Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Foiled, once again

It's Christmas Eve and things aren't going quite as planned.  I made this plan to keep busy and keep into eveything and try really hard to keep the 25th separate from the 26th.  And I bought this amazing Advent Book, but then forgot it when we went to visit Grandma and are now 11 days behind schedule.  And who can catch up from that on Christmas Eve? 

But here we are.  Christmas Eve.  And I had this plan.  Yesterday was wrapping and baking day.  Only, I got the wrapping done the night before in a crazy whirlwind mess.  Which turned out to be a great thing.  Except for the part where I put out all the gifts under the tree and then after Little Lady got up, I didn't mention how they weren't fair game yet.  And I went to brush my teeth and was greeted by a very excited lady holding her brand new Frozen Jammies.  And I looked at her with magic in her eyes and happiness in her heart and I yelled at her for opening gifts before Christmas.  And I didn't even stop there.  I yanked them out of her hands, put them back in a bag under the tree and in my most Grinch-like voice told her its not Christmas yet so don't even think about it.  She burst into tears and then five minutes later into flames. 

Not literally, but kind of.  We were making Nisu to hand out to the neighbors and she was helping me and then crying and then burning up.  Fevers and chills and refusing to eat or drink and doctors appts and temperature scans every.30.minutes.all.night.long was how the day panned out.  I was doling out the Motrin as often as posible and she was still burning at 104F for hours on end last night.  And it was, of course, the night Dr. Daddy had call and was gone.  He always seems to have call when we are most sick and in need of Dr. Daddy.  The universe has a sick sense of humor, I think. 

So, the upshot is that we get to eat three loaves of Nisu all by ourselves, because who wants to hand out baked goods to the neighbors that are possibly laced with influenza or whatever crazy virus we have?  Don't you worry.  Eating three giant braided loaves of bread in two days is not out of the question for us.  Carbs and I, we are best buddies.  In fact, we've already polished off 1.5 loaves.  No need to remind me that I'm in leggings mode because I can't zip my pants already, thank you very much. I'm well aware.  Yet still enjoying that Nisu and this pint.  Cheers. 

So the Lady is sick.  But better, maybe?  Still cranky as all hell, yet playful enough to sing about poop.  At least she's eating grapes, because yesterday she ate like 15 calories all day long.  And I'm barely exaggerating, which is amazing for me. 

But the plan, it went on.  The plan was for baking and handing out goodies yesterday.  Got the bread done, but can't gift anyone.  So we are eating bread.  And not going to even make the cookies that I planned on and bought all the ingredients for.  Right.  I have 9 pounds of butter in my fridge.  Ha. 

Today was going to be family day.  Hubs got home from work around 8 am and needs to sleep.  Little Lady totally needs sleep today.  Talk about cranky and tired.  And Little Man, he's hanging by a thread, but I'm not sure he gets it.  So right now, it's family naptime.  Only I'm not napping, as Little Man pointed out before I made him head to bed and he told me I was mean for not playing a game with him. I guess I am mean.  And also hyped up on Starbucks.  And exhausted.  And feeling frustrated that the plan isn't working.  And missing Jameson.  And hating the holidays. 

We were planning on going to Mass tonight.  I LOVE midnight mass. It's my favorite mass of the year.  We were going to take the kids caroling and then head to mass.  But it can't happen with a sick girl.  And tomorrow we were going to have some friends over, but I've canceled it in case we are contagious or sick.  It's the same group of friends we bailed on at Thanksgiving thanks to a stomach bug.  I feel like such a flake. 

So here is what it comes down to, the essence of what I'm really trying to say.  I wanted to have a nice Christmas.  To rise above the pain and sadness of this week we feel so deeply.  To make it nice and spend it with friends and people we love.  To give out gifts and be happy and ooze Christmas spirit.  And the reality of it all is that life happened.  We are here and she is sick and J is still dead, with the 4th anniversary approaching in two days time.  And we will be alone, just the four of us on Christmas day.  And Hubs and I will be reliving that Christmas four years ago with every breath we can barely take as we try so hard to smile and be present for the kids still here.  And if there is to be any distraction, it will be that of sickness that isn't anything worth complaining about even though I do.  Me, who knows what a really sick baby is like and yet I still complain about a measly virus here and there. 

Life happened.  And it screwed up the plan.  The plan that included the magic of Santa and Jesus and daily advent and friends and love.  And I don't know why it is screwed up, but it is.  And it bugs me.  And I feel like I'm yelling with my fist in the sky, wondering why can't He let us just have this one day, this one time the way it seems nice to us?  Why must everything always be off-kilter?  Haven't we proven we trust?  Haven't we already sacrificed everything?  But here we are.  Can't go to church.  Can't be with friends.  Can't even hand out goodies to the neighbors.

And I hate the holidays.  I hate that I have tried so hard this year.  With Thanksgiving.  I made plans for me and the kids even though Hubs had to work a 24 hour shift.  I bought gifts for the people we were going to see.  I baked and cooked.  And then it all went to hell with a stupid stomach bug.  And now here we are again.  Christmas.  Merry freaking Christmas.  Again sick.  Can't give gifts.  Can't give hospitality.  Can't even go to Church. 

And I know I sound whiny and ungrateful for the awesomeness that I do have in my life.  And I know that my sadness and heavy heart get old for most of you.  And I know that Christmas is about way more than me feeling good and being happy.  But I just tried so hard this year.  And it all fell flat.  And I'm here, with the rug getting pulled out from under me once again. 

Because HIS birth and his death will always be tied together for me.  And the link seems more of a tangled mess than a beautiful bow to me.  And I don't know how to make it work.  Not ever.  This loving God and missing Jameson.  This circle of life where HIS birth makes his death okay.  How can that be?  This miracle.  God gave me his son and I gave him mine and this week it is all tied together in sadness and hope and darkness and waiting and love. 

And maybe every time I try to separate the two, maybe I'm running away.  And maybe this forced quiet, this unplanned time to just be instead of do, maybe this is HIS gift to me.  To see the bow where I only see a ruined knot.  Maybe He is saying stop and SEE and FEEL.  And maybe the pain and the hollowness and darkness are a reminder of what He felt when He gave His son to me, for me, because He loves me.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Cheer

I've been sitting here with a white page and blinking cursor for a long time.  It's not flowing like it sometimes does.  Maybe I'm backlogged; its been a crazy few weeks.  Maybe I've been putting it off because numb can get me through some of the rough patches sometimes.  Only not really. 

But I'm here now.  It's dark and quiet.  My tea is cold and almost gone.  The Littles are sleeping.  The Hubs is working late.  The dogs are snoring away on the couch.  I've already closed off the heating vent in the kitchen to help keep the bedrooms warmer, so I'm getting chilled.  And tired, but that's never new.  

And it's December and I'm reluctantly unpacking the Christmas Cheer.  My kitchen table is sporting my late Grandmother's tablecloth with red poinsettias and candles all around the border.  The advent candles are hanging with a Santa and Mrs. Claus salt and pepper set in the middle of the table.  From my perch I can see into the living room and see the Santa pillow my mom made me the first year we were married.  And the stocking are hanging above the fireplace, all twelve of them, because who doesn't double up?  Maybe that's a story for another day, though.  All five copies of The Night Before Christmas are stacked on the hearth, right next to the cardboard box boat, complete with two steering wheels and a larger than life Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles balloon acting as sail. 

It's amazing how something so buoyant can weigh a lady down.  That balloon is still from Jameson's birthday.  It's been floating in our living room since September 14th and I can't believe it's still here.  Part of me wants to pop it.  I want to take scissors to ever mylar balloon in the world, because balloons are part of the hospital.  Winter, holidays, balloons, snow, Christmas music.  It's all ruined. 

I used to be the girl that had to have a tree the day after Thanksgiving.  And it would stay up until mid-January.  I used to decorate the whole house.  Santa cookie jars, garland hanging from the ceiling, tinsel, millions of twinkle lights.  I'd start playing my Christmas CD's in October and wear jingle bell necklaces and Santa hats to work with my suit and heels.  I really did make a different cookie every single day for two weeks leading up to Christmas.  Because who doesn't love Christmas? 

But what happens when it's not the most wonderful time of the year?  What happens when it's a season of loss and pain and emptiness instead? 

And I don't want to be a Scrooge.  And I don't want my kids to have sad memories and miss out on the magic, because I wish I still had it too. 

But how do I decorate my living room with that damn balloon still center stage? 

I do do it though.  I have the radio on the Christmas channel -and it's a really good one, because they never play that awful shoe song-  and I sing along.  And I light the Advent candles on Sundays and we will decorate all week long until it's done and the kids are happy and excited.  And the cookies will begin once I stock back up on butter (I'm down to a mere 4 pounds now).  It'll be magical for them. 

As for me, well, I'm settling into the idea that it is okay to be broken.  It's okay to bring a broken Hallelujah. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I toured a preschool for Little Lady this morning.  How are we already here?  It goes so fast, these years.  Which is amazing considering how long the days last.  She is exhausting.  She takes more of me than I thought was humanly possible to give and still stay alive.  She is a force so strong and passionate and wondrous that I sometimes can't even process it without getting exhausted.  I've never experienced anything like this child, this sweet, lovely girl who calls me Mama.  This girl, who is my tide, who levels me and drives me insane and makes me want to drink sometimes, this girl who I can't be away from for more than two hours without me getting the separation anxiety, this girl who is my daughter, she is breathtaking. And she's going to preschool already. 

I'm not one to feel sad when my kids grow up; on the contrary, I relish each new phase, each new season, knowing what a gift it is to get to see my kids grow up.  I love watching them come into their own, seeing it all come together as they learn who they are and who they want to be.  I love watching them experience life.  The challenges, the failures, the triumphs, the passion and knowledge that grows within and strengthens them, it is beautiful to watch it all unfold. 

So I was pretty excited to check out a preschool this morning and sign up.  And it really was fun.  Little Lady got to jump right in and play and make a craft and explore something new.  The teachers were very nice, the philosophy works for me.  I like everything about it.  And yet, something was holding me back from signing on right then and there.  There is this nagging feeling in my soul that I have learned must not be stifled.  So we said goodbye and packed up in the stroller for the walk home. 

As we walked, watching the golden leaves fall from the trees, I was thinking about my reservation and trying to put my finger on it.  And I started thinking about when I signed up the boys for preschool four and a half years ago.  Little Man was going to be in the 4's class and Jameson was going to be in the 3's class.  I had to wait until a month before school started because we didn't know where we were going to be living.  But the preschool just up the road from our house had a very short wait list and by the time school started they were both enrolled.  Only Jameson never made it.  But Little Man loved his preschool and so did I. 

The teachers were amazing.  Organized and energetic and loving and disciplined.  The place was marvelous and it was a blessing for Little Man to have some type of stability in his life during those four months of agonizing upheaval when Jameson was in the PICU.  It was maybe the only place in his life that wasn't sad during that time when we were always gone or so exhausted that eating was a chore or so scared and sad that my eyes were always swollen from crying.  And his teachers always gave me extra smiles and said they were praying for us when I would pick up Little Man, still wearing my hospital badge and red eyes.  And when Jameson died, Little Man's teachers came to the funeral because they wanted to support him.  I never really understood how much presence could mean until that time in our lives. 

It occurred to me on our walk home, with the golden leaves falling all around us, that maybe this nagging feeling is just one more way that I'm missing my boy, missing the places and time when he was still here.  Sometimes I feel like I'm doing so well and then it seems like the world just sucker punches me right in the heart.  And I marvel at the way grief can crawl into the most unlikely times and places and settle in.  Sigh. 

But this is where I need to give myself some grace.  This is a hard season.  Even if Hubs weren't working such long hours.  Even if we were close to family.  Next week is the anniversary of my due date for the baby we lost three years ago and next month marks four years since my boy went Home. 

I don't always know what grace is supposed to look like.  I think, a lot of the time, it's my two kids still here.  It's making hand turkeys and reading epic adventures on the couch until much too late on school nights.  Its homemade bread and watching golden leaves fall from the trees.  I think it's family movie nights and telling jokes and eating cake for breakfast.  Sometimes it's letting myself have a good cry or abandoning the laundry mountain to write instead.   And some days it's all of the above, with maybe a little stolen halloween chocolate on the side.   And today, right now, I think it's coffee with whipped cream, which preschool paperwork filed away for another day. 

Friday, October 31, 2014


Today was my day to sleep in.  We have no extra kids at the house, no school, no plans until it's time to don the costumes and set out with high hopes for gobs and gobs of chocolate and sugar.  It's a free day.  Yet it's not quite 6 am and I've been up for almost two hours thinking about soup. 

It's pouring outside.  I'm sitting here at the computer with a prayer book and a hot cup of coffee, hoping Hubs made it to work before the rain really picked up.  I love the rain so much until I think think about him riding his bike up the dark hills to go to work while I'm at home with a cup of hot coffee and dry roof over my head.

I made a giant pot of soup for dinner last night.  Full of kale and onions and tomatoes and beans and bacon and Parmesan and noodles and love.  I suppose you could call it a minestrone, but since I'm terrible at following recipes, I think of it more as a clean out the fridge kinda soup.  A really delicious way to clean out the fridge and have lunch for the whole weekend since it's such a big pot, kind of soup.  But then 4:15 am rolled around and my eyes flashed open.  Because I forgot to put the soup in the fridge. 

Hubs alarm went off a little while later and I got up, knowing that if I didn't do it now, that pot of soup would be sitting in the compost bin all week long since the trash pick up comes so early.  I sat on the edge of the bed watching him brush his teeth, calculating how much money I was about to go dump in the trash, listening to the gentle patter of the rain of the roof.  

It was just sprinkling when I opened the front door and saw our enormous and slightly scary spider friend in his web, hoping I was prey for a moment.  He's really kinda creepy, but I like him too.  It's such a simple thing, remembering to put a pot in the fridge before bed.  It's the second time this week that I've had to throw away a substantial amount of food and all my failures as a wife, mother, human being seem to be simmering in that empty pot in the ever overflowing sink. 

It is so easy to remember the failures. 

The list grows and grows in my mind about all the ways I just don't measure up.  How I waste food and yell at my kids and my house is always a disaster and I never remember to write down my thankful list and I snapped at Hubs and I forgot to give the dogs their pills yesterday morning and on and on and on. 

But this time, I'm fighting back.  Because perfect isn't something I ever want to be.  And I remember that when I am in the throes of the days and things are going south fast, that is when I cling to the hem of Jesus most fiercely.  And why would I want to be anywhere else? 

As I dump the soup in the compost and the rain drips slowly down my back, I ask Him, where are you in this?  Where is the grace?  Where is the good?  I've learned by now that I will find what I seek.  And I'm done looking for ways I'm a failure.  Not that I can gloss over life, not that I cannot learn from my mistakes, but in the sense that I refuse to let the failings of my days chip away at my soul and my self worth.  Because I am not loved more when my house is clean,  when my clothes are folded, when the dinner is perfect, when happiness reigns in the household. 

The beauty of this whole thing is that I am loved regardless. 

But I know that I will find what I seek.  Which is why, no matter what the truth is, I need to choose to see the good.  And so I pray with St. Patrick this morning,

"Christ beside me, Christ before me;
Christ behind me, Christ within me;
Christ beneath me, Christ above me;
Christ to the right of me, Christ to the left of me;
Christ in my lying, my sitting, my rising;
Christ in the heart of all who know me,
Christ on the tongue of all who meet me,
Christ in eye of all who see me,
Christ in the ear of all who hear me."

He says he loves me no matter what.  That each morning is new.  And I know no matter what happened yesterday, what happens today and what may happen tomorrow, I am loved wholly, by the One who knows every thought, every action, every choice.  And if I can just stay there, clinging to the hem of his robe, there I will find the grace and the good. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Walk in the Woods

We had a free day this past weekend with Hubs home and beautiful weather, so we drove out to the Gorge for a fall hike.  We picked another new trail; the possibilities seem endless in this beautiful state we call home.  It started out near the road and went under the ramp to get on the Interstate and then went up a dirt road.  And then trail turns into the woods and we waked under giant maple trees, showering us with their golden leaves.  The kids picked them up and twirled them and threw them and laughed as leaves came down on their heads.  As we walked, the noises of the cars and trucks and traffic faded away and I could feel the tension in my body do the same.

A walk in the woods can do much for my soul.  We walked slow, looking for spiders to kiss and slugs to poke with sticks and beetles to hold in our hands.  Little Lady loves bugs.  We laughed and talked and threw rocks at dead trees to hear the different thumping sounds they make.  We enjoyed the cool air and overcast skies while hiking up, up, up.  And then we sat at the base of a waterfall flowing into a deep pool which overflowed into a rocky creek bed.  We threw more rocks into the water and got a little wet.  The trees were still mostly green.  But there were a few sirens, with their deep reds and bright oranges calling me, inviting me back next week with promises of color and beauty that I don't want to resist. 

Too soon, it was time to go, so we started back down the trail covered in a blanket of golden leaves.  The sound of the waterfall faded and birds sang for us.  The lady fell asleep in her Daddy's arms, a rare gift.  Before long, the sounds of civilization crowded in, and we welcomed them as we were tired and hungry and happy.

"Keep close to Nature's heart...and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.  Wash your spirit clean."  -John Muir

Friday, October 10, 2014

Jameson's Arrival Part Two

We felt so alone and so scared and unsure about everything.  But we weren't. 

While we were reeling in the hospital, my entire family was on a plan to get my mom on a plane.  And while Jameson was in surgery, she was in a car, driving away from vacation to an airport hours away to get on plane to get to us.  To be with us.  To take care of us. 

And Hubs coworkers were amazing too.  His great friend came and sat with us for the whole surgery, stayed until we heard the doctor say it was all okay, and then went back to meet our beautiful boy.  Only two people were allowed in at a time, so I told our friend he better go first because once I get in there I'm not leaving until they kick us out at night. 

That night Grandma arrived.  We hugged and cried and looked at pictures of Jameson on the computer while Hubs tested out the new point and shoot camera because our old one broke the night after J was born.  She stayed for over two weeks and spoiled us rotten.  I'm pretty sure Little Man's toy collection doubled during this time period. 

The next day, Hubs coworkers and a chaplain came to the hospital and the nurses let them all in to pray around my baby.  She said something about how they were all so official looking in their uniforms and she couldn't say no.  So many people were holding us up, bringing and mailing meals, emailing us to tell us they loved us and were praying for us. 

It was overwhelming.  The support and love, which we were so grateful for, yet felt so bad about...all of these people going out of their way to bless us and we could barely be present to thank them.  I think we both feel more comfortable being on the giving end of things than the receiving end.  And emotionally, we were bewildered with the surprises. 

He was the healthiest boy in the NICU.  The nurses would take pictures of him for us and tell us how cute he is and how lucky we are and I would look around the room at all of the truly sick babies and everything was so scary and there were so many machines and tubes and I'm so afraid of needles that I've literally passed out just talking about vaccinations and this was really all too much for me.  (I've improved on this slightly.) 

And then there was this diagnosis of Down syndrome.  I had never known anyone with Down syndrome before.  It was unfathomable to me at the time.  I wasn't even 30.  The pregnancy was fine.  I have never once in my life tried an illegal drug.  How did this happen to me?  I couldn't wrap my brain around it and it was so difficult to reconcile my unconditional love for my boy with this diagnosis that I did not want. 

When we were at the hospital, when I was holding Jameson and I could kiss his perfect little head and count his ten perfect fingers and ten perfect toes, when I could sing soft and low to my baby in my arms and tell him how much I loved him, then it was all okay.  It didn't matter that he was in the NICU, it didn't matter that he had Down syndrome, he was mine and I loved him for being him. 

But when we went home at the end of the day, all tired and sad to leave our baby behind, when it got dark and I would look on the computer and read about Down syndrome, read all the statistics and see the future that I had dreamed for my baby curve away down a different path, it wasn't okay then.  I was scared of the therapies and doctors visits.  Scared of the new timeline for talking and walking.  Scared of the increased risk of leukemia.  Scared of the idea that my child may never graduate from high school or move away.  Scared that he may die at 50, before me.  I mourned the loss of my dream for his life.  The dream of a normal childhood, of college, of marriage and babies.  It was hard.  I cried a lot.  I stared off into space, lost in terrified wonder of this new future. 

And then I would get up in the morning and go to the hospital and hold my sweet baby and it was all okay again.  I would hold him and look into his sweet face and just know that we would get through it all and be just fine.  It didn't matter if his path was different.  It only mattered that we were in it together. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Jameson's Arrival, Part One

I was lying in bed last night, thinking about when Jameson was born.  It was all so surreal.  And everything was so fast.  On the eve of his birthday, I wound up in the hospital, unable to see from a really bad migraine.  The doctors checked all my stats and baby's too.  He said I was having some contractions, but nothing notable and he's see me in two weeks for my next appointment.  I still had a month to go. 

But Jameson had other plans.  All night long I woke up with contractions.  I started timing them around 5 am.  I still have the scrap paper with times scratched all over it in his baby book.  After breakfast I installed the carseat.  After lunch I called the midwife.  During naptime we called the babysitter for Little Man.  I think at this point, Hubs was still thinking we had a lot of time to play with so he made small talk near the front door with the girl from down the street, while I crushed the door trim and cried out we've got to go NOW.  I almost ripped the door handle off the car with each contraction on the way to the hospital. 

When we arrived at the unit and called the nurses station to let us in, they had no idea we were coming because the midwife really didn't think I was in labor and never bothered to let them know.  They quickly got me into a room anyway and handed me a gown to change.  After I changed, I literally fell to the ground while walking to the bed because the contraction was so strong.  The nurse was a little anxious to get me in that bed.  My first words were that I want an epidural.  To which she replied, you don't have time, you're already at 8.  I remember it all happening so fast and being so chaotic.  And less than 45 minutes from the time we pulled into the parking garage, the doctor, exclaimed "Its a boy!"  She didn't even have her gloves all the way on, he came so fast. 

And there he was.  Our Jameson.  So perfect and strong and healthy.  Everything was going so well and every indication was that everything was fine.  Hubs went home after a few hours to put Little Man to bed and I was so tired I asked the nurse to take Jameson to the nursery for a little bit so I could sleep.  I woke up in the middle of the night and she brought me my perfect little boy and I tried to feed him, but he wasn't really that interested.  So I just held him on my knees and we looked at each other, both so in awe of the other.  I thought he was so beautiful.  But there was this nagging thought that I couldn't shake, something about the shape of his eyes that seemed different in a familiar way.  But no, surely someone with a degree would have said something by now, right?  Right?  He was perfect anyway.  When I got so tired that I worried about dropping him, the nurse again took him to the nursery for a bit. 

But a bit was a little longer.  I woke up to breakfast in front of me and no baby for feedings.  After scarfing some hospital scrambled eggs down, I walked to the nursery to see my sweet boy and hopefully feed him.  And when I got to his crib, he had a red tube down his nose.  I started to freak out.  The nurse came over and stood across the crib from me and matter of factly stated that my boy started vomiting up bile in the middle of the night and they think he has a bowel obstruction, so an ambulance is on it's way to transfer him to a bigger hospital for tests and possibly surgery.  And oh, by the way, he probably has Down syndrome.  And I stood there, terrified, looking from my perfect little boy to the nurse and back again, willing myself to not fall down. 

It was still early when I called Hubs, who probably mistook the panic in my voice for nerves and fatigue and excitement.  I tried so hard to not tell him on the phone, but he needed to get to the hospital fast.  I told him that something might be wrong and they were taking him to a different hospital and you need to come quick.  So he did.  He and Little Man arrived around the same time as the transport team.  We introduced the brothers.  Little Man was only 16 months old.  Nurse Tactful filled in Hubs with the same information bombs she dropped on me earlier in the morning, we signed some papers and watched a crew take our baby away in this terrifyingly technical transfer incubator.  It was a Sunday and I needed a doctor to sign my discharge papers.  It felt like it took forever and that we were a world away from our boy, now 5 miles away on the other side of town.  17 hours after arriving at the hopsital, we rushed out the front doors and across town and into another hospital. 

It was all so fast and we had no idea what was happening and we were so scared and shocked.  And I was a hot mess of emotions and hormones and fatigue and fear.  We felt like someone had pulled the rug out from under us.  Once Jameson was settled into the NICU, we were allowed to see him, but Little Man was not.  After the initial meeting with the doctors, Hubs took Little Man home, got the babysitter back, brought me some clothes and Jimmy John's and we sat at a round table staring at nothing, shell shocked about everything that was happening. 

My whole family was on vacation in Michigan and I remember calling the cottage phone number to tell my sister-in-law that my baby was in the NICU and needed to have surgery and would probably be in for a while and probably has Down syndrome.  I kept breaking down crying whenever she replied.  Hubs had gotten a hold of his parents earlier.  They were living in Alaska at the time, as far away from us in Florida as possible.  We were all alone. 

I am out of time!  Will write Part Two soon! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Like Magic

It's cooling down outside and the rain is starting, leaving golden leaves splattered across my deck. I love fall.  The smell of the leaves and the rain.  The feel of wool socks and cozy fleece.  Turning on the oven every day.  The breads.  The soups.  The pumpkins and the costumes.

Today joy looks like a toddler wearing a rainbow unicorn costume. 

There is magic in her eyes and her mind and I get lost just watching her sometimes as she plays and lives with reckless abandon.  I already see it slipping away from him, the calculating way he understands how some things can't be real, the way he's already jaded and skeptical enough to see how the world works.  But it's not gone yet, not completely.  But I see him and I see her and the window is just so short.  This time we have to witness the marvel and experience the wonder, their wonder, it is fleeting. 

There is magic in this season of holidays that I will fight to keep alive for as long as I can for them.  It starts with pumpkins and candy and silly costumes, and leaves sprinkled with crayons and ironed between wax paper.  It moves into turkeys and family and fellowship and thankfulness.  And it culminates with trees covered in a million twinkle lights, stockings, birthday cakes, and gifts from someone so magical, he still believes enough to ask that jolly soul to deliver one to Heaven from him. 

No matter how hard this season is for me, I will fight for this forever. 

Today joy looks a lot like craft preparation.  Before Jameson died, the whimsy and the play and the fun came so easily for me.  I struggle with it now.  I'm still me, but I'm so different in ways that can't be undone.  But just because it doesn't come easy, doesn't mean I can't still do it.  Because that window is so small.  And the magic is so fleeting.  And they are so worth it. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Today joy looks like rain falling from a grey sky.  All night long, as I tossed and turned, I could hear the rain gently falling on the roof, so calming and welcome after such a dry summer.  I rolled over and just listened, wide awake at 4:30 am for the third day in a row, willing myself to fall back asleep, knowing how much harder this makes the evenings. But my mind would not give in to the desires of my heart and flesh and I reluctantly got up and started the coffee. 

Joy looks like coffee every day.  And when the coffee runs out, it looks a lot like the pot of Earl Grey brewing on my counter.  I'm not sure why I can't sleep.  Its not because I'm not tired, because I am.  But I feel alive in a way that needs the day to begin.  Much like the rain is waking up our parched and dormant grass that has only needed mowing twice all summer, my mind is rousing.  I've been in a dry season all summer.  A season of exhaustion and excitement and entertainment galore that has unknowingly depleted me and left me thirsty. 

I didn't even realize how thirsty I was until I started reading this book by Micha Boyett called Found.  Ann Voskamp(my hero) recommended this book on her blog and without even thinking about it, without checking the budget, reading the reviews or even really looking at the subject, I bought it.  I just knew I had to have it.  It arrived last week shortly after J's birthday and I haven't been able to put it down.  I told Hubs last night that I can't wait to finish reading this book so I can start reading it again.  And he, of course, asked why it was so great?  To which I replied with silence and then, "it just is." 

I wasn't done with his question, just not able to put into words the quenching power of Micha's words for my soul.  Because I've been bone-dry for months, just trying to make it through the days but not really seeing.  Oh every now and again I remember to write down my gifts and really stop to SEE, but for the most part, I've just been along for the ride.  But when I started reading this book, I started reflecting a little more, started thinking a little deeper and questioning myself.  I've started to understand prayer and quiet time and how sacred each moment can be if only I allow it.  And I'm falling in love with life a little more this week.  I'm SEEing and hearing and feeling and it is all so vulnerable and beautiful and empowering.  Which is all still so vague and I'm sorry for that.  I'm going to read with a highlighter this second time through. 

My tea cup is empty and I can smell the tomato vines on my fingers as I hold it close to my lips, thinking.  Today joy looks like harvesting tomatoes in the rain and warm cookies from the oven.  The world seems new to me; there is a sheen I haven't noticed in a long time and I'm ready to drink it all in. 

Friday, September 19, 2014


Some days surviving is easier than others.  It just is.  The routine is there.  I get up way too early.  Make the coffee.  Praise God for the coffee.  And everything else, too, of course.  Try to read the Bible before reading the email.  Try to get clothes on and teeth brushed before school drop off.  Play with Littles all day.  Really try to get dressed before school pick up.  Feed kids snacks and help with homework.  Cook dinner.  Thank God that yoga pants work as both pajamas and clothes so Hubs doesn't even realize I'm still not dressed yet when he gets home from work.  Put kids to bed, pretend for five seconds that I really am going to do those dishes tonight, transfer the laundry to the dryer and go to bed.  Wash.  Rinse.  Repeat. 

But then there are days, sometimes weeks, that surviving is hard work. Everything is just harder. Everything.  Breathing.  Smiling.  Remembering to put the snack in Little Man's backpack.  Remembering to eat.  Not crying.  Not imploding or withdrawing from the world completely.

It seems like it should be getting easier.  It's been almost four years now.  And I've said before that learning how to work around the gaping hole in my heart, the coping part, how that is getting easier.  But not always.  Not this week.

This week Little Lady jumped out of her stroller on the way to pick up to point out the two Jays that flew down on the branch right next to us.  And I had to sit down in the middle of the road because I couldn't stop sobbing.  That was on J's birthday.  And I cried the whole three block walk to the school, cried on the playground while other moms tried really hard to not notice.  Cried though the cake making and the dinner cooking.  Instead of singing Happy Birthday, Hubs and I cried through a cheers for Jameson and then, because we all just needed a freaking break from the tears, we watched Goonies.  It's been a big movie week.

It's five days later and I'm on my way to MOPS.  This is a new group and the first day.  Little Lady and I left early because it's outside our five-mile bubble and I am anxious.  We arrive early.  Like 20 minutes early.  I want to sit in the car and text.  Little Lady wants to go to church school.  We compromise and walk around the block.  Three houses from the entrance to the church, there's this house with a great front yard garden full of dinosaurs.  Dinosaurs everywhere.  And all I can think is how meant to be this all is.  How I'm supposed to be here this early and walk past this house and think about my boy.  And I'm trying so hard not to cry on this already impossibly hard week just made harder. I'm trying so hard not to walk into this church for the first time with a swollen face and say hi, nice to meet you, I'm the crazy crying lady.  God help me not be that crazy lady, at least not today.

I only cried a little and I hope nobody noticed. 

But the dam broke on the way home and I almost had to pull the car over and its been almost four years and I'm still needing to pull over on the sides of roads for the ugly crying.  And I don't know what I'm doing.  It NEVER feels easy, these days where I'm still here and Jameson is not. And all these people keep telling me how strong I am, how they don't know how I do it, like its the thing to be proud of or something.

I read the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand a little over a year ago and I remember wondering why he just didn't give up?  Why did he bother to keep living through the hell he was in?  But the thing is, you can't help it.  This whole living thing is worth the fight, even when it's hell.  And it feels all wrong to call it hell because how can I?  My life is beautiful.  But it is so heavy too.  And its exhausting to have it be both like this every day. 

I don't think it's ever gonna get easier.  Sometimes I think it is getting harder.  It's been so long since he was here.  So long since I've held my boy and kissed his forehead.  It's been more than four years since he's danced or laughed or cried my name.  And I still long to scoop him up and make it all better.  But he's gone and I can't make anything better.  I can't fix him or my broken heart. 

Monday, September 15, 2014


Happy Birthday Jameson

Your brother and sister picked out the biggest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles balloons in the store and I bet you'd think they were pretty cool.  We are making you a s'mores cake, remembering just how much you loved chocolate and marshmallows.  I'm sure you are having a lovely time in Heaven.  Are birthdays as exciting as coming home days?  

There is so much I wish I could ask you. So many things about you I wish I could know.  If you were still here you would be seven now.  And going into second grade.  I imagine you would be learning to ride your bike and read and write.  You'd have so many friends because everyone has always loved you and that could never change.  I imagine you hair would still be red and you'd still have the best laugh and still be an amazing dancer.  

I miss you so much, my sweet Jameson.  We all miss you every day.  Do you look down and see us as we look at your pictures?  Do you watch your little sister kiss the brother she doesn't know?  Do you see your big brother climb to the top bunk, wishing with everything inside him that you were still just a few steps away?  Do you see me still sleep with your blankey once in a while, wishing you were still wrapped up in my arms?  Do you see us happy when we remember you?  You were such a bright light.  You will always be my boy, Jameson, my sweet baby J. 

I used to hope that when you grew up, you'd never want to leave home.  That you would move into an apartment above the garage and be hot tub buddies with your Dad.  That you would eat dinner with us and travel with us and we'd be the luckiest people in the whole world to never have to have an empty nest.  But it didn't work out that way, my boy.  You left us much too soon.

Today, on your seventh birthday, I want to tell you what I hope for now.  I hope for a long and happy life here.  The kind of life that makes you proud when you see your bright light shining on inside of me.  A life lived so full of passion, zest, grace, love, and joy that it can count for both of us.  I dream about the day when it's my turn to leave here.  What it will be like to see you and see HIM and be whole and full and to finally understand.  I can't wait to meet you in Heaven, my boy.  But I know that I must, and that's okay too.  

I'm sure you will have an amazing cake up there.  Who is the pastry chef anyway?  So many things I wish I could know.  Someday I look forward to getting the grand tour from you.  

But until then, I'm sending up all my love, my sweet boy, all my love and hugs and kisses.  

Happy Birthday, Jameson. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Hard Months

We are into the four months of hard.  We have had family in town and it started over a holiday weekend and then school started up and work started back up and family went home and we've been working on project after project on the house.  But the dates don't go unnoticed.  The heart remembers.  The scars crack and rub raw when the last day of August rolls around. 

We were at the coast.  It was cold.  And even though nothing but my toes went into the water, I was drowning all day long.  We had this amazingly beautiful day at my favorite location with my favorite people in the world and I was smiling and laughing and having so much fun.  Except that my heart was breaking wide open. 

But He spent the whole day wooing me.  Reminding me of the promises that are for now and those that are for later. 

Four years ago my whole world began to shatter and crumble around me.  It left nothing untouched.  It took a third of a year and my whole life 

But the sun came up the next morning.  And the morning after that.  And it keeps rising and setting and the world keeps on turning and I'm spinning from all this back and forth, this never ending fight to stay present without losing the past.  Some days all I want to do is fall into the memories without ever coming up for air.  But I like to breathe.  I can't help it. 

Which is how I came to be at the coast, breathing in the salty air on the anniversary of my world falling to pieces and wondering how in the world my heart could be growing and bursting with love and happiness and shattering at the same time. 

This life is good.  My God, it is a damn beautiful life. 

But in one week, I'm going to be making a cake for a little boy who should be turning seven.  And I don't even know what kind of cake he would like anymore.  Because four years and two days ago he was diagnosed with a terminal disease. 

And it would be so easy to fall into the abyss right about now.  Except, it's not.  Because I close my eyes and I can see the pictures of my life all around.  There's this gorgeous red-head who never changes and never grows older and he's everywhere, plastered all over the walls of my home and heart.  But right along with him are more pictures.  There's this man-child who is turning more and more into his daddy every day and this girl with these blonde curls who has stolen my heart with her wild passion for this world and life.  And there's a tall drink of water who makes me thirsty just thinking about him, too.  And there are sunsets and mountain vistas and oceans.  Family and friends.   There is love and laughter and happiness and beauty.  So much beauty.

"Life is hard but so very beautiful" -Abraham Lincoln

Friday, August 22, 2014

Queen Of The Castle

Little Lady was given a hand-me-down crown on Monday.  She thought it was really cool, but after putting it on one time, she has decided it's much more fun to make Mama wear the crown.  So I've spent a fair amount of time this week in yoga pants and a tiara.  Which isn't so bad.  Once it's on, it feels just like a headband.  Which is why, if you've seen my in public this week at all, this is what I've looked like. 

It's always fun when you're in public and someone compliments you on your tiara and you realize you forgot to take it off. 

I'm kinda thinking I should wear this tiara more often, though.  Besides making other people smile a lot, and keeping my hair out of my face, it may actually be making my life more extravagant.  For instance, on Tuesday night, after wearing it most of the day, I got to take a hot bath and then go out by myself.  I went for a sunset drive down a beautiful tree lined road, with the windows down and the sunroof open, and the radio blasting good music.  I stopped off at one of my favorite stores and went shopping by myself.  My shopping spree was so successful that it actually took me two trips to get it all in the house.  And when I got home I was able to kiss my kids goodnight and watch a show on Netflix with Hubs and not do any housework at all.  Doesn't that sound so luxurious?  Yeah, this crown may be here to stay if this is what it brings. 

Maybe before you go shopping the Target princess aisle for your own crown, I should fill in a few details in my story.  I don't know, in my mind, it all went down just like I told you, but, for full disclosure, here's the long version. 

Little Lady refused to eat dinner again.  Perhaps it was because we decided to eat outside, perhaps it was because she all of a sudden doesn't like any of her favorite foods anymore, perhaps its because she's the most stubborn creature on the face of the earth and has decided this is not the week to eat.  Whatever it was, she didn't eat dinner and since she's not really great at the whole gaining weight thing, we went for the fallback, which is drinking carnation instant breakfast.  Thank God, there was just enough milk left in the gallon to fill her sippy cup all the way up.  I made her high calorie shake and then sat down to check email.  She came and sat on my lap and after about three sips, she somehow managed to unscrew the cap and spill the entire sippy cup of vanilla shake on my lap.  She's sobbing because she actually wants her milk now that she can't have it, we're both a sticky, cold, wet mess, so I suggest we take a shower together, something we've been doing since she was two weeks old.  But no, that idea is met with more screams and sobs.  So in the interest of getting out of my soggy, vanilla shorts quicker, I ask if she wants to take a bath.  Of course she does.  With me.  So we take a bath together.  Taking a bath with a two year old is not relaxing...unless your idea of relaxing includes having slippery toddlers trying to kill themselves by climbing on your head and dump bucket after bucket of water into your ears.  Right.  It was fun, though.  And she was so happy. And we both got clean.  So really, it was a win. 

Post bath, I had to run to the grocery store, since we were now out of milk and Carnation instant breakfast.  But Hubs was home and the kids were playing together, so I got to go BY MYSELF.  I rolled down those windows.  I opened that sunroof.  I cranked K-LOVE on the radio and I cruised to that Safeway with my wet hair blowing in the breeze.  I was feeling fine.  It may or may not have deflated my ego a bit when I remembered I was driving to the grocery store in a white mini-van, but let's not linger there.  After a half hour of leisurely going up and down the aisles at Safeway, never once having to say "no" or "put that back" or "sit down in the cart before you fall and crack your head open!" and not once having to abandon the full cart for potty break 15 of the hour, I checked out and was able to load the car up in like two minutes. It was amazing.  You better believe I cruised on home just as fabulously in White Lightening, which is what I named our gorgeous used van.  And just for the record, all you people who are too cool for are missing out.  Mini-vans rule.  I'm just saying. 

Right, so where were we?  Ah yes, home from the store.  I walk in with 5 bags(paper, since I always forget my own) and go back for 3 more plus two gallons of milk.  Little Lady's in the kitchen crying for mama as if she can't breathe the air unless I'm holding her.  Clingfest 2014 starts back up as we try slightly successfully to get her to drink another shake.  I have no idea what time it is because there are too many pots and pans blocking the oven clock and the microwave clock is flashing 13 seconds remaining because who ever presses cancel unless they have to?  But the sun was setting on my glorious drive home, so it's gotta be 9 by now.  She's so tired she goes right down after we've located all 12 pacifiers and the blankey we can't live without.  Little Man goes to bed super easy after we remind him 8 times that yes, he does have to brush his teeth.  All of them.  And finally, Hubs and I settle on the couch with a Netflix show to unwind.  After we both wake up on the couch and stumble off to brush teeth, we climb into bed exhausted.  I pull up on the covers and something crashes to the floor.  I say, "Oh crap what was that?" and Hubs replies, "Don't worry, it was only your tiara." 

And there it is folks.  I was laughing about it the next morning while clearing the forgotten dinner dishes off the patio table, the casual way Hubs called it my tiara.  As if an adult woman who doesn't even brush her hair naturally has a tiara and wears it.  And I decided that I should rock tiara more often. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Prize

There is a reason I will never become more than a home baker.  And that reason is because bakers have to get up early.  Mornings and I are not friends and never have been.  So its really no surprise to me that since I've been trying to get up earlier, I've been sleeping in later.  This morning my alarm went off for 20 minutes straight before I even heard it.  Which is amazing, considering how Little Lady only has to sneeze and I'm wide awake listening for her through two closed doors and down a hall. That whole Mama instinct thing is powerful. 

This week has been a bit of a doozy.  Little Lady keeps growing, sigh, so I was going through the closet and sorting out the too small things for Goodwill and looking through the hand-me-downs bin to see what we still have for her from her brothers.  The hand-me-down bin is getting really small.  And what is left in it are the things my Jameson was wearing before he got sick.  The snowman Christmas jammies.  The Irish Prince shirt.  The t-shirts and long sleeved T's that he wore on our last family vacation...the ones that have so much love and happiness wrapped into them that just holding them in my hands breaks my heart again.  And now she is going to be wearing some of them.  She is getting bigger than her big brother.  And soon she will be older then he ever got to be.  It is difficult to process all of these emotions...the happy and sad and glad and despairing that all roll together and tangle up until it's just one big mess of me and it seems right to be this constant jumbled mess of everything.

Life gets complicated.

Adding to the whole she's-growing-up-too-fast-and-outliving-her-brother-and-that's-a-very-good-thing-for-her-but-it-never-stops-sucking-so-freaking-much-that-he-is-dead moment, is the annual letter to the teacher explaining a bit of our family history so when Little Man inevitably brings up that his brother died, the teacher isn't caught off guard.  It wasn't as hard to write this time and that's because it's the fourth time I've had to write it.  Fourth.  I know that time keeps on moving and it's no surprise that every year is going to be another year farther away, but it still hits me over the head like a hammer when I think about it.

Two nights ago I was looking at pictures on the digital picture slideshow with Little Lady and we have a lot of our favorites up there.  It is very Jameson heavy, but also full of vacation pictures and recent shots.  She knows who Jameson is and is getting pretty good at saying his name and saying that he is her brother.  And while looking at these pictures, she asked me where he is.  And she's sitting on my lap almost nose to nose with me, waiting for my answer with these huge, serious eyes, and I have no idea how to explain to a two year old where her brother is.  So I looked at her and said that Jameson got really sick and he died and when you die you have to leave here and now Jameson lives in Heaven with Jesus.  And she looked right at me like she understood everything and she gasped and smiled and said "Yay!" and clapped her hands together and then she said, "He's not dead anymore Mama!  He lives in Heaven!"  And she said it like we should all think it.  Like it's the prize and he got it.  And that is truth right out of her mouth and it bowled me over.  And I'm sitting here reliving that moment with tears streaming down my cheeks and it's hard to breath and it's so true it hurts.  And Jesus' words ring in my ears, "And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." -Matthew 18:3

He's gone from here.  And that emptiness, the void screams out to me so much.  I work so hard to seek out Joy from this life, to find the gifts along the way and yet, so often I fail to see the greatest gift right in front of my face.  Jameson's already got the prize.   

Monday, August 18, 2014


My alarm was supposed to get me up an hour ago to write.  But I hit snooze.  Five times.  And now here I sit at the end of a table, covered with worn red vinyl and stickiness, coffee in hand and so much inside my head that its all kinda stuck.  But I need to write.  I've noticed that as my writing decreases, my stress and crankiness increase. And so here I am, at the table sipping coffee and wondering where to begin after such a long time.  It isn't easy.  Especially since it's a Monday.  And Mondays are always colossally harder than anything else.  Especially this Monday, because it's the first Monday back into our schedules after a week of vacation. 

Vacations are funny things when you have Littles in tow.  And since we know how to always make things as difficult as possible, we went camping in a tent for six nights on the banks of giant lakes and raging, deep rivers with waterfalls and rapids downstream, with a toddler.  A toddler who loves water.  And who, after being explained why she can't swim in the water for the umpteenth time, grabs my face in her hands, gets nose to nose with me and says "It'll be okay Mom," before taking off for the water like a bat outta hell.  She's fast, spirited, and full of wildness that amazes and terrifies me all at once. 

Vacation was not restful, really.  Keeping her out of harms way on the rivers and the hiking trails and the woods was not an easy task.  And when camping, there are still meals to cook and dishes to wash and it's even harder than at home without electricity, running water, and convenience at our disposal.  Sleeping with everyone all in the same tent on one little air mattress that has a hole is not relaxing.  And yet, I love it(maybe not the deflating bed part).  I love the chance to get out into the wild and live a different kind of adventure for a short time.  And I love the simplicity of it.  The lack of choices and stuff makes things infinitely more difficult and better all at once. 

We had no cell signal for most of our trip.  We didn't bring computers along for the ride.  Other than washing the one pot and four plates for dinner, there were really no chores to do.  No distractions, only attractions.  I had all the time in the world to listen to my kids and play with them and just be in the moment.  The only problem with this is that I didn't miraculously get all of the patience in the world to go along with all of this time.  If only vacations came with extra doses of virtues when they run thin.

But overall, it wasn't overly stressful and frustrating.  We were all together.  Team Us.  And we had so much fun.  The beauty and the magic we experienced was overwhelming at times. And even just a few days later, I can already feel the rough edges smoothing on the memories.  And all of a sudden, it's funny that the potty training toddler pooped in her only swim suit on day one and had to wear Wonder Woman underpants swimming for the rest of the trip.  And the number of fishing lures that Little Man lost on rocks and trees is entirely eclipsed by the two trout he caught in the mighty Rogue.  And the aches and fatigue from not sleeping well on the ground with two kids melt away after a night or two back on our own beds, but the memories of giggles and snuggles glow brighter. 

I'll be back soon. I can only hit snooze so many days in a row before this starts working! 

Monday, June 30, 2014


I've got a blueberry cream cheese pound cake in the oven and Hubs is out in the yard playing catch with the Littles and I'm sitting here reflecting on the past month we've had.  It's been outstanding.  We've been carpe diem-ing the crap out of life.  Summer is in full swing and the days are long in the best and worst ways possible.  We've gotten in beach trips, farmer's market excursions, dinners with friends, out and in.  We've had birthday parties, bonfires on the deck with smores, hiking adventures, park play times, star-gazing evenings, windows open with coyotes howling nights.  We went camping, bought a used mini-van, sold an old house, celebrated the end of the notorious intern year, and our one year anniversary of being home here.  It's been quite a month.

It is so beautiful, this messy life of mine.  We have these epic adventures coupled with drywall dust covering everything from the never ending home projects, and the laundry piles up and catches up when we come up for air long enough to see the mundane beyond the treasures.  And the food has been very, very good lately, which means we are all happy and maybe a little fat, but while cooking is a love, it's also a therapy for me.  And the Little Lady is wearing her favorite t-shirt today that says behind every cloud is the sun and I still can't help but wonder why some people seem to have cloudier skies than others.  But maybe for my Irish family, the clouds aren't all bad and how can I find symbolism in metaphors and sunburn and death?

We went on the camping trip just last week because Hubs had an unexpected break in his schedule.  And we packed up our 8 year old and 1 day-new minivan with all our things and I thought about how we finally had the perfect car for our family of five, if only we needed it now.  And we drove out of town and into the trees and left behind the house and the laundry and the drywall dust, just left it all covering the living room floor.  And we kept driving over the rivers and through the woods and we lost our cell service and we found ourselves.  And the skies poured rain and we hiked in the soup that was the trail.  And we found joy in the puddle splashing and the drinking rain and laughter that comes when nobody says no and stop and don't.  And everything was so alive and green and beautiful.  Overwhelmingly so.  There were trees growing out of rocks in the middle of raging rivers on the edges of waterfall cliffs and I looked and I told Little Man that life is always fighting and finding a way. 

And we hiked around a lake and thought about the last time we hiked around a lake on a camping trip when the boys were two and three and everything was shiny and new and happy and there were no clouds on our horizon, at least not any that could cover the sun. And we both felt the heartache watching Little Lady be just like her big brother that she'll never know.  How the memories can be so clear and so stunningly present  Until they're not.  And you're here again and everything is awesome except that it's not.  Because the sky is full of clouds and every time they cover the sun it gets cold deep into the bones, right down to your very core. 

And there's this never ending pull between the past and the present and how can there be both and still be any sun left?  Sometimes it doesn't feel like the sky becomes cloudy, but more like the sun has burned out.  And there's still a scorching pain in my heart and I feel both burned and cold all at once when it comes. 

And we're hiking through the woods and laughing and making memories and it's still raining but the sun peeks out ever now and again and the water is crystal clear and deep blue and world is so full of beauty that it takes my breath away.  And just when it can't get any more amazing, the Stellar Jay comes and lands right on the very branch we were all looking at and how can that not be a gift, this blue-winged Jay, from my blue-eyed J?  And maybe you don't believe in that silly kinda stuff like I didn't used to either.  And maybe I want it to be true because I'm so lost in a world where he can't be that he needs to still be here somehow, anyhow sometimes. 

We kept walking through the woods in the rain.  We walked and we looked and we laughed and it.was.good.  But just like we looked for the sun and sighed with pleasure whenever it came out, so we are filled with longing for the life we and he could've, would've, should have had.  And the shiver of cold runs down my spine just like the trickle of rain that snuck into my coat. 


Saturday, June 7, 2014

My Tide

I woke up at 6 am on a Saturday morning to write.  Naturally, Little Lady woke up screaming for mommy at 6:10 and had a 45 minute tantrum about which bed she wanted be sleep in, how I wasn't wiping her nose the right way, how she wants milk but not in a cup.  Ah.  She finally calmed down as long as I was lying next to her in my bed.  I laid there watching a spot of light on the wall fading and getting brighter as the curtains swayed, thinking about my coffee getting colder, the story I wanted to write running away from me once again, and how absolutely impossible it is to accomplish anything with kids. 

I get frustrated easily.  My Italian blood, maybe.  But I was lying in that bed watching the spot of light on the wall and listening to her breathing getting slower, knowing that the good writing wasn't going to happen anymore.  Just like folding the laundry doesn't happen because her goal in life is to undo everything I do, it seems. I fold three shirts and five seconds later the pile is hanging from a lamp, now not only unfolded but also covered in dust and/or dog hair.  Lovely.  Why do I even bother?  I wash the floors and I can't even turn around to see how nice they look before I can hear the splash of milk splattering across them.  Cleans sheets automatically mean someone will either wet the bed that night or vomit or sneak in a bucket of sand from the sandbox. 

And I'm still lying in bed listening to her breathing, and as she's getting calmer, I'm heating up inside thinking about all of the stuff that goes wrong and what's the point in even trying to make anything nice when every effort seems sabotaged every.single.time? 

But that spot of light keeps coming and going, and it reminds me of the beach and the waves that come and go and the tide, how it goes out and gives us this great place to be.  And we make our castles and digs our holes and leave our footprints in the sand.  And then the tide comes back in and tears down the castles and fills in the holes and leaves the beach smooth and seemingly untouched once again.  And where the tide doesn't reach, the wind does.  And every morning looks different than the night before, after the wind and tide have had their way with the coast.  There's always new beauty to behold in the way the wind and waves shape the sand, what they hide and reveal.
And isn't that really the way life is?  We build our castles and the world tends to level them.  Yet, we also dig ourselves big holes and they get filled in, too.  And maybe it's all as beautiful as the sand, this windswept life of mine.    

Maybe it really can all be beautiful.  The messy stuff.  The cold coffee.  The crying toddler.  The never ending laundry.  The tempers that flare so often.  The list of messy is long and ugly.  But maybe this world pushing against my every move is just my wind and tide.  And maybe when all is said and done, maybe after I've been worn in all the right places, maybe what's left can be beautiful, too.  Maybe it already is and I'm just not seeing it right.  And I once again find myself asking, what is it that I'm seeing?  Am I always overlooking the beauty in order to see the mess?  It's like adjusting the focus on camera, this joy seeking I try to live.  It's all always right there, but what is it that I'm putting the focus on?

The house is quiet now.  Now she sleeps.  I look out my hand-print covered windows and I see her life all over mine.  And I see now that it's not a mess at all.   There's a wind-chime ringing somewhere and the breeze is blowing the leaves.  The birds are singing good morning and all I can think is that she's just my tide.  Leveling me out and making my world more beautiful than I could ever do on my own. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014


"If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life." -Rachel Carson

Little Lady loves to read.  She brings me books all day long and we sit on the carpet and snuggle in and read.  She picks funny books sometimes.  Last week she brought me a library book on how to play chess and made me read eight pages before she lost interest.  If she sets up the board correctly, it may not be an accident.  Today she brought me a winter book that I usually keep boxed up with the Christmas decorations, filled with microscopic images of snowflakes and satisfying quotations from famous writers.  I really love the quotation written above and looked up Ms. Carson to "meet" her.  What an inspirational woman!  I think you should "meet" her too, but that's not what this is about. 

I've spent a better part of the morning thinking about this sense of wonder she longs for in her adult life.  This gift of SEEING the world that she wishes every person on this earth could hold on to.  How is it that wonder is something we lose, something we miss and cannot seem to grasp even though we all desire it?  I think of Thoreau's musing that "the question is not what you look at, but what you see."  We look at so much.  We go so fast.  We never stop with the media, the noise, the stuff.  We are so busy that we never have the time to actually see, because in order to see we have to stop running from one thing to the next, slow down and actually allow something to sink in. 

I worry, in this age of technology and information overload, how to protect my kids for losing their wonderment.  I think, like most important life skills, I have to be the model.  So how do I hold onto my own sense of wonder?  When there are so many urgent tasks screaming at me day in day out, so many mindless forms of entertainment seducing me to check my news feed, stay glued to this screen until its time to turn on the next screen, so many chores and planned activities and assignments labeled important that are really nothing more than busywork.  Is there anyone out there who isn't busy all of the time? 

But what really matters?  And how do you stand your ground when the whole world is swelling up around you, demanding your time, your brain and your life, really. And this isn't all about technology sucking us dry.  I don't want to say that checking facebook is evil.  Or that television will ruin my kids' lives.  Keeping time suckers in check can be hard if I don't watch myself.  But really, that's only part of it, isn't it?  You can go a whole day without turning on a single screen and still not be filled with a sense of wonder.  Because "the question is not what you look at, but what you see"(Thoreau). 

What is it that I see?  Do I see that happiness on her face when she's bringing me a sand pie or do I see the mess I'm gonna have to clean up later?  Do I see the excitement in his eyes when he shows me his newest lego creation or am I too busy cooking dinner to even bother looking?  When we go for family walks, how often do I let them go at their pace, discovering, seeking, SEEING instead of hurrying them along?  Here I am, desiring to protect this sense of wonderment and yet I'm probably killing it off myself. 

What is it that I see? 

My view is changing.  The more I count gifts, the more I see them and now I want to slow down, take the long path, stop and smell the roses.  To see the smiles, cherish the laughter, notice the worms and flowers, smell the blossoms, and taste the sweet fruits of the world. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I know it has been a long time since I've been on here.  I long for slower days when I have more time to write.  Although, I think I'd be better off working on my time management skills than waiting for things to slow down...that's not going to happen for decades!  We've been busy with baseball and planting gardens, and going to Mexico for fairy tale weddings, and celebrating my first baby getting another year bigger.  He was 8 pounds one blink ago, and now he's this man-child and I'm still not quite sure how that happened?  And through all the days, the good ones and especially the bad ones, through all the low points in the days when I'd rather run away and all the high points that I want to stop time and live inside forever, I'm still giving thanks.  I don't write them all down, but I'm up to 777 on the list. 

Seek JOY and you shall find the whole world becomes a new and beautiful place. 

1. Cleansing rain
2. New beginnings
3. Kilz paint
4. Morning snuggles with sleepy babies
5. Doggy deep breathing at my feet
6. Professional installation.
7. Park Time with new friends
8. Thunderstorms
9. Nap times
10. Thai food
11. Cool evenings and family walks
12. Swim lessons
13. Tissues with lotion by
14. Daddy's day off.
15. Home depot employees
16. A Good vet
17. Losing my voice while learning to hold my tongue
18. Running water. Clean running water.
19. Wrinkle free dress shirts
20. Turkish delight.
21. Reading together too late at night
22. Enjoying the all night snuggle with the sick and fussy baby.
23. Football season and a working TV.
24. watching her hair grow and curl the same way her brothers did
25. Text from hubs with an unexpected and early leaving from work.
26. Gummy vitamins
27. Teeny wet footprints
28. Coyote howls
29. Having a loop in the house
30. Watching them play together
31. My moms meatloaf in the oven
32. Baby squirrels chirping and chasing
33. Painting with toddlers.
34. Daily new beginnings
35. Spider webs
36. Coffee. How did I wait this long to write coffee?
37. Tissues with lotion
38. Fresh bread...even if it didn't rise right
39. Baby gates
40. Wild flowers on the side of the road.
41. Baby squirrels chhasing each other in the trees.
42. Acorns
43. Watching my boy play four square with new friends
44. Coffee. Did I already say that?
45. Being married to my best friend
46. Having a mom who always picks up the phone even when I call 7 times in one day.
47. Garden snakes. Yes I did just say that.
48. Not being afraid to try drywalling.
49. IPod music
50. When the word neighbors really means friends
51. The enchilada sauce that breaks in the new kitchen. Yes the paint really is scrubbable.
52. Thunder and that rain smell that gets into your brain and makes you feel like a kid with a sidewalk full of puddles and no one around to say don't.
53. Buddies for my kids
54. A job interview that feels more like coffee with an old Friend
55. Football season
56. Pumpkin anything and everything.
57. When she made a sound effects while playing with planes and trucks.
58. Footie jammies
59. Beach days
60. Pints on the deck
61. Flying kites
62. The way birds sail in the breeze
63. Pizza by the slice
64. Salty ocean air
65. Low heavy clouds and blue skies all at once.
66. Waves crashing on the sandy shore.
67. The perfect mix of sun heat and breeze
68. Sea gull cries.
69. Driftwood
70. Watching kids chasing birds on the sand
71. Sand and barefeet
72. My sons clothing fleece pants with a muscle shirt and Mardi gras a restaurant. Love.
73. Bedtime.
74. Hot showers
75. The newspaper.
76. Chasing wves in the ocean
77. Being big spoon at bedtime
78. My washing machine
79. My dishwasher
80. Hand me down clothes and toys
81. Sticky notes
82. Watching promises unfold in His time
83. Wind chimes
84. Hearing my kids singing
85. Unintentional funnies from kids
86. Hearing the birds sing while lying in bed early
87. Mops
88. the snooze button
89. Living in a tight knit community and not being an outsider
90. Watching diggers
91. Music.
92. Clear starry night.
93. Bread rising on the stove.
94. Pizza night with family
95. Laughter of my kids playing together.
96. Comfy bed.
97. Spider webs catching all the fruit flies
98. Golden leaved falling from the trees
99. Cooking for my family
100. promise of eternity
101. Cloudy days
102. Sword ferns
103. Tree swings
104. Baby grass
105. Hope
106. Fragrant wet cedar
107. Living in America
108. Pacific time zone so I can actually stay awake to finish a game.
109. Birthday cake
110. Late night laughter with hubs
111. New babies
112. Impromptu dinner invites
113. C S Lewis.
114. Encouraging texts and emails from friends.
115. Tree climbing
116. Chaotic playgrounds
117. Slides and static electricity.
118. Clouds heavy with rain rolling in
119. Kids playing tag
120. Fiery maple leaves
121. Late start days
122. Doggies running in their sleep
123. Marshmallows
124. Pictures on my kids
125. Neighbors
126. A good cold beer after a long day
127. Answer of small prayers and seeing the gifts they are.
128. Being able to connect with family and friends so easily with technology
129. Hot showers
130. Exciting opportunities
131. Having options
132. Realizing that almost every problem in my life is a mere first world annoyance and what a blessing that is even when it sucks
133. Owls on a hike
134. Out of town guests
135. Vacation days
136. Seeing the wonder of everything from a childs eyes
137. Silver flashes of birch in the wind
138. Cool fall mornings
139. Restaurants with play areas
140. Sleeping baby eye lashes.
141. Tutus
142. Mountain vistas
143. Tide pools
144. Slugs all over on a hike
145. Getting to share favorite places with favorite people.
146. Sisters
147. Elk poop
148. Rainy beach days
149. Fig and goat cheese crepes
150. Nutella
151. Bread bowl clam chowder
152. Fancy coffee presents
153. Backing up my hard drive a week before the computer crashes
154. Working and clean smelling furnace
155. The ocean.
156. Laughter.
157. Yellow galoshes
158. Watching kids splash in puddles
159. Steamy grass after a rain shower
160. Getting to Starbucks a few minutes early.
161. Getting to go to Starbucks at all.
162. Whipped cream. Seriously.
163. Pumpkin spice is this my first time!?
164. Remembering Gods faithfulness and seeing it even in the hard times.
165. Not having to wait at an awesome restaurant
166. Dust motes in a stream of sun
167. Crisp cool fall air
168. Baby snores
169. Still getting big hugs and kisses at school drop off
170. Craig's list
171. Crisp sweet apples
172. Having a handy hubs
173. Napping in the sun on a cool day.
174. Getting to stay home with my lady
175. Wool socks
176. Playing I spy with wood floor grains
177. Pink dress up hats
178. Snails
179. The national anthem
180. My boy. Always.
181. Rocket inventions.
182. daddy daughter snuggles
183. Singing babies
184. Hallway bowling
185. Composting
186. Staying dry on super rainy weekends
187. Finding the perfect job.
188. Toothpaste
189. Soup in the pot
190. Finding an old friend close by! 191. Sunflowers
192. Blue skies and sun after rainy days
193. Finishing projects
194. Toddlers jumping
195. Piano lessons
196. Discovering a new good book
197. Apples and cinnamon baking
198. Rosy cheeks
199. Jammies with feet
200. Modern medicine
201. Movie days
202. Coffee with whipped cream just because
203. Exploring with kids
204. An extra bedtime kiss
205. Down comforters
206. An organized closet
207 foggy mornings
208. Dad visiting
209. J mping for joy
210. Slides
211. Bright colors
212 funky art
213. Roadside assistance
214. Sunset on the river
215. YouTube shark videos
216. Tubby time
217. Starting a new job.
218. Pumpkins with warts
219. Caramel apples
220. Nuks
221. Misty afternoons at the playground
222. Doggy diapers. Sigh.
223. Flower girl dresses
224. Sibling rivalry. I love that they bicker already. It is so cute.
225. Toddlers saying hi.
226. Skyping with grandma
227. Pumpkin cake
228. Nutella cake.
229. Refrigeration
230. The crunch and smell of leaves
231. Salmon
232. Waterfalls
233. Caves
234. Provision in creative ways
235. Seeing just how much I have
236. Bedtime prayers with my boy
237. Early morning snuggles with my lady
238. The way she says "mama"
239. Drop in visits from friends
240. Raking leaves and jumping in them
241. Saying sorry and being forgiven
242. Doggy snoring.
243. My mom
244. Learning new things
245. Having a real community
246. Dinner with an old friend
247. People who talk about my Jameson
248. Being married. And in love. To the same person.
249. Having kids.
250. Not having anymore kids.
251. Fall leaves
252. My kids playing with daddy
253. Days off
254. Open communication
255. Early bedtimes for everyone
256. Family walks
257. Fruit trees
258. Early morning snuggles
259. Pastry mornings with hubs
260. Blue skies and golden trees
261. Benadryl
262. Purring doggies
263. Full moon
264. Coyote howls late
265. Coffee
266. Epi pens
267. Babies running down a grassy slope
268. Being wrong about something that turns in your favor
269. Health
270. Pine needles falling like rain
271. Cupcake parties
272. Static hair on the slide
273. Kicking through leaves
274. Blustery fall days
275. The way feathers fly when vacummed
276. Washable crayons
277. Toddler friends
278. Seeing him all proud after making the basket.
279. Suction cup balls thrown in the window
280. Pizza delivery
281. A new window in the smile
282. Coyotes howling goodnight
283. Walking to almost everywhere
284. Storytime at the library
285. Husband home
286. Coffee
287. A friend who asks just the right questions at the right time
288. Seeing my boy find something he loves to do
289. A warm house
290. Wool socks
291. Extra blessings
292. Parent help guides
293. My bed
294. Time alone with my lady
295. Relaxing with the FAM
296. Husband with amazing work ethic
297. Lasagne in the oven
298. Fresh baked bread
299. The smell of pine overtaking a simple walk to the mail box
300. Rainy days
301. My job
302. Good friends who challenge me
303. Getting to have a 730 bedtime once in a while
304. Laughing
305. Knowing that when I can never ever just relax at a playground or basketball practice its because my daughter is healthy and strong and fierce
306. Knowing we have enough money to pay for Christmas gifts
307. Knowing that we are happy enough without them
308. Story time at the library
309. Getting to have friends over to play all the time
310. Walking to school
311. Kicking leaves
312. Coffee
313. Finished floors
314. Out of town guests
315. Red wine
316. Mexican vanilla gifts
317. Where's waldo hats on babies
318. Planning thanksgiving dinner
319. Daddy's day off pastries for breakfast.
320. Rain coats
321. Coupons
322. Pacifiers
323. Thoughtful notes from a friend
324. Rain on the roof
325. Dinner as a family
326. Mail from grandma
327. Being madly in love with hubs
328. Heaven dreams
329. Chalk and toddlers
330. Feeling pursued
331. Early morning snuggles with both kids
332. Photographs
333. Heavy fog hanging in the trees
334. clorox wipes
335. Coupons
336. Having a house full of kids all the time
337. The power of kissing an owie.
338. Team sports
339. my furnace
340. When the rain tales a break just long enough for the walk to school.
342. Sports for my boy
343. Foggy mornings
344. Dry afternoons for the playground
345. Second chances
346. Mops
347. Working furnace
348. Having a net
349. Feeling light
350. Holiday menus
351. Coffee
352. Klove radio
353. Fall trees almost bare
354. Birds
355. Pumpkins
356. The way she loves her daddy
357. A new cookbook
358. A new kitchen
359. Catching a leak right away.
360. Hand sanitizer
361. Strangers who take the time to talk to my kids
362. A good book
363. Old friends visiting
364. DVDs for kids for that breakdown moment
365. Standing on a heating vent
366. Tweezers
367. Fleece pants
368. Living in a town where fleece pants are normal public attire
369. Being okay with not being stylish knowing that saving is more important than having skinny jeans
370. Hand me down clothes for me and the kids
371. When hubs can wear scrubs instead of dress clothes to work.
372. ChapStick
373. Doggie diapers
374. Hubs hot legs. Back off ladies, he's mine!
375. Getting to snuggle after naps.
376. Sunny afternoons.
377. Running g after babies in the grass
378. Impromptu football.
379. Being part of a net.
380. Her lady curves
381. Friendships for my kids
382. Indoor play parks.
383. Interesting books
384. Stickers. And how they gave me 20 whole minutes to sit down.
385. Tater tots
386. Knowing that someday she'll outgrow the tantrums
387. Sleep
388. Coffee for when there isnt enough sleep
389. Cubism art
390. All kinds of art
391. Getting to hear other peoples stories
392. Not making life a contest
393. Baking cake
394. Big hugs
395. How hard kids heads are
396. Blakeys and special specials
397. Hot showers
398. Belly buttons
399. One on one time with my kids
400. Reading to my big boy
401. Getting to praise my kids and see them beam
402. The sun setting on a long day.
403. Evening sports to help us not miss dad so much
404. Girls night in
405. Dinner with friends
406. Farmers market
407. Having daddy to tagteam st sports
408. Canopies of miss covered trees
409 ferns on a hillside
410 weekend off.
411. Rainy days and long naps
412. Time to read a good book
413. A great school office assistant
414. Afternoon snuggles with my lady
415. The incredible amount of entertainment a few clean baby wipes can provide
416 WASHABLE markers
417. Community safety
418. Take out pizza
419 being able to laugh off a bad haircut
420. Wool socks
421. Singing babies
422. Logic
423. Hindsight
424. Chocolate
425. Coffee
426. Galoshes
427. Arts and crafts
428. Frosty mornings
429. He loves me.
430. Salvation
431, the complexity of creation
432. Doggies snoring all night
433. Lone leaf clinging to a winter tree.
434. Blustery days.
435. Winnie the pooh for making the word blustery so awesome.
436. Science.
437. Do overs
438. A cozy bed at the end of a long week
439. Food.
440. Sesame street on YouTube
441. Babies sleeping right in front if the door.
442. Hard heads and resilient brains
443. Thin ice that crackles underfoot
444. Her mullet
445. Neighbors
446. Romance
447. The way he still gives me butterflies just thinking about him
448. Early days off
449. Week of school vacation
450. School being back in session
451. Day with just my girl
452. Having enough to buy all the groceries
453. Friend visiting
454. Planning a date night.
455. Flowers
456. Cooking an awesome meal
457. Sharing it with my favorite people
458. Coffee break
459. Grade school sports
460. Creme brulé
461. Granola bars
462. Low clouds
463. Tall pines trees at the bottom of the hill
464. Bird berries on the back trees
465. Birds out the back window singing while snacking
466. Gum
467. Starry nights
468. Christmas lights
469. Christmas music
470. Daddy being home early
471. Home improvement happening.
472. Snow flakes
473. Eggnog
474. Fragrant pine trees
475. Naptime.
476. Having a great job
478. Bonus time with my boy
479. Snow days
480 snuggling under warm covers on chilly mornings
481. Flannel sheets
482 snuggly blankets
483. Cheese
484. Kids sleeping in
485. Christmas lights
486. Choirs singing
487. Goats
488. Hot chocolate
489. Rising bread
490. Honesty
491. Birds st the feeder
492. Intuition.
493. Finding a deal that seems made just for me
495. Family dinners
496. Birthday cake miracles
497. Invitations
498. Thoughtful neighbors
499. Adults who talk to my kids
500. White fog heavy on the trees
501. The smell of freshly cut junipers.
502. Rhododendrons
503. Christmas
504. A new favorite song
505. The smell of mud
506. Cookies.
507. Bathing suit season being far away from cookie season
508. Husband
509. Lemon curd
510 chocolate
511. The way she giggles.
512. The way she says mama
513. Listening to him tell good stories.
514. How smart and sure he is becoming.
515. When she dances in the back during church
516. Trees
517. Holding hands in the woods
518. New traditions
519. Skype
520. Medical tests that give answers
521. Hope.
522. Grace
523. Your unwavering love.
524. New mercies each day
525. Notes from friends
526. My mom
527. The moss covered trees
528. Foggy mornings
529. Watching a friends family grow
530. Getting to give back.
531. My furnace
532. The way kids always forgive
533. Getting to put my lady to bed
534. My boys love for Christ
535. Ponytails and yoga pants
536. Coffee
537. When he works hard and it pays off
538. Love from everyone around me.
539. Soup
540. Car carts at the grocery
541. Baby squirrel at the feeder
542. Friends who offer ingredients
543. Toddler giggles
544. Spell check.
545 Greek yogurt with 8billion calories per bite
546. Tucking my girl in at night
547. My dishwasher
548. Spiderman band aids
549. Ferns growing right out of trees
550. Birthday flowers delivered from bright eyed girls
551. Stroller rides
552. When daddy's s hedule gETs waaaayyy better
553. Watching my boy flourish
554. Coffee
555. Listening to her try out new words
556. The way no one else will do and that I get to be her mama
557. Signing times dvds
558. Family date nights
559. Working car.
560. When she sings with her little wookie voice
561. My bed
562. Pacifiers
563. Hot showers
564. Doggie heavy breathing.
565. Snooze button.
566. Rain softly falling outside
567. Good rain jacket
568. Hawks impressing females in flight
569. Her napping in my arms.
570. Those eyelashes and that perfect little everything.
571. The way she runs away after a tubby with her naked heiny on the loose giggly as I chase her.
572. Another lost tooth and the cutest window I've ever seen in a smile
573. When the sun peeks out right when I start to shiver
574. Her feisty spirit
575. The way he reads aloud.
576. Hubs jokes. I love his jokes.
577. A safe and working car.
578. Being on the west coast
579. A green winter
580. Moss growing right on the road
581. Doggies running in their sleep
582. Watching her dream
583. Muffins
584. Morning coffee with my man
585. Toothpaste
586. Looking out on the big ocean and feeling so small.
587. Sunsets over the ocean
588. Family beach day
589. Basement play rooms
590. Laughing together.
591. My helpful boy
592. A new gallon of paint
593. Popsicle sticks
594. Moss covered green roads
595. Rainy days
596. Long walks with a quiet crew in the stroller
597. Card board boxes and kids imaginations
598. Baby laughs and cackles
599. Sleeping through the night
600. Family weekends
601. Snowflakes gently falling and them MELTING.
602. Sisters
603. Birds at the feeders
604. Weekend hikes through tall trees
605. Glue and plastic eyeballs
606. Washable markers
607. Coffee at naptime on s cold day
608. The way He takes care of the smallest details
609. A boy who loves to learn about God
610. New babies growing.
611. NOT being the pregnant lady
612. Dreams for our wild life
613. Lemon curd
614. Being able to give gifts
615. My dreamy husband
616. 3 months of scrubs rotations...meaning no ironing dress clothes.
617. I need to say this one ironing for three months.
618. Fleece jackets with thumbholes
619. Remembrance candles
620. A great book by Angie Smith
621. When someone gets it all.
622. Being alone.
623. A full tank of gas and a full trunk of groceries.
624. Windy nights
625. Husband sleeping next to me
626. Muffins in the oven
627. Exciting weather that maybe cancels school.
628. Long talks with my boy
629. Reading with my boy
630. Her middle of the night we up calls
631. Snow days for the whole family.
632. Snow ball fights
633. Birthdays
634. Rainys days that take away the snow
635. Steam rising on the road
636. Electric green moss on everything.
637. The way she has to dance every time wagon wheel plays.
638. Make believe play
639. Harry Potter
640. Getying to stay home with my lady.
641. Puddle jumping
642. Hummingbirds
643. Jay birds
644. Orange pants
645. Family
646. Hummingbirds at the feeder
647. Warm rain
648. When she eats
649. The way he loves me
650. Soccer balls and green grass
651. The way the world wakes up in spring
652. Buds unfurling
653. A pot of tea and a food friend to share it with
654. The way she counts
655. Finished floors
656. Living room dance parties and her moves.
657. How he still loves me madly after all these years
658. Toddler hugs
659. Frost kissed spring blooms
660. Family reading time on the couch.
661. Weight gain
662. Burpee seed catalog
663. Robins on the deck rail
664. Fragrant plum blossoms
665. Dog snores
666. Family walks on a warm evening
667. A pot of soup
668. When she hides behind the curtains and says boo
669. An afternoon nap
670. Finding my voice through writing
671. Pictures of my boy.
672. A sequined tank top
673. Sisters
674. Flowers blooming
675. Obeying His prompts and seeing the fruit
676. Steam rising from the roof
677. Sun after the rain
678. Coyotes howling in the middle of the night
679. Special family breakfasts
680. Coffee
681. Seeing kindness happen
682. Spring blossoms.
683. Seeing ordinary things as spectacular
684. Electrics moss
685. Jay birds
686. Hummingbirds glowing iridescent in the sun
687. Fragrant blooms
688. Gnarly trees
689. Family date nights
690. A pot of tea and a sunny window
691. His faithfulness
692. Bug hunts
693. How He loves me regardless
694. Subshine
695. Muddy hikes
696. Petals floating to the ground
697. Husband's jokes
698. Coffee
699. That the furnace still works
700. Disney movies at dinner time
701. Wildflowers
702. New babies
703. Spicy curry
704. Writing through it
705. Girlfriends
706. Personal trainer sister
707. Church
708. Grace. Always
709. Being chased. Radaph
710. Clicky pens from special places
711. The sky abs all the colors it offers
712. Walking to church
713. Wind blowing white petals over the path
714. Freshly cut grass
715. When he comes home early, an unexpected free day
716. A good hike
717. The way birds dance through the air
718. Listening to her sing "do you want to build a snowman"
719. Grilled pineapple salsa
720. Perspective on the little problems
721. A new hair cut
722. Netting friends for lunch
723. The crack if a bat connecting with the ball
724. When my little big man brings up big God questions and the light bulbs go off.
725. Watching my man and knowing I'm the one that got this lucky
726. Fragrance of magnolia blooms
727. Quiet night time laughter
728. Coffee and donuts with friends after church.
729. A new playground to explore
730. The way she has no fear but still makes good choices
731. Wet footprints on the clean floor
732. Worm hunting g
733. Finishing projects
734. Wearing spandex
735. Pink crocs
736. Bubbles and chalk
737. Popsicles on hot days
738. Friends
739. Texting
740. Sunshine and a free hour
741. Impending vacation
742. Birds pulling up worms
743. Doggie snuggles
744. Hummingbirds buzzing at the feeder.
745. Beach vacations
746. Weddings and family time
747. Cousining
748. Sale Pending
749. Home.
750. Gardening
751. Thunder
752. Baby snakes and salamanders
753. Tylenol and pacifiers
754. Brunch with neighbors
755. Finally having an emergency contact in town
756. Birthday cake
757. Jay birds flying in my path
758. Frozen. Let it go...
759. Cooking in my kitchen
760. She is starting to eat. Amen.
761. Sunny days with fluffy clouds
762. Finding random dino "gifts" and knowing they are from J.
763. Blueberry bushes
764. Coffee
765. The way I can always make it all better for her.
766. Family hiking dates
767. Elmer's glue in the hands of a two year old.
768. Bedtime
769. Three day weekends
770. Cottonwood trees on s breezy day
771. Family dinner on the deck
772. Lawn games
773. New gates in the fence
774. Having a bathroom mirror.
775. Bleeding hearts and sword ferns
776. Fresh strawberries
777. A great cookbook