Sunday, August 19, 2012

2012 Everyman Photo Contest

I'm entering again this year :) Remember that momentous year when I actually won an honorable mention??? So exciting :) Would you help me decide by voting now for you two favs? The categories are people/portrait, nature/landscape, black/white, macro/abstract, and travel/architecture. I think I'll either do two entries into people/portrait, or one there and one in nature/landscape. Thoughts? Keep in mind that this is a contest for amateurs and focuses on "capturing a moment", rather than on technical perfection. No post-production editing allowed, outside of adding a b/w filter or basic cropping.

I'm including the titles I intend to label them with-- titles are important in this contest, so feel free to comment on them as well :)

I think he likes me (I can't tell if there's red-eye problems with this one or not, does it show on your monitor?):


Comedy and Tragedy:


I need to choose ONE of these beach pics:

Looking out to sea:


St Augustine Beach Pier:


St Augustine Beach Pier 2:


Can't decide which of these is the best:

Helping Daddy 1:


Helping Daddy 2:


No Title Yet:


No Title Yet 2:


No Title Yet Here, Either:


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Some things from today...

I found an apple in my washer this morning. A whole apple. Or rather, the remains of a whole apple. It was rather... beat up. I took out all the clean, wet laundry and there was this apple rolling around in the bottom of the empty washer. As I wondered at it, I suddenly remembered an incident several days ago...

A clatter of the hamper lid, a thud, a wail from Jamie, "Aaaaapppuh!!"

At the time I'd simply stored it in the back of my mind as more pressing things claimed my attention, but now I stared at the ball of mush at the bottom of the washer and remembered.

The big kids wanted to play without Jamie this morning, so I brought him into the kitchen with me to make muffins. James is a Kitchen Helper. Afterwards I had to mop batter off the floor, counter, walls...etc....

We're swimming. Every time Jamie launches himself from the side, straight into the deep end, and swims to the steps (arms pressed back against his side, legs propeller-ing-- merman-like), head breaching the surface riiight before I jump in to rescue him, chest heaving, lungs sucking for air, grinning cheekily at worried mama and then racing off to the other side to do it again... it takes ten years off my life.

Jamie peed on me this morning and I haven't changed my pants yet, because it seems to be shaping up to be the kind of day where I probably will get peed on again before lunch.

They tell me that some day I will miss all this...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Jamie says "yes"

Jamie has never said the word "yes" before this week. He says "no!" loud and clear, but his term of ascent has always been a slow, deliberate and distinct  "Uh. Huh."-- often accompanied by vigorous head-nodding. When he first began to respond to instruction with a "yes, ma'am", it usually came out more like "Uh hiiiyee, Mama" And when "yes, sir" began to be required, it was, "Uh hiiyeee, Mama, szzir"

But this week, for the first time, he said, "SZES!"


He's growing up.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Just Writing

When you lose something very dear to you-- a person, an idea, a place, an experience, a faith-- it leaves behind (even after "healing) a narrow, deep chasm that you occasionally fall back into. There's no predicting what might precipitate this. A song, a smell, and turn of phrase, an email, a glimpse of someone you think you know in a crowded mall.... Perhaps even simply a quiet evening where your mind, free for the moment from more pressing and immediate concerns, turns a little aside from the daily routines and begins to wander down unfamiliar paths. And then suddenly you find yourself back There. And you feel the ground drop from under your feet and the memories, despair, disappointment come crowding back and the security of daily life and comforts seems hollow, false. And there you are, fingertips clutching at the brink, James Bond-esque.

You might just hang there for a moment, fingers scrabbling at the edge for the solid ground you know was there just a moment ago. You might breathe deeply, smelling the familiar smells of bed and home. You might slowly get a hand, then an elbow-- one, then the other-- up onto your church, your friends, your husband, your beautiful children, the things you still have-- the More, the Now. Now you're on your hands and knees, looking back. Danger passed. You stand up, shake yourself off, square your shoulders, smile, call someone, write an email or a blog post and on you go.

By God's Grace.
Finish the race.

check out the other bloggers just writing with Heather...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Conversation with Jamie

Watching Judah give me a giant hug and then run off, Jamie gives a little grin, "Whheeeet"

"Sweet? Is Judah sweet?"

"Uh huh. Duh-duh whheet." More grins. "Mommy whheet, too?"


"Mommy sweet, huh? Is Jamie sweet, too?"

"NO." Shakes head emphatically. "No enny whheet, too!"

Saturday, August 4, 2012

My morning started with poop and just went downhill from there.

Jamie came into our room at 6:20 yelling "Boh-Boh!!!" which means "potty". J, in a sleep-haze, pulled off the diaper and set him on the baby potty. Responding to Jamie's call, "Oook, Mama!! Oook!" I went to "ook" and discovered that he'd been poopy already and now his entire lower body and the whole baby potty was covered in poop. I threw him in the shower, wiped down the potty and went to get him a bottle of milk.

It was a foreshadowing of things to come.

In between my first cup of coffee and the time I actually sat down to eat my egg, Jamie dumped out the remains of a bag of quinoa all over the kitchen floor. And proceeded to track it all. over. the. house. while I frantically chased him around with a vacuum. While I was vacuuming up the worst of the mess (kitchen), he came running in yelling "Boh-boh!!" again.

"Oh Jamie, you're already wet, see?" (un-snapping the sides of the pull-up and taking it off) "See right here? "You tinkled in the pull-up" (holding the pull-up up in the air so he can see it)




More poop. ON my foot. And the floor. And Jamie.



"Maaaaamaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I CAN'T get the vacuum to go AROUND dis corner!! MAAAAMAAAAA! I NEED YOU!"

"Now is not a good time, Judah. There's poop everywhere!"

Cleaned up the poop, finished vacuuming the quinoa, helped Judah move the vacuum around the corner, started Sofi on her chores and sat down to finally eat breakfast. 9:30 am.

That is my Saturday so far. Surely we can only go up from here... Surely?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Being his mother.

I am a fast person. I move quickly. I move a lot. I talk fast. I think fast-- sometimes around in circles, usually out loud (which can get me in trouble), never very clearly-- but FAST. I flit from task to task, keeping all my balls in the air, keeping the plates spinning. It's who I am. It's what I do.

Sofi is like me. She's always on the move, too. She talks fast, moves fast, constantly looking for the next thing. And we ALL know about Jamie... Right?

And then there's Judah.

Judah is not fast. Judah is Slooooooooooooow. Judah is focused. Judah is obsessive. Judah moves slowly. Judah listens very slowly. Judah talks. very. slowly. Judah thinks deepdeep inside his head and the words take a long. long. time to percolate to the surface. Judah is like a aircraft carrier. Full steam ahead is powerful and effective, but God forbid you try to take a tight turn in one. Maneuverability is not his strong point.

Judah needs predictability. He needs stability. He needs lots of time at home to play and dream and make up stories. He needs me to sit for longlong minutes and listen to his stories. He needs lots of time to sit on my lap, roll his head around on my chest and flail his feet against my shins and burrow his nose into my shoulder and tell me his stories and all the rules to his games and the myriad levels of the "New Judah Plants Versus Zombies Game."

I can give Sofi a list of four tasks, send her off and check back on her later. I can even tell Jamie to "go get a diaper and bring it to Mommy" and he will. If I tell Judah, "Here, take your flip-flops and put them on," five minutes later he'll be sitting on the bedroom floor staring at the ceiling and inventing a new zombie-eating plant made out of flip-flops. "It flip-flops at the zombies, Mama, and den they flopflopflop and they die!"

There are some days (like today, hence this post) when I'm trying to make bread and cinnamon buns for a new neighbor, dress and feed breakfast, get J out the door with a lunch, clean the kitchen and leave for the gym by 9:30. I'm breaking up fights, handing out stickers, mopping up pee (and mopping up pee, and moppinguppeeandmoppinguppeeand...). I'm breaking up more fights. Then I'm sending fighting children outside. And then I'm running out the door to break up more serious fights and then...

I finally realize.

It's not going to happen.

He's fighting with everyone and whining and babytalking because I'm moving too fast. It's too crazy. He can't cope. I'm losing him.

So I have to stop. Give up on the gym. Cuddle that annoying, loveable, precious, obnoxious, tear-stained, dirt-streaked face. I have to look into his eyes, wait for him, listen to him.

Slow. Down.

Some days it's nearly impossible. And I know, too, that he won't always be in the care of someone who's willing to do this for him. Somehow he has to learn to keep up. Somehow my parenting has to transition him from this to something approaching a normal pace of life. My prayer is that it will come with age and maturity. In the meantime, I may not get to the gym very often.

I don't know how else to be his mother.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Seven Scenes


(Pounding on the door accompanied by shouts offstage of "Help, Mama! Open the door!!!" from the child recently sent on a mail errand. Door is wrenched open to reveal said child standing in a maelstrom of junk mail (or rather, make that mail-strom, right? right?) while further tattered pages waft around the yard and up and down the street. Child tosses armful of still more junk mail through the door into what turns out later to be puddle of pee in the hallway and runs to street to retrieve runaway pages. Naked-from-the-waist-down toddler escapes streaker-style into the yard yelling)

Naked Toddler: "Meeee Tooooo!!!!!!!"


(Shirtless child, balanced on the back of the couch, cup in hand. He slings it repeatedly  in a broad, milk-spewing arc while laughing uproariously. His confused response to discipline causes us to realize that he had no idea that milk was actually coming out. Flashback to first five minutes of dinner in which he knocks his cup over twice and also snorts tea out of his nose once.)


"Hep me, Mama?"



(Suspiciously shiny footprints lead from upside-down butter stick wrapper to All. Of. The Everywhere. Forever. Milk-spilling-tea-snorter responsible. Again) 


(Mother rushing to rescue screaming child applies too-swift discipline to seat of (it turns out) innocently helpful pants...)

Screaming Child

"Buh-buh-buuuuut Maaaaahahahamaaaa! I was tryin' to HELP him get out!"


"Weren't you pushing that chair over in front of him to trap him in there??"

Screaming Child

"Nohohooooooo! I was tryin' to pull it outta the WAAAAAAAAYYYYEEEEEEEE so he could get OUUUUUUUUUT!"

(Apologies, hugs, reconciliation ensue)




You know you want this recipe, right??? Say it with me now..)




(Exhausted and brain-dead adults collapsed on couch, wine glasses in hand, staring at the walls. Peaceful, bed-time-ish musics swells as the lights fade and the curtain falls.)