Friday, December 31, 2010

Processing Christmas

I'm processing Christmas. I'm trying to tuck away little memories to take with me into the future. I'm brainstorming ways to make next Christmas more beautiful, more relaxing, and more fun.
Finally, here is a picture of Stephen with Maggie Lu dressed as a Merry Christmas doll. She's kissable.
D'arcy and I spent December 23rd working on these. They are a Christmas tradition. There are always homemade cinnamon roles on Christmas morning in the Clark household. It's a tradition I want to pass on. Next year, I'll use smaller pans. Next year, I'll pass some out to our neighbors so I won't be eating these until New Years.
D'arcy was pleased that there was leftover dough. She spent a couple of hours rolling it, cutting it, and making fat dough

This photo will help me remember my 2010 children. Maggie wrapped in a blanket with fluffy hair. Sweet D'arcy always dressed to the nines but with her coat hanging off and a hole in her tights. Julian in cowboy boots and corduroys being silly. And Schroeder with a curious look on his face and his beloved belly peeking out.
This was our first Christmas as a family living in the north. I told Stephen that God must have made December cold enough to have beautiful snow but not cold enough to make us miserable. God is easing us into northern winters. Yes, God makes his weather plans with me in mind.
I love that this photo was taken (with the help of my dad) in only about ten minutes. Fast enough that no children had a break down. We were already dressed for Christmas Eve. The snow was already beautiful. All we had to do was go outside, stand in a line, hold hands, and smile. Family portraits can be simple, right?
I dislike being attached to my camera when their is fun to be had so I set my camera on its tripod in the corner to get some glimpses of Christmas Eve morning spent with my side of the family at my parent's house.
Here is Schroeder curiously approaching the camera in his ultra adorable Candy Cane leggings. Julian wore these his second Christmas, too. They'll stay in storage just in case we have a third little boy in a couple of years.
This was my kids first round of opening presents. I was a bit overwhelmed by round three. I'm thankful for generous people who love my kids. I'm thankful for grateful children. I was hoping that my kids would stack their presents in a corner and resolve to only take one out of its package per day, play with it in an orderly fashion, and then locate an appropriate place for it in their room. I'll keep you guessing about whether that actually happened.

This side of the family will be growing this year. My brother is certain to find out very soon which little Ethiopian baby will be his son. My sister is eleven weeks pregnant with twins. I'm keenly aware of what is missing from this photo, though. Last year, we thought that Nathaniel, Kade, and Roanin would be sharing this moment with us, and, sadly, they are not.

I love our new stockings. They are actually ladies stockings bought from etsy. We ironed the kids initials onto them. I've never taken so much joy in purchasing just the right gifts for my kids. That big square lump in Schroeder's stocking is playdough which he immediately recognized. The squishy lump at the bottom of Julian's was a t-shirt with Darth Vedar on it. D'arcy's is stretched in the middle by two Ramona books. Underneath those was her very own "lipstick". Maggie is happily sucking the pacifiers she found in hers.
I'm excited for next year when these stockings will be hung in our new house beside a fresh Christmas tree.
Christmas Day was spent with these beautiful people. D'arcy played Silent Night for us on the piano. I can't say I got to enjoy it because I was too focused on getting this picture. We needed to get a family photo, though. This is the first with Katie in it and she's been around for almost two years.
Christmas is about balance. Preparing and relaxing. Celebrating Jesus and enjoying gifts and family. Giving lavishly and celebrating simply. It's a fun challenge to embrace this balance.

Friday, December 17, 2010

2010 Slideshow

Here are my favorite 100 photos of my family from 2010. A couple of thoughts before the slideshow runs. First, I'm so proud of myself for following some sort of system with photos. I dump them into an editing folder and flag my favorites. I usually edit them right away to put up on the blog. This week, all I had to do was go through my editing folders, grab all my favorites, and upload them to zenfolio. Zenfolio is fantastic because I can always download them back onto my computer with just a quick button click. Now when someone asks me what I would grab in the event of a house fire, I no longer need to say my computer. Let the computer burn!
Secondly, I noticed a couple of holes in my album. For example, there is not one picture of Stephen with Maggie Lu. Maggie, you do have a Daddy. Also, we don't have any photos of friends or extended family (even the fam we've been living with for the past six months). Hopefully, I'll correct that this holiday season. Amazingly, I'm not pregnant this Christmas and might have some energy to take some pictures.
Lastly, the song on the slideshow comes from another "For the Kids" CD. The last time I remember listening to this CD was the spring my parents came to Texas after Julian was born. Yep, that was almost four years ago. Then it disappeared. I searched for it in the house and the car to no avail. This Christmas, some of my Sufjan Christmas CDs were missing. I decided to look behind this drawer in the front dash of my car. Maybe they slid back there, I thought. I did my best to stick my arm behind the back of the drawer and pulled this CD out. It's been sitting back there for four years. Instead of being annoyed, I was hopeful. Maybe all of the things I've lost in the last four years have really just been eaten by my van's front dash, Stephen's set of keys, my ipod, my second glove.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Snow: God's gift to Northerners.

I'm no longer depriving my children of snow. After about half an hour Schroeder fell down, started crying, and wouldn't get back up. He was done. Julian came in saying he was never going to play in it again because it made him wet, but was back outside three hours later. D'arcy was the only one wholeheartedly committed to enjoying the snow for all it is, wet, cold, and beautiful.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ants on a log

Enjoying an older child is different than enjoying a baby or toddler. I don't marvel at every new word D'arcy learns or yearn to kiss her little chubby cheeks. Instead, I'm enjoying her more and more the way I enjoy a friend. I like to talk to her and enjoy spending time with her. I'm appreciating her not for her cute baby talk, but for the sweet, thoughtful person that she is.
On Sunday, our family ventured to Target and she asked to get her friend, Olivia, a card. I found the 99 cent section and helped her pick out a card that said "Happy Friend's Day". She came home and spent time putting a nice note inside the card and gave it to Olivia on the bus Monday morning.
Olivia isn't the only one receiving notes. I got one on my pillow the other day that said, "Since the day I was born, I have loved you." Stephen got one that read, "Daddy I love you because you make me laugh."
She brings some notes in envelopes to me periodically and asks me to mail them. I'm usually stampless and so those may not find there way to their intended audience.
D'arcy loves celery. I figured that out this weekend when we went to a wedding shower and she put 10 sticks on her plate. Anyway, tonight, Grammy suggested they make Ants on a log with some leftover celery from Thanksgiving. Unfortuately, we didn't have any ants (raisins). Thankfully, we did have some Trix cereal that D'arcy thought would be a great replacement. She's going to be a chef someday.
Daddy and Poppy were both working this evening and weren't able to eat dinner with us. This is what my thoughtful first born did so they could be included in the fun. I'm glad to be her mommy.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Faith Comes Softly: Signing Our Way Through the Old Testament

I think it's important that my children know the Story of God. I want them to know how God has interacted with humanity from the beginning. Veggietales and Sunday School have helped them learn portions of the story; Daniel in the lion's den, David and Goliath, Jonah and the Whale, etc. These stories are smaller portions of a bigger story, the story of Isreal. Israel was the people group that God choose to make Himself famous. God was faithful, Israel... not so much. I wanted my kids to understand how these smaller stories wove into the history of Israel.
Shortly after Stephen and I were married, my sister and I went to a seminar called Walking thru the Old Testament. In a day, we learned signs that told the story of the Old Testament. I kept my little workbook for the day when I could share these signs with my children. I changed them up a bit, and even created a curriculum pairing the signs with stories from this Children's Bible which I highly recommend especially for children four and older. I used the curriculum at my church in San Antonio, and my friend Joy helped me put the signs on video. FYI, Joy Crampton rocks and I miss seeing her.
So we've been working on these signs since May. My kids are thrilled about what's next in the story...Christ. We've finished just in time to begin Advent.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Recommendation: Toot & Puddle

I rescued this book from my mother's christmas garage sale. She was going to sell this little treasure for $.50! Every year, I set a box out full of Christmas books, DVDs, and Advent supplies. The kids can pull out items throughout the month as they prepare to celebrate. All our belongings are still packed away in my in-laws garage so this may not happen this year. Thanks to my mom's garage sale, though, the kids will have one fantastic Christmas book to look at, Toot & Puddle's I'll be home for Christmas.
Toot & Puddle are a sweet little pair of pigs that live in some hippie dippie place called Woodcock Pocket. Their home is quaint and cozy and full of love. I love their character and relationship, but what I absolutely LOVE about this book is the pictures. I love them because they are LOVELY. Holly Hobbie, the auther and illustrator, is also an artist. If her paintings look anything like her picture books, I would totally hang them on my walls.
Is it possible to love the books you read to your kids? It is.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ideas for Anyday

In 2009, I did a series called "Tips for Tuesdays". Well, it's not a Tuesday and I don't want to come across that I have this mommy thing down to a science. I don't. I do have some good ideas, though, that might help another mommy out there. I was in our church's nursery tonight. Schroeder bumped his head. I did what I always do when my kids get hurt. I said, "Do you need a hug?" Schroeder was already at my legs ready for one. We gave each other a squeeze and he left to play some more.

My friend, Abby, and I began to discuss what one says when they have a child who has tripped, bumped their head, been bitten by their sibling, etc, etc, etc. I greatly dislike the "Oh, your fine." Sure, maybe in the long run they'll be fine, but at that moment maybe their head is really hurting or maybe they just feel overwhelmed with life. Being a kid can be hard.

I think parents say the "Oh, you're fine" because they don't want to encourage being a wimp or being over dramatic. I get that, but it's ok to want to be comforted sometimes.

The "Are you ok?" response isn't horrible, but I find that my kids will say that they are fine while still having tears in their eyes. I guess they have some perspective that, no, they don't need to go to the hospital so, yes, they are "fine". That doesn't mean, though, that the bump or bite didn't hurt.

My response is always, "Do you need a hug?" I think this is the response that I look for from Stephen when I'm having a hard moment. I need just a brief moment of comfort. A hug conveys that the person understands life is tough and that they love you. Being understood and loved helps you to move on with life. Nothing drys tears up on a child faster than a hug. The child no longer needs to be dramatic because whether it was big or small they can still get a hug.

Many times I follow the hug up with, "I'm sorry that happened to you." Because I am.

I make my kids practice this on each other, and I hope that one day, I will see them doing this with their friends, their spouses, and their own kids.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Grandpa, age 87

A couple of weekends ago, we celebrated my grandpa's 87th birthday. A lot has happened in 87 years. He's fathered ten children (a daughter from his first wife whose name escapes me at the moment, Jean, Jane, Tom, Joan, Tim, Craig, Kent, Brian, and Lynn). He's been married three times. One marriage ended in divorce after the war. He's survived the other two women. My grandmother, Josephine, died of breast cancer in 1989. Mary, the woman he met at the hospital when they were both caring for dying spouses, died in 1997 from a stroke. He's had a girlfriend for the past seven years or so but they see less and less of each other as they get older.

I'm one of I don't know how many grandkids; Nick, Jenny, Andrea, Bud, Jacinda, Rod, Valerie, Ryan, Christi, Amanda, two step grandsons I don't know the names of, Jason, Jessica, Connie, Melissa (me!), Kyle, Matt, AJ, Kristy, Stephanie, Briana, Zach, Mark, Tyler, Alyssa, and Jillian. Ok, now I know, 27! We range in ages from 40 to 10. He also has a plethora of great-grand kids, somewhere around 21.

During World War II, he spent time as a prisoner of war in Germany. This is better than dying in the Normandy invasion which I've been told was the fate of most of his section. He got sick right before their departure and was delayed. He only has two teeth now. They began falling out after his return from Europe and he believes that is linked to something he was exposed to during his time there.

He's lived in the same house for the last thirty years or so; my whole life. When I was little I remember the inside being brown, a garden in the back, and lots and lots of people filling it up playing cards. He and his third wife renovated it some in the 90's which means it's country blue and white inside. He now lives there with his precious dachshund who he spoils sometimes to the dog's detriment.

He's of the opinion that he has lots of money. He doesn't spend it very often not even on medication. He has not one prescription. This is amazing to me since I know how many pills Stephen's grandma and even Stephen's parents already take. That makes sense since he refuses to see a doctor. He's generous with his kids and grandkids, though. Every year at Christmas, all the kids under the age of eighteen line up to get there $20 wad of cash (that's why I keep having kids :P).

The problem is that he doesn't always recognize who he's handing this money to anymore. My nephew, Gabe, went up to him at the park and he asks, "Who's this?". My sister tells him that Gabe is her son. "Who are you?", he replies.
"I'm Connie."
"Oh, I thought he belonged to Connie."

Since he lives alone, we aren't always sure what he eats. He decided he needed to cut down on sweets so he only eats a few cookies for breakfast now. We know he spends a lot of time watching TV. He started watching some program about Cops who bait criminals. He finds this despicable and has suggested that these cops and anyone who defends them might not be going to heaven. He's also just generally weary of police officers due to this show. My cousin, AJ, just graduated from the police academy so this opinion has come at just the perfect time.

Other funny stories have emerged in recent years, like the time he hid his keys so a burglar wouldn't find them and then forgot where he left them. Or the time he stuck his hand which I think had a cut on it down in the tank of pariahs he kept in his house. Or the time he put a board in between the kitchen and back room as a booby trap for invaders which he forgot was there and tripped over scraping his legs up.

It's sad to see a once well minded man get so confused. He got lost recently in the town he's lived in for thirty-five years, and I guess he couldn't remember anyone's phone number who would know how to help him out. This is what it is to age, I suppose. He asked my cousin, Zach, at the park this question. "I wonder if you took everyone out of the park who was younger than me, how many people would be left."
Zach responded, "I hope not many, Grandpa."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Common Conversations

Conversation #1
We went to a new dentist this week. It's downtown because we will hopefully be downtown dwellers in a few months. The hygienist was super sweet and talkative. Maggie Lu was with us, sleeping peacefully in her car seat. They hygienist asked if she was our first. It came out that we have four. Yes, four. Then she asked the question I sort of dread. What are their names? I did what I normally do which is list the names we call them by; D'arcy, Julian, Schroeder, & Maggie Lu.
"Yes, Schroeder."
"Where did you come up with that?"
I'm pleased when people are reminded of Charlie Brown because Charlie Brown makes everyone smile. Not everyone gets it right, though.
"What's his middle name?"
This question is asked, I think, because they are hoping this child will someday have the choice to choose his middle, less ridiculous name.
"Well, Schroeder is his middle name."
"Oh, what's his first name?"
"Yes, it's a family name."
I slip that in there as an explanation hoping it will redeem me.
"Why does he go by his middle name?"
"All of our kids do."
"Oh, well what are there first names."
The hygienist leaves the room and goes into the room next to me where my husband is at. I can hear him having a similar conversation with his hygienist except he is laying down there full names from the beginning. Crap. I know that not only is this conversation going to continue, but I also know Stephen is going slap my wrist for not proclaiming my kids names from the mountain tops. My hygienist returns.
"You were holding out on me. Your husband says they have three names!"
It's not that I don't love my kids names. I do. I hope they will grow to love them as well. It's just that explaining their names is long and complicated. I feel like it draws unnecessary attention to me. I didn't name them this way to stand out as cool or weird. These names have meaning to us. Plus, sometimes I just want to sit in a dentist chair and watch Ellen on the big screen on the ceiling.
I also must confess that having a child named Schroeder is keeping me humble. Whenever I hear a ridiculous name. After my eyes roll, my brain informs me that I have a child named Schroeder, Duren Schroeder Vonnegut to be precise, and my new response becomes "to each his own".

Conversation #2
I'm out and about with my two boys and newest little girl. D'arcy is in school.
"Oh, that's so great that you finally had a little girl!"
"Yep, it's fantastic!"
I've realized that I need to just be as happy as they are that I FINALLY had the privilege of dressing a baby in pink instead of fessing up that I already have a daughter in first grade. If D'arcy's existence comes out, their eyes pop out of their head and this question ensues.
"Are you done, then?"
"Ummmm, we've always said five. (This eludes that we may change our mind to make me seem less insane.) But I need a break from pregnancy so we'll be waiting several years. Then we'll probably do something permanent."
These last two sentences are totally PR control as I want them to know that I do know what birth control is and am not planning to become Michelle Duggar. No, I do not want to be compared to a woman who nurses her baby when on a parade float. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kids say the darndest things...

My kids haven't spent a lot of time wearing socks, but now that we live up north I'm trying to get them familiar with them. Julian was wearing a pair the day we went to the park for my Grandpa's birthday. After a long day of playing, we got in the car and he pulled his shoes off. He got a surprised look on his face, and said, "Mom, look! Someone left a message on my sock."
The message was HANES.

Julian enjoys playing on the computer. Here's a conversation that happens frequently in our house.
Julian, "Mom, how do you spell pbskids?"
Me, "P"
Julian, "P?"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jack of all trades

We recently joined a small little church here in Indy called Indy Alliance. It's a hip little church with no more than fifty people all between the ages of 20 and 40. We sing old hymns by candlelight and get upset when Christianity is too closely tied to right wing politics. Oh, and everyone gardens! Really, literally, everyone.
I love how quaint gardening is, and I love the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables. We had dinner over at one couple's home and she made almost everything with ingredients from her garden. Delicious! So, of course, I begin dreaming of my own little garden. Nothing too big. Just some tomato plants maybe some potatoes maybe a cucumber or two.
Then the picture of our tomato plant from this year creeps into my head. We were given a little sapling from my friend Carrie. She had too many. I bought a topsy turvy tomato hanger and some soil. I planted it, and then realized there was no where to hang it. It got thrown onto the porch table until my father-in-law came home with a shepherd's hook. The hook fell over after we would water because the plant weighed too much. The plant was again thrown on the table. Mother Nature watered it for a month, and the plant did its best to grow towards the sun. Then August came and even Mother nature neglected it.
Here is my point. I have four kids. I have a photography business. I'm taking time to write this blog. I have no more time left. Becoming the Jack of all trades isn't feasible. I'm not going to be able to grow and can my own food, sew funky clothes, be the coupon queen, cook awesome meals, knit sweaters, take awesome photos, make my own laundry soap, make my own baby food, cloth diaper my children, write witty blog posts, lead children in fun learning activities, bake, etc, etc, etc. Most of these things I have tried in the past. The cloth diapering lasted as long as we could afford the service that picked up the dirty diapers and dropped clean ones off. The crocheting lasted about three rows into a scarf for Julian. The tomato plant attempt above was my third try at growing tomatoes.
I do take good photos, though. I do write witty blog posts. I do make awesome meals. Well, according to my daughter, I'm a food genius. This blog is to remind me to leave the gardening to all those hipsters at my church.

The Social Network

Earlier this month, Stephen won some tickets to see Social Network, a movie about Facebook. Besides having a fabulous time with our friends, the Dilleys, I was prompted by this movie to blog about Facebook. Have you ever heard anyone say that Facebook was a waste of time? or that they were taking a break from Facebook in order to focus on more important things? I've heard quite a few people say this, and every time, I can feel myself become defensive. Because I like Facebook!

I joined just after I quit American Funds and began staying home with my two kiddos, and, truthfully, it's been a big part of helping me stay sane and happy as a stay at home mom. Stephen and I have only one car. I take him to work twice a week. In those two days I do all my schleping; grocery shopping, piano lessons, MOPS, library, playgroup, miscellaneous errands, doctor's appointments, etc. In the three days I don't have the car, I am a bonafide STAY AT HOME mom. That means that I don't see or interact with any other adults from 9am-6pm (not wholeheartedly true right now while I'm living with the in-laws). Except.... on Facebook.

Now some of you might say that you don't have time to interact with others. You have too much to do managing a house and parenting children. That's true, there is always work to be done. My house could always use some cleaning (my car, too!). My kids are usually in need of my attention.
Reading another blog today, I found the perfect way to describe what Facebook provides for me. It is my water cooler. Even full time working men and women get a little bit of time to interact with others during the day. Facebook is my way. So here's to technology and to 20 somethings changing the world and to mother's of small children staying sane.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Staycation 2010

Our vacation to the beach didn't happen this year. We stayed at home waiting for Maggie to arrive. In an attempt to fill our need for a vacation, I sort of planned a "staycation". The idea was on my mind for awhile, the planning kind of happened last minute, but what's new there. I thought we would head down to Bloomington to see Alex & Meagan. Stephen's mom was given a free night at a hotel in Seymour that she blessed us with. The hotel was new, had a breakfast bar and an indoor pool. Julian told us, literally twenty times, that he didn't want to leave "this place" and wanted to stay "six nights". This staycation ultimately included swimming, mask making, pizza eating, street walking, uphill hiking, bed jumping, and a little bit of kite flying. It was pleasant.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Julian is four!

Julian is four. He loves super heroes, his baby sister Maggie Lu, LEGOS, STAR WARS, tortellini, playing with his cousin Gabe, jumping on people and jumping off tall objects, making Schroeder laugh, reading any book having to do with Halloween, going to Grandma & Grandpa's house, Mario Party, snuggling with Mommy, eating toast for breakfast, playing outside with D'arcy, stealing sips of mommy's mountain dew, Woody & Buzz, playing on daddy's iTouch, and Cowboy Boots.
He is slowly embracing the idea of learning his letters so that he can one day read those STAR WARS books that look so exciting at the bookstore. He attends MOPS with me twice a month and Mom's Day Out once a week. I'm told that he is a good talker for his age. You might think he's never met a stranger until the moment when he gets shy, lowers his face, and hides behind me which happens on occasion. I love when he comes into my room, finds Maggie, touches her face and says "I love you. You are so precious." This happens at least twice a day.
In the past year he learned to ride a bike, and amazingly stopped sucking his thumb...cold turkey. He's a big boy, but sometimes we forget that he's not quite as big as D'arcy.
I'm so thankful for the four years of hugging and loving him, and look forward to watching him grow and learn and turn five!

When in doubt, stick your tongue out!


Monday, October 11, 2010

How to take a family portrait with four kids six and under.

Here's my recipe for taking a family portrait with four kids six and under. Go to your quaint local ice cream shop. Dress everyone in their favorite graphic tee. Set up the tripod and ask your brother-in-law (thanks Jason) to press the shutter button. Give everyone (not the six week old) an ice cream cone. Enjoy your cones.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I was telling Stephen the other night that at that moment I felt most connected and attached to Schroeder. It's easy to connect with Schroeder because he's just down right cute 95% of the time. He is currently in my favorite stage. The "I talk but I don't talk back" stage. My interactions with him mostly consist of cuddling him when he's taken a tumble and revelling in his newest life discovery.

Maggie is mostly a lump. We are still in bonding mode, still getting to know each other. I take care of her basic physical needs, marvel at her smallness, and try to get glimpses of her emerging personality.

D'arcy and Julian aren't babies anymore. They require two moms. The mom who instructs and inevitably disciplines and the mom who steals a moment away from molding them and just enjoys them for who and what they are at that moment, silly, innocent, dirty, etc. I have to be the molding mom and the loving mom. And while I understand the importance of both, I find it difficult to be both.

What's my worst flaw as a mother? Well, I never seem to have wipes on hand. Ask anyone who has offered to change my child's diaper (mom, sister, etc.) Even if I buy them they seem to be in the other room, out in the car instead of in my purse, or just dry as a bone. I would be feeling pretty good about myself if this was my worst flaw.

Nope, In my assessment, my worst flaw is that I yell. Yelling can be effective when your kid is heading down the driveway towards the street, you know, when you need to get their attention quickly. I yell at those times, but I also yell when a quiet, stern bit of instruction would be more effective. It's not only that I yell but also what I yell. One of the things I've found myself saying in recent years is "What part of _______________ (fill in previous instructions) did you not understand?" When I look at my kids faces afterwards, I've thought, well I might as well just have told them they're stupid.

The other night while eating dinner, my daughter came over to me and said, "Mommy". tap tap tap "Mommy". tap tap tap "Mommy". tap tap tap....
All while I was trying to listen to the conversation that Stephen was having with his parents, Julian was babbling about something, and Schroeder was whining about eating his dinner. After the forth "Mommy", I turned to her and yelled, "STOP SAYING MY NAME!"

Everyone in the room fell silent. I expect to get some sympathy from all of you moms out there who have heard that word one too many times in a given day. D'arcy fell quiet, and I reminded her that she should say my name once and then wait patiently for me to turn my attention to her. We've been over this. She apologized.

Later that night, I felt sad that I had spoken to her that way. I went upstairs to take one last look at my sleeping kids. It's easy to enjoy them when they are asleep. Their angelic side is so easily found when they are lying still. I gave D'arcy's still chubby cheeks a kiss.

When she came into our room the next morning, the first thing I did was apologize. D'arcy's beauty is so apparent every time I apologize because she is so quick to forgive. She gave me a hug, and I realized how easy it was to connect to my kids. It simply takes an I love you or an I'm sorry.

So that's my game plan for being a mommy of four. I'm going to try to keep track of four "molding agendas", try to execute them with a minimal amount of yelling, try to steal a moment to let them know I enjoy them (messy face and all), and throw in an I'm sorry when I inevitably screw up. Check in with me in twenty years to see how it works out.

Friday, September 24, 2010


One of my desires is to use my experiences as a mom to encourage and help other moms. There are some experiences I have never had, though. I've never had to put my desire for children on hold waiting for the right situation. I've never struggled to conceive. I've never struggled to carry a child to term. I've never lost a child.
I was telling Stephen the other day that so many of my closest friends are experiencing these things. All I want to do is help them, but I have no words, no advice to bring. But maybe that's best. Maybe what they need is a friend who has nothing to say and just listens. Shutting up isn't one of my strong suits, but I'm working on it.