had time for blogging in all these months, I certainly don't have time for apologies and explanations for not blogging! And this post may consist almost entirely of pictures....
Life has been a wee bit intense so far this summer, and a couple of weeks ago Lamont surprised the girls and I with a family getaway trip to Silver Mountain Resort for some recharging time together. Endless hours in the waterpark, riding the gondola 5 kilometres up the mountain (longest gondola ride in the world, I believe) and back down - twice, hiking, and just hanging out together in our favorite state (Oh Idaho, we may yet move back to you someday). It was amazing and so refreshing. Here follow the aforementioned pictures!

Far away dreams in her curly head as she gazes out of the gondola over the mountains....
A girl after my own heart! Ashley and I couldn't resist this puzzle in the suite.

From high up on the gondola...takes my breath away.

There is a playground at the top of the mountain. Katelyn has fallen in love with swinging lately and swings with this darling mix of very serious, thoughtful faces, and huge happy smiles.

Part monkey!

We went for a short hike on the mountain, about a mile. Most of that time was spent discussing the best course of action if we should happen upon the bears that the girls were certain lurked around every bend in the path.

Hannah apparently ran into a bear! She had no idea what happened to her leg, but was quite proud of this wound.

"Look what God has done! There's poetry in all I see...look what God has done!" ~Jaci Velasquez

Worn out on the way down the mountain and napping on Daddy's chest. A moment before this she was shrieking and giggling with her sisters, and then she just gave in and curled up and was instantly fast asleep. :)

Do they look like they are about to fall asleep?? No? I didn't think so.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Ashley asks out of the blue at the dinner table, "Do animals go to heaven?"
I set my fork down slowly, deliberately. I am frantically thinking the prayer with which all experienced parents are uncomfortably familiar. Please, for the love of all things caffeinated, in the next two seconds give me a brilliant answer that satisfies their curiosity without lying or saying too much!! (Why yes, this prayer does apply to everything from the tooth fairy to the birds and the bees, thank you for asking.)
And then, as I smiled and opened my mouth to improvise an answer that was sure to leave all of my daughters unsatisfied and possibly in tears, I was cut off by this adorable conversation....

Ashley: "Do animals go to heaven?"
Hannah: "Nope."
Bethany: "How do you know?"
Hannah: "Because animals don't have souls, and only souls go to heaven."
Bethany: "I don't want to be sold to heaven!"
Ashley: "But Beth, it's ok to be sold to heaven, because when you get sold to heaven you are really, really expensive. And that's how you know that you are important!"
Hannah: "Am I expensive too?"
Ashley: "Yes, everybody is. Because it costs all of Jesus for us to be sold to heaven, and that is even more expensive than money, so it's like more than even a king or queen could pay."
Bethany: "Because Jesus died. That's how much it costs."
Ashley: "Right."
Bethany: "Why can't animals be sold to heaven too?"
Hannah: "Because they are not expensive enough!"
Bethany: "Oh. I see."
And everyone happily continues eating, completely content with their resolution of the question. Parent-prayer answered! And moments like this, when I get to sit back and watch my children embrace this God-given life with curiosity and intelligence and joy? They never, ever, ever get old.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter weekend pictures

It's been a full month since my last post and I only have a few minutes for the blog today, but I want to at least get some pictures posted from Easter weekend. It's so rare for us to all be in the same picture, and I love this one....

Crazy happy baby!
And here are a few that my mother-in-law took, and I stole from her facebook page. ;) I don't do as well now as I used to with taking pictures of the girls -- I guess my hands are usually full and I just don't seem to have the camera on hand very often. So I'm glad to be able to borrow these ones. Thanks, Mom!

She's seven months old this week. This is my fourth time through and I still don't know how that happens so quickly.

Speaking of growing up, this picture freaked me out a little! Six years old, going on sixteen....

Um...do they look a little bit crazed and terrifying here??

A friend recently told me that Hannah seems like she'll be a queen bee, and I can see it. Watch out for this angelic looking blond head -- she's going to rule something when she grows up!
My favorite picture of the weekend. LOVE this baby girl.

I keep thinking I'm going to write a post about how Ashley has two loose teeth, and how Katelyn just cut her first tooth and is sitting up now, and how my musical rehearsals are going, and how Lamont took an awesome trip all by himself to Salt Lake City to cheer on the Zags in the NCAA tournament (No. Don't talk about that. *sob*), and how school just started back up for me and I think I may have lost my mind to be taking two classes right now, and how it is finally SPRING and I do a happy dance every time I have to put on my sunglasses in the car, and how absolutely incredible life is....

But instead I just crammed all of those things into the longest run-on sentence ever. And I am off!

Friday, March 1, 2013

We're not gonna take it!

We've been laid flat by sickness for weeks on end -- just one cold after another cycling through our family and making us all miserable in endlessly alternating waves. Even poor little Katelyn. :( I have scrubbed everything I can find, disinfected more times than I can count, washed bedding daily for weeks at a time, aired out the house daily no matter how cold it is outside, and kept up our vitamins and lots of veggies and fresh fruit...all apparently to no avail. It has been SO frustrating! My dad gave me some ideas for building up our immune systems better, and in the week since then it does seem like we have improved, so I'm encouraged by that. I would say that as a family, we are probably 85% healthy now (and if you'd been in our house often over the last two months, you would know what a good statistic that really is!). Unfortunately, Katelyn still has this endless runny nose and cough. She is super sweet about it during the day, but has quite a bit of trouble at night, between the congestion and the cough. Last night was...difficult.

So this morning I was curled up in the corner of the couch, reading with Ashley, and I was so tired I kept losing track of what we were reading and staring at the book for several seconds before I could recover it. It wasn't pretty. And I thought, you know what? We are all just so run down, and so tired of fighting sickness and being exhausted. We're snapping at each other for no reason, and we just aren't having fun together. I think we need a break!

I called on the authority of homeschooling moms everywhere and canceled the rest of the day, and took my girls out to have fun. :) We went to the mall, and the girls played in the play area for an hour while Katelyn watched them and shrieked excitedly and waved her arms in the air, and became a bundle of giddiness whenever one of her big sisters ran over to give her a kiss. Then we had lunch in the food court (at the recently added Subway -- yay!), at a super tall table because the girls like sitting on the barstools. And we finished our impromptu day off with an hour or so of shopping (for sneakers and Easter dresses -- not to be worn together!) and picture taking, as the girls decided to pose with all the mannequins they saw. :)

Tall table with tall chairs! Now with 100% more fun than the regular height ones!
Lunchtime at the mall, now with 100% more fun than lunchtime at home!
Ha! Goofballs.
Giant yellow doors -- apparently they were begging for a picture. ;)
Ooh la la!
I caught them in a natural moment, when they were discussing what they wanted to do for their next pose. I love these girlies!
Stop...in the name of love! Or something. ;)
Such a wonderfully fun day, all the more welcome because it started out rough. I'm so glad I get to spend my days with these hilarious little people, who help me make life fun even when we're sick and tired!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Freezing a moment in time

Monday morning...
Peaches and rice cereal, yum! Her current favorite meal.

A moment before this she was singing "Angels We Have Heard On High" as she practiced her L's here in her handwriting book.

Curled up with a book, her most common pose lately.

She's been saving for a new lego set, and yesterday Daddy took her shopping and she chose a fire boat (that really floats!). She started working on it in her pajamas before her eyes were completely open this morning.

Watch your daddy

My precious daughters,

You are so little right now, so entirely captivated by the joys of childhood. It is hard for me to imagine you as young women, grown and lovely and looking eagerly toward romance and marriage! Yet I know that time is coming for each of you, more quickly than I can grasp at this moment. When it comes — when you are beginning relationships and evaluating young men and being swept away in the dizzy excitement of new love — I hope you will remember the things you are learning about men right now, during these years of watching your daddy....

I would love it if you'd click over to read the rest of this post over here at Kindred Grace!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Or a lion!

Ashley sat under the dining room table, all the chairs pulled out to allow her easier access, and halfheartedly pulled her whisk broom along the floor. Her faraway gaze was slightly sullen, as she let her thoughts settle on anything but the much disliked task before her, and I sighed at the realization that this seemed set to be a long, unpleasant experience for both of us.

Suddenly she paused and sat up straight, her whole body arrested by a new thought.

"Mummy!" She said breathlessly, "I just realized something!"

"The verse we just learned in church says that we should keep running the race that has been marked out for us," she explained. (Hebrews 12:1) "And I think that maybe that could be talking about things like sweeping, too! Like, this is the job I've been told to do, so I should keep doing it until it's all finished, and have a good attitude about it, like I'm running an exciting race. Right?!"

And I beamed at her, this sweet and clever little girl, and told her that she was absolutely right, and that I was very proud of her for thinking of that and for taking such a positive approach to her work. How mature she is! I thought to myself. How in tune with what she's learning about the Bible, and about living the way Jesus calls us to! And my mother's ego preened a little as I imagined sharing the moment with my mum later.


Ashley's face beamed up at me again as another thought occurred to her.

"Or I could pretend that a lion is going to eat me if I don't finish sweeping quickly!"

Oh. Well. Or you could do that, definitely. ;-) Goofy girl!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Things I am relearning about having a baby

Once upon a time, we had three babies in two and a half years. I like to say we basically didn't sleep for three years...it really was the most physically draining and exhausting experience of my life. But oh, the skills we learned! We learned how to wake up in the morning and live a normal day after sleeping no longer than an hour and a half at a time the night before. And how to function on a grand total of four hours of sleep a night, for weeks on end. We learned how to do everything with only one hand, while a baby slept or wiggled or cuddled in the other. We learned how to spend all day interpreting cries and coos and shrieks and whimpers, while still talking like (mostly) intelligent adults when speaking with someone over two feet tall.

But then they got older. We started getting more than four or five hours of sleep a night. They started walking on their own, talking with real words (English words!), and generally becoming self-sufficient little people. And when that happened, all those hard earned, bizarre new skills of ours went the way of geography facts and algebraic equations after the tests I used to cram for in high school -- they vanished. Disappeared into our rapidly retreating pasts, into the haze of sleeplessness and desperate coping mechanisms that was the previous three years of our lives. And we were really, really ok with letting them go.

And then four and a half months ago, we had another baby. On the one hand, I cannot believe how much easier it is to have just one baby than it was to have three at various stages of babyhood all at once! (Really. Now I get why people gave us funny looks all the time back then as if they were questioning our sanity. Having three babies at once instead of one at a time is insane.) But on the other hand, it's been a surprisingly tough adjustment for me to have a baby again. I think I was happily used to the independence with our older girls; last summer especially, the girls and I pretty much picked up and went wherever we wanted, and had all kinds of adventures together, and it was easy and fun all the time! I'm really glad that we had that time together, and though we're much more tied down now, I know it's coming again in the future.

In the meantime, I'm relearning how to do life with a baby. And with not enough sleep. ;) Actually, Katelyn is the best sleeper we've had, which is awesome. But even when she's only waking me up once in the night, I've been feeling the decrease in sleep. I...really don't respond well to lack of sleep. My body's ideal amount of sleep per night would be about nine hours, I think, especially since my days are so full of non-stop energy requirements with my four busy girls. Between going to bed late at night (so busy!), getting up early in the mornings (again - so busy!), and being up with Katelyn in the night, I usually get around six hours. And I know that for some people, that would be plenty! I wish it was plenty for me, but sometimes I really struggle with not having more sleep. I am trying to remember that this is another temporary season, and to not lose track of the priceless, precious things about this season with my girls just because I'm a bit sleep deprived! I don't want to just function right now, and to look back on this time later and remember myself stumbling around just frantic to keep up, grumpy, or focused more on surviving than loving.

I'm also figuring out all over again how to do life one-handed! This part is fun, because it means Katelyn is hanging out with me a lot. :) And I know...I know...I have friends reading this going, "Why isn't she using a wrap?!?! Ahhhhhh!!!!!" I love you all, and I think it's awesome that you all love using wraps -- but I don't love them. So there. ;) The other day I made raspberry bars, start to finish, with only one hand. Yes, I have mad skills!

So if you'll excuse me now, I need to go help Ashley paint her ceramic tea set, while making dinner with one hand, as I nurse Katelyn...all in my sleep. ;)