Thursday, September 30, 2010


i know i have posted in the past about chew-man's sleep.
Charter - maybe you will read this years, decades in the future & not even remember this...
But - it has been a part of your little persona since you were around 2.
The first few times, we thought, 'oh, maybe he has those 'night terrors' that a lot of our friends with sons have talked about...'
But they kept coming - these 'sleep disturbances'... thick & fast - till 9 out of 10 nights had some type of sleep disturbance.
We wondered at age 2 if it was caused by potty training,
at age 3, if it was related to childhood asthma,
at age 4 if it was caused by evening activities,
at age 5 if it was caused by a scary show on tv,
at age 6 a computer game,
at age 7 we tried scripture,
At age 8 we moved you downstairs because try as we might - we couldn't get you to sleep through the night (even though you always thought you did...) & we needed some sleep too.
You have crab-walked in your sleep, picked shadows out of the air & eaten them, walked & talked, thrashed around & fought, screamed & thumped walls... & those are just a few of the things we have seen...
Everything online suggested that you would 'outgrow' this... but as the years have worn on - your body doggedly holds it's pattern of waking around midnight, while your mind slumbers.
Finally - when you unbolted the back door & went outside...
i decided to take you to see a doctor.
She says yeah, it's not terribly common - but that she has seen this before.
We've got a couple more things to add to our 'to try' list...
& i'm hoping that one day soon...
You'll get the rest you need.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

They're starting to grow on him...

i walked into my room last night & Neil was lying in bed.
Gagey was lying on top of him with his legs tucked under his body & his tiny bum in the air.
"Why are you two bff's?" i asked.
"Why shouldn't we be?" Neil countered, tickling the platinum hairs at the back of Gage's head.

Oh, i dunno - maybe it's the way he'll come really close - like nose to nose with Ephraim & then say, "You smell funny." Even when he doesn't.
Or the way he greets them in the morning, "Thanks for the TERRIBLE sleep last night."

But eventually, with each tiny baby we have added to our family...
something slowly happens to my husband....
& maybe it's 'cause Gagey's all potty trained - & can speak clearly enough to be understood...
Maybe it's some kind of physiological addiction from Gagey sneaking in & snuggling with Neil in the night, dampening his pillow with little boy sweat & breathing his baby breath in his daddy's face.
Maybe the advantage that i have as a mother in growing a tiny one inside expires - after the initial neediness of those first dozens of months... - & at that point... our little ones suddenly belong to him.
Me? i'm in love from the word 'go'... i'm crying & imagining from the moment i see a faint pink line on a pregnancy test...
Him? He's slower - his love is plodding & steady & strong.
& so i greedily hog all the baby time i can. The time that is mine - when they need me in the night, or wordlessly babble as they reach & grasp for my fingers & dangling hair. i relish the diaper changes & the hours carefully lulling a little one to dream land.
& it's ok - that he doesn't change diapers - or rouse in the night. Because his love is still there...
Yes - he loves the little babies... but his daddy's heart is awakened to new levels - in toddlerhood & beyond.
& i know this because i can see with my own eyes -
when they start to grow on him.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

more brokenness *edited*

It was late afternoon.
Really - pretty much supper time...
But i had been cooped up all day & the warm days have been so few & far between - & so - since Neil wasn't going to be home any time soon, i pretended... that it was only late afternoon.
It was a rash decision.
i was in the middle of folding laundry - & i left it there - half folded.
i ran downstairs and ignored the dozens of tiny chores that vied for my attention & scooped up my baby in my arms.
i snatched a bunch of bananas & a bag of granola bars & 2 pieces of stale bread.
i shouted for the littlest ones to meet me in the front & we set off for the pond.
The 3 bigs were finishing up some school work, & so it was just me & my 4 youngest ones.
The bread was to lure the ducks closer.
But Gagey was much more interested in finding rocks to throw in the water. Maybe that's why the ducks wouldn't come.
Ephraim tried to eat leaves off the ground & Mollen & Charter leaped from rock to rock exploring, laughing & shouting...
i don't know how long it lasted.
Not long enough...
& my cell phone rang.
It was Cairo, they had gone rollerblading & Peyton had fallen - her wrist looks pretty bad.
As quickly as i could, i gathered my little chickies & headed for home.
i knew with a sinking feeling in my gut as soon as i saw it - that we needed to get her in to emergency.
And so - hours spent, x-rays completed, a doctor's decision to send her to the children's hospital to have it reset, a tired mama bringing the baby home & letting daddy transport our girl for what we know will be a painful procedure...
It's 11:49pm - My girl isn't home yet.
i'm tired of broken bones - of pain & hospitals.
i'm grateful for tag team parenting - & little ones who are active enough to get hurt...
So ends Cai's 14th birthday...
i'm hoping that's the end of our bone breaking streak of 2010...
*edited to add*
They got home at 3:30am. They sedated her pretty heavily to set the bone. Neil said the doctor gave it a big yank & heard a *crack*. Afterwards, they casted it & gave her another x-ray to make sure it's going to heal properly.
It's the end of a 10 year streak for Peyton. The meds they gave her made her throw up. Two firsts for my girl: first broken bone, first puke.
Poor darling.
As she was coming back around, Neil said she was searching for him with her eyes saying, "i need you daddy, i need you... i wanted *you* to come with me." (& she did, too. She had asked me when we were at the emergency if daddy could please take her to the hospital). & then after a pause, "Daddy, why are there 2 of you?" & then back to sleep.
i love that Peyton wanted her daddy. When i had called Neil to tell him, he said, "Yeah, well... you know me, mr. compassion."
& he's not....
But that little 10 year old girl - knew deep in the folds of her brain - the loving protectiveness that her daddy has for her. All she wanted was the comfort of his presence.

Monday, September 27, 2010

birthday tomorrows

i don't think i wrote about Sloanie's birthday this year.
She turned 12 back in July - while we were in California. Her gam gave her money to go shopping & she bought herself a pretty little dress - but didn't have enough left over for the funky hat she wanted to go with, so i pitched in the last couple of bucks & she got it.
But even back then - she had already bought & stashed a little present for Cai's birthday. She has kept her secret hidden all these weeks and months - waiting for the day that will finally come -
& it strikes me that no birthday gift i could get my girls could compare to the gift their daddy & i gave them when we gave them each other.
Constant companions, fiercely loyal friends who have your back, & who will whisper and giggle with you in the dark - trading back tickles for glasses of water.
It's 9:14pm - & i'm waiting to hear her soft padding up the stairs after she finishes "chatting" with her sisters in their room downstairs...
The little boys are snoozing in their little blue room - Charter will be tossing & turning in his bunk, Mollen will be sprawled across their bed - dead to the world. My skinny 13 year old girl is gonna push Moll's dead weight limbs aside & climb into that bed... & be gone by the time the first puddles of light drip through our windows in the morning.
i need to say goodbye -
so i'm ready to say, 'hello' -

Sunday, September 26, 2010

i'm an interrupter.

i'm a horrible conversationalist.
i interrupt constantly, talk over people - loudly - & i use my hands a lot.
It's because i get excited when i get talking.
Sometimes - if i really agree with you - i'll interrupt you to shout, "YES, YES!!"
When Neil & i are visiting in bed at night, if he's facing away from me, i'll leap over his body so that i can talk into his face.
& in my heart - i sometimes realize that my exuberance could be perceived as... *rude* -
but my friends...
know that when i interrupt you, it's only 'cause if i don't - i won't remember what i was going to say & when there is a lull that i'm supposed to fill - i'll just stare at you blankly with my eyes glazed over - trying for the life of me to remember the english language well enough to come up with more than a grunt.
If i interrupt you - it means i think you're interesting, & i like you - i wanna do a mad dance of communication & exchange words at a quick pace - like an expert fencing match.
All the same - i'm trying to improve in this annoying little habit.
& i'll try my best to remember this post the next time one of my littles...
interrupts me.

Friday, September 24, 2010

One of those mornings...

It's funny - it was a pretty average morning... As my sister Stephanie so eloquently put it, "i feel like i'm spending all my SOUL to make it work."
i did my usual - up to the last minute forcing my eyes shut while little feet pummelled my back. My night still a blur of half dream, half wake - baby lovin'.
Finally, rousting my weary bones & tying my hair back without brushing it.
Neil made coffee.
i love that man.
Even though he was already gone... he must've set the timer 'cause he knows just what minute i'll climb jammy clad down those stairs.
Change a diaper, take a little boy potty, nurse the baby, rush to put my toast in & have my bum obediently at the table by 8 ready to 'school' with my stack of morning books by my coffee. i snatched a moment to check my email & my eye caught one from our music pastor, genially reminding me that i'm leading the singing this Sunday. i had forgotten. i'm glad i had stashed some *must do soon* music in a folder by my piano - & i'm glad i get to play this Sunday - the pastor is in the middle of a really thought provoking series called "suburban legends..." & it's hitting on some pretty major myths that we believe about our Father...
But back to my morning...
i wish i could include a sound byte so you could hear the noise.
The thing is - every night - *every night* - i dutifully clean my kitchen & main floor. Even when Neil's gone on business... i don't know - it has become a kind of habit for me i guess. Neil can't stand to come down in the morning if it's not tidied - & so it always manages to get done... somehow.
But within about 15 minutes, you'd never know that. Those long silent hours while we sleep get broken with a SMASH as 9 people descend upon our little kitchen - & the crumbs come dancing across the floors, the fingers make smudging smears across every cleared surface, the baby drools across the floor & it looks... lived in... to put it an instant.
& that was the case this morning. It wasn't out of the ordinary... it just *was* the ordinary - the ordinary extraordinary chaos.
i liked that morning. As i usually do. Despite the pressing news that i needed to get the music organized. i like doing school with all the littles together.
Even when i feel like i'm yelling over the babbling baby.
Even when i'm pausing mid paragraph because sunshine boy is crying, "Watch meeeeee!! Watch meee!!!!" while he runs his laps around the tiny track that our house is for him.
i like how baby thumps his feet if we sing.
i like how Mollen is a sponge.
i like how my big girls read with expression.
As soon as we finish, i quickly dismiss to do math (at our house, Cai does her own math, Sloanie gets Peyton started first & then does her math, & i do math with the 2 youngest at the kitchen table while tidying up & watching the 2 littlest boys).
i got the 2 littlest 'middlies' going on writing instead, since they can do that independently, while i played my piano with baby pulled up next to me in his highchair. He likes it when i sing and smile at him.... Gagey danced, Charter drummed with his pencil on the table & Miss molls threw back her head & sang along with her full little voice, not pretending very well to get her work done.
Finally, i had some music put together that i thought could work, so i went to email the list to the music pastor... As i sat on our unmade bed & pressed 'send' on the laptop, in my jammies, i wondered when i would get a shower, or get the kitchen cleaned. The children were all diligently working - while the chaos of breakfast held onto it's momentary victory in the ebb & flow of tidiness... & then the phone rang.
"i'll be there in 7 minutes - & i'm bringing my uncle over."
Cai, (did i mention her nickname is radar?) was thankfully listening in on the line & as soon as the phone was hung up - called the troops into action.
When Neil walked in the door - order reigned once more & i was wearing pants.
& so it was that our morning played itself out.... & after a few unexpected leaps & lurches, we plowed on into the afternoon.
One of those ordinary mornings... that toss you in the air like a brittle fall leaf. Gonna enjoy my spiraling journey back to earth.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Does my Father love me?

My friend Fawne is a kindred spirit.
Y'know... like from Anne of Green Gables?
We meet so few of those in our lifetimes...
Anyway - even if you're pressed for time... i wish everyone would take the time to listen to her story... & meet the One who loves them so.
(*When you click on the link, scroll down & click on "myth #2 - God won't give me more than i can handle" - for some reason the direct link to their testimony is broken & only plays a few seconds. You can fast forward to the 19 minute mark to get right to their story).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

you're big enough to know what i mean

That's one of our favourite "Mollenisms" - when she was really little (3?), she was trying to explain something to Charter & he was mocking her word usage & her inability to communicate better & finally in her lisping frustration, she spouted out, "Charter!! You're big enough to know what i mean!"
We had a family meeting today.
There have been too many squabbles, nit picking, screaming & tears lately.
So, it took up some of our "school hours"... so what? This *is* school. Learning to work together, identify a problem, look for solutions.
We came up with 3 ground rules - & i'll share...
1. Serve each other. If someone asks for a glass of water, a receiving blanket, toilet paper... Go get it for them. Don't whine, or complain. Do as much as you can for yourself - & then do as much as you can for each other.
2. Don't take yourself so seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself - not every comment needs to be taken personally & remembered with bitter attention. Let it go - & move on.
3. Don't scream. Ever. Unless you're being kidnapped. Don't exaggerate - break down in a weeping fit or "cry wolf".
You're big enough to know what i mean.
Back at 'er.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

surprised by the amens...

from yesterdays post...
i know - nobody actually *said* amen...
but so many of you meant it.
Not about Neil telling me not to get any ideas - but about feeling a tugging sense of conviction about the little needy ones *right in our city*.
& so maybe i will take a minute to ramble a bit of the thoughts that go through my head when i hear the words 'foster care'.
i'm scared of letting the government into my home.
That's a big one for me. i have seven children who i am raising with very little scrutiny. Opening our home would mean inviting the scrutiny of a government that holds vastly differing views on children and family than i do.
Neil told me he needs to be stringing some nights of sleep in a row before we could even begin to discuss such an enormous idea. & so yes... it's not something that looks likely or imminent for our family - but it's something that won't leave me alone... i've looked into it before... even looking up the dates of the next informational meeting... tossing the idea over in my head - wondering if God would ever ask us to do something more than ache for the little ones that we know are out there...

Monday, September 20, 2010

did you know...

That there is a place called 'the children's cottage' in Calgary... & teeny tiny newborn babies go there when there are no foster homes to take them in.
A couple that i knew were foster parents each came into the hall we were at, carrying a bucket carseat holding a tiny babe.
The mom explained to me that one was the child of drug dealers - one of drug users. She said there's a big difference between the 2 boys born just days apart. We didn't have enough time for me to ask all the questions i wanted to ask. But she did tell me that there is a huge need for respite families to love the little ones who are born - every day - to families that can't take care of them.
In a flood of words on the way home, i explained to Neil what she explained to me...
about these little ones - needing arms - love - to be fed & protected.
"Don't get any ideas." he told me firmly.

Friday, September 17, 2010

how paige gives housekeeping advice...

If you don't have enough room for a new baby, you need to get rid of some of your stuff.
If your pots and pans cupboard is always messy, get rid of some of them.
If a drawer doesn't close easily or a lid close neatly, you need to throw away some of what it contains.
If your child's closet won't stay neat, get rid of some of their clothes.
If your child is reading a lame book that contains the phrase, "i never thought about having a slammin' body before" & the recommended reading age for that "christian" literature is 8-12... chuck it.
14 years of being married to the ruthless purger that my husband is has trained me to begin to live simply...
i value that simplicity.
i find homes for the things i need, i keep what i love & make room for people by getting rid of stuff.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

one degree

i was thinking - as i was watching my big girls the other day - about my job.
They're getting older, more responsible. They are becoming very able little people - & i like that.
The corrections that i'm trying to make in these days - are minor ones. A gentle nudge towards grace, forgiveness, kindness, humility. i try to remind them, if they seem to forget for an instant, to choose better. At least, that's my goal.
i'm thinking that these years will be full of tiny corrections - maybe only a degree or two.
These corrections seem so insignificant at the time. Sometimes i wonder if i should bother - since the difference seems so slight...
But then i remember the length of their journey.
The character i help to shape now - will serve them for the next 70, 80, 90 years...
Imagine walking along a straight line for decades - & realizing that a shift of one degree way back in your childhood - could have brought you to a place miles & miles apart from where you ended up?
& so i ask my Father to keep my heart soft & my eyes sharp. i ask Him to help me see the instances where i should take them gently by the shoulder & turn them - ever so slightly - so that they are better facing Home.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

let the little children...

13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” 15 And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left. (mt. 19:13-14)

My littles like to tell me a story about being in Sunday School one day. Their teacher, Miss. Rita, knows what she's doing. My girls have come home from her classes excited about the bible, about learning, about the stories that she makes come alive for them... &... i'll admit it... they're excited about the candy. So this day - she was doing her thing... when suddenly she said, "And you each get a candy because you're children... & God? He loves children. Did you know that?"
It wasn't for a right answer, or good behaviour. She gave them a candy to make a picture they would remember - God loves them - God has time for them - God doesn't shove them aside, worry that there are too many, find them an irritating distraction. It was in recognition that the littler, vulnerable people - are His...
& He loves them.
He laid his hands on them... & He blessed them...
It's funny 'cause that little lesson has stuck with my big girls - they say it often, "God loves children."

May it be that this lesson is inked on the mind of a generation that learns to view children the way the Father sees them...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

my son is a genius...

"Mom, i have a sliver."
"Um, ok, find me a needle & i'll get it out for you."
My hands are covered with soap suds. i'm finishing cleaning the kitchen after supper & i'm a little distracted by the post supper mess & noise as my son shoves his meaty, dirty hands in my face.
"i don't know where a needle is."
"Yeah, well, you're just gonna have to look."
i can tell he doesn't want to look - but i just don't have it in me to drop what i'm doing at the moment.
He wanders off & in moments, he returns holding a dirty screw, "Will this work, mom?" he asks benignly.
Sloanie & Cairo burst out laughing, "bahahahahaaaaaa, he wants mom to take out the sliver with a screw!!"
With a naive look on his face, he helplessly holds up a ball point pen, "What about this mom? Will this work?"
Sloanie & Cairo proceed to mock him mercilessly.
"Charter! Of course a pen won't work! i bet i could find a needle in 10 seconds!"
"Really? Wow..." he says slowly.
He's a genius... i mutter to myself... as i sweep the floor...
"Yeah! 10 seconds. Time me!"
"One, two, three..." he starts counting.
The big girls fling open drawers & before the 10 seconds have been counted, have triumphantly unearthed a needle from the office desk.
"Thanks girls..." he says as he takes the needle & slips it into my waiting hands...
& i'm sure...
i saw just the faintest glimmer of a victorious smile on his sweet little face...

Monday, September 13, 2010

chrysalis academy fall of 2010

Well - this is the contents of our 1 room school house this year... grades 9, 7, 5, 3, 1... & 2 "pre's"
i love this picture because you can see his lip is still pressed down from sophie who just bounced out of his mouth... the boy has himself a fine set of teeth (as evidenced by the punctured skin some of the rest of us are sporting).

Sunshine boy. Moments before this picture was taken, he was laying on the ground sobbing - suddenly he stood up, "i better." & climbed up on the couch for his picture. i love 2.

Mollen. i thought she'd be a real handful to add full time to our school - but the thing i never considered is: this chicky is *really really* smart. She does her work in around 2 hours/day & she's already over 1/4 done her math curriculum. She pays attention, adds to discussions & answers questions correctly... i'm lovin' having her around!

& chewman... He's partnering up with Molls for projects & they make a great team. Charter is dilligent - & Mollen is a quick thinker. Together - they seem to have the right give & take to make things work.

Peyton asked me, "mom - do i have to be myself in the pictures or can i wear a costume?" Apparently this dress is a costume. Last year she wore a clip on tie... i wonder what my chameleon girl will wear next year?

Softie. She doesn't see it yet - but i do... it's a big year for her - School matters less in a year like this - it's character (& she's got lots of it...) - that's gonna influence the rest of her life. Grow, baby...

& in less than 2 weeks - i'll whisper goodnight to my last birthday child this season...
It's looking to be a beautiful fall...

Sunday, September 12, 2010


i'm trying to run again.
Just little bits - feeling my way along - trying to figure out how this body works again.
& it's funny - in this new step i rediscovered something that has happened many times over the course of healing...
While i'm running - & mentally checking my gait to be careful of my weak knee...
i'll notice my opposite hip begin to ache.
i have noticed different aches & pains - little minor grumblings of discomforts as the rest of my body tries to compensate for - & protect - it's weak member.
& today as i walked at a brisk pace...
& i noticed my hip begin to ache...
i thought about how there is nothing wrong with my hip.
It just needs to bend & act differently... & maybe even ache -
for the sake of another.
& it occurred to me - that maybe i should be prepared to do the same - for any broken member of The Body that i am a part of too.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

i wonder...

who filled up my camera with these pictures...
of their darling baby brother?
i wonder...
if Ephraim finds homeschooling boring?

i wonder...
if we had more fun watching their presentation about the sun...
or if they had more fun preparing & presenting it?
i wonder...
if Dick and Jane ever had such an attentive audience?

i wonder if there exists a nicer view than this:
or a worse view than this:
i wonder...
why my white blanket never stays white... & if that little kidney bean foot will ever straighten out...
i wonder how i got so lucky?

Friday, September 10, 2010

What does it matter? art

Art seems sort of pointless, doesn't it?
At least when i see the world through my husband's no nonsense eyes it does.
Art is on my mind.
i have cheques signed for music lessons for the year for my littles...
... and i have decided to commit the entire month of November for my own personal little "art" project.
Some would venture that i'm sacrificing too much... monetarily, of our time, effort and lives...
for art.
& yet there a little voice in me that whispers...
of the importance of this 'pointless' art.
i find myself wondering if art might sometimes be compared to a pair of eyeglasses... or a hearing aide... or a translator for every language.
& if i can create art - & teach my children to create art...
that speaks truth...
the impact could potentially be...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

i want my mom.

Yeh, i know... i just celebrated my 34th birthday...
But i still have moments of neediness.
i know... i run a big house. i homeschool 5 children while caring for 2 sweet little boys. i cook meals, i do laundry, i work *hard*.
But sometimes, i want my mom.
The other day i wanted my mom.
i wanted to bring her my baby & watch her hold him & laugh over his funny little facial expressions.
i wanted to escape to my mom's house - have tea with her - & sit on her couch.
Just for a minute or two...
i want my mom to come & watch me sing on Saturday.
i want my mom to sew Ephraim some wool soaker "longies".
i want my mom to admire Peyton's title page for her science unit.
i want my mom to offer to drive Cai to her violin coaching - just 'cause she really wants to watch.
i want her to see our usual daily grind - instead of the crazed excitement of a visit after a long absence.
i want my mom to pop in - just 'cause she can - just 'cause she's close - just 'cause we're on her mind...
Neil likes to torment me that i'll never be able to be what i want for all our crew...
i prefer to remember that stranger things have happened than 7 children all living in close proximity to their parents.
& so in the middle of the day - i snuck to the phone... i left a message because they were out on the ocean getting a big fat salmon.
& today she called me back. We got all caught up - & my child's heart was comforted by her warm "dulcet tones" as Ancient One (her father, my grandfather) would say. It has been 15 years since we've lived in close proximity... i wonder if one day - we'll have that again.
But for now, i need to go...
There's a tiny boy...
who wants his mom too.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

baby eva

i feel like i'm intruding into my most precious friend's space, talking about my sister's little one in a blog post.
i hope she'll forgive me.
Baby eva is exquisite.
She has a tiny little nose - dainty & delicate. Her hair is so downy soft & her eyes are topped by what Jessie calls her "walnut" - her sweet furrowed brow.
My sisters are about the best friends anyone could ever ask for.
& my sister Jess has been on my mind pretty constantly for the last month...
as her due dates came & went...
& she underwent the *perfect* induction -
& delivered a gorgeous little dark haired sprite.
Then this past week little Sadie, her 4 year old blondie, got results back from an mri that showed possible danger...
& in the days since, i have found that my sister - & her little brood - hardly leave my mind.
We won't know what those mysterious mri results mean for another week at least -
but i was thinking today about the timing of little eva's birth.
It seems so hard - recovering from childbirth & pulling out your fighting instincts - all at the same time. But it occurred to me today - that the softness of that little newborn, is a healing balm in a place that could abound with fear.
Baby eva - maybe you will read this one day - your auntie is so glad that you are here to make your mommy sit down - to flood her body with the 'good hormones' - to make her face dissolve with pleasure - as it most certainly does when she gazes at you - to remind her of the miraculous God we serve.
The timing of your coming is a blessing.
Father, may the fears be groundless and the gratitude bountiful.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

see you at supper time

While visiting baby eva yesterday (more on this tomorrow), my sister gave me my copy of a book that my aunties put together to honour the memory of their mom - my grandma - "grandma goose". Dad had bought us each a copy & it was neat to read the perspectives of so many on one little woman. On the drive home, i cracked the cover & laughed & cried over the familiar & the not so familiar stories written about or by her... One caught my attention as it reminded me of me... and my wry, humorous man.

"Apparently, Mom had coaxed for a baby & finally Dad agreed, on the condition she could catch a rabbit. On the way to town one afternoon Mom spied a rabbit, leaped off the moving buggy and made a valiant attempt to chase it down."

My grandma had 6 children - 7 if you count little Carol who only lived 5 days - & i'm sure she always did.
i'm glad my grandpa gave in... even though that rabbit got away...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

suffering in silence

Sloanie & i were folding laundry on Wednesday. As my hand brushed against her wrist, i saw her flinch & asked what was wrong.
"Oh, i fell up the stairs last Thursday..."
"Last Thursday?? & it still hurts? Lemme see..."
Gingerly she held out her arm & i stroked it & asked to see the other one to compare...
Sure enough the hurting one was swollen.
"Oh, Sloanie, why didn't you tell me?"
"i don't know... You were at the church practicing music & daddy was getting ice cream with Gampie & Gam was watching Cai make cinnamon buns... i hid in your room to cry."
She had been her usual work horse self all week - wrangling the little boys, carrying loads of laundry, vacuuming the basement...
"Sloanie, i think you need to see a doctor. It shouldn't be hurting like that still..."
"No, mom - i'm sure it's fine... let's just leave it."
i made her take an advil & we iced it up & i put a tensor bandage on it for night - hoping that the swelling was just from overusing it after a bad sprain...
In the morning, she greeted me, "Mom, doesn't it look way better?"
"um... not really, baby..."
But, Neil was coming home on Friday & so we waited it out till he got home, took her in, got an x-ray...
& a pink cast.
i feel sick that she suffered in silence...
& i wonder if...
Maybe that's how the Father looks at us - wanting us,
His much loved children,
to bring our wounded selves to Him...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

homeward bound...

i wander a little aimlessly when i know he's on his way. Calculating & recalculating in my head the hours of his travel - & estimating the time when the door will crack open & he'll drop his bags, surrounded by small fry.
The little people are usually feeling a little edgy by the time he gets home from a longer stint away... They're ready for our regular dynamic - the relief of a second parent - the comfort of another set of big arms.
& i....
i need him too. i worry sometimes when he's gone that he'll forget how much i love him. & that he'll forget to love me back as fervently.
So, the countdown is on... at the time of this writing - there are only 3 hours and 9 minutes 'till i start obsessively calling his cell asking for updates... make that 3 hours and 8 minutes... and counting....

Friday, September 3, 2010

bigs, littlies & middlies....

The bigs are bathing the littlies while the middlies are at the park.
The littlies cried after a long afternoon out. The middlies needed to run & the bigs wanted to rest. The bigs decided to have a "footbath" - but the littlies wanted in, so the bigs let them, while the middlies called their friends to meet at the park.
They all equally - yet individually - miss their daddy.
Two bigs, three middlies and two littlies - should all go to bed soon... The bigs will stay up and read, the middlies will say they're not tired & the littlies will need mama's milk. The bigs think the littlies are achingly cute... the middlies think the bigs are, (and i quote), "oldie poldie". The littlies think the middlies are bigs.
So, littlies, middlies - & you big ones too - mama loves each & every one of you.... & i hope you remember these days being as deliciously delectable as i do - as time marches mercilessly forward.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

mornings - that first hour...

i heard the rumbling sound of a school bus this morning - & my sister says that's the sound of fall...
i slipped out of bed, careful not to wake my tiny bunkmate - & climbed downstairs to greet my classroom.
Soon, coffee was brewing, tea kettles singing, bagels toasting, oatmeal cooking....
& amidst the busyness of our breakfasting, sunshine boy came down & needed to go potty & snuffly baby needed his nose wiped & a fresh diaper.
Soon we were gathered around the table.
We sang O Canada & recited Our Father - and then i read our Proverb for the day (chapter 11). Cai led our devotional - (God is Holy) & we sang a hymn (Holy Holy Holy). Then, 'round the table we went - bringing our hearts to God - showing him what's inside & asking Him to take care of it all...
& then i read them a poem from _Immortal Poems of the English Language_ - 'How do i love thee? Let me count the ways...' & they giggled when i told them it's about daddy & me. i want them to get used to hearing language that sounds strange to their ears at first, so we try to read a poem a day. Sometimes i'll read it & then have the bigs read it again. Some poems are worth hearing 2 or 3 times in one shot...
Mollen was delighted that it was her turn to pick 5 words from our latin & greek flashcards. We went over & over them 'till we knew them by sight... "digitus, jactum, dia..." trying to think when we've heard those words changed & twisted into new words in our language. The big girls are getting pretty good at it...
We skipped geography - 'cause we were talking about Greek myths in history. Sloanie loves a good story & i could tell she could have given the lesson herself - answering every question & filling in extra blanks with things she learned on her own time. i gave the big girls an assignment due in a week and a half - to write a short play of one of the more famous Greek myths - & put it on for a family show.
Over an hour had passed.
Gagey had whined & cried... (i think he's getting that cold that Cai had...)
Charter had gotten distracted & got in trouble for singing to himself while i was trying to teach...
Baby Ephraim tried to grab every ones drinks off the table & the table looked like a disaster zone with dishes, crumbs, books & papers all over it.
Maybe if you were an outsider looking in - you would have wondered if my littles got anything at all out of that 3 ring circus i called school this morning.
...& this is a pretty typical first hour at Chrysalis Academy.
But learning is happening... gradually.
Children are growing... peacefully.
Characters are taking shape... carefully.
God is faithful... constantly.
This is homeschool - intentionally encouraging curiosity & work ethic... exposing little ones to the treasures of wisdom... bending for babies, striving for peace, juggling needs... long after the school bus rumbles by.
* ps - even though homeschool is right for us - i am fully aware that there are many, many families who are diligently building into their childrens lives who are in the public systems too. i don't think homeschool is the only way to educate little ones - nor do i think that all the good things i expressed just don't happen if little ones do jump on that rumbly bus in the morning. Homeschooling is just something that we do - that we love - & that is a part of who our family is in this season. i hope that it comes across the way i intend in this post...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

sloanie prayed

We pray in the mornings.
We pray for our day, for our family, for the families in our neighbourhood - on our street. We pray for our daddy, for our babies, for our aunties & uncles.
& sometimes - even though we want to meet with our Father - & bring to Him the things & the people that are on our minds... we lack the wisdom to know how to pray for them with the sincerity that i know is there. i hear my little ones say things like, "God, i pray that daddy will have a nice day..." "... i pray that everything will be happy for them..." "... that they won't get sick..." "... that if they're having a hard time that you will make it better..." " their birthday to come soon..."
& even though it would be nice if we could get all the nicest things - have all the nicest days - avoid all the heartache & suffering that abounds... there's something in my heart that pleads for nothing more - than more of Him.
Today, Sloanie prayed.
& i wish i could post verbatim her little prayer - because it so matched the wordless plea of my own heart... it went something like this;
"God? Thank you for this awesome neighbourhood we get to live in. i want to pray for all the people who live in it with us. If they're going through hard things & hard times, let them turn to You - & maybe then they'll know that You're there. Amen."


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