Thursday, April 29, 2010

Brownie Chronicles

Brownies with frosting...heaven. As I handed the bowl to Baby C, I realized this was her first experience with such a rich chocolate treat. I wondered if she'd like it. Here was the result:

"Mmm, good!"

"Is there any more?"

"What do you mean there's no more?!!"
Oh yeah. A girl after my own heart.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Ahh...a walk through historic Williamsburg in the spring.
Lime green baby leaves.
Aged split rail fences.
Bursting daffodils.
Brisk wind.
People watching.
Horse drawn carriages.
Delighful costumes.
Nooks to explore.
Wicker baskets, handcarved tools.
Freshly turned earth.
Gardens just beginning to sprout.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rabbit Story

It's time to write about our rabbits. Or I guess I should say Madi's rabbits because really, this is Madi's story.

Back in October, Madi's rabbit, Luna, had her first litter. Two baby bunnies. Madi named them Boomer (1) and Crash (2). They were named for their lively and rambunctious attitudes. They jumped from her hands and wiggled out of the cage before their eyes were opened. There were problems from the beginning. Luna, as a first-time mommy, didn't make a nest. We created one for her with shredded newspaper and cotton balls. We also realized, early on, that she was not feeding the babies well. We started manually feeding the bunnies by holding Luna and bringing the babies to her. It seemed to least for the first week.
When the bunnies were 10 days old, (on a day when my husband was out of town, traveling for work) we found them in the evening cold and barely moving. It was clear that Luna had not fed them all day, and they were dying.

We did everything we could. We called a vet. We called the breeder who had sold us our original rabbits. We did everything they told us to do. We tried to warm the bunnies up with a blow dryer. We raced to the pet store to buy a tiny bottle and kitten formula. We tried to feed them.

But it was too late. Boomer died in Madi's hands soon after we attempted the bottle feeding. And then, in the middle of the night, Madi and I awoke at the same time and went to check on Crash. Madi held Crash in her hands until, he too, died moments later.

I've never seen Madi cry harder. I cried with her. Neither of us could sleep that night. Madi felt a weight of responsibility for their birth, and as much as I tried to convince her otherwise, she also felt guilt for their death. It was one of the longest nights of my life.

Fast forward to this spring. Madi decided to try again. Luna had her second litter. SIX bunnies. And this time, she was a stellar mommy. She made a picture-perfect nest with hay and her own fur. She protected, she hovered, she coddled those babies. And she fed them each day until their bellies were round and full. All six survived.

Madi chose the best of the litter--a beautiful buck. She named him Apollo. Meya got the second pick. She chose another beautiful buck and named him Blaze.

We will sell the remaining four in a couple weeks. And until then, we play with them, look at that full cage, those six balls of fur, the proud mommy, and know that this story has a happy ending in spite of the sad beginning.

I watch Madi as she holds the babies close and whispers in their long ears. And I know that part of the joy shining in her face is connected to the sad. Life is like that, isn't? The opposition. The bitter and the sweet. And though I wish we could have saved Boomer and Crash, I'm grateful for this experience of life and death. Of second chances. Of lessons learned. Of joy, understood and appreciated that much more, because of the sorrow.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


For the record, I'm not a hero. Certainly not the rescue-someone-from-a-burning-house hero. Or one of the many heroes who are shipped out across the world to fight in a war. Or even those individuals who put their life on the line every day wearing badges, fighting crime, performing surgery, or rescuing earthquake victims.

My life is much more simple. Much more myopic. I take care of a family of seven. And I often feel like I don't do very well. There are days when the beds don't even get made (sorry mom, it's true). I also teach part time at a community college. And I serve in my church.

My days are filled with repetitive, mundane tasks. Laundry. Dishes. The occasional mopping and the even more occasional dusting. I play. I exercise. I read. I run errands. I make meals. I try to write. And I am here. Present for my children.

Now don't get me wrong, I do believe in what I'm doing. I believe, that for me and my family, my decision to be a fulltime mom was the most important decision I could make. I decided early on that there was nothing more significant I could do than raise my children. And I hope (and pray) that all my hours upon hours that turn into days upon days and eventually become years upon years will add up to something of great worth in the end.

Still, it was was with some surprise, when my oldest daughter came home from school and told me about an essay assignment. Her class was writing essays about heroes. My mind quickly turned to some of the greats: "George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, the 9/11 firefighters..." But before I could offer a suggestion, she said. "Mom, I'm writing about you."

I stopped. I stared. I hugged her. Tight.

I still don't think I'm a hero. But I guess all that matters, is that someone, who means the world to me, thinks I am.

And I'll do my darndest to meet those wonderfully high and generous expectations.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Two Days

Day One: We got up early - before the sky had a hint of morning. We piled into the car with bed-heads and homemade muffins for the trip. We drove 2.5 hours to Hershey Park, PA. We lathered on sunscreen and loaded the stroller with snacks, diapers, and Baby C. We stood in line with the entire East Coast population to go in the amusement park.

Once in, we stood in lines with the entire East Coast for roller coaster rides. Hours of rides. Hours of waiting. Hours In some ways, yes. The screams. The hollars. The smiles. The excitment.

There were, of course, the pouts, the sunburns (in spite of my best efforts), the lines, the aching arms from holding Baby C when she was tired of her stroller, and the drive home. We arrived at home in the black of night. We unloaded.

I stumbled into bed. Exhausted.

A Different Day: I got up early - before the sky had a hint of morning. I worked on lesson plans and graded papers. I made breakfast and packed lunches. I waved as the kids boarded the school bus.

I got a call from a friend who was sick. The day's plans changed. I made and delivered soup. When the twins got home we read, we walked to the park, we played. When the big girls came home, we worked on homework, we drove to lessons, we practiced instruments.

We worked as a family. Worked on the yard. Worked on cleaning. Built a swing. Hung it from our front tree. The smiles. The dirty faces. The aching muscles. The laughter.

The work continued into the night. Tucking in freshly bathed children. Laundry. Ironing.

I stumbled into bed. Exhausted.

Two days.
But one had much more meaning.
Though it may blend into the days upon days...I know a good day when I have one.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Hunt

The recipe for a fantastic Easter celebration:
Wonderful friends (who are also great cooks) + sun + candy + kids. The Petersons hosted the event. We had a delicious dinner (ham, "resurrection" potatoes, asparagus, chicken salad, lentils, homemade rolls, lemon cake, and peach pie). Then the egg hunt! The Peterson boys hid 150 plastic filled eggs around the yard.
It was Charlotte's first egg hunt. (Last year she slept in the car seat in Karen's bedroom). She wanted to stop and eat all the candy in each egg before finding another one.
The loot!

It was a Happy Easter.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Thoughts

Those crocuses. Those first pre-spring, heroic white and purple blooms. This year I saw their tiny green shoots spearing the ground on their way up while the yard still held remnants of the winter storm, scattered patches of unmelted snow.

This year, I showed the tiny flowers to Baby C. She stroked them like she strokes her doll. She laid down on her belly to get a good, close-up look. Then she jumped up to dance and cheer on these tiny flowers and their brave early entrance into the world. She carried the dirt stains and grass smears on her shirt from her investigation.

Every year they rise. And every year they make me happy. Every year they, along with the other bulbs, who slept all winter, bloom again and again each spring. And every year, they make me think of Easter. Of Christ who died and rose from the tomb. Who overcame the world. Who made it possible for me to live again.

Happy Easter.