corner view: synchronicity

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!

On my birthday I knew what I wanted to do. As a Midwestern girl by birth, living my adulthood in the South, with a winter birthday, the flowers I would celebrate with were always purchased ones. This year, turning 40, I wanted to embrace my acquired Southerness and capture the beauty that Mother Nature offers up on my day. Once the children were down for their midday nap, I told Lovey I was heading over to the local Botanical Gardens to snap some pictures of what was in bloom. I grabbed my camera, the baby and my purse and opened the screen door to find….snow. As a Southern girl from the midwest- I hadn’t been treated to snow on my birthday in many, many years, and yes- living in the South- snow any day is a treat. Just ask Zuzu. Two years ago it snowed on Christmas which reportedly had not happened in this area in over one to two hundred years. The snowy clouds were light in our area but offered the lovely overcast that is just right for capturing the beauty around us. My birthday bouquet:

Happy 4th Birthday Quail!

Happy Birthday Quailee! Today is your 4th birthday. We are so blessed to be your family. What a phenomenal little one you are. Your birthday party is coming up next month and we’ll share our gratitude for you soon. But for now I’d like to note some of your favorite things throughout this past year as you have blossomed into such a, well, such a, YOU of a person. It’s funny how very much has changed, and yet stayed the same as your big personality lights our home and hearts. Much love…

The Quail’s Favorite Things:

Favorite TV Show: Barney!

Favorite Game: I Spy, Go Fish

Favorite Toy: baby dolls/kitchen toys/books

Favorite Breakfast: apple/prune smoothie, kefir and a bowl of Tastee-O’s with rasins

Favorite Lunch: pancakes with zzzzzzzzz (that’s her word for whipped cream) and waffles

Favorite Dinner: Veggie Corndogs with ketchup

Favorite Fruit: Bananas & Raisins (I’d be hard pressed to say which is number 1)

Favorite Veggie: none if she can help it, but she willing drinks a green-bean smoothie with dinner each night

Favorite Dessert: yes. Just be sure to offer her one, I will say in a mixed batch of Holiday treats she did go for the brownies routinely, and at one of our favorite bakeries she picks the gingerbread man each and everytime inspite of the soft swirls of frosting on every cookie around them.

Favorite Drink: Kefir

Favorite Color: yellow

Favorite Restaurant: McDonalds- and please be sure to get her the Cheeseburger happy meal, hold the fries. If you don’t she’ll swipe yours.

Favorite Sport: gymnastics and rascalin’ with her Stister

Favorite Toy: her duck-ducks that she sleeps with, pretend food and dishes and baby dolls

Favorite Song: “We Are the Dinasaurs!” We practice for gymnastics warm-up and she loves the stomping!

Favorite Book: yes. Girlfriend loves to look through books and be read to. Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom tops the charts along with the “There was an old lady who….” series.

Best Friend: Mariah & Zuzu & Sugarplum!

Favorite Day of the week: I think every day. Monday is gym class with Dad, OT Ginger and PT with Julie, Tuesday and Thursday she goes to public preschool and sees Ashley and Brandi and is always soooo excited to grab her backpack and head out the door early in the morning with her sister as she chants Renee (her teacher) all the way to the car, Wednesday she sees her buddies Monique and Brandi, Thursday she also sees Jodie and Friday she sees Ashley again. Weekends are homedays with her familial peeps. She goes to private pre-school Monday through Friday and loves that she is there with her sisters. Yes, a lot of those are therapists, but the Quail loves to go to school and is pretty territorial over her personal one-on-one time when her favorite grown-ups come to play.

Favorite Time of the day: The Quail loves bedtime, she grabs her stories and is settled in to sharing a bed with Zuzu these days.

Favorite Outfit: It has to have yellow, pockets and twirl with her be it a dress or skirt!

Favorite place to go: school and home- I’d say there is an equal level of excitement for both arrivals


DSC_44001.a homemade cake

2. a back-up cake

3. little jeweled reminders of my family

4. thoughtful personalized cards

5. the man who always makes those cards

6. a walk in the garden on my birthday

7. a fancy dinner, party of 5

8. a photo session scheduled, make that a story session 🙂

9. a single perfect cuppa

10. a 4  year old taking her rightful place in THE big girl bed

11. said 4 year old repeatedly putting herself to bed since the move

12. said 4 year old getting herself up, undoing her feety jammies and going poopoo all by her ownself

13. a dollhouse organized, if not the real one

14. a 10 month old pulling up and pushing off!

15. a loose tooth

16. party invitations

17. a 4 year old’s party scheduled

18. a dear friend’s visit

19. Wisconsin gifts

20. snow on a midwestern girl’s birthday in the South

21. time to chat

five minute friday: beloved

…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.



In our house, beloved is unspoken. It’s woven in to the daily ordinaries of our family life. It changes as our days and years together pass, but it can always be found with a momentary pause and an open heart and hand.

It’s the yellow bowl set out by the 6 year old for her little sister who so loves the color.

It’s the quiet and unprompted handing over of the shiny red heart balloon that hasn’t flown off yet to the sobbing six-year-old by the four-year-old.

It’s in the rascaling, monstering and tumbling that the Sistred wind in to their afternoons together.

It’s the duck and rabbit lovies brought along when Zuzu goes off to find her monkey one to hold while she watches cartoons.

It’s the Keurig set to brew my cup before Lovey goes to take his own shower.

It’s the bent knee squat I hold while I try to puzzle out the story of her day the Quail is telling with her hands.

It’s the giggle escaping the baby while Lovey bounces her on his lap.

It’s the valentine that says I love my Family that Zuzu made during art center.

It’s the snuggled-up-to-Dad spot chosen on the couch by each of the sisters as they settle in for a story or cartoon.

It’s the soft breathing on either side of me I wake to find all three girls napping in the bed with me.

It’s the warm and running car that I hurry out to, late for the school drop-offs on weekday mornings.

It’s the soft little hands on my face while I sit and wait in the bathroom for the Quail to finish up.

It’s the crawling across a room full of toys when the baby spies her waiting family at pick-up time each afternoon.

It’s the handing over of the remote, turning off of the phone and stepping away from the computer when the children are finally asleep.

It’s unspoken, but oh so very present.


corner view: games

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!

Go Fish!


five minute friday: bare

…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.



I take the teacher note out of the Quail’s backpack and read it to her four year old self: “The Quail was not kind to her friends today. She pulled her friend down and her friend did the same….” The Quail looks down at her shoes while bird-perching her bottom lip out at my words.

“Momma, that girl was mean to me again. She took my prize and hid it and wouldn’t tell me where it was.” Zuzu’s voice wobbles through her tears.

 “Momma I got my sticker and stamp taken away today. But I was only talking quietly. Lucy was talking loud but Mrs. Campbell didn’t hear her. She didn’t get hers taken away. It’s not fair.” Her tears flow hot at the injustice of kindergarten rulings. Her embarrassment at having gotten in trouble worn as plain as the clean back of her hand where the daily stamp is missing.

“Back away from each other and Quail go to time-out. We do not hit or spit.” I raise my voice to be heard over the wild ruckus of the girl’s disagreement and then proceed to wipe the spit off my face that was sent there flying out of the Quail’s frustration. I feel myself pause- I need to be heard, but I need to not yell and frankly- that’s hard some days.

Each day we start again. Each day I promise myself I will not yell. I will listen. I will instruct calmly. I will model what I want to see in them. Each day I feel the frustration mount as we repeat the same lessons over and over. Including the new promise to not yell *this day*.

The basic lessons:

We do not hit, pull or spit.

We ask for help when we need it.

We listen to our teacher, parents and grown-ups in charge.

We do not yell.  

The bare bones they are,  these daily repeated lessons of ours. How to get along with others in this ole’ world. How to be kind.

These basic lessons- they bare repeating each and every day as we wake up and try again.


corner view: potatoes with…

IMG_1925I’ve been trying to use my food blog more of late. I decided to share my favorite potatoes over here. Come visit and try these and a few of my other favorite recipes. My original intent in starting the food blog was to have a format to turn in to a book of our families favorite recipes. Then one day I got a wild hair ( or maybe hare would be more appropriate) and decided to start a food page in face book. That format seemed friendlier to having more discussion and sharing of recipes and all things food. It’s been a nicely growing community and you would be welcome to join our Kitchen Social: Where food friends gather. Hope to see you there!

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, hosted originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!

I am 40.

photo courtesy of Zuzu

photo courtesy of Zuzu

I am 40 today. To be honest, I think I’ve always been a little bit 40, even from way back when a very young me mostly dressed in orthopedic Doc Martins and gray woolen cardigans with Kleenex tucked up the sleeve while sipping tea from the perch of my 1940’s solid maple Ethan Allen swivel rocker listening to Prairie Home Companion. Really the only “funny” feeling I have with this technical change in decade is the discombobulation that is coming with being officially older than the age my mother perpetually resides at in my head (It’s 37 if you are curious). I’m arriving to my 40’s in a pretty happy and contented state of being. One where “I’m good” would be the answer to most questions about the state of my life, and the changes I still feel I’d like to make one day. One where my daily boiled egg, cup of yogurt and coffee leave me feeling perky. Sound in the knowledge that it’s ok that I haven’t slept more than 5 hours at a stretch in over 6 years rather than finding it insomnia inducing.  

Which isn’t to say that I don’t see room for improvement (like maybe increase that hours of sleep a night number for starters). What exactly would I like to change in this coming decade? I’d like to yell less. I want to be more patient. I’d like to read more by myself and with my family. I’d like to increase my technical knowledge of photography. I’d like to declutter my home, my brain and my email folders. I’d like to have a seasonal, familial, daily rhythm to the food my family and I eat and the time we spend together.  I’d like to have a weekly pattern of walking, gardening and yoga. I’d like to completely rid my brain of the guilt that piles up when I don’t meet my own expectations in life so that I can move on more quickly to trying again. I’d like to write a book.   I’d like to make a yearly book of our family’s life and one of our families recipes. I’d like to use more of what I already own more regularly. I’d like to go back to seeing more live music shows and traveling regularly. I want to continue to see the magic in the ordinary of our days.
What have I learned in the last 40 years? Here are the highlights- and yes- I know there are many contradictions in here. A little secret- there are many in life as well:
  1. What other people think of me is none of my business.
  2. It is ok to feel happy, angry and sad. They are my feelings and I don’t need to apologize for them. That said I am responsible to create my own happiness, control my own anger and curb my own crying.
  3. Ruminating over things that aren’t going well only makes ME unhappy.
  4. I prefer to find the good in my day and document it. And I prefer to let the rest go at days end.
  5. I prefer my chocolates mixed, my jewelry sentimental, my coffee strong with milk and my flowers colorful.
  6. When the next day comes, I’ll try again.
  7. Not only do I need the ability to try again, but it’s good to give the people in your life another chance as well. We all make mistakes.
  8. Listen to other people’s opinions about life, but remember they are only opinions.
  9. When someone compliments you, say thank you and smile.
  10. Share what you have.
  11. It is important to say sorry when someone is hurt by you, even if you didn’t mean to.
  12. It is possible to enjoy variety- McDonald’s McRib and High Tea.
  13. Not everyone needs a detailed explanation of what you mean.
  14. Not every situation needs resolution; sometimes the best course of action is to just let it go.
  15. If I didn’t photograph or write about it, it’s hard to remember that it happened for me.
  16. Daily structure, rules and routine help me to look outside of those for inspiration.
  17. When people offer help, if it really would be helpful- say yes and thank you.
  18. I feel better when I eat my fruit and veggies, get lots of sleep, take a walk, go outside, floss my teeth and drink lots of water.
  19. When something is bothering you, try to think about how you could fix it. When something is bothering someone else, just listen.
  20. In parenting my children, I understand and appreciate my own parents so very much.
  21. When I can’t stop ruminating on something, walk on it, photograph it or write about it. There is freedom in taking control of your thoughts so you can move on.
  22. Your experience in life is yours alone.
  23. Don’t try to control other people’s actions. It doesn’t work.
  24. Everything passes in life- the good and the bad.
  25. Expectations should be in flux- lowered when you become overwhelmed and raised when you could do better.
  26. When you can’t change your situation, change your perspective and attitude.
  27. I like to be cooked for, read to and invited over.
  28. In the moment, I am much more capable than I think I am in the preparation.
  29. A daily family meal is defined as us being together for the meal. It doesn’t matter who serves it, what it is or what time of the day it happens.
  30. I enjoy the feeling of a good melt-up (think opposite of a melt-down)
  31. Trying something new is just as great as returning to our old favorites (food, vacations, friends, activities).
  32. I’d rather have an ongoing list of things I want to do than have that list neatly checked off.
  33. When people tell me they see something good in me, I start to see it in myself and I live up to that expectation.
  34. Being able to laugh about the daily awfuls helps me to get over them.
  35. It is so very important to be kind. To others and yourself. Whether deserved or not.
  36. I learn a lot in a quiet moment.
  37. I’m inspired by images, words and food others make.
  38. I’d rather ask a question than assume I’m right or understand all that I need to.
  39. You can learn just as much from those younger than you as those older than you- if you want to.
  40. I am crystal clear how lucky I am to have the family, friends, community, health and teeth that I do.

Bless you all.