Thursday, September 27, 2012

“Sudoku?” Or . . . “My Husband is a Smart Alec”

IMG_9375_edited-1Lately I’ve been pitying myself (again) over my ongoing foot problems. Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis always hovering in the background – just waiting for me to turn my head long enough for them to pounce on my right foot; some type of stabbing, nail-like metatarsalgia pain experimenting with my left foot.

“I just keep wanting so much to train for a marathon again,” I said to Mike last night. “But maybe I just need to . . . get over it.”

“We just need to find something else for you,” Mike comforted.

I was skeptical. Last time we had this conversation he suggested motocross.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “I’m not really excited about biking. I mean, I wouldn’t mind it. It just doesn’t excite me.”

“I’ve got it!” Mike said. “Hot yoga.”

“I’m not really . . .”

“No. I mean like REALLY hot. Like people would be passing out.”

I laughed, sighed, and shook my head sadly, but Mike wasn’t done helping.

“Sudoku?” he tried. “You could do super hard ones.”

He maybe had something with that last one. I wonder how many calories an intense hour of Sudoku would burn anyway . . . especially if they were “super hard ones”.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Open Windows

Yesterday was the first official “open windows all over the house” day since spring. I’d been waiting for it: watching weekly weather forecasts, noting the occasional need for the heat to be turned on for early morning car rides to school; the occasional jackets being put on by my kids in the evening.

Like those little orange bellied robins signaling spring, those things, for me,  hint that autumn weather might truly come -- that we might really have that small spell of absolutely perfect days where everything is blazing and orange and red, and the light shining out from our windows as we drive into our driveway in the evening makes home look extra cozy and right, and we can all wear sweaters and jackets and zip-up hoodies if we want to, or just T-shirts if we don’t. Those days come in bits and pieces at first: Saturday was still 90 degrees, and next Saturday will be back into the 80s, but my first open window day came as perfectly as it could have with highs in the low 70s and gray clouds rolling and creeping across our mountains – threatening rain.

I am going to try to count down more often to small things like “open window” days. That’s a pretty happy way to go through life. Next? Maybe a count down to a day free enough of kid homework assignments and other obligations that we will have plenty of time to use our new candy-corn, bat and pumpkin shaped cookie cutters to make some serious sugar cookies. (And by serious, I do mean serious – you can’t possibly make a cookie shaped like a candy-corn and not frost it with orange, yellow AND white frosting.)

Here we all were out back on the evening before the cooler weather set in.
That extreme happiness you see on Penny’s face? It was absolutely not there all day. She had her first loose tooth hanging on by a thread and no manner of promises and reassurance could convince her that its loss would be anything other than pure and terrifying agony. These pictures were taken after it fell out – with out so much as a lick of agony I might add.               IMG_9153_edited-1IMG_9139_edited-1IMG_9166_edited-1
“What? I can’t hear you. There’s a bean in my ear.”                        IMG_9163_edited-1
I know exactly what Abe and Daisy are saying with those faces: “Good luck pushing us two full-grown kids through thick unmowed grass in this stroller with a completely flat tire”.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Electricity and Bananas

I just got myself sucked into a long discussion on electricity . . . which was tricky because, the more I talked, the more I realized that I didn’t actually know what electricity was.

Jesse was warning me that a battery was about to die on our old corded landline, and I innocently mentioned that it didn’t need a battery because we could just plug it in. Next thing I know I am being forced to explain electricity and all I can think to say is a bunch of gibberish about our outlets – the ones he once shocked himself on – and that same power that shocked him coming out of those outlets to make things work just like a battery makes things work.

Only I can’t explain what exactly this “power” is. I have some little image in my mind of a miniature light bulb being powered by a  potato with some wires sticking out of it, but that’s not getting me anywhere; . . . and the word “circuit” is kind of somewhere floating about in my mind. But heavens. Jesse quizzes me like no other.

. . . And I know full well that my answers aren’t always giving him a perfectly clear understanding because the other day he opened a banana that was a bit brown and mushy and said, “Mom! The potassium’s squeezing out . . . and (pause to grimace at the banana mush now on his hand) it’s smooshy”. I don’t think potassium is “smooshy”, and I know full well who gave him the potassium discussion. I’m a smart enough girl, but nobody told me, when I signed on for this mothering business, I’d have to explain why our electrical appliances don’t need batteries charged or exactly how a banana is good for us. Maybe there should have been a test to pass first.

And another thing . . . that has nothing to do with anything I’ve been saying. It’s simply this: Oh dear. Oh dear how this little Anders has me all twisted up inside at the thought of him. As I type this he is in my arms, drinking a bottle, slapping my hand with his (yes, I’m typing one handed), and kicking his chubby bare legs against the table. I just . . . ohhhh I love him.

Wait! Did I say I was done? I forgot about THIS! G-O-L-D-I-E. I know of no other little Goldies running around out there (well, no, actually I have heard several small dogs named Goldie . . . that doesn’t change the fact that I think it is an absolutely darling and lovely little girl name). Anyway, what with not many little girl Goldie’s about, I was quite surprised when I happened upon this little lunch box at Down East the other day. Her old lunch box is missing a strip of velcro, but, even if it wasn’t I would have had to buy this new lunch box. Yes, the fates must have brought little lunch box and I together on that Friday evening.

Cute little thing this girl of mine.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Stretchers and Scouting

Abe made a stretcher the other evening. You know, a carry-an-injured-person-out-of-the-forest or off-of-the-battlefield type of stretcher. He’d learned it in scouts and, while I admit my own involvement in any of his scouting endeavors to be one of feet-dragging and groaning (I am sorry, and ashamed, but it is true), I quite like his own involvement – the part where he gets to feel like a complete and total boy, the part where he gets to insist he can make it with the older boys on their steep nine mile hike, the part where he gets to tie knots and follow a compass and carry flags and pitch tents and . . . make stretchers. The part that doesn’t involve me making sure a requirement is met to finish a merit badge.

And, it is probably a good thing he is a scout. He was discussing how the stretcher (formed of a blanket folded just so over two 2x4s) could be made from branches and even shirts if necessary. I suddenly had a picture of us: my family (well, minus Mike – I could never rightly picture a desperate scenario with Mike involved. I am far too unreasonably confident in his ability to fix all things) – as I was saying, I immediately imagined myself and my kids far off from civilization – one child with a broken leg. I tried to picture how on earth everyone's shirts could possibly be the key to carrying our injured member to safety.

“But how would the shirts be big enough to really wrap around the . . .” I began.

Abe, anticipating my question, jumped in with, “No, you’d put the boards through the shirts”.

Ah-ha! Of course – poking through the shirt sleeves. Silly me. Good thing I’ve got a little scout. I hope he also knows what berries we can eat. And where we’ll find water. And maybe what to do if a swarm of killer bees attack. . . .

But, back to the stretcher-making of last night. As Abe carried the two boards and blanket outside with plans of giving his younger siblings stretcher rides (with Daisy’s help), Mike called out, “Wait! You have to injure them first!” Judging from the laughing and giggling I heard out there as rides were being given, I think Abe was able to perform stretcher-rides just fine even without real wounded and injured. Mike clearly lacks all imagination.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Chicken in the . . . Window

Very often, when things are crazy around here -- dinner getting made, someone needing help with a homework assignment, someone else needing picked up from piano, all with Anders crying at my feet for attention -- I find myself saying, "Can someone please take Anders outside to see a chicken?"

It usually seems to do the trick.

Lately, however, Anders hasn’t needed to be taken anywhere to see a chicken. Every time Mike lets those hens out of their pen of late, they gather, somewhat to my alarm, on our back little deck.

They fluff their feathers and preen a bit. They stare inside – watching me go about my business. Judging? Begging? One can’t be sure with those unrevealing beady black eyes. I have to shuffle them all aside every time I need to get out into the backyard. They cluck and flap and protest, then, like a cloud of kicked up dust, slowly resettle.

Anders loves it when they are there. So much so, that if it weren’t for the disagreeable stuff they leave behind, I might almost grow to love it myself.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I don’t nap well these days. I used to. Ohhhh how I used to. Well I recall the long Sunday nights of being totally unable to sleep – my body rebelling after already having been put through a three or four hour nap that afternoon. Even when our first few kids came along, after-church naps were a must – for the whole family.

But, something about six kids. Or, it might have been five. Or four. But something about this phase of others not all napping anymore; others awake -- continuing their mess making while I might try to sleep, has taken nap time from me. I will try on occasion, but inevitably, my mind begins thinking of Sharing Times not yet looked at, laundry waiting to be folded, dinner that could, and probably should, get going in a crock-pot. Throw in the possibility of mess and chaos increasing exponentially for each minute of unconsciousness, and, well, I just can’t do it.

Of course, one might not need to do too much digging to discover that I wouldn’t actually need these naps I’m missing – these desperate moments of sleep my busy mind won’t allow me – if I wasn’t up ‘til midnight or later most nights. And here I can only lift my shoulders in a shrug. I know it as well as anyone: what a wondrous life I might have were I well-rested. How easily I might get in things like early morning exercise or quiet personal scripture study . . . if the thought of waking even one moment before I absolutely must wasn’t so repulsive to my sleep deprived mind and body.

But, there’s nothing that can be done. (Again the shrugging and sighing followed by the halfhearted admitting that: technically that’s not true – that “nothing can be done” bit. There is very definitely something that could be done: I could go to bed earlier). And, in truth, each morning that I stumble groggily out of bed – and especially on mornings like this particular one, where I felt certain I’d only closed my eyes 15 minutes before hearing my alarm, and where I leaned over the sink, rinsing my face in the dark, and nearly cried as I thought of the school week ahead, the following weekend, and the next school week -- and found not a single morning in all those days ahead where sleeping in past 6 or 7 (depending on the obligation) was even a slightly hopeful possibility – on each of those mornings I swear to myself; I promise; I tack mental reminders all over my brain that say, “You will go to bed early tonight! Don’t be tricked. Don’t be fooled. Go to sleep for heaven’s sake!”

Only . . . a new devil-may-care me always rolls into town come night time. She crumbles up the mental sticky notes and tosses them in the garbage as she laughs about the uptight woman who might have written them. She starts movies with her husband when it is already past 10:00 pm (when it is well known that all saintly women have retired), she loads new photos on her computer to go through and edit, she pulls out raspberries and ice-cream to make shakes for herself and her husband, she even snuggles into bed – pretending like she might go to sleep – only to laugh again at the cautions and pleadings she’d uttered to herself that morning – and opens a book that she knows full well she won’t have the willpower to set down, she snatches the laptop next to her and opens it to facebook and googlereader and her email account where the most recent lengthy journal-letter from her oldest brother has just arrived. It’s all very guilty pleasure – none of that day-time “I can’t sleep because there are things that need doing” business. No, she can’t sleep because she won’t – because she is giddy and high with the freedom and time-to-herself-ness of nighttime.

Someday I will have an empty house. Perhaps things will be all tidied up put away. Perhaps projects will be all caught up on. Perhaps church obligations will be simpler and then, maybe, knowing that no little hands will be dumping out cereal and no little feet will be running up the stairs with new armfuls of toys or games to spread all over the living room, I will nap and my mind won’t stop me. Or, perhaps, I won’t even need naps. Perhaps the thrill of nighttime will be gone after a day full of doing all the things I selfishly want to, and I will happily head to bed at a befitting hour.

Until then, I suppose, I will just be tired and do my very best to take advantage of days like today. Days where, seeing my eyes droop one too many times, Mike relegates me to the bedroom – instructing me to lock the door behind me and not come out ‘til I’ve had a nap. On this particular day, I tried to protest for a minute – knowing how my nap-taking attempts always fail – knowing I’d get tense about getting a decent Sunday dinner going or about switching the ox-in-the-mire sheets (on which one small child had a night time accident) from the washer to the dryer. But when I heard Mike telling the kids all to get their shoes on and meet him out front, I knew he was serious about my napping, and so, I willed myself, with all my might, to wipe out the thought of the empty Anders’ bottle that I knew was still lying – just finished – on the living room floor, I forced myself to smother the urge to find a better spot for the inflatable duck next to the couch, I squeezed my eyes tightly shut – letting them know they had no permission to go see what shape the kitchen might be in. And . . . I slept! The kind of sleep where you wake up occasionally – feeling like a solid slab of iron that can’t lift its head from the pillow; the kind of sleep where you occasionally feel like you are trying to surface from the depths of a dark ocean – to check the time, or see how long you’ve been away – but find yourself dragged back down again before you are able. It was wonderful. It will do. And now, the weeks ahead with no foreseeable sleeping-in to look forward to don’t seem so bad; and tonight, I will stay up late cuddling Mike on the couch – the miserable girl who stumbled out of bed just this morning long forgotten – the fear of her return tomorrow morning dismissed. There will be time enough for sleeping. Surely. Some day.

And now, for some completely unrelated pictures!

Abe and Daisy hanging out on the dock at Willard Bay last Sunday evening:


And Penny, who was quite upset about not having been a part of the last “pipe pictures” fun, needed a quick trip to them all on her own:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...