Monday, March 2, 2015

happy birthday, sweet kate

this is number 4.

you know, i think she could tell this one was coming (it may have been the "happy birthday!" banner that tipped her off) because she has been INTENSE in her emotion lately. one minute she's wrapping her arms around my neck and squeezing me tightly, thanking me for being her mom, for getting her a sandwich, for reading a book with her, and the next minute she's in tears because sarah has touched something that she specifically wishes to be displayed in an accessible and prominent public area.

kate is my buddy. she is sweet. she is loving. she is funny. she loves more than any of my other kids and she wants more than anything not to be treated like the baby, but to be treated fairly. she hates all food when presented as dinner, loves breakfast and LOVES snacks. any snacks. as long as it's a snack, she loves it. she loves tea parties, horses (just like ava!), pink and purple, ballet class (oh! how she loves ballet class!), curled up in her blankee with a movie is by far her favorite activity. kate has an energy and a passion and a zest and it makes her so many things all at once. sometimes it's overwhelming for her, sometimes it's overwhelming for me, but this has always been the truth: i feel like i understand kate. i feel capable of mothering her. i love the time i get to spend with her.

kate stories:

kate: mom, i can do the passwode on this ipad.
me: you can?
kate: yep. you just put yo finguh he-yah and then you do this and wall-uh. the passwode.

mom: does this mean you hate god?
i turn around, surprised, to see her gleefully holding up her pointer finger. somehow that child has caught on to the concept of the middle finger. however she is so happy that the teaching moment is wasted. i can't stop laughing.

happy birthday, you little love.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


a couple weeks ago kate and i built a bed. it was to be her bed. we had gone earlier that day to pick out some sheets and a quilt to cover the bed (all pink, of course, a color i'm getting pretty used to seeing around here with all of these little daughters). we (i) set up that bed, stepped back, and noticed that the entire bedroom was now consumed. i turned on the spot, opened my laptop, searched for a house and found one. i called the property manager, looked at the house, took ryan over, then we handed over a check.

that's right, we're moving. because kate got a twin bed.

for awhile i was having a hard time getting on board. i love this little house. a lot. a lot! we moved here when seth was six weeks old. kate came home here, for the first time, at five days old. we brought her home later, after the kids had gone to sleep, and ryan and i stayed up late holding her without nurses telling us it was time to put her down. sarah came home here, too. and we had six people on our brown couch, cooing at this little loaf of bread,wrapped neatly in a blanket.

and now we are leaving. leaving this little house with its fantastic natural light, with its coziness, with the quiet of the cul-de-sac, with the best neighbors in the world, with the memories, and the hole in the wall, and the screen door without a screen...

i love this house. i will miss this house. i can't believe we're old enough, or big enough, to leave this house. but it is just a house and we are only moving a few streets up.

ava will have her own room, seth will have his own room, there is a spot to place a desk so i will have a place to work. there is lots of natural light and there is a park just down the street. we will keep in touch with these neighbors we love so well and make new friends.

so, while this place is being turned upside down with boxes and cupboards being emptied, with plans being made and everything being counted, again and again, and of course, the sad fact that nothing stops. yesterday ava came home with a homework assignment that involves me (boohoo! we just finished an assignment that involved me!), and the church roadshow is in full swing, and i'm helping out a lot. and my dad's getting married (YAY!!!) and i have my first bridal show this saturday. and i keep packing stuff that i need! like the cereal. what possessed me to pack the cereal?

10 days and counting...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

a muddy hike in the rain

our house is small. when it rained on a saturday, thus keeping us all indoors for an ENTIRE day, i got everybody dressed and we drove out to the trail with our dogs and hiked in the mud and rain. the family was not that pleased with my idea until we got out and started moving around. then we couldn't stop giggling. 

it turned out to be a really good day. i'm actually looking forward to some more rain now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

16 months

dear sarah,

yesterday i washed all the sheets and made the beds. today you peed on one set of those sheets and colored in bright red marker all over another set. so i'm washing them again. i plan on fully enjoying remaking those beds, too.

also, a cupful of cat litter was dumped on a freshly vacuumed rug. you threw away as many of the clean dishes from the dishwasher as you could. you dumped out an entire box of cereal. you scribbled all over the piano and ava's piano books. you fell off the dining room table. you dumped a vase of flowers on to the floor.

i am tired.

i screamed in frustration and you, finally understanding something, gathered your blankee into your arms and cried into it, going to your room and shutting the door behind you.

i asked for forgiveness. you hugged me tightly around my neck and wiped your runny nose on my cheek. i guess i deserved that. and i hope you understand how much you deserve whatever demon child is coming your way with all this amazing karma you're racking up around here (hint: stop climbing everything and for the love of all that is holy, STOP finding the markers).

the point is this, baby sarah: you are a menace. i am trying to get stuff done. sometimes i wish i had a cage and a lock, but you are here to remind me that sometimes my stuff isn't that important. maybe we should read the "if you give a mouse a cookie" book one more time, or we could sit and point at our noses or our hair or our eyes one more time. and that's probably good for me. stop and smell the roses, you know. so, thanks. i owe you one (and you owe me a new ipad case).

this month your words are clearer. you say, "ruby" and "love you" and "please" and "kate" and "again" and when i ask you to sing a song, sarah! you sing a song! i think it's supposed to be "i am a child of god" since that's the one i sing at bedtime the most, and it's as cute as it sounds (actually, cuter).

when daddy leaves in the morning you stand on the curb and say, "GOOOOOOOOODDDDDDBBBBBBYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!" except it's longer and louder than that and you wave and wave and wave and wave and....all the neighbors try to leave at the same time so that maybe you'll say goodbye to them, too. when company comes to visit you cheer and run to greet them. sometimes rather shrilly. sometimes it scares me because i think you've been hurt.

you love the park, crackers, string cheese, your bunnies, your blankee, me, pretending to sleep in other people's beds, playing with things you shouldn't have, horses, the cat, going for walks, music, books, your nap (i love your nap, too), ava, ice cream, whipped cream, and the trash cans.

we love your surprised face and the way you dance.

sarah, you're happy. even when teething four little incisors like you are now. you tag along with your siblings without complaint, you watch them closely and then mimic them as best as you can. you are a sweetheart. a wild, curious, clever, sweetheart. i love you.



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

An old friend

This morning I picked up the phone to call someone about something...and if you think that's a little vague, just wait, I'm sure I could find something worse than this. I think my advanced age is making me too lazy to be specific these days. I suspect this because often people look perplexed when I talk to them and while I speak of whatever it is I am speaking of, I shout at myself in my head, "DETAILS! SPECIFICS! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU???" and then, as i struggle to abey myself and find some sort of specific or detail to throw in that will illustrate my something I shout at myself, "WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? THIS MAKES NO SENSE! YOU WILL HAVE NO FRIENDS!!!" And then I abandon ship and shut my mouth, sometimes mid-sentence. Then I walk away. Or laugh awkwardly. Or I say, "So...yeah." And if I'm on a particular roll I say, "So...yeah." about a thousand times which leaves me wild eyed and despairing in my head, but still, out of control and laughing awkwardly, yeah. 

Wow, tangent. Oh my word.

Back to the phone call. 

So this particular phone call was to someone I briefly encountered about fifteen years ago, when I was sixteen (the math may or may not be correct). She was pregnant. I had very little experience with pregnant women since my mom was never pregnant after me. I knew nothing of aches and pains, of labor and childbirth, of babies rolling and kicking. I knew nothing of mood swings and the way you can place your hand against the small of your back when it begins to hurt. She talked about her baby a lot. At one point we were talking and she grabbed my hand and placed it on her belly. You know what's weird about pregnant tummies? They're awfully firm for being a bunch of amniotic fluid. I had no idea.

"The baby's kicking," she told me. And then, that baby kicked me. It was unreal. At first I was shocked that she would let me be a part of this moment. This wasn't my baby, this wasn't my family. As far as I knew, once this weekend wrapped up we were never going to see each other again, but here I was, my hand under her hand, up against a rolling baby.

And that is my pregnant woman experience before my own pregnant woman experience. And when I was pregnant with Ava and I knew nothing of what to expect I thought about this woman. I thought about her a lot. Somehow her sharing that small window of that particular pregnancy helped. 

When I spoke to her today she only vaguely knew who I was. And it struck me as odd that she had no idea how her womanhood had affected mine. She mentored me. I thought of her often. Her belly was my first experience. It made me more comfortable with my own. 

And that baby? I met that baby, now a fifteen-year-old human. 

"Hello!" I wanted to say, "we've met before! You kicked me!" but I didn't. Instead, I said, "it's nice to meet you."

but that didn't stop me from thinking. And staring. and perhaps my eyes were shining with excitement. I really wanted to hug that human. I really wanted to hug that woman. I wanted to thank them, mostly, for the friendship I had imagined all these years, for the strength.

I think this experience was a reminder. People are watching. They are listening. 
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