Thursday, January 31, 2013

Theme Thursdays: Sun Flare and {P,H,F,R}

Joining the inspired family at Like Mother, Like Daughter for {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} and also trying something new. The indomitable Cari at Clan Donaldson has started a new "Theme Thursdays" to encourage hacks like me to take better pictures. This weeks theme being sun flares/haze. I love to see how very truly far, far, far I have to go...

{Pretty} And Sun Flare

good morning, sunshine

Okay, I think I took the sun flare thing a little too far on this one, but give me a break, I'm learning, and I still think it's pretty. It's little guy's birthday TODAY! So, like maybe we can call this symbolism and say he is on the threshold of leaving his babyhood behind? No, still just an overexposed weird pic of a baby in a diaper leaving the house on his own? Man, I'm just trying!


dat way, piduh
Best birthday present: remote control spider. Thanks Gmom and Gdad! Isaac, in his amazing ability to grasp the obvious thinks it is a real pet, and hasn't quite, quite figured out the magic that the remote is actually CONTROLLING it, instead using hand and voice commands to direct, which honestly makes sharing all that easier. On a side note, don't ask what Momo is wearing. 

{Funny and Real}

Video card from my nieces and their embarrassing talented dad! Now if Isaac isn't the luckiest two year old who ever had a birthday, they should call the whole "having a birthday" thing off. He is truly loved. 

So blessed, so obscenely blessed we are. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Heartbreak of a Mother's Disappointment: Baby's First Haircut

i'm trying to smile but his hair is ruining the picture
Oh, sweet soft rounded crown,
Out of God's deep oblivion
You were pulled into this world
Through me.

Silk, black down, the feel of those newborn hairs
Still rest in memory on my fingertips.
The promise of future golden curly locks
Lay hidden, I just knew,
In their dampness.

Eyes of a watercolor mixing cup:
Blue and grey and green.
Full soft cheeks that held in air
Your simpered infant lips.

But when, oh when? 
This mama waited in silence
For that which would be your glory:
That naked pate,would burst,quite surely,
Into a bloom of flowing curls.

Most truly, right?

Month by month, oh, has a year passed by my love?
And then some more?

What lies there,
So stingily straight, such tawny muck,
Where your yellow ringlets should be,
Is that, my son, your hair?


I denied it, and waited,
I encouraged it with hope-filled caresses,
And then I mourned what was never meant to be
And buzzed it off.

ever after

Monday, January 28, 2013

Marion Monday: These Small Hands

Thanks to Kinsi for hosting a place to let Mary in. 

Sometimes a certain phrase or image pierces just the right place in your heart to open up the small pathway God needs to let His message in. This past week has been a series of daily trials, nothing significant, nothing crippling, but just enough to make you want to hide under the blankets and wait it all out. I mean the next sixteen years or so. And you keep looking at God, and asking, "Where are the tools, the gifts you have given me to deal with this? I am helpless and insufficient. I want to seek You, Christ, but really, there is just too much laundry to do."

And amidst my interior struggle against the meaninglessness of wiping mustard stains off the counter, a small phrase comes back to me, edging in just where I need it most: 

"Shall I touch the sky with these small hands?"

From musician Danielle Rose's beauteous "Let it be Done unto Me,"  a reflection on the Annunciation, the young Virgin Mary has just learned that she will be the mother of Lord of the Universe Himself, "a peasant girl from Galilee," as it is phrased in the song. She asks in those first tenuous, awe-stricken moments, "Shall I touch the sky with these small hands?" And the image of her kneeling there, just a maiden, in front of this formidable messenger from God, to learn the news that all creation has been longing for, is quite conquering. Looking to herself she sees the smallness of who she is, and it is of no significance to God, only her answer to Him is what matters. 

And I can pick up that rag, or that baby, or that poster boy of anarchy teenager, and realize that I too, I of the little wisdom and less strength, with this "yes," I will touch the sky with these small hands.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What I Wore Sunday? Life Without Them

wouldn't it be cute if the kids posed with me?

if for reasons known only to you,
you actually want the details of
this mess-fest, or you just
want to know where NOT
to shop, you're going to
have to scroll further down

Last night marked the second night of Obi's temporary Exodus with the big boys three, leaving me with just Larry, Curly and Moe (you thought those would be the big boys? No, they would be the three little pigs the mother just couldn't wait to kick out.) 

Exhausted from twiddling my split ends, eight loads of laundry, and overcoming my outrage after viewing Pocahontas traipse half naked around the woods of New England, decided to let the cute little Stooges just get into my bed and driiiift off. We said a decade, then, as per our ritual, let them each choose a mom-sung song. AnneMarie chose "Lord of the Dance," and after feeling proud of my heartfelt, Celtic-accent infused rendition for the only captive audience ever to appreciate my crooning, awaited the anticipation of what Momo might choose. "Mary had a Little Lamb," but sung by AnneMarie. Fine. Isaac wisely skipped his turn, fearing getting on my bad side. AnneMarie asked for a second round to which I consented with the hopes of my singing redemption. "Oranges and Lemons," sung by herself. At which point I was the first one off to sleep. 

Actually, it was a with a blithe spirit, despite the (un)intentional dig. Have you ever been sung to sleep by your kids? It was surprisingly soothing and gave me that "home" feeling I have rarely felt since moving to the Central Flo.

I woke up (with Isaac's fat head on my arm) worrying about those schlumps far away and if they would make it to Mass. Slithering my way outta there, as to not wake up sleeping beauty and his ugly step-sisters, I looked up Mass times in the city where the missing Eses are visiting, to find that the only Mass there is at 7. In the morning. Quickly texting Obi at what was five their time, the conversation went like this, ver textum:

Me: Hey! The only Mass there is at 7!!!
Obi:I know, we are already up and ready, Love.
Me: Wow! What a Holy Boy you are.
Obi:I remembered last night and looked it up.
Me: You are so good.
Obi:The boys actually reminded me.
Me: They are better than I give them credit for.
Obi:Yeah, they said we don't have to go to Mass tomorrow, right?
Me: Oh.

Good for them, good for them. 

But our morning went quite swimmingly, or would have if I could have just remembered they were gone and not just being their normal lazy selves. After I wandered from empty room to empty room, hustling ghost children, and yelling at Joseph to AT LEAST change his underwear, realized I needed to break free from habit and enjoy the moment. And my coffee, lots and lots of coffee.  

Brother-free, Isaac followed "Rie" around, forcing her to sword fight while dodging a much-deserved diaper change. 

fword! wahr!

AnneMarie, while not sword fighting and still high from her serenading success story from last night, grabbed a fake micro-phone and sang her famous homespun version of  any-popsong-ever-written, including such hits as "Yeah, yeah, YEAH!" and that well loved, "Ooh, ooh, OOOH." She is going places. 

just whip it

Momo, whom I had abandoned in the shower to her own non-devices in order to hunt down the boys (whom I was sure weren't getting ready, but weren't actually here,) I found wondering the hallways in a dingy bathrobe she must have pulled out from under the bed because I hadn't heard her screaming for a towel PLEASE.

i'm making the bathrobe clean
with my cleanness, I am rubbing
off on IT

Deftly, with the lightning quickness of a mother sloth, I towel dried Momo, re-diapered Isaac, directed AnneMarie to a hairbrush, plucked my eyebrows while wondering, "Do I look like Jennifer Lawrence AT ALL?" (No.) And we were on our way to Mass! Happy Sunday! 

Details, but only because I'm obliged:

Infinity scarf I cannot seem to figure out how to drape properly and am ready to ditch, and slouchy black shirt: Old Navy

Purple skirt that has seen better days and previously much, much less to have to support: Merona from the 90's

Black sandal wedges: Bjorndal

Creepily spot on joker imitation: courtesy entertainment for the kids looking in disbelief that I am photographing myself

Yellowing teeth: coffee and wine, duh! my teeth are too sensitive to white strips, a'ight?

Horribly fake and outgrowing highlights: the cheap mohawk-sporting, law enforcement officer turned hairdresser grandma that wanted to give me some "drama". Don't judge!

Thanks for letting me crash the party over at Fine Linen and Purple!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Seven Quick Takes Volume II

Just being a follower, joining Conversion Diary for another weekly roundup:

Uno. Oh Te'o my Te'o

Utterly fascinating. I can't stop thinking about this, which I'm sure is a notable symptom of a bored/tired/hungry mind. But seriously, could there be a more perfect after school plot line? Or mystery theater? I will remain intrigued. On the radio this morning the obnoxious host was saying how someone in the sports world is making a killing selling shirts that say, "play like your fake girlfriend died today." Ouch. Coming from South Bend, and a lifetime of Notre Dame fandom, I feel pretty much like this author does.

Due. Something Right

Don't let the constant screams and outrage coming from our house fool you, it's brutal raising teens. Most of the time I am wondering what happened to the adorable little guys I used to know, and what, what, what, happened to the fruits of all that magnificent parenting I did of yesteryear to end up with these slobs who just crash at my house. But then something so little, so nice, comes from them and you realize you did something right, because all you ever really wanted was for your kids to love each other, not be able to recite the Harp and Laurel Wreath cover to cover or build stations of the cross out of toothpicks for the prayer room. Anyway, Peter sent me this pic from his phone while on his way to church, and I was already there teaching CDD. 

you fink i'm cute, huh?
Just the fact that he looked at his baby brother, thought he was cute, took a picture, sent it to his mom, that's all moms need, kids, that's all we need. If they only knew how easy it is to please us saps.

Tre. Birds

will the gators get them, mama?
Say what you will about Florida, I've heard it all before, because I'm the one who said it. But there is something undeniably fun about walking out your front door and finding a crew of storks taking in the scenery across the street. I just hoped they caught lots of fish because goodness knows we aren't allowed to (grumble grumble, old pesky folks in Florida grumble.)

Quattro. Diet

SOOOOOOOOO (sorry, was that abrasive?) excited about going on the 8 hour diet. More to come on this. I am one for a fad, one for a diet, one for changing...anything. So I am easily intrigued. Heard of it? What do you think?

Cinque. Trash

Joseph's been digging in the trash again. He used to keep a hilarious blog back when I homeschooled him about all the stuff he found in the trash back. Wish he still did because he has found some amazing stuff lately. Okay, well we live in this town in the middle of nowhere where people pretty much throw out anything from actual trash to raw bars of gold (those usually get  nabbed pretty quickly, though, I admit.) Yesterday he came home with a Revolutionary War chess set (minus one soldier/pawn), a side table AnneMarie is using for a desk, and a pendulum clock. 

okay, where are you hiding the good stuff?
Sei. My streak of good parenting continues

I actually had a teacher's wife apologize to me for her husband's inappropriate comment! Hilarious because how many times have I had to apologize for my honest to goodness inappropriate children. She walked up to me after school and asked if Joseph had said anything about a comment her husband made. I immediately started flushing and wondering whatintheworldhavemyprogenydonenow!!! She said that they were having a class discussion about problem solving and Joseph had volunteered that he could solve Chuck Norris' depression problem (news to me) by sending him to Washington State to use medicinal marijuana. Her husband quickly shut that down and said something to the effect that my darling little son would end up a crack head. And then of course he felt bad. But Joseph, of course, never thought twice about it and was just glad he made his joke in class. So really, I was apologized to for Joseph's inappropriate behavior. Plus 1 for me!

Sette. Pinterest Dinner

This is basically how I make a meal from Pinterest:

  • search Pinterest using key ingredients I have on hand, e.g. chicken and rice noodles
  • find a recipe with a good picture, but with most other ingredients not on hand
  • wing it, but you know, based on the recipe
  • end up with one satisfied customer (Obi), six hungry kids, but hey, also lots of leftovers.
  • curse Pinterest

Ciao for now!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

{p,h,f,r} Midterm Edition

Take two of this delightful exercise in self-affirmation. This week, here at Rebekah's Web Log, is midterm week, fans. Teenagers, especially boy teenagers, let no one fool you, are an endless source of pleasure to raise and admire. My two, no different, I assure you!

round button chicken

{happy} just to mix it up

"i knew you were trouble when ya walked iiiiinnnnn"
This is exactly and the only way number one son will study. Unless his feet are on the couch. His main carry over from his homeschool days are that school work is just plain happier in comfort. "Why are the seats at school sooo haaaard?"


hands off, mom
This miraculously smelling stuff they stole from their buddy. If you leave something at our house and you don't realize it, that is what I call stealing, and they call "courtesy of." Either way, you will never get it back. Yes, you are reading the label on this potion correctly, "Really Ripped Abs," and I must say, at least it lives up to its name. It actually smells like really ripped abs: what a teenage boy smells like after lifting weights in a steam room and then taking a dip in a pine-sol pool. That is precisely the smell. No wonder they covet it.


i'm about to a minute

Really, that's all there is to it. This is basically how Jude studies. No matter where you hide, the world WILL find you! But he's always just on the couch, under a blanket. It's not that hard to find him.

{pretty} To end on a Positive Note

anybody seen my really ripped abs?
Don't you tell me you can't call teenage boys pretty. Especially after a day of escaping the books to surf and body board all day. Beautiful tans are waaay more beneficial than good grades in the long and short term. Ask anybody. Yeah, that's the guy Peter and Jude stole the goods from, don't let that smile fool you, he's hurting.

Thanks for letting we of the sub-par {p,h,f,r} play along!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fresh Yeast Beer Bread, As if Home Brew wasn't already enough

The greatest proof of God's personal love for me is so often found in that man o' mine. What did I do to deserve this? Absolutely nothing. It just so happens I am the one person on this beautiful planet Obi relinquished his enormous heart and soul to. And it just so happens that almost all of his hobbies indirectly benefit some passive passion of mine. Like drinking beer. Or eating delicious, homemade, fresh from the oven bread that I didn't make. 

He absolutely gets the greatest kick out of making his own beer. Step by step of the process never ceases to fascinate him and indulges that yearning inside to "do it with my own hands." He has always been a one to look at ...whatever..and say "I can make that." Being overrun with work and home life, it is so easy to leave all the things behind that feed our souls. Those desires, lest one loses sight, were put there in the fist place by a loving Father who formed us for Happiness. So indulge away, Obi, God loves you!

i want to grow up to be just like daddy

nothing adds to quality of life more than having
a couple of toddlers supervising

But as if home brew was not enough, one night Obi looked at his unstrained bottle after slowly pouring out the dark ambrosia and eyed the live yeast happily swirling at the bottom. And that great thinker, great cheapskate, great do-it-yourselfer said, "I bet I can make bread out o' that!"  And oh, did he.

don't mind if i do
He looked up recipes for fresh yeast bread and just, well, followed them. What, what would you do? Google, babay. This is what he  found, and this is what he followed, except instead of the compressed yeast, he just added that last yeasty swig from his brew.

happy wife, happy life

It was amazing as it looks and sounds. And if you can believe it,this beaming, voluptuous bread was made from unbleached white King Arthur flour. No whole wheat needed to get this rich color. It did have a very warm, rich flavor, not quite like sour dough, but definitely in that neighborhood. The kids and I gobbled up every bit of it heavily buttered, as we like our life in general around here. And at one point Peter, in very Peterly fashion was heard to be muttering while layering his 43rd slice, "I wish there was more jam in this jar!" Don't we all, Peter, don't we all.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

round button chicken

Brought to you by the sweetly inspired Like Mother Like Daughter crew. Keen on any chance to look at this life through categories,I have been doing this in my head each week since I started reading their blog. The Beautiful Life is observation through intention. Or something.


These bushes in our front have attracted almost every type of bee, butterfly and moth in the Central Flo. Isaac and Momo have experienced no end of enjoyment watching them tiptoe over the blooms with their silent limbs. No fear has my little son, and although he calls them all "bite," cannot really believe anything so lovely could ever do him harm.


"Unseasonably warm" was how the weatherman, unable to liberate himself from the constraints of professional duty, described our day yesterday.  


Six dependent resident obnoxos and this is what I have for funny?  Slow weak other than the usual poop jokes.  A stray pumpkin seed decided our front landscape bed was the perfect spot to expand his reality.  You are always welcome here, little little pumpkin. I am just perplexed that all your brothers and sisters we endlessly caressed with great expectations in our actual garden never decided our place was worth their trouble to sprout.  There  is an appropriate and equally cliche metaphor here, go find it.


I have danced holes in my shoes.  How many miles I have put on these providers of wonder and splendor, I cannot count.  Absolutely the best revolution in my running career was the discovery of these, my beloveds.  What is real is how much it will cost me to replace them

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Enough of Isaac Already

I can't help it, there is just something irresistibly charming about baby talk. Each child's language evolution from googoo to full-on Shakespearean fluency is a fascinating study in science of the mind. As each of my children obtains speakerhood, new vocabulary is added to the collective lexicon of the Family Es, and with each new word an encapsulated moment in time. What a seasonless home we would abide in without Joseph's main food group of yesteryear, bop bop (kethcup for the non-Es)!

So I give you, my web log: 

What Isaac Says Right Now

ssshhhh! eggo...

Ah tee = Isaac

Nurn = Turn (meaning I alone am experiencing this, go away)

Sheer = Share (meaning I want to take over for myself whatever you have or are doing)

Sheer, Mom! = Share, mom (meaning I will use my sway with the administration to make you give me what you have)

Eggo = Diego (meaning I will leave you alone for 22 minutes in exchange for your computer)

Tide = Outside (meaning I will push you until you consent to stand on the back porch, not watching me, while I pick all your green tomatoes)

Ummy, pees, ummy = Yummy, please, yummy (meaning I feel hunger in my oversized balloon belly, but the kind of hunger that can only be filled by ice cream)

ShshhshS (while using full hand contact over both lips) = Sh (meaning I don't appreciate your desperate attempt to lull me to sleep with that scratchy warbling)

Nenu = Thank you (meaning the cleverly appropriate response to absolutely every nice action in my favor)

Hodeju= Hold you (meaning you better stop whatever meaningless thing you think is so important and put me in your arms, for tomorrow my baby sweetness will be all gone)

HUG! = Yes, enthusiastic use of the word hug (meaning he is a sweet, sweet child and beyond doubt loves to be in someone's arms)

Sweet babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.

-Oh William Blake, weirdo that you are, 
so often am I indebted to you

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

CubeBot - oh my Joseph

Dear my web log,

This was not what I created you for, but since when did I have any say over any of my offspring?  Well, my darling Joseph, I do this for you, to preserve for all internet posterity your goofy creative genius.

i will play with isaac while you do my
cubebot project. here, have a lollipop.
So without further ado, here are Joseph's CubeBot poses. The stocking toy I bought for four bucks, and with which he played with for battery free hours on end. I love it when a plan comes together.

 Only one more, I promise, then we can all move on.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Out to Lunch: Orlando Farmers' Market

The Family Es, as designed by God, consists of eight individuals.  Not individuals as in the simple definition meaning a single person, but like, the fourth definition of the word that means "set apart for being different."  It makes our family life...individual, I guess, and sometimes not very easy.  

One of the only successful offshoots of this state of being is our "Out to Lunch" pact. We attend mass many, many miles from our home, and therefore, in the midst of civilization.  It makes for a long drive, but also for endless opportunities to experience something different for once.  So each Sunday after mass, before heading back into the boondocks, we take turns choosing where to go Out to Lunch.  

The Pact Part Comes with These Rules:

  •  all turns are in order from oldest to youngest repeating
  •  you may not complain about someone else's pick or even attempt to sway them be it with flattery or gut punches 
  • all must eat at the place of choosing 
  • if you in any way fail these requirements, yeah, we cold-heartedly skip you
Isaac gets no turn because his choice would be "nurn, nurn" where we all sit there staring at him say "turn" in baby talk. That will fill no-one. Which means that you get your pick once every seven weeks. Ouch? No, a great opportunity to learn patience and the even greater virtue called "putting up with each other."

just let me show you some love, my black swan
Yesterday was my turn, and if they sold a product on QVC called "That Great Day You Had" in a bottle, I would be dialing 1-800 with my credit card handy right now. Orlando Farmers' Market on Lake Eola. Oh yes we did.

mommy, please don't let
me be mauled by that
pedestrian family in
target clothes
Home of the homeless (don't be fooled by their backpacks and beards and fragrance, they aren't homeless, they live on Lake Eola for crying out loud), swans of every variety (well, just five, but come on, FIVE!), trendy young professionals no one is actually interested in, old hippies that mistakenly think they are suddenly back in, and more tiny fur children than your local PUPPIES PUPPIES PUPPIES strip mall vendor.

Yeah, anyway, just about the widest variety of beautiful humanity is there, and it is glorious for those of us who live with the curse of Stare at Everyone You Meet.  Cause nobody will notice, and they are all fascinating.  

Like this lady: see her beautiful hair, her beautiful makeup, her beautiful everything?  See her stylish Toms, her stylish leggings, her stylish diaper bag and her stylish fanny pack? What?  Her stylish what? If she rocks a fanny pack, let no one tell me they are not the Next Big Thing. 

i don't do fashion,
i am fashion

Beautiful weather (January in the Sunshine State is a copy off of Actual Heaven,) (don't ask about July), curious art:

can i interest you in my consciousness-expanding goat,
it would go great in your kitchen
and yes, stop holding your breath, we also ate lunch. The dumb kids actually ate their entire meals from the booth called "funnel cakes." They are exotic, I know, but it was just overpriced hamburgers and fries and yuck. The abundant choices were wasted on them, I mean what kid wouldn't want organic wheat grass and flax seed smoothies? Whatever.

i didn't know cheese fries grew on a farm

But the reason I really picked the spot, despite all the other wonderfulness abounding, was to finally have a meal at the Jamaican stand.  Totally worth feeding the kids blech for.  Obi and I got the jerk chicken dinner, prepared in completeness (well, probably not the rice) right on the premises.  Oh my wonderfullness.  That was the kind of meal that will live in your memory like an old friend. If you have old chickeny-like friends with carrot slaw that are absolutely delicious.


If I knew it was that good I would have eaten there sooner, but I needed to pay a debt of gratitude to the beautiful Jamaican man who made it. 

I was taking in his booth's free smells way back in the Depressing When, when he looked at Baby Isaac the Irritating in his stroller and told me, in what this mommy believes was absolute prophet honesty, complete with giant smile and rich Jamaican flare, "Oh, those are blessed eyes!"  That would ingratiate any mom to anyone: take note all those of you who would like to be ingratiated into moms' hearts. But my heart, at that moment? That was so nice. Thank you, jerk chicken man, cause Isaac mostly still looks like this:

i WILL get down and run amuck
If he is not looking like this:

whatever you give me,
it's not enough lady

Babyhood and on, that boy has always been like that. Difficult, but with blessed eyes. Yesterday, my day of so much mirth, no different. But the good thing about the Family Es is that there are so many of us, somebody is always unhappy or uncomfortable or unsomething. And you deal with it and move on. There is always so much more happiness and delight than there are whines. No bad portion weighs down the good. 

Even AnneMarie, who has an agonizing toe situation and couldn't walk around much still enjoyed herself. So much. There was a moment like this:

and all the rest of the moments like this:
we are the 25%
By the way, have you ever noticed that about a fourth of the Famiy Es is unbelievably beautiful? Not a bad proportion. 

So, listened to live music, ate, sadly skipped the ten dollar all you can drink mimosas, (reason to go back) and drove alllllll the way home.  

Moral of the story: Mom should always pick.

why the heck are you taking a picture of this