proud gusto

August 17, 2015

OH hiiii there… I’m okay and even good sometimes. But yes, I’m doing too many things. No, I have not been taking care of myself. Yes, it’s catching up with me. No, I’m not really doing anything about it. Yet. Sometimes I don’t until I do. When there are fight or flight stressors for months on end…well, I don’t know. It’s just a lot. Last week I did almost nothing other than to try to keep us all in survival mode. Doctor appointments, calls, hurry up and sign up for preschool, babysitters, work, appointments. You get the idea. I sure get the idea. I have the anxiety much. I’m working on it. Sort of. Okay not really. But I will. Soon. I hope. I really do. First, the appointments. On Friday Elsie and I chilled with her good doctor at U of M Riverside Children’s in the big city. He is the doctor of baby hearts, the one that already fixed […]

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Just Write {188}

May 19, 2015

I have at least one new idea every day, a creative flow of light bulbs dancing behind my eyes. Some are fleeting thoughts and some stick around like breath. I have no good way of knowing for certain which ideas are the best to pursue, or how to find the time to pursue them. Life has not allowed for pursuing anything other than the time to change a load of laundry, and jumping in the good ol’ minivan for the next thing, mostly medical things, and we keep going past the time for ideas. I have learned to be okay with this. The time will come. It will. On this particular morning, the house is buzzing with the sound of the furnace, sadly, in May. It got cold last night. I fought the good fight, to keep the furnace off and I lost. That actually meant I won because I stopped shivering. Our guinea pig, […]

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Just Write {175}

February 17, 2015

Somewhere it was said that it was the coldest Valentine’s Day in seventy some years, in this here great state of Minnesota. The boys went with Auntie K for a good part of the day, and Elsie and I had some time together. We went out for lunch, slurped some noodles together, we picked up movies, and ran from door to door, never spending more than thirty seconds outside. It is the kind of cold that bends you up, tightens your muscles and keeps them stuck. It is a searing frozen fire, swiping at your skin. It wears us down by now, we hearty Minnesotans, makes us want to hide. The elements will do that. Life will do that. All the things we cannot control, will do that. And still, while dreading the cold and then rushing through it all day, Elsie must have said “I love you” at least 25 times. She […]

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Just Write {147}

August 5, 2014

Elsie had a fever. It came on fast, out of nowhere. She’s so strong, so feisty, a listless look doesn’t fit on her. But there she sat with her shoulders hunched forward and her eyelids heavy, her cheeks flushed. I felt her forehead and said uh oh, here we go. When she gets sick, she gets sick. There’s a good chance she goes so hard for too long, ignoring the discomfort of tired muscles, a sore throat or a headache, whatever her body is saying. That’s what most of us do. Until we crash. We do this in so many ways. So I held her in her bed and “kickled” her back, combed my fingers through her fever-sweaty hair. I sang twinkle twinkle, her favorite. Then her raspy whisper cut through the dark, I love you, Mama. I love you too, My Elsie. ::: First there was the boom-crash and then the tinkling […]

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Just Write {132}

April 22, 2014

Just Write, revisited. Just Write {1} We are driving along, just the two of us. I channel surf for tunes as Elsie Jane kicks and coos from her backwards position behind me. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun is where I land and I sing it at the top of my lungs, windows down. Somehow she loves it when I sing. The working day is never done, but girls, they wanna have fuhunn. I pass by a house with much recycling out front. Cans and cans and bottles and bottles and cardboard boxes. All from alcohol. I think about how that used to be my end of the driveway and how it didn’t take long to add up and so I’d try to hide parts of it under cola types of things. I think about how, with the boys, I had to pump and dump a lot and worry because it is very simple: I was […]

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Just Write 99

August 26, 2013

We walked through the grass that’s getting too long again, across our yard and into our neighbor’s yard, cut through their driveway and stood on their shiny brown stoop. Elsie was in only a diaper because she was about to have a bath and get ready for bed when I realized we should visit her preschool (yes, at the next door neighbor’s home) before the morning since it had been a while since we’d been inside. She stepped confidently in, but then when the whole family was squatting down to welcome her and tell her all the wonderful things she’ll be doing, her face crumpled with overwhelm and she put her arms up to me, to be held. Home. She said. Bye. I consoled her and showed her toys. Our neighbor told her she could have pancakes or waffles in the morning. She just stared, her big blue eyes all wet. Home. We […]

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oh so very young

August 23, 2013

Our little acorn grew into a baby and then a toddler and now sometimes I think she’s fifteen, hands on her hips, shouting out orders. On Monday she will start preschool, right next door. The boys will begin school at their new school and for part of the day it will be me, just me, catching up on life and writing and other work. Tonight I tucked Elsie Jane in, several times. She was over-tired from a long day and couldn’t get to sleep. Her pink owl blanket was never quite right, according to her. It barely fits to cover her feet now and she calls Mama Mama Mama my bankie off! Before long it won’t go over her feet at all to cover them and I’m guessing this will frustrate her. Growth can do that, huh? I’m not ready!  Hopefully a new bigger blanket will do, until it doesn’t. Earlier today, we […]

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(glasses store with brother. you wanted to try some on for funsies.) Dear Future Elsie Jane (or, if you’re reading this now it’s the future and so HI), When I was pregnant with you, I wrote a post called PLEASE: notes to my children. Many people that read it mentioned that they wanted to know what I’d say to a girl. What they didn’t know was that I did have you in mind, you and your brothers, when I wrote that post. Since then I’ve thought about what I want to say to just you, but I didn’t know. Most of what I want to say is in that PLEASE post. I could say so many other things about the (potential) parts of your life as a female that scare me most: the partying, drinking, drugs, sex, etc., but maybe it won’t even really matter because no offense, the teenage brain has some pretty […]

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Just Write {77}

March 18, 2013

  more blankets of snow another blanket back on the bed for the coldest St Patrick’s Day in twenty years. Today, a blizzard closes schools and we’ll wait on plows to clear the way. There’s so much to do and the blankets of snow and the harsh winds are back. This feels cruel, like a mean joke. Like I can’t take it anymore. I’ll clear the driveway, not my mind. We’ll trudge through thick drifts to check on the chickens. Is the water frozen, yes, of course, again. No little warming box under the water is going to save it now. No blankets are keeping us warm. This is bone chilling and exhausting. Someone is coming for a second showing of our house. Please buy it. I have two pairs of socks on and I have writing to do. Due. Am I whining? Probably. Elsie is walking around the house saying Bapa and […]

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Just Write {75}

March 4, 2013

She had been up and down all night, sick and burning up. We spent the day tied together with a sling that she still fits tucked in. Either that, or rocking in a chair, her head on my shoulder, mouth open with heavy sleep. When we’d walk around the house, her on my hip in the sling and her head still on my chest, her arms dangled limp like they were lifeless. She needed me a lot. I cleaned up her sickness, from the floor or her crib or her clothes, over and over. I held a towel in front of her to catch her sick over and over and softly repeated, it’s going to be okay, it’ll be okay. And then my heart would follow that whisper with its own prayer for it to be okay. Her fever was 103 and she wasn’t keeping anything down, and it was going on four days. […]

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The truth is, I was scared of her, and I will be again and again, but not right now. Today I’m remembering that we’re simply here to learn alongside each other. She’s my not even two-year-old daughter, and I have feared her. Maybe it’s not her, exactly, but rather, her fierce femaleness. Even the very best things, like femininity, can be terrifying and misunderstood–a girl, a lady, a woman–beautiful and complicated and strong, gentle, sweet and soft and then mean. I only know so far that my Elsie Jane will never stop surprising me, and that’s maybe what brings on the fear–the unknown. She goes from slightly shy to an uproar of out-going. She goes from falling asleep quickly and quietly for many nights to fighting it again night after night, like she forgot she was trying to win at something and now she’s going to take it to a whole new level. […]

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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 {58}

October 22, 2012

I’ve probably had too much coffee. I was walking around the bedroom, our bedroom, stepping over dirty clothes and wondering why I went in there. I decided to go down and switch the laundry because the laundry on the floor reminded me. I did that, but I forgot to take the laundry from the floor with me. There’s an anxious pit in my stomach and I’ve never known life without that. Sometimes I remember to stop and ask it why it’s there and much of the time there’s no reason. It just is. Most of the time, I forget about it because it’s all I know. I don’t know what peaceful insides feel like. Please don’t tell me to meditate or pray or take breaks or think differently. I know and do those things, sometimes, and I don’t know, it’s hard to figure and then get a part of yourself out while the […]

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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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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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an update-ish sort of thing

August 13, 2012

  Now I can say I’ve been to Kentucky. I was a first-timer. I can also say Louisville without pronouncing a big E in the middle while also pretending I have a mouthful of marbles or bubble gum. My friend Holli says it would be spelled like this – Luavul (but don’t forget the mouthful). I have been practicing hard. I’m getting very close to letting go and garbling. We Minnaaahhhsoooohhhtaaahns are not terribly good at leaving out vowels…or consonants for that matter. Anyway, ya’ll. I had a fantastic time in Kentucky. I met lovely people. I spent time with Ellie and Holli. I sat under the stars on a perfect Kentucky summer night in an amphitheater while Brandi Carlile completely astounded me with her talents and the talents of her band. I had no idea. I screamed SHE SINGS THIS??? like three times during the concert because when I have heard her […]

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{This is sponsored content by outmywindow and BlogHer.} This is a story about how I left Elsie for the first time and was Phoebe instead of Heather, for a moment. If one can randomly fly to California that’s exactly what I did. I wrote snippits of the journey for Just Write this week and I don’t really know why but it’s one of my favorite posts ever. Maybe because snippets of life is where it’s at, you know? It was a whirlwind trip, just an arrival in the afternoon, an overnight, a full day at Warner Brothers studios and back home again that same day. Or night, really, since I pulled in the driveway at about 3a.m. This was my first time away from Elsie and even though it was super short, I missed her and her brothers super much. But I had a great time and it was so good for both […]

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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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Just Write {44}

July 17, 2012

{snapshots from last week’s solo trip} driving alone is a simple pleasure for a mother. There’s no mommy mommy mommy! or fighting from the backseat. No angry babies with screams. just you and the road and the radio. I was nervous, leaving Elsie and the knots in my stomach tried to take over what I could see around me but I took those deep breaths and then I saw it, the way the trees and their shades of green made matte and glossy and it felt like I could touch them through the glass. Deer were out during the day, a mama and her fawn standing in the farmer’s field looking on. No deer in headlights, just that look they get like they must be curious but you can’t tell because it’s as if they’ve had botox for animals or something. They were far enough away to not scare me and so it […]

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I don’t know why there’s no sound! It’s making me crazy. We’re both going to have to just imagine a song. It’ll be a fun game! RIGHT? Sing yourself something and then push play! danceparty 0001 from Heather King on Vimeo.   Our kids are rad. about that whole parenting in this technological world thing? I forgot to mention that we get to make each other smile just for kicks and that’s one of my favorite parts. Today it was my turn. Or Elsie’s, I should say. You’re welcome.

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You were written into my motherhood story and I knew it before I realized you were a little acorn growing inside. I didn’t know how to picture you here but I knew you were coming. I looked at your daddy and I asked, Do you feel like our family is complete? and he said No and I said, Me either. Even though we were riding along with two very loud and whiny boys on a road trip, those two who would become your doting brothers. We were crazy in love with them and couldn’t see past them but we knew. We could feel you. Like you were there in an empty seat beckoning. A little Elsie Jane half-wave from the place you are from; from Everywhere like Heaven and Nowhere like the sky and totally from Love and Grace. I felt your little call to our family–I’m yours!–and it made me nervous. Nervous […]

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little soldiers

March 30, 2012

This morning I sat on the floor with a nice woman I had never met before today. She was here to evaluate Elsie because at a recent doctor’s appointment, our pediatrician raised some concerns about EJ’s gross motor skills. So there we were, criss-cross applesauce, nice to meet you. I knew right away that I was answering her questions with too many no’s. No, she doesn’t do that. No, she hasn’t done that. No. No. No. I hadn’t even noticed it before, that when she does her army crawl, she only uses one side of her body.The right. It’s like she’s a little wounded soldier and how didn’t I notice that before? She’s fine. I kept thinking. She’s fine. And you know what? She is most likely totally fine. But all these months. For months and months now and even years, things have not been fine when I start to think they’re going […]

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I avoided discomfort for most of my life. Now I’m learning to sit in it–to walk through it, not around it–but I still had the idea that discomfort would only come in waves. Ebb and flow. Easy then hard, then easy then hard. Like life was like a carousel moving slowly with the scenery changing from good to bad. It seemed like people take their turns, you know? That their seasons are marked with Joy or Pain, one or the other. It looks like that, when you’re a child because you hear about the Big Things but adults don’t really talk to you about all the constants. And it looks like that as an adult because we compare a lot and comparing makes everything seem big and black and white and one way or the other. I’m finally learning, since I can’t escape it anymore, that discomfort is there all the time. Of […]

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Just Write {25}

March 6, 2012

I keep trying to take a picture of Elsie in just the right light to catch the way her hair is growing in. It is wispy light, so fine and thin as baby hair is, but so sparse it’s comical. She has baby orangutan hair. It’s hard to capture it in a photo, to do it justice. I want to remember it and maybe I will because I look at it so much. I carry her around a lot, wearing her on my hip and she clings like the monkey that her hair makes her seem to be. She wants me all the time and I want her all the time. I need breaks but not that many and not for very long because I am so smitten. The other day Asher hurt her, doing something a four year old boy would do in a moment of impulsivity. It wasn’t mean-spirited or done […]

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small style {1}

February 16, 2012

I am very stylish in my head. Especially while browsing Pinterest. But in real life, I have a tendency to keep my style in my head and out of my closet and off my body. (Truth be told, even my “My Style” pinboard on Pinterest is anemic.) Maybe it’s mostly this season of parenting, but I’m more of a, OH look! I got out of my yoga pants and into jeans! kind of girl. Also. I don’t love shopping. I consider it a chore and I make it SNAPPY. In the store, off the rack, DONE. When I was pregnant with Elsie, everyone was all, OH I bet you’re having so much fun shopping for a girl! And I was all, uuuuum…yeaaaah.  Of course, now that she’s here, it is more fun to dress her than I thought, but I will also admit that I’m totally not an overly ruffly-frilly-pinky lover. (You know, […]

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You have lashes that go on and on with those always surprised eyebrows. You have less and less hair than the day you were born which seems a little unfair, a balding little girl. Of course at seven months old today, you do not mind at all.You are otherwise occupied with trying to sit up without falling over and learning how to belly crawl across the hardwoods. You don’t like to do your own thing for long. You mostly fight the exersaucer or walker unless your brothers are hopping and dancing and running around you, very close to entertain you. You love to be held and you grab on like a koala, long arms and legs wrapped tight to waist and neck.   Sometimes I just say right out loud, I have a daughter because I will always be surprised by it. Like your eyes with their eyebrows, full of wonder and delight. […]

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Elsie update

December 14, 2011

I was grocery shopping when the nurse called about the CT scan. I was with Elsie, in the produce section and she was sleeping and OH how I felt that feeling like you’re floating around yourself, watching. The nurse said that the CT WAS NORMAL and I cried right there in front of the other shoppers. As the janitor at my college always said, PRAISE-A-LUJAH-TO-YA. I nearly woke Elsie up to tell her but then I remembered that she doesn’t speak very much English yet. So I just stared at her and let carts go by me. Then I went to get milk and bread and all the usual things. The usual things are good. Thank you so much for surrounding us with so much love and support again. How many ways can I say thank you? I wish there were more words. Thank you. Oh! An explanation of sorts, as far as I can tell? You […]

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Just Write ~ The 14th

December 12, 2011

I woke up out of the habit of a lot of waking up and looked at the clock. 5:48. I rolled over, back to the dream I already can’t remember. Then came the shuffle of Miles’ morning entrance, the way I can feel him there even if I don’t hear him. 5:53. I really thought it had been at least a half an hour since I dozed off again. We last got Elsie back to sleep at 4 something. But 19 minutes after Miles came in, she was crying. I picked her up and she didn’t stop so I sat down with her and we rocked in the squeaking leather chair. Her brother wandered off to watch something on TV but suddenly he was in the next room, trying to get a butter knife out of the drawer. Loud. Clanging. Banging. On a Nutella mission. I couldn’t call out for him to be quiet for the […]

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December 11, 2011

I don’t say it all here. Sometimes life goes along with you on your way, missing the landmines, and other times it’s like something is pushing you right into one after another all at one time and that’s what has been happening for us…boom boom boom boom…it’s been that way for a while now. There is so much Life on my heart, I just don’t even know what to do. Sometimes I just need to to sit and cry about it all and then remember that it’s okay to say it’s too hard and too much, and then not feel like I’m weaker than the rest. That’s a lie. I’m not weaker than the rest. I just think I am too much of the time. For now all I can do is move through the days that are like quicksand while I do my best not to analyze how I do it all. I am […]

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