The kids found my old wheelchair.  Thousands of dollars worth of bikes, scooters and other various outside toys and none can hold a candle to a wheelchair.  In a stunning display of sportsmanship, they actually took turns pushing each other down the bike path.  Just when I thought the fun of the wheelchair had petered out, there they’d go again.

 He wasn’t doing it.  He was waiting for me to put my camera down and shoot some hoops with him so he could watch me flailing around the driveway, doing my ape arm guarding moves and laugh at me.

 She was totally into it.  Except that waiting your turn is really hard when you’re two.  And since yesterday was kicked off by the mother of all temper tantrums that set of little aftershocks of screaming all day, waiting was a special trial for her.  Always is.

Now she’s happy.

While the kids were pretending to be handicapped (something we don’t poke fun of around here, I swear), I was trying to capture the perfect shot of buds on my sugar maple.  In March.  I was also trying to pretend I didn’t know them and was looking around for their mother.  Surely she will come and put an end to these shenanigans soon.

Except that their mother was at the back door photographing their little sister who was pitching another temper tantrum, this one also about nothing, thereby offering no ready solutions but to grab the camera and snap pics of her angst as she pounded the glass.

Ok, here she’s wicked pissed (thanks Tally) and screaming obscenities at me, like “Put the cramera down” and “Don’t cake picture a me.”  There is also a lot of foot stamping going on, but it’s so fast that you can’t see it.  You’ll just have to trust me on this one.

Later after Lucy was in bed and equilibrium had been restored to the universe, Tess and Peter were still on the path pushing each other.  This time with her in her bathrobe looking for all the world as if someone had dropped a little boy off with the directive of taking his poor, handicapped sister for a walk.  Do it.
This was just before they came in the front door, wheelchair and all, thinking they would have races around the kitchen island.  After cutting them off at the knees with a look of distaste and a finger pointed to the door, they took care of it.  Except that later as I was tidying up the house before bed, I noticed that what they’d actually done is open the front door and give the chair a shove.  It made it down two steps before tipping onto it’s side half on the walk and half off.  And since I still had one thousand, five hundred and seventy four things to pick up before I could sit down, I flirted with the idea of just leaving it.  But since passersby would surely think we’d just given some poor handicapped person the boot by shoving their chair out the front door and slamming it after them, and since those same passersby would surely be searching our bushes for said person, and since having a front yard that looks like the producers have gotten things all set up for a taping of Jackass is not my dream, I picked it up.

This is me being real.



Could there possibly be a better way to pass an afternoon than this?  Yesterday’s time with friends on the deck praying for husbands and feeding kids ice cream and permitting them to empty whole bottles of kid soap into the kiddie pool for the sake of finishing a sentence?  That was pretty sweet too.  But this afternoon finds me with a fridge and pantry full of healthy food because, you know, it’s Wednesday and, while hearing noises from Lulu’s room signaling she’s up and moving again usually makes me sigh just a little on these Monday and Wednesday afternoons when I steal a rare few moments to myself, today it finds me refusing to end my lazy time.  Instead I invite her into it with the lure of a cold cup of juice and a yummy snuddle with her mama.  And even though now we’re up making fresh sorbet for the other littles who will be hopping off the bus momentarily (maybe my favorite time of the day) and setting out dinner dishes and laying out tomorrow’s clothes, for a little while there it was just me and her and both of us doing this snuddle thing that we both love.  This day is a gift and I’m slowing down so I can receive it.  Because slowing down is not my speed.  Martha is my speed.  But today is a Mary day.
This is me being real.  Hoping I can cop a snuddle with the others before now and bedtime.  And I’ll sit and breathe in the perfume of their hair and whisper and prayer of thanks for this life.  How are you spending this day?


swinter is for…

making your own nest to nap in

breakfast play dates that last til lunch and are preceded by a text warning they’re coming in their pjs and not to mix the berries into the oatmeal and how long do we think we can stretch this out?

water balloon fights with neighbors who wander across the creek so see what’s going on and stay to play

hooking up the outdoor shower and taking the first deck-side tub of the season


and using them to spray your sisters as they zip by

being pulled in a sled by your brother who is driving the tractor and grinning like a mad man

and then smirking about it

because you got to spray your sister and didn’t even get in trouble for it because she loved it
we’re finding swinter is for outside fun.  you?

This is me being real.  hoping swinter gives birth to full-on summer and they cancel the last two months of school on account of global warming.


There was a little friend of ours who accepted Jesus into her heart a couple weeks ago.  We bumped into them at the park and celebrated with her.  And then on the way home Tess started asking questions.  About salvation and how it works and if the prayer is magic or something.  And I told her it was, sort of, because you can’t do anything to earn Jesus and no one can take him away once he’s in and it’s all so unbelievable that the King wants us in his family.  So when she was quiet for a few seconds before asking me to pull over and pray, I was already praising in my head.  For curiosity and answers and friends who prompt them with their life.  So we pulled over and held hands and prayed together and with just those few words (me trying to visualize the Steps to Salvation tract from my childhood so I didn’t forget any important parts) this girl transformed from my daughter into my sister.

We heralded the boys with her news as they got off the bus.  Grant congratulated her then walked inside where I found him a few moments later chewing on his lip and rolling questions through his brain.  So I did what any mother does when her son wants to talk but doesn’t know how to say the words: got the mitts and told him to meet me in the yard for some catch.  So we talked salvation and forgiveness and how I believe it works as we tossed the ball and then he asked to pray too.  And we did; him with his curly lips and me with my heart overflowing.  Then back to catch, because that’s how boys work.  I told him to slow the pitches.  That he was taking the skin of my hands.  I told him, easy son.  Sorry, he replied.  And I’m your brother.  And so he is.

And then Peter, as daylight faded into tomorrow and outside toys were being rounded up and corralled in the garage, found me in my bedroom where I was doing something totally materialistic (trying on the new pants I picked up at Anthro today) and asked in his quiet, shy way if he, too, could join in.  If he could pray, just the two of us with no one watching.  If he could not be left out.  So we chatted a little while, him with sand in his fingernails from an afternoon spent flooding the sandbox, and me in my new pants with their surprising stretch.  Chatted on my bedroom floor holding hands.  And then prayed.  And when we said Amen and I looked up, I was looking at my brother.

And Lulu, not to be upstaged, pulled off a miracle of her own and went potty on the toilet for the first time.  Sort of a banner day all around.

This is me being real.  And praising God for two new brothers and a new sister who grew in my tummy and nursed at my breast, but only just became a part of my family.  How cool is God?


Word on the street has it that we are going to feel a touch of summer this week.  70 on Wednesday they say.  And so the Monday morning rain felt doubly like a gift this morning as Lulu and me stayed in our pjs and scrubbed the house clean.  The house that was wearing a layer of dust and detritus from a weekend spent trying (and failing) to make a papier mache Giganotosaurs for Peter.  A weekend spent going on a run with my oldest, he on his ripstick forcing me to go faster than I normally would.  A weekend in which Tess has her first sleep over, which was so so much easier than any sleep over the boys have ever had, and in which the boys had them too.  A weekend of building animals in the sandbox and cutting down perennial grasses and making chia seed pudding, something I’m the teensiest bit obsessed with lately.  So, this whole morning to stay in pjs and make this house clean again.  To wash all the rugs and stack away the ski boots until next season.  To wipe dirty prints off the door jams and to swap out Valentine’s for Spring.  And then to lay next to my baby for an hour and a half while she fought sleep and I listened to her doing it with her raspy nodder breathing.
And now I’m ready to throw open the doors and welcome the other three, who will all waltz through it starving and smelling like tempura paint and bus leather.  And on Wednesday, if the word on the street proves right, I’ll be cranking the windows open and breathing in the delectable smell of spring seeping into the dark corners and I’ll be doing it all wearing my havaianas and a grin.  Welcome Monday.
This is me being real.


It’s a gloomy day in early March and I’ve only just remembered that every March brings with it at least two things I love: a chance to read through the Little House series and April.  And so this gloomy afternoon, the last one that will be chilly for a while if my weather app is to be trusted, finds me baking gf, df granola bars and curling up to check in with Laura.  But here are some other things I’ve fallen in love with lately:
1.  Downton Abbey.  Dan, I cheated.  I watched episode four without you this afternoon while eating my hot bowl of apple sauce, nearly letting it dribble down my chin when I thought Mrs. Hughes was leaving and sputtering with rage when Thomas, that jerk, took William’s girl from him.  I’m sorry love, I’ll watch it again with you tonight.
2.  Goat cheese.  It was just added back into my diet and my salad couldn’t be more pleased.  Such creamy yumminess.
3.  Lulu’s stage.  I want to freeze it forever.  Today her Barbie asked my Barbie (don’t judge me) to go to the cafe.  Her word, not mine.  Apparently the Barbs needed tea.  Luckily it was only just over the rug and one of the Barbs has a horse, so we didn’t have far to go.  This kid is like the yummiest creamsicle and, as much as I lick it, I never get to the stick.  Prolly will when she’s fourteen, but not now.  For now she is the funniest person I know (sorry dad) and spending the morning with her is good for my soul.
4.  Enjoy Life gf, df, everything free chocolate chips.  You would think there would be a million ingredients to replace all the good stuff, but you would have another think coming.  Three.  Ingredients.  And none of them are things I can’t eat.  Bummer that the cocoa still gives me headaches, but I can chew through that pain.  I set up a yogurt bar yesterday: little glass bowls filled with these chips and sliced bananas and unsweetened flaked coconut.  The kids thought they were having such a treat.  Booyah.  It’s all healthy.  Go to Meijers and buy a bag (in the gf section) then leave a comment and tell me if you can tell the difference.
5.  Dryer sheets.  The kids came home from Nana’s last weekend smelling so good, that after a year’s hiatus, I caved and started using them again.  I know they have formaldehyde in them, Muff, but the smell…we also drink from plastic cups that are so old they probably aren’t bpa free and yesterday Grant reheated something in the microwave using a melamine plate.  So, the dryer sheets are probably the least of our problems.  I’ll double up on the sunscreen this summer and buy the kids glass lunch boxes.  It’ll all even out.

This is me being real.   Working hard to be thankful in March.  And realizing I don’t actually have to work that hard at all.  Who knew?


Have you ever seen such a yummy face?  If you have your own children then you are obligated to say yes, but  seriously.  He just got these glasses.  Is very self-conscious about them, which is why I’m going to shadow him all day and push any kid who dares call him four eyes.  I’ll do it.  But he also loves them.  Peers at himself in the mirror every time he walks by, then does this chew on his lip thing so he doesn’t smile, which my mom will say I do too, and then swoops his hair all over to the left side and winks.  It might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  I want to drizzle him in syrup and eat him with a spoon (and yes, mom, I’ll share with you).
Dan and I have taken to wearing our glasses nearly all the time in a show of solidarity for our boy and because with six of us now wearing glasses and in the absence of vision insurance, we want to be sure and get our money’s worth.  We look good.  But we’ll readily admit that we can’t hold a candle to this kid.  He takes the cake.
This is me being real.  Me and four kids and 20 eyes and 21 Kevins and Keloid scar named Steve.