Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Favorite Vase

I have a favorite vase.  It's not an heirloom, not expensive, or particularly artistic.  It's tiny - only about 3 inches tall.  But the reason I love it so much is because it's just perfect for cradling small flowers, for holding blooms plucked from stems by small hands and brought to me as gifts.  This vase has displayed many of these treasures.
Though some of my boys have outgrown this tendency, I still occasionally receive these thoughtful presents, and it always warms my heart.  This latest was collected by Brandt and given to me after a walk in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First Day of School 2013

The night before school starts is always a little emotional for me.  I think ahead of all the challenges and opportunities my kids will face, their triumphs and temptations, and I mourn the passing of lazy, summer days.

 We prepared backpacks, stuffed them with the necessary supplies.  Then we talked together about how great school is, how much they can learn (most of which is accompanied by groans from Caleb and Dallin) and Mitch gave each of them a Father's blessing.  In case you're wondering why none of the boys have shirts on, it's hot here in August, and our kids think this means that summer pajamas consist of a pair of comfy shorts.

On the morning of the first day of school I asked for a photo.  

I know that many kids are excited for school to start.  Can you tell that is not the case in my house? With the exception of Brandt, this photo accurately captures my boys' attitude about the matter.

But Brandt was excited. It was his first day of preschool and, with his new backpack, he was ready to conquer the world.

The other boys weren't quite so sure, but they did finally smile for my pictures.  

Here's Adam on his first day of 1st grade.

Dallin's first day of 3rd grade.

Caleb's first day of 6th grade (his last in elementary school)!

We walked to school together.

After finding some decorative trash along the way, Mitch offered to come into Caleb's classroom and meet all his new friends.

Caleb declined.

Once we dropped off the older boys we walked Brandt to preschool, not far away.

He was excited to see his new teacher.

And despite previous frowns, everyone had a good first day of school and I'd say things are off to a good start.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Kid Quotes

You know I love to catch my kids' quotes.  Here are some recent favorites from over the summer.

A Brave Plan
After hearing horror stories from a scoutmaster about the obstacle course "of death," Dallin turned to his friend Broc and said,
"Okay, let's just try to run the best that we can and try not to get hurt, or die or anything."

Brandt turned to me while playing Angry Birds and said,
"Mom!  I just did something so epic."
"You did?" I replied.
"Yeah. You should have seen it.  It was really epic."

Like a Boss
"One time I was catching grapes [with my mouth] and it was so boss..."

After searching it out on the globe together Dallin looked at me and, as if revealing a great secret, said,
"Mom, did you know when I'm grown up I am going to climb to the top of Mount Everest?"

Like I Didn't Know
Brandt, in exasperation:
"Mom, didn't you know I know everything?

A Disturbing Pattern
Adam asked,
"Why does everyone try to trick Mom?"

Caleb told Dallin,
"I'm so glad I'm not a cowboy when all they ate was bacon and beans."


During a minor argument with Adam, Brandt stated smugly,
"I'm cuter than all of you guys."

Mom's Cookies
Dallin told me,
"Mom, just so you know, it's impossible to get tired of your cookies."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Brandt's Quotes

I wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes from Brandt this week.

"Mom, do you know what?" Brandt asked from his car seat.
"What?" I asked.
"I'm glad we're in this beautiful Earth" he said.
"Yeah" I replied, smiling. "Me too."

* * * 

From his position riding piggy-back up the stairs, Brandt said,
"Mom, your head is so beautiful and hairy."

This made me stop on the stairs and belly laugh!  Then Brandt started laughing, and when I finally made it upstairs we tumbled onto his bed giggling.

* * * 

While coloring quietly at the table with me, 
"Mom, it's so cuddly at home."

This one made me feel like a good mom, which was nice because even though I know I'm a good mom, sometimes I don't feel like enough.

Brandt is at such a fun age.  I love the original way he expresses himself, which sometimes makes me shake my hairy head in delight at a peek at the world from his perspective.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cardboard Boxes and the Magic of Being 3

A couple of weeks ago after a trip to Costco I unloaded my groceries from this box.  I paused, ready to toss it in the recycle bin, then noticed how great a box it was.  Thick, sturdy, and it looked just like a car.  I thought Brandt might agree.

He did.  This box did indeed become a car.  Then a boat.  Then, with a comfy pillow and his sippy cup inside, the perfect place from which to watch cartoons.  I didn't have to paint it, fashion faux-wheels, steering wheel or anchor.  That all happened in Brandt's head.  Because childhood is magical.

Or maybe it's that the world seems magical to a child.

That same day at Costco Brandt saw the front of this box.

Pointing to the image he said, "That makes you disappear?"
If I had said yes, he would have believed it.

On the topic of disappearance, Dallin asked Brandt last night why he said "excuse me" when he burped.
Brandt replied that, "'Excuse me' makes your burp go away."

See?  Magic again.
If you can see past my references to digestive health and bodily functions, I'm sure you will agree.

And if I would allow my older boys to ride down the stairs in the Costco box, they might agree too.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Moments of Beauty

Hustling, my mind full of disquiet from accounting for backpacks, shoes, jackets, instruments and three clean-faced boys (Brandt's face doesn't have to be clean at this stage of my day), I backed out of my garage because, once again, we were too late to walk and I would have to drive the kids down the block and around the corner to the school.

At the end of the driveway I froze with my foot on the brake pedal.
"Woah, look!" someone said.
Two enormous hot air balloons were drifting slowly over our neighborhood.  I mean, they were probably normal size, but they looked enormous because they were so low.  Their colors were bright and the morning sun shone behind them.  I became aware of the music that was playing on the radio (Capriccio: Moonlight Music by Richard Strauss).  I started driving down the street toward the balloons, then stopped at the intersection so we could watch their peaceful movement.  We watched the flame ignite under one balloon, then the other, heating the air to prevent their baskets from scraping the tiles on a nearby roof, so it seemed.  Gradually, they grew farther away, and I remembered that the kids would soon be late for school.  I started driving, the song ended, and the moment was past.


It was bedtime.  All the boys were upstairs brushing teeth, shoving at each other, laughing, taunting.  Except for Brandt, who was sitting quietly on the dark stairs next to the built-in night light.  I sat down next to him and kissed his round cheek.  He smiled, then looked at the tiny moth that was walking on the glass of the light.  The moth stopped.  
"Look."  He said. "It's a bug."
"A moth." I said.  I watched Brandt as he watched it, his face golden in the light, then I pursed my lips and blew gently at the moth.   My breath ruffled its wings, and it walked along the glass to the edge of the frame until it was partially hidden under it.  
Brandt frowned.  "I wanted to touch it," he said.
Its back half was still visible.  "Touch it." I said.  
Brandt raised his finger and softly touched its wings.  He drew his hand back and smiled and the moth squeezed between the glass and the frame to slip inside to the light.  I grabbed Brandt, hugged and kissed him, and took him up the stairs.


I was driving along the back of the grocery store parking lot with my trunk full of fruit and vegetables (and maybe a handful of bulk-bin chocolate-covered raisins) when suddenly a gust of wind picked up  the leaves that were strewn along the ground and lifted them into the air, tossing them across my path.  The sun shone on their lighter under-sides and I felt like I was driving through golden-brown glitter.  Just then a man in a sports car rounded the bend and drove past me.  I looked at his face as he passed.  I was sure he hadn't noticed.


I'm trying to pause when they happen, these moments of beauty in my life.  They're often very simple, or happen at inconvenient times.  But they are there.  I hope you see them in your life too.  Life is beautiful.

Predictable Endings

I was putting things away in the kitchen when Dallin, who is eight years old, paused at the counter.

"Mom, how come you always know how books and movies are going to end?" he asked.

"What do you  mean, Dallin?" I asked.

"Like you always know that the good guy will win."  He talked about the protagonist in the book I'm reading aloud to him at bedtime, and how he had known all along he would overcome his obstacles. "It's always like that," he said.

"Are you saying that because you know that in real life, things don't always work out like we think?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said.  "I wish there were more books and movies like that."

We talked about how most people like to have happy endings, but that there are some books and movies without happy endings (which he plans to read/watch).

"Besides," I said.  "In the great story of humankind, we do know the ending already.  When all of this is over, we know that good will win over evil."

"I know," he said, and then he ran off to play.