Friday, August 29, 2008


Last night, I watched our future President accept the Party nomination. He was eloquent, impassioned and inspiring – adjectives I have not used to describe a political candidate since I came of age.

And so I have been mulling over Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, trying to figure out just why it moved me, and what makes him the candidate for me. For all of my “voting-age” years, Clinton and Bush have been in office. In the Clinton years I hardly had a political opinion. And in the Bush years I have cared deeply and been at odds with his leadership for 8 long years. So to feel utter patriotic pride after a speech, and excitement for our country’s future is new and thrilling to me.

Barack Obama’s message of unity sits well with me and my beliefs. He spoke of it last night, the notion that we are not Americans of every race and division, but simply Americans. I take it a step further – before we can possibly resolve issues both domestic and international, we must acknowledge our commonness. Obama simply gives me hope that instead of seeking political & cultural divisiveness, we can seek a common goal and unite toward it.

No matter how “”Kumbaya” it sounds, I believe in my core that international peace will become a reality in my lifetime. And when that day comes, when the state of international relations makes that change from an idealist notion to a present reality of peace, it will have been worth any amount of work. It is with that goal in mind that I stand behind Barack Obama. He will prove himself to be a man of solution, though it will not be popular with every citizen. He will be willing to sit down with world leaders and devise strategies that are not based on war and invasion, or fear-mongering, but on the grounds that a peaceful resolution can be found. Yes, war is the history of mankind, but at some point we must stop re-living our history and create our future.

Toward that end, we need a leader that can inspire and encourage. We need a leader with charisma, and should not fear that quality. For the tool of charisma can pull followers together and accomplish real change. People don’t get excited by mere words. We get fired up when those words are spoken powerfully by someone with the inherent qualities of leader. Someone whose destiny it is to lead our country into a new phase.

I am Bethany L. and I approve this message… :-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


My Mom taught the girls some little dances during her visit!

I love this shot of her and the girls, tap dancing. It is so cute to watch them learn a little dance, and clippity clop all over the deck.

We had a really nice weekend with Mom here, full of activity & a few projects. She had made some curtain panels for the boys' room, and they turned out awesome. The room looks finished and cozy now - and since they have black-out fabric on the back, the room is ready for its new little occupant. Cole wants Phoenix's crib right beside his bed :) I'm just ready to have my room back, and happy that Cole wants to share his room!

Cole's corner is so sweet now! Though I'm sure the dinosaur prints will be migrating to Phoenix's side very soon, as Cole hopes to replace that sweet set with something boyishly gruesome...

The girls had a terrific first day at preschool! This shot cracks me up. I get tired of all the perfect smiling shots, and have been into the wacky ones lately. They show so much personality. :) Both of the girls said that painting was the best part of their first day. Then Jadyn added that she liked snacktime, and throwing away her trash. Hmm. Maybe she will bring that "like" home! Isabella has been very cooperative about dressing in appropriate school clothes. But the minute she walked in the door Tuesday, she stripped out of that girlie stuff to put on "cool" clothes. (blue Mickey Mouse tee and red shorts - her uniform.)

We'll see how Day 2 goes!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A new phase for us

This morning began our new phase:
Cole in 2nd grade
Isabella & Jadyn in preschool for 2 mornings a week
Phoenix home taking long naps during those 2 mornings (positive thinking WORKS!)

This morning got a little crazy, getting it all in gear. Hurricane Fay decided to send bucketfuls of rain our way, after months of drought. My Mom had to be taken to the train, to get to the airport, Cole to the bus, Isabella & Jadyn to preschool and walked into the building for the first day.

First off was Cole, who decided just before walking out the door, that he didn't want to go to school. And cried. Our eyes widened - why does this happen on the girls' first day! We didn't want them worrying about school... so Rick quickly shuffled Cole out the door to the bus, in a modest downpour - 7:15am.

At 8:25am, Phoenix & I left to deliver Mom to the train, and a 20 minute ride took 45, in that same downpour.

At 8:45am, Rick headed out to take the girls to their First Day of school - and now it was a torrential rain. As he walked them to the building, under a huge umbrella, they got soaked, and had to put on their spare (in case of accident) clothes from their bags... so much for the cute first day outfits! And Isabella is not an easy child to pry Cole's clothes off of in the first place, she has to be cajoled into wearing her own clothes. ("I don't wanna be CUTE, I wanna be COOL!")

At 9:45am Phoenix and I arrived back at home, Rick & I shared stories, and I felt some unexpected angst :) that lasted only a moment, and then the demands of an infant set in, and we were starting our day. The girls made not a peep as they were dropped off (yay!) - which bodes very well for their school career.

So, that's it in a nutshell - as Mom sits at the airport, suffering an hour delay so far, due to the welcome rain. Maybe she'll write her own story...

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Tonight it is quiet. Three children are sleeping, Cole is watching cartoons, Rick is channel-surfing, I am internet surfing, and my Mom is hand-hemming curtain panels for the boys' room - all in the same room, separate yet together.:) Mom watches whatever channel Rick stops on briefly, laughs if it is humorous, but doesn't say a word when he flips the channel. I wonder how long this will last.

I guess it just seems homey to see Mom over there sewing. Familiar and cozy. So I'm enjoying the view.

Today we went to the farmer's market and bought string beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and peaches. So tomorrow we can feast on barbecue chicken, grilled veggies, a pot of beans & some roasted potatoes. At least that's the plan. Somehow a lot of cooking sounds great to me in the morning, and I love to plan what we will eat. Then, by 4pm when moods go downhill, I start bailing on the cooking... and we end up having scrambled eggs. :) Some of my best concoctions are thrown together on the fly!

The other night I started tossing things in the eggs, and before I knew it I had made a Dad meal - eggs, avocados, tomatoes, hot dog, cheese - and it was so good. That's my goal - creating fast scrambled-egg-based meals that are ready in 10 minutes. Who has 30 minutes anymore?? I try to have 30 minutes, and I am overcome by events every time... So I turn to eggs or wraps. Love a wrap. Maybe I'll start combining the two and put eggs in a wrap. With all the other stuff.

This cooking chat is for you Susan, cook of all yummy things. Wish I had pics of the egg-conglomeration for you... ;)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Summer cleaning

This week I got into summer cleaning, I guess in preparation for school starting for 3 of the 4 young'uns. It feels good to take a load to G@@dw!ll & get that much more crap-ola out of the closets.
I like to sneak broken or aggravating toys out whenever possible, and hope not to get caught. Today I had loaded the back of the van with a bag of cheap puzzles that the kids have no interest in. I almost succeeded in a stealthy give-away, then eagle-eye Jadyn peered over the seat and saw the puzzles. I told her I had been cleaning out the cabinet. She seemed to think the back of the car was where I had chosen to store them. :) Then, when we were driving away from the donation spot, she spotted an old doll high chair I had off-loaded. Oops.

So I have a sense of accomplishment & some cabinet space to spare.

  • My Mom comes for a visit tomorrow! She will be relieved to see I cleaned in preparation for her visit... so we will be able to get out & about, or sit & relax (haha), and not do chores.

Tomorrow we are taking the girls to their preschool open house - very exciting! We were thrilled to find out that they will have the same teachers that Cole had. We love this couple, Janet & Jim! And that means that next week I will have only one small baby in the house, for 2 mornings a week. I thought this day would never come! And it will be interesting to see the girls make friends & develop their own little lives independent of the family.

More on this next week...

Monday, August 18, 2008


The last few nights have been spent playing a game I like to call "Whack-a-mole." Only the contestants aren't moles, they're kids. And I'm not allowed to use an actual mallet on their heads.

It goes like this: get them all to sleep, one wakes up. Get that one down, another one wakes up. We all sleep for a while. Two pop up. Get one down, and the third wakes that one up again. All sleep again. One creeps into our bed, like a stealth bomber. Get him to sleep, carry him back to his room. Repeat all night long, until the crack of dawn comes and at least 4 of us are crammed into my bed like sweaty sardines. But don't leave the bed, no matter how uncomfortable, or precariously balanced on the edge, because one of the lucky ones that's still sleeping might roll onto the baby.

This is what I say in my head, as I stumble around all night, envisioning a rubber mallet: "go-to-sleep-Go-to-sleep-go-to-sleep-Go-to-sleep." This game is so much fun, particularly when Rick is away. I can't wait to go to bed & start playing. But my favorite part is when the worst offenders sleep late in the morning. That just seems wrong. Or when Phoenix takes a 3 hour nap at 8am. Wrong again. (But ok, I'll take it!) The other refrain in my head is that song from the '90's "I get knocked down, but I get up again... you're never gonna keep me down..." We sing that to Phoenix, king of the 20-minute cat-nap, a lot, and replace the words while we dance him around like a puppet: "I go to sleep, but I get up again - you're never gonna keep me down. I close my eyes and they pop up again - I'll never sleep the whole night through..." Just a little something to keep us laughing. :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

In Memoriam

Our gallant old gal, and kitty friend of 19 years has taken the Great Walk. Last night around 11pm Rick & I were puttering around before bed, tending to all the things that needed care before we could clock out. Rick went out to close the garage and call Knocker in for the night. I heard him calling, and went out to help look for her. Usually she walks right in to be fed, meowing all the way.

But as we stood out front softly calling her, we somehow knew her time had come. Rick recalled that the night before, she had been meowing and refusing to come in for the night. And I had been out at noon to give her some tuna from our lunch - but couldn't find her.

So we stood under the moon, shedding a few tears for a long-time pal who was endearing in her kooky, sometimes annoying way. We will miss her "Rawr. Rawr. RAWR." and her snoozing presence on the front stoop. But we know she has joined her own friend Sharkey, who took his walk last spring. Both of them went in the daytime, seeming to vanish into thin air. One moment, they were laying out front in the sun - next moment, gone.

We have gone out to call for her all morning, hoping to hear her loud meow, and knowing it to be futile.

And wondering why it is the way of animals to disappear at their time. I call it the Great Walk, sort of like a walkabout, as they search for a hiding place to lay their weary bones & call it a day.

So, when you think of us this week, call out a "Rawr" for Knocker and know that we are missing that crazy old girl.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rolling around the 'hood

Today Isabella made great strides in becoming less squirrel, more girl. We take a lot of walks, since our neighborhood has a lovely, tree-lined parkway. And at every crosswalk we gather & cross together. Well, Isabella panics every time she even hears a distant motor rumble. And it drives me nuts.

Here's the scenario: Me pushing stroller, Cole darting ahead, Jadyn lagging behind, and "deer-in-the-headlights" Isabella freezing mid-road and running BACK across the road. Stop procession, call Cole, turn and go back to collect her. She gets so spooked, she keeps running, to the closest yard, zig-zagging like a squirrel. Sort of like Forrest Gump, she just keeps running, going far, far away from vehicular danger. Oh, and let's not forget the cars in both directions that have to stop & wait! I wave thanks to the drivers, shaking my head. They always grin - though I gotta say, unless you have kids, how could you expect this? I wonder if I used to be impatient with families like mine, kids strung out across the road as though the Mom were careless or in la-la-land. Little did I know then that despite all good intentions, kids will walk as they please.

My pep talk goes like this "Isabella. Where is the safest place to be? With Mommy & the other kids." Repeat as needed. Her answer? "Off the road!" Well, yes and no... And Jadyn copy pep talks her :"Bewa. Stay with Mom."

So, we walked to the Cleaners this morning, and had to cross a real road - and she did it! She simply held onto the stroller and walked across. What a miracle - there's no stopping us now! :) Yep, my entourage & I can now cross roads without stopping 2-way traffic.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

On the deck

Tonight we grilled chicken & hung out on the deck for a while. The older kids played Roller Derby, which is flying around our little deck in crazy circles, on their trikes. They have watched Cars the movie a lot, and are really into crashing each other from behind. Fun. I think it lets out the aggression in a rather safe way, right? :)
Phoenix watched the leaves dance from his bouncy seat, chewed on his hands & tried not to get crushed by a flying sibling.
Rick grilled & smoked a cigar.
I enjoyed some white wine & tried to keep my toes out from under the trike wheels.
We were ready to go in and eat when Cole started crying - his toe got run over. Isabella & Jadyn wanted some "moolk." Then Phoenix tuned up - he was tired of hanging out. So I gave them all a bowl of ice cream OUTSIDE, we took our dinner INSIDE and enjoyed a quiet meal, watching them out the bay window. :) Phoenix is liking the idea of nursing while we are eating - in the way of all our babies, he gets crabby right at dinnertime. The witching hour. The arsenic hour. Or, as Rick's Bermudan client called it: "the nigglies." Whatever it means, Bermuda has it right - kids get the nigglies at dinnertime.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Yep, it's an election year, and the e-rumors are flying. I received one yesterday that I could not fathom. It was simply Not True! Something to the effect that Ob@m@ had stated that the US is not a Christian nation, but is made up of Christians, Muslim, Buddhists, etc.etc. Then the writer went on to declare this supposed statement a travesty, and proclaim that "our ancestors fought & died to make this a Christian nation" and he's trying to take that away.

Cough cough. If I know my history, I would have to say that the founders of America came here seeking....

wait for it.....


Yes, those dear immigrant Puritans, Quakers & Calvinists were being oppressed in those lands across the ocean, right? So they came here to worship freely, however they chose. And though they all happened to stem from Christian sects, and write their beliefs into the fabric of our Constitution and Declaration, there was never any PS "Christians Only" addendum. I have been under the impression for my entire life that the Revolutionary War was fought to free us from a colonial power - I never knew that was a religious war! Wow! Did I miss an attempted anti- Christian coup at some other historical juncture too? This is mildly distressing. Somewhere out there, many Americans are baa-ing and believing this innocuous email.

Geez, the things you learn on the internet...

Friday, August 8, 2008

All for one, one for all

Rick stepped outside with Cole to look at the tomatoes, and within a minute, everyone was on the doorstep. Even the cat walked up & started meowing. It's like some sort of communal consciousness, a "knowing". It also happens whenever I close my eyes for a quick, secretive nap. They come out of the woodwork from wherever they were previously occupied. Cole is the best at being tuned in - I can be sitting nearby for an hour, but if I step outside, or God forbid, into the bathroom, he raises the roof yelling for me. :) And then he looks all pitiful, and tells me he thought I left him. Where does this abandonment complex come from?! I have explained sincerely that I will never leave him home alone. I have explained that it's even against the law for parents to leave young kids home alone. Maybe that's part of the "knowing" too - he knows that some days, I just want to take a walk around the block... alone... and he's always on guard. :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Yes, I have time for all of this...

People ask me every day how I have time to do "____" (fill in the blank - read books, maintain my website, upload pictures, play on F@ceb**k, cross-stitch, make banana bread, make scrapbooks, be on the HOA Board, etc, etc.) And I usually shrug and say something like "Oh, I read instead of cleaning the house." Actually, being online is an easy hobby with a houseful of kids. I can sit at the household crossroads of my kitchen table & view every in/out up/down move of the kids - and not have to put away tools, papers, or gear involved in other hobbies. Right now my other hobbies are on hold until the kids are all in bed, because I can't have them getting into all my "stuff." It's quite irksome to make a great scrapbook card, leave the room for a moment, and come back to a crayon-scribbled mess. Or to leave some sewing out, only to have all the needles and all of the thread color tags disappear into the void... No, I think for now the less tools & supplies, the better. Hit "save" and walk away! Woo-hoo!

I guess the biggest time-sucker that I don't fall into so much is TV. Sure, there are a lot of shows I enjoy, and even a few that I commit to for the season. And I do get caught up in mindless goofy shows now & then ("It's C&mplic@ted" - really?? No Denise, it's actually not that complicated.) , and often can't look away from a well-loved Seinfeld re-run. But for the most part, I can't stand to sit there and click around just looking for entertainment. I'd rather click around online or edit photos or make banana bread or.... blog! Besides, this has a purpose, a higher goal! Blogging will hone my writing skills so that I can pick up a career when the littlest Lear goes off to school in a few short years.

Come on, it's more fun than watching Lifetime.... :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Why Borderland Traveler?

For a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that I thought it would be a pretty cool blog name! :-) And it covers a multitude of topics, so I can be as varied as I am. Oh, okay, honestly, it's the Floyd in me. Dad could never resist a good name. When all the Y2K hype was abuzz, he changed his email addy to "Y2KSeeker," and then named his own site "St@nes of F!re." So I come by the naming drama honestly, and I know Dad would get a kick out of this. :)

If I decide to go mystical, a borderland traveler hints at inhabiting the borderland between this world and all others. A fascinating place to be, and one that brings exciting insight and commitment to this life... thanks to Dad for this habit too - as anyone who has lost a loved one can attest, when your Dad goes somewhere you cannot follow directly, or see clearly, you tend to turn over every stone trying to communicate. Or maybe that's just me, and the Watson-bequeathed mystical side again? I'll let you know if Dad reads this & comments!

If I wax parental, it hints that as a parent, I am on the border. Of sanity? Perhaps! Any parent who says they have not been to that particular border is lying!

So, here goes. Borderland Traveler commences.

Whew. I picked a name. It's no easy thing, this idea of a name. But the blogging part? That's easy. I've been "blogging" since I was at least 12, only it used to be called "journaling." :) Writing is a compulsion for me, whether it's turning a harrowing day into a funny tale or writing poetry.

So here's to enjoyable travels from this inhabitant of the borderland...