Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WW-On the boardwalk...

On the carousel,
and watching fireworks.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beach trip--Day 2.2

It's 11:30PM. I am sitting in a weathered lawn chair, the kind I had when I was a kid. With rubbery plastic straps alternating blue and white. A couple of the straps are broken and the one directly beneath my backside feels as if it might be hanging on for dear life. The air is cool, but clammy and the sounds of the crickets and cicadas almost muffles the sound of laughter from a distant balcony. In the lawn chair next to me Anne sits with another laptop. Chatting with friends and updating her Facebook page. In the water, Brando and his friend are cheerfully trying to drown each other. Burst of laughter, almost manly-but not quite, ring out. Occasionally one issues a challenge: 'Swim the length of the pool underwater. Stand on your head' and they revert, happily to the young boys they were when they met.

After the initial morning shower, the rain stayed away today. We went to the beach again. Boo is absolutely in love with the ocean. Everything about it...the sand, the waves, the endless supply of playmates. Then tonight, we went into town for pizza on the boardwalk. We watched a street performer juggling fire on a unicycle while making hammy jokes. The Littles rode the carousel while the older boys contemplated the cost vs. payoff of henna tattoos. Then we caught a fireworks show over the small manmade lake. We were so close it was deafening but Boo ate up every explosion and then delcared it "much better than those last ones on July 4th" And then, finally, we headed back to what Pepper has dubbed "our brand new home."

"That sure was a fun night, Mom" Boo declared several times on the way home. It doesn't take much to make him happy. And right now, up late, sitting in my plastic lawn chair and surrounded by the smell of chlorine and my older children it doesn't take much for me either. I am not sure what it is exactly about vacation that makes me so able to set down my mantle of stress, and short temperedness and soak in so happily these moments with my family. I imagine it's partly to do with not having to say "No" so often. And partly from having fewer responsibilities and divirsions. And partly even from simply knowing this particular time together is finite. But oh I wish I could find a way to be this person I am here, at "our brand new home" when we get back to the old one. I like her much better.

Beach trip--Day 2.1

Today dawned with the sound of little feet and giggles. Bump, bump, bump. Squeal. And the distinct feeling that something dangerous was going on while I slept. I crawled out of bed at a shockingly respectable time of 7:30 to go find out what The Littles were doing. Sure enough, Anne had vacated her spot on the air mattress on the patio in lui of air conditioning and The Littles had made it a trampoline. I was actually shocked that Boo could get the sliding glass door open, but he was a boy with a mission. They two of them in the pajamas, dischevelled hair, and guilty grins was about more than a mama's heart could take. So I joined them...for snuggles, not jumping.

Then Boo asked if it was time to go to the beach again. And I glanced outside.

At the rain.

Not sure what the plan is for today. Going to try, passionately, to avoid anything with the name "Ripley's" in the title. But we shall see. Little whining people in a condo all day may wear me down.

Here's a couple pictures from yesterday's trip to the beach. We sure had fun.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Beach trip-Day 1

I'm at the beach. We'll technically I'm sitting at a coffee shop, in a beach town, with Anne sitting across from me. The two of us, our laptops nestled back-to-back on the bistro table are happily lost in cyber-space while The Littles nap at the condo. I love peaking up at her, watching her expressions change while she chats or Facebooks or watches music videos. She's really becoming quite beautiful, although she doesn't know it yet. I suspect she won't for quite a while. Youthful beauty is a fleeting thing that's rarely acknowledged in it's own time.

It's odd, I suppose, that it took a vacation to cause me to catch the blogging bug again. It's been two-years since our last family trip and we finally arrived yesterday after a long day of packing and cleaning and the kind of slow-motion traveling that one does with small children or a large group or-- in our case--both. For the first time we took 2 vehicles. Brando and his friend followed behind us in a separate car while Mr. Crumbs, Anne, The Littles and I led the way in the mini-van. Not having all my my clan in the car with me made me antsy and I kept looking behind me at the two two-tall teenage boys in the next car. It's surreal sometimes, your kids growing up in front of your eyes.

But then last night we all piled into a huge booth at Wild Wings Cafe and laughed and gorged ourselves on Wild West Wings (Thanks Chrissy-these rocked just as much as you promised they would!) and I looked around the table at us all squished together and I was hit, as I am occasionally, with wonder and awe that this is my family. (Well technically my family-plus one.) This noisy, motley group of people in all sizes and personalities. And one hair color.

Then today we went to the beach.

I have four kids. The oldest is seventeen. The youngest is three. (She turned 3 this week, more on that later.) Finding things we can all do together and enjoy, is a rare and blessed treat. But today, for hour-after-hour, they all--toddler and teenager alike-- had the time of their lives. And sitting, briefly, on a blanket watching them, I couldn't remember ever being quite as happy as I was that moment. And suddenly, I wanted to write about it. I wanted to capture the images of Pepper digging in the sand, of Brando and his dad playing football and volleyball. Of Boo splashing in the waves and Anne collecting shells. I wanted to put this day, that moment, in a bottle like fine perfume. So I could pull the stopper from time to time and inhale it. Invoking images, and sounds and a heart--my own--that wanted to burst with happiness. And on the lable I would write, "This, was one darn fine day."

I'm happy to be back at this blogging thing. Beach pictures coming up.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

We're all in this together...

Pepper is awake most mornings by 6:30AM.

The Elders are up each night long after I go to bed.

We are working on eliminating Boo's naps to prepare him for his kindergarten schedule in the fall.

I am also participating in two Bible Studies that require daily homework. Because, ironically, I thought I would have more free time to do them in summer. And while it's true that we have less obligations, I somehow didn't foresee that I wouldn't have a waking hour a.l.o.n.e. So the only time I have found to do my homework is after 11:00 at night.

Don't get me wrong, we are having a good summer. Lots of swimming, playgrounds, games and friends. But I must also confess that all this 24-hour togetherness is making me want to crawl out of my skin a teensy bit. A fact which brings with it more than a teensy bit of guilt.

So, in short--and as if you hadn't noticed by now--Crumbs is on a summer hiatus. For my own sanity, I hope to be back soon.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Status Report - June

Sitting - On my worn out, deflated sofa and wishing we had chosen leather six years ago.

Listening to - Anne and her girlfriend on the computer in the other room. They have Casting Crowns The Alter and the Door playing. I love that CD. And even more, I love that Anne loves it.

Also Listening to - Mr. Crumbs having his nightly time with The Littles. I love that man.

Sipping - Chardonnay. It's my birthday, but it's been decidedly un-birthday like. What with it being Tuesday and all. I've have spent the day cooking and cleaning (OK, not so much cleaning) and shopping and chauffeuring like every other Tuesday. So I've been sulking. Thinking that being an adult can be kind of lame sometimes. But I do realize that the role of self-proclaimed martyr is not very becoming. So I decided to medicate my whining with wine. And it's helping.

Grateful - For all the Facebooked, emailed, snail mailed, and telephoned birthday wishes I recieved today. I feel very loved.

Happy - That I finally got to see Star Trek last weekend. It was every bit as much campy Sci-fi action as I was hoping for. I loved it!

Reading - Like crazy lately. In the last week, or maybe two:
  • Light on Snow (Typical Anita Shreve. Lovely and subtle.)
  • The House of the Scorpion (Good!)
  • The Hunger Games (Better than good. Amazing. Read it in a day.) And then, because I thought I needed to take a break from YA distopian fiction -
  • Two of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse, i.e. vampire, novels (Fun-but a bit too smutty for me. I am more of a prude than I realized.)
  • Currently reading The Third Angel. (Almost finished and still kind of 'Meh' about it)
Needing - Some book recommendations. Anyone?

Looking forward to - Thursday. My girlfriend is taking the kids for 4-5 hours so I can have an afternoon off. Going to meet my mother for lunch and then hit Shangri-La Barnes & Noble to spend a gift certificate. Which brings me back to the book recommendations. Anyone?

Also Looking Forward to - Girls Night on Friday. We are starting a study on Ephesians and having a super yummy dark-chocolate cake in my honor. My best friends. God's word. Chocolate. It doesn't get much better.

Thankful - that the sun is finally shining and the pool is finally open. Summer has officially begun...My favorite time of the year.

Not Thankful - that the sun is finally shining and the pool is finally open. I officially have no excuse not to put on a swimsuit.

Feeling Guilty - (Speaking of swimsuits) About the way I jumped ship on the whole diet/exercise thing this week. It will probably take a couple weeks for the scale to recover. The chocolate cake isn't going to help.

Worrying - About a lot of my friends lately. Friends dealing with the mortality of their parents. Loss of loved ones. Heart-wrenching problems with children. Wishing I could ease their pain.

Touched - By this song on Sunday.

May my hope also be unchanged.

Hat tip to my friend, Lisa, from whom I have shamelessly stolen the Monthly Status Report post format. Cause I know an easy post a good idea when I see one.

For Anne...

My oldest daughter, Anne, doesn't want to be a mother. This makes me sad. Oh, I know it's likely she will change her mind; she's twelve after all. But still, the fact that she sees nothing appealing in the path I have chosen feels like a failure on my part. Especially as her reason for this declaration is that my life would be much less stressful without so many children making demands of me. Apparently I have done a fine job of displaying the frustrations of motherhood but a dismal one at representing the benefits.

In some ways I can understand this. It's easy to see how the cons of having children, especially multiple children, can seem to outweigh the pros. I never have enough time or patience or money. I spend the nearly all of each day cleaning, refereeing, cooking, or chauffeuring. And really could there be a less glamorous life? I consider my self quite dolled-up if I put on makeup and blow dry my hair before leaving the house. Adult conversation is a commodity. And, sadly, it just simply is true that I am frequently overwhelmed and short tempered.

So, from the outside looking in, I can see why it would seem that I don't offer much to recommend this path I have chosen. But from Anne, who lives inside these walls, I find it heartbreaking. Heartbreaking that somehow I have failed to display the one, overwhelming, item on the other side of the scale. The thing that trumps the lack of sleep, and glamor, and privacy. The reason I signed up again and again to do this "mommy thing."

The joy.

Oh, Anne. I have failed you if you can't see it. That each and every day contains moments of joy that far outweigh anything that I ever experienced before becoming a mother. Joy that, for me, I thinkwould have been impossible to experience until I learned to love someone more greatly than myself. You and I have entered into a bit of a prickly phase in our relationship lately and I know that you know my days are not full of maternal rapture. But what I think you have missed is that in the spaces in between are moments, sometimes even just seconds, that take my breath away:

Boo and Pepper in their raincoats splashing, barefoot, in their rain. You, reading to Boo the same books I read to you. The light in The Little's eyes when you enter a room. Brando scoring a goal in a basketball game. Sitting next to you on the side of the tub while we have a lesson on how to shave your legs. The smell of Pepper's hair in the morning. The sound of you singing in the shower. The songs and adventures you create for your younger siblings. Brando wrestling with them at night. The passion you have for sharing Jesus with your friends. The voices of you and Brando talking together at night when you think we aren't listening. Sometimes just the sight of one of you, or all of you, will make my heart skip a beat. It's like falling in love. Over and over again.

So Anne, I know that it's not the path for everyone to have children. I do not presume that it's impossible to be happy without them. But if you do decide not to take that path I pray it will not be because you didn't think I found it worth it. Because, for me, the things I have had to give up have paled in comparison to what I have gained. For nothing I have ever done has made me feel less important, more scared, closer to God, and well, happier... than being your mom. And if I haven't told you, or shown you that lately...shame on me.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Status Report - May

Sitting - at the single bare spot at my kitchen table. My laptop walled in by stacks of paper and boxes. Work I am doing, or more accurately procrastinating doing, for Mr. Crumbs.

Drinking - Coffee with creamer in my favorite Eyeore Coffee Mug.

Holding - A purring, shedding Kelso in my lap.

Reflecting - On a busy, wonderful weekend.

Feeling - Sentimental. I just spent the last twenty minutes catching up on a friend's--if I may be so presumptive as to use that label--blog. I have avoided my reader in the last couple weeks, refusing to feel guilty for real life taking precedence over my virtual one. But on the other side of the words are people I have grown attached to. And I have missed them. If I haven't been to your place lately, I will be soon.

Listening - To the joyful loudness of Boo & Pepper playing with beach balls in the living room.

Certain - That something will end up broken but willing to make the sacrifice for moments of them playing happily together and these moment of peace for me.

Dreading - The day ahead of me. The list sitting next to my computer keeps growing. * Schedule Anne's braces. * Schedule Brando's dermatologist appointment.* Register Brando for Summer school and SATs. * Wash Anne's Chorus uniform for her concert tonight. * Menu plan. * Grocery shop. * Take Boo to "Toy Store Us" to spend his gift certificate. * Go to Lifeway to get the new Bible Study. * Help Boo do thank-you cards. * Push that darn boulder up the hill so I can watch it roll back down again.

Excited - About the beautiful weather today. Will be headed out for my walk soon.

Hoping - I can carve an hour out today to take The Littles to the park. The southern summer heat will be settling in for the duration soon and it seems a crime to waste this windfall of a cool breezy day.

Looking forward to - Anne's performance tonight. She is Glinda the Good witch in their Wizard of Oz Medley. She is the vibrato down perfectly.

Praying - for Brando as he takes his finals today. Please, please, please let him do well and pass all his classes.

Praying - Once again, for balance. To find a way to manage the things I want to do: blogging, the new book I've been dying to read which I finally picked up at Border's last night. And the things that are important: being a caretaker of my home and family.

Thankful - that my life is so simple that this is my prayer. Not food. Or healing. Or heartache. But simply to find a way to balance all the blessings in my life.

Getting up - to put on my walking shoes. It's time to start the day.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Fave 5 (Photos)

As I mentioned in my previous post, it's been quite the eventful week in the Crumbly household. As a result the camera has accompanied us everywhere. Well not everywhere. My friend Chrissy took her camera with her to the doctors office to photograph her daughter getting a cast on her arm. Now she obviously takes her camera everywhere.

So for my Friday Fave I decided to hi-light five of the photos I took this week. Only five! Aren't you relieved.

1. Boo, home from registering for Kindergarten and so proud of himself and his new Kindergarten t-shirt. I would not be exaggerating to say that he has worn this five out of the last seven days. Who am I to squelch that kind of passion for dirty smelly clothes school?
2. Boo and Pepper Love. I am pretty sure Pepper clawed him moments after this shot was taken, but don't they look sweet?
3. A Rare Shot of Anne. She hates it, but I think she is BEE-A-UTIFUL! She has a boyfriend now, by the way. One who is an entire grade level older than her. Completely unacceptable if you ask me. (Why didn't she ask me?)

4. I love, love, love this shot. I am not sure I have ever taken a picture of Pepper that more adequately represents her personality. T.R.O.U.B.L.E. I think they wrote a country music song about her.

5. And lastly, this is a picture of Boo from today...his 5th Birthday! The shot is awful but I love that it shows how excited he is about his gift and about being big enough to carry it "all by myself!"
Happy Birthday Boo! You make me laugh and turn my heart into butter every. single. day. What a blessing it is to be your mama.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I used to have a blog. It fizzled and died, partly of my own doing, partly from circumstances out of my control. So I came here, and have made a positively dreadful attempt at a fresh start. I miss blogging, but not acutely. More in a vague nagging kind of way, like a friend you keep meaning to call--really want to call, in fact--but never do. Until finally you can't call because it's been too long and the elapsed time has made conversation awkward and forced.

So what does one write about when it's been two weeks without any words?

Tonight I went to Boo's preschool graduation. Oh, I know the idea of graduating from preschool--as if they had achieved some sort of degree in letter recognition and finger painting--is absurd. They even played Pomp and Circumstance and processed down the church isles wearing little felt graduation hats. This is exactly the sort of hoopla which typically incites one of my "Oh lets celebrate every tiny accomplishment until there is no such thing as an accomplishment and we are all just wonderful and equal and deserving of only perfectly lovely things" spiels. But I have a confession...

I cried.

It's true! Because next year Boo will be in Kindergarten. And while I was adjusting Boo's collar and attempting to conquer his cowlick I realized that at this time next year the boy resenting my grooming attemps will be the one far taller than me. And he will be wearing a real polyester cap-and-gown and graduating from high school. And somehow the steps between those two boys seem pitifully few. Especially in restrospect.

So I guess I should write about the fact that I have become a Sniveling Sentimental Sap of a Mom, (i.e. SSSOAM) this week.

Anne had her 7th grade awards program tonight at the same time as Boo's "graduation" ceremony. We had been notified that she would be receiving some undisclosed type of award and she had also elected to sing at the ceremony. So I was (in the manner consistent with my new role as a SSSOAM) absolutely distraught to not be able to attend both events.

Which did I choose? The faux graduation ceremony with pint-size accoutraments and very loud singing which still somehow manages to be really-stinkin-cute? Or the middle-school awards program with the mystery award which could very well be something absurd like "Bothered to come to school almost every day" but in which my daughter had been asked to sing? Fortunately, duty solved this problem for me. I work at Boo's preschool so I felt it would be in bad taste not to attend his, ahem, commencement ceremonies.

So Mr. Crumbs--instinctually understanding that the best way to deal with a SSSOAM is with complete obedience--attended Anne's ceremony, video camera in hand. And while I was sobbing with the other SSSOAMS at the preschool graduation, he videotaped her receiving what turned out to be quite an impressive award. As well as singing a lovely a capella song. So when I returned home with one very proud Kindergartener-to-be and watched the videotape of my almost-thirteen-year-old daughter standing, vulnerable, in front of her classmates, doing what I never could have done...Well...

I cried again. Obviously.

I would have given a lot for one of Hermione's time turners tonight. To have been able to sit, in-person, at both events. To watch both of my middle children walk an isle to receive an award, inconsequential or not. Because someday, not too far away, the walk and the awards won't be so inconsequential. And now, all I know for certain is that between now and then I don't want to miss a single thing. And now I'm teary again. This SSSOAM thing is already getting old.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Change is Gonna Come...

Summer is on it's way here in the southern US. The last week has brought glorious spring days that invoke images of kites, and checkered picnic blankets and little grimy feet. Today The Littles and I were still at the playground at 8PM, the air warm and sticky, as we watched storms start rolling in from the distance. It felt like summer, and I love summer. The relaxed schedule. The time home with the kids. The sunshine lasting well into the evening hours. But this year, I am finding myself looking forward to it with an even greater level of anticipation.

In the last couple weeks I have noticed some things changing around our house. Changing, dare I say, for the better. Boo and Pepper are now 4 and 2 (actually, nearly 5 and 3) and I am finding this surprisingly less intimidating than last spring when they were 3 and 1. What a difference a year has made, particularly in our mobility. I have suddenly found myself initiating playdates, out of our home as well as in, something I almost never did in the past.

One reason for the change is obvious. Pepper was a very late walker and at this time last year she was barely starting to toddle around upright. Now that she is finally running and jumping and climbing (and kicking and punching) with the rest of the kids, a whole world of play places and parks have opened up to us once again. And then there are other things, smaller things. Pepper, for example, no longer seems to need to feel the need to run screeching away from me each time we enter a parking lot--Praise the Lord--and our Boo has become a little more independent and a bit less shy of older children.

The truth is that having The Littles so close together in age has been hard. The first year we hardly left the house at all. But little by little, things are getting easier. Schedules are finally becoming more flexible. Getting out of the door more manageable. I am even on time to places these days. Well, mostly on time. It's exciting, these change. I had been focusing so much on what I am losing with The Littles getting older that I forgot what I am gaining in the process. I forgot what it was like when it was just Brando and Anne. How much flexibility and mobility we all had to give up when Boo was born. I expect to reclaim a tiny portion of that freedom this summer. And uncharacteristically, I'm making plans. Children's museums and pools and parks and even a little trip to the beach.

Granted, we are not completely there. Not even close. We took the whole family to a movie a few months ago--Pepper's first movie theater experience--and while she did well for two....she is still two. It took a lot of coaxing and a ton of carb-laden snacks to get her through 90 minutes of talking animals. And this morning? There was nothing manageable about getting out of the house this morning. It's actually ironic that I chose to write this post today as I was thirty-minutes late for work for the first time this year. The short people in my home were in full nuclear meltdown when we arrived. So, I know freedom won't be completely ours for many years now. If ever.

Yet, still, I am starting to catch a whisp of it sometimes. A scent of things to come. And like the warm spring breezes sending petals swirling off the trees, it smells like hope.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

For the relatives - Random Easter Shots...

I dig this picture. It's just so typical of our home. Pepper wearing Boo's Spiderman Sunglasses and Boo striking what he thought was a suave pose.

Here's one of Anne (in the middle) with her two cousins. This picture totally screams JCPenney's Sale flier to me.
Boo looking sweet...
Pepper looking like she is plotting something (no big surprise there)

And lastly, this was our Easter Morning shot, sans Brando, where we all attempted to look respectable. I think we may have even pulled it off.

I hope your family had a lovely Easter/Resurrection Day.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Top Ten Things I did NOT Do On Spring Break.

I dedicated my last post to commemorating the things I did on spring break. I would now like to list the top ten things I did not do on spring break.

I did not...

1. Blog. Obviously.

2. Eat all my kids Easter Candy and have to run out to the drug store and buy more late Saturday night to fill their baskets for Easter Morning. What? That's not a big deal at your house? Moving on...

3. Diet! Do not be fooled by item #2. Oh. My. Word. I hit minus 20 pounds the Friday before spring break and gained 7 back on spring break. SEVEN! I ate everything that wasn't nailed down. And some things that may have been. And it was awesome! However, after running and screaming away from it for the last week I am officially back on the weight loss wagon today. And, for the record, it sucks. Eating is way more fun.

4. Go to Disney World ~ And to those of you who did, could you please stop telling my children about it? I have worked really hard to convince them that The Magic Kingdom is just a fairy tale, like Never-Never Land or Oz. Or Chuck-E-Cheese. And continuing to show them pictures of your grinning kids with the Head Mouse is not helping my case.

5. Potty Train Pepper. It was the number one thing on my Spring Break agenda and due to our hectic schedule we didn't even start.

6. Bathe my children. It's true. One week of spring break. In seven days I may have bathed my children twice. More likely it was once. Moving on...

7. Tag clothes for consignment. And I think I am even more disappointed in myself about that than failing to potty train Pepper. All the money I didn't make! All the clothes that are still sitting in piles in their closets taunting me. And soon I will be adding the winter clothes on top of them. OK, moving on...

8. Start looking forward to summer. Last week was exhausting. Fun, but exhausting. I am going to need to make some plans if I am going to survive doing it for months at a time this summer. This post by Beck is awesome on this topic. This one too. Go read them. Seriously. Go. She is totally the mom I want to be when I grow up.

9. Buy myself a single new item of clothing for Easter Sunday. For which I am very proud of myself. The kids looked great in their new outfits though. And I did get a pedicure. OK, maybe not as admirable as I thought.

10. Run a marathon. HA. HA. I crack myself up. (Sorry, I ran out of ideas and decided to post the most absurd thing I could think of.)

For more of today's Top Ten Tuesday Posts check out, Oh. Amanda.

Spring Break in review.

It's the Monday after spring break here and my family--adults and children alike--are an irritable, whining bunch today. The reasons for our collective surliness are easy to surmise: An Easter celebration that ran too late last night, and a lax sleep schedule for the last week has left us exhausted. Busy schedules this week full of joyless tasks like standardized tests and tagging clothes. The weather, as if echoing our funk, is rainy and peppered with fierce gusts of wind. (I sat at my kitchen table over coffee and watched our outdoor furniture and toys roll across our deck like tumbleweeds--good thing it's all cheap tacky plastic stuff.) But mostly I think we're just grumpy because we had a really great spring break. Happiness hangovers; the surefire way to get the blues.

So, in an effort to concentrate on the positive of the week that passed and not the drudgery--dramatic, much?--of the week to come, here's an overview.

The first part of the week we traveled a couple hours away to see our cousins. To say that The Littles love their cousins would be putting it mildly. Undying devotion would be closer to the truth.

Here they are altogether. (cousins are in the middle. Boo & Pepper on the outside) I find this picture absurdly cute.

While there, we went to the zoo.

Boo liked the creepy crawly things and the giraffes.

Pepper's favorite animal seemed to be the goats.

And Anne liked the Flamingos. Anne also declined to be photographed will all her wee cousins.

My favorite animal was, by far, this baby gorilla, Bob.

How adorably ugly is he? By the end of our trip I was seriously contemplating exchanging Bob for one of my children. The one that wouldn't stop pitching fits. I'll give you a hint: She's not potty trained either.

After we returned home our week was a whirlwind of playdates, sleepovers, jumpy places, dyeing eggs, birthday parties, Sunday School Parties, movies, parks and Easter egg hunts. In short, I took every activity I normally deprive my children of and squeezed them into, like, four days. I figure I am good on special outings/activities for months now.

Then yesterday was, as you know, Easter. Which is a whole other slew of pictures. And since obviously I need all the blog fodder I can get, I am saving those for a separate post.

It turns out this post was a pretty decent cure for my happiness hangover, after all. Blogging and the nap I am about to go take means I have officially returned to my regular schedule of sloth and procrastination.

No wonder the kids are depressed.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Status Report - April my kitchen table.

Drinking... coffee with lots of cream and sugar.

Watching... The Littles play in the sandbox through the kitchen window. the hum of the washer and dryer. A constant noise in our home. kitchen, badly in need of cleaning. myself for being unable to get into a blogging groove. Where have my words gone? To Facebook, I suspect. Where I can write in tiny increments of words and time.

Excited...that I reached my goal of -20lbs by Easter a week early.

Dreaming...of these.

My favorite Easter Candy ever. Going to buy a celebratory bag today. Because nothing says "Hurray! I lost 20 lbs" like a pound of chocolate eggs. Heh.

Pondering...What type of cheap family outing we can take tomorrow morning. It's the first day of spring break and a very rare Saturday where the weather is supposed to be beautiful and we are mostly free of activities.

Praying...for Anne. She is experiencing performance anxiety for her voice recital tomorrow night. It's the first time I can remember her having nerves in the last eight years of singing. But she fears the song is too difficult and she is not adequately prepared. Her unshakable confidence has always been a mystery to me. The nerves, however, are something I know well. I feel sad they have found her at last.

Worrying...about Brando. On the counter sits mail with the news that he has failed, for the second time, an exam required for graduation. Another paper sits beside it with the registration information for summer school. He has two classes he needs to retake. Just getting that boy graduated from high school on time feels like we are pushing a boulder up a hill. And yet, always, there looms behind that obstacle, a bigger question 'Once we do, what then...?'

Eagerly overnight trip we are taking to see family next week. The Littles can't wait to see their cousins. Neither can I. It's nice to have something to look forward to.

Dreading...the week ahead of me sorting summer clothes. I have probably a hundred items to tag for consignment. But first it must all be waded through, tried on, sorted into piles: Keep. Sell. Donate. And then the hanging, ironing and tagging commences. Leaving me wondering, as always, if the money I make can possibly be worth the herculean effort.

Grateful for...The Littles, who are clamoring for my attention. What a blessing it is to be so loved and longed for by these little people. Too quickly the time will come when their hearts will no longer be so wholely devoted to me. go clean my kitchen so I can focus on them completely, for a while, at least

Monday, March 23, 2009


I awoke with a familiar tightness in my chest. I opened my eyes warily and saw the thin stripe of light filtering in where the heavy curtains did not quite meet the wall. I craned my head to look at the clock. Still an hour until the alarm would go off. I lay in the dark, listening to the ebb and flow of voices as they walked by the room. The pounding of footsteps, too quick to be carrying the weight of adulthood. High pitched laughter. And occasionally, motherly voices admonishing. Shushing. "People are sleeping."

I rolled over again, willing myself to go back to sleep. To fall for one more hour back into the weightlessness of the last few days. They had been amazing days. Lolling at the beach. Dining when we were hungry. Napping when we were tired. Flirting. Laughter shared over drinks with other adults. Long kisses under a setting sun. I closed my eyes tighter, knowing as I did so, it was useless. I could feel the all-too-familiar anxieties settling back around me. We were going home today. Back to frantic schedules, and days of chores exactly like the one before. And the children. My heart lifted for a moment at the thought. The kids. I had missed them. And then just as suddenly it contracted again. Boo...

He was singing at the service that night. 'What if we don't make it home in time?' Knowing how he worries, knowing how excited he was for me to see him, I said probably the hundredth prayer for an on time flight, for no traffic; throwing in some pleas for the friend chauffeuring him to the church, and his grandmother--the sitter. And then, falling back into the routine, another prayer for Anne and her chauffeur. She was returning from her own weekend away this afternoon. For Brando, coming home from yet another location. And for Pepper, my little spitfire; was she missing us? Conceding that I had now fallen, completely, back into my roll of mother with all the worrying that accompanies it, I climbed out of bed. I poured some coffee from the tiny hotel pot, and started packing.

The day crawled by. Each step seeming to drag on endlessly. We made the ride to the airport in silence, the playful carefree banter of the weekend replaced with contemplation of our weeks ahead . We arrived at the airport hours before our flight and attempted to pass the time by utilizing the airports WiFi to watch the television shows we had missed on our laptop. But, my heart wasn't in it. My mind kept wandering from Sawyer and Kate to whether Boo remembered the red shirt he was supposed to sing in.

Too much caffeine and the continuous trilling of a too-chipper airline employee of our flights over-booked status brought my anxieties to a fever-pitch. I just needed to be in my airplane seat, to be taking off--on time. Then it was to have our luggage in hand. To be in our car headed home. To be at the house picking up Anne & Pepper. Then, finally I just needed to be in the pew, waiting for my sensitive, blond headed boy to make his appearance. With moments to spare, I found a seats for our family. We filed in and waited for his appearance. And then, when he entered, I nearly cried. I sprung from my seat to greet him in his place in line. Watching as the worry and nervousness evaporated from his face at the site of me. "Mommy!!" he squealed as he flung himself at me, his relief palpable.

"I made it!" I said. "I got home in time to watch you." He hugged me again and marched up on stage grinning. The tears came then, as I sat down to watch him sing. Pride, and relief, and gratitude hitting me in waves. My trip was over and that was sad, but I wouldn't have traded another week for sitting where I was at that moment. Watching my boy, in his red shirt (whew!) grinning from ear to ear and dancing with a plastic hat; it took my breath away.