Friday, November 26, 2010


It is nearing the end of November and there is a bitter chill in the air.  My yard looks like this now, and I try not to feel sad about my little backyard friends, exposed without their leaves, shivering in the cold, harsh Nebraska wind.

 The marigolds fought a brave fight, continuing to bloom against all odds, but they too eventually bowed to nature's course and went to sleep.

But these! They grow just out my kitchen window, and there they are day after day looking so chipper and resolute that they brighten up my world.  Yet I know that one cold morning soon they too will admit defeat and slip away into hibernation with all the rest.

When that dark and gloomy morning comes I will try not to focus on the loss of my cheerful little friends, but rather to focus on the anticipation of seeing them again come next spring.  It helps to have something to look forward to, doesn't it?
She brightens up my world every day too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Can I Be Glamorous, Please?

There are days, or rather moments in days when I feel the passing of time and recognize that it has left its mark on me.

I know that I am not old yet, but there are times when the child inside me cries out, and the teenager whines and the young adult just looks perplexed - "When did maturity, respectability, responsibility - when did they come knocking at our door, and why did we let them in?"

It is in those moments, the quiet ones where I acknowledge and accept the passing of time as a natural and beautiful thing that I know I have invited time in, to sit down and have a nice cup of cocoa with me as I contemplate where I have been, what I am doing, and where I am going.  Unfortunately, time is occasionally rude and forceful, pushing its way into my life like an overeager cop with a search warrant.

And so, to the perplexed young adult, the whining teen, and the crying child inside me who are horrified by the invasion of time, and refuse to move peacefully along with it, I say:

Remember when you turned on the radio and were confused because you didn't know, understand, or like most of the music, wondering where the good tunes had gone?

Remember when you tried to go shopping for clothes, but couldn't find anything that looked "good", wondering what they had done with all the nice, normal, fashionable* clothes?

Remember when you stopped understanding technology - five years ago?

Remember when you were rearended by a texting teenager and you found yourself shaking your fist at the sky, and grumbling about "Kids Today..." - the universal battle cry of people lamenting the changes in the world from the time of their own youth?

And so for now, the voices inside me that still feel like the high school senior on top of the world have settled down once more, accepting their fate, as middle aged mom moves into the spotlight.

I know that someday she will join the baffled chorus inside as the cue will come for grandma to take the stage.  What will I be then, do you suppose?  Grouchy? Grumpy? Gloomy? Dare I hope to hold out for glamorous Grandma?  I think all the voices inside could be satisfied, if we had that to look forward to as our time goes by.

*I never was fashionable.

AND can I still do this, when I am the glamorous grandma?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Part 2: Hanna

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

This is the season of life for Hanna right now:

A time for constant movement.
Because who has time to sit still?

A time for heart melting smiles.
Can you see why I call her my "Sunshine Sparkles"? A silly nickname, I agree - but fitting, don't you think?

A time for eating.
 In Hanna's world it's always time for eating.  And it's all good.

Tune in later to see the the season of Devin's life right now.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Part 1: Hallie

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
This is the season Hallie is in right now:

A time for braided hair.
This is the first time Hallie has ever let me braid her hair like this. It is the first time I have ever done a braid like this, on anyone's head. Maybe she somehow knew that, and that was the reason for her reluctance?  Anyhow, I don't know what kind of braid it is. At first I thought it was not a French braid, then I thought it was, and now I'm just not sure either way.  Help.

A time for a very first hair cut.
I cut off four inches of my baby's hair.  Four inches.  It took her almost three years to grow that hair. It won't take that long to grow back, will it?  This hair cut was the day after the big braid. I am hoping I don't have to wait three years for it to be long enough for me to braid again.

A time for learning with friends.
At the University the school of Animal Science opened up the arena for a day and let the kids come look and pet some animals: lamb, pigs, horse, cow and calf, steers, some mice.  Hallie loves getting together with these buddies and learning new things each week.

A time for not sitting close to a boy.
While he is a remarkably handsome young fellow, I was happy that she was not concerned about sitting any closer to him.  I was even happier that she didn't have a flower to try and offer him.  Phew.

Tune in later to see the what seasons Hanna is in right now.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Cozy

We have all been given talents, gifts, special skills.  Some people are born knowing what they are good at and they spend their whole lives developing it.  Some people, like me, spend their whole lives wondering what they are good at and so try their hand at a little bit of everything.

I like to be cozy. I like soft and snuggly.  I like warm fuzzy, furry, friendly, fireside cozy.

It takes me forever to get situated just right though.  Here is a typical sampling of what is in my head as I search for just the right spot in my cozy. "Oh, this is going to be good. That's my favorite spot on the couch. Ok, we're down.  Alright now legs up and arms in, blanket on, oh yeah this is going to be a good one.  Ah, there's an itch. Just there on my left arm.  Do I have to get it? Ok, ok that's better.  Eh, oh dear. Now my pants are rumpled. We're going to have to straighten that out.  Ok ok, pants are fixed.  Uh, there's hair in my face.  One of these limbs is going to have to move that. Ok, right arm volunteered..." And on it goes and it takes me half a lifetime to actually get comfortable in my cozy.

Some people though I truly believe have the gift. The gift to find their cozy anytime, anywhere - wherever, whenever. Apparently Hallie is one of those people, as she spent most of Sunday afternoon just like this:

I am so jealous.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Could You, Would You?

First of all, no I don't actually know these people. But any friend of my sister's is a friend of mine.  And these are friends of my sisters.
Second of all, if I were ever in a similar position, where I wanted something so badly that had been denied to me, and what I wanted was a good thing and I was a fully deserving person, I would appreciate it if people went to bat for me.

See here's the thing.  This nice couple wants a baby.  For long years they have waited, and wondered, and tried and prayed and been unsuccessful.  They have recently been approved for adoption.

So what does this have to do with you?  Well, maybe nothing at all. But MAYBE you know someone, or you know someone who knows someone who is on the other end of that very difficult decision.

And if they come to you for guidance, could you, would you, mention adoption?

And if you mention adoption, and the person you know seems interested, could you, would you, mention this nice couple?

Because while it is true that I have never met them, I have read the stories she has written.  She'll be famous someday, that's for sure.  And then what a story you'd have to tell.

To see what my sister wrote about her friends, click here.

To see what they write about themselves, click here.

To see their official adoption profile, click here.

p.s. What I said earlier, about how this post maybe has nothing to do with you? I take that back.  Even if you live in a closet and don't know a single living soul you can still pray, or light a candle, or send a good thought out into the cosmos.  So could you, would you, do that for these nice people?


Thursday, November 11, 2010


I wish I could recall where or when I heard this, but the idea was expressed by someone somewhere that people who eat meat but aren't willing to hunt and kill the animal themselves were hypocrites, enjoying their meat because it no longer had a face and they weren't responsible for putting it on the plate.

I have thought about that for a long time.  Which is why I no longer remember the opinion's origins.  I do apologize for that.  I eat meat.  I do not eat a lot of meat, because honestly, except for bacon and sausage I am not a huge fan of meat.  But I eat it, and occasionally, I am not ashamed to admit, I even like it.  Am I a hypocrite?

I would not be willing to hunt and kill an animal.  I thought about that for a long time.  So do I come to the conclusion that if I am unwilling to butcher the animal, and slice up the meat myself before cooking and eating it I am a hypocrite?

I don't want to be a hypocrite.  I started thinking of all the other things in this world that I support, and am glad that someone else does for me because I would not want nor be able to do myself. Take open heart surgery.  I am fully in support of open heart surgery for people who need it.  I would not however be able to slice into someone's chest to do the work myself.  Does that make me a hypocrite?

I would not ever want to be part of one of Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs.  If you have ever watched the show you know there are a lot of unpleasant jobs out there.  I am grateful that someone does those jobs for me so that I don't have to.  Does that make me a hypocrite?

Do you remember Gary Paulsen's The Hatchet?  When I originally was thinking about this, I kept using the word "never". I would never be able to kill an animal. I would never be able to cut into someone's chest. I would never be able to crawl around in a sewer, or wherever.  Then I remembered The Hatchet.  If I were dropped into that book, Inkheart style, I would come to a point where it was a choice between starvation or killing an animal.  I'd do it then.  If I had my babies with me, and they were crying in hunger, I would come to that point even faster.  If one of them got a cut and then an infection in their leg that became gangrenous, I would find a way to amputate.

Does it make me a hypocrite that I am grateful to live in such luxury that I would only ever have to do these things in times of extreme need for survival?

Please note: I do not have anything against vegetarians, I just hope that they are making sure to get all of the nutrients they need.  Although, that is something that we all need to keep in mind.
Please note: I have nothing against people who do hunt and kill animals, I recently went to a "RoadKill Party" hosted by my neighbor, with animals that he had hunted.  Including beaver in a crockpot. Bet you've never seen that before.

Friday, November 5, 2010

C is for Cookie

C is for Cookies. 

When I'm in the kitchen, you know there's gonna be cookies baking.  Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chocolate chip cookies, ginger cookies, lemon cookies, you name it, I bake it.

B is for Bread.

When Devin is in the kitchen, you know there's gonna be bread baking.  Pita bread, whole wheat bread, tortillas, bagels, muffins, you name it, he bakes it.

I think it's a toss up which set of baked goods are more popular around here.

not pictured: Cason's piece of bread.

Who eats soup when there's warm bread to be had?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What To Think?

We've been working on colors with Hallie for a while now.  It is unclear whether she just plain doesn't know them, or is unwilling to demonstrate her knowledge of them.  She almost never answers correctly if you ask her what color something is, and when playing a game involving colors that Devin made up she never seems to "get it".

I wasn't too worried.  She's still young, right?  Then I realized all her friends who are younger than her knew their colors.  Ah well, each in their own time.  I'm sure she knows things that they don't know, and it will all even out and be fine.

I loved Teddy Ruxpin when I was a kid. I have a whole stack of my Teddy Ruxpin books from when I was a child on the bookshelf in Hallie's room.  She has recently discovered the delight that is Teddy Ruxpin.  On the front inside flap of each book the characters are portrayed.  Mudblup, Gutang, Grunge, Bounders, Tweeg, you get the picture. Strange looking creatures with strange names.  Names it would be fairly reasonable to assume your child had never heard before.  She had me read them to her.  Then she wanted me to read them through again.

After hearing them four times she said it was her turn.  She named them all perfectly.  So my doubts about her intelligence are now put at rest.  She can recite a list of 13 characters, all of whom look strange and have strange names after only hearing the list 4 times.  That is something that many adults would struggle doing. (Ever tried repeating a list of 13 words in a foreign language after only hearing it four times?)

And yet, of the colors that she sees every single day and has heard people referring to every day since the day she was born, "The light turned green, honey."  "Should I wear the brown shirt, or the blue one?" "Oh, look at the pretty pink flowers!"  etc. she has seemingly no recognition.

So, am I completely irrational for wondering if she is color blind?

This is Grubby.

Never heard of Teddy Ruxpin?  Learn more about him here.