Sunday, January 25, 2015


Photo credit: Urban Rose.

"Momma, Momma," Myra says.

I look up from pools of honey toast. "Hmm?"

"Did you know this looks BORING to me," she says. She gestures to a picture dictionary of the human body.

"What do you think BORING means?" I say.

"I don't know."


Wednesday, we read the BORING book. A careful perusal and she still mixes up brains and guts. They look the same.


Photo credit: Urban Rose.

Thursday breakfast. Tappity-tap-tap, tap-tap, Jane clatters the blinds. Tap-tap, tap, tap. Tap-ta-tap-tap --  ten-year-old intensity bound up in tappity-tap fingers.

"Jane," I finally unleash, "I can't bear that sound."

"I was seeing how long I could bear it," she says. We grin. Of course.


Photo credit: Urban Rose.

Friday nap time. Myra rouses Joe. "Joey, are you scared?" she says.

"Yeah," he says in post-sleep grog.

"You don't have to be scared 'cause Jesus is with you," she sing-songs.

He grunts the usual wake-up greeting, blankie over face.


Photo credit: Urban Rose.

Saturday haircuts. "I got a haircut," Joe wallops through the kitchen dressed in superhero skivvies. "I got a haircut, and I washed my haircut off with soap," he says.

"Joe, Joe," I say as I set dinner's burrito buffet. "Joe go tell Daddy. I love you," I whisper in his ear. He hugs my knees and gallops to the living room.

He trots a circle then flops on the couch. "Dad," he says, "Mom LIKES me." A brief pause, message delivered, he rolls to the ground, perpetual motion in flight. Landing half tritt-trot, he rolls on.

Message delivered: Mom LIKES me. Yup. The week distills and coalesces down to one single thought: Mom LIKES me. Our world pulls together like the laces of a shoe cinching up for flight.


5594. Chocolate and hair ponies and grocery necessities all in one trip.

5595. Craig fixes a sink faucet, a shower faucet, and orders parts for another faucet fix. I never have to hire a plumber

5596. My dad replaces the cord on our space heater.

Photo credit: Urban Rose.

5597. Craig washes the car, then rallies the troops to clean out the inside.

5598. I commission Jane to be my kitchen manager for the two weeks after the baby is born.

5599. I knit another baby sweater in cream and mint green.

5600. We donate extra stuff to Goodwill and tidy up the sunroom.

5601. Everyone waits for the new baby.

Photo credit: Urban Rose.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Photo credit: Urban Rose.

"Mom, I don't know if you feel the same way about football as I do," Jane quips from the back seat.

"Yeah?" I say.

"I mean, I like the idea of football, but I sort of get tired of watching the same thing over and over," she says.

I laugh, signal right, and ease into the far lane.

Photo credit: Urban Rose.

"I would kind of rather just get and update every time they score a point," she says.

"I know just what you mean," I say. Blue reflections of sky spread across the road, I whiz through a puddle. It sprays the front windshield.

"Dad's like, you have to see this great play," she says. "And I'm sort of like, hmm."

I nod, a giggle laced through my thoughts. Another right hand turn, then a left, and we pull up the driveway, home.

Photo credit: Urban Rose.

"Come on," I say. "Someone unbuckle Joey."

We pile out of the car, into the house, and sidle up to watch the football game. I pop huge bounding bowls of popcorn, and we laugh, and we cheer. And camaraderie springs up there between us. All that tackling and straining toward victory, and something better than football happens. We hold on to it like an invisible thread pulling us together.

Photo credit: Urban Rose.


5586. Craig travels on a five day retreat with his team from work. Friday comes, and with it, him safely home.

5587. I knit away on a baby blanket, these restless hands busy and productive.

5588. The children surround me while Craig is gone.

Photo credit: Urban Rose.

5589. "I love this book," Myra says. "It's my best-friend-book."

5590. "Good job, Barry-Bear," Joe says and squeeezes Barry. "You're a good helper," he says.

5591. "Are lollipops fruit?" Lu wants to know. "Myra says they ARE."

5592. "How has your eye been feeling?" I ask Lucy. "I don't know," she says and looks at her palm, "I haven't been feeling it."

5593. Another week closes. Another week begins. The count down continues: we pass week 38.

Photo credit: Urban Rose.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Morning Time

Photo credit: Urban Rose.  

"Why were you pounding on the piano?" I croak.

Joe and Myra promenade around the end of my bed. "We were wanting to sing songs," Myra says.

"Yeah," Joe chimes, "we was. We was."

"Oh," I say.

Photo credit: Urban Rose.

They trip-trop out of the room like puppets on a string then parade back through, Joe in underwear, Myra in a sweatshirt and pink rain boots.

"I'm making eggs for me and you, me and you," Joe says. He points to me and him and me and him.

"We're making MUSTARD eggs," Myra says. "But I might need you to crack the eggs."

"Oh," I say. "Better get dressed. Joe go put some pants on."

Photo credit: Urban Rose.

He wriggles into pants, stretches and contorts and finally has Myra snap the front. We make eggs. Myra dribbles on the burner. The eggs stick to the pan. We put lots of fancy salt on them.

"Want to pray together?" Myra says.

"Yeah," I say. And then we eat.

"I'm getting to be a little bit like a pig," Myra says "'cause I'm eating all these eggs." They look orange with salt. She has them cut in tiny triangles. Joe cuts haphazardly. Wet crumbs litter the floor. I make pools of honey on my toast.

"Mmmm. Put your dishes in the dishwasher," I say. "Here, bring me that rag. I'll wipe your spot."

They graze over oranges and bananas. I knit. Myra putters Joe over the hardwoods in a baby rocking chair: their car. He whirls his arms for the engine.

Then I tell them to clean up. The morning unfurls with the rhythm of a gently rocking sea.

Photo credit: Urban Rose.


5579. Pomegranates, fresh and fat.

5580. New stitch markers for my knitting. I knit Gramma's old gull pattern no problem.

5581. Craig takes me on a date to a place I haven't been to in 15 years.

Photo credit: Urban Rose.

5582. Gramma's old sewing machine comes home freshly serviced. I begin sewing and sewing. We set up three sewing stations for the three of us sew-ers.

5583. Craig takes the kids to the farm.

5584. We count down the days: 20 days until baby due.

5585. And we pray to come up with a name for this little babe.

Photo credit: Urban Rose.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


Photo credit to Urban Rose.   

"Whaaaaaahhh," Myra bellows from the far end of the house. "Whaaaah." All that red hair sprung up in curls, pink sweater and blue skirt, she bawls over a bowl of oatmeal.

Pulled from bed like velcro unsnapping, I pad down the hallway.

"Her ear hurts," Craig says.

"Oh," I say, "I think I gave the last of that purple medicine to Cerissa." I squint my eyes, raise my eyebrows. "Here let me see if I can find something."

"Whhah," she whimpers.

Photo credit to Urban Rose.   

I rifle through the medicine stash, cypher active ingredients. "Here, let me cut this in half," I say. Serrated knife on tiny red pill, I split it in half. I pinch the crumbs between finger and thumb.

Jane, Jack, and Lu stare at Myra.

"Now open your mouth; this is tiny. I don't want to spill any," I say.

"Ok. Can I have some water?"

"Yeah." She opens. I dispense, just missing quivery red lip. "Here get her some water."

"I think maybe I should leave her," Craig says.

"Do what you have to," I say.

We stare at Myra, full bowl of oatmeal pristine and untouched, the clock nine minutes past when they should've left. She gulps the water, sits up straight.

Photo credit to Urban Rose.   

"I'm all better now," she says. Eyes still red with tears, she blinks. Everyone blinks back at her.

"Oh," I say.

"Oh," Craig laughs. "Well," he pauses. She blink-blinks back at him. "Ok, go get in the car."

She bounds down the hall like a jackrabbit, skitters out the front door, just behind Jane, Jack, and Lu.

Everyone wants to volunteer with Craig. Miraculous recoveries ensue.

Photo credit to Urban Rose.   


5573. I hire Jack to prepare the baby room, and he delivers.

5574. Craig moves the big pieces of furniture with him.

5575. Lucy and I sew pinwheels together. Jane joins us. I start some dresden plates.

5576. Mom and I visit over fabric shopping.

5577. We call in the New Year with cousins and siblings, pinochle and popcorn, laughter and mirth.

5578. We wheedle away days of rest. Down by the fire, audiobook unspooling, projects open and unfolding on every lap, vacation ensconces us.

Photo credit to Urban Rose.   

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Photo courtesy of Urban Rose.    

"We DON'T say poopy," Joey blurts. I guide his round hand into a pj sleeve.

"What?" I say.

"We DON'T say poopy," he says again. He rounds his eyes and elongates DON'T. He shakes his head in exaggerated mime.

"Oh," I say, "yeah. Good boy." I zip his jammies.

"I not go poopy in my unda-wear," he says.

"That's right," I say. I mimic in an elongated nod. "Go poopy in the POTTY."

Like most things he narrates the rules as he goes, garnishes with overstated gesture, watches for reaction, every obedience an act of love.

Photo courtesy of Urban Rose.    


5567. Christmas. The gift of Christ, once again we celebrate his great sacrifice for us.

5568. The many gifts made and bought and exchanged with great love -- we celebrate with our small family and great big extended family.

5569. We draw the days out long and leisure. Christmas ebbs like a tide gently turning, reeling in the new year.

5570. Gramma's old Bernina, Grampa passes on a gift of many memories and many quilts to come. It even comes to me freshly serviced.

5571. We pass the 35 week mark and await the arrival of our newest little girl.

5572. "When I smell that," Myra commentates on Jack's visit to the bathroom, "it makes my eyes reeking." She blinks to illustrate watery eyes. We laugh and laugh, humor surrounding us on every side.

Photo courtesy of Urban Rose.    

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Photos courtesy of Urban Rose

"Mommy, are you gonna see me on stage?" Lucy asks. Frays of hair frame her face. Baby orange in hand, she pops a wedge in her mouth.

"Yeah," I say.

"Mommy's gonna be there for the nine o'clock," Craig says. He grins, clatters a crate of apples on to the counter.

Photos courtesy of Urban Rose

I stare at Lu. She stares at me.

"He's probably just joking," she says. The last time I made it to the nine it was a different decade.

The week spindles by. It finds Myra and me at the kitchen table, elbows slung out, the remains of dipping cookies next to empty tea cups.

"There are actually three people here," Myra says.

"Yeah?" I say.

"Yeah, there's me, and you, and my blankie-boy." She pats a well-loved bunch of blue fluff, draped over my shoulders. She snuggles blankie up around my neck.

"Yep," I say.

Photos courtesy of Urban Rose

"I don't care that he's not a person," she says. "It says BOY in blankie-boy. And he kinda looks like a boy." She pats my shoulder. I nod, my eyes carrying her like an ocean for a ship. She sashays off, blankie encircling me.

Sunday finally dawns. By some miracle, I make it to the nine o'clock service.

The children sing, the spinning wheel of a week pivots forward. Momentum finds us like blue fluff tucked in around the collar, a blanket of comfort as present as a person.

Photos courtesy of Urban Rose.  


5564. Navy sheets to back the latest quilt.

5565. Coconut milk, lemon soap, peppermint all purpose cleaner, white balsamic vinegar, a trip to the store and all cleanliness ensues.

5564. Pizza night. We take half the pepperonis of a store bought pizza and make a second night of homemade pizza.

5565. Nutmeg logs, our favorite Christmas cookie.

5566. The Children's Choir.

5567. "Can we make a calendar of when I should shower?" Myra asks.

5568. We race into the last week of school with anticipation for the Christmas celebration.

Photos courtesy of Urban Rose

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Spare Parts

Photo courtesy of Urban Rose.

"Did you put that in there?" I give the dulcimer an upside-down shake. Something blue slides past the opening.

"Yeah," Joe says. I shake it again. Something blue and pink this time blips over the hole.

"Was it kind of hard to push it in?"


Photo courtesy of Urban Rose.

"Oh." I give it another rattle-shake, poke at the smooth edge of something pink that glides away from my finger. The pick. "I don't think I can get it out," I say.

I hand the instrument back into Joe's arms. He plucks a string, pinches and stretches it a quarter inch past what a normal person would. It twangs, glittery out of tune.

Photo courtesy of Urban Rose.

"I can play it with my hands now," he triumphs. He demonstrates another twang. I gulp down the plate of eggs Lucy had left on the toaster for me.

Then we scatter through the house. Sunday morning, choir practice today.

We redress Myra, twice, a complete makeover from her favorite hand-me-downs. We shorten the sleeves on Lucy's shirt with a couple of well-placed cuffs. Joey tries repeatedly to suit up in rain boots before pants or underwear. I shuffle through stacks of laundry yank socks off Myra and onto Joe.

Photo courtesy of Urban Rose.

"That's weird," Lu says. I look up to her beached on a pile of Myra's clothes, a blue snappie barrette in her fingers. "Look what I found," she says, dulcimer at the crook of her arm.

"Huh," I say and snuffle Joe's foot down into the rain boot, "let's go!"

We gallop out the door.

Photo courtesy of Urban Rose.

I slide into a pew out of breath. Joe wets his pants. I count my blessings that he was standing, not sitting in a pew. We sog out to the restroom.

The morning gently lands, me in the parking lot with Joe, Craig and the big kids at choir practice. and I suddenly remember the barrette. It would have been perfect for Lucy's hair. A fleeting memory of me shrugging it into a pocket, perfect. I reach in and feel it next to two tylenol, a crochet hook, and some miscellaneous yarn.

Perfect, all the spare parts.

Photo courtesy of Urban Rose.


5555. Mom finishes crocheting the new baby's blankie.

5556. Craig and I plan an impromptu quilt with poppies and gray.

5557. Basil sausage tomato soup.

5558. Joe fixes a plastic gun with a safety pin. It disappears into the rattly shell never to be seen again.

Photo courtesy of Urban Rose.

5559. We have dinner with Craig's family.

5560. Mom and her sister decorate Grampa's house for Christmas.

5561. I drop in to visit Dad while Mom is away. We talk like old times.

5562. We win a jar of a friend's famous homemade marinara sauce.

5563. We spend the evenings warm and snug by the fire listening to audio books. Christmas feels most present when we are together.

Photo courtesy of Urban Rose.