October 14, 2005

It's All Greek to Me

A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law commented, mentioning something about the "Chabahs." I made a mental note to ask my brother to interpret next time we talked. He called me soon after, while sitting on his deck, imbibing a delicious red. He told me she was referring to some sandals that she bought online by clicking on "Day by Day" by Chris Muir and then clicking on the Blogad for Chabah sandals beneath the day's strip.

So, I clicked through, too . I purchased three pairs of the cutest sandals with the coolest names:

My selections:



(All pics from the Chabah website.)

They arrived today. They are just as cute on my feet, and quite comfy with the woven grass and linen tops. I appreciate the foam soles for slight support and strength of the sandal. Thanks, Damien :D

In other Greek related news, I had purchased the first three of Mary Pope Osborne's retelling of The Odyssey for children for C last week at the local elementary school book fair. That was all they had. I had high hopes she would enjoy them as she picked them out herself. I tucked her in with a kiss, prayers, and after her regular night time reading. The next morning when I went down to awaken her, she sat straight up and told me how she had continued reading after I turned out her lamp (via booklight). "I read the whole thing, mom!" To know that she so enjoyed reading something far outweighed her subversiveness, so I immediately ordered the remaining three of the series from Amazon. They arrived today. She was thrilled and placed them on her bed. Next to her booklight.

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July 15, 2005

Home again

Finally, all of my daughters in one place. E and A came down from the mountain today, literally, and are home for the rest of the summer. I think.

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June 14, 2005

Team Player

After her last set this morning, A's swim team coach took her aside and asked her to be a team captain.

On the way home, A said to me that she realized that she needed to be more encouraging to those she previously dismissed as slacking bootlickers, "you know, mom, be more of a leader because leaders not only encourage people, they do what they expect others to do."

I am so proud to know this kid.

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June 01, 2005

My little flower

Today we purchased Gazanias (a South African plant), Verbena (Plum Magic and Aztec Red), Giant White Bacopa, and Salvia (Red Hot Sally and Vista Purple) to plant this evening. C was feeling a little blue, and after talking for a bit, we decided that going to the nursery, selecting perinials (we are awaiting the blooming of our Gerbera Daisies and Black-Eyed Susans) would be just the thing. We have savory planted in the front of the bed. I love to catch the scent of it when the water hits it, or when I weed and break a leaf and later find the subtle mint smell on my hands.

C wanted a rose, too, so we loaded up our purchases and drove home with the wind blowing against our faces from the rolled-down windows.

We arrived home hungry for lunch and decided to plant later this afternoon, perhaps in the early evening, when the heat of the day is subsiding, in the soft light and quieting sounds of children finishing up their business of the day- playing.

Last night we watched Fly Away Home at her request. She and I lay curled up together on the futon in the family room, quietly watching, with intermittent laughter. She commented on how much she loved the song (as I have before mentioned), so with the convenience of wireless and a laptop, I downloaded it in a snap.

I so love this tenderhearted little girl.

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March 12, 2005

Sporty Girl

My little C has always taken herself so seriously. She is so passionate. Her eyes flash anger as quickly as they brighten with laughter. As a baby, she didn't give her glorious, illuminating smile away to just anyone. She was highly selective of whom she allowed to enter her world, but once someone was allowed in, she practially smothered with affection and fierce loyalty.

From a young age, C has demonstrated natural athletic ability, especially sports of the hand/eye coordination variety. She has also expressed an interest in being involved in recreational activities other than swim team, so she plays soccer in the fall and this year has added softball. Because she is so physical, people have, in all innocence and good intentions, called her a tomboy. This is a misnomer. C loves lacquered nails, high heels, purses, make-up, jewelry, elaborate and ornate girly things. She just also happens to not give a rip about her clothes and prefers jeans to chinos, denim skirts to dresses, and shorts to anything else. The easier the shoes come off, the happier she is. She cares not for dusty toes, dirty hands, and smudged cheeks. The fact that the seat of her cutoffs is coated with a mixture of grass stains, today's lunch, chalk dust, and something completely unidentifiable doesn't faze her a bit. The second time someone called her a tomboy, we got proactive and came up with something better: Sporty Girl.

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March 08, 2005

A Firm Foundation

When I held my baby girl for the first time almost fourteen years ago, I made many promises to us. I guaranteed her that I wouldn't be anything like my own mother. Because, I mean, all those difficulties had to be inherently my mother's fault, right? Sure I was disrespectful on occasion, but didn't she provoke it by her lack of understanding and constant dismissal of me? Also, my girl would have her father, an honorable, principled man; something I lacked.

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February 19, 2005

This Date in History

So, after concluding that the cinnamon rolls would, indeed, not be edible (bless their hearts- they really didn't want me to feel badly), we loaded up and went and got doughnuts at the supermarket, then came home and painted fingernails.

C could see that I was really disappointed that her Birthday Breakfast (tradition) had not quite materialized. She came and hugged me tight around my waist and said, "Mom, it's O.K. No big deal. I love you even though the cinnabons are cinnaburnts"- with a big grin. I couldn't help but reciprocate. This little girl who can see the glass as half-full, find something to laugh about, enamored of insects and gentleness toward every creature, my life is so blessed because of you. Thank you.

But! Mama ain't gonna mess up the Shrimp Alfredo. And that's a promise.

Happy Birthday, C. Mama loves you.

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January 28, 2005

Tender Heart

Yesterday the gray sky dominated the morning and afternoon. An early morning rain had already quenched this desert's thirst and a light sprinkling continued throughout the day. After school, I loaded the two younger girls into the van to do a few errands.

On our way home, I took Main. I sometimes prefer the color and comfort of the buildings and people rather than the destination speeders of the highway. As we drove along, Performance Today going in the background, C pointed out something in the middle of the road. She thought it to be trash. I recognized the crumpled form of a yellow tabby. Before I even considered the consequences, I uttered a low and sad ooohhhhhhh.

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January 22, 2005

No Way....

So, last evening when the girls and I arrived home from visiting with a neighbor, R teasingly greeted us with, "I know something you don't; it's on the answering machine." E and I exchanged hopeful, knowing looks and raced downstairs.

I had resigned myself to not having received a part in Oliver! and had actually been relieved. It would take so much time out of my already tight schedule, learning lines, and the, ummm, dancing. I was positive my E would get something though, so this call wasn't surprising. When the voice on the line introduced herself as the stage manager of the production and started by congratulating both of us, I was surprised. She continued by telling me that I had been cast as part of an adult ensemble, and E was cast as Bet, " a 13 year-old lass in Fagin's establisment who idolizes Nancy."

I am so excited for E. She dreams of being an actress one day, and I do mean literally dreams of auditions and filming and performing. It seems there hasn't been a play she's auditioned for in which she hasn't landed the lead female role. In this case, it's the only role for which about 35 other young gals tried to get. I only did this because she asked me to, and I recall reading somewhere recently that when your adolescent child invites you into their world, you should accept and enter.

Now, about that ensemble. I do hope it is singing only. The 20 minute dance routine the other night knocked me out for two days. Of course, I can now do the number perfectly, but who cares? Let's just say that I now have a whole lot more respect for dancers.

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January 19, 2005


Time is a big deal to me. Not arriving somewhere on time. No. Those that know me well, know that ummm, that isn't very important to me. I am talking about the spectrum of time. More and more I am aware of how little of it I have left with E. There are times that she infuriates me. She can be persistent and so particular, but the detail in her artwork and her literature is amazingly detailed. She can argue and disagree with 100% of what I say, but she will never and has never lied to me. She can procrastinate with the best, but she knows how to have a good time. She is messy and we all know not to send her to find anything for us, but her penmanship is beautifully neat and she knows exactly where all of her things are. She is very private, but the most loyal friend or relative anyone of us could dare hope for.

I love this messy, laid-back, honest, creative girl who knows how to have fun and how to love. While I can't wait for her to be the adult she so wants to be, I just want to somehow freeze the really good moments; the ones that feed us both for a few days, or even weeks. Then hormones fluctuate; I embarrass her; a friend lets her down; she disrespects me; I disrespect her and we start all over again.

So many people compare life to a roller coaster. I prefer the see-saw, or teeter-totter as some are more familiar. Remember how much fun you would have going up and down, tallking as you rose into the air and then sailed down? Sometimes the person who was landing would really push it into the ground and you would get this little lift at the top. Sometimes a real jerk would jump off and let you fall on your back, all the while thinking himself very funny. Or maybe you were wearing a sundress or shorts and got a splinter in the back of your leg or burned your hands on the handles and so let your fingers alight just enough to hold on. Many days we would load up each end with six kids and watch the bend and secretly hope it would crack. The soothing rythmn of your feet swinging and landing, and pushing off again somehow made going back into a classroom or home more bearable.

"Teach us to count the days.
Teach us to make the days count.
Lead us in better ways
Somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Life means so much
Life means so much."
(Chris Rice, Life Means So Much).

I pray that I am not penny-wise and pound foolish in these last years. She is a gift immeasurably valuable and too costly to afford to lose.

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January 07, 2005

Jester of Flaxen

Eleven years ago yesterday, A was born. She was my second daughter and the first child I delievered by natural childbirth. No drugs; no nothin'. It was one of the most empowering experiences I have ever had. It wasn't easy. I recall riding down the elevator with two rent-a-cops. It was obvious I was in labor and their discomfort was unnerving me. When I walked out of the elevator I told myself that if I was a 2, I was getting an epidural. Immediately. After checking in with the nurses and one of them checking me (literally) and telling me that I was an 8, I was relieved and excited. Then transition began and the relief wouldn't come until I delievered that 8 pound 14 1/2 little girl sunny-side-up into the world at 7:29 a.m. R would kiss my temple, damp with the sweat of a woman's work and after cutting the cord of his progeny, place a kiss on her cheeks fat with the nourishment of the only perfect place her mother and father would ever be able to provide her.

Yesterday, at 7:28 in the morning, I crept across the hall to her room and crawled into bed with her. She welcomed me with a sleepy smile and scooted over. I whispered happy birthday through her blonde curly hair into her ear. Too fast, I thought to myself. Then we both fell back to sleep.

There have been many times that I wish I could just slip her into my pocket to keep her from the unkind words of a "friend" or free from the sting of a wasp. Anytime she cries, her forehead and cheeks blotch and the tears draw pink track lines down her heart-shaped face. I sweep her up in my embrace and hug her tight until she calms. But when she laughs, it is contagious and infects every cell of my body with a joy that finds no words to describe it.

She plans on being a vet, marrying a vet, having two children and ten dogs. She will be a stunningly beautiful woman, with a heart big enough to hold the world, brains enough to move it, and strength enough to carry it.

Her heart is so generous, and I am so blessed to have a place in it. I am proud to know her and to know that she is my girl. I love you, baby. Happy Birthday.

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January 03, 2005

Me or Them?

Driving home from a bit of retail therapy for us girls, this song came on that I had heard a couple of weeks ago. The girls were quiet and contented, so I turned it up and sang along to the chorus. Previous confession of disinterest in pop music will show just how behind I may be, but I googled the lyrics tonight and found out it is "Daughters" by John Mayer.

My childhood prompted me to greater parenting than I received. The ironic thing is that my mother feels herself to have been a better mother than she had. Yesterday after a "discussion" with E, I realized that she knows no other mothering with which to compare mine. It is the nature of humanity to desire to improve upon what was given. At first I was offended at the thought of her possible desire to parent differently than I have her. I mean, I work hard at this mothering thing. It sometimes kicks my ass and it definitely wears me out, but I know they are getting it better than I had it. And, that is the standard, after all.

Isn't it?

Maybe the mother I chose to be is more a mother to me and what the little girl wanted rather than what my girls need. Am I striving to be the mother that E, A, C, and K need rather than the one I comfort myself with being? I think the real truth of my parenting will bleed through the heart of each girl in the mothering of her own children. Sometimes, I stop in the middle of something with them and think, In twenty years, when I am the grandmother, will I be pleased or pained when I witness my daughters responding like this to their children? And will I be big enough to let the successes be their own and claim their failures as an opportunity to say I am sorry for not modeling better parenting?

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November 24, 2004

The Jackpot

You know my children are very deprived. This week they have been feasting on white bread, sugary cereal, and computer games. Who needs the lottery when you have IronKids®, Fruit Loops®, and Barbie®?

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October 27, 2004

Oh What A Beautiful Morning

While driving to retrieve our chocolate lab who had her ACL replaced yesterday (A and I watched her surgery and a spay), A said, "The wind sounds very angry today. This morning it was tearing around the corners of the house, pulling at the windows and doors and demanding entrance to our warm cozy home. I am glad it couldn't get in." I love her way with words and that she so freely shares her thoughts with us.

Me, too, A. Me, too.

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October 01, 2004

My fettered heart

In honoring my daughter's privacy, I won't give specific details, but suffice it to say that something very unusual for her age has developed and we are uncertain as to what it is and what could have caused or is causing it. It could be minor. Nothing really; something that could go away on its own and will be forgotten in the everyday habits of life; remembered only casually in late night conversations as "that time we thought....." Then again, it could be really bad; something that we will never forget.

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September 25, 2004

Missing Piece

It has now been nine days since I have seen the eyes of my daughters; smelled the sweetness of them; felt their hair on my fingertips; heard their laugh; seen them smile; watched them sleep.

It has been an eternity since I have seen the blue in R's eyes; watched his body move through time and space; felt the strength of it against my own; caught his brow in thought; watched him shave and dress; smelled his presence near me; felt my soul comforted by his very existence. A piece of the puzzle is missing and will be complete only when gently placed in the space created uniquely for it.

I am returning soon my loves.

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September 15, 2004

Artist in Residence


E's portrait (and caricature [her personal favorite style]) of Julius Caesar. Today is the 2048 1/2 year anniversary of his death by his best friend and five other senators.

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August 31, 2004

Privileged Obligation?

Since we have lived in this county, R has been called to jury duty twice. Both times he was released due to a settlement. Guess who now has been called? That's right, in two days times, unless there is an agreement between the parties, I will be presenting myself before the prosecuting and defending attorneys as part of a jury pool at the county courthouse.

When my girls asked me why I had to do this (or face fines and jail time), I explained to them my privilege and duty as a citizen in this great country. They questioned the relationship between privilege and obligation. I had to take a moment to think. We go into American history next year, although through our reading and their personal perusal, they are familiar with the context of the Revolutionary War. I told them of King George III, of taxation without representation, of false accusations supported and people executed or punished simply by word of another without evidence.

Typically it isn't hard for me to come up with comparative explanations, but I am struggling to do so with this one. Any ideas?

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Giuliani 2012


You know, if Rudy decides to run for President, I know two young women whose political hearts he captured last night......

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August 29, 2004

A rose by any other name

Tonight as I watched C holding her friend's hand while running across the street, I began to think of how beautiful her name is. They hugged goodbye and I saw the light from the street lamp catch her hair. I was holding K and thinking of how much I love them. My mind was saying C's name over and over,meditating on the beauty of it and when she got back to the porch she said, "Yes, mommy?" The lovely sound had made its way out of my head and slipped across my lips without my realizing it. I smiled asking her if I have ever told her how gorgeous her name is? She smiled shyly and pleased.

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July 22, 2004

No Regrets

Kadi elicited this response from me in the comments section of this post:

Yes, there are times when I briefly miss my newborn greedily nuzzling my breast or the smell of their downy heads. I miss the house being so still by 9 p.m. each night that all you can hear is their tick-tocking respirations clocking the passing of another day. I miss the little lisps. And naptime. I definitely miss nap time.

But, I really do enjoy having philosophical and theological discussions with my older children now, too. I love that they have the ability now to tell me exactly (though I sometimes don't want to hear it) what is bugging them. I relish helping them gain problem solving skills and sharing a chick flick (appropriately reviewed and selected, of course) and a good book together. I like baking with them and watching them present a meal to their daddy in mock of their future husband. I love seeing the pride in R's eyes as they reach the touch pad of a lane after swimming their fastest time (and also seeing their confidence soar because of his approval). I am enamoured of their coming moral strength and how it weaves itself so wholly into their physical beauty, as well. I am thankful for the accountability they bring to me as my Christian sisters.

I will never regret having born my children. It is at times an exhausting and daunting task, but it seems to be that all the great accomplishments in this life are so. Climbing Everest; participating in the Olympics; going through Boot Camp; getting a degree; raising a family.

It is hard, Kadi, and it is the most tiring thing I have ever done, but so worth it that it brings no regret and there's not much else in life about which I can say that.

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July 12, 2004

Absolutely Absolutes

When a child of mine tells a lie, they are severely punished. R and I decided long ago that would be the consequence to telling untruths. Only one of our four children has struggled with fabricating.

I recall the first time I realized she had lied. I took her aside and asked her to spank me because lying hurts everyone. Extreme? Yes. Effective? Temporarily. The second time, I asked her if God ever lied. No, she replied. I asked her how she would feel if she strived to please God her whole life and when she died, God told her it was all a lie and her efforts were in vain and she was sent to hell. Extreme? Yes. Appropriate? I thought so at the time. Effective? Not enough.

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May 24, 2004

Four Candles on Her Cake, Five Hearts Wrapped Up for Her

When R and I decided to have our last child, there were times I thought I was nuts. Everyone was physically able and trained to clean themselves and get their own drink and here I was starting all over again. But, I wanted to be pregnant one last time. I wanted to deliver (with a full epidural catheter stuck in my spinal column, too) one last time. I wanted to feel my breasts swell with life giving substance and sustain and grow one last child on the milk of my body. It was a delightful pregnancy and once that epidural was loaded, a perfect labor and delivery.

As we tossed around names, the fourth daughter that we conceived grew fat and healthy in the utopia of my womb. I liked Emma, R did not. He likes strong, but classic feminine names and he felt that Emma wasn't the person wiggling in my body. So, one spring evening, after children were in bed, R and I were outside. I suggested a name. His eyes lit up. "Yes, that's the name." After presenting it to the parents and the children, we all agreed. Her name means "pure one" in Greek, and that she is. She came out and immediately captured our hearts. She is sweet, thoughtful, witty, sensitive, and kind. I have frequently said that she was the perfect way to close the show. Thanks, God, for the last act.

Happy Birthday, K, from us all. We love you so very much.

To the tune of "Be Thou My Vision:"

She is so very small, Lord,
There's not much she can do.
Keep her as she grows, Lord;
May she grow in You.
She is so very small, Lord.
Only You truly know
Who she's becoming.
Lord, keep this little soul.

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May 13, 2004

A Chip Off the Old Book, er, Block

My sweet, intelligent, bookworm, E, has started her own blog discussing and reviewing books.

Have You Read This One?

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December 22, 2003

I remember when E was

I remember when E was in ballet back East. She is so graceful. She is very
slender and long-legged. Someone once said of her, "That girl doesn't walk
anywhere. She floats." She had her recital costume on with her hair up and a
beautiful peach rose pinned behind her left ear. Her tutu was long, almost to
her ankles. I was ticked to have to pay $200 at the end of December for her
costumes (Christmas, several birthday's, property tax helped the frustration
along). But, seeing her performance in June was simply exhilarating. She was
perfect! One raining March Midwest evening (how I miss those!), E ran out to the
car after lessons carrying a tape of her music. She was to practice to it
several times a week. I popped it into the tape deck in the van. I was surprised
to hear Counting Crows Colorblind. I mean, I was expecting Schumann, Chopin, or
something classical. She enjoyed dancing and that was all that mattered, even if
I was less than thrilled about the choice of music. This week C accidentally
broke the CD player that we keep in the kitchen. This is truly a tragedy for me.
I cannot do anything in my kitchen without music. What I am listening to
influences what I cook and what I am cooking chooses what I listen to. I have
been forced to dig out the basket of tapes. At A's request, I was making
homemade Sloppy Joes. I decided that Patsy Cline would be a good choice, but
alas couldn't find the tape. Rifling around a bit longer, I found some generic
tape that said our last name on it. Curious, I placed it in the deck and pushed
play. It took about 15 seconds for the tape to find the beginning and then it
began to play the longing beginning to Colorblind. I stopped for a moment and
listened. I love the song. I love the music, but it is so sad. It made me miss
home. It made me miss things that I know and that know me. It made me recall E
dancing so beautifully that June evening.

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