Balancing, Spinning, Taking Deep Breaths

1776 1776_ () 1776 1776 Weekly column — also, is it just me or do I have this as an ongoing theme in my life?

A few years ago, my mom came over with a gift for my boys – two plastic plates and two long dowels. She had found the plates and sticks at an online magic shop where they were components of a plate-spinning kit (one she hoped she and the boys could master before that year’s family Christmas Eve Talent Show).

Sure enough, after a few days of practice, my boys were pros. They would pop the plate on the top of the stick, give it a few spins and walk around spinning that plate like it was every bit as natural as breathing air or pummeling a brother.

The thing about these plates, though, was that they were designed to spin – the concave shape made perfect-spinning nearly fool proof. That didn’t make the sight any less impressive – a boy wandering around casually balancing a spinning plate is something to see, magic trick or not.

Lately I feel like a plate spinner myself, only instead of those nice, inwardly-bent plates I am trying to finagle my fine wedding china. And instead of just one plate/dowel combo, I am juggling three (or four).

The last few weeks have been nice in that I’m feeling so much better, pregnancy-wise. I have gotten through those initial challenging weeks and it is always a joy to return to good health just when you began to doubt you ever would.

In our home, we’ve gotten back so much of that peace and order that I crave. I know these standards vary from home to home, and I’m happy that I have the energy to get things back up to what works for us around here.

I’ve also had the energy to crack the whip on our chore lists again, and there is something so wonderful (and necessary) about everyone pitching in to help. I have the unfortunate tendency of thinking, when children are slow to pitch in, that I’m better off just doing it myself anyway. Recently someone who loves me very much reminded me this is no way to live.

So feeling better combined with a new and energized chore chart has given me a fresh, joyous outlook on life. Things around here have been feeling peaceful and just all-around great. This despite having sick children home for most of last week, which slowed our pace and even that I saw as a very good thing.

Things were all well and good, that is, until Monday morning. After a relaxing, very fine weekend, we had five minutes until it was time to leave for school. Everyone was back to good health and going back to school, and I was looking forward to a walk with Henry and a much-needed trip to the grocery store.

And then, I went to load someone’s lunch and discovered two days worth of make-up work, forgotten over the weekend. And then another boy remembered it was the day he needed a costume for a school project. And someone else needed something signed, at the last minute, that really warranted further discussion.

I looked up from the newly-formed pile on the dining room table and suddenly my spotless, organized home didn’t shine quite as bright.

“Big deal you got everything in order,” I told myself, “because you really have nothing in order at all!”

Just like that, it all felt like a big, fat illusion. All the things I was working so hard to perfect were nothing in the face of this chaos.

I pushed those thoughts aside, mostly because the sound of my own voice taking people to task made it hard to think. This was not good, not good at all, and it was time to put one foot in front of the other, to form a solution (quick!) and start moving forward.

We made it through that morning and then another similar morning, and the bump in the road gave me a renewed sense of purpose. In this season, certain tasks are going to require more effort than before and, like my revamped chore chart and freshly organized home, it will be worth the blood, sweat and tears. 1776″ ,


Testosterhome, Year Thirteen

1775 1775_ () 1775 1775 On the way home from school, Augie is making a racket in the backseat.

“Charlie needs to cut his nails,” he complains. “He’s just growing them out because he wants to be like Hobbes.”

This last part he says in an emphatically accusatory tone.

“Too true,” says Elliott, staring out the window as we amble down the road.


It is Ethan’s thirteenth birthday today and I’m really just amazed. There are lots of thoughts and feelings and then all of the busyness that goes along with a birthday — grandparents for dinner, a party with family and friends tomorrow.

I want to have a few minutes to think and express how I feel and yet, well, I’m not even exactly sure how I feel. I am excited and melancholy and totally in awe of how time goes by.

Thirteen years ago I was having my first day as a mother. I started to use the word “celebrating,” instead of “having” — and yes it’s a wonderful, joyous day. But I’m not sure if describing myself as “celebrating” would strike the right tone. The day you have your first baby, there is a lot of shell-shocked awe, a disbelief mixed with overwhelming joy, a sense of “yes, this is exactly where I need to be.” It is wonderful but it is mixed with a wide range of other emotions as well.

The oldest child ushers all those feelings into your heart — and it is indeed a very special place in your heart.

How do I feel about my boy turning 13? Lucky and happy and blessed to be on this journey with this boy — and all the boys who followed him.

1775″> .


Quick Mid-week Check In

1774 1774_ () 1774 1774 First off, I want to say thanks to all of you for your kind words concerning my poor parking job (and for sticking up for me. I am not an environmental terrorist, and I might even post a picture of me hugging a tree just to prove it).

I especially like the insight of the commenter who noted that perhaps it was the car to my left that had parked poorly, thus forcing me to park further to the right. Yes! This does in fact make perfect sense. I have no idea if it’s true, but I like it. I like it a lot.

I’m sorry to leave you hanging with the Diet Coke story but I promise within the next day or two I will post. I have had boys home sick these last few days and also trying to get ready for a birthday party while watching to make sure the birthday boy will be healthy enough to celebrate. I think he will.

Also, Happy Veteran’s Day! Both of my grandfather’s were veterans and on this day, I remember them with love. One grandfather died tragically when I was two weeks old, the other when I was four. The older I get, the more I miss all of my grandparents. Today, I’m especially grateful for their service to our country. 1774″>


Guinea Pig

1773 1773_ () 1773 1773 This afternoon I will be participating in a tweeterview, an interview on Twitter!

This is sure to be interesting and an easy read — exchanges on Twitter (as I’m sure you’ve read) are kept to a 140-character limit. My good buddy Danielle, she who is always on the cutting edge of technology, wants to figure all this out and I am her willing test subject.

So check us out today at 2 p.m. You can watch the tweeterview live, or read it all later.

(Not on twitter yet? Get on there! It’s fun! Here’s me! Here’s Danielle! Here’s my brother Josh!) 1773″>