Category Archives: kids

Apple Picking Hates Us

_DSC0044-2We did it again.

We showed up to the orchard in hopes of picking apples in peace, away from the weekend crowds. And guess what?

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_DSC0056-2This is a picture of a lonely boy, contemplating trees stripped bare of fruit.

The whole dang town had picked the orchard clean the weekend before, and the season was over.

Like my life.

Over.

I’m such a horrible mom.

I can’t even take my kids apple picking. But there’s one thing I can do. I can take pictures. Want to see?

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_DSC0019-3Farmer John.

We had the place to ourselves, so why not lean against the tractor they had used to cultivate the orchard that betrayed us?

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_DSC0062-3Why not stage a shot at the diesel pump that fills the tractor that they had used to take our apples?

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_DSC0010-4This is waaay better than Honey Crisp, Red Delicious, and Macintosh, isn’t it Tristan?

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_DSC0011-3We left empty handed.  The apple guy told us that 11,000 people had visited the orchard this season. Eleven thousand?!  Egads. I’m kind of glad we missed out on that after all.

We ended up with these pics, and a couple of bags from the store.

I could have had pies, but now I’ve got pies and pictures.

Yum.

What About the Prom?

DSC_0119-Edit-1It was magical, shimmering like soap bubbles that float up toward the sun.

Do you want to know a secret?

I’m not just talking about the Prom itself. I’m talking about the fact that this picture originally had two people in it. One was closing their eyes, so we just cut them out.

We’re merciless like that.

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DSC_0133-2There he is!  With his eyes open. Two little loves of my life.

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DSC_0162-3This was right before I said, “Look at each other.”

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DSC_0164-6And he did this. Clearly, he is thinking, “Look at my sister? Why?”

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IMG_5291-1Dress shopping was a breeze. She found it on her own, in a tiny little shop that sold designer dresses that had already been owned by somebody rich enough to buy a designer dress.

It’s like it was made for her. Elegant, modest, a little different, classy, and one-of-a-kind. I love that she chose this dress.

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IMG_5379-2My dress is second-hand, and nobody knows.

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IMG_5391-5I think all girls in prom dresses are really just little girls playing dress-up if you can get past their facade.

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IMG_5393-6“Don’t grow up, Kiki,” is what I want to say. But it’s like asking light not to shine.

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IMG_5410-7It’s out there, the big wide world. She’s in the cast. The curtain has risen, the audience has hushed expectantly….

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IMG_5482-1And it’s my turn to sit and watch the role of a lifetime.

The Dairy Queen Faces

DSC_0480-1It was hot, and Dairy Queen was calling.  My old self would have grabbed the camera like a pair of shoes. Capturing daily moments like a walk to Dairy Queen used to be what I did.  I love the story of Life.

But about 6 months ago I abruptly stopped taking pictures.  I lacked the want-to; some of you know what I’m talking about. When I started wanting to again, I discovered a tragic result: Tristan had forgotten how to look at me.

Was it the passage of time, or the fact that he had turned 13?

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DSC_0489-2Sawyer still knows how to look at me. There is a camera in front of my face, but he’s looking at ME.

(Don’t despair, his haircut is scheduled for Thursday.)

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DSC_0501-3I notice when I point a camera at any given person, that they change from their uninhibited selves,  to a version of themselves. Only a certain breed of person can continue to look at YOU and not pose for the camera. I can’t even do it.

I think it has to do with being comfortable.

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DSC_0502-4This is comfortable.

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DSC_0504-5 This is not.

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DSC_0511-7This is comfortable.

.DSC_0512-8This is comfortable.

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DSC_0510-6This is, “Mom, can I please just drink my slushie in peace?”

 

One thing remains clear. Whether they let me into their soul or not, I’ll still point and shoot if they’ll let me.

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DSC_0506-1How else can documentation of blue-stained lips from a blueberry slushie be frozen in time?

It sounds like a description from a bad novel..”His eyes were like two pools of blueberry slushie…”

 

 

 

They’ve Grown a Little

DSC_0225-1 It’s been awhile since you’ve seen the kids, can you tell they’ve grown?

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DSC_0439-15They still look out of their eyes at me the same way. I hope that never changes. The rest of their anatomy can just grow up around the portals to their soul and let their eyes remain unchanged. Unjaded. Unblemished. Believing.

I figure I still got a few years left.

A few other things are still the same around here.

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DSC_0267-3Daisy. She’s still fat.

Me. I’m still fat. I don’t have a picture but we look quite a bit alike.

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DSC_0434-13Other than that we’ve just been sitting around doing nothing.

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DSC_0214-1Oh, except for a graduation.

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DSC_0162-4Oh yes, and a Prom.

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IMG_5410-4The rest of the days were spent looking out at the horizon wondering what life was bringing next.

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DSC_0462-16Today it brought a trip to the waterfall park.

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DSC_0354-4Remember the waterfall park?

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DSC_0263-2You’ve got to leave your shoes behind.

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DSC_0382-6You know it’s going to be a great place if you have to leave your shoes behind.

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DSC_0370-5The water wasn’t very deep, but it was deep enough to do this.

Wading and splashing is all you really need to do if there is a promise of peril on the horizon. Peril is just to the left there, out of frame. It’s a roaring 50 foot drop over the falls.

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DSC_0385-7He’s looking at it now. The place The Mom will not let him go.

Would they stay alive without us?  I’m thinking it would be Lord of the Flies and broken eyeglasses all over again.

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DSC_0390-10Tristan has found a way.  “No, you can’t go into the middle, the current is too strong,” I said. Would you believe he’s in ankle deep water here?

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DSC_0389-9It’s an optical illusion.

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DSC_0388-8Trust a boy to find a way to vicariously participate in shoulder deep water.

But where’s the girl?  The girl loves this place.  Do you know what she’d be doing if she were here?

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DSC_0175-1Catching frogs.

Her brother saw this picture and pronounced her eyes the same color as a toad.

Alas, she is not here. She is in California and my heart is with her.

Maybe that’s why the dishes aren’t getting done , my heart just isn’t in it.

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DSC_0404-12McKenna, come home soon, we all miss you. Daisy is getting fatter by the day.

The dishes are piling up.

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DSC_0471-7And we’re all missing the girl with the toad-colored eyes.

Could He Do It?

DSC_0654-56It all started with 10 sandwiches.

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DSC_0738-3Well actually, it all started with 9 pounds, 11 ounces, exactly 16 years ago. The doctor told me we needed to induce labor two weeks early so the baby wouldn’t be over 12 pounds.

I agreed.

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DSC_0758-5Here we are today, looking at his birthday wish for lunch. He asked for 12 Reubens, but could he eat them all?

They were taking bets in a back room, a pool was started at work.

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DSC_0755-4I had my doubts and didn’t start making the rest of the family’s sandwiches until we saw how it all panned out.

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DSC_0759-6It panned out at five.  He is sated.

That worked out perfectly since the rest of us each needed one.  But then somebody took two and somebody else was late to the table and didn’t get one at all, and I was interrupted with a last minute emergency and the one I started on got thrown away. So I ended up frying up 3 more. You know how it goes.

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DSC_0731-2Maybe the Baked Apple French Toast and homemade Eggnog he had for breakfast had something to do with it.

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DSC_0729-1Maybe the fact that his present was almost taller than his brother had something to do with it too.

What age do you stop getting excited over big presents? Are you leery of them as an adult? What could I possibly want that’s that big?

Greyson didn’t seem to mind either way. He got some nice additions to his growing cinematographer’s stash.

And we all got left-over sandwiches so everyone was happy.

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But I’m happiest of all that when I look at my strapping young man, my mother’s heart can still see this face.

 

Wicked Stepmother Winter

DSC_0486-1It’s cold here. Why am I surprised? It’s not  just that we had a cold day, it’s that winter shook hands on it. The deal is sealed. No warm days from here on out.  This is Canada cold.

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DSC_0485-25 Cold in the states is a little more forgiving.  Like Cinderalla scrubbing floors, you know there’s a better end to the story.

Meanwhile, I am stuck with the wicked stepmother.

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DSC_0496-27That’s why I relished our last trip back home to America. The spring birds had flown south, but this was our south.

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DSC_0468-21If you look closely you can see the rarest of winter birds here to make their home. It looks like one needs a little help.

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DSC_0477-23You can do it, little bird!

Doesn’t this bring back memories? Why did we stop climbing trees?  It seems like I went from–just being big enough to reach the first branch– right to not caring that I could.  I care now, but I don’t have enough get-up in my go.  That’s sad.

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DSC_0475-22Sawyer, never stop climbing trees.

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DSC_0649-55Now,  this is something I can do.

Take pictures of people throwing a football.

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DSC_0580-50And cheer them on, “throw it, throw it!”

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DSC_0577-48Go Daddy, go!

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DSC_0578-49 Tristan will throw it…

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DSC_0629-51And take an intermission. It reminds me of my cheerleading days.  Handstands are a habit with Tristan. He also has another habit-

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DSC_0641-53Tristan of the perpetually chapped lips. Tristan, stop picking your lips!

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DSC_0642-54It’s okay, we can forgive him because of the golden glow about his head.

Besides, who can resist those dimples. One of his friends got confused and called them dumplings. Now it’s a running joke in our family; Tristan has dumplings on his cheeks. Fitting.

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DSC_0680-57It was time to go home way too soon. We left fairy land behind and returned to scrubbing floors in the stepmother’s castle.

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evil catComplete with the evil cat, but that’s another post.

Fail Mom

20130717-DSC_0065The easiest way to explain to my youngest kids that I have no energy left is to liken it to a video game.

“You know how your guy loses hearts and you can’t play anymore until you get some hearts back?  That’s how I feel when Lyme Disease makes all of my energy go away.”

When they ask for something too demanding for my health I find myself saying, “all my hearts are gone” and they really do get it.

The other day I had just shut the door when I heard a gentle knock.  It seemed like every time I had shut the door in the past few weeks, even if it was just for a few seconds, a knock would immediately follow. It had gotten to be a joke:

shut.  knock-knock

shut.  knock-knock

shut.  knock-knock
“You’ve got to be kidding!” I called out, ” Whoever’s knocking better have a really good reason!”

Silence, followed by the same gentle knock.

I hurriedly opened the door expecting some tale of  woe by a disgruntled sibling.

I was shocked and surprised.

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20130717-DSC_0057-2“I got you some hearts, Mom.”

Sawyer stood there, offering up some fresh picked raspberries from our backyard.

“You went out and picked these just for me?  To help me get my hearts back?”

“Yeah, that’s why I got ’em.”

I scooped him into a huge hug and all the rightness of motherhood rushed back into place. Then the ogre mother looked at her angel son and apologized profusely.

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20130717-DSC_0064 Getting angry over a knock on the door? Really? Really!?

No matter what’s on the other side, I am so blessed to open it and see, really see, who’s standing there.

That’s a privilege I wouldn’t trade for a bowl full of rubies.

It’s Been a Long Time Since Easter

20130401-DSC_0214I took this picture back in March. Chocolate Easter eggs would never last this long in our house.

It looks like one of those Cadbury eggs with the creamy center–  it is not.

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20130401-DSC_0216“Mom, can I put milk in this?”

“Yes.”

I like to say yes to the little things, it helps with saying no to the bigger things:

“Mom, can I get some ninja throwing stars?”

“Can you drop me off at the hot dog stand and let me walk home?”

“Can I keep this spider in my room?”

“Can I take a sharp knife and cut off the end of this chocolate Easter egg?”

(Somehow that one slipped by me.)

(Wait a minute, now that I get a better gander I don’t think that’s an Easter egg, I think that’s part of his chocolate bunny. Whew. I feel so much better knowing he sawed off an ear.)

I never, ever, thought I’d say that as a parent.

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20130401-DSC_0219 Milk in a chocolate cup is easy compared to most of the things he wants.

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20130401-DSC_0222         Here’s to ninja throwing stars,  hot dog stand independence,  spiders,  and then all those other things that somehow slip by The Mom.

If we knew everything they did we wouldn’t have any hair left.

How I Spent Five Hours

20130518-DSC_0123I’ve never looked good in a pony tail.  These girls today, who can just sweep their hair up, all careless like–when I try that it  looks like I’m ready to clean the house.

But this isn’t a post about hairstyles, this is a post about the SAT.

Can’t you tell?

This is the girl who took it. Never in a bajillion years did I believe I’d give birth to a baby girl who would take the SAT. She was supposed to stay snuggled in a crib blanket forever.

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20130504-DSC_0025But here she is doing some last minute studying. She had time because we arrived at the test site early.

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20130504-DSC_0022Really early.

Let me ‘splain–no there is too much, let me sum up–

We had to cross the border and gave ourselves extra time.

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20130504-DSC_0024Don’t we look lonely?

Other testers arrived an hour later and then I had 5 hours to kill until I could pick my baby girl up.

There was a town to explore so I explored the first thing I came too…

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20130504-DSC_0046Don’t run.

This may seem like an odd place to stop for a peek, but not when you realize it predated the civil war.

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20130504-DSC_0045I like how they chose the word “returned” . People ought to say that more often. I hope they say that about me.

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20130504-DSC_0042Poor little wee one, only 28 days before this one returned, back to the loving arms of the Savior.

I left the rain worn gravestones to see what else this little town had in store for me.

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20130504-DSC_0066Pretty boats.

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20130504-DSC_0082Historical markers. Do you read these? I have to confess, I rarely do. But today I had to kill 5 hours so I DID read this one and I was rewarded.

Reading along, reading along, all about the man the town was named after. Wait. What?

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20130504-DSC_0083Twenty-six children?  It makes me wonder what else I’ve missed at all those other historical markers.

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 I made sure I made it back in time so Mckenna could walk out into the lonely parking lot and see a familiar face waving to her from the car. Except I didn’t wave, that would have been horrifying to a teenager.  I locked my eyes onto the crowd straggling from the double doors until I saw her. Could I tell how she’d done? Was there a hint of a smile? A face fallen in defeat?

Uh-oh.

She claimed she didn’t do that great, the way you always feel after taking one of those tests.

Could it possibly be true? My baby girl?

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20130518-DSC_0123These are the same eyes that looked up at me out of her crib, 17 years ago.  She was knit together perfectly for a plan only He knows. Even if it turns out her SAT score isn’t stellar, there are purposes in God’s economy that can’t be measured by our tests.

I can’t wait to see what He has in store for her.

Wait. Yes, I can. I can wait about a bajillion years.

What I Found on the Deck…

DSC_0007Going along, minding my own business, carrying a bakset to the laundry room and glancing out the sliding glass door on my way…

This arrested my attention.

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DSC_0009It looked to me to be the work of a boy or two.  Were they getting started on a stock of snowballs?  Perhaps collecting building materials for a dinosaur igloo? The only way to find out was to ask…

“What are those for?”

“Oh, Mckenna did that.”

My daughter, a year away from college did this?

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DSC_0011Then it all became clear.  The city had sent out a warning about our water supply being contaminated for the next few days.  I imagined Mckenna being resourceful enough to plan ahead. What a smart girl to collect rabbit sized drinking snowballs for the rabbit dishes! A few of those would even work for the dog’s dish.

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DSC_0023Mckenna! You’re so smart, I’m so impressed!

The only problem with this scenario is that it’s not what happened.

“Why did you make those snowball dishes, Mckenna?”

“I was bored.”

Ah. This is much more in keeping with our strange household.

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DSC_0026Lining up pyrex molds of snow in consecutive straight lines for absolutely no reason whatever.

It’s what we do.