Tonight when we came back from the hot tub, the snow was sparkling.

I had forgotten how it does that.

Like the world is made out of glitter.

Speaking of sparkling, Savannah got a video camera for Christmas and has been delightedly documenting our every move.  Here is her first video. 

And just for the record, it snowed all day again today.  Two feet of fresh glitter.

Bombs Bursting into Tears

Turns out, the children may know the way to the park, but the way home is a little more sketchy.

Savannah got lost on her way home. She got hot and mad and made a stormy, dramatic exit.

And then got lost.

Which took the wind out of her sails.

I felt for her. Because I love a good dramatic exit myself, and it is shame to have it spoiled. All by yourself.

David found her tear-soaked face just one tree-lined street over.

She sobbed into my neck, and dang if it didn't feel delicious.

(And really, if you're going to be lost, this lovely little town of sugar maples and lawn ornaments is the place to do it. All's well that ends well.)

Speaking of spectacular endings, we went to a patriotic concert in the park before the firework show at Chippewassee Park. (I am so not making that up.) Could there be a more classically Midwestern thing to do? At the end of the concert they played all the songs of the armed forces, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, and Air Force. And as they did, in turn, little old men with their white hair and hunched backs rose out of their plastic and nylon lawn chairs to stand while we clapped.

And dang if I didn't start crying myself.

I wanted to clap all night, roar really, my thanks, my deep gratitude. I wanted to kiss each and every one of them.

And then we sang America the Beautiful, and I could only choke out the prayer at the end.

God has shed his grace on all of us.

Why I Became a Mother

For moments like this one:

Last Sunday night David had meetings.  The dishes were done.  The house was quiet.  The kids were turning on lights and finding pajamas and pulling down the blinds in their rooms.  I suggested we all meet on my bed for a story.

We began reading a book Savannah received for her birthday, The Underneath by Kathi Appelt.

Every night since then, the kids have asked, "Can we read again tonight?"  It has been a lovely refuge in the storm of busy life.

Last night, the kids laughed out loud as I read.  I kept reading until we got to a good stopping place.  We had prayer.  Then Olivia begged for one more chapter.  I gave in.  But that chapter ended in suspense.  (Perish the thought!)  The children erupted,  "One more, one more, you can't leave it there!"

I gave in again.

The next couple of chapters ended in tragedy.  I started to cry while I was reading.  (Couldn't help myself.)  Ethan was tucked into my side and he looked up at me, worried.  I kept reading, trying to talk around the choking lump and struggling to see the swimming words.  Everyone was sober when I finished.  Some of us were crying.  I kissed them all and sent them to bed.

I lay there for twenty minutes or so and then Savannah came in.  Eyes, red-rimmed.

"Mom, I thought when you started reading again that something good was going to happen."

She wept on my chest while I put my fingers in her damp hair.

We stayed like that for a while, Savannah weeping silently, my shirt getting wetter, her hair slowly getting drier.

Oh, this is the good stuff.  It was one of those moments I live for.  My children snuggled around me, their hearts and minds full of story and the whole-hearted empathy that comes from good writing.  The room still, they all ears and breath, and me the voice to a story so good you have to weep, unabashedly. 

And especially the afterwards.  The openness, the tenderness, the vulnerability, the shared joy and the shared sorrow, the shuddering breaths, the steady beat of our broken hearts, the sighs, the satisfaction of being comfort, the quiet.

Be still my heart.  I am undone.

A Post With Too Many Asides

first-day-of-school, goodbye kiss

This morning I was encouraging the girls to move faster ("It's 7:27 and I still haven't heard any practicing," "Olivia, if I see you in just your bra one more time..." "Girls, do you know what time it is?"),  when I noticed Savannah's to-do list, hanging on her bulletin board.

It read:

spelling test

P.E. (tena shoes)

water bottel

[an aside: it's clear that those last two things do not bode well for the first thing] 


[another aside: is it weird that she can spell "perseverance" but not "bottle"?]


Last night as I was pulling the Wimmer Truc out from under my broiler and slicing it into sandwiches for dinner, I suddenly started crying.  I was suddenly so tired I couldn't do anything else but cry.  In the minute between the broiler and the table, I hit the wall.

This is officially our thirteenth day back at school.  Not that I'm counting.  And while I am trying my very best (our family theme this year: Be Your Best) to be happy and "enjoy the journey" and all that, I have to admit that I'm already wiped out.  I told David, who looked around the room utterly baffled (his mind whirring to figure out what tragedy happened between the oven and the table), "I've gone as far as I can go."

The trouble is, thirteen days is not very far.

Especially in comparison to the hundred and sixty-seven or so days still to go.

It's not just me either.  Savannah herself has cried her way out the door the last two mornings.  Which is, I imagine, why "perseverance" made it onto her list. 

Which almost makes me feel more sorry for her than I am for myself.  Almost.

[a final aside:  is this the BEST whining you've ever heard?  I thought so.  Be your everything.]

Last night in bed, I asked David, "Do you think I'm going to make it?" 

"Sure."  A smile.

"Are you aware of everything I'm up against?"

Another smile.  He assured me that I have made him fully aware.

"Okay," I sighed, and he gave me a hug.

Perhaps that might have been a better tactic than the "change-your-attitude" speech I gave Savannah this morning.


Oh, summer, how I miss you.  It was so much easier to be my best at the beach.

You know?

Le Cafe Anniversaire

Last night we transformed the house into Le Cafe Anniversaire to celebrate Savannah's birthday.

There were white cloths and red roses for the tables, twinkle lights and candles in mason jars flickering on the shelves and fireplace, and maps of Paris on the walls. 

There was brie and croissants and herbed goat cheese and sparkling french lemonade.

And soda in a bottle.

There was a chocolate cake topped with an Eiffel tower and served with french vanilla ice cream.

And in the background there was La Mer by Charles Trenet (which only gets better with time) and Je Ne Sais Qui Fumer performed by Paris Combo, a (shocking) personal favorite of the birthday girl.

There were charming guests who spoke only French for the first fifteen seconds of the party with plenty of "Bonjours" and "Ooo la la's" to go around.

There was dancing and talking and wild, boisterous games of chance.

And in the center of it all, there was a nine-year-old girl who was lit up like Paris at night.  

Fishing for Compliments

This morning I threw my leg over David's and asked for a compliment.

He smiled.

And then had to think hard for a while.

He finally said, "Well.  You know you're amazing."

"Is that the best you've got?"

He shrugged, still grinning, "It's true."

I thought about it.  I still wasn't satisfied.  "Anything else?" I asked hopefully.

Then he said, "I had a dream last night that you were in a contest for the most perfect breasts.  You won."

Now that's more like it.

On Sunday night, we had waffles and cake at my parents' house.  We got talking about facebook and twitter and how blogs are "so passe" and how narcissistic people have to be to believe that other people really want to know what is going on in their lives.  I am just narcissistic enough, apparently.  In that spirit, here is my life by the numbers.  I know you're dying to know.

After (at least) 307 hours I finally finished the top of my quilt and passed it on to my fabulous and talented Aunt Tori who will spend another

126 hours quilting it. (Bless her.)

For the last 3 days, Savannah has been running a

102 degree fever, and is home with me again today.

We have watched The Princess Bride and Pride and Prejudice and Blue Planet 14 times each and have plans to watch

6 hours of Anne of Green Gables today.  (As you wish.)

We only have 17 more days of school which makes me downright giddy and wish that time could fly,

but only 10 days until the hospital Spring Tea benefit which makes me wish time could stop and is giving me violent panic attacks at random moments

like when I'm buying 22 yards of yellow organza and realizing that I'm going to need to hem it all,

and more importantly, that I only have 9 days to get the perfect party dress and shoes.  (Time to call in reinforcements.  David, this means you, love.)

Tonight we have 3 places to be at once,

1 of which is Caleb's wax museum rendition of Cesar Chavez.

I am off now to find 2 XL scout shirts and khaki's for David, who has a new calling with a new wardrobe to match, a bottle of temporary black hair dye for Cesar, and lunch and liquids for my feverish girl.

You can leave your compliments below.

Images from Last Night

Caleb won first place in the Medicine and Health category of his school's science fair.  His project was entitled, "Hand Sanitizers: Helpful, Harmful, or Hooey?".  He could have won first prize for alliteration too.  And as a bonus, not one of us got E. Coli poisoning.  Which is great.  On so many levels.

There is always more than one place to be on nights like this.  Savannah performed a gymnastics routine (complete with choreography) with a couple of her friends at her school's talent show.  David and I split up to support our darlings.  Luckily, everyone made it in time to see Caleb do the double fist-pump when his name was called.

And Ethan ran into a friend from school at the science fair.  She wanted to show him her ankle bracelet.  He did his best to look interested.  She also introduced him to her dad.  At this, Ethan shoved his hands in his pockets and looked at the floor and then up at me for help.  Sorry love, I cannot help you.  Girls are complicated things. 

Crimes During Glitter Season

On Tuesday afternoon, I was out in the backyard helping Savannah put glitter all over this

(it's a Valentine's box)

when two uniformed policemen walked through my back gate.

Which was shocking.  And slightly alarming.  (If I'd had my wits about me I would have taken a picture.)

They said my alarm had gone off about ten minutes earlier when I was out buying glitter.  They walked through the house with me and checked all the windows, and we found one in the front room slightly ajar.


So then the question became: Did someone try to actually open that window or did it just fall open on its own because it's old and needs to be replaced and entropy is the real owner of this house.  David pointed out that it was probably the latter because to actually get to the window someone would have to walk through our overgrown, weed-ridden front "flower" bed (which looks suspiciously like a jungle by the way), and, in his opinion, that seemed like "a lot of effort."  (His lungs are still recovering and so everything seems like a lot of effort.)

I had no idea that our neglected yard and thriving weeds were part of David's master security plan.