Friday, May 30, 2014

I've moved...


Most readers will land there without even noticing, but if you use Feedly, Bloglovin or another service, you'll need to change your bookmark.

Thanks for reading and please come visit the new site.

xo, Michelle

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

a May party and 1974

I often wonder if heaven sent down it’s best women in 1974. Among my many friends, aged three to eighty-four, there seems to be an inordinate number born forty years ago. And they all (despite being so much younger than me) are strong, capable, intuitive role models for me and many others. Has anyone else noticed this amazing group of women? It’s uncanny

But the 18th was all about Kit.

Who says a May Day party has to be on the first of May? Every day of this beautiful month calls for flower crowns, a Maypole and birthday cake.

My extra-cool corn huskers worked away while Xander entertained Darren and Hope.

The girls occupied the counter while Darren was thrilled to be part of the big-boy table.

Hope is happy anywhere she’s eating.

After dinner, we took the bouquet right off the table, raided my flower beds and made May Day crowns.

When we came up with the idea for a Maypole, I thought only the little girls would dance. But with Kevin holding the pole (from our summer shade shelter) and Erik pulling out his first grade knowledge of Maypole dancing, “Over, under, over under, GO!” everyone joined in. Because that’s how it works– Mom’s ideas are always questionable, but if Dad dances, it’s cool.

Be warned, if you hold the Maypole, everyone will be tempted to tie you up at the end.

Kit with her miracles. If you’re a long time reader of this blog, you know a fair amount about Kit. Her eight years of infertility, five babies in a row, her amazing knitting skills, the way she loves my children like an aunt (and they love her right back). But you may not know of her deep faith, her devoted and conscientious mothering, her endless creativity and her ability to see me at my worst and still see the very best in me.

Hope may be the only person alive who loves chocolate cake as much as Kit.

At the end of the day, it’s worth holding a parade for all of you 1974s.

So maybe we will.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Russia, Jerusalem, a baby duckling, Legos and 2048

 photo EI3C6826copy_zpsca1dc650.jpg

Yes, I'm sure many of you gave and received some fabulous Mother's Day gifts last weekend, but really, can anything compete with a baby duckling?

 photo EI3C6392copy_zps1791d292.jpg

If you talk to anyone in our family, prepare to hear the saga of Mary finding the tiny duckling under our trampoline Saturday afternoon. And don't be surprised when we shift into gooey baby talk-- because, seriously, have you ever seen a baby duckling race across the kitchen floor? The way they half run, half fly and peep louder and louder as they pick up speed? Erik's more enamored than anyone else and races to our bathtub (where we are now housing four chicks and a duckling) to coo and chirp and ask, "How was your day, Clementine? Are you happy? Did you get enough to eat? Want to go for a run?"

 photo EI3C6444copy_zps0da99760.jpg

Despite Clementine's obvious charms, the highlights of Mother's Day were early morning phone calls from Jerusalem and Skyping with Stefan in Kurgan, Russia. It wasn't a great connection-- as you can see by the screen shot-- but hearing his voice, watching his face break into a smile and laughing together is a rare pleasure. One of my favorite moments was his Russian companion pushing has face in front of the screen to say, "You have the best son in the whole world! We all love him."
 photo Stefan_zps84347485.jpg

Stefan's first question for us was, "Is Mary still a little girl?"

I answered, "She's sitting in my lap wearing a princess nightgown and holding a duckling; she's still a little girl." A little girl who rollerblades through our kitchen.

 photo EI3C7137copy_zpsfc1aec5f.jpg

And from Ben and his friends in Jerusalem. But I get to talk to Ben all the time (or send him random texts or emails)-- and I must say it's much better than Skyping twice a year. At midnight "Mom, what's the name of that book you really love by the Jewish author with the really lame cover?"

"The Ladies Auxiliary by Tova Mirvis. Don't be fooled by the lame title. You'll love it."

 photo 1613870_10203657478015696_898804258258891134_n_zps02f6be62.jpg

After years of feeling disappointed that my family doesn't buy Mother's Day gifts I've stumbled upon the secret-- be slightly demanding. I've always said, "Oh no, you don't need to get me anything." while secretly hoping their love for me would override my protestations. And you know.. all that insecurity.... I'm not really worth it...

 photo EI3C6676copy_zps84d9b6d8.jpg

but I realized, I'm not simply asking for gifts and attention for myself, I'm training five future husbands to make an effort for their wives. I don't want the mothers of my grandchildren to feel unappreciated or unloved. I told them I didn't care what they bought or made or wrote... just do something.

 photo EI3C6689copy_zps94ee6625.jpg

The spoils. I really do love my new Lego set, just as much as the chocolates.

 photo EI3C6762copy_zps62d58b28.jpg

But I did need LOTS of help putting the Legos together (while I don't need any help with the chocolate, thanks).

 photo EI3C7220copy_zpsdc3fc958.jpg

a post-church photo (note baby Clementine in Xander's hand)

 photo EI3C6971copy_zpsa73a3a84.jpg

This feels like a good time for a chick update. They're going through their awkward stage. Don't make fun. Well, you can if you want. We're counting the days until we can move them out of our tub and into the yard.

 photo EI3C7233copy_zps431438d5.jpg

almost done...

 photo EI3C7323copy_zps7c261e1b.jpg

Finally, after bacon cheeseburgers for dinner (I told them to cook anything they wanted), the boys settled down for chess while I tackled 2048 on my phone.

For the past six weeks I've scoffed at their 2048 addiction, declaring I couldn't possibly find it interesting because I don't like wasting my time.....  and then I tried it. And it's fabulous.

Sometimes, the boys really do know best.

p.s. but the minute I hit 2048 I'm never playing it again. Pinky promise.