Just Write {193}

September 1, 2015

So this is the school year, right? Here we are, not ready and not set, saying all the different things that add up to the same thing–Where does the time go? It was slipping fast this morning, through oatmeal, cereal, toast, showers, lunch boxes and put your shoes on. It will slip past the same way tomorrow and the day after that. And the evenings will be the great gobblers of time too, with their demands for homework and more eating and more dishes, getting to bed to do it again. In between, we will run places for work and sports and appointments and clubs and church and friends and family and life. That’s where the time goes, I suppose. In the middle of the sameness of it all, we are each, every grown up one of us, given the chance to see these small ones that we call our very own. There […]

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Just Write

April 28, 2015

I watch the kids through the kitchen window, out front. Yesterday, the boys were playing with our neighbor friend, who is ten and a girl and she can kick booty with all the boy rough make believe games. They stood in a circle, their backs to each other, and would each count to ten, one at a time, and take off running. Asher went first, because he said he couldn’t run as fast as the older two. Then the other two went, one after the other, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10, I’m going! They ran away, around one house or the other, to try to get back before the others. I have no idea why, but they were Avengers. These are the random things I witness that cause some sort of explosion of love for them down deep. I smiled and wanted to cry for some reason, but […]

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Just Write {166}

December 16, 2014

We trimmed a fake tree last night. It’s a beautiful fake tree. The kids don’t at all care about whether or not the tree is real. Two glass ornaments were broken, and I didn’t even freak out. I just went and got the broom and dustpan. (I did say “don’t move” because bare feet on glass = ow.) It was a peaceful thing, no chaos, which is weird because there were three kids involved and ADD me. Maybe we were all too tired, to have the energy for chaos. We’ve had a week of both strep and influenza and I have to tell you….that sucks a lot. But there we were, getting well together. And we took the long way sometimes, especially Elsie, since she’s three. She took a bunch of ornaments off the tree, just to put them back on. Isn’t that just it though? She’s got it figured out. It’s not […]

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Just Write {164}

December 2, 2014

I can’t sing. (No really, I really cannot sing, it’s okay.) She can’t remember all the words yet. She’s just three, but like many preschoolers, she loves the made-up song, the timeless songs, the carols, the rock and roll. Anything with a beat, a melody, a tune… She will try to carry it around inside her and she lets it out with that abandon that only children are capable of, in the shower, outside, in the store, at the kitchen table. Elsie Jane would sing for the whole world, as long as the whole world would watch. And the whole world should really watch, because she’s magic. She walks around with her pants falling down, because she’s in that going-from-pudgy-to-string-bean stage. She turns and says, look at my butt! And she laughs. She is the little sister of two brothers. She is also born to express, stay vulnerable, joke around, say it like […]

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Just Write {159}

October 28, 2014

There’s someone who decorated for Halloween by dressing up a home-made, ginormous, stuffed pillow-case-like doll. They put a shirt on it…her? Him?…and then they put underwear on it, but the unders are pulled down to about thigh length and this doll is sitting on a toilet, its jeans around its ankles. Yes, this toilet is out in the yard. Yes, this doll is on the toilet. Yes, this doll has underwear pulled down. No, I don’t know what this has to do with Halloween. Yes, I find it hard to not be disturbed every single time I drive by going to and from home. To each their own toilet decorations… I would take a picture and put it in this post, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. It’s tempting, but also, it’s just too….weird. I like how my friend Christa decorated for Halloween. She put a string of orange lights […]

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Just Write {158}

October 21, 2014

I looked up at the stars tonight, on a perfectly clear fall evening. Every constellation looks like a Dipper to me. Little or Big Dipper, I don’t know. I get distracted before I even take a closer look. I see all the stars at once. In college, I took Astronomy. Obviously, I didn’t learn much, or retained very little of it. But there I stood, my neck bent with my face to the salt and peppered sky. For October in Minnesota, it has been warm, gorgeous. Not easy to describe at all. The last two days have been still and bright and crisp, with that nothing-like-it autumn smell in the air. There was a walk in the woods the other day. Up a hill and to a fallen tree. There were pricklies on my sweater and stuck to my jeans. Some even got in my pocket. I pulled at them and then realized […]

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Just Write 156

October 7, 2014

There was a cookies-n-cream fluffy pie with chocolate cookie crumble crust tucked behind things in the fridge. The boys found it, of course, and asked to have some. I told them from the other room to each have ONE small piece, and they did. Well, they were actually really big pieces. What was left was a “piece” of pie so small, it was less than Elsie Sized. She didn’t know yet, but I left it on the counter until she noticed, because what child never notices a pie tin at eye level? What’s that!? She ask-yelled. Oh that? I said. That, is what’s left of the pie after Brothers got a hold of it. Then I grabbed a fork and I sat down right there on the kitchen floor. She came over quick, down to her knees halfway to me, scooting along full-force. I met her with the fork in the air, and […]

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Just Write 153

September 16, 2014

I did not look at my email even one time yesterday. It was a Monday and a perfectly beautiful day, and I worked at The Middle Fork and you guys should have seen it. All the tables were full and people were waiting in the entry and thank the good Lord that one of the owners was there to man the cash register and make fancy lattes and such. My feet hurt. I love it when that place is busy. Except I say really random things to the people at the tables sometimes because I’m trying to remember so many things at once and move faster than I can. And my weird humor up and jumps right out when I’m overwhelmed, so there you have it. For instance, this one time, some people were trying to get a high chair to fit behind their table, in a corner, lifting it up and over. […]

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glimpses of now

September 12, 2014

I didn’t have coffee until after ten o’clock this morning. This is unheard of, really. I am one of those people that pours my first cup of joe with my eyes half open, on the way to the shower. And then I wonder, every time, why I didn’t just wait until after the shower because it gets a little cold on the bathroom counter, waiting for me. The best mornings are when I can pour that first cup with my eyes half open and then sit in my pajamas on the couch. Lately I need slippers. Minnesota is showing us her master plan for winter early. We are nervous about what she has up her sleeve, but we are pretending, and sometimes meaning, that we love the crisp reminder to snuggle in, wrap up, slip on soft things. Lately there is so much to do, more than ever. My body is different because […]

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Just Write {137}

May 27, 2014

My bare feet were up on the dash. The windows were open. No radio, no iPod, no talking, no thinking….just the night sounds of Minnesota. I got to sit where I am the most at home, engulfed in those night sounds and peace. At least for a few hours, the croaking frog chorus, the birds saying good night, the crickets and the back drop of a deeply still silence that makes all the creature sounds beautiful. A few days ago, in Texas, we turned on to our street and Miles pointed out the cemetery. He said, Whenever we turn that corner, or pass another cemetery, I get this weird feeling in my stomach, I don’t know why.    Yeah honey, I know what you mean.  Many might think of evil, of spirits or even zombies, but I think what we feel is grief, goodbyes and all the memory stories of lives left. Yesterday […]

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Just Write {135}

May 13, 2014

Lately he has been hanging out with me, just sitting there on the couch or plopping down on the floor, flat on his back, while I hang clothes in my closet. He talks and talks and talks. Mostly about Legos or Star Wars or other things that he thinks about all the time. The other night, at bedtime, he said he couldn’t get to sleep because of his busy mind. My brain tries to focus on so many things at once, he said. It won’t stop going fast from thing to thing. Oh how I know. And how I wish I could slow it down for him, this boy with his mother’s brain. But I can’t, and maybe he’ll be a writer or think quick on his feet in his work, whatever it is. Maybe he’ll think up the greatest new thing to help people, because of his ideas, the ones that never […]

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What can you do when you’re bored and it is raining outside? If you have kiddos, you know that no one knows better than The Cat and the Hat, right? This is what he would say to do: You show up and use your imagination and make a mess and hurry to clean it up before Mom gets mad. Asher and I got to see this happen LIVE the Saturday before last at the Zach Theater in Austin at The Cat in the Hat play. You guys, it was so good, so funny, and so entertaining. It was just the right length for the little ones, at about 45 minutes. The characters came off the pages of the actual Dr Seuss story in the intimate Zach Theater space. We felt like we were part of the show and never took our eyes off the action. Asher laughed and sat enthralled the entire time, […]

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Just Write {128}

March 25, 2014

We drove to a town not too far out of Austin. It’s called Wimberley. Isn’t that just the most perfect name for a Texan town? It’s motto is “A little bit of Heaven” and I suppose that’s true. From the paths that stretch out of your eye’s reach along a curving stream, to the tiny shops and restaurants. It’s pretty heavenly with its beauty and vibe. Toddlers can poop even in heavenly places though, as you well know. So she did. And we went hunting for wipes because moms and dads can even forget things when getting ready for a road trip, as you well know. There was this little grocery store that had the wipes and the dude bagging at the end of the counter said, “Whoa, wipes and water. What a party!” Yes sir, I said. BYOW, that’s me, nothing but a party mom. He rolled his eyes. Then a lady […]

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#WhereILivedWednesday 1993

January 22, 2014

I was still a goody two-shoes back then. From the high school graduating class of 1993 I went on to community college and still lived at home. I made friends from neighboring towns, a few who lived in apartments near home, and I stayed with them a lot. My first taste of independence. I cleaned the apartment a lot, and slept on a day bed off the living room right by the sliding glass door that led to the porch. The phone would ring all hours of the night, always a boy who had had too much to drink on the other end, waking his ex-girlfriend  in the other room. They would fight, I would lie awake and the next day I’d say, You know he’s not even going to remember it, right? You might as well just hang up. She couldn’t. Well, she did, but then he’d just call back again and […]

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up in the air

January 18, 2014

My neighbor tried to put some bags of balloons in her garbage the other day, after a party. It was windy and there they went, up in the air and away before she could grab them. My Dad found a bag on a walk and brought the balloons home to the kids. They played “keep it up in the air” and made the balloons pop by having Nanny sit on them. BANG! Then I would jump and shout, STOP IT! I hate BANG! On another walk, we found more balloons. We picked them up, but not until I had taken some photos. Each of the kids carried a balloon on the way home and Bapa took over Miles’ scooter when he tired of it. So there he was, 65 and holding a balloon while riding a scooter.   I want there to be something soft about the world and there is when you […]

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Where I Lived Wednesday

December 4, 2013

{I’m sharing stories of places past with Ann today.} When I peek out from behind one of the big oak trees in our front yard, I can watch my neighbor across the small pond in front of our house and she’s dancing to We Built This City in her driveway. It makes me smile and so I come out from behind the tree and watch from the swing. I swing a lot by myself and I think and think and think. Sometimes I go over to her and ask her to play and we go inside and play Barbies. We have lived in this house since I was three. My Dad built the house and to this day it stands there with my parents in it, empty nested. There are woods all around the house and it has a long driveway. Sometimes that driveway floods and we have to take a different path […]

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smoke and olive oil

November 21, 2013

I felt myself going numb, shutting down, the thing I do with too much stress. I was driving the kids to school, and Miles had started a kitchen fire and we all smelled so much like a kitchen fire. Thank God nothing horrible happened, somehow he stayed calm and threw water on the fire. I was upstairs. What if, what if, what if…. I turned the radio up because it was U2 and also, I just didn’t want anyone to talk and talk and talk. I just couldn’t. Sometimes I feel like I’m being so dramatic. Like I can see myself in the song after the U2 song, like I’m in the video, with the sad and romantic lyrics and I’m so affected, seeking, philosophizing, Staring at the bottom of your glass Hoping one day you’ll make a dream last But dreams come slow and they go so fast I think that was […]

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Just Write {102}

September 16, 2013

The dryer stopped making heat a couple of days ago, while my sister and aunt are here for a visit. I set it aside, in my head, on the Later shelf. Now I’m sitting in a laundromat, green and white checkered floor, for men in a row on the bench behind me, waiting. They have no phones or computers to look at and when it’s time, they get up in unison, pull the laundry baskets on wheels to the dryers and empty dryers, move to tables, fold in unison. They don’t talk much. A lady with short hair like mine sits up on a folding table, criss-cross applesauce, reading something on her iPhone while baby sleeps in a stroller to the whir of washing and drying. I check my email, look up and think, make stories in my head and wonder if Auntie Kay and Sister Shelly are bored while waiting for me. […]

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I’ve never fully explained to you the depths my insanity can reach while traveling with children. You see, I get….well, I get worked up. (Understatement.) It’s not that I freak out on my kids or even (that much) on my husband. It’s more like I’m boiling some sort of anxiety soup within my very soul and therefore I grasp the door handle or OH SH*T handle and turn my knuckles white and hardly breathe. Or something like that. That is, unless I keep myself in check. (Read: Am reminded by my dear husband that it.is.going.to.be.okay.) You see, all three of our kids were horrible….I mean, extremely horrible travelers as newborns and infants. I think I have PTTD (Post Traumatic Travel Disorder). I sincerely thought we might never ever go anywhere beyond 100 miles in our lives ever again ever. Then I learned (thanks to how hard it was) to chill out. A little. […]

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Just Write {70}

January 28, 2013

Saturday, in a coffee shop, I worked hard. Sending emails and writing posts and writing other things. I got a lot done, there in the caffeinated room, high ceilings, chill in the air from the door opening and closing. My friend Rhonda sat nearby doing her work. She has two daughters and a full-time job and a part-time job–the one she was working on today. We sat apart to stay focused but took breaks together. She loves her coffee strong and so do I but I can’t drink it in the afternoon like she can or I don’t sleep. I called Ryan to check-in and he said he was out with the kids looking at a book store for a new puzzle because we’re almost done with the last one. We do many puzzles in the winter, it started after I quit drinking. Puzzles were a way for me to distract my brain […]

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December 28, 2012

My Grandma hopes to move into an independent living place that is attached to an assisted living place. We checked it out last spring and loved that it had a movie theater and yoga classes, but mostly we love it now because two of my Grandma’s sisters live there. For now she’s on the waiting list and the waiting list isn’t budging. That means she stays in her home of so many years and doesn’t really get to know when things will change. Maybe this was the last Christmas Day in that house, maybe it wasn’t. We don’t know yet, and still I tried to decide if I should cry or not. I went downstairs, to the basement with the ping pong table, by myself at one point and stood looking around. I could hear the mumbling of conversation above me, through the floor. An occasional burst of laughter and the stomping quick-feet […]

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Just Write {64}

December 3, 2012

She follows me, still. I came from the bathroom, to find her waiting in my bedroom. I was wrapped in a towel and dripping a little from the shower. She pointed and laughed. She does that when I have wet hair. At least that’s what I tell myself she’s laughing about. I pulled open the drawer with bras and dug around, wondering when I’ll ever purchase a post-breastfeeding one that actually fits me. Elsie was putting on my shoes and clomping on the hardwood floor, trying to not be a falling-over toddler even though she is one. I dropped the towel and suddenly she was by my side, back to just the footies of her pajamas and she was pointing but not laughing. She pointed to her mouth and pointed back at me, like she suddenly remembered breastfeeding. She, the one who decided to be done all in one grand statement in one […]

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Just Write {63}

November 26, 2012

My feet won’t warm up. Today I learned how to make a water warmer for the chicken coop; a thing to set under the water so it doesn’t freeze. Now I just need to actually make the water warmer for the chicken coop. It looks so easy and the post even said it takes less than ten minutes. It’s getting so cold, the water freezes too fast. I’m in and out, trudging across the backyard with my puffy coat on, hood up, to bring fresh warm water that will freeze in about an hour. But I keep doing it, because chickens get thirsty too. So back and forth I go. We went to buy a warmer in the store yesterday but it just felt like there were so many hurdles. The price, the kids asking questions and going into other aisles and then wanting suckers. The farm store always has them asking for […]

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Just Write {57}

October 15, 2012

My husband comes through the door, shuffling in his slippers. He asks me what I’m still doing up. I’m normally an “early to bed, early to rise” kind of sleeper. I don’t know. I was looking at houses for sale and it’s addicting. I let the iPad fall from my hands to the covers on my belly and yawn while he climbs in and puts his CPAP machine over his goatee, mouth and nose. I giggle. I always do, I can’t help it. I feel like I’m sleeping with a robot or a character out of Star Trek. He has to sort of yell from under the mask for me to hear his seemingly far-away voice… Stop it!   Suddenly we’re these parents of three kids and we’re nearing 40 and he has a sleep machine and my favorite thing to do is online real estate searching. I love it. It’s getting too […]

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about last night

October 4, 2012

That’s a movie, right? About Last Night. Yeah, I think so. This is a picture story about life last night. (It starts below, because of course I had to say stuff first.) Oh wait, I think it may have been the night before last, but I have no idea. For the last four weeks, Ryan and I have traveled, taking turns, week by week. Me, once, to Ojai for Creative Alliance and he, three times, for the working and the paying of the bills. We pass the baton one night and then the next morning, the other of us is off on an airplane. I’m trying to focus on how there is a “We” and an “us” to even talk about at all because it makes me so grateful. WE are exhausted, so I’m glad that there are a few weeks coming up when neither of US is traveling. The thing about fall […]

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September 26, 2012

I’m sad. Which makes very little sense considering I’m excited and happy. I spent the day with my cousin and her groom on Saturday, taking pictures. Their wedding took place at a beautiful camp on a beautiful lake surrounded by beautiful fall leaves. My cousin, she is almost strangely similar to me. She’s creative and sensitive, giggly and anxious, friendly and maybe a little scared. Her eyes are the brightest blue; they matched the lake in the background. She is many years younger than I, and her youth shines from her skin and her smile and her hair is the most beautiful blonde flowy hair.  When I was her age, I downed Dr. Pepper like it was water and furiously chewed the left over ice cubes. Amby does the exact same thing. I’m working on editing some of the pictures from her day so I can send them to she and Michael before […]

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Just Write {52}

September 10, 2012

His hair is getting so long because he wants it that way. He’s going for a cross between an 80’s hair band and a skater dude, but he doesn’t really know that’s what he’s going for. He just wants his hair long like two of his cousins. With his brother and sister in daycare two times a week, I pick him up before Daddy picks them up. It’s just the two of us for two whole hours on Mondays and Fridays. It’s Miles and Mommy Time. That’s what we call it, like it’s a book or a movie, all caps. Today we went to the grocery store and he picked out his snack. Cashews from the bulk bins and a bottle of water. Well, he tried for an orange soda after he had gone to get a water but when he held it up to ask without words and I shook my head, […]

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September 7, 2012

I was rushing to get out the door to pick up Asher at preschool at one end of town and then get his brother in the middle of town and then drive out the other end of town to get Elsie. I wanted candy. I grabbed an apple. GO ME! (I didn’t have any candy.) I was driving with one hand and chomping CRUNCH my green apple in the other and the stem came off. It reminded me of when I was a kid and my friends and I would play the ABC game while twisting the stem. Whatever letter you were on when the stem broke loose was the first letter of your future husband’s name. Of course, we worked hard to pull the stem free at the first letter of the name of the boy we were “going with” at the time. Then we’d play M.A.S.H. on the bus or at […]

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When Ryan is out of town for work, we sometimes get time to talk on the phone at some point during the day, but mostly we don’t get that time. He’s super busy with teaching some sort of software thingys to people and I’m busy…yeah, busy. Three kids + one of them being a very demanding and quite feisty little lovely creature + the start of school + working + All THE THINGS = a very tired and forgetful mommy. I was talking to Ellie yesterday and she knows how much I love Elsie Jane, how grateful I am for her. So I can vent and say that sometimes, when Elsie is especially…spirited…I feel like I might explode or like my insides are just going to turn to mush and then I’ll fold over and be stuck like that for a few days. Which doesn’t sound so bad, actually. As long as I […]

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Nope, I was not driving while photo-ing. But I am giving everyone suckers every time we go somewhere far, even Elsie Jane no matter if her thighs and toes get all sticky or not. Aaah, the quiet! ::::: You won’t believe it. We started off on our road trip yesterday, right? And we were prepared for a rough time, since EJ pretty much hates road trips. But then, this beautiful thing happened in which… it went really well. Maybe I’m a pessimist about such things, but I was utterly shocked and so was Ryan. Is it naive of me to give a whole lot of the credit to the Chrysler Town and Country we’re using? Does it sound like I’m just saying that because I’ve been given the use of this vehicle for one week for the sake of review? Well. I’m not. I sincerely love this vehicle, and my dear husband, who […]

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