Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Joy

Thank you, Catholic Church, for celebrating Easter as an octave.  That gives me 8 whole days for chocolate eating posting Easter pictures!

The kids were originally supposed to be home today, but thanks to the Never-ending Story called Winter '14, today is a snow make up day. Our kids have had no break this spring, but it's all right. They like school and this means they are still getting out at relatively the same time in June.

I just feel badly for their teachers, since their menu yesterday consisted of chocolate eggs, jelly beans, carrot cake, cinnamon rolls, and a tiny sliver of ham, just to make it healthy.

I'm sure they will have zero mood issues today.

Easter Sunday was lovely here.  On Facebook, I said that it was about as lovely as a day could be. The weather was perfect and our family was together - everything else was gravy. Or chocolate, as the case may be.

Many times in my life, while I have been enjoying intensely happy moments, I find myself dwelling on that happiness and trying to store it up in my heart.  I think about how I will never be in this happy day again, and that harder times very well may be ahead.  It's not a pessimistic feeling, really.  It's more of an acknowledgement of the grace of the moment.  Life changes so quickly, and my children will not be small and with me forever.  But they are with me right now, so I'll enjoy them.

Happy Easter, my friends!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


It's hard to believe, but my Mopsy girl turned 4 on Monday.  

I know 4 doesn't seem so very big, and it isn't, not really. Four year olds think they are big, but they are still so small. I can still recognize so much of the baby that she was.

In a big family there is the danger of getting lost in the shuffle.  Not in a permanent way, not as long as a loving mom is on the job at least, but the day itself can lose some luster if you are just thinking about it as "one more kid turns 4."  See? No big deal when you put it that way.

So I make an effort to recognize each one on their birthdays.  We don't do big parties, but we do try to make it special.  We hang the birthday banner, I make whatever cake they request, and Rob takes the day off of work.  There is something precious about hearing that your beloved daddy, who works all the time, has left work just for your birthday.  And that's exactly what he tells them: "I'm not working because it's your day, and I want to be with you."

On Monday, we went out to lunch with the 3 little guys, and then we hit up Target so Mopsy could spend the birthday money she got from relatives.  After school, my parents came over and we all had dinner and cake together.   That was it, and it was perfect.  

Mopsy, as a little girl, is delightful. Full of life and charm and mirth, brimming with mischief and hilarity and independence.

We love her dearly. 

I love, love, love the way Baby is looking at her big sister in this picture.

Mopsy loves all things mustache-themed. I have no idea why, but that's who she is.
So it was fake pink mustaches all around on her birthday.

Baby does not love mustaches, but she loves her sister and she was a good sport.

Bun does love mustaches. 

I love her face in this picture. 

Cake time! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014


So. This blog. It does still exist and I am not dead.

As for the rest, I'm blaming it on the Polar Vortex.  I know it's not a new weather phenomenon, but it practically killed my spirit for nigh on 3 months.

Because there was just. so. darn. much! of this:

When I used to hear older ladies talk about their "nerves" or how so-and-so had "bad nerves," I would think that it was a mostly imagined problem.  I am now apologizing to those ladies.  They know what's up because "nerves" is a totally legitimate medical condition.  And mine just about snapped this winter.

Have you ever had one of those days where you are utterly depleted? Where every nerve ending and sensory receptor in your brain is screaming "Danger!! Overload!!" Where you are touched-out and asked-out and yelled-out and whined-out and cried-out, and if you don't find a dark corner in which to retreat you will ab-so-lutely lose  . . . your . . . mind.

This winter was weeks made up of those days.

It's completely dramatic to say I had a nervous breakdown, so I'll just say that even my confessor told me to go on vacation.  He said that I should call it a "mother's retreat."

He did not tell me to take a "nerve pill," as the sweet old ladies called them when we lived down south, but I probably could have used one of them, whatever they are.

And listen, I was not the only one considering self-medicating until spring found me.  Even the kids started to get strung out.

Yes, that is my baby raiding my brother's alcohol cabinet.
At least he chose some good Scotch to honor his heritage.

But thank the good Lord that even the most bitter winters do not last forever and must eventually give way to the gentler touch of spring.  Snow turns to rain, and the way I feel today is not the way I will feel forever.

And even during the depths of winter, we managed to find good things:

Victory! Too bad they didn't have a flag to plant on top
of the mountain of snow on the mailbox.

Not much gets this girl down. Not even snow drifts twice her height.

Driving the aisles

This kid . . .
oh, man, am I in so much trouble.

I ran my first 5K in 12 years last weekend.
See that behind me?  That's called green grass. 

It's Laetare Sunday, a day to rejoice because we are halfway through Lent and the winter's behind us.
I'm ready for that, my friends.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Long Winter

Ohhhh, this weather.  What can I say?  It's winter out there, and sometimes winter is brutal.

This year seems especially harsh, but I am choosing not to let the 24/7 weathertainment machine make me crazy about something that I should expect as a resident of the northeast United States.

I've stopped counting how many "inclement weather" days the kids have used.  Our school gets 4 built into the schedule, and I think we passed that back in December.  Mopsy has had so many preschool days cancelled that her teacher told all the parents that once the spring is here she will extend the school day by a half hour so that they could do some of the fun projects that had to be scrapped.

On Monday we got 9 inches of snow, and last night we got an inch of ice on top of all of that. I managed to use the window between the storms to grab all my groceries, so I had plenty of time to stare out the window and try to remember what green grass looks like.

Most days, I don't mind staying in. Dressing everyone for the outdoors is an epic feat and piloting the land yacht along snow packed roads is less than exhilarating. Rear wheel drive is not my friend in this weather.

The snowy woods behind our house, looking from the corner of our front porch.

The Snow Removal Crew getting instructions from the Crew Chief.

Fiver is shovel ready. And that snow is heavy and wet.

The second shift of the snow crew, post naps.

Helping Daddy, shovelful by tiny shovelful.

The Land Yacht with its snow cap.

This is one of my favorite pictures.  This is Bun and Sally, lying on top of their snow fort,
talking things over. They are getting older and moving in different circles,
but their old closeness still comes out.  I hope they remain that way through life.

The view from my windshield while waiting to drop Mopsy at school.
It's hard to tell from this angle, but that pile of snow in front of the van is as high as the hood.
And that street had already been plowed. Twice.

The parking lot across the street from school. I usually park there, but there was no way
I'd be able to make it back out with that much snow.

One of the roads on the way home from school. You can finally see about a half lane of
blacktop, for which I was very grateful.  Just beyond the trees and that little beige
building is the partially frozen river.  I shiver every time I drive over the bridge
on my way home.  

But even the weather can't steal all of our fun.  I've always been so happy to have Bun's birthday in the dark recesses of winter, just to break up the monotony. 
The birthday banner!

Six. How did that happen? 

This is the cake I made for Bun.  He picked it from the internet, even though he only eats
plain chocolate cake with plain white icing.  Everyone else thought it was delicious.

Mopsy helped me put the candles in the cake.  She was also offering herself as a taste-tester.

One of my favorite things is knowing that Bun and my dad share their birthday.
They have always thought it was such a special gift to be birthday buddies.

Make a wish!

I hope they wished for warmer temperatures.  Or at least above-freezing temperatures.