Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Report

Abe had to fill out a little paper on a biography he just read for school. He was fairly thorough and answered all the questions well, but it was his response to the final question that I enjoyed the most. I loved that he wouldn't be so harsh as to say it was 100% completely boring, but that he would have to admit that it was: slightly boring. I know how he feels. I've read many a slightly boring book myself.Speaking of Abe. I was experimenting -- trying to get a picture with one person clear and the other blurry. I didn't get him as blurry as I would have liked, but I love his background boy poses. Nice moves, Abe.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kind Goldie, A Sad Little Girl, and a Bike

This morning I got the kids to school right as the bell was about to ring. A number of last minute parents were dropping kids off by the doors, so I pulled over and let my kids out a little ways below the doors. As I pulled back into traffic and began to drive off, I noticed that, while Abe and Daisy (whose classrooms are much farther away than Goldie's) had hurriedly ran in, Goldie was still standing out there.

She was talking to a little girl who was standing with a bike. I assumed it was a girl from her class and that she was waiting to go in with her. Still, knowing she was almost late, I pulled back over and called, "Goldie! Is everything OK?" I was about to then shout for her to hurry into class, but at that moment the small girl with the bike looked up revealing a sadly tear stained little face.

"She doesn't know where to put her bike," Goldie informed me.

I quickly assured the girl she didn't need to worry -- that we would help her find where the bikes go, but just to wait with Goldie while I found somewhere to park. That, and unloading my pajama clad barefoot little ones took a minute, but before long we were with her. She looked so small and so sad. As I reassured her, it occurred to me that I actually had no idea where the bikes went either, and by this point nearly everyone was in the school. Goldie told me she thought they were supposed to be parked behind the school at the edge of the playground. That seemed a ridiculously long way away, but I asked the only other lone lady I could find still out there, and she said that was right.

Anyway, I sent Goldie into class and Penny, Jesse and I walked with the little girl back to the bike racks. I asked her if it was her first day riding her bike all by herself and told her how cool that was -- especially when she told me how much of it was uphill. By the time we got her bike chained in, she seemed mostly happy with only a few tiny tear streaks left on her cheeks. I asked her if she knew how to get to her class from there and asked if she wanted me to come in and talk to her teacher to explain why she was late, but she seemed to think she was fine now.

As we made our way back to our parked car, I suddenly got all choked up and kept almost crying. I don't know why. Like I said, I am sure she was fine and will likely have forgotten about her little moment of trauma before school is even out, but I felt like crying all the same. Maybe it was because I could relate so well. I could see me as that same little girl -- so nervous about something so little. I felt grateful that I had been such a wimpy kid myself so that I could understand perfectly why not knowing where to put your bike would be a reason to cry.

Or maybe it was more because of my own kids. Because I always want to be there for them in case they are sad or worried. Once or twice they have had similar experiences in school, and, even though they turned out alright, I hated to know that they were standing there afraid and bordering on tears and I was just at home -- clueless as to their problem. I remember how nervous Abe was for Kindergarten -- worried about every possible thing. In an effort to help him, we wrote down all of his questions -- what to do if he needed to go to the bathroom, what to do in the lunchroom, how to know recess was over, etc. etc. And Mike took Abe and his list to the teacher.

Still, you can't plan for every eventuality. I pictured that little girl's mom getting her ready for today -- school has been in for a couple weeks, and now her little girl was excited to try and ride her bike there all on her own. She had her helmet on. She'd clearly practiced getting the lock on and off. Maybe even done a practice run to make sure of the route. Everything was all set, only in the excitement, no one had stopped to think about what you do with the bike once you got to school. I can just picture her getting there -- so proud she'd made it, and then the realization that she didn't know what to do now -- and her mom wasn't there to ask. The kids who were running about at the time were nearly all running off into the school now and there she stood -- small and unnoticeable -- not knowing what to do. I don't know why it made me feel so emotional. It just did.

I'm so glad we were running late this morning. Also, I am so proud of this Goldie girl of mine. I would rather my kids be kind than maybe anything else, and it makes me so happy that she noticed this girl who she didn't even know and stopped to check on her. I am certain I would have taken no notice of her if Goldie hadn't stopped.
Some of my kids would never have a situation like this bother them. They'd simply set the bike down and run in to ask a teacher. But maybe that's why it made me feel sad. It was just so small -- so not a big deal, and yet, a very big and scary deal to that one little girl. It reminded me of how tiny and innocent and vulnerable these little people are and it made me cry to think of ever not being there to quickly set such little troubles right.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cake and Cookies

Today Jesse was running through the kitchen -- his little feet pit patting quickly along as they do -- when I heard his little voice half sing half yell almost as if it was one word, "Cookie cookie cake cake cake. More cake! More cake!" We didn't actually have cookies or cake around at that moment, but I loved knowing what was going through his little head as he ran about. In slight saddish news -- Jesse has replaced the use of "coggys" and "gamey" with "monkey" and "blanky."

BUT, moving on, here are two pictures Daisy recently took. I thought there was something cool looking about the color of the sky and Abe flying up in it in this first one:Also, here is a picture she took of me a Sunday or two ago on my "Other Birthday." I don't know how often other birthdays come around. This was my first. Mike had let me sleep in that morning. When I came out the kids had covered the kitchen with pictures for me. "Tell Mom what today is," Mike said. Goldie and Daisy ran to me and exclaimed, "It's your Other Birthday!" And then Penny promptly began to sob because she had wanted to be the one to tell me. Anyway, Goldie got me breakfast and there were a few little spur of the moment hand made gifts. Through out the day, Mike would occasionally tell me to go relax while he did things that needed doing saying, "You just relax. After all, it is your other birthday." And, as you can see, there was even a cake. I don't know what prompted it, but it was A-OK with me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

For the Birds

The other day Mike heard a thunk against the window. He went to investigate and found a little bird lying on the ground. He wrapped it in something and set it in the garage because -- maybe it was dead, or maybe it was just stunned and needed a moment to recuperate before being ready to fly off again.

At this small act of kindness I simply bit my lip and remained quiet because it so happened that that was about the third "thunk" I'd heard in as many days and it had never once occurred to me to go check on the state of the little fellas (although, I did think hopeful thoughts for them).

Mike's act of kindness proved sadly needless. When I went into the garage the next day there was the dead bird. Dead as could be. I had forgotten about the sad little thing and it gave me quite a start. I think I may have jumped and thrown my hand to my chest and gave a panicy intake of breath. Then I plead with Mike to do something about the dead bird sitting in our garage.

"I will," he said, "it just seems like now that I brought it in I ought to give it a proper burial."

I left it at that (uncomfortably -- because who likes to think there are dead birds just sitting in their garage??), but when nothing happened by the next day, I broke my silence about all the other birds that had been hitting our windows of late and told Mike that if he planned on burying that one, he may as well gather up all the other dead birds around our yard so they could likewise have proper Christian burials.

He realized the fruitlessness of having mercy on these birds all too quickly when he managed to hear several other bird/window collisions himself over the next day or so. He then adopted a less sentimental approach towards the creatures. On Saturday morning we were lying in bed laughing about the oddness of our bird situation when he informed me that he was going to head off to some gardening or hardware stores that day to see about procuring himself a bird rake. Then, after a few moments of mulling that over, he said, "Or maybe just a bird mulcher."

Somehow it came up again yesterday and thinking shudderingly of someone having no problem with a dead bird in their garage, I sadly questioned, "What are you going to do if something happens to me . . ." but before I could continue he said, "I'll just put you in the garage too."

My husband. He's trouble.(A little picture I found on Daisy's camera -- apparently Mike and I aren't the only ones noticing all the birds around here . . . hopefully we are the only ones noticing all the dead ones . . .).

P.S. Oh, yes, about all the birds. Surely you are wondering, "Why on earth so many birds hitting your windows all of the time?" Well, I would like to say it is because they are so sparkly clean. Alas, it is not that. I have only cleaned the tall outer windows ONE TIME in our nearly two years here. (Oops. Should I have not admitted that?). Mike and I have been speculating it might have to do with our chickens. Nearly every day when we throw feed out to them, we get a small flock of other tiny birds who are eager to sweep in and get their share. Maybe the sheer number of extra birds means an increased frequency in window crashes, or maybe chicken feed gives non-chicken foul poor navigational skills or bird drunken like behavior? I don't know. Maybe a bunch of birds are just migrating right now and we are right in their southward path. Again, I don't know. I simply know that a bird hits our window pretty much every single day lately and it seemed like I ought to post about it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday? Friday? Where are you?

I've been remiss. No Friday moment. Booo. Friday was the last day of my week of moments. It should have gone out with a bang. The thing is, I didn't take a picture of anything all day long. Not ONE moment of picture taking. Still, to be true to my plan, I will try to recreate a moment that could have been photographed -- were someone there to photograph it.

Friday Moment: Nancy's arms are very weak.

Mike's cousin Blaire is here from out of town this week. Somehow the two of us got to talking about work outs and the like. I was telling her that I could see myself enjoying lifting weights, etc. more. Don't get me wrong. I don't want to be a body builder for crying out loud. But, I think I'd enjoy learning how to work my muscles more. I'd enjoy becoming . . . I don't know . . . stronger. (You should see me when Mike needs me to help lift something around here. I nearly start to weep I hate it so bad. Badly?).

Anyway, turns out Blaire has gotten very into lifting, so she took me with her to the gym Friday night after Mike got home to have me do one of her lifting routines with her. I felt like I was holding my own for a few minutes, but then . . . I wasn't holding my own. It mostly started with the push ups. After about one second my face looked like the face I drew in the picture below (only much more red . . . and sort of shaking). I don't think Blaire really believed I could be as weak as I was. She kept showing me different tricks to make it work better -- thinking I could surely do a few more if I just got the proper technique down. Unfortunately changing my form was absolutely not going to get me one bit further. We mostly did upper body on this work out though, and I fancy my lower half might have done me a little more proud. Running really doesn't do much for your arms. Anyway, I quite liked it -- sissy as I was. It felt good.And, for neglecting Friday, I will add two extra moments from the past week that didn't end up in any of my posts.

Extra moment ONE: Goodbye to our little cart and TV.

Well, not GOODBYE goodbye. They are just going to the basement for now. But we have had this little 19 inch TV and its tiny little rolling cart for our near 11 years of marriage. Mike found a steal on a used armoire the other day, and we got a new more normal sized television to go in it. As Mike took this old TV out of the way, I told him that it was a momentous occasion. There is something very sentimental about the belongings from our first early poor days of marriage. Mike going to school full time and working delivering pizzas and the like while I had already quit working to be home with Abe and Daisy. Plus, this particular TV has a little extra meaning because Mike waited out all night before a store's grand opening when we were engaged because the first ten customers got a television for one dollar. And, there was a time when we really needed that cart because our apartment was so tiny that there was no counter space whatsoever for a microwave or about anything for that matter. We had to take the doors off a closet in our "living room" to put Abe's crib in because there was no place else for it to fit. Anyway, this little set up that has looked so sadly out of place in our current home of ultra high ceilings, reminds me of those times, so I'm quite attached to it.Extra moment TWO: Goldie reads to Penny.

It is not always that Penny will just let anyone serve her needs. Sometimes (well, often times) she will absolutely refuse help from anyone but mom. BUT, when she does let her older siblings be of help to her -- getting her a cup of milk, helping her out of her crib, reading to her, etc., well, it is very nice for me, and also just very cute. Look at those girls.Well. That's that. The end of this week of stuff. I don't know what that means exactly or where that leaves us. I guess just back to hoping that all on my own little schedule I am inspired to be sentimental or clever or interesting. Ha. As if THAT could happen. Then again . . . maybe it will . . . time will tell. Time will tell.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Q: Thursday's Moment?

A: Rain.(It's not really crazy windy. Penny's poor umbrella has just seen much better days -- it's pretty much permanently stuck like that).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Geez Wednesday is spelled weird.

Nevertheless, and without further delay, Wednesday's moment: a Strange but Not Surprising Moment with the Boy Child Jesse.

First off, I really love these little trouble seeking feet. Except for about the first five minutes after a bath, they are always a bit scuffed and dirty on the bottom. My very favorite way of seeing them is when they are stretched their very uttermost on tip toes trying to reach something. I've told you how he occasionally stops to say, "Hi," to his feet -- perhaps he thinks they deserve some recognition for carrying him about all the places he needs gettin.' He does put a lot of demands on them. I must agree about them deserving recognition because I don't think a day goes by with out me kissing them and saying hi to them as well.Only, here's what they were doing just now -- dragging our stool to the microwave so they could climb little Jesse up; thereby allowing him to . . .
That's right. Cook a nectarine. When I heard the microwave going I came running, but he'd stopped it already himself. I guess to check on how his little meal was coming. (Notice that the nectarine already has a few test bites taken out of it. Also notice the sticker is still on -- which means it was neither washed nor given to him. Also notice the missing little turn table? Yes, that's out on purpose. You would take it out too if Jesse was your son).

Mmmm. Warm nectarine.
P.S. I left to take Abe to violin tonight and warned Mike about the extra amount of chair and stool dragging that Jesse was doing to enable mischief today. When I came home Mike told me that Jesse did indeed drag chairs to forbidden destinations, but was always stopped from further action simply by the look Mike gave him. Sheesh. My "look" doesn't pause him for even a second!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Little Moment from Tuesday

I really like Tuesday. Not the day so much as the word -- so much so that I even considered naming a girl that. It seemed though like she'd need to be born on a Tuesday, and that never happened (which is just as well because, my goodness I've given my girls cute names). BUT, that has nothing to do with anything. SO, let's move right along to today. This capturing moments business is getting out of hand. I only captured one moment today -- just minutes ago, when I realized I had an "assignment due" and a day almost already done with.
Tuesday's moment: Daisy does Homework.
I was very happy that I did that half year of home school with Abe and Daisy for many reasons, but one big reason was that I became familiar with how math is done for young kids these days. You know, fact families and regrouping and the like. Forget the old days of "borrowing" and "carrying the one." Anyway, it has been a nice thing for me to understand the math lingo and approach as my kids have continued in school. Nice til NOW, that is. We got a note today (along with Daisy's math homework) explaining how the school or district or some such has adopted a completely new math system. Ay yi yi. Maybe it's good. I guess it's supposed to help them see the break down of numbers more clearly, etc. And, Daisy is happily adding and subtracting numbers in the thousands like they are old best friends.
I had her show me a little of how they were doing it tonight and it was all very confusing. I don't have a grasp on it at all. Daisy, I have noticed, has quite a talent for math. Luckily, she's just all around bright, but, it has been particularly surprising for me to see how simple and easy math is for her. I realize that is a tremendous blessing, both for me and her, but I also am not laboring under some notion that everything will always be easy for my kids. I imagine I might very well have a little one who, at some point, will really struggle with school or the concepts behind certain subjects. I'm fine with that. Everyone gets tired of Chtistmas cards (and blog posts like this one) about how smart everyone else's kids are anyway. What I'm less fine with is that by even third grade I may be completely ill suited when it comes to helping them with it! How can I help a future struggling third grader when I can't understand what on earth third graders are doing myself?
I was telling this to Daisy -- how it was a blessing she was so gifted with math, but how it would be tricky if one of her siblings had a harder time with it and I didn't understand it myself well enough to help them. She simply shrugged and said, "Well I could just help them."
Well. What an obvious answer, but it is like the shock I felt when Abe was out shoveling the driveway. I am still so used to taking care of the needs of so many little ones, that them becoming slightly self sufficient is incredible enough, but the real possibility of them doing very grown up helpful things is . . . well . . . very amazingly wonderful. And not just, "Hooray! More help!" But just the wonder of them becoming their complete own selves who can do such mature things is all quite miraculous to me.

Monday's Moment

(Brought to you by: Grandpa's Farm). "Ohhhh, we're on our way, we're on our way, on our way to grandpa's farm. We're on our way, we're on our way, on our way to grandpa's farm." That's a real little song by the way. My kids have it on a little CD of theirs. I wish you all knew it so you could have sung along with the proper melody as you read. Anyway, yes, Monday's moment is brought to you by grandpa Al's farm. Monday, as you know, was a holiday, so we headed off with a number of Mike's siblings and their kids to some land his parents own not far from here. The weather was perfect. They canoed, kayaked, rode 4-wheelers, motorcycles and the tractor, shot BB guns and bows and arrows, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, looked for frogs, swung on rope swings, and simply had some good old fashioned messy fun. I thought these daily moments would turn out more ordinary. Instead, they are more like extraordinary!

Here Abe shoots an arrow like a pro.
Jesse tries to make a break for it and ride to freedom on a small motorcycle.Out on grandpa's pond (this is also where the many frog sightings occurred).
A bunch of grand kids 4-wheeling with grandpa (yes, we follow the "safety first" motto in all we do).
Mike's sister Kimberly with her kids on the canoe (also Penny behind and Mike's arm doing some paddling -- Mike handles a canoe with perfect grace and skill I should add).
Niece Tori showing off how tasty her s'more is.
Nephew Aaron on grandpa's tractor.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday's Moments

Moment One: The girls spending Sunday morning in the bathroom practicing hairstyles on their big crazy barbie heads. Jesse sneaking off with their barbie blow dryer. Moment Two: Sunday dinner at my parents' house. Niece Ryleigh just returned last week from several months volunteering in Thailand. Here she is telling us about some of her crazy experiences.Mom and Dad. My mom asking Ryleigh to elaborate on something.Ry's dad (my brother Tony) listening in the background.The good doctor. Brother John and wife Missy listening to Ryleigh's tales.
The end of this installment of one week of daily somethings.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Just for Kicks . . .

and maybe to inspire myself with ideas for blogging material (as I feel a little dried up in that department of late), I am going to post a picture (or a few pictures as the case may be) of a random thing, person, or little happening from each day for the next week. Maybe something very exciting will come of it. More likely lots of very ordinary somethings will come from it, but that's alright. At least they will be ordinary somethings that will now be kept and remembered when they would otherwise have been forgotten. Good idea, maybe? Who knows. We'll see.

Anywho, on with today. Saturday's little moment: A good dad moment.

The girls were very grumpy today. Abe got to go with a friend's family to the local swim complex while they were left here with absolutely NOTHING to do. NOTHING, I say because if you think painting rocks or getting out the sissy kid pool and some sprinklers cuts it when Abe is off swimming, well, you're quite wrong (as was I when I suggested those things). I wasn't being as sympathetic as I might have been, luckily, Mike suggested the two of them come with him to look for cheap books at the D.I. and then have a chocolate cake party. "Where are you going to get chocolate cake?" I asked, "At the store," Mike assured them, and so they did.
Here Mike is reading the free newspaper I got when someone tried unsuccessfully to get me to sign up for the paper at the store (but gave me a free one anyway). Notice the lovely chocolate cake for the chocolate cake party at his elbow. I love the contrast of that oh so feminine little cake next to my so obviously not feminine in any way husband.I guess the girls needed ice cream as well.
There. Day one of picture posts complete.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


This boy. Darn him. Half the day I am not sure if he has me laughing or crying.Remember how Penny began calling him Jessy cub? Somehow that has now just become Cubby. Mike doesn't think it is manly enough, but Cubby's not a man, he's just a little boy. A little cute trouble making boy.It's good to have a number of kids because it humbles you and teaches you that . . . well . . . you don't really know anything at all about raising kids. For example, when you have one or two or even four kids who love to be read to and never throw their food on the floor, you kind of think you know a thing or two about raising studios little kids who . . . don't throw their food on the floor. To keep you from a know-it-all attitude, it is then good for you to have another kid who sometimes will humor you a bit with your silly book reading shenanigans, but will also sometimes yell, "NO!" and run away at top speed when you try to read a book to him and who, despite all your best efforts of discipline and positive reinforcement and slight temper losses and watchful eyes, will continue, each and every meal to hurl his unfinished portions all over the floor. He will also manage to sneak into your master bathroom at least once a day to make a mess of most of your little eye make-up compacts. And when he speaks he may use a fair amount of cool words that only you actually understand (heaven knows how sad he will be if I'm not here and someone else doesn't know that soosoo is cereal -- which it so obviously is). Luckily, his siblings all seem to understand him with out a seconds thought. Like when he called, "Penny! Coco!" today and she knowingly got him the toy baby stroller to push around (and remember how "monkey" is "coggys"?). He will also do all sorts of crazy little boy things that you didn't really think your kids did -- like catch live flies and bring them to you.But, the nice thing about realizing you don't really know anything about shaping or raising your little kids according to a set pattern is that you realize you don't really need to know all you thought you knew. Your kid who is not one bit conforming to your preplanned 21 month old conduct is turning out pretty darn cool all on his own. (Side note: my favorite thing about this picture is not me sleeping or Jesse hanging out with me while I do . . . it is the feet of the photographer who is sitting on a bean bag -- feet on the table as she shoots).
And making you insanely happy and in love with him every single minute -- even when you've just cleaned up breakfast's yogurt from all over the floor. And, he might actually turn out to be super good at a few things that don't seem to mesh with his rough and tumble character -- like coming into your room in the morning and lying by you for a very long time while fiddling with a little toy. Or, snuggling you on the couch for no apparent reason.
And giving you the best little hugs a tiny fella could possibly give.And politely saying, "thanks," any time anyone gives him anything.And just being all around pretty much the cutest and coolest kid in town. And look how much he likes his mother! That kid (shaking my head). I like him kind of ridiculously.
He really is the "good boy," that he is constantly congratulating himself on being. Aggh. Look at that face. I need to go get him out of his bed and kiss him this minute.
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