Random Crap, End of January Edition


Turns out the snow day wasn’t so bad. The kids had a no-screen day, and after the initial griping and moaning, they invented several games and amused themselves with absolutely no fighting, no complaining, and no bugging mom while she worked. I’m unclear what’s happening in this picture, but they’re laughing, so… WIN!

The heater went out last night. It was <20 degrees. I was standing in the kitchen, and realized I was dang cold- had been slowly getting colder all day, but I kind of (lame) thought I was just getting sick or something. But nope… no heat. Mercifully, I have great landlords— they’re easy to reach, and they respond promptly. I bundled the kids up and we pretended we were pioneers. What else is a Mormon supposed to do when it’s cold besides play pioneer?

Testing a new recipe for enchiladas today- if it tastes as good as it smells, I’ll be sharing with y’all in the next few days. Below is a chunk of the browned beef roast that’s currently simmering with the homemade enchilada sauce in my dutch oven. Soon it will fall to pieces, I will strain the sauce, make some tortillas, and return and report. Drrroooool.


I’ve been watching The Tudors on Netflix at night after the chickens are asleep. Two thoughts: the cinematography is breathtakingly spectacular… every. single. shot is set up like a Dutch painting. I sit there with my mouth agape sometimes. The other thought? Man, Henry VIII was a giant a**hole! Still, totally worth watching.

Only two week until Walking Dead starts up again! Woohoo! (it’s kind of provincial and sweet that the chaos of my life has settled down enough that I can be excited about something on TV again. It’s been years…)

Bean got some tracing paper, and is currently working on the covers of his books. This requires no one go near him, touch him, or talk to him. lest his concentration be ruined and the entire process thwarted. He’s got a bit of his mama’s artist heart, methinks…



Panic NOW! It snowed in Virginia!


This. This is the snowpocalypse that caused school to be cancelled, federal workers to be cautioned to “work from home” and a reorganization of the entire mid-terms weeks for the middle-school kids. If I wasn’t so utterly annoyed, it would be funny. Really??! THIS? For this, my kids are home for the day? My western friends are surely dying of laughter, as they go shovel another foot off the frozen drive and throw the kids in the Suburban to get them to school. Just like I would be doing if I hadn’t moved.


Photo on 2013-01-23 at 15.53 #2

Virginia can’t make up its mind about the season. Last week in was in the 60′s, and today when I woke up, it was 10*. TEN degrees. Doesn’t the Commonwealth know I got rid of those kinds on clothes when I left the northwest!? This is the south, for turkey’s sake! Digging through all the clothes the kid’s had, I still feel I shoved them out the door inadequately warm.

Guilt plagued me all day, imagining their frozen little bodies shivering on the bus. So I baked cookies and made hot chocolate from scratch so when their blue-lipped selves tottered off the bus, they would at least know their mom, abysmal clothing failure though she is, at least loved them before hypothermia took over. Of course they bounded off the bus all happy and red-cheeked, nowhere near Donner Party Dead.
So we had a tea party anyway.

As for myself, I worked all day. This working from home business is interesting- on one hand I love it— I get to work in my pajamas if I so deem— on the other hand… I HAVE SO MANY CUTE SHOES, WHERE AM I GOING TO WEAR THEM NOW?! I mean, I still get up, shower, get myself ready for the day (really, I don’t stay in my pj’s all day- I swear!) (it’s a holdover from when Mo told me I was “too pretty to look like that”) but still… are shoes still cute with no one to admire them?

Anyway. Kids. Work. Shoes. Molten liquid from grandma’s tea cups. I’ll call it a day.

Photo on 2013-01-23 at 15.50 #2

Brothers, In Process

{Two plates crashed to the floor during dinner, shattered white porcelain and tiny azure flowers, pressed in England, devastated by an unforgiving floor. Dinner sputtering angrily on the stove, edging towards burning, while the corn straws of the broom inadequately brushed the shards of pottery into streaks across the floor. Food seasoned with anger, topped with ketchup, eaten in silence.}

The little fist thudded into soft flesh, and my breath snagged in my chest. Dizzyingly fast, they were tied in a knot of freckled angry boy limbs, red faced gritted teeth copper hair balled firsts flailing. Shoving between them, pushing brother-fury, angry tear-smeared cheeks turning to glare not at each other, but at me, daring to stop them, to pull them apart, to insist, horrified, that no one will harm one born of me— even another born of me.

Pulled to either side, breathing hard, overflowing emotion with blotchy crimson faces and tears swiped with angry forearms.

They are best friends again by morning.

Life is Beautiful


We had a rough morning here. Mom overslept, ergo, everyone overslept. There was, once again, rushing and yelling and sussing kids out the door without kisses and I was (once again) left standing amid the echoing silent debris after little bodies leave, feeling like a first-class loser-mom.

Thinking of Kathryn Daring’s essay on Drops of Awesome, I decided to rewrite the narrative of the day. I ran upstairs, got myself put together (and for a fraction of a second channeled my inner Molly-Ringwald as I puckered up for some pink lipgloss) and grabbed my keys as I headed out the door.

I pulled Abby out of school for the day. We needed to spend some mama-daughter time, without homework, time-pressure, brothers, distraction, chores, deadlines or dishes. We just needed to be together, to talk, to hold hands as we walked, and remember how amazing the people we love truly are. She was surprised when she skipped into the office, but was all smiles when I told her what was up.

After stopping to pick up a new blouse and headband (appropriate for a fancy lunch with mama) we went to eat. A nice lunch. At a restaurant with multiple forks, white cotton napkins and tall ceilings. We spent the entire lunch talking- some conversations can only happen when you make room for them to unfold, when you stop, breathe, listen and really look at the person you’re interacting with as a human being, not just an obstacle to a time crunch, or a report card, or a goal. Even— no, maybe especially— when that person is your child.

I’m grateful my daughter will open up and share her marvelous insights with me. Yeah, she’s only six, but you’d be amazed at how astute a six-year old can be, when you stop and listen. She had a lot to say.

So like Kathryn, I found some drops of awesome. I called myself on the crummy start to the day, and made a course correction. No matter what she missed in school today, I missed my daughter more, and fixing that trumped everything.


Random Crap: Winter Sunlight Edition

Because why start out the year any other way?


On Friday night, I went out to dinner and left Jeffrey babysitting Bean and Abby. This is a new thing, and one I’m still test-driving, so my outings are usually quick and I never let go of my phone. But he’s doing well, and so far, has been engendering confidence in his abilities. After checking in with him, I stopped at Trader Joes on my way home. While squeezing some avocados, my phone rang. It was him, asking me when I was coming home- alarm bells in my mind, followed by panic, when he said “You might cry, mom…” (panic!) He then continued, somewhat mirthfully, “…TEARS OF JOY!” and he hung up. Of course I ran home. When I got there, here is what I found: vacuumed house, straightened living room, including folded blankets and pillows on the sofa, and THE KITCHEN FLOOR HAD BEEN MOPPED. I’m soooooo not kidding. MOPPED. My friends, I’ll be pre-interviewing for his dance card next week.

I wrote a little something at BCC today. It’s part of an ongoing project we’re doing this year on the Gospel Doctrine lessons. Check it out if you’re inclined towards that sort of thing. Each week a new person will be writing a supplement. Should be interesting, with different viewpoints represented, even beyond the BCC staff.

For Christmas, Santa brought me a Kindle. I didn’t think I wanted one, but it’s kind of growing on me. It’s nice to have several books in one tidy, clean case. But at heart, I’m a purist, and nothing will ever replace a real, warm, age-scented, leather-bound, creamy paged, deckle-edged book. But it is awfully convenient for travel. And for church.

Speaking of growing on me, I’m starting to feel at-home-ish in my new ward. We’ve been here, what, 7 months now? That seems about right. There are lot of really nice people, the usual smattering of hardliners, and the handful of Coo-coo for cocoa-puffs. My kids have good teachers, my bishop is a good guy, and I made a friend. Win.

A few thoughts on divorce… I’ve said before, I know several friends traversing this choppy water right now- here in Virginia, as well as back on the west coast. It’s horrendously difficult no matter who you are and what your circumstances. I do not believe anyone goes into this crevasse lightly, and if you think they did, the chances are, you don’t know the whole story. Matter of fact, I’ll guarantee you don’t. Laws and rules that are designed to make divorce more difficult do nothing— yes, nothing— to hold marriages together, and from what I’ve seen, those laws actually end up hurting the children (if there are any) more than just a clean split. I’ll give more of my thoughts later, I’m sure.

On the good (awesome!) news front, Mo is getting married! After a long, difficult set of years, she’s met a wonderful man and over Christmas, they made it official. I couldn’t be happier for her, and for him, and for their combined children.


People here have no clue how to handle snow. It makes me laugh— after a decade living in eastern Washington, where school doesn’t even start late with a fresh foot— here they panic when it flurries. It’s hilarious, if it weren’t so frustrating. Not that it snows much or anything, but we got a dusting the day after Christmas. The kids built a tiny snowman on the hood of my car.

Knock on wood, my job is going well, and I received the first real paycheck I’ve had since before I had Jeffrey, more than a decade ago. It feels good. Now to start paying back those student loans…

We really like riding the Metro and wandering around the Smithsonian. Its wonderful to tell the kids “Hey, we live here- we can just look at the butterflies today, and come back next week and see something else.” We never have to hurry.

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Well Then. Happy New Year.

IMG_0137Like every kid after Christmas, mine had their gift-cards burning hot little holes in their pockets. While Jeffrey opted for frugality and handed his money off to me for safe-keeping (first time ever! guess he’s growing up *sniff*), and Abby picked up an RC helicopter to go with her American Girl doll (of course), Bean went all-in with a lime green bean bag chair and a West Virginia college football helmet. And yes, he carried the giant bean bag everywhere in the store, and now drags it from room to room in our home.

IMG_0138Like so many American households with daughters, we now have joined the cult of AG-dom. This is cute and sweet and all, and as long as I don’t have to go into that nightmare of a two-story AG Doll store at Tyson’s, I can totally live with her new obsession.

IMG_0160Jeffrey asked me the other day if it was weird for a boy to like to sew. Nope, I lied. And with that, he got out his paper and drew this idea, commandeered some kitchen towels and felt, learned how to thread a needle and tie a loop knot (from his mama) and proceeded to spend two days making this piece of awesomeness. You know what I love most? The look of genuine pride and happiness radiating from his smiling face. I love this man-child, and will tell him little lies about social perception as long as I can, so he can continue to figure out what HE loves, not what anyone else thinks he should.IMG_0048Just look at the joy as that boy examines his hulking smashing fists. Thanks, Santa. At least some things are simple still, eh?

As for me, well… I’m glad the holidays are over. Per normal, Christmas was packed, loaded and done by close of business on the 26th. I love me some decorations, but when the fat lady has sung, it’s time to pack up and head out. Starting the new year just feels fresher and better if the dregs of the holidays are not trailing into the bright shiny dawn of January 1. Don’t get me wrong- I know there is no starting over, and I avoid resolutions that inevitably come crashing down, but there is something nice about spare walls and clean surfaces after all the glitter and excess of December. January comes like clean, fresh snow. It’s nice. While it lasts.

Happy 2013 to all my friends and loved ones.