enough, already.

it’s just before 7 a.m., the house is dark yet, quiet.   the littlest one is asleep on the couch beside me, toes curled against my leg, after battling for an hour to go back to sleep.  as i sat & rocked him in my great grandmother’s squeaky old chair, hearing the eagles chatter high up in the pine trees outside, i thought about what battle i’m fighting of my own.  i didn’t mean to get all philosophical or dig anything up, but sometimes the half-sleep does that, doesn’t it?
for whatever reason, spring has always been a battleground for me.  just when snow is melting, when the apple blossoms are ripening, when it’s finally tulip season (my favorite!), i get all freaky & look inside myself instead of projecting, like everything else.  i’m an in-my-head kinda gal anyway, but it’s almost like the digging up of the earth triggers a digging up in my own belly.  (that’s kind of gross.  sorry.)

what i noticed down in my brain as i rocked leif, restless on my shoulder, is a weary patch of discontent.  not with big things like my marriage or my children, but with my own small self.  (maybe that’s the biggest of them all.)  somehow, i’ve managed to convince me that what i’m doing isn’t enough.  that i should be blogging more.  or work harder to be present to my kids.  why can’t i just. sit. down. & play a game once in awhile?  after i failed to remember the lunar eclipse earlier this week & rouse my children to gaze upon the moon in their pajamas, i woke in a state of complete failed motherhood.  i’m not even kidding.

honestly, it doesn’t even matter what it is i don’t think i’m doing enough of.  the problem lies in the perspective itself. 

do you ever tangle with this monster?

when i finally got leif back to sleep & by the grace of God no one else woke up, i sat down here.  i didn’t plan on wrestling this thing out.  i feel at a loss, really.  what is it that makes any of us feel like we aren’t enough?  i would never tell a friend that — heck, no!  my friends are amazing.  but it’s incredibly easy to tell myself that.

we seldom know the Truth about ourselves.

so, while the toddler snores beside me in the semi-darkness, i’m going to take a stick & poke at this.  maybe it’s all the online reading i do, all the comparing that automatically comes with it.  maybe i need to develop a thicker filter while i peruse other mommy blogs, while i read other successful writers, while watching hippie granola moms in trader joe’s carting children in all-cotton clothing.  maybe i should start making lists of what’s going on here, so i can see me more objectively.  maybe i just need to own my own life a little more, the dirt i’ve been placed in.  revel in my place in the world.
but frankly, i don’t think the mustering is the answer.  i don’t think i can tell myself enough times that i’m amazing, that i’m good enough, that i rock as a mother in spite of failed lunar-gazing, that my small writing is enough in this world of volumes.

in the darkness, i won’t believe it.

no, i need Someone else to speak to me in those places.

that’s what Easter is about.

enough.  already.

have a great weekend of being enough.  your place in this world is incredible, because you have been placed there on purpose.  & happy easter .
{[it’s quite possible i don’t get back here tomorrow for 
just a minute.  we’ve got grandma & papa coming tonight for the weekend!  hooray!}.  

just a minute.

spring!!  yes, here in wisconsin, we finally. have. spring.
i feel like i’ve waited my whole life to say that.
& isn’t that just how the “after” of waiting is?  once you get to what hope has promised, all the waiting accordions up into itself & you’re left wondering how you ever thought you’d never make it.  (whoa.  that might be profound, but i’m not sure what i just said.)


this “just a minute” is an ode to spring.  because, baby, we got it.

& this song, more than once, has been used as a wake-up call around here, on those please-do-get-out-of-bed-before-we’re-even-more-late-for-church mornings.  because sometimes a mama just needs a musical crowbar for her babies.

& i kind of feel like maybe we could use a wake-up call, to shake off all the winter, yes?

happy “springing” friends.  did you catch that?  she’s springing off the trampoline, &. . . . dork.

{“just a minute” is an every friday post, where i give you a tablespoon’s worth of two of my favorite things, photography & music.  sometimes you just gotta compact the beauty into a to-go package for a quick hit.  that’s friday.}

on community (& why i sometimes suck at it.)

yesterday andy needed to deliver shirts cross-country to osceola where we used to live, so we tagged along to catch the field trip & hang out with friends.  one of the giant privileges of the homeschool life is spontaneous field trips, which i love.  certainly one of the multitudinous reasons we do homeschool.  one of the giant “costs” of all these great field trips is the thick, oozy layer at the botton of our van.  which i don’t love.


andy dropped us off at my dear friend beth’s house, just down the road from our old house.  beth & her husband jud are amazing hobby farmers, & every time i am at their place, i am filled up with happy envy at all the cool projects they’ve got going on.  they raise sheep & chickens, have an enormous garden & a bee hive.  who has a beehive?  they do!!  they also have a zipline for adults in their backyard.  cool cool cool.

this time of year, the newest thing on their farm is spring lambs.  we got to snuggle them, which my children loved.  [duh.]

beth, patiently helping leif feed “runt”.  leif loveloveloved the sheep & lambs.  he kept meowing at them.

oh, the cutie cuteness!  also, jud in the background, explaining maple syrupping to andy.  because they do that, too.  uh.maze.

we had a great afternoon, the kids romping around, getting their barn experience, beth & i comparing notes on chronicling our children’s lives & all things mothering.

one of my favorite things about community is all the sharing that inevitability happens.  i brought beth a pile of clothes for her & her daughter opal; she sent me home with a giant ziploc of gluten-free cookie dough mix, & quail & chicken eggs.  (my trades are always so lame.  plus, who gets to eat quail eggs?  me!  woot, woot!)  we get to hang out with baby sheep;  she gets to hang out with baby toddlers.  (again, where is the fairness?)

after beth’s house, we went in to osceola to see some more friends, andrew & kait & their three lovely children.  under the age of 3.  all of them!  anyway, the kids played “chutes & ladders,” we adored the baby & brought little kid presents, & andrew told us if we need a place to park our [future-maybe-possibly] bus, we could use his driveway.  fantastic.  we told him we’d not forget that goodness, might we need to call on it.

swap & share, swap & share.

my sweet sister-in-law elizabeth posted this on facebook last week:

“everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”  bill nye, the science guy said that.  i would add that everyone you will ever meet can contribute something amazing to your life, whether it’s quail eggs, heartfelt conversation, or a bus parking spot, if you invite them in.

when we got home last night, our friend dave came over to talk t-shirts with andy.  andy & dave made the appointment on our way home, which meant we didn’t do any clean-up beforehand.  (or we just neglected to do it.  you pick.)  as dave stepped over whoknowswhat, andy said to him, “don’t mind the mess.”

“i absolutely don’t mind,” dave said,  & you could tell he wasn’t just being polite.  he came to be with us in all our chaos & give us his business, if for only a few minutes.  grace given.  (that & the great beard he has going on.  kieran, sitting beside him at the table, said, “you should be hagrid for halloween.”)

by last night, i felt so filled up on people & warm connection.  i felt loved & supported;  i felt understood & inspired to be more of me.  plus i had cookie mix.

& this is the part i have to remind myself.  i need people, when i’d rather just be my independent self over in the corner.  i need to have regular people speaking truth into my life, about myself & what i’m doing.  i can’t be an awesome mom all by myself.  i can’t homeschool well without other people’s ideas, & a hand once in awhile.

i can’t thrive alone.

in a couple hours, we’ll load the kids into the encrusted mini van & head off to art club.  we’ll bring two thermoses of coffee, one regular & one decaf.  our friend jaime will bring the cups & spoons.  my other friend named beth & her husband henry will bring their current goods to swap, & we will, too.  snow boots & magazines, sharpies & dress shoes.  while the kids paint & color, we’ll drink coffee & pick through brown paper bags & each other’s business.

because we need to.  we need people.  all of them.  all of you, who each, individually let us know we’re okay & loved, that the bus maybe isn’t too stupid (or is, but you still love us), that our place in this world is secure & our seat is saved.

this place, here, in our vast & far-flung community.


just a minute.

there are four six inches of new snow on the ground (fun in december, not in april.), i just found cat poop on my kitchen floor that had been stepped in, & when i opened my email, the library elf informed me i had 6 movies & video games due.  yesterday.

thank you, morning, i hate you already.

SO.  i’m pulling out my big guns.  this day will not go down without a fight.
i will push back.
because if i don’t, my head might fall off, & there’s a lot at stake here, isn’t there?  they say a mother is the barometer for the family. well, then, i’ve got work to do.

wait.  the toddler just woke up & is crying. . . .

okay, let’s try that again. . .

two of my favorites, photography & music, distilled to one per to share with you.  (i like to share.)  also, two natural boosts for me on cruddy-starting days like this.
{p.s.- are you proud of me?  3 weeks in a row posting “just a minute”.  booya.}

little man painting.

if you have kids, if you like kids, if you have ever been a kid, if you still ARE a kid, you’ll love these guys.  you now have your evening entertainment (which you’re gonna need if you live where i do.  ice + snow = not.going.anywhere.).

you’re welcome.

sometimes the world conspires against you, like cat poop on your kitchen floor which you pick up with your finger, because you’re not sure what it is, to throw you off your good-life game.

don’t let it.

push back.

{morning update:  both the cat & the toddler are curled up in my lap now.}

the tiny & small things.

we haven’t done one of these in awhile, a laundry list of the sweet bitty pieces floating by.

we had a fantastic, busy weekend with my parents here & a hotel stay at the DAX (“decorated apparel expo,” the t-shirt show we go to every year to see how the big guns print.).

to amp up the goodness, i’ll scratch out the pieces.
it makes my heart happy, this counting.  (& who couldn’t use a little happy just now?)

from the weekend:

on the showroom floor, learning daddy’s business.

a jackpot of tradeshow goodies.

i put a high price on entertaining themselves.  (do you see the heli?)

fancy dinner for the buyers & their lovelies.

quality time with my dad.

& my mom.

legos at lunch.  because, yes.

photo credit:  my handsome husband.

going out for coffee with four kids.  (my brother & his wife, jen, alongside.  probably sharing a knowing look at our crazy.  just kidding.  maybe.)

love this guy.

& this one.
he could sell you some starbucks’, yes?

outsiiiiiiiiide.  winter, we. are. through.
also, my impending nephew.  see?  woot, woot!!
i love him already.

little boys with sticks.  (five now, you know.  have to take the “little” off, but only in his earshot.)

holding hands.

there it is, our weekend in tiny & small bits.
my heart does feel happier.  thanks for letting me tell you.

but tell me, what sweet tiny & small things are floating by you?
it’ll make your heart happy, the counting.  promise.


just a minute.

two of my favorite things in the whole world are photography & music.  on fridays, i share just a minute’s worth of what i love this week.

& really.  it would be so sad if you all didn’t see this gem.

andy titled it, “take it like a man.”

& this song?  you’ve heard it, but have you seen this version?
it might shot in a bus.  :)

have a good weekend, my friends.

five gigantic years old.

i may as well load up all the mommy emotion in a big heap & deal with it in one fell swoop.
kieran is 5 today.
which makes two kids turning a new year in 8 days’ time.
every year, all of march is birthday madness.
which means i can’t see straight
for all the mommy pondering going on
until easter.

i need a nap.

& a kleenex.

(have i mentioned we do this again in july?  javin & leif were born within two weeks of each other.  well, two weeks & nine years.  oy vey.)

last night at bedtime (why is it always bedtime?), i was singing
with leif snuggled on my chest
& kieran tucked in beside me, arm slung across my neck.
after hugs & kisses & extra snuggles
on this last night of kieran-as-4,
i thought i felt him fall off to sleep.
i felt the tears at the back of my eyes.

there’s something this year about the kids’ last night
being the age they are,
weighty with significance.

it feels a little bit silly,
but it’s killing me.

i asked you, little kieran,
if you were asleep yet, like i thought.
“nope!” you answered me,
perplexed that i would think that of you.

& i felt a tangible relief
that i could have a few more moments with you
as my sweet 4-year-old boy.
i snuggled you a little harder.

today, kieran, our third kiddo, you turn a bright & shiny five years old.actually, everything about kieran is bright & shiny.

unending smiles.  dimples.
bright eyes & a huge heart.
a silly sense of humor.
the best giggle.

& games.  does my boy ever love a good game.
every morning, after the sleep is rubbed out of his eyes, he begins.

“mama?  you’ll probably say ‘no’. . . i think you might say ‘no’. . . but. . .do you want to play a game with me?”

& honestly, there’s nothing kieran isn’t game for.

he truly loves all life has to offer.
activity, adventure, food.
from the time he was a baby, he fussed to have on his plate exactly what everyone else had.
first food?  broccoli.
because at 8 months he saw
that good was happening
& he wanted in.

he’s a beacon to all of us, this little-one-so-big in his (now) five-year-old skin.

and no one in our family is as bold as he is:

the first to ride his bike.
the first the first to get stitches.
the first to break a bone.
the first to tangle with a raspberry bush at the end of the sledding hill.

all because he’s so fully engaged in life & so exuberant about it at the same time.
[& a little bit crazy.]

& the imagination!
four is a holy ground for imagination & creativity.

always making something out of a stick & a rubberband.
always engaging one of his siblings for a romp.
always eager to help stir a cake or crack an egg.

& the brother thing?
he has it down.
both little brother & big brother.

so willing to love & be loved.

yep, kieran.  we are the richest family for having you placed perfectly at our center.

you truly are your namesake, “ray of light.”

happy birthday, big guy.
we love you to the moon & back.
five is gonna rock.