Tuesday, August 8, 2017

DesignMom Feature!

I can hardly believe my good luck today!  Our home has been featured on DesignMom - a publication I've long read and admired.  I've been alternately excited, humbled, and terrified.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Bike Rack

I grew up on a bike.  I loved flying down the street, my timid feet planted firmly on the brake, so I wasn't really flying but going as darn fast as I dared.  My brother gave me a hard time about how slowly my "fast as I dared" was, but I won't go there today.

When my first boys were 2,4, and 6, Jay and I decided to spend Grandma Jeanne's Christmas money on little bikes for them.  Alec's bike was little.  Ben's bike was tiny, and the bicycle for Chris was downright tiny.  We had a large RV garage, so they pedaled their little hearts out, round and round the garage.  They arranged stacked boxes to make racetracks and spent hours in there.  Seeing their fun, of course Jay and I had to purchase bicycles for ourselves.  From then on, we rode bikes to school.  Alec and Ben parked their bikes carefully in the big bike rack, and Chris and I would head back home, stopping at the post office on the way.  It was an itty-bitty small town and we pedaled all over it.

A few months later, we moved to the Seattle area.  We found many bike trails snaking alongside the river and through town.  We packed up our dinner, loaded it into the bike trailer with Baby David, and rode off into the sunset.  What fun we had!

Not long after Eddie was born, a neighbor gave us their bike rack.  Huge and made of solid steel, it held all our bike upright and tangle free.  This is where the bicycles belong.  Not falling over each other, not on top of the sprinklers, not stashed into the bushes, not languishing on the front lawn.  What a wonderful organizational tool!

And do the children actually use it?  Ha.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Little Black Rain Clouds

It's been hard to sleep.  I lay down and my exhausted body rebels.  It's too hot.  My skin itches all over.  There are too many blankets.  It's too noisy.  The fan tickles.  My legs feel twitchy.  It's too bright.  My mind whirls with a million plans, worries, and disappointments.  Slowly, everything unravels and relaxes, and at 3 or 4 am, I sleep.

My thoughtful husband stayed home this morning and made breakfast so I could keep sleeping.  I woke up to a small boy snuggling into my bed before he ran off to play.  Then I woke up to the neighbor's muffler pointed into my bedroom window.  Then I woke up to little footsteps skittering through the kitchen.  It was glorious to fall back asleep after each interruption.  When my eyes finally opened, I felt rested, beautiful, light, and hopeful - things I haven't felt for a long time.

Within a few minutes, however, I feel the weight crushing back on my shoulders.  Life is heavy right now.  I'm struggling with the stress of an all-consuming, life-changing project foisted upon me for the convenience of others.  I think there is a little black rain cloud hovering over this part of town.  A girlfriend is dealing with her husband's invisible injury.  Another is dealing with heartbreaking family relationships.  A neighbor worries over a possible major life upset and what that means for her delicate children.

I don't know any way to go on but to just go on.  One foot goes in front of the other as we drag ourselves along.  We all have black rain cloud periods, don't we?  I'm exhausted.  But somehow we make it through.  There is nothing so wonderful as a warm summer thunderstorm, as wild and turbulent as it begins.  There is a promise of a rainbow at the end of the storm - or at least clean-washed air and a peaceful stillness.  And then we will rest.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Inked Pillows

I have a great big giant bed, and only two of us sleep in it.  More people are in it at other times - two big boys were sprawled across it last night, looking at pictures of a recent camping trip; and two littler boys with cold feet were snuggled in it with me much-too-early this morning.  I have great big pillows that fit on the bed, but I prefer to use the regular sized pillows.  Partly because they are Goldilocks-just-right, and mostly because of the nice pillowcases I have for them.

My grandmother made these pillowcases for my mother's trousseau.  I don't do fine handwork like this, so I can only imagine how many hours she spent embroidering and crocheting the edging.  The pillowcases went from her loving hands to my mother's cedar chest - where they stayed for decades.  My mother never used them.  I don't know whether they seemed to fancy to actually sleep on, or whether it was residual bad feelings from her short first marriage, or whether she just forgot about them.  But I love them.  They are old-fashioned and 100% cotton and they make me happy.

Recently, as I was making the bed in the morning, I noticed some extra decorations on one of the pillows.  Ball point pen marks!  Thankfully, they are on one of the plain great big pillows and not on grandmother's pretty pillows, but still!

Can you see it?  I went around for quite a while, grumbling at my small children for scribbling where they definitely should not have been!  Later, as I was pulling my hair up into a bun, I remembered that I had stuck a pen in my hair the day before... and I had done the pillowcase decorating while I was reading in bed, my head (and bun and pen) resting against the pillows.  Aargh.  I think my Grandma Amy is laughing at me for my lovely pillowcase skills.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


A neighbor up the street replaced the grass in their nature strip with rocks.  A few times every week, they have to get after the neighborhood kids for throwing rocks or kicking them out in the street.  They told me they were plenty surprised when they answered their doorbell to find my Angel on their front porch.  She opened her hands to show a collection of rocks and asked timidly if she could take them to school for show and tell.  She loves pretty rocks!

Freddy has a loose tooth.  It's on the lower left side,  and he's been wiggling it a bunch.  These first graders are so proud of their missing teeth!  He showed me the wiggler, and I told him that Georgie also had a loose tooth.  Before I could mention that Georgie's was on the opposite side, he grinned and exclaimed, "I know!  And it's the very same tooth!" I guess it looks that way when you face your mirror image. 

I drove to the high school to pick up David after his track meet.  I was people-watching while I was waiting,  seeing all different kinds of folks go by.  I was particularly intrigued by one old woman.  Wrapped snug in a blanket, she hunched over against the chilly breeze and hobbled awkwardly towards the building.  Imagine my surprise after a few minutes, when I realized that the "old woman" was actually my teenaged son. His backpack bulged his shoulders out under his blanket, and he took quick, tottering steps on the heels of his track spikes. Hasty first impressions can be amusing. 

Angel was coloring with a friend.  When I went in her room to call her to dinner,  the friend had gone home and Angel was still coloring,  her mouth set in a grim line.  Usually she loves coloring,  so I was puzzled to see her buoyant spirit so dimmed. It turns out that the friend wanted the background of the picture colored black,  but had to leave before she finished so Angel was helping complete that section.  She has such a bright, bubbly disposition that working in black literally depressed her.  Maybe I should hide the black crayons. 

I work with the children at church and I love my job!  Their happy faces and sweet singing voices make me happy all week.  I'm the secretary,  and I actually work with the papers more than the children, so I was delighted when a tiny girl pointed me out to her mother at church.  "Look, Mommy,  it's my teacher!" I got a big grin on my face that she would recognize me... and it lasted until I noticed her class teacher sitting behind me.  Then I laugh at myself. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I have some lovely planters that have been living on our front porch.  The idea is to fill them with flowers and then remember to water them.  I fail on both accounts.  This year, the two planters were just more in Opa's way than not, since his shuffling across the porch was more wobbly.  I stacked one planter on top of the other, then told Angel that she could plant whatever she wanted in them.

I like the look of silk plants, wooden birdhouses, and tomato plants that desperately need to be planted.  I think she will be our resident gardener from now on.  I don't have to remember to water fake plants and birdhouses!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Popcorn Popping

It's finally springy around these parts!  We forgot to prune the apricot tree in late winter like we should have.  No matter - we'll prune it now by cutting off all the wild water sprouts and bringing them inside to enjoy!

As a child, I remember singing about "popcorn popping on the apricot tree" in the springtime.  My children still sing the fun little song.  Its true - the blossoms really do look like popcorn all over the tree.  And now we have popcorn branches on the counter, where we will keep them until the blossoms fall and we have snow all over the place.  Hmmm... spring turning backwards into winter?  Odd.