September 28, 2012

Reasons to be Happy

1. The way the red leaves of a vine look against the bark of trees

2. Two old guys talking in front of the feed store up the road, leaning against their trucks with their weathered faces topped by baseball caps, with flannel shirts tucked into faded jeans pulled up an inch too high to be trendy.

3 Early dismissal for the kids on Lily's birthday. We waved to grandpa driving the bus, watched Orianna bring Lily out who was wearing her birthday crown, said goodbye to Mrs. Devins who is retiring today, waited for Livie and Tori and then went to their house for lunch. Lily got to have poutine from the store for lunch, since it is her favorite thing ever. Daddy got to come have some poutine with us, which made it even better! We then spent a nice, quiet afternoon with the workers, Mom (who had a queasy stomach), Livie, Tori, and Dad when he got home. Mom was saying what a luxury it was to be home in the middle of the week. And it is true. To be with people you love, in the middle of the week, relaxing (or recouping) at home is decadence. Like you have things figured out that other people don't. And when it is a tumbling cloud and sunshine sort of cool fall day it is even better.

4. Jobs. Being somewhat independent is a little worrying--where will next weeks money come from? But it seems like lately, as soon as he finishes one job, someone says, Hey, I need some things done. Reassuring.

5. This picture. It cracks me up each time I look at it. Her hair standing up, her squinched up nose, her burbley mouth, her happiness. I love it.

September 27, 2012

Lily is 5

My baby Zebra is five today.  

Last night, sprinkling the rice krispy treats to make cutouts

In her new purple kitty cat vest this morning

And here is my sweet, sunshiney, loving, spunky girl through the years

Being a loved and loving sister

Rocking outrageous hair

Practicing ju-jitsu



Slightly defiant--I was bad and I don't really care look



September 26, 2012

Rodents among us

As you all know, I am not a big rodent fan. They give me the shivers. Justin thinks my phobia is ridiculous and is always trying to cure me of it. Well, when he is not trying to terrify me about it by doing hilarious practical jokes involving mice. We have a difference of opinion on how hilarious his jokes are. One time, he seriously went to the length of tying a little bit of dryer lint on a fishing line, waited a while for me to come into the darkened kitchen and then pulled it across my path. And then rolled around on the floor while I huffed and puffed from the dizzying height of the kids little rocking chair. For a few days, all he would say was "You jumped up on the rocking chair..." before dissolving into fits of laughter.

And then he has the audacity to tell me I need to get over my rodent issue. He is a conundrum.

Do you remember, last February, how I had a large rat or squirrel trying to claw its way into my kitchen? While Justin was gone? I remember it quite well. Justin wouldn't cover up the hole out in the garage because he didn't want to trap anything in there that would stink. I think he mostly didn't feel like covering it up. Having him home for a few weeks without work lately, I made sure he was gently nagged every few minutes about the rat/squirrel hole. And then, quite of his own accord, he went and covered it up. Then he decided to come into the kitchen and make sure the wall was okay on this side.

It wasn't. There was a large hole.Yes, that is my husbands hand measuring it to see what size of patch he would need. Believe me, he didn't even wait for me to tell him that YES, this side needed to be fixed too. I think he knew if it wasn't, he would be eating spaghetti-os all winter long. If I fed him at all.

The next day, about 10 minutes after Justin left, I opened the closet door to get Gilbert's clothes and thankfully I saw the mouse that was sitting on top of our mismatched socks right away. I am not sure what would have happened if I had not seen the mouse until I was in a small, confined space with it. I may have spontaneously combusted. As it was, I  shut the door and thanked my lucky stars I had been lazy enough to leave a laundry basket unfolded in the living room the night before. 

Being the big, brave girl that I am, I made Justin come home in between errands to deal with it. 

He caught it in a little rubbermaid box so he could show Gilbert. Gilbert loved it. Gilbert is a boy.

Justin tried to make me hold the box in a generous attempt to help me get over my mouse issue, but I refused. Because this is America and I am free to do as I please. Then he proceeded to hold the box right there while I carried on an intelligent conversation with him. Well as intelligent as you can while "There is a mouse in that box. There is a mouse in that box." runs continuously through your head.  

And there was indeed a mouse in that box. I thought that I must not be quite so terrified of them, since I got this close to take a picture. But even looking at it now, I get goosebumps and shudder. 

Yes, Justin had to take the closet apart and spray foam any possible source of entry. 

And then we went to see Connie, who had had 5 mice in the past week that she caught and disposed of all on her own. Humbling to be in the presence of one so brave.

September 25, 2012


Saturday evening, I went see some of my bestest pals, 45 minutes away. Justin had just got home that afternoon, so we had only seen him for about an hour before he had to go return stuff he didn't use for this job and we left. Coming off a 5 day stint of being the only parent at home, the house was a mess and I was frazzled. Apparently Justin picked up on my subtle clues, like running around at the last minute, being impatient, and moaning about the slobbiness of my house and my state of exhaustion. I came home at 9:15 to a house that was spic and span. Dishes were even done. I went into our room, and the fresh clean sheets that Gilbert had smeared with chocolate that afternoon (from the brownies we were supposed to be bringing to Nina and Mary) were off, in the washer and replaced with the flannel sheets he bought me after Lily was born so I could bring my baby home to a cozy, snuggly bed.

And then, while I nursed my latest, snuggly baby in our flannel sheets, he read the kids books, cuddled them, and tucked them in with their warm cornbags.

I love this guy. A lot.

Some of our good friends are going through a divorce/separation right now. From a marriage a few decades old. And I keep thinking how? How could you leave someone who knows you like that. Someone who shares your memories. The only other person in the world who could possibly care about your kids and grandkids more than you do. The one who was with you when you gave birth. The one who let you sleep in some mornings when you felt like you were going to go crazy from lack of sleep. The one who told you you were beautiful when you least felt like it. The one who remembers all the cute things your no-longer-little kids did. The one who knew how you felt when you first sent your baby to school. The one who remembers things you might like to forget. The one who set the standard for what love is and should be. The one who prayed for you each night and morning. The one who loved you through difficult times. The one who made you laugh. Made you cry. Made you crazy mad. Made you gloriously happy. The one who remembers when.....

How can you leave that all behind? How could you think you could leave that behind? Because I don't think you can. Even if you decide that your happiness is no longer in this particular marriage, all those memories, all those things you know about your spouse are still all there in your head.

Not long after Justin and I were married, I was helping this friend paint her guest room. We started talking about divorce, and while she was balanced on a ladder, she told me how terrible divorce was on all involved. She told me either then or later about how important it was to keep the good memories front and center. She made a little photobook of them as a couple--their highlights, for Valentines Day one year. This was about 7 or 8 years ago. But in the way brains can be illogical, after I heard they were seperating and after I had processed all my feelings (I don't want to stop being friends with you guys as a couple. I don't want to think that I will never sit at your table after dinner talking to you while your husband runs around showing Justin this or that. I don't want to think that actually, you don't have it all together, you who seemed to have it all. I just don't want to have to choose sides!!!!) I wondered, who gets the photobook?

The thing that bothers me the most is that she was so sure seven years ago that breaking up a marriage was never okay. And now she is doing just that. How does that happen? How does something go from the list of "absolutely wrong" to "okay in my case"? Is it like a gene mutation in cancer? Like you are replicating the lists in your head, something goes wonky, the list changes, and suddenly your life implodes?

I know now, on this day, that keeping my marriage intact is important. But will I know it in seven more years? In ten, twenty, thirty more years?

I don't want to seem self-righteous. I know when she was talking about marriage those years ago, she truly meant what she was saying. I know she didn't want this to happen then. I know that in her heart of hearts, she probably doesn't want it to be happening now. But it is. And it scares me that a person can change their mind on something so important. I don't like that. I want assurances that I will never do that. That Justin will never do that. But there isn't a guarantee. And all I can do is make sure it is important to me today. And tomorrow I can do the same thing.

My heart aches for her, for what she is leaving behind. No marriage is perfect. I don't mean to imply that she is leaving behind some idyllic, perfect marriage and husband. But a marriage that has survived the tests and traumas of years, babies, children, teeenagers, and life is something worth fighting for.

Having a husband who knows you love flannel sheets and you like them smoothed out until there are no wrinkles in the sheets or the blankets might sound more like a maid service than a romance novel, but coming from Justin, who likes to tease me about my OCD-ness in this matter, it is akin to romance of the highest degree. It is something worth fighting for. Hopefully we will never reach the point where we have to fight for our marriage. But we might. And if we do, I hope we fight. And I hope, in the middle of all that work of fighting for our marriage, I remember the time, years before, when he made me a cozy little nest of a bed for me and my babies.

September 24, 2012


Pictures of the past two weekends. But not the most recent weekend. I like to give events time to ripen before blogging about them.


On our way to the Down Syndrome Society walk

Gilbert the strider

Gilbert in his too big t-shirt and his bunless hotdog.

For some reason we didn't understand, one of the local sports teams decided to come get their faces painted for free (by the clown the DS hired) and do a group photo shoot. Which tied the face painting clown up for about an hour. All of us parents of small kids were not really impressed. You forget how self-absorbed teenagers can be. Probably a lot of these girls are super nice kids. They just weren't thinking about how they were inconvienencing (I never spell this right. Just so you know, spell check suggests "videoconferencing") everyone else and making the Down Syndrome walk about them.  

After an hour of waiting, Lily gets painted.

A cat

A pink butterfly

And a teal butterfly

So that was two weekends ago. Last weekend, we went up to the woods to take some of Olivia's senior pictures. I sort of high-jacked the outing and ended up taking her pictures. 

I also took a lot of other pictures too. This is my cold girl.


Old barrels we had laying around. We realized after that they one was liquid fertilizer. She was sitting on a bomb. 


Doing her self-conscious laugh

Fiona was a champ and watched the kids

In a tree

Cool tree hm?

There is a chipmunk on top of the tire behind the truck. Just trust me on this one. There is. 

I had to take a few, awkward, climbing out of the tree pictures. 

Yep, that is my son. In the woods, without boots. 

Aren't they cute?

The kids all had to climb in the tree too.

Ducking out between the barbed wire. Olivia says this looks like they are leaving some Balkan country or something. 

Elsie-Junie baby

That's right. We take senior pictures by big piles of tires.

My kids like Fiona.

Totally love this picture

Chasing a socked Gilbert

And then he took his shirt off. 

Olivia wasn't into the goldenrod. But Tori and I thought they were cool.

Love this picture too. Unfortunately, the clouds were awwwwwesome, but they didn't come out.