Monday, August 31, 2015

Open house to the past

Time sure flies. My sister-in-law told me their former, former house was back on the market. She showed me the listing. I think I had favorited it or something because one day I got a notice that there was an open house. We went yesterday.

I was excited to drive up to it. This house was a home base to us for many years.

We celebrated a lot of cookouts there with people we love, watched kids/nieces/nephews growing up there. I got married in that house. I had a baby shower in that house. I couldn't wait to show my kids the room where Shane first kissed me as his wife.


While Shane kept trying to shush my fingers from snapping pictures, I kept on (and would have done more and better if I'd had my camera vs a cell phone!). The kids adored Aunt Connie's former closet--such a great place for hide and seek. And the yard looked nearly the same. Truly, it was like stepping back just yesterday, though it had been ten years.

A lot has happened in ten years. And all those cookouts rang laughter in my heart, and tears in my eyes as I remembered so many loved ones who are no longer living.

home to the best cookouts

"I want to buy that house," each of my girls said at one point.

I fought tears--how desperately I wanted to reach back in time.

"Uncle Jeff and Aunt Connie always have the best cookouts," I said, standing on the patio, remembering.

I took a picture of the kids from upstairs down into the foyer, just like the wedding photographer did of our party in 1999.

so wild to have my kids standing there

Driving home, Shane asked, "What would you miss of our place?" But I misunderstood him.

"Oh, the kitchen!" I started. "The memories we made there. The big sky."

"No, not what do you miss of our old place. But what would you miss of our house now?"

And in just four years, a tumbling list poured out and we all talked about the things we love about our home now. The privacy. The peace. The owls playing in the front yard. Pool splashes. The love of neighbors. Frogs and woodland sounds. The smell of the fireplace in fall. That this is where our kids are growing up.

Lanie added she loves the red gate Shane installed in the split rail fence.

Erin spoke that she loves the frogs.

Time does fly. This summer has given me so much to think on with priorities. And urgency. About complacency, distraction, attitude.

And still counting (7437-7473)

the amazing sunset in my sideview mirror
library run with Erin
French videos in the back seat
Trader Joe's Fireworks chocolate

coffee in the morning
the people who provide community
Barb walking down her driveway
Lisa T and Ann K at the pool
kids running through the yard

happy sounds
Funbites in the mail
a good deal on Romaine lettuce
time before school starts

fun math with Erin
and her interest in learning French
an article about a French immersion school in 1975
thoughts on my mother
dew drops hanging on ends of tomato plant leaves, like glistening diamonds

excited hands grasping new school books
shaved beef bowls
chopsticks at dinner
the soft of the purple blanket on a chilly Thursday morning
66 Books

how good sleep feels
gf rotisserie chicken at BJs
coffee on Saturday
a walk with Linda
chicken paprikash in the crockpot

a pool for my feet
hope in a challenge
that big moon on an end of summer night
homeschooling wishes together, things we hope to make come true next year

her love for shapes cut into apples
an open house to the past
good libraries

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


It went from a beige and dreary spot (quite cluttered too), to a clean dream. When Erin saw it, she immediately camped out a spot for a cash register because she imagined a play space for her Beanie Boos to go shopping.

"I love the cans!" she said.

Never saw a kid so excited to grab a box of mac and cheese for lunch! I didn't even have to ask.

These pictures are the progress of it.

from mess to marvelous--and gluten free!
When Shane got home last night, I showed him the space.

"I even cleaned my paint splatters off the floor," I told him. I could tell he was looking to make sure I got it all up. (I didn't paint with a drop cloth. Probably not the best choice, but it was an easy clean up.)

"And you put pictures on the shelves," he commented. Because no guy would do that.

When my love language is time together, his is service. This room screams his love to me.

Happy heart.

I'm sure I'll relocate things--even pulled in a step stool for the kids to reach the high shelves. But this is what it looked like yesterday.


Facebook likes to throw pictures up in my sight: remember this? Three years ago.

She had all her baby teeth then.
Three years ago.


She was starting kindergarten. I was the morning kindergarten language arts teacher. It was hard for her to share me with the other kids. It all worked out--it was a good class. I learned a lot too.

That gritty grin of hers, I didn't see the emerging personality coming through the way other people would. Another teacher would complain about her being too loud, or too chatty, or when uncertain, not answering.

Three years ago she was just my girl who still had all her baby teeth.

After I saw this, I thought on third grade. On a summer that was consumed. On learning to order priorities. On the very fleeting wisp of time. I really wanted to go back and sit longer under that walnut tree.

(Cleaning up in Erin's room yesterday, I held a little porcelain teacup and told the girls how Lanie and I used to have tea parties with her toys when she was two and three years old.

"I don't remember that," Lanie told me.

I wanted to stop the robbery of precious memories--time is a thief.)

I found Erin wrapped in a blanket on the couch watching Sophia the First. She tried to shoo me out of the room, but I said I just wanted to watch with her. She made room for me under her blanket. And when the show was over I offered, "Can I brush your teeth for you?"

"Ok!" she said.

Last night she gave me extra hugs. And I gave her extra kisses. And she didn't come downstairs for thisandthat, because in all of that, she felt tucked in.

Note to self: remember the things that need to come first aren't things.

Erin is creative, funny, sensitive, giving, fun to be around, a gift-giver, a shopper, a chocolate lover. She loves big splashes and silliness. She draws and films and writes stories. She loves dogs and loves to help me in the kitchen. She eats the dough off mixers and would eat chocolate cereal and Nutella sandwiches every day. Her friends mean so much to her. She is loud. She is chatty. She loves to laugh (often it seems like she tells me about her day in one long laugh).

I don't want to lose sight of the delightful girl she is.