Monday, August 22, 2016

Phantom Tollbooth Prep - Day One

Today has been a day of exceeded expectations and delightful surprises.

I woke up with Bob this morning and had some coffee and a couple of "biscuits". I had most of primary surfaces cleared off before the kids woke up. As they got up and got dressed and I wrestled the knots out of Marley's hair I worried because Sage was at 90% Sage. Which is the way Bob and I communicate how much of a handful she has been on any given day. A cold bug had thrown her off and she was kicking, grabbing and stealing before 9am.

Still we took our first day of school photos and then went upstairs to address our first tasks with the curriculum I have prepared for the next 15 weeks (it's in pencil). We did math, some geography, and with today's weather being perfect, a field trip was required. We discussed the merits of three different parks. Smale, Ault, and Eden. We all agreed on Smale and then went to Ault anyway. God clearly had a gentle and generous hand with us there. We broke a glass big specimen jar but no one got hurt and we had to backtrack for a diaper in the car but after that, everything just kept going beautifully. We also brought a "kritter keeper" in hopes of finding a male katydid.

We were only steps into the flower gardens when Solo spotted a tiny Lazarus Lizard. "Can we catch it?"
Me, "You can try."

Well. As is custom, I doubted and my kids proved me wrong. Within a minute, Solo and Marley were working together to rustle the tiny creature toward me and after two attempts, I managed to cover it with the kritter keeper. We couldn't figure out how to flip it over and put the lid on till Marley took off her smock and we scooted the keeper over it, then pulled it taut to keep the lizard inside till we could flip it over and secure the lid. It was a great team effort. Marley was the wrangler, Solo the spotter, and I the trap-tosser. Sage was running helter-skelter through the grass doing Idon'tknowhat, but quickly returned to scope out the situation. An older man and his care-taker stopped and admired our catch and advised us to look up the story of the Lazarus lizard, which was not at all what I expected.

We resumed our walk and another pedestrian approached us. A woman who "just loved to share things". She was delightful and she showed the kids and I one of the planned-beds filled with Scented Geraniums. She showed us how they had different smells and then was trying to recall the name of another plant when I called for Solomon. She said, "You're right! It's Solomon's Seal!" Apparently one of her favorite flowers. She told us about how she has picnic every spring under the weeping cherry trees in the park with her daughters and granddaughters. Next year, it's on my list.

Getting home, Sage took a nap and Marley, Solo and I were able to finish some paper worksheets together and make plans for the year. Then I got a call with some great news about a violin program.

Today will be a difficult day to beat.

By the way, we're calling the lizard Lazzy.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Beautiful picture

They crossed at the ford to take the king’s household over and to do whatever he wished. When Shimei son of Gera crossed the Jordan, he fell prostrate before the king and said to him, “May my Lord not hold me guilty. Do not remember how your servant did wrong on the day my Lord the king left Jerusalem. May the king put it out of his mind. For I your servant know that I have sinned, but today I have come here as the first from the tribes of Joseph to come down and meet my Lord the king.”  Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Shouldn’t Shimei be put to death for this? He cursed the Lord ’s anointed.”  David replied, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? What right do you have to interfere? Should anyone be put to death in Israel today? Don’t I know that today I am king over Israel?” So the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” And the king promised him on oath.
2 Samuel 19:18‭-‬23 NIV

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Kids, camping

Got my first gray hair at the age of 31. Things are looking up.

I wish I could redo my childhood with my kids as friends. I need to figure out how to do this. Or at least determine which parts I'm looking to relive. Tree climbing, creeking, art, vacations, my parents' parenting, singing...

Marley and Solo caught 7 fish using only a bucket.
Marley is willing to pick up a centipede but shivers with disgust at a Daddy Long legs.
Solo flipped his bicycles and crushed the front of his helmet and hit his cheek, skinned his chest and knee. After a couple of screams and getting the dirt cleaned out of his wounds, he was back on his back. Happy. I'm thankful we make him wear his helmet.
Camping is hard with kids. Most things are.
Not all kids. Just toddlers I guess. Sage is like one of those gambling games. You play over and over and you lose a lot, but the payout is huge.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Letting the brain just go here.

I keep finding my brain in a funk. Not feeling the urge to move on any projects, no pressing things i really have to do, not enough energy to take some great leap in any particular direction. Not hungry, not excited about eating even my favorite foods. Tired but not grumpy. Experience makes me believe that I must be depressed. But I don't actually feel depressed. I wonder of it could be boredom. If it is, I can't be sure of it. I keep busy enough, have enough company.

Is there something I'm meant to be doing that I am not? Am I doing something I shouldn't?

Reading the Bible, there is obvious direction. It's a relief.

Bob and I finally went over our lives and our budgets. For the first time we are without government assistance and still able to breath without anxiety overcoming. We're finally going to be able to pay off our debts and buy doughnuts our Saturday. Our budgeting was overdue because we realized that we had more money free than usual but barely noticing because we didn't examine our lives more closely. That problem is now resolved. I am so thankful to God for keeping us together, through a mortgage that was 75% of our income, through bankruptcy, through the loss of our home, our incomes,  through the charitable love we've received from family and friends. And now through this rise back up in the pay scale. Being able to pay for our own food, to give money back to those who have helped us. I pray that the humility and perspective we have gained, doesn't flee from us. God can work with anything to achieve anything He chooses. I must have faith in this. God give me faith and thank you for dealing so mercifully and kindly with this child.

Marley has turned 8. She didn't ask permission. Where is she now? She's a thoughtful and generous spirit. She loves justice and getting her own way. She loves romantic things, but not the mushy stuff. She loves magic tricks, girl power, and physical activity. She loves animals. She wants a cat and a bunny and a guinea pig... And a pony... And a chihuahua.

She deserves all that stuff. But because o love her, I won't give it to her... At least not all of it at once. And never a rabbit... Probably.

She's taught me to listen harder, lover better, yell less. She makes me want to be a better person and a better mom. More of a Miss Honey and less of a Trunchbull because I'll never be a Matilda.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Bob took Marley on a daddy date and Marley ordered a huge plate of food. The waitress told Marley if she finished the food she would give her a hundred dollars. Marley gave it her best shot. She even took off her belt and put it over her shoulder.

Unrelated to that Bob saw a very old woman put four packets of sweet and low on her side salad.

We were eating ice cream sundaes for dessert last night and Sage had chocolate all over her hands. She grabbed Solomon's arm suddenly and he yells "Sage! Ew!" Then proceeds to lick the chocolate hand print off his arm.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


I'm thankful to God for being so merciful and loving, to have given me into the care of the parents I was given.

And for the rich extravagant blessing of my children.

Like water and nutrients and energy, this love, it's a  beautiful cycle. Not made up of perfect parts and not always consistent, but real and life sustaining.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


I sat on the front porch tonight with Marley. We waited to see if we could feel the first raindrops fall. We talked about everything. We talked about how boys talk differently to girls than they do other boys, about the human body and the amazing science of it and the absurd amounts of embarrassment we attach to certain aspects of it. We talked about how marriage is hard and that love means changing yourself to fight for your marriage, not changing someone else. We talked about how some kids get exposed to adult drama and concepts early and how they're ill equipped to handle it.

Me: they might see things adults are doing and not know why they're doing them.
Marley: And then they won't really understand it but they'll tell their friend about it and then their friend will tell their other friend and it will all be REALLY wrong.
Me: *just stares at Marley with adoration*

It was fun, and unfolded so organically. She said how much she enjoyed it afterward, when we came inside and she hugged me. I was misty but I kept the weepiness mostly to myself. Marley's understanding and thoughtfulness is a joy to me.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Good morning

Saturday morning, after a Friday night when I stayed up late; my kids are asleep but I'm awake because the great acoustics afforded by the valley of my backyard and someone's toddler who is having a tantrum. I made a lackluster attempt to fall back asleep but have up. So now I'd be cranky except I'm recognizing that I'm starting to get to a point in my life my dad told me would eventually happen when I was little. The point where you don't need as much sleep. Except I'm thinking it's possible he might have been talking about that happening when I was an older teenager (and not a growing child) and not when I was thirty one.

I remember feeling really excited about the freedom that less sleep would afford me. I guess so I could blog with only half my vocabulary working while listening to the morning birds. It's pretty good.

Baby steps.