Fall

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Seven

It's impossible that my baby is seven years old.

It seems like yesterday when she was a newborn and I held her in my arms and her breath smelt sweet like pudding.

I remember how instantly I adored her and how when she cried, loud and fiesty I almost felt proud, "She knows what she wants." I'd say, smiling with an amazed look on my face.

That look is still on my face as I watch my clever, sweet, sparkling little baby turn into a darling little girl. It's hard to believe that she is seven.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Surrounded

I admit I was worried about being alone this year. With all three girls in school, there was a part of me that thought I couldn't handle the lack of motion, chaos and laughter that rocks our house during the summers. It didn't take long for me to realize that I'm surrounded.

Surrounded by the sights of their dolls waiting for them to return

sitting on the steps and snuggled up with blankies.

Surrounded by smells (I admit I'm not above taking a whiff of those blankets), artwork, laundry and an occasional dried up frog. Surrounded by needs; applesauce for the lunchboxes, permission slips to be signed and the urgent trip to the Nurse's office. I'm surrounded by responsibility and amazingly the weight of it

lifts me up rather than ways me down.

I also have Molly who watches the door for me while I run around trying to get everything done so I can greet my little loves with a true smile and a hug. I am surrounded by activity and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Katie's Deer Camp

When Katie was born I instantly regreted the yellow paint on my baby's bedroom walls. I somehow instinctively wanted to surround her in a halo of soft pink. I wanted to clothe her in silkiness. The lotions and potions had to be fragrance and scent free. It felt wrong to put anything harsh and irritating near such translucent skin. It pained me when she had a scratch on her lovely face and I just couldn't bring myself to even pop the little baby zits...and I really like popping zits. It's so rewarding. Never would I imagine that one day Katie would do her business out in the rough wild of deer camp.

That she would sleep in a tent

listening to the howling of wolves
and declare it her "best night of sleep ever!"

Never would I have thought that she'd take pictures of friends repairing their deer stands,

shoot guns

and text me from ...nature. Is this a nature call?!!! Ha! I crack myself up!

It's hard to believe that I wasn't there to tell her to not play with fire and to wipe the smudge of soot from her brow.

Or that playing with an ax is not a great idea for a ten year old, not even a good idea.

Not even an OK idea. But as much as I choke on my fries when looking at this picture, I know that it's fine and that my David would never subject my sweet, pink baby girl to anything that wasn't safe and I know that as much as I want to protect her from the big, bad world...

this guy wants to teach her how to survive in it!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Fall Harvest

Halloween is one of those holidays that as a Christian I'm kinda iffy on. I don't want to miss out on the fun of decorating pumpkins and dressing like a Nun and I certainly wouldn't miss the unlimited supply of Almond Joys and dark chocolate that my girls throw my way from their treat bags.


But, when I read in the Mpls paper about the Wiccan's celebrating their pagan holidays with rituals it reminds me that I'm not suppossed to live my life as a series of compromises. Yet, I wonder if that is exactly what I'm doing? We dress up in non-scary costumes, carve pumpkins and focus on the candy and the time with friends and just forget the religious undertones. We stay away from the Halloween capital of the US parade in a town practically next door and we just have fun. Today as I'm eating my third Kit Kat of the day it feels a little wrong.
Maybe I feel a little guilty, because I do truly enjoy the traditions of carving the pumpkins. How Dave always does the hard work and I draw on the designs.
How the girls aren't grossed out by the goo and the guts and just get right in there
and of how proud they are of their completed creations.

Or of how they love to dress up. This year Katie was a pirate girl and her friend Sophie a butterfly.

Jenna was a butterfly too, a dancing for the camera butterfly.

She made me laugh

as she struck pose after pose.

Shayla was a cowgirl and actually carried her horse all night while trick or treating.

I love that she is still young enough to pretend that it actually trots.

I also think that it's fantastic that my hilarious husband wanted to be in this picture too. You can see him making a cameo in the background.

And I adore that Shayla has a bestie that is just like her, galloping all over Trout Brook. I guess this Halloween I'll choose to leave the guilt behind and celebrate, best friends, laughter and chocolate! Next year I'll decide if we are actually reclaiming Halloween for ourselves or if, on this issue I'm OK compromising.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Butterfly Circus

This summer Katie used her own money to purchase a Butterfly Garden. When it arrived she was delighted. The caterpillars quickly made cocoons and then she waited...

when the butterflies emerged they were lovelier than she imagined. For about three days she kept her creatures caged, releasing them a few times a day for their prison exercises held behind her closed bedroom door. The only light they saw was what streamed through the hot pink curtains. Reality was bathed in hot pink.

At one point she claimed she had tamed her butterflies and they could now execute circus tricks. Neighborhood kids came to watch the act with awe.

Eventually her soft heart caught up with her and she realized that the only humane thing to do was to release them and to let them feel the air beneath their wings.

I, on the other hand am realizing that my girls are beginning to emerge into lovely creatures.
Each day I'm in the midst of teaching them new tricks. They may think they're ready to fly


but THIS CIRCUS is nowhere near ready to pitch it's tents. It still needs time to perfect it's act!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Awkward Phase

When I was ten I officially began what can only be identified as my awkward phase. Being tall wasn't the hardest part of it, although I would have benefited from carrying an ID for the "Twelve and Under Eat Free" buffet. And it wasn't a matter of self confidence. I've always had a side of Geraldo in my personality, convinced that I'm right and if we open the vault there will be mobster treasures to prove it. The hardest part was becoming enlightened, suddenly aware of my faults. Up to that point, I had earnestly believed I was everything my parents said I was...bright, funny, brave and lovely. Even after the terrible haircut in second grade that made me look like my young cousin David, I still felt...special.


It seemed that once I could count my age using both full hands, the lights of reality came on and the picture wasn't nearly as grand as I had thought.

Overnight I became painfully aware of the huge goiter like zit under my nose and the two cowlicks that I had for bangs. Perhaps the worst moment of this self scrutiny was when I realized just how uncool I was. This was back in the early eighties before geeks like Gates ruled the world.

Now, my daughter is ten and I can see her eyes beginning to open and I wonder how I can help her to see herself, like I see her.

Will she remember being really kind and smart and loving

and just so darn cute

or will she remember feeling shy and anxious. I guess I'll just keep whispering in her ear, because if this is her awkward phase...she's doing pretty good.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The First Days

We are now officially back into our school routine except this year all three girls are gone every day, every single day.
I'd like to report that I've been suffering, writing in journals with tears streaming down my face, replaying their toddler years on a slow tape in my mind, as I remember the precious moments of cuddling and caring for my little sweet gifts from God.

Or that I've been shopping, going to movies and having massages with all of my spare time, living the luxurious life of ease.

The truth is that there were a few tears and if you count going to the grocery store as shopping, then there was that too. But for the most part, I'm still trying to find those extra hours and as soon as I finish laundry today and clean a few toilets, maybe I'll start a search party.

The girls, on the other hand, have been soooo excited that we've taken to passing the talking stone around the table at dinner so that everyone has a chance to share, one at a time. There has been a steady stream of high-pitched laughing, squealing and story telling from 4-9pm.

They awake eager for the day

arrive home hungry for conversation, a hug and a snack

and they miss me,

miss the safety of my embrace and our home.

On these first days of school I don't mind sending them off when I know they are relieved to return to my nest.

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