Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Down the Spectrum

We seem to be moving down the spectrum this week: the color spectrum, that is. In reverse. Moving on from our violet and indigo, we're steadily into the blues today. Blueberries, to be exact.

Blueberries were not on the agenda this morning. Then I walked out our door into a perfectly breezy, seventy-degree morning. Next thing I knew, I was making some sandwiches, packing a bag, and buckling a couple of kids into their car seats. Perhaps, I should have warned them about the lengthy car ride, which, apparently, wasn't on either one of their agendas. Luckily, my college psych teachers weren't kidding when they said the color blue creates feelings of calm. Subjects A and N calmed down instantly the moment we arrived at the blueberry patch and opened the car doors.

Perhaps, it's yards of tidy rows through which to run. Perhaps, it's the endless supply of snacks growing right at your fingertips or the companionship of other pickers (once strangers, but now called Emma, Mimi, and Randy) who seem happy to accept the berry offerings a little blond tosses into their buckets. It might ride in on the fingertips of a babe, brushing the leaves of a blueberry bush for the first time, or on the aging memory of a mama daydreaming of berry recipes tried and true. It could be in the lessons (as Randy answers your little one with a detailed description of how one could make a scarecrow), or the proclamations ("Mom, I want to live here forever!). Or the sweet sensation that leaves a mark on your tongue. Whatever the reason, sometimes the blues are oh so good.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Color Purple

One wet day in March, Audrey and Jason planted some seeds. Those seeds turned into stalks, and a few of those stalks into vines that hug the fence posts. This week, one of those stalks gave way to blooms, purple and plush - the velvet of kings' robes.

Just beneath them are pools of thyme, their sprigs tipped with lavender buds. (The thyme used to neighbor rose bushes that, unfortunately, decided that they had seen enough springs and needn't bother with another. Every single one.)

Then, there is the lavender, itself. My most recent purchase a few weeks ago. Blooms have yet to be seen, but I can't help but notice that we seem to be cultivating an accidental purple garden. The thought makes me smile.

Although, this little one seems a little more inclined toward the yellow. Let's hope she doesn't mind.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Family Game Night

We held our first family game night last night. The game is Uno Moo, a gift from a friend for Audrey's birthday last year. The principles are the same as those in Uno, only instead of matching numbers, you match animals (sheep, cows, skunks, dogs, chicks, and farmers are wild). It's Uno with props.

And extremely zealous little fingers handling the pieces. Especially when they're winning.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 76

Summer moves. We move. And the sun moves. She pulls herself out from behind the clouds, lingering longer each day, tricking us into believing we have more hours left in a day than we really do. The grass, and the children, grow like weeds. Nothing stands still, especially the days (and children) of summer. As the vegetables in the garden flower and ripen, I can't help but be aware of how quickly everything around me is maturing - just like the season. Just a little more proof from last week:

Audrey often plays with a five-year-old neighbor. A very clever five-year-old, who knows a lot and is ready (and oh so willing) to tell you all about it. On Monday, she saw Audrey riding her new (to us) bike with training wheels. She told us Audrey was getting pretty good at riding her bike (she's also very complimentary). Then, she told us that she had two bikes like Audrey's that she can ride. She had just finished telling us that she could dive underwater and touch her head to the bottom when Audrey laughed and sighed deeply. "Rebecca, that's silly," she said.

That night, our area suffered a severe thunderstorm topped off with hail. We lay awake listening to the sky's theatrics and desperately hoping for sleep. Thunder exploded above us.

"I can't believe the kids are sleeping through this," Jason said.

"They're not. Audrey's already in our bed." (She had snuck in moments before and crawled up to me. At first, I had mistaken her for our dog who is so skittish during storms, I'd already put her on the foot of the bed. Nathan, a.k.a. Wonder Boy, was the only one who slept through nature's percussion extravaganza in his own bed.)

Tuesday night, while I prepared Nathan's rice cereal, I overheard Audrey whining at the table.

"I don't like when you cry," said Jason.

"I don't like when you say no," said Audrey.

"Who's the boss?" asked Jason.


"Yes. But, Mommy gives me permission to tell you no."

Wednesday, Jason and I celebrated our ninth anniversary. That morning, when Jason woke up, his phone beeped with two alerts. He picked up his phone and read his calendar:


Take out the trash!

He's never called me that one before. I suppose there's a first time for every nickname.

On Thursday, when Audrey was too preoccupied to listen, Jason bopped her gently on the head. With one quick motion, Audrey swiped at the air above her hair and dropped the invisible matter she had collected to her side. "I threw that away," she said.

Every view from my window captures a picture of growth: the zucchini blooming the orange buds of vegetables-to-be, the newly-hatched birds taking flight from their nest, our young trees heads taller than they were last year. And, inside these four walls, the picture is much the same: a six-month-old boy blooming before my eyes and his sister, looking a head taller than last summer, threatening with every grown-up comment (sweet, sincere, or sassy) that she's thinking of flying the nest.

Today, we asked her what she wants to be when she grows up.

"I want to take off the counters," she said. Which, translated, means she plans on taking whatever she pleases off the counters when she's grown up, since they are off-limits right now. As for my bets, I'm hedging them toward a stunt double. As for that little brother of hers, bending over backwards in his Bumbo seat, his head hung upside-down so he can follow his dad moving around the room, I'm thinking trapeze artist.

I'm off to enjoy these all-too-short days of summer while they last. And to increase our insurance policy...

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Today, Audrey, Nate, and I each donned a pair of wheels: bike, stroller, and Rollerblades, respectively. Watching me push a stroller atop a pair of moving shoes, a bystander called me brave (but, I think crazy might have been the word she was searching for). Sometimes, you must go beyond your box (or flat-bottomed shoes), and strike out on an open path to see what you can see. To feel the breeze, created by your speed, that you would have otherwise missed. These pictures capture our morning moments: those taken in the midst of our movement and those taken in the moments of still. All capturing the rhythm of summer.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I remember several things from my high school graduation: the buzz of energy coming from the seats surrounding me; the tears threatening at the corners of my eyes; my grandparents making the drive to attend; how my parents' house felt as if the air had been removed and every inch refilled with friends attending my open house; the tears that did come when I met up with one of my cross-country teammates who was younger and I was leaving behind. But this is the hug. The one I remember. Weaving through a shuffle of people, I had found him, and then I buried myself in him. And stayed.

I'm still there. Some boys just know how to hug. Some boys, you would marry again and again. Every chance you got. Happy ninth, Jas.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mulligan Monday

Somewhere between six and six-thirty on Sunday night, I declared a mulligan - on Father's Day. It began with a postponed trip to the grocery store (okay, it began with my tendency to procrastinate and pretend that national holidays - or those celebrated by over 50 countries, to be more precise - will wait on me to make up my mind, channel some energy from a pink, drum-playing bunny, and devise a fool-proof plan. But why get lost in specifics?). Plan finally in mind Sunday evening, Nathan and I were ready to head out the door. Audrey was not.

Audrey, let's go. Put on your shoes.
She put on the one pair of shoes I keep hiding because they are too big for her. (Somehow, these shoes keep getting found).
No. Your tennis shoes.
She put on a pair of boots thrown into the closet the day before due to rain (also too big for her, because the rain boots that fit her have hidden themselves so well that no one can find them).
Audrey, I don't have time to wait. Put on your tennis shoes.
She put on a pair of my boots.
Audrey, I'll see you later. I have to go.
I go tell Jason (playing the rare daytime video game - this coupled with a nap was Father's Day gift enough in his book) that Audrey will be staying with him while Nathan and I run to the store. Then I left her, crying in my boots.

By the time I got to the checkout line, it was past six, Jason was calling just to check in, and I was calling a mulligan (I don't play golf, so I should just say do-over, but mulligan sounds like such a jumbly mess in your mouth that it seems more appropriate). I got home, whipped something together that we called dinner, and called it a day.

Monday, we set about doing over. We got our aprons, our faces, our fingertips, and the door handle dirty while we played in chocolate. We tried out new recipes (grilled corn on the cob and The Pioneer Woman's mocha brownies) and relied on one tried and true (red potatoes diced, coated with a mix of olive oil, Italian spices, salt and pepper baked on 500 for 20 minutes or until crispy on the outside/soft in the middle). We made man food (okay, mocha brownies are on the edge of man food, I'll give you that). The man helped by manning the grill. We ate at a decent time. No boots were hurt.

It wasn't Father's Day, just Monday. But sometimes a Monday feels so good (especially one spent thinking of a certain special Daddy).

Friday, June 18, 2010

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 75

picture of birds tucked under our stoop by Jason

Nate and I are beat. We spent yesterday afternoon lolling about poolside: Nate asleep on my lap and me reading and doing needlework, alternatively. (I know, the two of us are quite the pair of pansies. I even moved our chair half a dozen times in an attempt to stay in the shade. My friend, Cindy, said if we moved any further back, we'd be in the toilets. She is British and when she says it, it almost sounds like a lovely predicament to find oneself in, which made me laugh all the more). Audrey took to the water with the urgency of someone trying to catch a snowflake before it melts. She propelled her buoyed body through the water in a manner that read: floaties, you may be holding my arms up, but I'm the one wearing you. She jumped in and out of the water and from pavement to rafts, regardless of if they belonged to us or not (they did not). She performed as many laps around the pool, her bare wet feet leaving marks as they slapped the concrete, as she did in the pool. More than four hours later, we packed up our things. Other children had grown hot and tired, like limp flowers in need of a drink. Audrey was still skipping around the pool, ready to seek out another raft. "You know what she reminds me of?" Cindy said, "a caged bird being let go for the first time."

I have rarely heard a more apt description - of anything. Audrey is boundless joy in human form. Boundless joy that does not take a vacation, day off, or nap. Sometimes, after the end of a day that feels stretched by the sun and a husband's absence in Minnesota, boundless joy can make a mama feel as if she might fall asleep on the couch - or standing up. Sometimes, at such a time, the humor provided by boundless joy is just what that mama needs:

On Tuesday, Audrey hit the back of Nathan's diaper. He didn't react, but she was sent to her room, where I explained that we never hit. (This would have probably been sufficient, but I tend to amble on a bit.) I told her that what she did to Nathan was not kind, nor did it show him love and respect. "He's too little to play rough, Audrey, and when he's bigger, he'll probably hit you back." She was silent as we left her room. Then she asked, "Is he growing today?"

With Jason traveling, I had to let Nathan hang out on the floor of the bathroom while I gave Audrey a bath Wednesday night. She splashed a little water. He laughed. She splashed some more. He laughed harder. My cell phone rang. I picked up when I saw it was Jason. Audrey and Nathan began laughing hysterically. I look back at Nate to see that his face is wet. Audrey splashed water at him. The two laughed so loud (and the water, in spite of my objections, started coming so fast) I had to hang up. It took two bath towels to clean the room up.

Thursday, Audrey had a cleaning at the dentist. While in the chair, she announced to the dentist and his assistant, "Sometimes I drink water out of the bathtub. Mom and Dad tell me no, but I do it anyway."

Later, while running errands, she said, "Mom, you tell Dad what to do and he tells me what to do, right?"

Nathan is awake after a marathon nap. He has returned to his usual, face-grabbing, nose-eating (we think it's his version of kisses) self. After news of an impending hail storm, a flight cancellation, a creative reroute, and car rental, Jason is home. As thoughts linger to the weekend, I am catching a second wind. Not a moment too soon. Audrey runs toward me: her smile, her laugh, her voice - boundless. "Hold me! Hold me! Hold me!" I know why the caged bird sings.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Audrey Bird

Jason strolled through the screen door this weekend after a quick berry check in the backyard. "I think we're going to have a bunch of raspberries in a few days," he said. As in, more than our typical handful. As in, prepare some angel food cake and pull out the whipped cream, or study the cookbooks for a recipe requiring a cupful of berries.

The week progressed. The berries didn't. We were puzzled. Jason could have sworn we'd have quite the little raspberry crop by midweek. I had remembered some promising blossoms. On further examination, we found evidence of the should-have-been berries, picked clean. "Do you think we have a bird problem?" I asked. Audrey, at Jason's hip, quickly agreed with the bird theory as she searched the bush. I looked at the berries again, their red tops plucked clear off, leaving a tidy white center behind. A little too tidy. I began to wonder if birds could do quite as neat a job, as I remembered Audrey's ability to swiftly pick raspberries last year, expertly avoiding the thorns on the full-grown plants. I asked if she had picked them. She said yes. But we were picking berries as we spoke. I asked if birds did it. She said yes. I asked if an Audrey Bird did it. Yes. I didn't know which way was up.

Until today. Today, with me safely tucked away inside folding sheets, I spied Audrey hopping from bush to bush, picking berries and popping them in her mouth. She would adventure in the yard for several minutes, and then (in what I imagine was a moment of appetite found from running about) she would ramble over to a bush, search it, snack, and run right along. She played away the afternoon, visiting each bush in turn as her stomach persuaded her. I can't say I blame the logic. Why stop inside when you have a fruit pantry at your fingertips? Now, how to deter an Audrey Bird?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Little Summer Snacking

It could be the little trek we took today along a wooded path, our way speckled with shade depending upon the curve of the path or clearing of the wood at any given moment (I, of course, forgot my camera). It could be the sporadic nature of our spurts of summer activity: stints at parks or on bikes; splashing in pools or tiptoeing through the garden; downtime armed with crayons and books. Whatever the reason, I have found myself in a constant state of snacky. Not quite hungry, not able to conjure anything resembling famished in this heat, but always wanting to nibble on a little something. Something sweet and as versatile and portable as summer itself. In fact, since running across this picture last week, I've been dreaming of a whole counterful of snack-worthy summery goodness.

Last night, when I ran across a recipe entitled, Annette's Granola in The Busy Mom's Guide to Simple Living, I knew I had found my jumping off point. This afternoon, we found just the pocket of time we needed to get the granola made and three mason jars filled. My counters (and my belly) are happier already. Ah, summer. Tastes just right.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I'm Just Mad About Saffron...

I have a hard time throwing useful things out. Even things we bought replacements for months ago. Holey things. Dingy things. Wouldn't be caught dead in, on, with, sort of things.

This, ahem, compulsion led to a little sheet-dyeing experiment a couple weeks ago. Jason and I had replaced our once-white sheets. I couldn't bring myself to toss the sheets into the clothing donation pile. So, I tossed them into hot turmeric-spiked water, instead, following these instructions.

Our turmeric was a little on the dated-side (the expiration date read August 2005, making this a two-birds-with-one-stone project: a little aged spice use-up and color touch-up), so I wasn't sure how this would turn out. But, one brightly-colored pillowcase later, I was a believer. (You can also use turmeric to dye Easter eggs).

A little fun with bias tape, and pillowcase dress tutorial later, and we have one repurposed pillowcase and one new nightgown for summer. Because, what's cozier than sheets?

Even if they are a little spice-scented.

Friday, June 11, 2010

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 74

Audrey helped me weed yesterday while Nathan hung out in the circus tent. At some point, Audrey decided they needed to swap hats (his is the white one).

Summertime, and the livin' is
crazy, I mean, easy...

What is it about summer that jumbles us so? Tuesday evening prances around like a Friday night and Wednesday shows up all shiny like a Saturday morning. Work and play meld, and the stove takes break while the grill shows off his stuff. The grass acts as if it has never seen the sun, stretching another inch each day, attempting to reach her rays. Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high.

In summer, anything goes. Audrey reminds me of this with daily games of pretend. On Monday, she was a child named Rajah. She ate a dried cranberry and proceeded to tell me how good it was, followed by, "we don't have these at my house." I told "Rajah" we had to go to the store. As we pulled away from the drive, she said, "I wonder if my parents are worried. You better call them." Then she told me their fake names. Oh, your daddy's rich and your mamma's good lookin'.

We left the store and from the backseat she said, "Mom, if you see an animal, call it up [out] to me." I said okay. When I didn't say anything else for a few minutes, she said, "Pretend animals, Mom!"

In summer, the garden thirsts for a drink. We thirst for fruit, and the energy and knees of our youth. The muggy-eyed children, running wild through the grass, thirst for sprinklers. We all seek rejuvenation. Tuesday morning, I told Audrey she needed to eat her oatmeal to have energy. "I already have energy," she said.
"You still need to eat your oatmeal," I said.
"You want me to throw my energy away?" she said.

Summer means new curfews, adventures, and charting new territory. Wednesday night, Audrey spent the night at Grammy's house for the first time. She had a day filled with flower planting and brownie baking. As Grammy got her dressed Thursday morning, Audrey exhaled a deep sigh. Her Grammy asked her what was wrong. "Today is a hard day for me," she said. So hush little baby, don't you cry.

Summer lends time for reflection. We have incorporated a new tradition to our evening meal. Every one seated at the dinner table takes a moment to share their favorite part of the day and their worst part of the day. Thursday, Audrey turned to face me at the table. "Mom, I have to tell you something. The best part of my day tomorrow is going swimming. (Unfortunately, the pool birthday party scheduled for today got rained out. I have a feeling I know what the worst part of her day is today). My best part of today was my bike ride." One of these mornings, you're gonna rise up singing. Then you'll spread your wings and take to the sky.

Summer is for growing: green lawns, vegetable gardens, and toward one another. Those extra doses of sunshine encourage us to stretch that bike ride just one more street, to weed one more row together, to share one more story, one more laugh, one more moment. Today, amidst a pile of paper and crayons, Audrey turned to me. "You're special to me," she said, "because you're my mom." But until that morning, there's a'nothing can harm you, with your daddy and mammy standing by.

Summertime, and the smiles come easy. A happy weekend to you. Enjoy.

*Lyrics to Summertime by George Gershwin

Thursday, June 10, 2010

An Early Morning Lesson

I am one of those forever nerds. The type of girl you can take out of the classroom, but you can't seem to shake the classroom from the girl. (This might explain my compulsion to grab any DIY book on the library's new nonfiction shelves regardless of how many books are already in my stack.) This morning, I found myself with an empty house (minus the sleeping babe in his crib), pieces of a project waiting in a pile, and a never-before-used tool. It seemed high time to learn how to make my own bias tape.

I've used bias tape on several projects in the last few years. We used it in droves for Audrey's playhouse. Each time I needed some, I headed to the fabric store, picked up a three-yard package in a solid color, and plopped a few bucks on the counter - which is fine (if you're not using it in droves). But, then I discovered a little tool called a bias tape maker that allows you to easily make your own (for FREE - in ANY color or pattern you want! Do I hear you calling me a DIY nerd?).

This morning I tried it out, and hmm, that was easy. Nice and mindless and incredibly satisfying to see cheery yellow gingham bias tape coming to life. Sometimes, there is no better way to start your day than an easy, mindless task that allows you to focus your thoughts on planning your day or the projects and dreams to come - especially when that task affords you sweet gingham bias tape. If only I had bought the right-sized tool and not one too small. Hmm. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Clowning Around

Audrey left this afternoon for a sleepover at Grammy's, which bought mama the few extra moments she needed to put the finishing touches on one more costume for the dress-up trunk I'm hoping to have ready for her birthday this fall. The straps were sewn on these clown pants about an hour ago. The fabric has been waiting in a stash for decades. I recall buying the fabric for a dollar or so as a teenager. I was reintroduced to it when my mom had me go through a pile of fabric in her basement to see if I wanted to take anything home with me. When I saw it, I wasn't sure what it would become, but I knew it could be a costume. Then I ran across the clown pattern in Deborah House's Quick Costumes for Kids, and something called out that this was what that blue fabric was meant to become. I mean, look at it. What else are you going to do with white-polka-dotted blue polyester? (Let's not even ask what I was thinking when I bought it, shall we?) Ironically, the pattern in House's book asks you to cut out your own polka dots and adhere them to the fabric. Ahem, no need there. See, this clown suit has me laughing already. All I need is a red rubber nose.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Latest Sweet Treat

Last month while in San Francisco, Jason visited the Ghirardelli factory and came home with a sweet surprise - five, to be exact. Five chocolate bars ranging in their cacao percentage (but all dark), one with bits of toffee. For several days, I went to bed finding one or two chocolate bars tucked beneath my pillow. The two darkest bars (86% cacao) have been eaten slowly, broken into bits and added to teacups filled with walnuts. It's my latest simple pleasure. This is a walnut-spiked-with-dark-chocolate teacup afternoon. Cloudy with a touch of foreboding (or maybe, that's just the wind bringing attention to the oft overlooked hollows of the land). It's the sort of day that presses upon me to take my teacup and seek out a Carnegie library with wooden card catalogues filled with index cards; books with tired pages oiled by years of roaming fingers; rooms perfumed in musk, casting a scent of adventure - undiscovered nooks to be found, cluttered dank basements for a reader's spelunking. But a little boy begs to be rocked to sleep, while his sister (wearing her headband like Pocahontas) checks the window every third minute to see if her Grammy has arrived (singing a song while sitting on the steps in an enchantress' effort to call her Grammy to her). There will be no spelunking today or adventures between the stacks while other sweet duties call. No. Just one teacup. Emptied slowly.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Little Weekend Planting, I mean, Painting

We brought our planting inside this weekend with the help of some paintbrushes and acrylic paints. We had been putting off a little project, waiting for the perfect weather to take our paint outside, and then waiting on me to be able to handle being out in the perfect weather without sneezing (therefore avoiding the bad combination of a paintbrush and unexpectedly shaking hand). Finally, we changed our plans. We spread some heavy duty cardboard out over the basement carpet and took our chances.

After a little sketching by mom and quick painting tutorial by dad, Audrey was ready to put some finishing touches on her playhouse. We kept things simple, just a row of flowers. Audrey painted the petals until her energy level couldn't handle the stillness required for painting. Then, it was off to clean up and play with Dad while I put a few embellishments on the artwork to hide some painting mishaps (I love that paint is its own magic eraser).

These little flowers add a much needed punch of color. We might just have to grow some around the corner on the other side. We kept things pretty nondescript so if she wants to pretend that the building is something other than a house, she can easily do that. But, the top is a bit bare. It might need a window painted on, or a sign of some sort. But for now, the playhouse is open, the kitchen furniture is moved in, and one little girl thinks it all looks just fine. That's masterpiece enough for me.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 73

The woman in the picture is my maternal grandmother. I'm the one in the blanket. If I am remembering correctly, she gave me this picture. It's in a photo album next to a note handwritten by my mother, "Hi Mamaw! Please pick me up and give me a big hug! Mommy said you would take good care of me. Will you rock me to sleep tonight?"

My grandmother was a nurse at the hospital in which I was born (you can see just the edge of her nurse's cap in the photo). I was a preemie (although, weighing in at a whopping five pounds, I was a giant compared to my also-preemie sisters who didn't break 4.5 pounds), so my stay in the hospital lasted longer than the typical two days. With responsibilities torn between home (where a two-year old waited) and the hospital, I imagine my mother slept just a bit easier (if she slept at all) knowing that even as she could not be at the hospital with me, family was there - holding, watching, loving. In fact, it was my grandmother who years later told me that with each new family member, God created more room in our hearts to love.

There has been much talk of family this week as Nathan makes his daily presence more known, seeming to have found his voice and the ability to better use his tight grasp, simultaneously. Perhaps, it is simply the carefree spirit of summer migrating into our house, but we are beginning to wear this family-of-four status much like a favorite worn blanket: actually showing up on time for a couple events, and Jason and I finding a few more niches of calm tucked into our days to share with one another. Audrey has especially been centering my thoughts homeward with her family-themed comments and questions. Nathan is part of our family, right? When I am big do I get to tell you what to do? (I told her no, but when she became a mother, she could tell her own children what to do). Will you still be a mommy when I'm a mommy? Yes, but I'll also be a grandmother. (This brought on a slew of questions.)

Then, on Wednesday, she asked, "who is Mamaw's mommy?" I told her about my grandmother and how much she would have loved to have known Audrey. I also explained that my grandma had died before Audrey was born. Audrey was silent for a few minutes. Then she said, "So, since Mamaw doesn't have a mommy, she can cross the street by herself?"

"Yes. Mamaw can cross the street by herself," I said. Audrey changed topics. But I found myself rolling her sentence over and over again in my head. What she said could have been merely an accident, but even as an adult - one whose children were grown - I can imagine that in the days and months following her mother's death, my mom might very well have felt as if she were crossing the street by herself for the first time.

Audrey has been making a "first street crossing" of her own, so to speak. As of a garage sale find yesterday, she has traded in her tricycle for a bike with training wheels. This afternoon, Jason taught her how to push the pedals. Forward to go. Backward to break. Now, he in his rollerblades and she on her bike, the two circle the cul de sac while I type - their motion interrupted by the occasional shaky collapse of the bike. Then, it is up again. Forward to go. I sit, typing as fast the words come, trying to hold the moment. The week that has just been. Backward to break.

Moments from last week:

Last Sunday during a session outside involving running through sprinklers, Audrey and Jason began discussing his hair. Audrey has only known Jason to have very short hair.

"Why don't you have hair?" she asked.
"God didn't want me to have hair," Jason answered.
Audrey accepted this answer for a few minutes. Then she countered, "Yes, God did want you to have hair. He gave you hair on your belly."

Monday night we asked for her help to shuck ears of corn. While shucking the "ears," she asked, " Does corn have a head?"

On Wednesday, Jason had told Audrey he would walk her to the park after we finished eating. Then, when prompted to go wash her hands, she ignored the request. "Not washing your hands isn't helping your cause," he said.

"But I don't have a cause!" she yelled.

Nathan began crying Friday afternoon. "Are you still hungry, buddy?" I asked. "Or just tired?"

Audrey looked up from her plate at the table. "Or maybe he just wants his waffle [her nickname for Jason]. I think he wants his waffle and not his crepe [her nickname for me]."

Jason called to let me know he was on his way home Friday evening. Audrey asked if it was him. "He's on his way home, but might take a while because he's stuck in traffic," I said.

Audrey, familiar with the word "stuck" in relation to sitting along the side of the road out of gas or being trapped in an elevator, asked, "Does he need someone to help him?"

Happily, this week we are not feeling stuck around here. The workload has not decreased and our days run on basically the same schedule as before. But the sun is holding its own a bit more these days, trying to show night who's boss. Neighborhood children test their kites against the wind in view of my back door. The garden is a daily treasure hunt. Inside the walls bounce with laughter and light. No, we are not stuck. Unless, you count this little feeling that wells up now and again inside a mama. The desire to encourage her little ones' growth: the desire to set time to a slow simmer. Forward to go. Backward to break.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

At Our Table

The spirit of summer has crept to our table this week. Simple suppers, all-you-can-fit onto one grill or in one pot wonders. Colors as nourishing to look at as to eat. A small pause to gather around our oval table (spots worn by the pokes and prods of a toddler mastering pencils, scissors, and forks) and share the moments that have built our day. A small pause before some run forth from the patio door into the summer sun and others retreat, blanketed in the cool refuge of home.