Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Just Writing

Older people always say "Enjoy this, enjoy it. It goes by so fast..." and they gaze wistfully off into some fondly remembered past. I try to take it to heart, I really do. But in all the bustle and confusion of temper tantrums and needs and MESS I sometimes forget that someday I, too, will look back wistfully on these days.

And then every once in a while I have a moment...

Our final choir performance was Sunday night. All the anticipation of months of practice and all the thrill and excitement of the Christmas Season all rolled up into one. We sang our way through the annunciation, the angels and the shepherds, the wise men and Baby Jesus in the manger. And then the Junior choir comes up and they sing;

They waited for a king with crown of gold
To save the world as was foretold
A sovereign wise, a ruler bold

But only a baby came...

And as I sat there listening to the voice of my daughter sing out those profound words, with solemn face, perfect pitch and a straight, steady gaze at the audience of over a hundred congregants, I could barely hold back my tears. My little baby girl. She's nine. NINE. How did this happen?

Next year Judah will sing in the Cherub choir for 4-6 year olds. And then before I know it, Sofi will be in the adult choir with me and Judah will be singing with the high-schoolers and it will be Jamie in front of me with perfect poise, no remnant remaining of the toilet-diving, dirt-eating, electric-socket-poking toddler I see before me right now, singing so earnestly,

They waited for a Prince to gain the throne
A Savior sent by God alone
A Lord with kingdom yet unknown

But only a baby came...

And in moments like that I feel myself slowing down, each second an eternity, breathing deeply of the aroma of these days while they are still small. I want to soak it in while I can.

It goes by ohso fast.

Linking (a day late) with Heather for Just Write. Join us!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Teaching him to read.

Judah has always been far more verbal than I expected, being a boy and all. People re-assured me constantly, when he was an infant, not to expect him to talk as early or as fluently as Sofi had, since he was male. But he starting talking even earlier, and he really hasn't stopped since. It's made homeschooling him....interesting. A typical reading lesson, in which we are working our way through a word list of two-syllable words;


Judah: "Cah-mmm-eh--t. Comet. Whassa comet, Mama?"

Me: *explain*

Judah:  "I know what a shooting star is. There's a shooting star in Kipper, Mama. It's the episode where Kipper sees dat dragon. Remember dat, Mama?"

Me: *re-focus*


Every word has to be explained and discussed, definitions given and examples created. In addition, we occasionally  run across a problem with his accent.


Judah: "Pp-UH-pp--EH--t. Puh-pEHt. Mama, wassa puh-pEH-t?"

Me: *explain*

Judah: "Oooooh! PuppIT. Puppit. Hahaha. PuppIT, puppEHt."

And then he'll get obsessed with the different vowel sounds and go on "PuppIT, puppEHt"--ing for quite some time. Also, "HusbAAnd, husbIIInd. HusbAAnd, husbIIIInd. HusbAAAAnd, husbIIInd....(etc.)"

And of course, in addition to all that, he's definitely a boy, despite his linguistic... uh... skills, so there are plenty of interruptions for noises, dramatizations and questions. Today's lessons came to an abrupt halt with:


Judah: "Vvv... AH...M... it. Vomit. Whassat, Mama?"

Me: *explain*

Judah: falls all over the couch, clutching his throat with one hand, while the other hand mimes vomit flowing from his mouth in copious rivers down the couch, all the while making the most graphic gagging sounds imaginable.

Me: may or may not have given up in gales of helpless laughter.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Learning to talk, learning to talk back.

Jamie has learned some new words. He's been walking around the house this morning going, "Duuuuuursh, seeeeeeeeeet, SET!" and then chucking something across the room, or jumping off of something, or hurling himself into my arms. The intonation is perfect, even if the words (ready, set, go!) are a bit... mangled.

Judah, on the other hand, just told me, "Mama, you can't SING while you get me my milk. It will distract you!" And when corrected for his impertinence he responded, "But that's what you tell ME all the time."


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Just Writing

Sometimes this post is hard to write because I sit down in front of this blank screen and I just can't suck in enough Quiet to see if I have ANY thoughts, much less decipher them into anything Post-like. Even stream-of-conscious style is too structured for me some days. So maybe I'll just pretend to write in my diary-- like middle-school, back in the days when my thoughts were my own and marched along to the tunes in my head all day.

Dear Diary, Today we went to the park. Judah wore his Batman cape and his Green Thing mask because Kate got a pink cape and Supergirl shirt for her birthday and we made her a pink, sparkly mask to match. 

They play together so well these days. It wasn't always like that. There's more talking and less screaming, more playing and less tattling. That's good. Judah still has so much trouble talking. His words get all mixed up somewhere between his brain and his mouth and more often then not a waaaaail comes out, rather than actual Words. He gets frustrated easily with his inability to have an affect on his world-- no one listens to him, no one pays attention, he thinks.

"Use words, Judah. Stop whining and crying and use Words." 

Kate is a picture of independent Girlhood in her pink and superhero and sparkles. Flashing that lopsided smile. They say that asymmetry is attractive in the female face. I read an article that analyzed the features of some A-list celebrities and some of them are down-right CROOKED. Beautiful Kate and her mis-matched front teeth, flitting around the playground like a fairy-sprite-elf-child are a perfect example of that.

 Jamie is so Not-SofiandJudah. It's like starting over again with the whole parenting thing. He and Nicholas were playing on the slide and Nicholas fell over into him and he toppled off the edge of the slide right onto the back of his head. Baby dominoes. Not a game I recommend. I ran and scooped him up as he wailed and clutched his B. But he struggled and shoved me away after about 30 seconds, legs wiggling frantically to be free and off on his own again. Once he decides to give up nursing, I may never see him again. Why do the last babies always grow up the fastest?

Slow down, already. I need to breathe for a minute.

linking up at the EO, for Just Write again.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I got my heart broke today

I took the boys to the store this morning. They both needed various articles of warm clothing, because now that it's almost Christmas we're finally getting some chilly weather :) This particular consignment store has a nifty little play-place for the kiddoes to hang out while I shop. Another little girl was in there with the two boys and, as you might expect, I had to intervene to keep the peace a few times. The little girl's grandmother (I assume the older woman who brought her in was her grandmother) pretty much stared and ignored the little squabbles, tossing an occasional, token "Share with the little boy, Girlie." Oh well. No biggie. It's not like it's the first time we've run across other parents who don't make their kids behave in public places. I can cope with that.

But as we were leaving, things took a harsher turn. The little girl whined to get out. Grandma grabbed her arm and hauled her out over the wall and set her in the stroller. She stubbornly stood, refusing to sit on command.

"Siddown right now!"

*silent defiance*


*more silence, more defiance*

"If you don't siddown right now, I'm gonna hit you. You want me to hit you? I'll hit you. I don't care. You better sit down. RIGHT. NOW."

I can hardly describe the pure mean-ness of the tone of voice, or the effect of those words on my heart. Hearing such harsh ugliness come out of the mouth of an otherwise kindly -looking, grandmotherly woman was chilling-- along the lines of those horror movies where the kid or baby is possessed, or something. Evil spewing out of something you expected to be innocent and good. White-washed sepulchers.

It also made me so very more conscious and careful how my words come out to my own children. Am I disciplining and correcting in LOVE? So, so important. This is an important verse for me to remember as I go about instructing my children by the grace, and through the wisdom of my Heavenly Father.

James 3:17
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

It is significant to me that "unwavering" is at the very tail end of that list. It's an important part of parenting, but it comes after purity, peace, gentleness, reason, mercy and good fruit. I tend to reverse that all too often. I start out unwavering; bossing my children around without proper consideration of their needs, venting my stress and frustration with their slow-ness and childish behaviors.

But I need to reverse that. First, what is my motive in this situation? Is my heart pure right now? Or am I rushing, worried and stressy? Am I promoting peace in this situation? Or am I just escalating the conflict between us with my own bad attitudes. Is my voice gentle and reasonable? Or am I just being bossy and unnecessarily harsh. Am I showing mercy to my child? Or am I insisting on my "just" pound of flesh. And finally, is good fruit being produced in the life of my child?

And after I get the right answers to all those questions, then I can go ahead and unwaveringly require obedience, respect and right behavior from my child. And finally, I need to be sure (oh so sure) that my motives for all this are for the benefit of my child and not to make myself look like a good parent. Children can sniff out even the barest whiff of hypocrisy. They're like little Pride Bloodhounds. And just when you're the most determined to make a good impression, they will throw a hissy fit in the middle of Taco Bell. Screaming and throwing their burrito across the dining room in a rage, and generally behaving like a Holy Terror.

Ask me how I know this.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

note to self:

In future, remember that it is not possible to UNDERestimate the amount of work you will get done on a single day. For example, it is highly doubtful that you could have actually cleaned the house, purchased a Christmas tree, set it up, decorated it and the entire house with ornaments and what-nots unpacked from the attic, made several wreaths, and also put all the lights up outside the house. Particularly not that last one. Especially not on the day Jamie learns to do this:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just Writing

swish-swoosh.  the bright blue velvety swath floats down onto the floor. 

whooosh, smooth out all the creases, ease the seams into line

zzzzsnip, zzzsnip the sharp blades even up the ragged edges of the hem. 

snap out the brocade, the sparkly gold threads woven into a story of flowers and leaves, pink, purple, green and gold wandering up and down the turquoise field. Match the edges up again and draw the cutting line-- pen marks dash-dash-dash along the curving arc, the elegant sweep of a train. 


I'm making Sofi a dress. A medieval gown to wear on her field trip on Friday. As I finger the satins, the brocades and faux furs, the beading and cording and gold chain, I sense the excitement of the urge to create Beauty. To take all this treasure, swirl it around in my magic chamber and pull out a dress of such craft that when she puts it on, she will be transformed into a Lady.

 I've done this so many times before, and I never get tired of it.


My grandfather taught my mother to sew in his upholstery shop when she was a child. She worked for him in the summers sometimes. In college, she made costumes for the drama department (her drama department). When I was eight, she helped me make my first dress. It was green with little white flowers on it. I put it on and I felt pretty. And grown-up. And I also felt that first stirring of the joy of using my own hands to create something beautiful. That is a significant feeling for an eight-year-old.

My mother taught me to sew, one of the many wonderful gifts she gave me. She taught me to make dresses and slack and blouses and hats and baby clothes and towels and table cloths. But. She also taught my sisters and me to make Costumes. She taught us how to take a drawing, the beginnings of a dream of an evening of beauty and joy, and turn it into a reality. She took us to the fabric shop and we bought satins, brocades and faux furs, beading and cording and gold chain, feathers and pearls and diamonds. We took them home to our magic chamber, swirled them around and pulled out dress after dress after dress of such craft that when we put them on, we were transformed....


OH! It was such FUN!


linking up with Heather, from The Extraordinary Ordinary, for this week's Just Write.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Real Thing

I'm sitting here trying to wrap up an emotional, moving post I started last night about how thankful I am for my beautiful children and how our years of infertility have intensified my appreciation of the small things (like Jamie and Judah wrestling on the floor in the before-breakfast mornings), but Jamie is circling my feet, whining and screeching. He wants my oatmeal; I'm blogging while I eat breakfast because multi-tasking: it's a mommy's best friend. Also, because I feel less guilty about writing when the boys want me if I'm also eating-- which, you know, is one of those necessary luxuries to which I treat myself. Occasionally.

So. Emotional post, wrapping up, Jamie screeching for oatmeal. I pick him up to my lap, desperately pecking the keyboard with one hand while I try to fend him off my oatmeal with the other. Disatisfied with my continued lack of attention to him, he pitches his binky right. into. my. coffee.


The emotional, moving post about how much I love my children is filed in the drafts folder to finish "Later" so I can go clean up my coffee and actually Love My Children. Right now I'm writing while locked in the bathroom (one of the few doors Jamie hasn't figured out how to open yet) and the boys are taking turns banging on the door and screeching (Jamie) and complaining about a bumped head (Judah), and my back is starting to hurt from bending over the counter at an awkward angle to type.

And so another day begins.

I'm linking up for another morning of "Just Write" with Heather at the EO.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just Writing

Some mornings I feel like I would sell my soul for another hour of sleep. But the children always wake with boundless energy and they drag my weary soul, reluctantly, grouchily, out into the light of their wide-eyed love for life. There is no defense against the joy of two boys playing with a plastic walrus in the shower. Their bow-legged, sway-backed, pot-bellied selves make me smile through the haze of a 5:00 wake-up call. They have only one volume setting and it's Last Trumpet loud

Jamie is learning animal sounds, but right now everything growls. Lions, dogs, kitties, pigs, walruses...


He also eats soap.

And now we've run out of hot water and so my precious few minutes to blog and think and re-group and try to catch up with my life is done. My main goal is to feed, clothe, protect and love. Anything else I get done is a bonus.

We're doing good! it's my third week linking in with The Extraordinary Ordinary and Heather's Just Write project.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Talkin' to Gramma Sandy

(Sandy, sorry it took me so long to get this up for you!)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Apparently it's a sleepy day...






From Judah, for Violet

Hey Violet! Have you read THIS Mr Putter and Tabby book yet??? It's my FAVORITE!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Just Writing

When I first started this blog, way back when, my life seemed small and manageable. I was busy, sure, but busy with small things. Busy with one child and one infant, busy with a small house and a postage stamp yard, busy with a few good friends and family only a few hours away. Our life was quiet, orderly, predictable, malleable.

I must admit the possibility that at the time it did not feel this way, it's perhaps just the looking back that makes it seem so.

Back then I had time to write. I wrote, I read, I commented. I also crafted, baked, gardened, taught, babysat and other things.

Today, I feel like my life has gotten BIGBIG. There's a pre-teen, a child and a toddler in my house now. They are busy. They are loud. They each have a life of their own. There are five lives in my house now. My big house, my big yard, my big van. Our trees are big, too-- and now there are four trees, instead of two. And then there's a pool...

Even our city is big. Our friends are here, there, across-over-there and our family is farfar away.

I feel a bit stretched out. A bit thin.

"Like butter spread over too much bread."

Now all my time is taken up in just being. Getting from here to there. Feed, clean up. Feed, clean up. Laundry.

I miss blogging. It was my chance to make a little mark on the world. Something that would still be here, just like this, in the morning. Not used up, not dirty-again-already, not eaten. I need that back again.

Linking up with The EO for Just Write again.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Some Happy for your Saturday

Jamie (along with all the rest of us) has been sicksicksick all week. But today I think he's finally turned the corner and is getting back to his normal, happy self :)


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oh, my heart...

I saw a shadow of my young self this morning...

Long-legged, a little awkwardly confident, a little sassy. Her thick golden-brown braid thumps heavily against her shoulders, fly-away hairs trapped, for the moment, under a red headband. Tall, straight, her skirt a bit too short and snug as to waistband-- time to buy new uniforms. Again. She fills a hot pink coffee mug with ice water, slings her hot purple backpack over her shoulder, "Sign this, Mama!" And she glides off gracefully into the early morning.

Late, of course.

What else? You're mine, after all.

But I don't remember giving you permission to grow up...

Linking up with Just Write for this Tuesday. I habit I hope to continue...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Jamie, One Year Old (the Break-Your-Mama's-Heart-Edition)

Jamie got his first haircut the week after his first birthday. It's like that buzzer just shaved all the Baby off him and left a Judah Mini-Me in it's place.

I got so many adorable pics of the two of them playing in the yard the other day, I just couldn't choose which ones to post. So I just put 'em all up :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fall Break

When we have a nice, slow, lazy morning, we tend to fore-go breakfast till at least 8:30. Instead we opt for a quick glass of milk and lots of playing Spiderman with the big brother...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Strange things in my grocery store.

On of the local produce places I frequent here in Orlando carries some really exotic tropical fruits and veggies. I have never in my life seen such strange looking food... It makes me feel like I'm stuck in a Sci-Fi novel. Have any of y'all ever seen, or do you know how to cook any of these?

(some of them I haven't labeled, because between the time I first started this post and now, I've forgotten what they were... :P )

Tuna Fruit:



Tamarind in the shell:





June Plums:


Dragon Fruit:


Dragon fruit, cut open:



Celery root:



Bitter Melon:



And this last one is truly the star of the show, because what you cannot see in this picture is the really terrifying nature of this "fruit". The thing is at least twice the size of your average watermelon and all those little spiky thing are SHARP! Who would eat a fruit that looks like it is only a few short steps away from mutating into a malignant life form???!!!