Showing posts from June, 2013

Limitless Possibilities

She dances as she thinks. Unbridled. Free. She is connected to everything, everyone, to energy and creativity and love and God and infinity.

He speaks. Passionately. Intently. He is sly and wise and adorable and cuddly. He is love unencumbered.

She follows her heart in fearless determination, and wears it on her sleeve. A natural explorer, she approaches new things with excitement and confidence.

He embodies love and compassion, is a young man of ideas and inspiration. A well-honed sense of humor and quick wit to back it up.

He lives in many worlds - in games, his own head, books, real life. He is creative in his unique artwork and in the tales he weaves. He doesn't let a label define his capabilities or possibilities for his life.

My children. Children who defy labels and diagnoses and DNA. One has obsessive-compulsive tendencies, two have Aspergers, one clinical depression and one as-of-yet-undiagnosed joint and energy issues. You could say each has limitations, but don't say it …

Thrift Store Thursday: Random Insanity

Welcome to another Thrift Store Thursday! Today's post is brought to you by total randomness. 

The first item is the Tap-Tap Nagelspiel. I was particularly attracted to this beauty just because of its' name. Who on Earth could resist something called Tap-Tap Nagelspiel? I ended up having to pass on this wonderful toy, as I walk barefoot around my house and didn't want Nagelspiel to become a swear word should one of the tiny nails become embedded in my foot.

Next is good ol' Toucan Sam in the form of a small pitcher, which I would guess would hold the milk to put on your banned-in-other-countries cereal. I'm not really sure I'd be keen on a toucan puking milk onto my cereal even if I did eat petroleum o's.  

The next treasure was not one, but TWO pair of these b.i. GEAR slouch socks from the 80's, new in package, originally sold by Bradlees, according to the yellowed tag. They may be 30 year old socks, but they're comfy!!! (Yes, I bought both pairs!)


Lessons from Sporadic Artie

Life with Sporadic Artie (Psoriatic Arthritis / PsA) has taught me lots of useful stuff. Most of the recent lessons have been taught in the week or so before each infusion, when one part of my body or another decides to do something interesting and unexpected. The malady of the week this week is unusually swollen and incredibly painful fingertips. And not ALL fingertips, just SOME fingertips. This weeks' lessons include, but are not limited to:

- How to Experience Intense Pain and Not Swear Quite Vociferously No Matter How Much Better You Might Feel if You Did (see the next lesson learned)- How to Turn the Beginning of the Exclamation of a Profane Word Into the Overly Loud Usage of a Mundane Word (ex. Fu...dgesicles, Sh...eboygen, Holy F...ather please help me make it through the week until my infusion without lobbing off my fingers in an attempt to end this agony!)- How to Accomplish Nearly Everything with the Use of Two Fingers or Fewer ... including typing, brushing teeth, makin…

Not a Yes or No Question

Be careful what you say to children. 
The other day, I needed one of my kids to do something for me, and I said, "I need you to..." to which the child responded. "No." I then explained that it wasn't up for discussion - it wasn't an yes or no question - it was something they needed to do. Now.
And then comes...
Alia: Mama, can I play on the Wii?
Mama: No.
Alia: It's a yes question. You can only answer yes.
Mama: No. Alia: That's the wrong answer. Since it's a yes question the answer is yes so I'm going to play now. Mama: Look at me. Alia: Or not. 
Where in the parenting manual does it discuss the possibility of a child coming up with the concept of "yes question"s??? There was no warning. No preparation. The thing that scares me most is that she's only five and is coming up with this stuff. She's getting smarter, and frankly more maniacal, while my brain seems to be on a decline.
This does not bode well for me. At all. 

Guest Post: Walk of the Storm Drain

Guest post by Alia Steyer, age 5. 

The other day we went for a walk. We looked down all the storm drains to see how much water was in them, how fast the water was going, or if there was just mud. 

The farther down the street we got, the less water was in the storm drain. Then something unusual happened -toward the end of the street, there was more water than in the middle part of the street.

We went up the hill and got to the end of the street. We all touched the STOP sign. 

On the way back, we looked in the drains on the other side of the road. The results of our survey were the same with more water at the ends of the road than in the middle. 

I think that the water traveled faster through the middle of the street than at the ends and it didn't go really fast at the end of the street so looked like more water. 

[Blog hosts's note: This is what you get when you combine a very bright child with a touch of OCD, homeschooling, and Alia's love of anything that could possibly be scie…

Thrift Store Thursday: Epidemic

There's been an epidemic at my local thrift store for quite a while now. You can't help but notice if you go anywhere near the men's section. They all but leap out at you. 

This is dangerous for our family, because my husband was infected with this particular strain years ago, and it's just gotten worse over time. At first the symptoms were subdued and fairly subtle. Over the years they've grown to epic proportions. It's difficult not to notice that he's infected, especially on the days he adds to the insanity with tye die AND plaid. 

It is this - the Hawaiian shirt. Not just your average, run of the mill Hawaiian shirt, but the overly bright, graphic, and sometimes themed Hawaiian shirt. 

Specimen 1: Parrots in Paradise

Specimen 2: 80's Neon Hawaiian Holiday

Specimen 3: Rockin' Aloha
If only you could have experienced these in person. They were totally radical, dude!


We have many countdowns going on in my household these days...

9 days until Camp Calumet

27 until Zachary's birthday

30 days until the Summer Kids' Birthday Party

There are days when Mama has her own countdowns...

# hours until bedtime

# days until I get some time to myself

# of years until all the children are out of the house and none of these Mama countdowns are necessary. 

It's not that I don't treasure my time with my kids. I do. They are lovely creatures. Lovely creatures from whom I need a break every once in a while. Daily even. 

I am a Mama who occasionally craves solitude in a houseful of rannygahoots. Sometimes I seek Sanctuary by locking myself in the bathroom. A perfect plan, if it weren't for the fact that seven of us live here and there is only one bathroom. Other times, I create a few quiet moments of prayer and meditation after sending the kids to bed and before telling them to go back to bed - or on good nights, in between my kids going to sleep and my hus…

Girl of Fiery Spirit

She inspires me, this girl of fiery spirit and noble heart. 

At such a young age, she knows her passions and dreams and is happy to put in the work to make them come true. She plans for a life of passions fulfilled, from horse farm to gluten-free bakery to home and family. But before that, a pursuit of knowledge through experience, experience through travel and exploration and hands-on-learning. She is fearless in this, taking on any task head-on. 

Her heart soars as she plays with little ones; as she remembers caring for and riding horses and dreams of doing that again soon; as she sings songs of thanks and praise while whipping up one gluten-free confection or another. Her joy is palpable as she does these things, and it's difficult not to get caught up in joy with her. 

She is sensitive, too. Easily upset by siblings' and others' plights. Always wanting to make things right, fair, and good. 

She is my daughter. She turned eleven today. Eleven. She is becoming such a wonderf…

Seeing Red

The wind billowed red tapestries of assorted patterns and hues as we wound red yarn around our wrist or ankle and expressed gratitude once again for something in our lives. Connected to each other by this thread and in our thankfulness for things the size of Love to the tiniest chia seed, our formal time together ended, and feasting began.

In this Circle, we share our selves, or ideas, our hopes, our joys, and our pain. We gather to support each other; discuss life's tapestry; explore our feelings, thoughts, motives, desires, and needs; and connect with each other in a calm, loving atmosphere. We laugh. We cry. We give and we receive. We nourish our spirits with friendship and our bodies with good, good food. 

In our Red Tent, our girls come and go throughout the discussion, hopefully taking in some of what we're saying and storing it in their hearts. Today's topic is gratitude, and as I sit, listening to those around me share amazing things, my heart overflows with gratitud…

Captured Moments

Of the hundreds of photos from my children's childhoods, there are a probably only a few dozen that capture my heart. These captured moments show what the people in them are made of. Going through pictures of our early parenting years, I realized two things...
The first was that those days were my father's early grandparenting years as well. 
He is such an excellent grandfather. The look of adoration on his face when we watches his grandkids do just about anything is priceless. That twinkle in his eye betrays his still-youthful spirit. Papa has been a resting place for our kids heads and their hearts from the time they were tiny, our littlest still settling into his lap during worship. 
The second was that my husband had a lot of hair. I may or may not have fallen for his long hair before I fell for him. He's been shaving his head for five years now and looking at those pictures seems like it was a lifetime ago. I suppose it was Alia's lifetime ago, as he shaved his head …

One of Those Weeks

It's not been one of those days, it's been one of those weeks. One of those weeks when nothing seems to go right, when you can't seem to complete any major task and few minor ones. When the kids seem particularly ornery, even though it's most likely you that's overly ornery. 

Rain, lack of sleep due to carpal tunnel issues and too many happy supplements (no, not those happy supplements, just good old B2, B6, B12, and D3 ... LOTS of them, as prescribed by my healthcare providers) have all ganged up on me, and beat my emotional state to a pulp. 

I know the likely antidote or antidotes, so I shall write myself a prescription and do my best to stick with it:

1. Get. out. of. the. house. First to a breastfeeding support meeting (I first typed beastfeeding, which is also accurate at times); then for a massage, to apply for passports, and a visit to my grandmother on Friday; and then to a wonderful Red Tent Women's Circle on Saturday. 

2. Go forth in Gratitude. I need to …

Gray Day Blues

Bleary eyed, even after coffee and a shower, I sit, waiting for energy with which to tackle the day. A cat, sacked out next to me, seems to be having the same rainy-day issues as I. It's difficult to get moving on these days, and there have been too many lately. Gray, gloomy, damp, stormy - my joints and my emotional state don't appreciate this at all. My to-do list is long, my energy in short supply. 
Looking over my to-do list once more, and excitement fills me. Just look at these blessed things on my list:
Passports - who would have imagined just a couple months ago that I'd be planning for a trip to Israel in February of next year? Camp - less than three weeks away, and we're all incredibly excited!!!!!! (I was informed by the child reading over my shoulder that camp requires at least six exclamation points, so please excuse the over-enthusiasm.) I suppose I could do without the need to call the phone company or pay the water bill, but feel blessed that I may be able…

Rainy Day Painting Party

Outside, rain falls in sheets. Inside, drying off after welcoming guests, I sit, listening to a choir of giggling girls. They are creating works of art that will become a part of our lives, as they cover the walls of Haley's bedroom with a mural of their own design. Her eleventh birthday a week and a half away, Haley chose painting as her party's theme. Girls only. What a perfect activity for a rainy day!

They descend the stairs in search of snacks, which immediately get put on hold to play with cats. Finally, snacks in hand, they return to the room full of tubes and bottles of paint and all sorts of sizes and designs of paintbrushes, and let their creativity loose. I'm not sure who's more excited - the painters, or the Mama sitting at her computer, curious as to what wonderful things are going on upstairs, but wanting to let the girls have their space and their fun. 

The other half of the bedroom, if memory serves, was painted ten years ago by 1-4 year old children, the…

I Didn't Know

There are so many things in life that I just didn't know, or realize, or fully take to heart. Not until I heard it come out of the mouth of a child, anyway. And most of them, I have to say, I should have known, and some I felt, but never put into words...

"Let me tell my own story. You tell yours. It's not polite to tell someone else's story." said a five-year-old to an older brother, who was "helping" her tell her story.
Those words stayed with me, whispering themselves into my ear for days. Yes - let me tell my own story. Let me own it - good and bad. Let me tell it to you from my point of view, after all, it is my story. And yes, you tell your story, too. The good and bad. I want to hear. Your story is valuable, just as you are. And no, it's not polite to tell someone else's story. Just as one cannot know what story is going to come out of a five-year-old's mouth, one cannot truly know another's story. We can only let them tell it. But …

Fun and Games

It all started with, Mama, can I use the face paint?

The beauteous flower on my cheek, painted by our resident five-year-old, took around forty-five minutes and after this photo was taken, grew exponentially in size until it was down my neck to my chest and I announced that I needed to make dinner.

It was all fun and games until the green and blue didn't wash off very well. and it looked like I'd been beat up more than it did that I'd been ravaged by a face-painting rannygahoot. But if that's the price of priceless time with my kids, I'll pay it anytime.