Sunday, December 7, 2014

All The Things

I keep thinking I'm going to blog...and then there's this little miss who has had one cold followed by four teeth coming in at one time who seems determined to issue an immediate cease-and-desist order on all enjoyable evening activities that may otherwise occur...such as soothing cups of hot milky tea, or just a brain on veg, or an uninterrupted Netflix show, etc. etc....nope.  Right now I am typing and she is busily investigating the boys room, where they are happily camped out on the floor in their blankets, or trying to high-tail it down the hall with a gleeful chuckle and glint in her eye towards Layla's room.  When we really get down to bidness, I'll probably put a big chair in front of the living room door that she can't squeeze past, and then she'll howl her little head off in great distress and then I will comfort her by nursing her to sleep.  It's all planned out, you see.

This made me laugh the other day.  So, we have a cat, Kitzi.  And she is verrrryyy friendly.  She will get right up in your face and demand the love.

She takes very little offense if you push her off after a bit, and pads off to find her next patron.  She's such a good cat.  She and Caroline have a symbiotic relationship and have had from as little as Caroline could grab her.  She is exceptionally tolerant with Caroline and often goes to find her so that Caroline can grab at her, which Kitzi interprets as petting.  :)  She has a funny quirk of PREFERRING to obtain water by sources other than a water dish.  She spends a lot of time in the bathtub waiting for drops to drink, or if that's not working out for her, goes scouting for stray water cups, which she will dip her paw into, and then carefully lick off the water.

Meanwhile, we're settling into Christmas around here.  Christmas really is fun with little kids.  They have such wide-eyed delight in it.  When we got back from Thanksgiving, the shieldren's were hot on my heels about Christmas.  I told them that the living room needed to be cleaned up first and they were ON IT.

Israel is especially chief of Christmas excitement.  He just can hardly contain himself.  :)  This is the second year that he has been both the primary urger and primary helper to obtain all items and do all the Christmas goodness YEEEESSSSSSS!!!!  But it's pretty contagious to the leetle ones too.

The aforementioned Kitzi surveying her Christmas domain.  She's a very regal Queentzi.

The Baby and her daddy were looking at the Kitzi and talking together about her the other night.

Luuuuvvv's me some Baby Curls. ;)

She's SUCH a sweet baby and totally adored by all parties at all times around here.

Seriously people.  That is a morsel of sweet child, right there. 

On Friday night, we did our Official Christmas Activity of the season, which was to go to The Salted Rim in Ocean View, DE, where they have two train cars set up as part of the restaurant, and you enjoy a Polar Express Train supper.  It was really fun, actually.  We went through a buffet,

and were seated where we could see large screen TV's that played The Polar Express.  The boys were transfixed the whole time.

The train car.

Layla got a little restless eventually, and romped around playing with the baby.  They served hot chocolate and a cookie, and then Santa came to visit...

He asked all the kids what they wanted for Christmas, and then gave them a little bell with a ribbon to match Santa's bell in the movie.  Layla wanted a doll, Israel wanted a Wii U, and Zion wanted a sword.  Gabe couldn't decide.  :)  

I mentioned to Tim as we traveled the 50+ minutes away that it was significant (and potentially promising in regards to Christmas travels) that the distance was not intimidating this year in terms of Caroline.  Last year at Christmas, I was not ready to commit to traveling anywhere further than 15 minutes away from home (and even that was stretching!!!) but this year she is older and able to be entertained.  We have officially entered a new phase that makes life a little broader and less survivalistic.  

Tonight (Saturday), we ate pizza and watched Home Alone for the first time.

The boys LOVED it, which I knew they would.  I don't normally have patience to watch kid's movies, but I happily sat through this one just to see their enjoyment of it.  Layla seemed slightly concerned about the concept of staying behind at home by one's self, and stated insistently and repeatedly that she would not do that, but she would go with everyone.  :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tick Tick

The kiddie car in the dining room is ticking.  It could be a bomb, but I think it's more likely the cow kitchen timer, tucked carefully within it's innards by an industrious child.  We have several industrious children in this household.

This car is Layla's car.  But Caroline YEARNS for it.  It is just her size and she loves to climb on and she can ride pretty well.  Layla will share with her, but is still somewhat territorial about it being hers.   It's not that there aren't other things around here to ride on.  Roll of eyes.  I am buying a used fireman car with lights and noises from someone tomorrow that I was planning to give to Caroline for Christmas, but I think I'm going to go ahead and give it to her early, as my mommy's heart is moved by the naked longing on her face as she watches Layla zoom around.

Now it's later and Caroline is sleeping while Layla watches a video.  I keep trying to motivate myself to get the house picked up but I'm having issues with needing to hold down the chair in front of the computer with my tired and lazy body.  Layla has been sleeping in our bed the past few nights because of a bad cough that made her vomit two separate nights.  Treatment is Vicks on the feet, an albuterol nebulizer when the coughing restarts, and sleeping under a cold mist vaporizer aimed straight for her head.  She actually has slept so well in our bed without the normal wake up and scream sessions that she often has, that it's sort of conducive to sleep.  Last night Zion popped up in our room asking if I could go to Layla's bed to lay down with him because he was scared, and I had him just crawl under the covers at the foot of our bed, where he spent the rest of the night.  So there were four people in our queen sized bed.  Yawn.


"What brung that up with you?"  Israel-speak for "What brought that up?"

Monday, November 24, 2014


Today I accomplished the taking of pictures that I have been WANTING to get done: the weather had been cold and rainy and today was a warm and sunny day and I was SO HAPPY to get this checked off my mental "to do" list!! 'Cause chillun's they keeps on a'growin'.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


I love the coziness of these evenings, when the house is warm and happily humming, the pellet stove burning.  Yesterday I was making up a Facebook status in my head while I was working in the kitchen that went like this:  Pinterest-worthy status - cold outside, warm inside, Christmas music playing on the radio, onions frying on the stovetop, children happily coloring on the dining room table - my heart is happy.  Real life thrown in status - I have a dull constant headache from sleep deprivation from 4 of the 5 children having bad colds that involve bad nighttime croup and coughing until you vomit, and the daughter keeps shucking off her clothes.  ;)

I stayed home today, which was a Sunday, for the second week in a row, as this cold is working it's way down the line of chillun's.  This week it was Zion, Layla, and Caroline who needed to stay home.  Last week it was Israel and Layla.  Layla is ok during the day but coughs up a storm at night.  Our bed has been puked in 3?? times now this week.  But running a cold mist vaporizer helps a lot.

This evening Israel was a motivated little industrious child.  He came up with the idea of having a tea party in the boy's room and asked me if I could move the (very heavy) toybox for them to use as a table.  I tugged at it briefly and halfheartedly for a bit, then declared it a lost cause and not remotely worth the effort.  He thanked me for the bit of progress I had made and then proceeded to pull and wiggle it out more into the center of the room.  Then he found a nice green sheet to use as a tablecloth and he and Zion and Layla bustled around busily and quite delightedly looking for food for their tea party, while their mama cocked her eyebrow a bit Scrooge-ily and was all like, "nope" to requests like, "can we use the red cabbage for our tea party".  Mama has had too many experiences where she is the one cleaning up the leftover mess despite everyone else's most devout and sincere of intentions.  They found some apples and I think some gummy Vitamin D bears and Israel brewed Raspberry Zinger tea for the whole crowd AND popped a bowl of popcorn (his new skill of late) in the Stir Crazy.  They clustered happily around the "table" for a while, the lights dim so that they could properly enjoy Layla's new flickering LED "candle" (a prize for going to sleep on her own lately).

THEN Israel got the idea of connecting the VCR to our old unused TV in the boy's room, which has been sitting there ever since Gabe's birthday party in August, and he found all the cords and rifled through the videos to find the one he wanted and got the whole shebang hooked up and really was quite impressive with all his hard work.

When Tim came home this evening, we all watched Godzilla, with the exception of Layla and Israel who eventually went and enjoyed their TV and popcorn in the boy's room while leaning against the table toybox.  :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014


I brought Caroline and Layla with me tonight to a friend's house for supper and to discuss children's church, and on the way home, it was bedtime and Caroline went from displeased to very displeased and cried and cried and cried and could not be soothed with toys or her lighted mirror or me talking to her from the front seat.  "Ma ma ma!!" she cried, which is how she calls for me.  Finally, I painstakingly reached back behind my seat with one hand to her seat, which was situated directly behind mine, and touched her wildly flailing warm hand covered with tears, and gently rested my hand against her teary cheek - and she immediately and completely quieted and stayed quiet the rest of the ride home, with an occasional tentative exploratory pat of my hand.  I think she must not fully realize that I am still there when she can't see me, and it was very endearing to me how much a touch from her mama meant to her.


"Can I have dees much?  Can I have dees much?"  Layla holds up a baggie with about 10 M&M's remaining.  "Can I have all dees muches?"

Monday, November 3, 2014

Just a Nice Day

I went out with Gabe to Applebee's on Halloween so that we could have some Special Mommy Time.  It was just feeling like it was time again lately.  The kids actually had the day off of school, so it worked perfectly.

We've (Tim and I, taking turns) been doing "special times" with the kids for about two years, on no set schedule, just rotating, and it had been over a year (!!!) since we had been out together.  Last year we went to IHOP, and Gabe got to order whatever he wanted, and he ordered a t-bone steak that came with scrambled eggs, pancakes, and hashbrowns, and he also ordered bacon on top of that meal, and chocolate milk to drink, and he ate an ASTOUNDING amount of food.  I seriously could not believe it.  He drank all his milk, ate all but a bite or two of his steak, most of his eggs, all of his bacon, a little of his hashbrowns (he wasn't really interested in them to begin with), and maybe 30% of his pancakes.  It just wowed me. :)

This year we went to Applebee's since someone anonymous gave us a giftcard to Applebee's (THANK YOU anonymous person!!!), and it just so happened that on Halloween, children ate free from the kid's menu. So that was nice!  This time Gabe ordered a 4 oz steak and four pieces of bacon and mashed potatoes.  He also finished up with an Oreo shake.  He informed me that he was "actually still hungry" but he didn't finish his shake (I did...yummy!!) so I think he liked the idea of still being hungry after all that food more than he actually was hungry.  ;)  

Applebee's has this little computer thing on the table that you can reorder drinks with, or call your server, and it also has a game tab, and Gabe really wanted to pay the 99 cents for "unlimited access" to all the games during your meal.  At first I said no, but then I changed my mind because it was only 99 cents and I usually try to let them do whatever they want within reason during their special time, and it made him very happy and actually I really enjoyed it too!! :)  We took pictures of each other and decorated them,

and did quizzes with each other, and both tried to beat this totally impossible game where you tried to get this bird to fly through holes in a tree.

I really enjoyed being out with just Gabe.  It's so fun to take them each out individually.  I honestly don't remember even much of what we talked about; just relaxed conversation as he wiggled around in his seat.  He talked about wanting to watch football.

I think this is the third time we have been out.  The first time was probably about two years ago, and we went to Panera Bread after I took him to the dentist and he got macaroni and cheese and he wiggled and squirmed and made silly faces and noises and laid all over the seat and honestly exasperated me a bit :D, and this time he did all of the same things still two years later (with less silly noises, and less squirming) and by this point, I just let it go and mostly let him lay down on the seat when he wanted, because it's just part of being with him and he really wasn't causing anybody any trouble, and the restaurant was mostly empty mid-afternoon.  He was fun to talk to and fun to play games with.

After the restaurant we did a super quick Walmart run for diapers for Caroline, and I also bought Gabe a little container of Lifesaver mints.  He was thrilled that he didn't have to use his allowance for them.

We started giving the boys allowance a few months ago, and I REALLY really like it.  We give them $1 X their age per week, and they put 25% into savings, and tithe 10%, and have the remainder to spend on what they like.  It frees me up from having to decide what to spend money on for them, and lets them prioritize.  So it was a treat for Gabe to not have to pay for something he wanted.  Gabe, so far, is the saver of the three boys. He doesn't spend money quickly, but when he does, it is generally something he really wants and he doesn't regret his purchase.

We got back home in time to get everybody into their costumes.  This was accomplished later than planned and with some amount of tearful angst on Israel's part, who couldn't find a mask he wanted for his costume and then it was broken and then he had to make a mask out of construction paper and then it wouldn't stay taped and then he couldn't find socks and Zion kept changing his costume finally was Spiderman and he had to find the right mask that he wanted and Gabe was Ironman with an ever-changing array add-on items like a sword and gloves and Layla was a giraffe and then it was finally time to go trick or treating.  Pheeeewweee.

Caroline stayed home with her daddy.

I just LOVE taking the kids out trick or treating.  I really wished I had brought my camera along, because they were just SO STINKIN' CUTE running happily from house to house, with Layla's curls and giraffe tail bouncing, and Zion was this cute little happy Spiderman and they were just all cheerful and had a great time.  I told them that they needed to say "Trick or treat!" (because I have discovered that it is awkward and seems kind of rude when someone comes to the door and they just stand there silently and wait for candy) and then they need to say a nice loud "Thank you!!" that the people could hear or they could say "God bless you!"  By the end, they were all saying "God bless you!!", even Layla who said some cute variation in her cute little voice.  Gabe said later - "Mom, at first I was really kind of scared to say God bless you, but by the end it wasn't hard anymore at all!" :)  The air was cool but not too cold and people are always so friendly and kind.  There were very few trick-or-treaters out this year, for some reason, and Tim said that no one came to our door while we were gone.  We got two giant bowls of candy

and I let them eat a happy amount that night, and then even some happy amounts the next day, before putting the brakes on more firmly.


Caroline is walking now more than she is crawling.  She walked really for the first time on Israel's birthday, October 15, about ten steps, and she walked to him. :)  She is just so stinking adorable.  She is cuddly and affectionate, and likes you to hold her so that she can tell you where she wants you to go by pointing her arm out and saying "ENNNHH!!" urgently.  She loves books and loves to be read to.  She LOOOOVES the dishwasher

(I know, I know, it's bad for her to sit on the door and I usually stop her but I needed a picture.).

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


It is 9:31 PM and I am sitting at the computer.  The baby is playing at my feet and the back sliding door is open with the screen shut, and fallish night air is blowing gently in and the crickets are singing.  The kid's room is quiet, and when I say "kids", I mean all four are in there - Gabe, Israel, Zion, and Layla.

Layla has been getting harder (read: taking longer) to get to sleep of late (usually Tim lays down with her to get her to sleep; up to this point he has enjoyed it and found it endearing how she cuddles up to him and talks, but lately it's taken a long time for her to chatter all her news and needs out and his eyes are starting to look slightly wild and frazzled by the time he comes out...OR he falls asleep in there and I am very diligent to wake him up so that I don't have to bear the AWAKE CRABBY CAROLINE by myself, as she can be a very mighty emotional burden when she is up past her normal time).  We had tried putting Layla into the extra bunk in her brothers' room to sleep, as she was not falling asleep until around the time they went to sleep anyway, thinking it might prove to be the companionship she is craving like it was for Zion at her age, but all she has done up to this point is to squawk and thrash around happily until tiredness sets in and then she goes and fetches her daddy to take her to bed.

However.  On the nights that daddies are away, no baby birds will play.  Says the mommy with a cranky, stern glint in her eye.  Layla knows that I won't lay down with her, as I need to "listen for the baby and brothers", and this night settled down with hardly a peep.  I also gave strict instructions that NO ONE was to say ANY words, which took care of the squawking part, and allowed wee baby girls to settle in for the night.  SCORE!!!  Now we'll just see how she does in the middle of the night....hmmmmm.  Hope she doesn't screech her angry way past Caroline's room at 3 AM.  Guess we'll cross that bridge when if and when it arrives.

Speaking of Caroline, she has been on a cold/teething tear and has been a royal mess in terms of sleeping.  I finally had the brilliant idea to combine ibuprofen (which she tries to angrily spit out) and night time baby Oragel, and finally got my first good night of sleep in a good while.  Right now she is happily playing in the lower drawer of the desk in the dining area, where she is busily and nosily clanking together cups and plates placed there for her siblings.  (They have their own special drawer with their own special plates and cups.  The idea is that they are responsible for their own place setting, and washing and taking care of it.  This is loosely in place at this point.  The kids like having their own specific items, but the washing of them is still in flux, since I often just scoop them up and stick them in the dishwasher.  We'll get there, or see if we need to get there or not.  I like them having their own things, which makes less work for me.)  I don't feel like stopping her because it makes her happy and then I can type.  :D

She's such a cutie pie.  Right now, she is 3 days shy of one year old, and just a precious baby.  She's so squeezy and dear and cuddly and curly haired and grinny. This morning she was wearing fuzzy pink blanket pj's and she was just too adorable.  She is standing a lot, and taking steps now and again, and is quite the speedy crawler.  She is VERY interested in the dishwasher, and I have to watch her closely or she would empty the silverware basket and sit on the opened door.  She has radar for electronics and sweet drinks and is quite demanding about both.  The other night when she was up late and fussy and not going to sleep I played her this video and she LOVED it.  The next day I played it again to show Zion and Layla, and she was playing on the floor near the computer and I could tell that she immediately recognized the song and it made her very happy all over again. :)

I am happy that it's turning fall.  I feel like life has almost been too busy to take in much of the outdoors for a while.  I had hoped to go camping as a family this summer, but it never happened.  I was thinking about that a bit regretfully the other night while I was getting Caroline to sleep, but at the same time thought "I REALLY REALLY don't want to camp with the baby yet."  Just too painful in terms of sleep deprivation and necessary recovery time, if you ask me.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy birthday, Zion!!

Zion turned six today.  He's such a quirky little funny boy that I just love to pieces.

He started off his day with a pancake and OJ breakfast from McDonald's, since his momma is all up on the early wakeup and whip up some pancakes NOT boat, and ended the day with his requested meal of "hot dogs, french fries, macaroni and cheese, Doritos, and cake."  He picked out his own cake from Food Lion, since his momma is also all up on the fancy cake baking and decorating NOT wagon.  (Just call me gourmet domesticate woman.)  It had two fall plastic leaves on it and was yellow cake with chocolate icing.  He wants to save the leaves.  He also chose Grape Crush to drink.

I got him some Despicable Me minion slippers with eyes that rattle around when you walk, a Transformers BumbleBee piggy bank that he had spotted at Walmart one day and wanted very badly, an Angry Birds umbrella, and some black ninja nesting dolls.  He's such a tucker and a hider and likes to put things in pockets and hidey-holes and boxes, so I thought he would really like them, which he does.  However, when I saw the box, it said in big bold letters that they were Nesting DOLLS, and Zion is ALLERGIC to anything that would happen to suggest any girlishness factor.  Roll of eyes.  My worst case scenario was that one of his brothers would catch sight of that word on the box and gleefully point it out to him, so I carefully colored the word in with black permanent marker, both on the front and the back, and Tim carefully and pointedly referred to them as "Nesting Ninja's" and all remained well and right in Zion's birthday world.  :D

On birthdays, Mom says yes to almost anything at all.  Noteable was a request to chew gum at bedtime.  Mom said ok.

Zion is just cute.  He is a slow processor - you ask him a question, and it takes him usually about 4 seconds to answer you back.  Not because he's shy, but because he is thinking.  Over this past year, he really has come up with a whole lot of energy.  Ahem.  He still has a tendency to whine, which we have worked on with only minimal success over the year, using, among other things, a chart to reward lack of whining that began in January and ended in July.  Because it just took that long.  !!!  He LOOOOVES Caroline and she really enjoys him back.  He goes into this crazy-faced contortion as soon as he sees her to try to amuse her, and it generally works.  His main playmate is Layla, but they definitely have a tendency to "fight like cats and dogs" at times.  He also plays with Israel.  He really loves to be like his older brothers, who have a varying degree of resentment at times regarding that fact. :D  But I just love it when I can tell that he feels "big" and it just makes him so satisfied.  Starting school this year definitely made him feel that way.  He can be a great help to me, and can be a very productive and happy worker.  He really is thoughtful, and loves to share good things with people (Mom, can I get [the neighbor] a popsicle/ice cream/piece of pizza/etc. too?)  He is very hospitable in looking out for other people's small comforts, especially if they are a guest.  He likes to be covered up and prayed for, with a special request for a prayer for "good dreams" at night, and he sleeps on two Spiderman pillows.  He has GORGEOUS green eyes.  I just love him so much and like him a ton.


Just the other day I was THRILLED to receive a FREE box of gorgeous tomatoes that I went to town on last night.  I like to freeze them.  SO NICE!!

Also, yesterday I made a quadruple batch of the best bran muffins in the world.  It just takes that many if you want any leftovers. Plus it used up all my buttermilk, which would otherwise have been sitting around to go bad.


Caroline actually went to sleep at a normal time tonight after night after painful night of crankily staying up late due to cold/teething/whatever is going on with her.  But the Hallelujah Chorus, it was just going through my head tonight when I sat down to nurse her and instead of nursenursenurse whack around and wrench up and reach for the door, she WENT TO SLEEP.  Hallelujah indeed.

She has been taking a few steps here and there.  I just can't believe she is this close to walking, because she was so delayed on her gross motor skills up until about 10 months.  She is SOOOOOO sweet and cute and I ask her often and with great relish why Jesus made her so precious and dear and precious and sweet because she's just so lovey.  :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014


"When I eat this, it makes my eyes blinky!" - Layla, while eating grapefruit.


11 month old baby girls have an avid radar for all things electronic and for sweet drinks. She just knoooooows.  

Also, she loves to have her feet kissed.  In fact, she nigh demands it.  I usually give them loud smacking kisses while I am changing her diaper so as to keep her interested and not trying to flip over, and she repeatedly waves them right back into my face with a big satisfied grin on her face. 


Monday, September 15, 2014


Those moments when you just finished nursing the baby during the night, and she throws herself onto her back in your lap and flings her arms up above her head and smacks her lips sleepily and goes right back to sleep and it just takes everything you have to not just smooch those little baby lips and kiss that sweet little face all over and squeeze her tight and wake her up.  I love her so much.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Caroline and Zion and Battle Berries

Caroline has been delayed almost two months behind in her gross motor skills up until about 10 months.  Then - BOOM.  She took off and caught right up.  

9 months 3 weeks - sat up from laying on own.  She was crawling at about 10 months, and pulling up about a week after she started to crawl.
At 10 months 2 weeks she was crawling all over the house.

She said her first word at 10 month 2 weeks - "Ca. Ki ca.  Ki."  Cat.  Kitty Cat.  Kitty.  But she whispers all of them when she is saying them.  And she listens with delight when I talk about the "ki ca" back to her because she knows exactly what I am talking about it.  Her next word about the next day or so was "Da" when she saw Tim on the computer screen while we were video calling him.


I am in love with Zion's wide eyed delight in kindergarten.  He had shy delighted happiness when he made a "new friend" on the first day of kindergarten.  His new friend was a girl but he didn't know her name.  The second day of kindergarten he made another new friend who was a boy.  He loves the idea of having friends.  I think it feels very grown up to him to talk about new friends after hearing his brothers talk about their school friends.  But he is just adorable.  Today I asked him what they had for snack and he said it was a "bunny snack.  Nobody knew what it was called but we all liked it."  He just kept talking about bunnies and it was just so cute.  :D  Bunny is a little kid word and he is still so little and cute to me.  He also was wide eyed and happy about eating in the cafeteria.  Kindergarten.  Where all your big kid dreams come true.

I saw this bag things...on the counter the other day and asked Israel if he knew what they were.  "Oh yes," he quickly affirmed.  "They are battle berries."

"Battle berries," I repeated with mild astonishment.  I had never heard of such a thing.

"Yes - we throw them at each other and have battles with them."

Oh.  :)


The kids were playing outside the other day, happily doing their own thing and the day was just beautiful, and I watched them and thought how the much of the goodness of childhood is made up of dirt, sand, and water.  :)  They just never grow old.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Grandma Love

Zion and Layla are eating at the table. Layla asks for a drink.  I go to the cupboard and get out her purple Dora cup.

Layla: (with great satisfaction)  That's my Dora cup.

Zion:  Mommy, did you give Layla that Dora cup or did Grandma give Layla that Dora cup?

Me:  I gave it to her.  (Wondering if this will be renounced, as Grandma gets all the credit around here for all the beloved clothes and items.)

Layla takes her cup happily and drinks as I return to get Zion a drink. 

Zion:  Layla, do you like Mommy better or Grandma better?

Layla: (immediately) G'amma.  (She puts down her cup and goes back to work on her taco.)

Zion:  (conversationally) Would you rather live with Mommy or would you rather live with Grandma?  Grandma has room for you...

His mother grins widely over by the refrigerator.  The conversation gets distracted with other activity going on, but later on when I quizzed her, she stated that yes, she wanted to live at Grandma's house, but with Mommy there with her.  Well, we win some, we lose some... ;)

Tribal Markings

These are markings that indicate, to those in the know, that a certain one of my children has recently passed through the region.  As soon as I saw her, happily swinging with all of her tribal markings, I stop dead in my tracks and bellowed - "ZION DAVID MILLER!!!!!!"  Few things make me bellow as loud (although I also did soon after that bellow as loud if not louder when I turned around and someone had knocked an almost full can of baby snacks to the floor and NOT returned to pick them up and Zion was busy driving his plasma car through them....but hey, I digress) as the concern that someone has marked the baby from head to toe with black permanent marker.  The children in the room next to me blink at me owlishly and survey the damage.  Elder Brother, also known as Keeper Of The Law, is hotly indignant.

"THAT ZION!!!" He gesticulates wildly.  "He has been doing that EVERYWHERE with these markers and now he has marked all over the baby and I think that the next time I see him I AM GOING TO PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE!!"  He stomps over to the office to look onto the porch, where tousle-haired mischief maker is padding in from the outside.  "He just needs to be PUNCHED IN THE FACE!!!"

I give him a mildly rebuking glance. "No punching in the face.  Everything is just fine."

I turn to the guilty party, who has been obtained and is standing before me looking furtive.  He knows that he's done something wrong, he's just not sure which thing it was, since things are constantly busy in Zion Land, and one never knows which Destruction He Hath Wrought is currently under examination.  This has happened to him before.  "Did you mark all over the baby?!"

"Yes," he responds, and immediately leads me on a search for the offending marker, which turns out to be the new package of dry erase markers (PHEW!!!) that have also been busy on the door, walls, and other items, including the baby's toenail.  We have a teaching moment where we examine the reality that dry erase markers are for dry erase boards ONLY, and life returns to normal, all face punching averted.  At least for now.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Israel is funny.  He is generally cheerful and cooperative and happy, with occasional bouts of mopy-ness.  Lately he has been asking these questions that go:  "So, I don't get it: what exactly is the meaning of living?  If we're just going to die?"  Sometimes when events are exciting, he will burst out with a joyous "This is the BEST day I've EVER HAD in my WHOLE LIFE, Mom!!!!"  Interspersed of late with this conversation:

Israel: "I don't like my life!!" (Collapses into a chair and puts his head down on his arms.) 
Mom:  "You don't??! Why not?? I think you have a pretty good life!"
Israel: "Because I have to clean and I can't play video games whenever I want."  (His head whumps back down on his arms in despair.) "All of my other friends, their moms let them watch TV and play video games whenever they want!!"  (ends in a wail)
Mom:  Hmmm.  I don't think that's true.
Israel:  It IS!!!

Poor child.

The other thing that has amused me of late was that we recently found this at TJ Maxx and really liked it.

 We brought it home and propped it against the wall and Israel kept eyeing it uneasily.  He would say, "I sure hope we don't have to follow all of those rules!!!"  Or, "Mom, we don't have to do all of those things those rules say, right?"  It turned out that the Hug a Lot one was the rule of primary concern.  :D  He also wondered if he really had to laugh every. single. day.

p.s. Yes, that is a paper plate on top of the canvas.  Someone was painting and decorating - don't remember who.  :)

Caroline sat well on her own at about 7 months 3 weeks.  She just recently cut teeth at 9 months.  At 9 months 3 weeks she has two bottom teeth and one top tooth.  It looks sort of hilarious to me.  The other tooth is right there under her gums but hasn't popped through yet.  She pushed herself up to sitting from laying for the first time yesterday, at 9 months 3 weeks.


The other day Layla asked me with great interest if I had a finger that had a super power in it.  She was sadly dismayed to find that her beloved mother was only but a common mortal.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pinny the Pooh

Today Layla exclaimed with delight as we were searching for a show she might enjoy, "Look!! It's Pinny the Pooh! I yike Pinny the Pooh!!"  I almost swooned with cuteness overload, especially when she repeated it on demand.  Zion scowlingly corrected her, despite my shushing motions, and Pinny the Pooh was forever gone, replaced by the common man's Winnie the Pooh...alas...

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Just...kickin' back...feet up...arms behind my head...big yawn...and now down come the legs I gotta go get the baby because she's awake and Layla needs some more medicine or probiotic for her stomach and Zion needs a good slathering of hydrocortisone and I need to unpack from our trip and pick up the house and make some supper but I'm so tired because I've been up so much with Layla during the night and oh look Tim is going to be gone for the evening.  This is my today.

Gabe is very much in a selling mood.  He is hawking all kinds of wares right and left, and had a tablecloth spread out in the yard the other day in high hopes of selling to passersby.  His brothers end up being his main clientele.  I think he is wanting to raise money to put towards his DS - his mother has finally relented to using some money the boys received this past Christmas to purchase used Nintendos and they are all aflutter with excitement. Zion's arrived today, much to the enjoyment of the Fed Ex man, who couldn't help but laugh as the boys swarmed with excitement around him, calling me and crowing their delight.  :)

Gabe: "This is what would be lucky: if someone invented a $1,000 lemonade and it was really good, and then they had 15 customers. That would be a lot of money." I think the boy is on to something here...

All this salesmanship can be a bit inspiring...

Can we all just appreciate for a minute how "it will" is spelled?  Melt a mama's heart, why don't ya, kid...??

Something about babies that makes me smile:  Today Caroline was fussy, so I went into her room to put her down for her nap, turned on the fan, and as I am sitting down to nurse her, she makes a sleepy "nneennhh" and rubs her eyes and I distractedly say, "Ok, sweeter," and she jerks in surprise and looks at me like "Oh!! It's you!!" and gives me a tired smile.  Babies are funny that way.

Or the other week, I was nursing her to sleep at night and she is nursing and sort of sleepily getting herself to sleep, looking around, patting my chest or rubbing my arm, and I made a small noise, cleared my throat or something and she jumps in shock and looks at me like "Where did YOU come from??!"  Haha!!  :D  I remember the other kids doing that as babies too and it has always amused me.  I'm an incidental piece of the nursing experience.

Someone had used these GORGEOUS, MASSIVE...hydrangeas?? Is that what they are?? At church today and sent them home with us.  BEAUTIFUL.


Zion obtaining a hat and gloves to fish popsicles out of the freezer on the back porch. :D

My indulgent family gathering around the computer to eat popcorn and watch a slideshow of the year 2011 that I got a bee in my bonnet to make and worked OBSESSIVELY on until it was completed...and then went into panic mode when I thought I had accidentally erased it after hours of work.  :D  You know, the whole nature of computer based projects...

Pile o' happy.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Layla: (turns to look meditatively at what she has deposited in her baby toilet, and says with satisfaction) That is like a present.

Tim: (with definite disagreement) No, I think that is like poop.

Layla:  (disagrees) No, it is.


Zion: (startling, and staring with mild alarm at Tim's pants, whose pockets hold his cell-phone which had just emitted a bird-like tweet signaling a notification)  Dad.  There's a bird in your pants.


Tim:  (driving on the interstate talking to Israel in the passenger seat)  Look!  There's a dead deer!

Israel:  (eagerly)  Oh!  Yeah!

(Two seconds later)

Tim:  Look!  There's a dead raccoon!

Israel:  (astonished) Oh! Yeah!  (Pauses)  Did they kill each other?!

Tim:  (instantly cracks up)  No!!!  Somebody hit them with their cars!!


Zion:  How do the stars get in the sky?

Carrie:  God put them there a long time ago.

Zion: When it gets night, does he grab stars out of a basket...a treasure chest...a box...or his pocket, and when no one is looking, he goes out in space and puts them there??  Is that how it happens??

Sunday, April 20, 2014


A happy memory from this Easter 2014.

I gave the kids each a pack of balloons in their Easter baskets, and Layla was happily playing with a pink balloon that her daddy blew up for her.  I told her she could take her balloon outside and play with it, only to watch the wind catch it and take it away as she watched.  Hurrying outside to see if I could rescue it, I saw it bouncing patiently by the high chain link wire fence across the road.

I told the kids to stay in the yard, and scurried across the street, with Caroline on my hip.  The balloon swooped and darted out of my reach, pausing for a moment and then gusting on, bumping and skipping as I jogged and then ran after it with Caroline giggling away.  It made me smile how she was laughing.

I thought I had it cornered by the dumpsters; it sat quietly and then leaped up and out of my reach at the last minute, taking a long and high hurdle up over the dumpster, and then onto the school roof and disappeared.  With my hand shielding my eyes, I stood watching as the kids yelled excitedly from fifty yards back until I eventually saw it bounce gracefully over the roof edge on the other side of the school.

Hustling down the pavement I ran, the sun shining brightly on my baby and my flip flops, the calls of the children growing fainter as the distance between us increased, and was pleasantly surprised when I rounded the corner to find the balloon waiting patiently, bouncing gently about a yard away, shielded from the wind that had initially blown it there.

Two quick steps and I snatched it up with my free hand and then turned the corner and gave the tightly held balloon a jubilant thrust up into the air, waving it triumphantly at the children lined up on the sidewalk waiting about a hundred yards back who jumped and cheered in excitement.

The breeze was cool, laced with spring warmth, and the sun shone brightly and cheerfully on us as we walked a happy walk home, my girlie and I, to return a pink balloon to an rejoicing Layla.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Today Layla came and put her arms in my lap and put her chin on her hands.  "Is it Fries-Day, today?" she wondered aloud, with the little expression she gets where she talks out of one side of her mouth.


Today it was "a little bit warm" - warm enough, declared the boys, that they were hot!!! All three were running around in the back yard with their shirts off while their mother eyed them dubiously through the window as she was making supper.  She thought they were perhaps a bit zealous in their rabid summer wanting.

Israel and Zion and Layla brought in "flowers" for their mama from the backyard.  Israel carefully arranged the first batch in a nice little vase...and Zion was INSPIRED.  ;)

The two on the edges are from him.  Then he wanted us to have candles on the table for supper and selected five.  Then he wanted to put options for drinks for supper on the table - we could choose between regular V-8 juice and an orange Apple and Eve blend.  Then he wanted to put the candles into paper bowls.  Then the brothers came in and Gabe got all inspired to burn things and was lighting and relighting the candles.  Then he wanted to take a candle out to the sidewalk to burn and I said yes.  The boys kept running in and out of the house busily as I was nursing Caroline on the couch and after a bit I got a whiff of something made me think that I had probably better eyeball the activities outside and sure enough the boys had a nice little leaf fire burning busily in the middle of the sidewalk leading up to the house.  It was speedily doused with water and a small cup of sand (that Zion ran to fetch) and the boys cleaned it up.  And we just won't talk about the little project that went on inside after that that left a burnt spot on my tablecloth.  Nope.  Just - public service announcement here that the candles are on hiatus for an indeterminate amount of time starting today.


You know the movie Mr. Peabody and Sherman?  Zion has heard of this movie and thinks that it is Mr. Pee-Bottom and Sherman.  Cackle of laughter.  I have not corrected him; instead I just keep asking him about it.