2022_10200280812241916_2146917488_nLife changes over time while we aren’t paying attention. Seems obvious doesn’t it? Yet, somehow it always strikes me when I least expect it. I seem to, in my little love of routine ways and days, live by a set of rules and facts that I tick off daily in my head until something stops me short and I suddenly see my world is different than it was when those old “facts” registered in my brain.

The day after Christmas EVERYONE needed to get out of the house. We had spent the last 4 days together anticipating & planning, decorating & gifting, baking & cooking, cleaning & cuddling, arguing & apologizing each day in our very soley indoors world. We enjoyed our holidays together, just the 5 of us with a couple of outings with local friends and many phone calls to relatives who we couldn’t be with. The food was fun and tasty, the gifts were well loved and cheered over. The sleep was much needed. The motrin and cold medicine for various runny noses, bulging gums and infected sinuses was widely heralded.

Unfortunately it rained. Pretty much non-stop. So The Sistred was needless to say, a bit cooped up. As were the parents. Although we had plenty of things on our to-do list to get done, we decided to look the other way, pack up our drinks and crackers and head to town to the Children’s Museum and a late pizza lunch. The baby is still portable enough and the older girls are always eager to be on the go. So even though we arrived at lunch and naptime, after having had to restuff feet in to new twinkling shoes multiple times as well as wipe down an extremely markered set of legs, hands and feet, we all played well. For the most part. Some of us would have liked to shop longer in the market. Some of us would have liked to gather flowers and carrots longer in the farm. Some of us would have liked to spend more time perfecting our loop-de-loop on the race track. But the real gift of this trip was the little bit of glass clearing I was given.

I have this image in my head of what my girls and I can and can’t do. How we can and can’t spend our time, energy and money. Parks- we’re in. Grocery shopping- surprisingly entertaining. Gymnastics or tumbling opportunities- yes- please! Muffin/cookie/cake baking- grab an apron and a whisk! Storytime at the library- um, no.

Really nothing that involves sitting still in quiet places with judging others eyeing us, well judgmentally. You know that look- that- “My kid would never act that way” kind of look? Well I’ve developed an art for avoiding it.  

At precisely 1pm, the children’s educator in the museum was hosting what I heard to be a mitten-making activity. Once Zuzu decided she was ok with the fact that they were paper mittens and not actually knit goods we decided to head up. Especially considering the “great love” of all things arts and crafty by the aforementioned little markered one.

545315_10200280808041811_2119429274_nSo in we go. I notice a mitten poem on the wall. Crafts set at the table and a pile of pillows. All arranged around a stool. Just as my kiddos assume the front row, I see the educator pull out a book. About mittens. Um. Not just arts and craft time. Storytime. Sigh.

Years ago I tried to do the good mommy activity that I remember loving from my own childhood. To this day I love being read to. I prefer a book on audio if there is a choice. Our little wildflower Zuzu though, she wanted to be the one reading the book during storytime. Decorating the room. Leading the conga line. What? Your storytime doesn’t have a conga line? Yeah, well ours didn’t either. But I was hard-pressed to convince Zuzu of that. After about 3 attempts. Each one ending in her bitter tears at my chiding again to sit down and be quiet; I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth it. I didn’t need to be that angry. She didn’t need to be that contained. There were plenty of other activities that we could be spending our time doing that wouldn’t result in so much frustration on both ends. So we stopped going. And I tacked that rule up on my mental chalkboard. No storytime.

That was at least 4 years ago. With my single 2-year-old. So I eyed the craft tables longingly and leaned forward ready to give my sharpest raised eye-brow at any signs of Thunderdome brewing between the Sistred. But what to my wondering eyes should appear? Nothing. Zuzu raised her hand to ask questions and answer the educator. The Quail stayed put and listened attentively to the story. (It didn’t hurt that the story was about a yellow mitten- her favorite color). And the baby played happily on the other side of the room with Lovey. The educator fortunately forgot her poem and we moved in to the craft activity of making mittens fairly quickly. Zuzu was enthralled with learning about symmetry as Ms. Valerie praised her paper mittens and the neighboring tables kindly offered up matching sequins and stickers as she made her sparkly fashionista choices. The Quail entertained herself with crayons, gluesticks, sequins and stickers as well and 30 minutes later we emerged back into the museum unscathed and unjudged with 2 pairs of paper mittens and a semi-empty hall to twirl our way back into oblivion.

Later over steaming hot slices and a nice brown ale with some John Prine on the jukebox; I made a point to praise Zuzu for how well she did in storytime and how much I appreciated how much she has grown up in the last 4 years. Or at least I tried to, between attempts to call her back to the table to finish eating and reminders that this hardwood floor is for the restaurant and is not actually for twirling. Sometimes you just have to look away.

corner view: lights

Happy Holidays from the lights in my life to the lights in yours!


Beloved & Bejammied

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday date hosted originally hosted by Jane, currently by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it in photographic or writerly in form from around the world: Jane, Dana, Bonny, Joyce, Ian, Francesca, Theresa, Cate, Kasia, Otli, Trinsch, Isabelle, Janis, Kari, jgy, Lise, Dorte, McGillicutty, Sunnymama, Ibb, Kelleyn, Ninja, Sky, RosaMaria, Juniper, Valerie, Sammi, Cole, Don, WanderChow, FlowTops, Tania, Tzivia, Kristin, Laura, Guusje, Susanna, Juana, Elsa, Nadine, Annabel

Sugarplumday: fever

DSC_0436You would think six years into this parenting gig I would know better than to quietly make lists in my head of all the things I can do when I happen to be home with my kids on an offday due to illness. But I don’t. I still do it. Every. single. time. I also start each illness with a strong momma lion’s heart. Hovering in over them, picturing their sweet faces looking up at me in gratitude as I wipe the cool rag over their forehead and carry them to the kitchen to make tea and toast.

But, um, no. That has always been pure fantasy. And it is usually about midway in to that first day that the bubble gets burst and I find myself  sitting in the middle of the unmade bed with a crying child, covered in vomit and wanting to cry as reality hits and nothing I normally get done is being cobbled together by elves.  Let alone the quiet fantasy list of baked cookies, closets sorted, photos edited, a peaceful storytime and Netflix queues whittled down, magazines clipped and Go Fish Game cards spent, beans simmering and bread scenting the air while that satisfied feeling of ending a book I happened to have the time and mind to finish fills me and I contemplate starting a roast. It’s like Groundhog’s Day how eerily similar these days play out in reality.DSC_1647

DSC_1879Sugarplum is sick. Actually I’m pretty proud of her that she made it to just shy of 8 months old before catching her first fever. Her little head felt warm over the weekend. And she coughed. And then the nose started running. Then my mind started running after it. I flashed back to the Quail’s first winter with us. 4 trips to the ER and 2 hospital admits. 1 case of the flu, 2 of bronchiolitis. 1 of pneumonia and the golden ring hospital stay of RSV. One after another from November 2009 going into January 2010. Followed by months of daily breathing treatments and frequent follow-up visits that ended in GI surgery that spring. After that, she certainly still caught colds. But she’s been spared anything so dramatic as that season.

Zuzu’s first winter was kinder to her. Oh mind you she cried the entire trip we took to Atlanta and yet didn’t sprout a tooth or fever for months after that. Her first summer though she was plagued with ear infections and the nasty side effects of the medications that were supposed to be making her better. And the Christmas that the Quail was sick, we brought her home from the hospital just in time to notice the roses blooming on Zuzu’s cheek as her fever spiked a tone that sounded decidedly like her sister’s RSV.

DSC_2540Zuzu commented after her bath last night, “Huh, funny how when I was 3 the Quail was a baby and sick at Christmas and now that she’s 3, Sugarplum is a baby and sick at Christmas.” Huh. Funny indeed. Zuzu is just relieved that her turn at the flu passed by in mere days and with little cramping to her own schedule this season. It was so short that we didn’t even label it as the flu or take her in to the pediatrician. Then as Sugarplum’s forehead and feet heated up my mommy-radar started in questioning whether or not to go to urgent care or hold out till Monday morning. We did and she did hold out. Kindly Dr. Gamble said just a virus as her flu swab was negative and she had been vaccinated and Zuzu’s fever had passed so quickly the week before. But that if her morning temperature was still over 101 by Wednesday to bring her back. Unfortunately Tuesday night as her hot little hand patted my cheek I had a bad feeling I knew where we would be headed the next morning. Sure enough the morning temperature registered 101, so in we went. This time kindly Dr. Gamble rephrased his estimate as he listened to the crackles in her chest once she stopped sobbing. Flu and bronchitis. Motrin and Amoxicillin. Home and Crying. That”s about right.

DSC_2793DSC_2526bwWe did manage to make Santa a visit before the plague set in here. We made our mountain trek to chop down a fir tree between diagnosis. And we are slowly adding ornaments between loads of laundry, doses of Motrin and patient if plaintive requests to finish the decorating already.DSC_2856

DSC_8607We’ve got a quick hand frequently passing over the Quail’s forehead as we watch her now like the timebomb she most certainly is. Especially considering her motherly ways towards her baby sister. No one is more empathetic to another person’s tears in this nest then our Quail. At first wail her fingers are up and signing sad as she works out the name of the soon-to-be patient in her Nurse Nightingquail routine. Unfortunately we, the actually designated, caretakers are old, tired and not nearly quick enough to intercept her every nose-wiping  of the baby and teether tongue cleanings as she scurries off to do her work. Mother Theresa has got nothing on this sweet soul.

Until the next bird falls….DSC_2892

corner view: white

White was my very first Corner View. What’s funny is as I was pondering what I would post this week my mind initially  went to the same floral image. I love looking through my photo library with a corner view lens. I see things in the shots that I could swear weren’t there at first glance. Since the floral Abelias aren’t currently blooming and my Abelia’s favorite color is more of the pinky/purple variety; I decided to turn to nature in our most recent trips this fall. From the cloudscape above our local mountains for the traditional tree gathering to story-time on the screen-porch during our annual beach trip. Our days are filled with rainbows and light in the instances we are able pause and take notice amongst the business.

DSC_2730 DSC_1964 311196_5001741000257_743446372_n

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday date hosted originally hosted by Jane, currently by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it in photographic or writerly in form from around the world: Jane, Dana, Bonny, Joyce, Ian, Francesca, Theresa, Cate, Kasia, Otli, Trinsch, Isabelle, Janis, Kari, jgy, Lise, Dorte, McGillicutty, Sunnymama, Ibb, Kelleyn, Ninja, Sky, RosaMaria, Juniper, Valerie, Sammi, Cole, Don, WanderChow, FlowTops, Tania, Tzivia, Kristin, Laura, Guusje, Susanna, Juana, Elsa, Nadine, Annabel

fave-O-lit friday



by Anne Porter

When snow is shaken
From the balsam trees
And they’re cut down
And brought into our houses

When clustered sparks
Of many-colored fire
Appear at night
In ordinary windows

We hear and sing
The customary carols

They bring us ragged miracles
And hay and candles
And flowering weeds of poetry
That are loved all the more
Because they are so common

But there are carols
That carry phrases
Of the haunting music
Of the other world
A music wild and dangerous
As a prophet’s message

Or the fresh truth of children
Who though they come to us
From our own bodies

Are altogether new
With their small limbs
And birdlike voices

They look at us
With their clear eyes
And ask the piercing questions
God alone can answer.

corner view: serendipity

Serendipity is a good name for my journey in photography right now. I’m still working on learning the mechanics or science of it while simultaneously still loving the art of what shows up on my screen, well, rather serendipitously!











Corner view is a weekly Wednesday date hosted originally hosted by Jane, currently by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it in photographic or writerly in form from around the world: Jane, Dana, Bonny, Joyce, Ian, Francesca, Theresa, Cate, Kasia, Otli, Trinsch, Isabelle, Janis, Kari, jgy, Lise, Dorte, McGillicutty, Sunnymama, Ibb, Kelleyn, Ninja, Sky, RosaMaria, Juniper, Valerie, Sammi, Cole, Don, WanderChow, FlowTops, Tania, Tzivia, Kristin, Laura, Guusje, Susanna, Juana, Elsa, Nadine, Annabel

Quailday: Movin’ on up!

Lil Miss moved up to the next room at her private pre-school. We had held off on the transition earlier this fall because she had so very many happening at the same time and frankly, it was probably more overwhelming for us than her. But it was time. So a couple of weeks ago she said good-bye to Miss Chrystil and Miss Shaina and moved on in with Miss Maranda. The treat of this for her is now when Zuzu gets there each afternoon when Kindergarten is over they get to play on the same playground!

Abby - Last day in 2s-class sitting

That sweet lil muffin on her left is her BFF Mariah. The first non-family kiddo she called by name. They hug, hold hands, call out, go running for each other and save spots. She (and we) love her to pieces.

Abby - Last day in 2s-by door

Zuzuday: Momma, can I have a sleepover?

…is the wolf cry of the sheep who up until last January routinely still came into our bed in the middle of the night. Once we bribed taught her the value of sleeping in her own bed all night we no longer had a solid reason for her to not go to a sleepover. So when the invitation came for her first big girl birthday party sleepover (at a schoolmate who we haven’t met’s house no less!) we were hardpressed to say no. She started packing days in advance. We had to talk her down to just two bags and a sleeping bag.  The mother happens to be the room mother for kindergarten and that helped tremendously in relieving some of her anxiety. A couple of days prior to the main event though the little girl hosting got a case of the nerves and her and Zuzu weren’t being entirely kind to each other. I suggested we cancel, but Zuzu would have none of it. The approval had been given and she was not going to pass on running full on in to this milestone. So I warned the mother and she assured me they would take good care and if there was any trouble they would happily bring her back to us no matter the time of day or night. Fortunately it went swimmingly….


That Dora pack isn’t Zuzus. When the Quail caught wind of the big sleepover she packed her pack and put it out with Zuzus in hopes of being included.

….so swimmingly that when we recently visited St. Louis to gather with old friends and our friend Amy suggested Zuzu join her 8 year old daughter and our other friend Pam’s 8 year old daughter for a sleepover before we leave that she once again started packing up her bags quick, quick, quick! She had some mild hesitation about the fact that they were new friends to her and slightly older but once again was crystal clear she had no intention of not going.


When we picked her up the next morning she tumbled out of a house that smelled of chocolate-chip pancakes with a new outfit and a pack full of hand-me-downs and a big grin. Lil miss likes being a big girl.

sunday still life

Sunday Still Life is an evolving mindfulness project; a weekly invitation to pause the busy of our days, to re-center and celebrate the beauty and depth of life. If you are inspired to join in, please leave a link in Erin’s comments.


The littlest one is the first of the Sistred to not lose it at first sighting of Ole Saint Nick. She stared him down, but wasn[‘t bothered in the least. The Quail on the other hand, took her time to warm up to him this year again. She kept her distance, then (probably after a quick lesson in prudence from Zuzu) decided to go tell him good-bye on our way out. Wise choice  Quaileo. Wise choice.