Thursday, July 15, 2010


Always, in life, there are signs. A lot of them are subtle -- most of them, probably, because life is like that -- and some of them announce themselves with a blaze of highway-safety orange or neon green. I realized, this morning, as I rounded up items for a Goodwill donation, and papers to shuffle and a list of places I needed to stop, that over the recent days, the landscape of our life has shifted. Just a bit. But like erosion on a cliff face, one day you notice how much is changed.

Noah's new big boy bed! 009

Last weekend, we moved our youngest child out of his crib and into a "big-boy bed" (a twin mattress and box spring on the floor). He is going to be three in November, and well, it was time. Wren had already been moved to a bed by this age, primarily because Noah was on his way and we needed the crib. Now, the crib we bought secondhand when Wren was coming is in pieces stacked neatly in the closet in Noah's room. I washed and folded all the crib sheets and stacked them in the closet, too, along with the crib skirt, the changing table pad and covers, and the crib toys.


This morning, I rounded up a huge bag of small toys. Some of them were infant toys obviously no longer needed, some were the dreaded Happy Meal toys that seem to multiply their uselessness endlessly, and some were things that the kids just didn't play with anymore. I also donated the smallest of the three riding toys we had in the house. A good portion of our Fisher-Price Little People toys have now moved upstairs to the kids' rooms. The great room no longer looks like a badly-kept Toys R Us store. I am *this close* to knicknacks and candles and antiques and things of value on display again.


Kira is coming home this weekend for a couple of days. I haven't spoken to her in two weeks, but I know she is okay and hopefully having a great time on her dad's farm. When fall rolls around, she will be starting the seventh grade. We will have to go shopping for school clothes, and find a dress for the Christmas dance.

I am buying my daughter dresses for dances.

With her, as with Noah, I am constantly torn between wanting her to grow up, and wanting her to stay little. part of me hopes she will come home from the summer with a new interest in fashion (even a little bit), and some additional maturity for handling social situations. but part of me wants her to stay little, stay young, and be out of reach of the understanding of things like money, stress, disaster, and human nature.

In three years, Travis and I will have been married ten years. By that point, Kira will be steadfastly a teenager (15), Wren will be starting the second grade (halfway though elementary school at age 8), and Noah, who is a little like Peter Pan, always my little boy, will be six. All of that in three short years.


The clock in my kitchen is ticking the seconds away. I can't stop the passage of time, nor can I slow it. I can savor the moments, take a million pictures, and know that we are raising three fine human beings. My living space is a little bit neater (sort of), and the equipment and supply needs for my children are a lot less, but I know that there will be even more signposts to read on this road, and I am enjoying the ride, looking out the window, and sharing the time with my most favorite human beings in this world -- my family.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Independence Day!

It was a full weekend, full of friends and good food and fun times. We celebrated the USA's birthday in typical style, with lots of people and tons of food, and fireworks to mark the occasion.

It was hot, though. That part kinda sucked, frankly. But there was beer, to be sure, and watermelon, and the pool for the kids and sprinklers, so we survived. Barely.

Of course there was food....this is OUR house.....

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I think I made everyone aware of the utter fantasticness of Zweigle's hot dogs, from Rochester, NY. My very very favorite from since I was a little kid. I love them burned to a crisp on the outside. Apparently everyone else loved them too, because I didn't get one! :( Thank GOD there is a Wegman's only an hour away so I can get more!! Oh, and Travis smoked a pork loin, too. YUM.

What would the 4th be without a flag cake or dessert?

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This one has jello under the Cool Whip yum.

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The kids played in the pool, and the sprinkler. Yeah, we had to drain and refill that poor pool at least once.

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We had beer and sodas, of course.

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There was much hanging out.

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Kids loved the hammock.

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This is the only picture I have of me...took it (poorly) with the self-timer. **Note to self: In the future, remember to ask people to take the camera and photograph YOU, too, Chris.**

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We got all 15 kids (yes...fifteen...13 under the age of 12..) lined up in their chairs for some fireworks.

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Sparklers, first, though.

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All Dads Must Light And Monitor Fireworks.

I think it's an unwritten rule.

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Two-thirds of my children stuck it out for a little while, but retreated because of the excessive noise....Wren found some comfort with out friend Dominique, and Kira just beat it indoors. Noah, however, the one who tells us frequently that things are "TOO WOUD, MOMMY!", was delighted.

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(this was actually taken the night before, during some 'preview' fireworks)

All in all, it wasn't the best party I've ever was so terribly hot, and there were some glitches in the overall situation, BUT I *think* people enjoyed themselves, and I was certainly glad to have everyone together. We really missed a few folks who were unable to make it, particularly our friend who got stuck working in the Midwest.

The evening ended on a more sour note than I wished. We hadn't made enough of an allowance for our three dogs, and by the end of things, the fireworks noise, the kids, the constant commotion and screaming, AND being outside in the heat all day all led to Quinn attacking Ruby and leaving her with puncture wounds in her neck. Ruby got her pound of flesh, though, as Quinn received four wounds in her right foreleg and by this morning, her leg was swollen and she was having difficulty walking on it. Some antibiotics and $200 later, she is on the mend. Ruby is going in tomorrow. Our poor credit card is getting a workout. We must take better care next time to give the dogs the space and peace they need during a party. I feel badly, but Quinn and Ruby seem to be friends again, so that is good.

Today was chock full of nothing, except I drove Kira back to her dad's for a couple of weeks. It was too damned hot to do anything else except vegetate in the air conditioning. Of course, we're old, so an all-day cookout party pretty much took everything out of Travis and I. The kids are going to bed on time tonight, and I plan to dump myself on the couch with a bowl of ice cream and the book I'm reading (Traveling With Pomegranates -- really REALLY good!).

Tomorrow....the kids go to summer preschool! I am trying not to be TOO excited; after all, I have loved having them around, but I am dying -- DYING, I tell you! -- for some solitary creative time. I feel my Muse hanging around and whispering to me, and I really need to answer Her. My torch needs to be set up again, and there is wire to bend and make into things, and several magazine articles to write, and work to be packed and sent off to editors, and a book proposal that isn't going to write itsdamnself!

Tomorrow morning, back on the bike at 5:30, too. I've had my holiday splurge, and now it's time to remember that 'discipline is freedom'...