March 27, 2012

On having a girl

girl ponies

Ivy helped me fold laundry- meaning she takes from the already-folded towels and un-does them and lays them flat on the carpet.

"I came here," she said, turning over a pile of dish rags, "to help you with all the pink things."

And you know, I believe she did.

March 26, 2012

Water Wings

I walk by the full-length mirror in the big kids' section, because that is where I buy all their clothes now, all four, no longer little kids with the T in the size. I walk by and I look like I'm wearing water wings where my upper arms should be. But that is my skin. It's been tank top weather and I was all, what the hey, and there they are. Keeping me afloat in Target.

I pass by and that's me, shopping for big kids clothes, with a cart and arms like that squishy rolly water snake thing you could get at Walgreens when I was a kid, for a dollar. I buy shorts for the boys that are 'smart' and 'on sale' and batteries and a birthday card and toothpaste and my favorite basil dish soap. And I'm actually kind of excited about my purchases.

I read books in search of a smidgeon of me. In characters so I can tuck it away and not have to write it myself. "There I am, that's me," I'll say, relieved, somewhere in my head.

Like Evelyn in Fried Green Tomatoes I'm too young to be old and too old to be young. Yet I've always felt this way, since I cried when I turned twelve because I didn't want to someday be thirteen. When I was still a teenager and moved to the city. And when I was still a teenager and moved back home. When I got married, when I had babies, and all that time since then and in between. When I always knew more than I thought I should and more than I let on and I want to recognize myself when I look in the mirror. I don't want to see where I've been or what I've been through or who I think I should be. I want to find me.

-just write

March 25, 2012

In the backyard

backyard 005

I'm pretty numb right now and I think it's just a coming down from a couple weeks of high stress which is funny, because during those moments I didn't feel much of anything either, just frustrated I guess, because within one week Jeff's car blew a tire and our oven wasn't working and then our air broke and the sump stopped sumping and the dryer stopped drying. But now all of it is (mostly) fixed and I should be so happy but I feel like I just let out my breath and I'm exhausted and just want to lie down over there in the corner. And now it's spring break.

backyard 004

I still made breaded mushrooms and brownies and a lasagna yesterday and oh my goodness have I missed my oven.

PS something else big going on: tickets are on sale now.

March 21, 2012

Tricycle Tricycle Where Are You Going?


I can remember so clearly sitting her in the grass as soon as she could sit up, and maybe even before that and now she's this big kid but still my youngest and I find myself no longer shopping in any section with a month or a size-T on the tag.


I still need a pinch from time to time to prove it's true. (Look at how leeeetle she was)


As seen on Ivy...

tee: (handmedown from big brother Gray, Tea Collection - get free shipping thru 3/26 with code shipfree)
leggings: sent to us by Polkadot What- aren't these so Ivy? (you can create what design you want on each leg... how cool is that?)


March 17, 2012

When I was your age

I watched Jem and Muppet Babies. I liked Michael Jackson and had a puffy sticker book.


When I was your age I had friends that smoked. I had friends that stole. But they never did around me, so maybe they only said they did, but I believed them.

I took my lunch to school every day, in a box with a thermos but sometimes I'd get Capri Suns. I was secretly afraid of buying school cafeteria food, because what if I didn't like it? It didn't look or smell very good. And I wouldn't know how to "do it" with the tray and the line and all that. I bought my lunch once in middle school, and by the time I was in high school I bought almost every day. It wasn't scary at all, actually, and usually tasted okay.

Tree climbers

When I was your age I lost my Gram, and never knew one of my grandfathers, and you still have all of yours. I never thought I'd be able to go on without Gram. I can't imagine how hard that was for my parents.

I loved church when the services went over late on Sunday nights in the summer. I had a really old typewriter and then got an electric one for Christmas. I wrote a story about a boy and the first kiss I was always wishing for.

ivy in a tree

When I was your age we didn't have to drive someplace so that I could climb trees. They were in my backyard. And in all my friends' yards. But even still you knew how to climb the first time you came upon a limb low enough.

March 16, 2012

Dance Party

It was a Flo Rida-T.Pain-Rihanna-T.i.-Camera Obscura hip hop ballerina dance party in the living room - windows open! Groove was on! Booty shakin'! And there was the UPS man at my screen door.

Oh hay! Listen To Your Mother Northwest Indiana tickets are on sale now! ($10 at Memorial Opera House box office or by phone, $13 online.)

March 14, 2012

stolen, sunshine

sun scarf

One time, when my brother was little he broke into our neighbor's house and climbed through a window because he wanted to play and no one was answering the door. Because they weren't home.

hi there

Last night Jeff got home late and noticed that the boys' new bikes were missing from the garage. He woke me up to ask where they might be. I had no idea, but remembered closing the garage door around dinnertime. I didn't see or hear anything, and it's behind our house so it would be very unusual for someone to walk all the way back there but anyway. They were gone.

We called the police, at like 1 a.m. because that's what time it was when we discovered the theft and the police work 24/7 and so, we made a report, and hoped maybe they'd turn up? And then we had to tell the boys in the morning.

Carter and I hopped in the car and went to drive around the apartments nearby to see if we saw the bikes lying around. A couple kids from there are known to kind of help themselves to the boys' stuff from time to time, but it never leaves our yard, and we like to share. But the the bikes were kind of "put up" and were so new that our boys hadn't even really had a chance to ride them yet.

I wondered if maybe a couple of those kids came by and took the bikes for a spin and then I shut the garage, not realizing that the bikes were gone, and when they came back to return them maybe they thought we weren't home. And maybe they took the bikes back with them?

I never knew there were so many bicycle racks in the area, but we drove, and there in front of the last set of apartments were the two bikes, side by side.

We're still not sure how they got there and who took them, and if they only "borrowed" them - and if so - why didn't they just leave them outside our garage or in our backyard? But they are kids, and I have a feeling they just weren't thinking at all. Anyway, the bikes are back, and the garage will stay closed. And I'm already composing the ground rules for any kid that comes to play in our yard again. (Last year I had to teach them to not enter our home until we invite them in. Hello I still forget to close the bathroom door sometimes, y'know.) But I'm bummed that I have to be even more watchful now.


BTW, I announced the official cast list for Listen To Your Mother Northwest Indiana here. Did you see? I am so excited. This week has been such a rollercoaster of highs and lows. This is definitely the high!

As seen on Ivy this very sunny day...

scarf & tee: target
pants:  kate quinn organics via zulily
shoes: cienta via the mini social

Small Style at Mama Loves Papa 

March 13, 2012

All to thee


It is not that easy for me to just write today. Finalizing my Listen To Your Mother cast is blocking my flow. I have a gift that needs to be knitted by Friday. And I didn't finish watching the second half of Sunday's Desperate Housewives. What? Yeah I watch.

If I am ever going to get this house ready to sell then I have to start somewhere. Like with the pile of dishes in the sink or a nap and my mind wanders and I think about bills and sending rejection letters and my stomach drops are we raising our kids to be spiritually strong and oh my gosh I want to go get them from school and talk to them about it RIGHT NOW and oh the dryer just buzzed.

It can't be awesome character to always be waving the white flag. I wrote about it and days later Pamela mailed a package to my house. She made me that banner.

I put out the flag and I say I surrender but do I really? How will I know if it's true surrender or just lazy giving up? If I let go and let God and He was wanting me to do more of the work He'll let me know, right?

I just feel like I should know by now, like I should know it all, and by heart. But I don't. And I'm so tired. And sometimes - most of the times - I feel like I know less than when I started. And these are just the words I let spill out for now.

March 12, 2012

Pigtails are back.


Ivy's hair is long enough for pig tails again. She likes to wear it up for dance class. I think we'll keep growing it for a while. 

It feels like forever ago, but right around the time I starting blogging we were in the thick of epilepsy and recovery. We walked a few years as Team Buddy Bears in the Epilepsy Foundation walk. Noah is now seizure-free seven and a half years. Hold on, that should be all capsed: SEVEN AND A HALF YEARS.

This year, my dear friend Erin will be running for her Tommy in the Epilepsy Foundation Chicago 5K. You can read about and support Team Tommy here. My hopes and prayers for us all to see an end to seizures.


March 10, 2012

Checking in.

When I'm away or taking a break from writing or driving or cleaning up kid-sick in the middle of the night, that is when I want to write the most. I wish I could have an accompanist on guitar playing while I move, and a narrator for my thoughts. And that I could write it all down.

You know?

Listen To Your Mother auditions are tomorrow. The whole process of the show is an absolute thrill ride. I kind of can't believe I get to be the curator of these incredible stories put up on the stage. All my other work has been slow and good lately- the anxiety that felt like it would never go away is controlled or non-existent. I am happy I figured out what I can handle for now - not so surprisingly as long as I keep doing what I enjoy, I feel great. (Although I get a pang in my left side each time I hit publish and I don't really know what that means. Is it blogging dangerously? Or is it a sign of something else?)

Speaking of which, I haven't mentioned it here yet but the videos I do daily at Mommalogues have been an unexpected joy, and it's a job free of stress and one that I'm so grateful to have. My latest favorite questions are probably what would you tell your 16-year-old self? and what does your family think of your life as a blogger? You can see some of my other videos here.

And I promise I'm not a stage mom (even though Ivy is still loving dance and has a RECITAL! in June!) but I did record her telling the story of the Three Little Pigs. She performs it better than anyone I've ever seen, that's all I'm saying...

March 9, 2012

These are my kids


Gray said he couldn't go to school today because his bone hurt. I cradled him in my arms as he pointed to his side, "I rolled over in bed and I just don't think I can go to school awww."

He's going to school, with an eye patch. He put it on at breakfast and asked me to email his teacher letting her know he would need to wear the plastic pirate patch from our dress up bin, because then he wouldn't rub his eye anymore. "I'll flip it up when I need to see, though."

Ivy has had an imaginary friend named Alexa for several months now. We've come to accept it as normal- so much that when she talked about playing at her friend Aisling's house the other day Carter asked if me if Aisling was a real girl?

Last night Ivy took it a little too far. She was snuggling with me way past her bedtime and said that she had so much fun when she was in my belly as a baby. (Sweetest thing ever- does she remember? Maybe?) But then she whispered, "Alexa's in my tummy."

And I was all, dude, that's creepy and I slept all night with one eye open.

March 7, 2012

The World Needs More Asher & Ivy

Asher & Ivy

Cupped hand to her mouth she whispered, "Asher is the coolest boy I know but don't tell him I said that."

(Peek in on them through the years.)

March 6, 2012

Like Bobby Brady

Thunderous, garbage cans roll down our street it is so windy today.

We drove in the country and semi trucks kept harshing my horizon.

I have a hard time distinguishing between what is important and what doesn't really matter at all, because to me, everything matters so much. Heck, I think inanimate objects have feeelings and so anyway it's hard, when I see hurt and beauty in absolutely everything that is in front of me, and my eyes are always darting toward who or what might be falling into the cracks.

What is big and amazing to me could be only a speck of dirt to someone else. I've been the slow to respond, oh have I. But I'm waiting for plenty of answers or acknowledgements myself. And that's okay. That's your dirt. This is mine. And it's beautiful. I love when we're different.

I'm in practice, to know the difference between a mountain and a molehill. (I have a problem with them equally - often when it really is a monster of a mountain my reflex is to think it's only a tiny molehill.) I cope. I give myself pep talks from the driver's seat, "Let it go."  (But not too far, you might want to come back to it.)

I  revisit my dreams like a flash when I lie down in the same spot. If I have a bad dream, the next night I have to sleep on the opposite side of the bed. Jeff is accommodating.

Gray had his final dental appointment yesterday I can hardly believe it. I have looked forward to peeking in from this angle for a v e r y l o n g t i m e. He looks crazy adorable with his top front teeth missing and reminds me of Bobby Brady. I don't know why- I can't recall any Brady Bunch episodes where he was toothless but anyway. Through gauze Gray mumbled TEZHURSS when we got in the car and I knew what he meant and so we rode, to Toys R Us to get Ninjago Legos and then to the McDonald's play place because I am such a mom.

March 4, 2012

Four Unhappy Children


It's the fourth of the month and I take pictures. I thought about waiting until they had their church clothes on but usually once everyone is ready we are late and running out the door.You know the drill.


I woke to Gray screaming because Carter beat him to the toaster and he had to wait for his waffle oh em gee. And then he fell on the floor because Noah touched his arm.


I opened the curtain to bring in more light and they were all EYES! BRIGHT! AHH! and then I was done.


I used to take photos of my kids on the first of every month, now it's on the fourth UNTIL I LOSE MY PATIENCE. Four for four... get it? You can see past monthly photos here.  

March 1, 2012

Flower Child


It has been noted that the most popular souvenir I've ever brought back from a trip is the $3.99 pack of pirate crusaders (basically red and black army guys) I grabbed for Carter from Cracker Barrel. Purchased at breakfast the day I left to come home, of course.

pirates & crusaders

The kids have been fighting over these plastic figures, and Ivy sneaks and plays with them when the boys are at school.


She does love the tutu-wearing pink plush pony purse I got her, too.

(I'm really glad I checked it before bed- she had stashed away two sticks of string cheese and some chocolate eggs.)

One of my online besties, Kim at Prairie Mama worked her fingers to the bone and sold her finest at Blissdom's handmade marketplace. Of course I came home with this twirly sundress dress for Ivy.


It's so happy and sunny just like Ivy just like the day we had yesterday just like the spring that is almost here I can breathe it.

flower girl

As seen on Ivy...

dress- Prairie Mama
tank- American Apparel via The Mini Social
pants- Kate Quinn Organics via Zulily
scarf- Gymboree
hat- local shop

Small Style at Mama Loves Papa