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This Moment: A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

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IMG_1340On a recent trip to Pewaukee, WI, James ignited a poultry passion inside himself. He was The Egg Collector. He marched fearlessly into the chicken coop and looked high and low for eggs. He searched every nest box. He made Jessie wait what seemed like hours to check out ever corner and “Wait for dat chicken to way he’s egg.” And, no joke, that chicken did “way he’s egg” while James was waiting. He quickly scooped it up, still warm, and nestled it in the bucket with the others. James did not always wait for chickens to get off of the eggs, either. He stuck his hand under their breast feathers and lifted until he could see if there was an egg there or not. Two more times chickens laid eggs just for James. One laid an egg on the floor, after being chased from her next box. He was very proud to show Grandma Mary all of the eggs he collected. Then, he sadly watched as the bucket of eggs was destroyed by the hungry dogs on the front steps.

I did explain later that all the chickens were girls and that only girl chickens lay eggs. The conversation went something like this:

Me: You know, James, only girl chickens lay eggs.

James: No. Boy chickens lay eggs.

Me: Only girl chickens do.

James: How do you know that?

Me: My dad told me. (First thing that came to mind, where did I learn that anyway?)

James: Well, my dad told me that boy chickens lay eggs (no doubt he did).

Me: Well, they don’t. Boy chickens…. boy chickens… um (What useful non-sexual thing do boy chickens do that would make James proud?)… Boy chickens protect the girl chickens.

James: Yeah. Boy chickens protect the eggs so that they don’t get broken.

Sure. Sure they do – in a roundabout way. I guess…

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Once upon a time on a brisk sunny day in early spring, a mom and three kids were home trying to make it through a crazy day. Mom decided it might be a good idea for the kids to play outside. She invited them to put on their mud boots and go splash in the puddles. The oldest girl asked the mom to go get her sunglasses and the mom obliged. While she was in the house for 3.5 seconds all hell broke loose.

The oldest daughter, who had requested the sunglasses, came crying to the garage door with the wet muddy knees. Turns out she had fallen down in her rush to go find Mom. Through tears she was able to choke out, “And it’s an emergency. James is stuck in the mud!” The mom quickly put on her boots and ran to the side of the house, laughing to indeed find James stuck in the mud.

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Stuck in the mud and very unhappy indeed. He said, “Get me out. I’m stuck. Stop laughing.” As he was rescued from the mud, he remarked that he had made a bad choice to go in that mud. The mom agreed, still laughing as James stood waiting for his boots to be retrieved.

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The kids all peeled off their frozen, wet, muddy clothes and took a nice warm bath.

The End

This Moment: A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

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Natalie: CAN YOU COME UPSTAIRS? JAMES TURNED ON SPIDER-MAN INSTEAD OF PONIES AND IT WAS INAPPROPRIATE. AND WE WATCHED THE WHOLE THING.

Riley and I: laughter

Natalie: And it’s not funny.

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When asked what was inappropriate – swearing or what? She said, it wasn’t what they said, it was what they did. Oh my. Um, what did they do?

Natalie: THEY PUT PONIES UP IN TREES AND PUT SPIDER WEBS ON THEM AND STUFF.

Me: Oh! Whew. Dodged a You Tube bullet there!

Enter James: Mama, you need to find a new show. I only pick in-propriate ones.

Haha. No harm done.

IMG_1359James has a lot to brag about at age 3. He is trying new things, learning everyday, and enjoys impressing people and making them happy. While cleaning his room recently, he had a pair of pajamas on his floor. I asked him to fold them up so we could put them away. He said, “I don’t know how, but I’ll try.” A mental sigh of relief that there wasn’t a refusal or a temper tantrum swept over me as a tidied up his bed. I turned to see how he was doing and he had a pair of perfectly folded pajamas on the floor ready to go. He did a great job, and was so proud.

On Forever Friends

IMG_1347Jessie has been my friend since 2nd grade. We were 8 years old. I moved to Pewaukee and Jessie was in my class. She had brought a flat rock and a round rock to school. It was told that these rocks were used to grind corn into cornmeal for making cornbread by the Native Americans. I immediately wondered what kind of amazing place this girl lived that she could wander around and find Native American artifacts in her yard. I had lived in the middle of the Minneapolis suburbs before moving to Pewaukee – none of my classmates had ever found real artifacts in their yard before. We actually used it to grind stuff (I don’t remember what we were grinding) and then walked over to the Home Ec lab at the high school to bake corn bread. And I’ve always loved corn bread.

I didn’t know that day and never dreamed that we’d be in our thirties with 7 kids between us, married, grown up and living our lives. I never dreamed that our first borns would both be girls, barely more than 2 months apart who enjoy each other’s company more than any other. I never dreamed that our girls would become best friends, separated by more than 200 miles.

A recent visit with 6 of our collective kids revealed (finally) some time for us to sit and chat after all of the kids had gone to bed. We reminisced and laughed and talked. Jessie’s mom joined us and we told our stories and listened to hers. There was even a revelation of a near-miss speeding ticket that had both my head and Jessie’s spinning and gave her mom quite a laugh years later.

I remarked about how close Ivy and Natalie are, despite the miles that separate us. The miles and the many friends and acquaintances both very social girls have made over the years who live geographically a lot closer. Mary said, “Don’t you think that they feel it from you girls? Your friendship?” And, maybe they do. Whatever the reason, I feel blessed to still call Jessie my friend and to watch Natalie play, laugh and pretend until she’s so tired that she is reduced to tears at the kitchen table – because I’ve been there before, too. (Maybe she’ll hold it together longer when she discovers the wonders of caffeine).

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