Sunday, August 24, 2014

The thing about parenting

Parenting in our modern world of over-communication is such an art. 

It's kind of like marketing.

We each get to decide what we present to others and sculpt what we want others to think of how we live our lives. 

So we post our pictures of our babies in cute sunglasses....

And we send out the ones of our wee babes "reading" (puh-lease....she's just pausing before she rips out a page, and we all know it).

But somehow we fail to share that moment when we go in to check that everyone is still breathing and we are faced with the fact that not only did we forget to brush....we are actually TRYING to get cavities. 

And the truth is, when I see the occasional honest actually makes me want to go over and give that mom a hug/high five/plate of cookies...because that's what it's like for all of us.

We just need to admit it. And take a big deep breath.

And stop using black and white photo filters to make our lives feel romantic and old-timey.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Summer Garden 2014

I love to garden!!

Some of my favorite pictures of the 2014 garden harvest.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cheesecake, preschool and piggybacks

1. I just ate a slice of frozen turtle cheesecake. And I mean really, truly, totally, frozen. I had to pick it up with my hands and just eat it like it was a slice of pizza or something.

Not really feeling to bad about it.

In fact, I'm thinking wistful thoughts about the other slice....

2. Anna had her first day of Preschool today. She was pretty excited to have papers to show to me and I was pretty excited to grocery shop with only one child.

3. It was a scorching, humid 97 degrees today. So naturally I made a big pot of soup for dinner. Sometimes you just have to deal whatever ingredients are in the refrigerator.

4. We were double booked for "Back to School Night" tonight. Mark went to Megan's. I went to Ethan's and we left the 5 oldest home watching a movie. Aaaand there were two electricians working in the basement.  They are sweet old guys and seem pretty harmless, but I admit that I had a moment when I was driving away that I sent up a little prayer, "Please don't let us end up on the evening news as an example of stupid, irresponsible parents."  Somebody up there is watching out for us.

5. Our electrician gave Anna a piggyback ride today. He is her new favorite person.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

15 years

This has been one of those days that requires a planner....or a phone that chimes 30 minutes before you are scheduled to be somewhere.  The last 16 hours:

6:00 am Wake up boys/ get dressed
6:15 Wake up boys again....say "Seriously guys! I mean it!"
6:30 Wake up the other kids and have scripture study
Jump through dozens of hoops and loops to get everyone dressed, fed, hairdo'ed and backpacked
7:30 take boys to middle school
8:00 take girls to elementary
8:30 Crossfit
9:45 Shower and get dressed while I feel guilty that the littles are watching Bambi downstairs.
Frantically clean the "visible house"
10:45 Pack lunch for little girlies and take them to Julia's
11:00 Anniversary lunchdate with Mark
12:30 Collapse in Julias armchair and let Everly sleep on me for an hour while we chat.
2:00 Chiropractor apt
2:45 Grocery store run for a couple necessities
3:10 Pick up boys
3:20 Back to school for Mat to get his homework...he comes out emptyhanded/says it's online?
3:30 drop off boys at home
3:40 pick up girls
4:00 Mat realizes he needs his notebook afterall, doesn't know his username/password for online textbook
4:10 back to school to beg his way in to get to his always, we are indebted to kind janitors
4:30 take Mat to crossfit
Race home and throw in a pizza and feed all available kids, keep running upstairs to sew patches onto scout uniforms
5:30 drop off Megan, Laney, Anna at gymnastics/ Pick up Mat
Feed now warmish pizza to Mark and Mat....keep racing upstairs to sew on patches
6:30 we all go pick up girls from gymnastics and head to the church for scouts
7:00 shuttle girls into the church and get them changed out of their leotards and into church-appropriate attire
7:15 attend combined Court of Honor/Pack Meeting
8:00 wait for Mark to emerge from a "quick board of review"
9:00 head home
9:20 make scrambled egg whites for Everly...needed lean protein after having a few treats today
9:45 stay up with Mathew, Meg and Ethan while they finish homework

And in other news.....we've been married for 15 whole years!

Mark's surprise for me this morning:

A path of 15 paper hearts.

Each one naming something that makes him think of me.

One of my favorites:

It's hard to beat a little stick figure doing overhead squats and "Gardening" with a blossoming 'd'.

Makes a girl look forward to the next 15 years.

And lunch was fun. It wasn't earth-shattering food, but it was definitely steamy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bedtime and pumpkin rescue

1. Every evening I go out to the pumpkin patch and spray the leaves with a milk and water solution. Google told me that this will help fight the powdery mildew and I'll be danged if I let our first ever pumpkins die without a fight! We want those pumpkins....we want them to live to see Halloween!

2. Tonight our family home evening activity morphed into an ALS ice bucket challenge video shoot. 

3. Everly is sleeping pretty good at night. We are slowly making progress towards her going to sleep on her own and staying asleep through the majority of the night. She has discovered the starlight ladybug and it is turning out to be a lifesaver. She also likes the summertime primary song and the birdie song and the 3 little ducks song. She occasionally asks to "bah bye" (rock a bye) and I am more than happy to oblige. When she is ready to go to sleep, she lays down and reaches her soft little hand through the bars for me to hold....I could die from sweetness overload. 

4. As I was doing laundry today, I had the strongest urge to insist that my kids pick out their favorite 7 outfits, a couple pair of pajamas and let's donate the rest.

5. After Everly fell asleep, I went in to lay by Anna and she was telling me about all of her ideas and adventures and she was lightly stroking my face and hair with her fingers. I loved that. What will I do when they all get big and don't need me to lay by them and I don't get to hear their thoughts on life and listen as they fall asleep and feel their sweet little feet tucked under my legs?

What in the world will I do then?

Monday, August 18, 2014

This and that

I'd like to submit a request to freeze time, please.

I choose "little girls running and holding hands in the setting sun"....thank you.

Or perhaps..."First ever nap without major assistance from Mom".

Let's freeze that.

Maybe "Big brothers make the best pillows".

That'll do just fine.

We can fast forward though "Silly Photos sent to Mark to make him laugh in long boring meetings."

Best we leave that one in the past.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

First day of school

Please....whatever you do, DO NOT smiling aloud in 8th grade.

Unless you don't realize you are in the photo, of course.

(And for the record, he truly does put ketchup on his ketchup)

Mathew's first day.

He also tried to pull the "no smile" nonsense.

But he isn't as hardened as Ethan is in all his 8th graderness.

I coaxed it out of him.

Megan went with her cute flowy peach top and wavy beach hair.


She is going to be in 4th grade...and she was kindergartener about 5 minutes ago, so.....

Laney never disappoints with her poses. 1st grade is gonna rock.

Anna is 3 and incredibly determined to wear this shirt....even though she considers it "too yong." But she agreed to tuck it into her favorite skirt.

All Anna needs is love.

And this blue skirt.

Ever missed her photo op in the morning, so we snuck it in later. The food all over her shirt is evidence of a full and rewarding day :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I'm not saying I don't intend to eat these brussel sprouts. But in all honesty, I am mainly growing them because they are just seriously cool. 

And so aDORable.

Look at those little baby sprouts popping off the big momma trunk! 

A miracle

This afternoon we found a beautiful Swallowtail butterfly in our caterpillar jar.  We left her alone for a few hours so it could dry its wings. 

And then we took her outside. All butterflies seem like girls to me. They are just so pretty and feminine looking. 

Anna was a little disconcerted by the grippiness of her legs.. and then a breeze caught her wings and she flew to the next person.

Laney was also a tad unnerved by the feel of her sitting right on her skin.

And then the butterfly started climbing towards her face and she started laughing hysterically in a "GET HER OFF ME!" sort of way. great is it that she wore her blue butterfly shirt today? It's like Laney and the Swallowtail coordinated their outfits this morning.

And then all of the sudden, her wings were completely dry and she flew off. It made me thankful for the experience the kids had of seeing the miracles of nature and the cycles of life.

Simply beautiful.

Pick two

I came across these photos and I couldn't figure out what it was I was taking a picture of.

Why did I take these random photos of my house?

And then I remembered that I took them and texted them to Mark because I had cleaned so well and it was likely it would not remain in this state long enough for him to see it after work. 

Because this in NOT the way we live. 

We live by this code:

There just comes a time when you have to face facts and let the mopping go....and go.....and go.....

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bunnies in the Mire

Saturday morning: Neighbor Tom shows me that he has 4 baby bunnies trapped in his window well. Somehow I assume responsibility for the wellbeing and rescue of these little ones. We capture two of them with Megan's butterfly net but the other two hop down a sump pump drain out of fear. This leads to many questions from my animal-loving children. "Are they going to DIE mama?"  "Can we lower a carrot down there so they won't be hungry?' "What will happen if they can't get out, mom?" "Can we google it?" "Can we look for a youtube video and find out how to save them?"

I was doubtful that any of these suggestions would bear fruit. Instead we set up a watch to see if we could catch either of them up in the well. That way we would know that they could come up the sump pump drain on their own. To our great relief, we eventually did see them out of the drain....only to jump back down if they saw us move towards them. 

So naturally we rigged up a trap of sorts using a flattened cardboard box and a mop handle. All that was left was for someone to lay ever so still, holding the other end of the mop and wait for the bunny/bunnies to emerge. Then they would quickly tip the cardboard onto the top of the drain and block the escape route. We then catch them with our trusty butterfly net and all would be right with the world. No dead bunnies on our watch.

This would have been the perfect plan if someone had been willing to spend several hours laying completely motionless on their belly outside of Tom's window well. There were no volunteers.

We decided to take care of the two bunnies we already had and check on the other two the next morning. Let's call it Plan B.

Sunday Morning: Mark and I are awakened by the sound of thunder. We had left the two captives in a plastic tote under the Roses of Sharon in the front yard. Drowned bunnies aren't much better that starved bunnies, so we ran out to bring them in and check on the two in the window well. 

We discovered that one bunny had escaped the tote during the night by climbing up a lily stem we placed in there for food. (We are pretty sure they love the lilies....they feast on ours nightly). We were hopeful that he hopped away safely and is happily enjoying its freedom in the wild. 

When we checked on the drain-dwellers, we found that they had indeed emerged in the night and the wind had blown over the box and they couldn't get back down. Eureka! We caught them in short order and put them with the other guy and brought them all in to the house. The kids were still asleep and I didn't want to set them free until they saw them so I placed a dishcloth over the top and duct taped it down. 

Sunday afternoon: I told the kids that "under no circumstances" were they to touch or handle the bunnies. They were not to make loud noises or jostle the tote. We should minimize our contact so they can be released with very little interference from humans. 

So naturally we ended up holding them like babies, petting their sweet little ears, removing several ticks and giving them names. 

Eventually it was time to say goodbye to Tick Tock (that one had a HUGE tick on it's chin...its itty bitty pwecious chin), Chipmunk and Racing Stripes.

We started to walk down the street to release them in the "woods" behind our house, but we ran into all the neighbors and it turned into a large farewell parade.

When the goodbyes were said and we made sure they weren't out in the open, tempting hawks to swoop down for an appetizer, we wandered back and visited with the neighbors in the cul de sac. Which turned into several hours of guitar playing, chatting and bike riding.

I think we succeeded in two things: (neither of which would include saving bunny lives)

1) We got to know our neighbors better and had a lovely evening.

2) We simultaneously confused the neighbor kids and our own kids about our "we can't play on Sunday" rule.

Don't worry. I'm confused too.

The survivors

We didn't know how good we had it last year. 

We were fat with caterpillars. 

We took those little 'pillars for granted, we did.

This year we planted our dill and our parsley and we waited for the caterpillars to show up. We checked everyday and we were disappointed. Nary a caterpillar was to be found. Maybe they found a new place to graze? 

Then one morning I happened to be looking out the kitchen window and I saw a cardinal couple perch on the edge of the garden and they were helping themselves. Plucking our babies off the dill! 

We kept a watchful eye after that and managed to find two and bring them into the safety of our mason jar. 

One will be adopted by the neighbor, Kinzie and we will lovingly watch over our other little refugee.

Curse the cardinals!