Saturday, January 29, 2011

Things I Love

Well, really, HIM, mostly.

And also when he wears the hat I made him. I don't know how it makes him feel, but it makes me feel good!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


It caused Ben (9) to declare Kitchen Day the "Best Day of the Week" and to question, "Who needs dessert when we have fresh marmalade?"

Ethan stated, "I'm still not a fan of orange rind."

And D.H. Lawrence said, "I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It's amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor."

And, indeed, it is cheerful. And also, a fact I did not know, shredding oranges does necessitate scrubbing the floor.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dad and Mom, look what's headed your way...



Brought to you by the color ... white.

Monday, January 24, 2011


This weekend officially marked the day that we changed from having four 3 and under to having four 4 and under.

That sounds only slightly better.

But I'll tell you what sounds significantly better ... having eight 9 and under. Those older four are a tremendous help!

Eden turned four Saturday. She has always seemed older than her age, so her turning four seemed somewhat tardy. We also celebrated the week before with extended family, so this immediate family celebration seemed ... redundant.

We had the requisite German Chocolate Upside-down Cake, the sunglasses (it seems we give a new pair every birthday), and the present that was broken the same day it was received (and ironically, it's the one I've held on to for years because I kept forgetting to give it to someone!).

I love this little girl. She's got a set of lungs to rival ... well ... Salem's. Her laughter is infectious and pretty constant ... except when it's absent and she's practicing being a moody 17-yr. old. She plays the part impeccably.

Happy birthday, Little One. I'm so glad you're still little, even if you are Four.

Eden and Grandpa enjoying a gorgeous Aunt-Hannah-made fairy cake

Opening a handmade doll dress and bonnet - can you believe Aunt Becca's work?

Gideon and Aunt Becca

The rarely spotted Uncle Daniel and Gideon

Jonathan and Grandpa napping

Grandma reading a gifted Jan Brett to Eden and Lily
Cousin Nat

Part of the birthday gang..
...and some more.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Don't toss the babies...

Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one's bath like a lump of sugar.
~ Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso is a miracle to me. No, not a miracle, really, a mystery. I don't get him. Each of his paintings contains figures that almost seem to be art to me. I'm left with this dissatisfied feeling, this frustrated annoyance: "Who likes this stuff? Who pays for this?"

And I guess his quotes are really no different. "A miracle that one does not dissolve in one's bath like a lump of sugar"? Huh? That's almost a pearl of wisdom. Almost a faux pearl, at least. All right, I can't see it. It's nowhere near wisdom and I'm irritated he wasted the breath to say it.

But really, all of that is just a segue for this:




Monday, January 17, 2011

Hunkering Down

Yes, it's that time of year again. The time of year when I can't wait to change out the seasonal decorations lining the kitchen window: four medicinal bottles and their accompanying cups/syringes.

I think I'm getting better at this nursing thing. I used to fluctuate between utter disregard for any of Ethan's maladies and extreme sympathy (read: pliability) at any of our children's. I think I'm starting to strike a healthy (!!!) balance. I rub Ethan's neck with arnica and have homemade herbal ice pops in the freezer for the kiddos. I let them have one of those when they wake in the night, and then it's back to bed, kiddo. Just as soon as your papa takes you.

I think we've also struck a balance, at least this go-around, between our natural remedies and the ones that really make us feel better. The elderberry syrup was dripping down the side of the bottle, and it made it stick to the nearby acetaminophen. I think that's symbolic. And also messy.

Ethan has found a concoction which has cured any allergy/virus attacking him since last spring: two ibuprofen, two acetaminophen, a generic Zyrtec, a generic Claritin, and a generic Benadryl. I only mention it in case he's suddenly hit by something tomorrow and I need to know what to pick up at the drugstore, pronto. I don't make any claims as to its safety or why it works. I just know it works, and what would normally lay him low for at least two weeks (swollen neck, extreme lung congestion, no voice) now only makes a brief and half-hearted appearance. And also, my brother Daniel REALLY needs to try this next time he gets an allergy attack.

Most of the kids have messy coughs but are tearing around the house so are of little concern (healthwise, that is). The more disconcerting ones are the babies (who are 1 next did that happen?). I try to remember that it's the dry coughs, not the wet ones, that are the worrisome ones. And last night, when Gideon was wheezing on the inhale and the exhale, I carefully watched his indrawing to make sure he wasn't struggling. A little time wrapped up in a quilt on the rocking chair outside, a little time in the bathroom with a hot shower steaming it up, and he was ready to go back to sleep. Every year we're visited by croup, and I think I get a little calmer each time. "We can do this," I say to myself. "It'll be a long night, but we can do this." And then I wake Ethan up just so I'm not the only adult awake during the drama (it's a very comforting ten seconds when he joins me in consciousness) and start the quiet humming and even quieter praying.

Two ladies at church found out our recently-developed love for "The Waltons" and lent us the first season. I'm grateful for this. First, I timidly admit I love the show. I want a copy of the Baldwin Sisters' "Recipe," and we all wish Ike Godsey's store was just a half-mile down the road. Second, my kids love the show. It's the one show they will all watch. Jon-Jon thinks he's a 2-yr. old "John Boy" and cheers whenever John Boy enters the scene. This works for me on multiple levels: I can use the show as a motivator and as a babysitter. Rough night last night? That's OK, I've got an hour when I can guarantee the kids will not leave the room, even if I'm passed out on the couch.

I guess we're just learning not to take sickness so seriously. Sure, it's unpleasant and unwelcome. But it's also expected and necessary. The more they fight now, the less (at least this is the thinking) they'll have to fight later. And in any case, it's a very real reminder of the fallen world that we live in.

So we medicate and stir the broth and cuddle up. The tissues are plentiful and sleep is scarce.

And tomorrow is a new day ... and a new episode of "The Waltons"!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

December 2010 Recap

So, um, yeah. This is where I am. Not optimistically making resolutions or looking forward to this year's blessings, but frantically scrambling behind me panicking, "Where did 2010 go? What? WAIT!!!"

Of course, when I consider the fact that 2010 brought another set of twins, two moves, and a new church, it does seem like it was a rather full year.

But anyway. My laptop was fixed and then unfixed itself, so I am back to taking Ethan's laptop hostage when I can (like now, when he's taking Ben and Lily to their art class - taught by a real artist who volunteered to teach them! You should see the sketches and ~gulp~ watercolors they've brought home!).

So yes, the carnage that was Christmas is over. And also yes, "LilyMiriamEdenAbey" is a very efficient name.

The season was extremely full with caroling, getting together with friends, getting together with family, church functions, and snow. Snow on Christmas even! Do you know there are maybe ... um ... TWO Christmases I remember growing up when we had snow on Christmas? (And one of those was at my uncle's in New York, so I don't think that counts.)

The cardinal in our "bird" tree

But as Ethan and I sat bleary-eyed, looking at the mess that surrounded us Christmas Day, it was a good sit. We were in our home, our place in the county. This was our mess, differentiated from the usual by colorful bits of ribbons and wrapping.

It was a good year.
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