Monday, October 26, 2015


The quickest of updates.
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Baby Cousin is growing too quickly.
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Actually every child is growing too quickly.
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Grandma and Grandpa and Auntie Emily get to live with us for a while. What a blessing!
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So we have our Molly dog and Mason cat. Plus their Gus dog and Fitz cat.
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Teenage, youngest-sister Emily gets to share the upstairs bedroom with four children. She's doing fabulously well with it.
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Do you know that twice the dogs means twice the poop?
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Fun times are rolling on! With family...
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And with friends (Sugei, my brother's lovely girlfriend is on the left)...
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I've done so many family and senior photograph sessions in the last few weeks that I think my camera needs to go to Hawaii for a break. Although, no. That wouldn't be a break for a camera, would it?

Maybe I'm projecting here. Given my online school, cub scout calling, elementary school volunteer work, and photo shoots, I'm ready to take off for a while.
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Survivalist parties. Followed by Dungeons and Dragons.
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And more mood assessment and counseling for our wild child (who recently acquired a wild, furry, mini-friend to add a little spice to the household). Meet Ossi's new kitten, Tyler.
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So, we're pretty much a zoo in every meaning of the word.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


"You are so good at making pancakes."
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"Um... thanks."
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I guess they are round. I guess they taste pretty good. I guess they are a nice caramel-brown color.
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I wanted to yell out to my sister, "I didn't really do anything!" But then I realized the conversation would sound like a lecture about the merit of using a griddle, the ease of pancake mix, the signs of a done flapjack.
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The pattern for successful pancakes is pretty simple. So yeah, I am good at making pancakes. But I didn't really make them. Not alone, at least.
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I feel like this a lot when I see successes in my family. Or when people compliment my children or say nice things about our life. Many times I say something like, "Um...thanks."
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What I want to say is, "this is the product of living the gospel. I didn't really do anything on my own."
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The mix is pre-made, the griddle is hot, I just stand here with my flipper. I watch for signs and flip. Watch and flip.
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We've picked a mix for our family. It tastes just right. Sometimes we get the proportions wrong and the batter seems too thin or too think, but there is always a way to fix it.
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The cooking pan of family life becomes a seasoned griddle over time and experience. For us it started as a sticky, crusty pan that produced unevenly cooked and blackened shapes, but through trial and error and the grace of a loving God we've found a working griddle. Sometimes it's set too high or too low so we're constantly adjusting the dial, but the product is mostly good, at least in the important ways.
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Looking forward to the promised bubbles forming on the top, I wait for signs that what I'm doing is working. I flip based on knowledge gained through past experience. I flip on feelings and hunches. I mostly wait. The simple truth is that when we stop watching, lose focus, wane interest, get too busy, our pancakes burn.
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I feel so thankful for the mix, the griddle, the signs of progress, and the chance to start over again when we char things up. We're making a pretty good life, but not without ample help.
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Matt and I got into an argument at 6am over the dishes in the sink, or some dumb thing. We were sleep deprived, overburdened, and somewhat estranged. Under the surface of the dirty dish fight was the reality that we'd been neglecting our treasured marriage. Our batter was soooo thin, our griddle was too hot. Crusty, flat marriage.
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So we're fixing it. We're taking unnecessary things out of our life that compete with our focus on each other. We're adding in some new things that encourage our love. We're following that tried and true pattern that produces the good stuff.
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And that's how it works for us.

rain on my parade.

When the kids opened their lunch bags they groaned. Three bean salad, no!! Not the fresh corn with onions mix!!

But I didn't care.

I knew my chillins would eat whatever healthy, local, free food the state could dish up in the summer lunch program... I knew because...
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Air hockey.
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This was the sweetest deal ever. Free, locally grown, healthy lunch served in the building across the street from dad's work. A mom's dream, really.
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Until one day when that poor worker-fellow had to deliver the bad news about the air hockey table.
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"For in-house day-care kids only." Wah-wah.
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Our days of free summer lunch were over (as you can imagine the three bean salad was not a powerful selling point moving forward).
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And thus my mom dream ended after two visits to the YMCA.
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