Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Caroline is tromping happily about in red sparkly shoes with kitten heels, calling "Hoohhnneeeee?"  She is calling Layla.  The two of them like to play Mommy and Baby, and Caroline is the mommy and calls her baby "honey".  Layla likes a chance to be the baby, I think.  They also like to play Mama Kitty and Baby Kitty.  oh my goodness.

Another one of the things Caroline says that I love is, "Oh, fine."  She says this in all sorts of inflections, from cheerful agreement, to reluctant acquiescence.   So sometimes it's chirpy - "Oh, fine!!" (smiley and quick) and sometimes it's "Ohhhhh, fiiiiiinnnee" (slumped shoulders, dragging feet).

I am loving summer and it's lazy days.  It's properly hot and the kids spend plenty of time thrashing happily around in the pool in the back yard.  Yesterday I was hanging up clothes on the line and listening to my three boys and three neighbor boys playing so boisterously and boyishly in the water that it made my heart smile.  They were so intensely being action figures and involved in their game, and I just loved them for it.

Disney Memories

Israel: (flatly, while watching his fourth night of Disney fireworks) I am not amazed.

Aubrey:  (animatedly, while watching the same fireworks) I feel SO SORRY for all the people who are NOT watching this!!!

Layla: (handing me a shirt to turn right-side out) I know it's long sleeves, but I want to wear it anyways because it looks cool.  Sometimes I want to look pretty and sometimes I want to look cool.  When I want to look cool I put on my black sparkly shirt and my black sparkly pants and my black sparkly boots and I get my pink purse and I put my phone in my purse.  And then I look really cool.

Aubrey:  (who loves Caroline, and stuck closely to her side, conspiratorially to me while I was getting Caroline dressed) I am good at helping Caroline. I bet you are glad we are staying in the same room since I am so good at helping.  (I was indeed. ;)  )

Aubrey:  (with innocent relish as we were leaving for Magic Kingdom) I think I know a little bit more about Disney than you...because I saw Disney on ice...just a little bit more...I think.  (trailed off a little uncertainly)

Layla: Mom, can I have a golden?  (A rolo from her "treasure bag" after a St. Patrick's Day activity arranged by Melody.)


The warm soft air, the perfect temperature of pool water, the music playing from the speakers, the palm trees blowing in the breeze.  I was immediately over winter and full on ready for summer.

Caroline's delighted chatter on the rides at Magic Kingdom.

Layla being in a surly funk almost the entire day after looking forward to Disney for an entire year.  The combo of walking, heat, tiredness, and over-stimulation was just decidedly NOT her friend.  She has eagerly anticipated Disney for an entire year, but the reality was TOO MUCH for her.  Her favorite ride was Buzz Lightyear, and she chose a Little Mermaid necklace and matching clip-on earrings as souvenirs.

Two bonuses today:
  1.  No school, so I got to sleep in!!
  2.  Woke up to a surprise snow, with snow still falling in big flakes for a large part of the day.

I went out and measured a little while before it stopped and it was 3 1/2 inches on the road.

The kids woke up and played video games, and then out to play in the snow.  The boys played hide and seek, the girls took a long bath and played in the water, we lit the pellet stove, and I happily spent the day straightening up from the weekend.

Zion, showing me a knit hackeysack ball whose little styrofoam balls had spilled out through a leak before he taped it shut.  "Mom, I wish this could grow back together. (Pause.) And I wish that gardens could grow in the winter. (Pause.) And I wish that when it was snowing, we could pray and ask for God to make it warm, and He would make it warm and the snow wouldn't melt."


Zion: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Layla: To get her eggs?
Zion: (pause) Because the farmer had all the eggs and she wanted to find out which one was hers...ehhh heh heh heh!!!
Mother in front seat: forehead wrinkle

Zion:  Knock knock
Layla:  Who's there?
Zion:  You
Layla: You who?
Zion:  It's fun - it's a joke.
Layla: appreciative laugh
Mother in front seat:  confused blink

The evolving of a child's sense of humor is a mysterious thing.  Especially knock knock jokes.  What. At certain ages, all of my kids over the years have roared with laughter at knock knock jokes that...just...they're just not getting the point yet.

I had a really fun day yesterday.  Zion had a doctor's appointment in Brooklyn, NY to consult with a doctor there regarding some lingering effects that strep has had on him.  I had never been to NYC before this, and to me, Brooklyn classifies as close enough!  :)  We left a little before 8 in the morning to get there for our 12:00 appointment, and drove in through a section that was obviously a ethnically chinese area, with blocks and blocks of stores with signs in Chinese, to get to the area where we wanted to go, which was a doctor's office in an orthodox Jew area, I loved seeing all of the cultural dynamics, all the people around, and was fascinated with what it's like to drive in a place where cars are double parked everywhere on the street.  It was an issue finding a place to park, and after several tries and some helpful people, I successfully manuvered our little car into a little tiny parking spot, fed the parking meter, and Zion and I took off for our appointment with a very nice doctor a few blocks away.

When we returned to our car, Zion wanted to check out a comic book and video game store on the street next to us, because...obviously.  :D  He got some souvenir Pokemon cards and promptly divided them in half and gave me half to play a game he made up using points on the cards.

Simple Pleasures

Burying my nose in a soft two year old's neck as she affectionately hugs my head, and giving it a smooch.

The pure beauty of age four, with spiraling curls, perfect skin, bright eyes, squeezy limbs, and belly laughs.  

A perfectly mixed cup of hot good coffee when you are thirsty for it. 

The narrow window between the last "Mooooooommm!!!" from the kid's room and where weariness starts to lay heavy on my limbs, where I can sit on the couch and eat food and watch Netflix all to my very own self.  

A big cup of cold iced tea when I'm thirsty.  

A two hour fog delay on a morning after a night I've been up a lot with a child.

A fire in the pellet stove on a cold day.

Teva flipflops, fuzzy pants, and and my warm bathrobe.

Age nine, with a face sprinkled with freckles, soft thick hair, and a wide smile.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Little Peoples and Their doings

Me to Gabe as he is heading out the door:  Don't you need a coat?

Gabe:  No - I'm wearing two shirts.  (Pause.)  I don't have a rip in my pants, so that takes care of that.

Goes out the door.  

Blink.  Aaaalllllrighty then.


Israel: (pauses in playing air guitar to music) Mom!!  Does this (mimics guitar playing) make my muscle up here look strong?

Me: (pauses to carefully examine slight muscle ridge)  Yep!  

Israel:  joyfully bounces up to the mirror to strum his imaginary guitar to his heart's content

He's such an enthusiastic kid.  I love it.

Here are the two of them making brownies today.
I had two brownie boxes and they each decided to make one.  Gabe loftily told Israel that his (Israel's) was "way more complex" (which Gabe did not seem to think was worth the effort) and Israel cheerfully informed him that he (Israel) "obviously did not care".

They are genuinely good buddies and get along very well.  They have complementing personalities.


Poor baby Caroline.  She has been a miserable mess of fuss.  She was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday, and girlfrien' ain't feelin' good.

Thank goodness for the Ergo.  Today she wanted the hood part up over the side of her face and went straight to sleep.
 You can see on the fridge that we made some Valemtimes for Valemtime's Day.  Or, rather, Israel, Zion, and Layla did.  Gabe was too busy reading.  

Mr. Reader Pants.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


I'm starting to understand why so many people dread the dentist.  Growing up as a hard-toothed little being who never had a cavity until age 21, I never understood why on earth people would hate going to the dentist.  There are magazines, books, new toys, stickers, and you get to pick multiple toys out of the wicker toy basket, people!!  And the people there are so nice and you can choose bubblegum flouride.  Or chocolate. What more could you ask for, really...??

Now, after birthing and nursing five children, my teeth seem to have turned on me, and have developed approximately forty seven cavities in the past few years.  Now I, too, have become one of the masses quaking before the bursts of cold air repeatedly aimed at my thenthitive tooth part-th (That's supposed to say "sensitive tooth parts" for anyone who doesn't speak lisp), or cringing while a well-meaning individual pokes my tenderhearted, vulnerable little innocent gums with a teeny tiny sharp needle-like stabber over and over and over.  I totally understand why people avoid the dentist entirely.

This time the dental hygienist sent me home with this sharp little rubberized tool that she wants me to press into my sore gums repeatedly, right where they are tender and press hard.  Oh yeah.  I'm doing that.  "It will hurt but after a few weeks it won't".  SO on it.  Like, wow.  My replacement plan is to let them stop hurting all on their own...thank you very much.


The Littlest Girl around here is sick; croupy cough for two days and a fever that set in last evening.  Tim and I decided that I should stay in her room overnight last night so that we could close the door to maximize the humidity level, while I would still be able to monitor her cough.  She enjoyed that thoroughly, and cuddled right up to her mama in her bed, and we both actually slept pretty well!

Yesterday I was craving chicken pot pie, but also wanted to make these Triple Chocolate cookies by Pioneer Woman, so I compromised and made chicken pot pie soup, (which is slightly less time consuming when one feels compelled to make the dough if one makes chicken pot pie) and saved me some cookie making energy.  This recipe is DElicious and I must share it.  So were the cookies!!

Chicken Pot Pie Soup


  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and diced
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 3-4 cup fresh broccoli florets, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, diced
  • 1 bag frozen peas
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup 1/2 and 1/2
  • 2 cups milk
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 package pie crust, thawed

Cook onions, celery, and carrots in butter until soft.  (Probably you could add the potatoes to this mix too - this time I added them late and diced and cooked them until they were soft, then added them to the soup.)  Then mix in flour and add chicken, peas, broccoli, spices and heat until warm.  I like my broccoli a little crunchy so for me, this soup is done when the broccoli is like I want it.  I wait until the very end to add the milk.  To make crust strips, unroll thawed pie crust (for one crust).  Cut into strips and lay on parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake in a 450 degree oven for 6-8 minutes, until browned.  Remove from oven.  To assemble, pour soup into individual bowls and top with pieces of pie crust strips.  DElicious, I am telling you!!

I doubled it to have plenty of leftovers.  Also, I often use canned chicken breast for recipes like this, but only the Walmart Premium chicken breast brand or Kirkland's brand.  I heartily dislike any other brand I have tried - the chicken otherwise tends to be too soft and gel-like for me.

(this original recipe came from http://www.shugarysweets.com/2013/04/chicken-pot-pie-soup, but mine is modified.)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Life, the unfolding story

I'm in a weird, bored mood lately.  Not sure what to do fill up my spare moments.  I sort of crave a creative outlet, but am bored of everything creative I think of.  Sometimes I feel this way when I don't have any interesting books to read; life just feels a little flatter for it.  I think I'm craving a challenge involving something that interests me.

Parenting my children interests me, and lately that has held LOTS of challenges, to the point that I'm a bit maxed out on it and ready for even keel.  Zion has been a meltdown mess over the past few days, as has Layla, and the mother feels a bit meltdown fried.  I missed doing something I was looking forward to tonight, because Zion was such a mess that he needed to stay home.

Parenting sure does involve a lot of opportunities to deny yourself.  Lately the Zion adventures have felt like a kayak ride over rocky rapids where there is constant troubleshooting and evaluation and you're trying to stay upright and not go too far one way in terms of strictness/intolerance of ratty behavior and not go too far the other way in terms of permissiveness/grace for an overstimulated child and meanwhile your parenting muscles are getting sort of weary.  Then when the Layla screeches start and you had sort of forgotten that they existed, your eyes get sort of twitchy and you just feel all twitchy and done for the day with little people that act crazy in the head.  Like, time to clock out and collect the paycheck and get a good night's sleep so you can come back refreshed for the next day of insanity that awaits you.  Instead you get...approximately none of that.  The ultra marathon of parenting in certain seasons.

I'm not complaining...I don't think.  Just...bemoaning a little bit.  :D  I like my little people an awfully lot.  Even the ones that screech in my ears.  These are just my challenges of late: how to love those little people best with all their individual personalities and needs without getting too cranky and snappy.

One of the things that I've been doing for the past while is making things like I like them.  Rearranging things and organizing and hanging curtains and finding the right rug for the bathroom that makes me glow happily inside whenever I observe the color combinations that bring me great delight.

Both the recent restlessness and the house energy has to do with the fact that Caroline is getting older and I am getting more sleep.  Well, yippee for that one!!  Now, what to do with myself...what does this next phase of life look like for me?  I'm pretty sure it will be something enjoyable.  Just...waiting to see what form that takes.  That's really what makes life interesting, after all.  Our story unfolds in front of us in bits and pieces.