Saturday, November 26, 2011


I am so happy we named our girl that. It is so bright and cheery and perfect for her. I love her. I especially love the slight bit of . . . something about her smile. I don’t even know the word for it. Shyness? Sweetness? I am not really sure, but Mike and I are often nudging each other to look at our Daisy during a happy part in a show, or when someone is complimenting her just because we love the smile she wears during those moments.

Kids Are Cool

Not only because they would think to make a weapon for one of their action figures with a paper clip and some tape, but because they would then make their sister figure out what they had used to fashion that weapon by playing hang man.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Goldie Emma


Truly I don’t know if I have ever known anyone with such a kind soul..

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You Know What I’m Grateful For Today?

Well, I’ll tell you. I’m grateful for flip-flops and rain boots for me . . . because I am far too lazy to tie shoes on myself (and while I wear flip-flops through plenty of non-appropriate weather moments, I really can’t get away with wearing them all winter – hence the need for rain boots).

And I’m grateful for flip-flops, rain boots AND cowboy boots for my little kids . . . because I am also far too lazy to tie their shoes (Jesse has even been wearing cowboy boots to church most weeks lately – which makes me laugh a little for some reason).
(Note sock monkey in the picture. We probably ought to get some cowboy boots for him as well)

Also, I am grateful for this funny kid of mine.
He is, perhaps, slightly less destructive lately (though he still constantly needs to be taking things apart and trying to put them together again – which often fails), but he has, instead, taken on a new habit of absolutely not stopping in his requests for something until they are met.

“Mom, could you peel me an orange?”
”Yes, in a minute, after I change Anders.”
”MOM!! Could you peel me an ORANGE!!”
”Jesse, I said in a minute. You need to wait a second.”
Sobbing/yelling, “MOM!!! PEEL ME AN ORANGE!!!”

It’s a new kind of maddening . . . it’s like he did all the physical wearing me down he could with his breaking and mess making, so now he has turned to mentally wearing me down. BUT, he isn’t always repeating requests or demanding answers. He sometimes, instead, has taken to speaking a language I don’t really have to respond to at all . . . because I don’t know how. It could best be called “gibberish” perhaps? He loves to cast his English aside and speak in pure nonsense. The other kids (and sometimes even Mike) think it is funny enough that they will hold happily little conversations with him in gibberish, and I often feel very much like I am watching a Charlie Brown episode where only the adults talk (“mwahmwah mwah mwah mwah”).

Well Nancy, you say, that doesn’t sound like grateful. You said you were grateful for him. Well, sometimes the things we are grateful for don’t make a bit of sense, I guess, because grateful is exactly what I feel when I look at this little boy of mine.

To end, here is a little conversation I overheard between this little boy and Penny just the other day:

Penny (talking to Anders): “Hey little stinky pants! Hi little stinky pants!”
Jesse (in indignation at the cruelty aimed at his young new brother): “No, Penny! He’s not!”
Penny: “I know, Jesse. I’m just calling him that.”
Jesse: “Oh,” he thinks for a minute, then turns to Anders and in his sweetest voice says, “Hi poopy Anders!”

Yes, very touching and sweet . . .

Monday, November 21, 2011

And Today I’m Thankful For . . .

 Lives that, after all kinds of overwhelming change and upheaval, begin slipping back into a busy but comfortable new normal. And for babies who start learning to fall asleep somewhat predictably on their own. And for increasing moments of older children, who have eagerly welcomed this new little baby, being rewarded with smiles and real and positive responses from their tiny brother (as opposed to cries for their efforts).


Friday, November 18, 2011

Nearly Thanksgiving

And today I’m especially thankful for:

My little daytime helper who plays with Jesse when I am busy with Anders and coos to Anders when I am busy with Jesse, and helps get things ready for dinner while her two little brothers nap, . . . and who thinks that the best way to make an outfit really work is to match the color of your pants with the color of your shirt as closely as possible.

And oldest brothers who put up with quite a bit from all their little siblings. The other day Mike and I were downstairs. We could hear Abe upstairs with Penny as she insisted time and time again that he play some game with her. Mike commented that having siblings – that our kids having siblings – wasn’t half bad (as neither of us would have had the patience or energy to play that small game over and over). Today I’m especially thankful that my younger kids have this oldest brother for a sibling (and I have him for a son – that feels UNBELIEVABLY lucky to me).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011



Poor little soul.

Sometimes you are happy though . . . or, at least, not wholly unhappy:


He has given me probably three real smiles now. The first one was about a week ago and I think I actually burst out crying. It wasn’t little – a slight or half smile – it was a full, wide, huge smile. It transformed his whole face and lit up his tiny eyes and it just felt . . . like such a well earned and much needed reward. He isn’t colicky by any means, I can calm him, it just takes kind of a lot of effort to keep the little soul calm. Sometimes I look at my little man and think that he just hadn’t quite reckoned on life being so hard. There he was, in the pre-existence, waiting anxiously: so eager and excited to come. He knew it would be hard. He’d been taught how hard it would be, but . . . it is tricky to really imagine properly what “hard” will actually feel like. Kind of like when I run a marathon. I know it will be exhausting and painful, but I want to do it, and I don’t really believe it will be that difficult ‘til I am running those last miles and realizing that my mind couldn’t fully comprehend, beforehand, how bad it could truly feel.

That’s what I think when I look at Anders with his little chin quivering sadly: “You poor little soul, you knew it would be hard, you’d prepared as best you could, but you were so excited to come, and now, here you are, and the reality of ‘hard’ is a bit surprising. Your stomach hurts all the time, and you have thrush, and you’re hungry, or cold, or hot, and people keep buckling you in car seats (which you seem to think is quite awful); and you just didn’t bank on how it would really be – this coming to earth and having a body business. But don’t worry. It’s hard for me too. I understand. We’ll make it through this together. And it won’t always be hard. There’ll be lots and lots of times like the time when you first smiled at me. Times like that, when being here will make perfectly wonderful sense, when being here will seem like a very happy easy and grand place to be!”

I do love the little one. And look at this picture Daisy took (totally edit free):


She also took those two of me on my bed with Anders that I posted a few weeks ago. I have to set the settings for her, but I like that she is getting how to focus where I want her to – so the right things are clear and the right things are blurry, the subjects stay bright, etc. Mostly I am too nervous to let my camera be in my kids’ hands, but perhaps I shall train her up (then I can continue to appear in the occasional family photos).

Friday, November 4, 2011

Scarves (or maybe scarfs?)

If you are ever tidying up the kitchen while your baby naps and notice that your daughter who is sitting on the window ledge above the sink (digging through her pumpkin bucket hoping to find some last missed piece of “good” candy) looks pretty cute, and then you happen to notice your camera is sitting right nearby on the kitchen counter because earlier in the day your husband had charged you with the task of taking a picture of the rooster that began crowing that morning (so rooster could be put for sale in the local classifieds), and if you pause your cleaning and take a picture of your daughter, and then suddenly think, “I wonder if maybe I should hurry and make all of my daughters sit on this ledge . . . and wrap scarves around their heads and have their pictures taken”.

The answer is: Yes, yes you should do that (even if your son says they all look like “hobos”. . . . Because what does he know anyway? He was a hobo for Halloween so his thoughts are hobo prone and don’t really count).





Wednesday, November 2, 2011

While the Older Ones are at School . . .

And the baby is sleeping or being fed, the little ones . . .


climb on the window sills and try to pull down the blinds?


Pretty much stuff like that.

And also they watch a lot of Blue’s Clues.

And some Pingu.

And eat Halloween candy for breakfast . . .

And wear the tell-tale signs of it on their faces and shirts the rest of the day.

But look, they are clearly just fine without all of that interactive mother stuff:


I mean . . . kind of fine?


Sure they are. Besides, I did “school time” with Penny the other day.

And let Jesse play “kitchen” with the waffle maker and blender and popcorn popper and lots of other stuff . . . until he sliced his finger open on a blade associated with the blender.

And now that Ander Cakes (a name bestowed on him by Penny one day) is one month old:


I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot more of that! Well . . . a lot more of the school time and good stuff . . . hopefully a little less of the “letting them cut their fingers open with sharp blades” stuff. Hopefully.

P.S. You probably already all know this (assuming you’ve experienced it), but maybe one of the best things you can experience in this life is snuggling a newborn – fresh from the bath and covered in pink baby lotion – right up next to your face so you can kiss and smell their tiny downy-haired head. It’s pretty good with just the baby . . . but add the pink lotion and, well, kind of perfect.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Little Halloweensters

Bah. Whatever, spellcheck. Halloweensters is totally a word.


And proof that the sixth little Halloweenster was also a participant in Halloween 2011.


I realize some of these costumes are starting to look a bit familiar. That 15 dollar Costco wolf costume spent its 4th night trick-or-treating last night. Monkey is probably not far behind . . . it may have even adorned the same kid last year. I truly do admire all of you that sew and thrift store scavenge and slave away to create the perfect costumes each year. It’s impressive. And cute. Sigh. Sooo cute.

But, there is something to be said for things actually coming together with my method . . . which is more like this: “So, Halloween is tomorrow. Abe? What do you want to be? A hobo, you say? Umm . . . OK . . . start ripping and cutting holes in some clothes and I’ll try and wash them with all our loads of laundry so they get frayed. Yes, I think I can wash them enough times by tomorrow. What? What’s that? You are wondering if you should roll in the dirt to make them look more authentically hobo-ish? Hmm. Oh! I know! Rub some of that old face makeup on them. That should work. What? You don’t want to use makeup. OK, well, I didn’t mean makeup. I meant paint. Face paint. You just sometimes call it makeup, but no, it’s paint. Paint! OK, we are set. No wait. What’s that, Goldie? You wanted to be a skeleton? Oh. Dear. I forgot. Let’s go to Target and see if they have a skeleton costume. (Drive to Target). Hmm. They don’t. How about a witch? We have that witch Daisy wore in a box in the basement. You can have purple eye shadow on. . . . Deal? OK. Let’s get Halloweening.”

I must say, one of my favorite things is dropping my kids off at school on Halloween morning. I dropped off my neighbor’s kids as well this year. It was so fun seeing all these little witches and vampires and the like streaming excitedly out of my van – eagerly shouting to soldier and clown friends while also trying to take in all the other costumes of giddy little kids running into the building.

I also loved Jesse stumbling down from each doorstep after trick-or-treating last night laughing and giggling, “Too much candy! It’s too much candy Mom!”

Ahh, what a great country we are to celebrate this pagan holiday. It’s grand.

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