Monthly Archives: June 2012

Our Town

In high school, we did a performance of “Our Town”.
(Don’t most people at one point or another?)

I remember her voice echoing in the room, solid but shaky.
“Do human beings ever realize life while they live it?  Every, every minute?”

I’d read it probably a hundred times before I heard it.
Once spoken, my ears truly heard.
Once spoken, so did my heart.

It pops into my mind so very often.
An eloquent reminder to soak it all in.


I had some old black contact paper that I cut into strips.
I made a big loop of a road where the living room rug usually is.
And then added a few side roads.
The children led in the road construction and I obediently followed their commands.
Once all the curvy parts were done, they took over the project.
They drew houses and buildings – a vet office, a hospital, restaurants, stores, a gas station, and more.
We made a pond and an airport runway with blue painter’s tape.
They even stocked the pond with lots of frogs and fish (stickers).
Each family got a (sticker) pet or two.
I listened to them make up stories and laugh and giggle for hours.
They spent nearly 4 hours constructing Busytown, USA –
A name they came up with even though they’ve never heard of Richard Scarry.
(Although I suppose it’s not really such a creative name.)
They devoted so much time to building the city that they never really had time to play with it.
I feel like I should leave it down a little longer, but I’m just not sure.
All of the furniture is pushed to the side so that Busytown can flourish.

The neighborhood is on Busy Lane and each of the houses have names like The Giant or The Tall.
There are cats that live at Sonic.  At night when Sonic closes, the cats go in and make chicken and fries for dinner.
There’s also a jail.  The guy who’s in there got out on bail once, but made a bad decision and now has double bail and he’ll be in for a long time.
There used to be a Target, but they had a fire.  Only two people were hurt, but they got well quickly.
When it reopens, it’s going to have a brilliant chandelier in the entry by the sliding magic doors.
Construction has already been started and they are shipping the chandelier from Timbuktu.

I said not a word, just listened.
This world of their imagination was fascinating.
I should have videoed it, but I was too busy acting like I wasn’t listening.
If I had shown any acknowledgment, they would have clammed up.
It is mind-boggling to think about how young you are when you start worrying that other people think your dream is silly.
But I want our town to be a place where dreams can sprout and grow.
A place where people are encouraged and loved and valued.
A place where people feel safe and comfortable.
In our town, I want to realize life as we live it – every, every minute.


The First Morning of Motherhood

One of my dearest friends is having a baby today!
And I’m a bit excited.
(Can you tell?)

Last night another friend and I reminisced about our own birth stories.
Funny how some things stay so vivid in your memory and others fade with time.

As we talked, I thought about all the things that I’d told my friend in preparation for this day.
And how no matter how many things you tell, there’s still stuff you leave out.
And you want to shout, “Oh, yeah and this…and that…and…”
But the moment has passed and then she’s in her own moment.
And one day she’ll be the one sharing her stories with another new mom-to-be
And as she talks, she’ll remember tiny bits that she’d forgotten all about
And then she’ll be the one saying, “Oh, yeah and this…and that…and…”
And she’ll want to warn her how much it’s going to hurt and how hard it all is, from labor into life and on.
And she’ll want to tell her that none of it will really matter in the end
– the birth plan that fell apart, the medicine that didn’t work,
the things that happened and weren’t supposed to
and the things that were supposed to happen and didn’t.
And when it’s all over she’ll wonder how she did it at all
And how time seemed to be standing still but now rushes by when it becomes a memory.
But she won’t understand.
Not until it’s there.
(And then it’s gone).

“Savor the moment,” I whisper to her, though she is hundreds of miles away.
And my throat catches and my heart flutters because it knows the love and joy that is about to be.


I love you, sweet friend.  You will be a wonderful Mama.
And, just like with today, I’ve tried to prepare you for what’s to be in the coming days, weeks, months.
But you won’t really understand it until it’s here.
And I’m here when it hits you, when you feel lost and confused and sleepy.
I might not have an answer, but I listen well (and that’s often all you need).
I’m certainly cheering you on today, but I’m also cheering you on forever.


It’s impossible to sit of the cuff of new motherhood without thinking of your own journey.
I even risked waking the baby to get my hands on their baby books.





Can you guess which two were born before we used digital cameras?
(Can you also tell that I am lazy because I took a cell phone picture of a printed picture?)
(Also?  My hair when Lydia was born?  I obviously didn’t know Leslie then.)

Things That Make Me Smile

  • Having a water gun fight with my family, my Nana included
    (You gotta watch her; she’s vicious!)
  • Blackberry cobbler made with fresh, hand-picked berries
  • Using my Mama Jo’s recipe for said cobbler
  • Baby-wearing daddies who go on nature/photo walks
  • Holding little babies that aren’t mine (and I can give back when they cry)
  • Holding not-so-little babies that are mine, even when (especially when?) they cry
  • Sunlight shining on spider webs
  • Catching lightning bugs with the kidlets
  • Realizing we’ve checked off half of the things on our Summer Bucket List
  • Homemade Pudding Pops and silly kids who eat them
  • The things my kids say
  • Realizing what once seemed bad was actually good
  • Outfits with matching hairbows
  •  Angry Birds bandaids
  • Hearing “eye…oooo” and knowing it means “I love you”
  • Elbow dimples (on her, not me)

Right Now

I couldn’t sleep last night after we got home from hearing my brother’s band play. Good music always invigorates me. (So does Diet Coke.)

I read for a while, did my bible study, and prayed. I’m not sure how long. It was an ohm kinda prayer. More of a meditation than a prayer, but my heart feels better and my mind a little clearer.

After that I played Cut The Rope. It seems like a mindless game, but you really have to think. And so I did until my eyes got tired and convinced my brain it was time to shut down. That was nearly 4:30 – late even for me.

A few minutes (or maybe it was hours) later, I felt Asa clamber over me and settle down in the small of my back. I barely noticed, really. And then it was 10:15. Just like that. Marshall knew I was tired and so he fed the small people and kept them (relatively) quiet while I slept. He’s good people, that one.

The older children bickered off and on all morning, and after lunch everyone went to a quiet space. The Littles are sleeping. The Bigs are reading chapter books. (And that makes my heart smile.)

I was thiiiiiiis close to beating Marshall in Words With Friends, but he used the spot I was aiming for and now I am stuck. So I write, hoping words will begat words. (So far, no luck.)

I suppose I could (I should?) either nap or do something productive, but Marshall has fallen asleep beside me and I like just being near him. And the dogs are snoring and the baby occasionally sighs in her sleep and to move from this moment would make it lose its magic. So I just sit here, content and grateful and blithe.

(I want to remember this forever.)

Peaches and Cream

The children and I went on a little field trip to Lane Southern Orchards.

We all picked blackberries and blueberries (even the baby).

After getting our fill of berries and heat, we came in for peach ice cream and a tour of the packing plant.


I really loved picking berries and they really loved the “factory”.
We all left tired, but happy.

And the night ended with a little living room campout.

This summer is shaping up to be quite a nice one.

Wrapping My Head Around Homeschool

We are considering homeschool for next year.
Technically not homeschool, but school at home through the Georgia Cyber Academy.
I have a friend with children who have attended GCA for several years and they love it.
(She is actually now working for GCA.)
I have talked to several other homeschooling parents about the pros and cons, ups and downs.
I have prayed about it, written about it, thought about it, and talked about it until I’m blue in the face.
And I still just can’t decide.
There are so, so many pros.
There really are.
We are at a place where I really enjoy the children (and they still enjoy me).
We have fun together and there’s more laughing than crying.
We learn by doing every day things together.
And the bigs are actually really helpful with the littles.
We wouldn’t be at the mercy of the school calendar.
Nor the early, frustrating mornings.
We wouldn’t have to worry about missing X number of days.
So I’m not really sure what’s holding me back.
I know that we would make other homeschooling friends.
The socialization aspect doesn’t bother me at all.
I’m certain that we would find plenty of opportunities for that.
The work load doesn’t frighten me (although I know it will require quite an adjustment for us all).
The time commitment, the structure, the details are all things I know I can do.
But something – some little thing – is making me flinch.
Is it just that I’m a rule follower and this is a little unconventional?
Is it that when I mention it, people look at me like I’ve gone mad?
What harm is there in at least trying it?
If we hate it, we go back to brick and mortar, right?
But what if we don’t try it and I always wonder?
Or should we wait?  How long?
I love our elementary school, but middle school?
Meh.  Not so much.
I want to.
I do.
But then I worry.
And I’m right back where I began.
I just can’t slow my thoughts down long enough to wrap my head around it all.

Good Morning Giggles

My hand holds, animated just above her head.
I know where all of the best tickle spots are (and she knows it).
She grins and squeals as I come in for my attack.
And then as I get the little spot under her arm, she guffaws –
A big, hearty laugh that would be nearly indecipherable from her big sister’s if I weren’t looking straight at her.
Laughs turn to giggles and she scrunches up her nose.
“Mah-may,” she calls, begging for more tickles.
Soon enough she will learn “again”
And will say “Mommy” like the others.
But today?
Today I am still “Mah-may” (and gladly so).

Linked with Just Write at The Extraordinary-Ordinary.

Remember that one time when I took my kids to jail?

No?  I didn’t tell you about that?
Well, we took a little field trip to the jail.
I had no idea that it’d be so interesting or that many people would want to go!
We had 12 kids and 6 adults!
They fingerprinted each of the kids and entered them into the system.

We got to see the holding cell, the small store, the medical room, and the conversation area.
(We saw where one inmate ripped the curtain rod holder out of the wall, but I didn’t get a picture.)
We were able to test out the mattresses they use.  (It had been sanitized!!)

The sergent showed us the different uniforms that the inmates wear and explained the colors.

Women wear white.
Men wear orange.
The ‘runarounds’ have brown uniforms.
‘Runarounds’ are the ladies and gentlemen who have earned the privilege to work in the jail.
Some help with cleaning or cooking or other types of routine chores.
All of the meals there are made from scratch, often with food grown in the garden.

He mentioned to both the kids and parents that they do accept volunteers.
So if your mom and dad think you need a little ‘tough love’, they can let you volunteer at the jail.
One kid cleaned baseboards with a toothbrush.
This is something I need to keep in my memory bank!


Happily Ever After

After school let out, the kids and I headed to the beach.
We had a great time, but really missed Marshall.
He joined us at the end of the week and we all boarded a Carnival cruise ship headed for Nassau.
My brother-in-law and his bride got married on the beach there and it was absolutely gorgeous!

Since we were unplugged the majority of the time, I took a lot less pictures than I normally do.

But here are a few I snapped with my phone.

The boys both landed themselves in time-out while we were playing putt-putt on the ship.

Spiderman had so much fun in Camp Carnival, that he couldn’t stay awake for dinner.

Carter was pretty excited about getting to try frog legs!

Lydia wasn’t interested in frog legs at all, so she begged to make her own instagram.
And so I let her.

While the big kids enjoyed Camp Carnival, the poor baby had to endure one-on-one time with Mommy and Daddy.
(This may have been the most time she’s ever had alone with the two of us, so that was nice.)

The big kids and I did a scavenger hunt and came in 3rd!

And although we didn’t make it to many of the shows on board, we were still able to see a magical show every night.

(No filter, by the way.)

We needed this.

A few weeks ago, I took the kids on a little beach trip by myself.  Marshall couldn’t get off work, but we were all craving a change of scenery…so we packed up and headed out.  I didn’t have internet access, so I wrote.  In a notebook.  With a pencil.  And it was so very nice.  I added a few pictures when I typed it up.

It’s been different without anybody around to help me with the kids.   Different, but not bad.  We’ve made it work.  They have all been helpful in their own way (even if that just means not having a meltdown at the worst possible moment).  We have laughed a lot and had fun.  I haven’t let them have complete control (or else we would have had Cool Ranch Doritos for every meal) but I’ve tried to say “why not?” instead of “no”.  Can we play on the playground even though we just finished playing putt-putt and no one has had a nap and a meltdown will most likely occur?  Suuuure…maybe you’ll nap twice as hard.  Can we just put our feet in the water and then “accidentally” fall in the waves?  It’s just water, right?  Can we drive all the way around the airport even though it’s two and a half hours past our bedtime?  What’s 10 more minutes anyway.

I took all four of the children to the beach. Alone. Something I swore I wouldn’t do but did because I made a promise to them and even though they understand that sometimes plans change, I try not to break my promises. (Which is why I rarely promise that we’ll do anything. I will make strong statements that things are probable, but I rarely promise.) (I watch Grey’s Anatomy enough to know that you should never make promises.)
Three of them had a great time.  One did not.

Don’t tell anybody, but my children are secret agents. I started my training (led by Carter) while we were here. It includes lessons on running fast(which, if you know him, is somewhat of a conundrum), successful light saber awareness, secret arm transmissions (which is apparently similar to Penny’s watch on Inspector Gadget but embedded into your arm), and daydreaming. It’ll take me five weeks to complete said training. I am actually quite intrigued by the daydreaming course.

{Photo removed at the request of the Secret Agent Agency.}
(I’m not even lying.  He said I couldn’t show anyone who wasn’t already an agent!)

We marked a lot of things off of our Summer To Do list. (This is the kind of to do list I actually like). We played mini-golf and flew a kite and went to the beach and had a picnic and spent a lot of time on the playground.

My mom had to give me the horrible news about their little dachshund, Bruce.  He had irreparable damage to his back and could no longer walk.  I hate that I wasnt there.  He was certainly much more than “just a dog”.

(Picture stolen from my friend Amber)

I was pretty bummed out about Bruce when I discovered my absolute favorite stop sign ever.
Makes me say “oh my lord!” (and then laugh so hard it hurts).

Oh! And Alden spoke her first complete sentence.  “Go gawgs,” which for the non-Southern refers to our beloved Georgia Bulldogs.  She’s allowed to say “gawgs” as long as she doesn’t attempt to change it to the other terrible g-word.

This week was so very good.
We needed this.