Monthly Archives: March 2012

Sonic Boom

For the past few months, I’ve had this…um…thing going on.
I haven’t tried to keep it a secret.
As a matter of fact, I told anyone who would listen.

It was a great set-up.
I was asked my opinion.
And I got free stuff for sharing it!

Now, apparently, they want my opinion for free!
I never openly share my opinion on anything.
Not meeee.

I knew it would come to an end,
I just didn’t expect the end to be today.

RIP Sonic Free Route 44 Validation Code

A day in the life…

An old friend, or perhaps I should say a long-time friend, called this morning.  She just moved back to town.  “We moved away because there was nothing to do here.  We moved back for precisely the same reason,” she said.  And I agreed.

I had to cut her off mid-sentence because the baby was fussing.  I should be a pro at dealing with separation anxiety by now, but it’s hard no matter how many times you do it.  Part of me does want to hold her every minute of every day, but it’s just not possible.  I do hold her a lot or strap her on and we go about our day until she falls asleep on my back and oh! I want to lie down so badly, but don’t.

Asa wants to be held, too.  (Sometimes I forget that he’s still a baby, too, in so many ways.)  As I help him climb up into my lap, I lose my grip and I’m not quick enough and he slips right off my leg and hits the floor, knocking his head on the table leg on the way down.  He cried, which is unusual for him.  And I felt bad about it, which is pretty usual for me.  Not that I feel bad all the time, but I feel bad when I cause them to stumble – literally and figuratively.

After a 10 minute snooze, she recharged enough to have her eyes open but not be fully awake.  She fussed and fussed and generally drove me a bit batty.  All day long I went click-click-stop. click-click-stop. click-click-stop. until I finally finished the photography project I was working on.  Whew!  One down, 4 to go.  (The rest can wait until tomorrow.)

Oh and guess what?  She ended up getting sick.  And I felt like a heel for being annoyed with her.

The kids had a friend over after school.  A cute, sassy little girl that always makes me laugh.  And the baby napped (again) while we played outside.  I left all the doors open because I was waiting on a package and I wanted to hear the delivery guy before he tried to ring the doorbell.  I had to sign for it, so I wanted to make sure he knew I was available.  I got the package but I am paying the price for having the doors and windows open in the midst of the Pollen Apocalypse of 2012.  Watery, itchy eyes aren’t good for editing, but gosh it was so lovely out!  Lately we just haven’t been able to stay inside!

A few weeks ago Carter left his bike behind my car and I smooshed it.  I went to the consignment sale while the big kids were at gymnastics to look for one and as I was walking into the door, I saw a boy walking out with a shiny black bike.  Too late.  Or maybe not early enough.  Either way, I didn’t get it.

I really wanted a sandwich from the new restaurant in town.  I called to place my pick up order and said that I didn’t know what the name of the sandwich was, but that I wanted the chicken sandwich with jalapeños and avocados.   “We don’t have a sandwich with jalapeños and avocados.  We have one with jalapeños and guacamole though.”  “Um……I’ll take that one.”

And when I went in to pick it up, my brother was there with his friends.  The same friends he’s had since high school.  The ones I’ve known since Little League, which – I realize – is how old my kids are now.  Oof.    I love seeing them together  and I love seeing him in his element.  He says something witty and his friend slaps at his arm like you do when something’s really funny but you didn’t expect it at all.   I reach over to grab one of his chips while I wait on my food and try to dip it into his salsa, knowing that he probably double dipped, but I was hungry.  And it was empty.  And so I ate a stale chip and laughed at something someone said and then I got our bags of food and headed home.

Dinner went smoothly with no spilled drinks and no tears.  And they hopped into the bathtub and I made sure they’re washing all the bits and pieces that need washing.  And before I finish with the big two, Marshall got the littles into bed.  I sneak in a little later to the babies rooms to say goodnight, but they are both in deep, deep sleep.  The big kids have a harder time getting to sleep.  There’s just something that seems unfair about having to be in bed before moonrise.

Marshall finishes doing some online research and moves to his chair, getting the DVR ready for the evening.  We watch two shows and then he retreats to our room and I come back to finish one more thing.  Always just one more thing.  But 5:15 this morning was a looooong time ago and I feel wilted.

Oh, but I forgot the part about Asa spraying the dogs with the wrinkle releaser.  They didn’t seem to mind.  And they are just as wrinkly as before.  But they smell nice!

And I forgot the part about Asa calling me from the other room to tell me that he’d pooped on the floor and for a split second I had a heart attack because his poop was bright red.  But then I remembered he’d eaten a red Angry Birds cupcake the day before and so I laughed and cleaned up the mess.

Also?  We’re out of Q-tips.  Which I know you aren’t supposed to use any more but we both do it anyway and we’re out and my ear itches.  A lot.

The Magic of Words

Trepidatiously tiptoeing between little kid and big boy,
You haven’t quite let go of Mickey Mouse
But you’ve fully embraced Captain America.

You absorb so many things so quickly.
Your mind swirls with activity
And I am grateful for the opportunity to watch.

The excitement in your eyes and voice when you talk about stars.
The furrowed brow as you take things in and begin to assemble all the pieces in your mind.
The wide-eyed, open-mouthed look of incredulity when the science experiment ended differently than you’d predicted.
These are things I hope I will always be able to recall (although I know all-too-well what time can do to all that is in our head).

You’ve been reading for a while, but lately you’ve really become absorbed in it.
I see your eyes scan each page and you barely even blink.
My heart flutters happily when I think about your fascination with words.

I hesitate to interrupt but we have to go.
You look up, startled.
And I am afraid that I have broken the magic.
But you climb into the car and share the magic with us.

~linked to just write~

Splash and Smile

We got in the pool.  In March.
Even for Georgia, that’s early.

(  Look at that adorable baby!)

The baby loved it, even if it was a bit cold.


My big boy, who has a love-hate relationship with water, jumped in!

My little fish ran straight off the diving board with not a single shred of hesitation.


And my little man splashed and smiled and splashed and smiled.

We had dinner with friends and we talked to real!live!adults!
while the children played hide-and-go-seek.
It was so very nice that we didn’t feel time passing.
And so we came home late and slipped the children into their beds.
Then Marshall and I sat out back on pollen-covered chairs in the cool night air and talked quietly.
And we looked up at what seems to be a vast nothing-ness but is really this massive huge-ness.
That always blows my mind.

Y’all…this is my life!
(Sometimes I just have to say that out loud.)

Just Another Day

Our days have been full, as usual.


Nothing special.  Just every day things.


We’ve spent a lot of time just being.


And it’s been so, so good.


*Grass photo taken by Carter

Scribble and Scrawl

I’ve started a hundred posts in the past few weeks, but have only finished a few.
I’ve been writing a lot, but it’s been on scraps of paper and with crayons and in my trusty leather-bound journal.

I am open and honest here.  But it would be foolish of me to not be a little guarded.
I tell you only what I want you to know, that is true.
(But I also whisper things here that I would never tell you face-to-face.)
That is the beauty and the sorrow of the internet.
We can speak and be heard, but we filter.filter.filter…sometimes until there’s nothing left but empty words.

I don’t (I can’t) show you my unfiltered words.
The ones that are dark and raw.
The ones that only make sense to me.
The ones…the ones that have more meaning than they should.

This morning I re-discovered a phrase that I’d written a week or so ago.
(The actual words are irrelevant, really.)
I barely remember scribbling them down.
A brief swoosh of an idea in my mind.
Moments later, washed away by yet another loud noise or “Mommy, will you…”
(I don’t even remember what distracted me.)

I look at my scrawl and stretch my mind.
No matter…I can’t remember the details.
But I know, I know, that they meant something to me then.
Something important enough to stop what I was doing and hastily scribble on an old envelope.

And so I tuck the wrinkled, Coke-splattered envelope away,
Knowing that I’ll one day stumble across it again.
And maybe then I’ll be ready for its meaning.

In the light

I am rarely in the car alone.  But when I am I really love to listen to NPR.  This weekend I was coming home from a photoshoot when I stumbled across On Being.  Krista Tippett interviewed storyteller and author Kevin Kling, who was born with only one arm and later nearly died in a motorcycle accident.  While he was speaking, he said something that made my brain come to an abrupt halt.  One of those things that might have slipped right by me a million times, but was perfectly perfect for me in that moment.

Krista read an excerpt of his written words back to him:  Remember being a kid…we dance with all we have, we wear Superman outfits to the grocery store.  As children we are closer in time to the Creator.    Did you have thoughts like that too when you were a child?

And he replied:  I think so.  I think I realized who I connected with.   And I connected with my grandparents.  And I think we were in the same light.  I mean, I was in the dawn and they were in the twilight, but we were in the same light.  And because of that, they’re heading to the Creator and I’m coming from the Creator, and it seemed because of that we spoke a very similar language.  And I wondered even as I was getting older and as I looked back, where that goes…because it does go.  We become really entrenched in this world.  And then as time goes on and we come to the nearer the end of our lives, we go back to that point.
(Emphasis mine.)

I love watching my children with my grandparents.  This weekend we went on  a picnic and splashed in the creek and rode the ‘tractor’.  (I remember the excitement of riding on the trailer with my brother and cousins so many years ago and my voice catches a bit.)  Listening to my children talk to my Nana and Papa.  Watching them watch each other, a delicate dance that is…yes…in the same light.  That one phrase has colored my heart-eyes and I pray that I’ll never see without it again.  The soft glow of dawn and the soft glow of dusk.  The “magic hours” not only for photography but for life – when things are warmer, more naturally wonderful.

I didn’t understand or appreciate the gentleness of those golden hours of childhood, but I get it now.  I am soaking up the high noon sun and although I am in the harsh middle-of-the-day light where self-doubt and insecurity hide in the sharp shadows, I am grateful for the sunshine. It saps me of my energy at times, rejuvenates me at others.  It can scorch me if I’m not careful.  But it’s not all bad, far from it really.   But I can’t stop myself from squinting my eyes, looking backward or forward to the golden hours.   I feel blessed to be witness to someone else’s golden hour.  And, lucky for me, sometimes their golden light spills over onto me.

I close my eyes…only for a moment and the moment’s gone.

Hours and hours of scouring books and magazines and the internet.
Time flying by as I click over and over and over again on Pinterest.
Looking for something that my heart knows, my mind knows…but my eyes can’t see.
I’ll know it when I see it.  I know I will.

Looking at images and ideas of others,
I glean inspiration and spin the idea my own way.
Imitation really meant to flatter, not steal intellectual property.
(Although it hasn’t always happened this publicly, we have always copied one another.)

But it seems that lately instead of feeling inspired, I feel trapped.
I see other ideas and think mine aren’t good enough.
I see other ideas and wonder how could I possibly make that better?
I see other ideas and think only about how to make it work for me.

So I step away.
Quit looking at the beautiful art,
the lovely snapshots,
the simple and clean designs.

Instead I close my eyes.

I imagine the way the light will float down through the trees.
And how it will land gently on his back.
And how the backlight will make you glow.

And then snap.
I take my picture, your picture.
And though it may look like a million other pictures on the surface,
it is special.  it is unique.  it is you.

And you will look at it for years to come (i hope)
And the warmth of the sun will feel heavy on your skin.
And the smell of fresh grass will come to your mind.
And the heavy, comforting weight of new love will flood over you.

And that is what I want my photographs to be.
A moment immortalized, ready and waiting to be visited and cherished.
From this moment on.

Oh, how I love them…

I hate to wake her.
But that’s the curse of being the baby in a big family.
You are at the mercy of every one else’s schedule.

I slip into her room quietly, hoping for a few minutes to catch my breath,
But I look at her chest rhythmically rising and falling and it takes my breath away.
No matter how many children you have, this never gets old.

I place my hand on her back and she looks up and smiles.
I pick her up and she nestles in and gently pats my arm.
And my heart is full.


Tears in his eyes, he looks up at me for reassurance.

“I don’t want to do it anymore.”

“But you promised that you would and now you have to.
It’s too late to find anyone else.”

Leaning into my side, he shudders and my heart breaks a little for him.

We get to church and he won’t even come down the stairs.

But we practice and Mr. Randy makes him laugh and pretends he is invisible.
And it works!
He’s at ease.

And he grabs the pillow and plays the part he was given to play.
“Speak, Lord.  Your servant is listening.”

And a star is born.


He crawls into my bed and skootches up close.
“You will ho’ my hand?”
He laces his fat little fingers in mine,
Closes his eyes and sighs.



His voice is so tiny in the dark.
It sounds so tender that I expect him to say I love you.

“Will you get my boogers ou uf my nose wif a tissue?”


Sometimes she seems so big, but when I really listen I hear how small she is.
I record her voice because I want to remember it, every little nuance.

“Here comes Mommy and Alden…sittin’ in a tree.  K-Y-R-S-I-N-G.
First comes love, then comes Mary.
Then comes Aldie in a baby carriage.”

It doesn’t matter that the syllables were all wrong.
Or that I was krysing the baby.
It was absolutely perfect.


Oh, how I love them…

Outgrowing Insecurity

For some unknown reason, I thought by the time I was xx years old I would’ve grown up.
I would have learned how to balance everything I want to do.
I would know what I wanted to do with my life.
I would be able to let the little things go and embrace the important stuff with vigor.

I thought that -when I was finally a grownup – I would ‘get’ it.
I would understand the difference between right and wrong.
And I was hoping (oh, how I was hoping) that the gray areas would get smaller and smaller.

I thought that people wouldn’t act like children (myself included).
And that the middle school awkwardness would wear off.
I thought I’d be sure and confident.
And I wouldn’t be affected so much by others.

I thought that by now I’d have more things figured out.
I’d be wiser and kinder and calmer.
I’d not only know where I was headed, but I’d help others find their way.

I thought by now it would be different, I would be different.
But I’m still the same old me.

A few things have changed, though
And for this I am grateful.
I might not be much wiser in the ways of the world,
But I have learned a lot about myself.
I know that I am over-confident at times and all-too-often not confident enough.
And that figuring out when I am one or the other is the beginning of figuring out how to change it.
I know that sometimes my words are bigger and more powerful than I think they are.
And I should harness those words and value their effect.
I know that I am good at some things – very good even –
And that I should accept compliments with grace.
I know that comparing yourself to others is pointless and even dangerous to your self-esteem
And that though it looks like someone has it all, we never really know what hurts they carry.

(I’ve learned these things.  I know these things.  I know them well.
Yet knowing what I should do and what I actually do are two different things.)

But I’m hoping that by the time I’m xx years old, I’ll finally have it all figured out.
(i’m not gonna hold my breath)