23 February 2011





I cannot get my children well! This is the windowsill where all the medicines and medicine cups and thermometers and droppers continue to pile up as we fight off one common childhood illness after another. I'm trying very hard to maintain my perspective because of course I know that things could be very much worse.


And I was going to say "But ..." and then whine for awhile.

Instead, I will stop short.

Things could be very much worse. This is my kitchen windowsill. These are just over- the-counter pain remedies and some antibiotics. My children, sick though they are, lie peacefully upstairs in their own beds, tucked in warmly and cozily by their Dad and me. We didn't even have to fight through any tubes or wires or IVs to kiss and hug them Goodnight. And we'll sleep in our own bed, Al and I, tonight, together.

Yeah. That's enough.

22 February 2011



Bean has strep now, and I woke up with an aching head and throat, so we shuffled Peabody off to school for the morning and crawled back into my bed together to watch the Food Network and play around on the iPad.

It's good to have a little alone time with my girl, even if we don't feel that great. Snuggling is good for what ails ya.

19 February 2011



Hear ye, hear ye: I hereby decree that henceforth and forevermore, children may do cute things only in an abundance of natural light!

Oh, but I loved their concentration. And how they talked to each other. Peabody has learned his colors (!!!) and says their names so adorably, and always wants to paint with the color that Bean's using at the moment. (I'm pretty sure that tactic is outlined in the first few pages of The Little Brother Handbook.) Okay my turn boo! he'd say, just as she'd picked up the blue brush. Wait Bean, Dado nnnt geen now, leeeeeeeeeez!

Dado is how he says Peabody. Yesterday he was on my lap and we were chatting. I'd say a word, and he'd repeat it back to me, very carefully. Finally, I told him, Say Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeabody.

And he looked at me very seriously for a second and then carefully said Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-doooooh!

And then we both cracked up.

And this picture doesn't do either of their perfect wonderfulness justice. But I'm trying!

16 February 2011



Another week, another sick little baby! We have strep throat now. Still cute though!

13 February 2011



Actually this doesn't really do justice to the way we spent today, but it certainly captures the mood and sentiment. The lovely heart mug was sent to me by my preciously wonderful friend Melissa, who is a TREASURE to me. I look forward to drinking my morning beverage from it every day and it never fails to make me smile.

Lately we've been spending our weekend mornings in what used to be the dining room, but which is currently in a slow transition from dining room to Cozy Room. By March, it should be complete, with a big cozy red sofa, the zebra print rug shown in a few of my earlier photos, and a huge cushioned ottoman for storage and feet proppage. We took stock back in December and decided that we totally don't need a dining room, but we DO need just a cozy room. This room overlooks the entry hall and our office, all of which gently bracket a nice open space where the kids can spread out toys, listen to music and dance, and occasionally come snuggle up to Al and me as we lounge with our coffee and books or iPads or whatever on the new sofa (when it gets here, for now we've shoved two big comfy chairs in there and we're making them do.) We'll also use this room at night, after the kids go to bed, to watch TV and spend time just the two of us.

Anyway but the point was that today was spent focused on the kiddos. We played together all morning in our jammies, got dressed and had our normal family lunch at our regular spot, an event Bean has dubbed "Soupy Sunday," because we all eat ... soup. Then we shopped for supplies to make Valentines for Bean and Peabody's classmates, and spent the better part of the rest of the day together, tracing and cutting and sticking and creating beautiful pink card-stock butterflies with lollipop bodies (inspired by Anna and Mini) and then watching the kids' first-ever episode of The Cosby Show (one of my very, very favorite shows, ever), which she LOVED. (Yay!)

These little people are the light of my life. I'm the luckiest woman alive to be their Mama.

12 February 2011



Peabody's favorite place right now.

Boo car-yah.

(Blue car wash.)

He asks me a thousand times a day: Mama, ah go ah boo car-yah? Leeeeeeeeeez?

Today the boys (Daddy and Peabody) took the girls (Mama and Bean) out for a Valentine lunch. On our way, we stopped by the boo car-yah. And then, for the remaining 15 minute drive to our lunch destination, he cried, Go baaaah! Go baaah boo car-yah!

When I pulled up these pictures I took in the car-yah to edit them just now, he climbed up and sat on my lap and relived the experience over and over again, clapping and bouncing and squealing and pointing Car-yah, Mama! Car-yah!

Guess I captured it pretty well.

11 February 2011



Just me. I played around for awhile trying to get another cute picture of Peabody, but he was too busy eating CheezIts and trying to chee the pictures to pose for long. I did get one cute one of us, but I'll save it for my real blog because he's in the foreground and is a little bit blurred.

It's odd that as I get older, I hate pictures of myself less and less. I see "flaws" and age creeping in, but I know me better now, and I know that inside and underneath lies a heart that is full - one that still breaks maybe a little bit too easily, but loves quickly and earnestly - and a soul growing ever wiser and more patient by the day, honed by her Creator, faded velvet and pliable by the gentle buffeting of her life. I can forgive a few crows feet and a saggy neck on this woman who is as softly becoming herself as she is, inevitably, slowly fading.

Cross-posted to my "real" blog, FriedOkra.

10 February 2011



I'm having some ISSUES with the way photos are coming out via Photobucket lately! They look one way until I store them there for use on the blog, and then when I post the stored images, they look very different to the originals. Either more or less saturated, and not as clear.

I had a few minutes of alone time today while both kids were at school, so I took a short drive out into the country with plans to take pictures galore of all the pretty snowy/sunny scenery. So I found this road, Union Road, not too far from home, and got out of the car to start clicking in every direction, and then? My camera battery died. Whoops.

But it turned out I had some time to think about my mission and the photos I didn't get to take, on my way home, and you know what? Here's the thing. I don't think I really enjoy taking scenery pictures. The photos that I love best -- the ones I love taking, editing, looking at and sharing -- are the really extreme close-ups of people and things in my life. I love catching the light and shadows on things, looking at all the details and the contrast of textures and colors. And I guess that's similar to how I think, too. I'm a close-up, in-depth studier, much more so than I am a "big picture" person.

I guess it makes sense that I'd tend to be drawn, visually, to in-depth, up-close studies, as well. So I discovered a passion that I really DON'T have. And the results are? Not a great picture, I don't think, but I did learn something today.

09 February 2011



I spent this morning doing a bunch of desk work to start my fundraising efforts for this year's 3-Day, so after lunch and a shower, I've dedicated most of the afternoon building with blocks and reading books and snuggling under a blanket with a certain little cutie-boy.

He'd just wandered off momentarily to drive his car along a sunny windowsill, so I picked up my camera to try to take pictures of the blocks and books, but as soon as he saw me get down on the floor, he trotted right over and crawled up into my lap and said, Nnnnt chee, Mama. (I want to see!) (He likes to examine the pictures I've taken on the camera's display screen.) I explained that I hadn't actually taken a picture yet, and held the camera up over my head to CLICK this one, so he could chee it.

And then we looked at it, and we were both quite pleased with our work.

And now we're going back to cuddling.

Thankyouverymuch, The End.


08 February 2011



Last spring, a box of hand-me-downs arrived from a friend who has a little boy Bean's age. I left the box hiding in the back of Peabody's closet, and re-discovered it in the latter days of summer. As fall approached and the days grew cooler, I pulled out these soft-soled cowboy kicks to ease onto Peabody with a pair of light socks, thinking they'd smooth the transition to hard-soled shoes from his beloved lop-lops (flip-flops) that he wore every. single. day. all summer long.

Um... it's turned out to be a fairly long transition.

Peabody calls these his 'tar choos, and now he wears them every. single. day. As you can see, they're extremely well-loved and well-worn, but still in pretty good shape and will last until lop-lop season rolls around again. Only other choos he'll allow on this feet these days are his snow boots, and lemme tell you, that involves no small amount of convincing.



Oops! I allllllllllmost forgot to take a picture for yesterday because I spent the whole day, which was FINALLY just a normal, standard, run-of-the-mill Monday, cleaning my kitchen. I also did a craft with Bean, read books with Peabody, cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner, washed, dried and folded two loads of laundry, took Bean to dance and a million other mundane tasks, which was actually ENJOYABLE, as it'd been so long since I'd been able to sink into my comfortable routines.

So why the picture of my keyboard (and I love my keyboard EASILY as much, if not more than my camera, to tell the truth, but this is my photography blog, so we'll pretend I didn't just say that) when I could have grabbed some shots of folded towels or the inside of my shiny oven? Because I was so happy tucked into those routines that I never even picked up the camera all day long, and it wasn't until I sat down to check my email one last time before bed that I saw it here, looking a bit forlorn, waiting for me. And I picked it up, snapped a picture, and told it GOODNIGHT. (I may have also kissed it, but you didn't hear that from me.)

We will hopefully have some time together today, my Canon and me, now that I've checked some of the more pressing and responsible-big-girl things off my list!

06 February 2011



Al's an extremely busy, industrious man, at work and at home. The rare times when he just plops down in front of the TV to drink a beer and watch a game or a man movie, I'm actually a little bit relieved to have confirmation that under all that drive and motivation and productivity, he's still just a normal human guy.



"Snow and adolescence are the only problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough." -- Earl Wilson

(And also? They both make you dress funny, and tempt your parents to run away to Mexico.)

04 February 2011



The button-push of sunshine after weeks of grey?

Eyes ache a happy ache, while mouth-corners hike to the peaks of cheekbones and camp there. Dust shows up on surfaces that looked clean in the non-light of yesterday, and I happily wipe away in moments so many days' accumulated dull drabness. I pause by windows, turn my face up, squint eyelash-kisses at the warmth and honey-love of oozing light that can't seem to get enough of me, either.

Laughter erupts, a broken spirit slurps itself back together, puddles of tears dry, fingers intertwine, eyes meet, and I wish-will-wink-demand tulips to bloom in the basket on the countertop.

03 February 2011



Another snow day today, thanks to yesterday's blizzard, and we are trying our best to stay occupied. We've made cookies and romped in the basement and eaten breakfast and lunch and danced to Alvin and the Chipmunks and Stevie Wonder and of course Beyonce, who is Matthew's favorite. Now I've gotten out a big bag of chess men and checkers and tiddlywinks and that Makin' Bacon game along with some very interesting marbles that I'm dying to photograph sometime. (I forgot about these particular marbles!)

The kids have dumped the bag out and are playing with all the stuff on the floor behind me. Alex narrates her play with such passion ... everything is talking to each other, and everything has a different voice. One of them is the Queen, and my daughter does a fairly good job of mocking a snooty English monarch. She's very good with impressions in general, which doesn't surprise me because Al does amazing caricatures of all sorts of people and animals, and I've rarely met a dialect I couldn't imitate pretty closely given a few hours of listening.

I'm sharing this photo and post via You Capture: Red, which is the brainchild of Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry.

02 February 2011



Yes indeed. Twenty-plus inches of snow, every single piled inch of it hard-won versus a ripping wind that blew all night long. And that same wind -- which sheered and shoved and elicited an octogenarian's creaks and groans from a still-green five year old house as we tried to sleep inside it, and turned a Do Not Enter sign in the school parking lot into a completely flabbergasted weathervane -- also gently curled fine, feather-soft snow into this delicate shape only God could perfect.

I shoveled for hours this morning, and as I tried to take this picture my hands trembled and dipped uncontrollably until I climbed up on the kitchen counter, stuck my feet in the sink, and propped my elbows on my knees.

Girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

The neighborhood shovels out
in the waning storm;
a band of anonymous forms
in dark, hooded parkas,
scarves obscuring faces,
but all still familiar to one another,
and quietly, good-naturedly united
against ton after ton
of the billowing white enemy.

Robert Frost would write a poem -
a sequel of sorts, I'd think.
We don't mend walls;
we move snow,
and we do it together.
And this is friendship
drawn in muscle
and boots
and frosty breath.

01 February 2011




Okay so maybe it's "Two pictures a day in 2011..."

Day One of February, and we're apparently on the front-side of what may be the worst blizzard on record for Chicago in 50 years. I tried my utmost to capture these early hours -- a fairly brutal, whirling snowstorm -- with my camera, but it's crazily hard to figure out where to focus because it seems as if EVERYTHING is moving out there. High winds, blowing snow, falling snow, thunder (!?), you name, we've got it. Even Al threw in the towel and came home from work at one o'clock today, which I hasten to report that he's NEVER done before, in five years of living here. So we're all together.

I've lit a fire and everything that matters to me glows safe and still and warm.