Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Busted

Today:
Cole: Mom, do that funny "I'm a fat baby" thing you do.
Me: Not right now, I can't go from angry mommy to funny mommy that quickly.
Cole: That's funny, because you can sure go from funny mommy to angry mommy in an instant.

Ba-duh-DUM! That's right folks, he'll be here all week!

Oh, the joyous moments we have with our offspring. Oh, the heartwarming moments when we think we have utterly failed to teach them any gratefulness or empathy. Oh, the proud instant when angry mommy decides a lesson is in order. All for the greater benefit of mankind, don't ya know, let alone the lesser, albeit crucial, benefit of family serenity. Don't even get me started on my "productive member of society vs societal leech" lecture.
I am learning what a parental soapbox-er I can be, if the recent eyes glazing, and little heads nodding in pain with that "please-just-finish-fussing-so-we-can-get-on-with-our-fun-and-or-squabbling" looks are any indication. All for the greater good, I tell you!

Add to it my lecture list, which is growing with the ages my kids reach.
For age 10, the list contains one prominent speech: "Apply yourself in school to the best of your ability, or you will grow up to live in a van down by the river." This one has many variations, and yes, the examples of future fast food jobs and beat-up cars (also parked down by the river) are trotted out. They don't work. Ten year olds think fast food jobs are super cool, and beat-up cars just mean fun has been had in them.

Now, one lecture that did get his attention, surprisingly, was the "Please think long and hard before you start a family of your own" talk. I know. It slipped out in a moment of weakness, when Child 4 was bombarding me with sensory overload (read: screaming AND lofting cars at me). I begged Cole to travel and finish his education and do all sorts of fun things before he settles down and starts a family.
He replied frankly: "I'm beginning to think I should be a bachelor like Uncle Zay, and spend all my money on heated toilet seats and sports cars!"
Oh, the simple pleasures of (supposed) bachelorhood! Heated toilet seats?? That I cannot attest to, in his uncle's defense. The sports car? Oh yes. Top of the line.

I don't know where I was going with this chat, or if I reached my destination. But wow! I feel better. Confessional booth, you are borderland today.
I can now ease up on the lectures.
(Still for the greater good, I swear it!)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Merry merry


Eat drink and be merry they said, and so we did.


The company Rick works for had their annual holiday party weekend, and it was my favorite so far. Maybe because I actually got to stay over at the resort, and wasn't called home early for sick kids, hmmm? It's been a theme - each year at party time, some small Lear has been sick. So this year was extra fun, what with all the wellness just exuding from our pores.
Sunset cruise on the lake, tasty catered dinner, dance floor, full bar? Hello, my name is B.
Partying with a crowd I see once a year? Fun - now that it has been 7 years, and we all know each other a bit. (Hi Jen, Hi Darlene!)
We haven't danced that much in years, and it was a riot. I don't even have more pics to share because A.) I didn't get a new work iPhone like Rick, and B.) dancing is more fun than taking pictures.
Amen.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A joke. Who, me?

I realize now I have been playing jokes on you.
You already know this, and yet you keep showing up.
Here is the joke - get ready, it is very funny:

I keep promising to write stories about HI-larious things, and then I never post them. Or write them. I just promise, promise, promise, and then walk away.

Can you get your breath back? Wasn't that the best? I know. Like, you would think, having looked over the last post where I said Mama had been up to hijinks, that I would return and in an orderly fashion, begin the post on Mama and her Hijinks. See, I even have a title. But no.
Oh, what is it that is paved with good intentions? The way to Santa's heart? I thought so.

Instead, oh instead let me go on and on about the multitude of things I am accomplishing as we speak. Teacher gifts - always a favorite task! Making cards, also a treat! (I am making sets of 6, for gifts. And when I say "sets," and "gifts," I mean "set" and "gift" - for that is as far as I've gotten. Singular.)
And, and, and! The elves have arrived at our house, and boy howdy do I love their mischief. I especially love it when I have fallen asleep, reading on the couch (every night. count on it.), and I wake up to sleep-walk to bed without losing my nod and Bam! I remember the mischief that is to be made. And I try to make Rick do it, and he argues about how HE wanted to elves to come ONE week before Christmas, and I insisted on this week, and HE will be rocking elf mischief during that last week. I would threaten a throttling but.... he comes up with clever trouble for them. Because he is wide awake and NOT sleeping on the couch. So back down I head, to work my magic.
Now, you may be wondering, as you often do - "Does the presence of the elves make your kids behave like angels?" Well. Frankly, no. Not at all. Sure, sure, the good intentions are there. But the threat level goes to red every afternoon, and I can feel the magic wearing thin. 2 out of 4 children will be impacted by the threat of poor behavior equaling Christmas consequences. A 50/50 shot at curbing behavior? Methinks them odds are stinky.

And on that note, I will wish you a Happy Friday, and go on my merry way. I promise.

PS I love these guys.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Holidays? What holidays!

Hi kids. I'm still here, still kicking and wow! Is it December already?? I am taken by surprise this year. I have yet to browbeat Rick into dragging the holiday decor out of the attic, and yet to hang my crafty advent banner. The shock of it! Don't worry, the kiddies are surviving just fine with the new countdown calendar I unveiled.
Using the same magnetic premise cookie sheet as Halloween... Who, me? Recycling and re-inventing? Well, it IS red, and it WAS begging to be used again. Alas, no photos yet. Be good little girls and boys and I may whip out my special (untalented) camera for a poorly lighted photo or two.
I know, I hear the sighs and questions "How do you find the time?? Are you a time traveler??
Well, one question at a time. If you know me and my love of all things mystical, the time travel question will take a whole post.
The first answer is this: I stole time. I stole time from my home. Instead of cleaning it, I made a crafty calendar. I know it, my family knows it, and by golly my floor shows it.
Now that we have that burning question answered, we can all relax.
I have some Tales of Mom to relate - because my mama has been a busy bee, and it's not just guinea hens anymore, kids.

But that will have to wait too - oh the tease of it! - as I leave you with a line from dear mama, and I quote: "The dogs pulled a houdini and got out of the fence because the gate was broken. Jeremy had fixed it temporarily, but it didn't hold. I had a few glasses of wine, and then did some mowing on the big mower and accidentally took out the gate, did I not tell you that?"

No. No you did not. I am still laughing, just picturing the scene. Do you think she was wearing a swimsuit, like in the Great Guinea Chick rescue?? Oh words, you are fine things, but sometimes a picture is necessary.
Many smiles to you and happy Friday! I'm not saying ignore your chores, but a little calendar would be so much fun... ;-) It can be our tiny wittle secwet.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Overheard: Turkey Talk

Phoenix: Jady, let's go to people's houses and say Happy Giving Day.
Jadyn: No Phoenix, it's not like Halloween.

Jadyn: Is that the turkey butt?
Me: Yep. Dad's stuffing it with stuffing, and you're getting it on your plate later.
Jadyn: Ahhhhh! Let's ride our bikes away from the turkey butt.
Phoenix: I want macaroni instead.

Isabella: Poor turkey. We're gonna eat you. What are you doing to it?!

Phoenix: It's Anksgiving Day? All our family comes over?
Me: No buddy, it's just us this year. We'll see them at Christmas.
Phoenix: What?! You're not my family.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The turkey has...

...entered the building!
I know, after all those turkey lunches at the school, who could want more? Oh, the tradition! Another tradition is the kids talking about turkey for 2 weeks, and never actually eating any. None of them like it a bit. So Rick and I are always doomed to eat it until we cannot stand the sight of it anymore. Rick lasts longer than I do, I am a wimpy leftover eater. Two days max.

So my turkey chicks are all home for five days, and at the moment are wearing every coat they own. It is windy and 65 degrees, and their blood is thin. No, really, they are playing "how many coats can I put on" and they all look like doughboys. I don't know, but whatever it is, they are playing it outside, and I am listening to their noise through the filter of doors and walls.

Which means I can hear Jack Johnson crooning and strumming, and it's a good morning.
You can imagine that there is yet another handmade holiday banner hanging, and you would be right.
It says "thankful," and we are.

Thankful for health and well-being,
Thankful for small, whole little people
Who drive us crazy and make us laugh.
Thankful for humor and family
Preferably together, because one without the other
dooms us all.
Maybe.
or maybe it's just my family?
{Nope.}

Times have changed so much, that I don't even long for what used to be home, and what used to be our routine. I guess 10 years of children will change any tradition. It used to be that come holiday time I would feel the pull towards Beaufort County, and my grandmother's cooking. My brothers' teasing and the belly laughs that go along with family jokes that have been ongoing for decades. I would grow all angst-y and incomplete, and long only to be on the road headed for home. Somewhere, in the process of gaining children and losing family, that shifted.

It's good to be home.

And now a moment for something that hasn't changed - sentimentality at the holidays!
Thanks for being part of my bloggy community, and for the comments and emails no matter how frequent or rare. {I am thankful...}
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours wherever your Home may be.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The week, in photo

Shots of the week to tide you over? Yes? OK. Here they are...

One turkey lunch...
Three turkey lunch...
Four.
Mama don't want turkey lunch, no more, no more, no more.



Also, Cole went on the overnight 5th grade field trip this week, at a GA 4-H Center, and apparently held some snakes, rowed a canoe, climbed ropes and took a cold shower. Wow! Sending a camera with him resulted in some fun shots.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tidbits to share

We are barely out the classroom door, into the quiet hallway, when the sharing begins.

My baby sister was crying last night. My Mommy woke up and gave her milk. My baby is so tiny.
Another voice chimes in:
My, my, my brother, my baby brother is standing up and holding on!
And then the first voice is back:
I have two baby sisters, the new sister, and a two year old sister. The new baby is crying a lot.

Two by two, I take them to the media center. In the next duo of students, I have a joke-teller, and a family member reviewer - she tells me her family names, and I must then list all of my kids.
These are my weekly updates, each time I visit one of my girls' classes, for reading tests. They come with me in pairs, to listen to a story and take a short comprehension quiz on the computer. But the sharing of Important Business is paramount. Small hands slide into mine, and they vie for air time, eyes sparkling at the presence of a pair of fresh ears.
Mostly, it is talk of siblings, pets and holidays. Moving to new houses, best friends. Now and then there are soulful ones who share bits of their hearts and leave me wondering and wistful.

My mommy makes things that are perfect. (Speaking of baking, confided with sparkling eyes and confidence in her mommy's kitchen splendor.)

And this one, I can never forget:
I don't have a mommy, I have a nanny who takes care of me.

I could only hug this one, and greet him with a special smile ever after. There are the quiet ones I have made a mission to get a smile out of, and the wild ones I have determined will walk and not run down the hall.
At six years old their little personalities are shining out, striving for some independence and success. My ears may be the only ones listening to only them for that day, and I try my hardest to be present. To listen fully and let them know I am glad to be there, reading with them, and hearing the tidbits of their lives. When it is one of my own girls' turn, they both act the same way: they snuggle in and are mostly silent. Listening to their friends chat, and hearing my responses seems to be enough.
We pass by students that I know from years past, and other reading groups. Fingers wiggle and wave, they sneak a hug and get back in line. I leave the building with a smile, my thoughts swirling lazily over all the little tidbits I now carry.

Sweet pieces of sweet little people.

Not a bad way to spend a morning.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Terms of Endearment

I am scattered and smothered like the ubiquitous Waffle House taters.
Anyone else doing fifth grade HW that is all about personification, metaphors, alliteration or similes? No?
Oh. Well, then. Hi!
(Also, is it wrong for my child to take a project to school in a plastic Total Wine bag? Egads, I better switch that now before I forget.)
I'm popping in to say... 1. I was not dragged away and forced to sit a throne forever as a goth princess, and 2. the Halloween candy is gone, may it rest in peace.
This is one of those months when moms say "the days are long, but the years are short."
Even my brother-in-law said immediately, over the phone last night: "You sound tired."
I chuckled throatily. What a word that is! What wishful thinking! Maybe I should say: I chuckled congestively. There, that's more accurate.
I agreed and said something to effect that his nephew Phoenix was looking for winter boarding quarters. Ha! I wish I had actually said that, because as Ken is the other half of my doula, something could have possibly resulted from that request. Hmmm. Food for thought.

Anyway, these are busy times and long days.
The End.
Not really, but really. Have I over-committed somewhere? I would swear that there are fewer hours in the day, and those that remain are flying by at the speed of that asteroid that barely missed us last weekend. This life has been a mad dash of late, and I consider it a good week when the kids wear clean clothes each day, have bathed a few times, and eaten a fruit at each meal. So simple, right? You'd think, wouldn't you. Maybe I should really set those three things as my only weekly goals, and then - Shazam! I'd have this thing down. As long as clean doesn't mean ironed. Then - Shazam! It is ON!
I've gotten a lot accomplished these last few weeks, while I have not been posting - but it hasn't been graceful or laudatory. Speaking of laudatory (another good word! That literary HW, it hath bewitched me!), wouldn't it be great if we got a round of applause when we succeeded at a really challenging parenting feat? Like, if we nailed the cirque du soleil act of mothering, and a crowd of well-wishers stepped out and clapped heartily, while nodding encouragingly?

Wow. I digress. I was only saying Hi.
Hi!
I'll be back once I have something {real} to write about, and am de-scattered.
Happy Friday kids...

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Countdown Ends!


Yes. I completely agree. Isabella's "show all my missing teeth" grin is the scariest sight around.
Happy Day, the countdown has been counted, the day is here, and they are ready to explode with anticipation. Lucky for the chaperones, it is sunny and warm, and a pleasant eve for the occasion.
Be safe! Have fun!
And, join me in hoping for many Milky Way Dark chocolates.
(Are you wondering if I will be indeed be Phoenix's wish for a Frincess?
Well, you will see tomorrow... bwahahaha...)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

That Edge

On feisty days the energy runs
and tries to break out-
I am someone
I used to be.

The mirror tells me I am not
but the eyes
they give the game away
Through me and to me
they say you are who you are
grown up or small
tamed or
wild
Winds of change blow through

I am drawn along the edge
of feeling the present and the past hand in hand
who says time is separate
when it walks so closely
in the heart

Now a fierceness stares back
daring me to become
what the wild wind says
It is not angst or longing this time
not anymore
It is pure power of life

And I know the moment it dives under the skin
Enlivening, freeing, acknowledging
Seeing the loop of then and now
I am free

BL
10/30/11

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Guest Blog: Phoenix the Frash-Talker

Doody-head. Buttocks. Stupid.
I say this thing over and over, and everybody laughs.
Then I get in frouble.
Mom says I'm a frash-talker, and I better stop talking frash to the kids.
And not to call her names either, 'cause I go to my room.
I tell her, I say, I tell you, it's Cole's room. It's not my room.
It's Cole's room. That's sure Cole's room. Where I'm going for time out now, huh, doody-head?
You're like a potty head. Frick or freat, smell my feet, gimme sumfin good to eat, I don't care, I pull my underwear up. It's almost Halloween. I see scarefrows in the yards. I see scarefrows downtown, and I yell SCAREFROW! There's a SCAREFROW!
Then I say Hold my hand Mom.
You're a doody-head.
Old lady.
You're a old lady.
Nice haircut Mom. Nice earrings. No! No! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!
It's not my room, I can't go to my room!
Hold my hand Mom.
*******************************************************
This guest post was not scripted. Nor exaggerated. Start praying for me now.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ode to Footwear

Dear Offspring,

It has come to my attention that I am spending way too much of my time with your clothing items. One type, in particular. The lowly, lonely, sock. Fifty-six child-size socks per week, to be exact.
Whether it's gathering up socks from far-flung dusty places, unwadding, unrolling and insiding-outing, or (my favorite) taking crusty ones outside to shake out, I am up to my ears. These socks have no mates. These socks are a socky mess. I daydream of throwing them all away and getting one color and size for you all. I hardly think you would care. I find them under the couch, I find them on the stairs. I find them in my car, for heaven's sake, with a cloud of smelly foot rising up from them. Discarded, deserted, dispatched with haste - sock, you are anathema to me.
I know I have convinced you that scraped and banged-up legs just mean you are having fun. I do not feel the same about socks. Dirty smelly inside-out balled-up socks in every room do not mean you, or I, are having fun.
I can't care, says my inner Phoenix. I just can't care about socks anymore. When your feet get cold in the coming chill, just know that all of your socks have gone to that place in the ether where lost items go.
The dryer.
Love,
Mom

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween Fever is on

They are dressed...
and ready...


for one of their favorite...
nights of the year!
The costumes come out every afternoon, the Halloween shirts are worn days on end, the discussion of which streets we will go down has begun. Before long, Cole will publish his map (made weeks ago) of the best houses to trick or treat - I've seen this map, and he's right. Hi, neighbor with full-size candy bars! And in the true manner of a wired kid, Cole has G00gled "how to get the most candy at halloween." He came to me with his results, wearing a furrowed look and shaking his head. Oh G00gle. What idiotic Web-driven masterpiece has he searched up now? (I do have search lock on his computer)
He snorted and said some teenagers were posting mean ways to get candy. Whew. Could've been ugly.
We share stories from last year, of the haunted garage our friends hosted, of the other haunted garage that creeped some kids out so badly, they ran the other way. I'll admit, when Cole asked me to walk up to that garage with him, and I saw the head hanging in the midst of a dry ice fog, a bare table with one small dish of candy, and felt the mood set by the intense music.... ooooh. Shivers!
Music, dry ice and decapitation - these 3 elements rule the spooky world.
Most Bizarre-o? The Indian man. Definitely.
We approached that house, noting that the front door was open, but the opening was covered completely by a plastic sheet with Halloween decorations on it. A small hole was cut out at waist height. As the kids approached, a wrinkled brown hand poked out the hole in the plastic, clutching candy to drop into their bags. A voice from behind the plastic prattled on, and cackled, but we couldn't understand a word.
As you may imagine, this sparked some discussion over the process of people immigrating to the US, and trying to make sense of the massive consumer-fest that is Halloween. He had decorated, albeit unusually, and he had procured candy, wrapped and brand-name. We'll be looking for you again this year, Mr. Pokey-Hand! You sure got the creepy part down!

Here's hoping your little ghouls are also revving up...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Eyes of the Beholder

What are you being for Halloween, Mom? A Frincess?

With these simple words, the boy had my back. I never doubted his sincerity. In his eyes, I am some sort of "Frincess," and this princess melted a little and forgave him a lot. He is my constant companion, always watching, forever seeing. The first to notice a new purse, or new earrings - and the boy knows who butters his bread.
Nice earrings, Mom. Nice purse.
But mostly it's just who he is.
His ornery, wild, hilarious side is perfectly counter-balanced by his complimentary, small-gentleman side. It had to be so. Or else he would spend eternity in his room, contemplating his toddler follies.
I'm sorry, Mom. I just love you.
The keys to the dungeon are sweet and sincere. Large, watery hazel eyes look straight into my eyes, and all of his bravado (and oh, there's a-plenty) drops away. I shake my head at how one small boy can get what an apology is and should be, and execute it perfectly. Other local children, who shall remain nameless, could take lessons in the offering of a sincere apology.
Here's to you, you little stinker.
Just when I think you are beyond the pale, you go and say something so sweet. You are always tricking me, Phoeney-Phoenster. "Fricked ya!" you yell, hooting at me. Yep, you sure did trick me. Keep it up.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Full Moon and other Randomness

What has gone wrong with these children? Something weird is in the atmosphere.
These were my thoughts yesterday, and lo and behold - it was a full moon. Universe, let's please just blame the full moon, let it wax and wane, and allow for the return of my *real* children ASAP.
Thank you.
*******************************************************
In other kid news, Cole has learned to whistle. I cannot stress enough how this has impacted my day to day life. It's like living with Whistlin' Will, and everywhere I go, he follows. Whistling.
Cole also has had two goals this week, by way of trying to earn money.
1. Hunt for a lost cat whose owner has posted signs all over the neighborhood.
2. Hunt for a lost scarecrow, that was made by an elementary class, and stolen from downtown. The mayor has posted a $100 reward.
Believe me, this kid has his eyes peeled for *any* suspicious characters toting scarecrows. And any cats that could fit the description of: "Lost. Gray cat. Reward." Neighbor, he has your phone number in his pocket. Be warned.

*******************************************************
As for me?
I am staying afloat in all my duties and commitments. :) Doesn't that sound nice? It hasn't been. I am actually feeling frazzled and too busy. Also, I feel like a janitor. The challenge of it, oh the challenge! Waaaaah.... I knew I should have stuck with the kid update.

Know what I should do?
As soon as they are out the door to school, I should head out looking for scarecrows and cats.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Counselor part two

Her troubles were mounting, and it was time for another visit with The Counselor.

Isabella: I talked to the counselor again. I told her I can't ride my bike. It's too hard without training wheels. And I told her that I want to go to the park or play Wii with my family this weekend. Those were my troubles.
*******************************************************
Fast forward a week. I asked her at bedtime if she been to the counselor again this week.

Isabella: No. Now we are only allowed to go if we have problems. We can't go to her and just talk about our day. So, now only the kids that have problems can go to her office.

Counselor chat nipped in the bud. Just like that. Oh Counselor! I knew thee so shortly, and had such hopes. Where will my child now find answers to her dear troubles?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Countdown!

Halloooo! I got my act together and finished this little cutie before the start of October. I have wanted to make a Countdown calendar for two years now, but it requires: 1. making it, and 2. making it before the 1st of October. You see the dilemma.
If I were a craft blogger, I would have photographed the steps taken. But that requires: 1. photo skillz, and 2. remembering to photograph each step.
Oh, have I none? I have none.
The good news, oh there's always good news... Rather than painting an old crusty cookie sheet, I used a shiny new IKEA one - and hey! Red! Love it! Plus? Everything on this is magnetized, so I can remove it all and use the red cookie sheet for... wait for it... a Christmas Countdown calendar as well. Oh, you want one, right? I know. Me too. I better get right on that.

I spent a few mornings of my Phoenix-free time making these magnets, and while it was soothing and enjoyable to me, there are quicker ways to go. Halloween stickers, number stickers, card stock, a sheet of magnets, and presto change-o - cool magnets! I am part owner of a Cricut, so I used that to cut out the branches and some numbers and other shapes, but most of the stickers and sparkly papers were from the Target dollar bins and craft area. The kids are taking turns removing the magnets, and since I have cleaned off one. whole. side of the fridge (bonus!), there is a place to put them, where we can still enjoy these fun cuties.




And that, my friends, is one of the only things I've gotten done this month. Yes. Scary, isn't it? I am spooked myself. Traci I know you are proud... you are the reason! And you knew I would find a shortcut to painting an old pan! :) clickit here to see Traci's awesome calendar.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

To Care or Not to Care

What is this word, to care?
I hear it a lot around here. Only it is reversed, turned into a nonchalant, breezy rejection.
Thank you Phoenix. You have taught us that we care too much about too many things.
We should take your advice, and dial back the caring.

Isabella: It's OUR room! Get out! You're making a mess!
Phoenix, easy, breezy: I can't care it's your room. I can't care about a mess.

Cole: Phoenix! Stop hitting me with that bat!
Phoenix, nonchalantly: I can't care I'm hitting you. I can't care it's your bat.

He has been through so many names already, right? Mr. Big, Todzilla, Noonie...
And now I add a new one. Kookaburra. From the song, only he does not sit in a tree, though he does demand Save More For Me! It has a nice ring, as in, hey you little kookaburra, stop throwing shoes!
He throws his head back and laughs maniacally. He is boy, he is Kookaburra, and I may stow him away in the top of a gum tree if I can ever find one. Just to keep him safe, you know.
Safe from the Mommy who wants to stop all of his kookaburra-ing, wild antics and hear him from the distance of a tall tree some days.

Mommy: Phoenix, stop pestering everyone. Find a hobby, because this is not it.
Phoenix, pointing a sassy finger: Pester! Pester! I'm sure pestering. I'm sure gonna get those kids. I tell you! I tell YOU I'm getting them!

It is his world, that bold Kookaburra, and we better just do what he wants, so no one gets hurt.
Cause when the Kookaburra goes all Cuckoo, no one escapes unscathed...


I've been away, and out of the blog zone. Blame it on the Kookaburra. No, seriously. It's all him. I'll get my fall routine going and be back!

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Scariest Scarecrow

It was staked in the yard when I came home last weekend.
A shimmery black suit with glowing green bones. A skull mask leering from the top of the stake.
The kids had been busy, prepping for Halloween. They danced around it, showing off their newspaper-stuffing skills. They bounced up and down, delighted at scrounging through the garage to find a stake.
It was creepy and spooky and all the things that kids love in October.
***************************************************
Hours later, I peered out from the front door. I gasped. I shivered with a strong creepy feeling, when I glimpsed the back of that staked scarecrow.
I marched out and pulled that stake right out of the ground.
What did my eyes spy?
The stake, oh the stake... (shivers!) it had the hospital-issue "It's a Boy" sign on the back.
And never a scarier sight had my eyes spied!
Just. the. thought! I quake in my boots! My eyes, my eyes!

And that was the Scariest Scarecrow Ever.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Friend

My friend, she listens and talks
Talks and listens
Sharing, filling in, laughing
Marveling
A joke about parenthood, the trials of four
It pokes our funny bones
Spectacularly and darkly amusing
She knows cuckoo
and thinks I am not it
Or maybe only a bit, in the most comforting way
A world without the cuckoo would be
a world in which the mystery had gone
And nobody wants a sure thing.
My friend has clear eyes
and I look into them fearlessly
Knowing what I see
and not minding what she sees
There may be surprises but not disappointment
never that
For what lies inside we have always known
Though the current and present reminders are
ever
and always
a Joy.

with love
BL
9/28/11

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Counselor

My interest was caught midway through her story. She likes to sit nearby when she gets home from school, and spin tales about her day, telling me all the small happenings and big news from her new class. I listen, albeit with partial attention, because multi-tasking is a method of survival around here. (I often wonder if I am capable of giving my singleminded full attention to any one thing, anymore.)
When my attention sprang into action, it was at the phrase "...and so I put a note in her mailbox."

Me: Back up sweetie, what mailbox, and to whom did it belong? (like I really talk that way)

Isabella: The school counselor. She comes by our class, and she said if we have anything we need to talk about, we can write a note and put it in her little blue mailbox. So I wrote her a note.

Me: Aha. What did you need to talk about? What did your note say? (please not anything weird, please not anything wacky) (Excuse my panic, but Isabella once told a friend this little tidbit "My Mommy and Daddy always shower together." Given that I had a 5 year old, 3 year old twins, and was 6 months pregnant at the time... well, that was a large bit of fabrication, right? I tell you, the girl must be supervised, when she is in a confiding mood.)

Isabella: Well, my note said "I miss Jadyn."

Me: (with great relief and shiny eyes) Oh. Oh. You sweetheart, I'm so sorry you are lonely for Jadyn. What did the counselor tell you? (Both of the girls have been doing great in separate classes, and were *to my unskilled knowledge* doing fine. :))

Isabella: She told me to come talk to her when I felt lonely.

Me: Hmm. That sounds good.

And that concluded episode one of Counselor Talk.

Two days later, she was back with more news.

Isabella: I went to talk with the counselor today. I put a note in her box again, and she called me to come talk to her.

Me: Oh, how 'bout that. What did you talk about?

Isabella: My note said "I am having trouble with subtraction." And the counselor said that we could work on it together.

Me: You and I? She said you needed to work on it more at home? (giggly and slightly confused, since again to my *unskilled knowledge* math is going fine.)

Isabella: No, she meant her. She said she could work on subtraction with me. In her office.

At this point a small lightbulb went off in my head. Yes, yes, accompanied by a guilty feeling for the children who actually need the counselor's help. But the lightbulb, as you parents with children who have the Dreaded Homework each night know... (and don't even get me started on juggling this hot four-headed mess during HW time.)
Well. Let's just say that this counselor may become my new best friend.
*cough cough*
I mean Isabella's New. Best. Friend.
I'd say they are already on their way, right? And what's a little HW help between friends!
Are you with me?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Done

Done

What do we do when the doin' is done?
And silence falls
A moment for thought
Feeling
What do we think when the thinkin' is all thought out?
Nothing is solved
And walking is the only way
Forward on and on, this path might not be familiar
but it is mine.
There might not be answers to think or thunk or thank, god bless me
But I can walk.
What do we do when the feelin' is felt?
Soak it in, wring it out, wiggle each finger and toe
free of tension
On into freedom
And keep walkin'
This is our way, we humans
Doing, thinking, feeling and ultimately
Moving on.
In and over and through whatever this plain brings
And I can feel in my blood
the movement
the rush
The spirit that threads through
Tying pretty little bows around each of us
and linking those bows
every which way and every what way
And that is friendship.
Spiritual ribbons in all the colors of the rainbow.

BL
...on a crisp September eve...
9/16/11


Saturday, September 10, 2011

That Festival Again

It's that time... Time for the Yellow Daisy Festival at Stone Mountain Park!
And as we have over the years, my friend Traci and I met up to browse the arts and crafts and enjoy a rare visit together. Living on different sides of the ATL can seem so far apart...
No, not literally, but in reality? Life gets in the way, and don't we know how life changes once small people are in the picture.
So we welcomed a morning to catch up, and check out great art. Perhaps find a little treasure or two to smuggle home...
In an odd convergence of memory and place, I can recall just about every purchase that Traci and I have made at the Festival over the years. Passing by the vendors that return every year is like a sweet walk down a bumpy, tree-root-ridden memory lane.

T, you bought some dried flowers there, right? Look, those earrings again, I saw her at the Roswell show. Pottery in Internet Blue, that's still our favorite shade... Ohhh! It's those pendant necklaces, I have been looking at those for 3 years now... How many years have we seen that booth? Well, that must be the new thing - there are three booths with custom frames. What are these? Oh - vintage post office box safes. Hmm. Interesting. Wot? Is she doing hair using pipe cleaners? Huh? (That's affirmative.) Ohhh. these are always so beautiful, these birdhouses. The tinted tin roofs, and all the detail!

And on and on it goes, our running festival commentary interspersed with family happenings and exclamations of delight at some newly spotted treasure. Or some treasure that we have been eye-balling for awhile - glass-encased pendants anyone? Three years was long enough. It was time to take the plunge. A bird on one side and... a tree on the other! I was sunk.


I will have you around my neck, my pretty...
All the while, I offer my usual reasoning for a necklace or earring purchase: I wear them every day! With this short hair, I have to have a little decoration. I *only* have 4 tree pendants, and none of them are red...
It's a foregone conclusion, but we must pay homage to the tradition of demurring and declining. Somehow it makes the treasure that much sweeter.
Here's to sweet friends, little treasures and weekend festivals.
Happy weekend internetz...
And if you're local, stop by the festival. Pick up a vintage PO Box safe. Interesting, they certainly are. Selling quickly, they are not.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Unlikely friendships

This was the challenge, and the subject: to write a short essay on your most unlikely friend. I took the challenge, chose my subject and submitted the essay.
Alas! I was a no go for the finalists.
So now I am free to do what I want with my short piece, and I want to share it with my bloggy friends. Meet my friend Louise...

Louise

Being friends with Louise is like coming home.
She is the one kin to a favorite sweater, the one you shrug on whenever you have a chill or are craving coziness. She says she has known me since I was a baby - I say we knew each other in worlds before this one.

Effortless companion, giving quiet support - she is graced with a sudden spark of feistiness that makes me grin every time. Recently, months have gone by between conversations. Yet hearing her voice, the smile lighting her words and imagining her in familiar surroundings, it’s like only a moment has passed.

I wonder if this connection was sparked by circumstance, that we came together as I was falling apart and searching for myself. I was a teenager, parents just divorced, carrying the arrogance of my age with all the cluelessness that coincides. Woman-child in need of a safe haven. She had a knack for gathering in wounded souls, and providing a foundation of spiritual solidity and simple needs. I opened up little by little, in her kitchen, as we prepared food and cleaned counters. Though I surely learned many things from her, she was first my friend.

Years have crept by and still, we turn to each other when there are tragedies, family happenings or just plain longings to see each other. Now and then I chuckle, thinking of the fact that Louise is nearly 50 years older than I am - and yet somehow there is not a year between my timeless friend and I.

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There were nine finalists chosen, and I like four of their stories: Sandi, Nancy, Shelly and Stacey. Click on over to read about other Unlikely Friends!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Morning Review

The silence is deafening. It is literally so quiet, I can hear the quiet.
Child Four has started his first week of preschool, and I am alone in the house.
Alone. In the quiet.
And as a friend pointed out, it is the first time in ten years that preschool has begun, and I have only my beating heart in the room. When Cole turned three and started preschool, I was pregnant with twins. When the girls turned three and started preschool, Phoenix was 3 months old.
And now, it is just me and my beating heart.
I cannot decide what to tackle first: household organizing that has been put off... ditto for deep cleaning... the Honey-Do list... enjoying the silence and accomplishing absolutely nothing... or blogging. Oh! You've guessed what I decided on? :)
I could hardly start cleaning, since I have already put on heels and a dress for a lunch date with my Rickey. And dangle-y earrings. Maybe a dab of perfume. Girls, we are worlds away from flip flops, cargo shorts & a tank top on this Friday!
*************************************************************
Excitement is in the air, but it's not all about lunch dates and the start of preschool. Rabid Auburn fans are gearing up for the first game, which is tomorrow, and which the Lear brood will be attending. As Phoenix says (pom-pons shaking at 6am) Go War Eagle!
Rick has turned them all into mini-fans, and I am along for the ride. (My alma mater does not have a football team, so my team spirit is dormant. :))
It's our first game with the whole crew, and.... Go War Eagle is all I can say. :)

Happy weekend friends!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

After the storm

I know, it is still raging on. And I know GA certainly didn't get any wind or rain - hot sunny skies stayed in place here. But I stayed on the phone with my Mom yesterday, on and off until the night, as she rode out the hurricane in her little house in eastern NC. Washington is on the Pamlico, and the only time our region is on the national news continually is when there is a weather-related disaster.
The stress of 12 hours of pounding wind and rain, ouch.
The disbelief and giggling at Mom's storm-capades, good grief.
At the point where winds were {only} 60 mph, and rain was falling in thick sheets, here is the conversation that took place:
Me: How is everything, Mom?
Mom: I just came back inside!
Me: What?! What in the world!
Mom: I just went outside in my bathing suit! I had to move my guinea chicks to a better shelter. They were getting too wet. And the hens were cackling, so I tried to corral them against the garage. There are branches down all down the lane, and I figured whatever was going to fall had already fallen...
Me: Mom, Mom, Mom... stay inside. Those chickens will be fine.
Mom: Jeremy's right next door, if anything happened.
Me (in my head): How will he KNOW anything happened to you?! He is not expecting you to be shepherding your fowl flock in a hurricane!

This is what happens when children grow up and move away. Mothers then mother creatures. And gallivant in tropical storm conditions in their swimsuits, moving eleven guinea chicks to a shelter that is (not) impervious to pounding rain. I wonder if she wore her Roxy hot pants swimsuit, or her bustier and swim skirt?
Anyway, the family is safe, and it is now a hot sunny day in eastern NC. Clean-up can begin. Dozens of trees are down on her property, and chainsaws will soon be buzzing.

I am eagerly awaiting any more Storm News from my LDub friends... (Susan! Hope the power comes on soon so you can post!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In the Fall

In the fall
there is the angst we feel in our own way
Is it muscle memory
Is it our instincts
That pull and fret and cannot settle?
Energy and purpose appear in the guise of projects
Schedules
Projections
and an array of attempts to calm
and quell the beast.

In the almost fall
there is heat from the sky and chill from the earth
for the humans
to remark over.
To relate to the angst
and blame for the tug.
The minuscule change in the air
has us raising our noses, scenting the change
As though woodsmoke and frost were blowing our way

In the fall
as the cycle brings dormancy
to some living things
Others stumble out, eyes blinking,
and prepare to live
To create and drive purpose up the winding road
and straight into the arms of
success.

BL
8/23/11

Friday, August 19, 2011

Math by Jadyn

Hi friends!
On the last day of the first week of school, here's the run-down. It has been a (mostly) good week. Cole is happy with his 5th grade class, and has no complaints. The girls are in separate classes for the first time, and have adapted marvelously, despite my worrying and fretting. Yay, that. But, given the unfortunate (unforeseen? really?) situation of reduced enrollment, Isabella's 1st grade teacher was let go on Thursday (eek!!!), and Isabella was assigned a new class. Today. Getting to do the first day all over again in one week? Not fun. But she was calm getting on the bus, and so I will hope for the best. First grade, you heartbreaker!

Jadyn is having a great week, according to her teacher. I am delighted - and I am also beginning to think Jadyn's teacher will have an interesting year. I wish her the best of luck. Let me share exhibit A with you so you share the feeling.
The class was given a math pre-test, just for an assessment. Here is the last problem, indicative of how Jadyn does or does not think in typical math expressions.

Exhibit A:
Problem 7 with an apparently unrelated drawing, and a corrected answer, and a question mark.

Exhibit B: Upon closer review of the smiling girl picture...
We find that the drawing is of the aforementioned Mia, and she is indeed holding exactly ten pennies, and is accompanied by a discreet, yet correct number "10" in the bottom corner.
Clearly the salient information is that there was once a girl, and she had some money. And she was happy about it. How much money did she have? Exactly the amount she was supposed to have. Take that, Mrs C! And take my best wishes for the year!

As for the sultan of the household? If wearing my apron will make him happy (please, please), then he may wear it. One more week home alone with Mommy, one more week, you tiny terrorist. At our house, we sail through the terrible two's and slam into the tormenting three's.
Have a wonderful weekend, and I'll be back to tell you about my latest reading recommendation... I've been busy soaking in a new series and staying up late to read! Whee...
Happy Friday!

Monday, August 15, 2011

School Days are here again!


You knew it was coming... the First Day Back Post...
But - Phoenix has honed in on the fact that he is alone with me and I am (supposedly) at his beck and call. He has demanded 3 drinks already, and generally acted like a little sultan all morning.
Master Phoenix has 2 weeks until his preschool starts.
But back to the quieter aura of our home - ahhh... the bittersweet beginning of school. I had to hustle my brain into lunch-making, backpack-loading, hair-brushing mode at 6:15 and it was a struggle.
The kids were not struggling. They were acting like it was Field Day, and they were all competing for most words spoken in a minute, and most tangled feet stepping on mine, and most times aforesaid lunch-making and bag-packing could be interrupted for me to judge Field Day in my kitchen. And that was before Phoenix came roaring down the stairs - literally. He was in T-Rex mode.
Holy something or other, it was like a litter of puppies in there!
But we untangled them all, made it to the bus in good time, and scored our yearly ritual Bus Stop photos.
Let's move the First Day jitters out front.
Make sure the neighbors are up in time for work. Sorry, no mercy!

Field Day on the new bench! Everybody up!
Spare a moment of love for the twinsies, and their first year being in separate classes...
Now back to corralling the ego of the young sultan...
Happy Monday!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cole's Eye

Cole took my old camera on the boat ride, and here is what he saw:




He is off to 5th grade on Monday, that Cole.

The Last Splash all over again


*This is The Post That Couldn't Get Posted. I have been trying for 3 days, but blogger and life keep intervening! Good grief. It's just a boat ride! :)

With a week to go before school, we took another field trip last Friday to nearby Lake Lanier. Lots of lake time for the Lears, right? It's confusing to Phoenix. He was expecting to pull up at his grandmother's NC lake at any moment. Then he expected the boat to drive into her lake at any moment. Apparently HE doesn't recall the nine hour drive that is seared into MY brain.

Anyway, off we went on the pontoon rental for what is becoming our sweet tradition of goodbye to summer. Last year Phoenix did not get (was not allowed:)) to go, so this was Big Fun for him, and he did not stop talking the entire time. Except when he slept, briefly.

Now, I do realize that almost every post of the past month has included my children jumping off of something into some sort of water. Why?! Is it because jumping into water is so much fun for them? Or such a trick for me, getting that just-right shot? I think it's because you never know what you're going to get. Like this one for example. I could not possibly have set this up.



Or this.
Phoenix, turn the wheel that way.
Go sit down, Dad. It's my turn.
And there's Isabella, happily tubing, as this driving dilemma goes on.
I had a few more pics to show, but again, blogger is refusing me. So I am moving on! To be continued another day...
Happy Friday friends!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Family manifesto on a rainy day

We've got a good thing going here.
Wrapped up in our healthy sweet family, moving along in this world.
Taking nothing for granted, grateful for blessings.
Grateful for friends of every sort, the ones in our daily life and those we only wish could be.
It is never simple, we are too human for that. Too tangled and flawed and sincere in our attempts at building relationships.
But we walk with purpose, with a family mantra of unity, integrity.
Striving for constancy, love - can we reach family utopia?
Well. It is worth every effort.
I remember and take to heart the words from my father:

Do not allow others to disturb your peace.
Like water off a duck's back, walk on.

He sounded at once like a seer and cliche-spouter, in an endearing way. Profound yet earthy.
I did not know then that disturbance comes in many forms.
Yet we shift and huddle closer, consolidating our ranks, protecting our peace.
I guess that part is instinctive when ripples come in from life around us.
Like fur on a cat's back, we warn: come no closer if you bear ill will.
Like a contented purr we welcome: come in! feast and be merry with us!

If we can unite in our purpose, if we can move as one in this journey, oh the reward.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Worm on Your Shoulder

These are my favorites from the week. Phoenix took to Uncle Jeremy in a blink, and from then on we were all just scenery.
"Where's Deremy? When's Deremy coming over here?"
"Deremy!!! Hey dude!! Haha! I'm gonna get that guy."

This was the daily drill, wherever we were. You know Phoenix's fondness for yours truly, and for holding my hand - and yet when Jeremy was around? He didn't want to sit with me, he wanted to sit beside his New Best Friend. Oh, the angels sang.
On this day, it was the end of our joyous lake party. Jeremy showed up after work, all set to relax. Despite Phoenix's attempts to lure "Deremy" to swim with him, there was no moving from that chair.
So Phoenix brought the entertainment to him.
A worm from the bait tub.
Worm on your arm...
Worm on your shoulder...

Worm in your mouth! Hahahaha!

Deremy's my best friend in the whole wide world, Mom...
I love my baby brother.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lilliput and the Lake, Day Three

And on the third day, we had a lake party! I have very few friends I am still in touch with from high school, so it is a rare treat to spend time with them. One of the downsides to moving 7 times across three states, and settling in 9 hours from the hometown - long-distance friendships. (boo....) Upside to trips home, mutual friends and blogging? New friendships in the hometown! (Hi Susan!)
The grand total of munchkins that day? Eleven. And all but the three littlest were lining up to do tricks and jumps off the pier. The day held all the fun we needed:
Swan flop by Cole

Fishing, and fish-watching
(see the sliver of white in the water? It's a sand bar.)

Kayaking
And last but not least, the area in which grandmothers excel: snuggling. Mom gets extra points for this one, because it was 97 degrees out. That is love... She started calling Isabella "Wallowby" because of all the lap-sitting and wallowing that child does.

And who do we have to thank for all of this family bounty of nature?
My grandparents, Joan and Jehu. Who would have guessed that, 30 years ago when my grandfather leased this useless field to a company that wanted the sand, a freshwater spring would be underneath? Out of the original 97 acres of farmland he first owned, this was the little field that was chosen. The others were producing tobacco, corn or soybeans. What luck, to find this kind of beauty in an otherwise ordinary area of flat fields and pine trees. I think I rattled on about this to any and all last week... how there was only a sliver of a blue pond when I was a teenager, surrounded by mounds of beautiful white sand. It was special then, and it is precious now. My grandparents have passed on, but they laid the groundwork for a fantastic family place.
And it's only extreme luck that it lies right in my Mom's back yard, giving us something to look forward to at each visit. Day Three, that's a wrap.
We went back to Lilliput replete with sun, sand, wind and friendship.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day Two: About Town

Whew. I am sorry for the multiple typos from day one! If you get it again in your Reader, it is because I could not stand leaving it with missing words and such. Je suis desolee!

On Day Two, we were left to our own devices, because my Mom had appointments she could not reschedule. Custom draperies wait for no man! Or grandchild. Heh.
And after rattling around Lilliput Cottage until 8:30am, it was time to get out and see the town. Namely, the playgrounds of the town. We were due to visit my grandmother, but not until 10am. She is in her eighties, and rises and readies much later than she used to. So we had a few hours to kill, and it was not yet 97 out... so off we went.
Here is Lilliput "College" in all its one bedroom sweetness...

First we headed to Havens Gardens. The classic Washington playground shot - the giant wheel. I do not know the why or wherefore of this wheel, I only know it has always been on the playground.

This park is on the Pamlico River which is slow and wide and leads out to the Sound, which leads to the beach, and the NC Outer Banks. We are just over an hour from the beach.

Phoenix found delight in chasing the "peacocks" (seagulls) for a while. Then we walked to the pier, where there were 7 people crabbing, with their packages of chicken parts and their strings tied all along the rail. "Don't touch the lines. Don't touch the lines." Who do you think touched the lines? No crabs were netted while we were on that pier, so I hustled the brood along. Whether it was livelihood or dinner they were pulling out, we did not need to interfere any longer.

The next stop in our tour was Washington Park playground. My grandfather and father grew up in this beautiful neighborhood along the river. In fact, they lived side by side on Isabella Ave, and my Isabella was delighted to see her name on the sign. My dad grew up next to his grandparents, and my grandmother has always said that was why he was so spoiled. Her mother-in-law would hear her if she ever fussed at him, and would call out the window: Send Floyd over! He's not misbehavin'!
The rest is history. But it is sweet to see the brick bungalows side by side, the upstairs room where my dad grew up, and the neighborhood the same as ever.

At the park in Washington Park {For Residents Only}, the slide is the piece de resistance. My kids declared it the coolest ever, and we didn't even have wax paper to slide on. I don't even know how many years it has been there.
After this grand park tour, we finally made it to my grandmother's. Mamaw is my Dad's Mom, and is a sweet southern lady. She hangs in there with all of her health issues, tells me she is on her way out, but sticks around for every visit. This day the Big Deal was Benny. Benny the Labra-Doodle loves to jump in the air, catch toys and snuggle with kids. He is an energetic sweetheart! I tried and tried to get a shot of him high in the air. But this is the best, with my Mamaw. She shows him off like he is her baby, throwing the ball for him and letting him lunge right at her.

Her daughter, my Aunt Linda, was also visiting, so we had a fun few hours catching up. Aunt Linda just retired from teaching elementary school, so she took the kids and Benny out to play and kept them all entertained. XO!
Next up is more time at Lilliput and the Lake... I hope my Mom is enjoying this travelogue! Wink, wink....

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day One at Lilliput and the Lake

Doesn't that sound like an adventure? Lilliput and the Lake. The first stop upon decamping from the van: guinea chicks in the garage. They have to be kept safe and sound for the first months, because the wide world is a dangerous place for chicks.

They are quick as lightning, and can fly already at 3 weeks old.
So you can't let even one wing free, or they Take Off!
Which does not make for much of a view of a guinea chick. This one is an anomaly - it is light gray, while the typical color is dark.
Next up: playing ball with Gulliver. Or, as Phoenix calls him, Goal Over. (See that ditch between the crops and yard? Copperhead station! Dun-dun-duuunnnn... That's where the guinea nest was hiding.)

Ready Gulliver?
Go get it!
Now sit still for a snuggle. But slink away when I bring out the camera. He doesn't like papparazzi. But Isabella, our Dog Whisperer has a friend for life. She sits still and gently strokes and soothes every dog in the neighborhood.
At the end of the day we walked back to the lake. There were ducks to feed, Redneck and Mo-Squawk. There were koi fish to marvel over - "Cool" fish, thank you Phoenix. There was an adult-size treehouse to clamber into. It was misty and overcast, and just right for wandering around.
The kids stomped out onto the dock, and like creatures from the deep, the koi slowly swirled into sight. We were enraptured. The first ones were brought to the lake over ten years ago by my grandmother, who had special-ordered them. They are all nearly two feet long, with color patterns in orange and white, and grey and white. Plus one frilly koi with ruffly fins.
They are so graceful and peaceful. And somehow, the kids were not bothered at all by the knowledge that they would later be swimming in the same water with those "giants."
A wonder.