28 November 2012

urban babies wear black

when i had my fourth son we were living in a wonderful neighborhood in urban nashville. my darling friend, lauren gave me the book urban babies wear black. have you read it

{yoga by candlelight=dark photos}

urban babies not only wear black. they also practice yoga. and my once urban baby loves yoga.

recently he spent some extra time on his mat as we decided to dedicate 21 days to yoga-making it a priority to get on our mats for 21 days in a row. he inspired me. and even though he did not make it all 21 days, he still managed to kick my arse the days he did.

...and a child shall lead them...


22 November 2012

god save the queen!

where's harry?...

it is not traditional, but the older i get the more i realize...what was i saying?

o, yes. once upon a time there was a woman who worked really hard to make a perfect home. 3 kids in, she lost her steam. 4 kids later. and well, S.O.S.

so today is thanksgiving. a rather radical holiday really. progressive notions led those infamous pilgrims to hire the likes of one rebellious miles{or was it myles}standish to float them across the pond where they, depending on your take on history, made some new friends, claimed land and made a home. 

here's to making this day whatever it needs to be for you to be aware of all there is to be grateful for. stressed from emphasizing the stuffing and not remembering the grace? haggard from basting the turkey, but forgetting an extra measure of kindness to the ones who will be eating said basted{blasted}turkey? yes. i know the feeling. so this year we are rewriting our history, taking a little detour from tradition.

you see i make about 325 suppers a year. here's one that is worth outsourcing, you know so that i can enjoy what matters. not the food{lovingly prepared by not me}. not the papier-mâché turkeys. not the fake leaf-lined cornucopia. what really matters is my 5 men. so this year, my course is charted not for my kitchen, but for the local restaurant.

here's hoping you find peace in a heart full of thanks. pass the salt and the love.

...off dissecting crayfish


20 November 2012

a portrait of an artist as a young man

stream of consciousness. it is the one thing i remember most about the writing of james joyce. sometimes i feel like that is where i live. all the time. saying what pops into my mind{before i forget or before i get interrupted}. living without rhyme or reason{or coherence}. this past weekend the two older boys along with their father took to the woods to explore a different kind of stream of consciousness. the continuance of what it means to be an honorable man.

this intentional older boy retreat was to continue a dialogue we have been having for a long while now. 

once upon a time two very little boys were wrestling in the bathtub. their father told them to take care of their bodies because there were certain sensitive parts they would really need someday. when asked why, the Mister began a talk about the male sexual reproductive body parts. the talk is ongoing{as is the wrestling}. and while he can't recommend the cd curriculum he used, the Mister felt like the weekend was pretty spot on for what they all needed-including a contest of who could last the longest in the icy water. want to take a guess who won?

fall is in full bloom here in the mid-atlantic. changing leaves, shorter days, icy waters. the dying of some things. the changing of others. the welcome of a change of pace. the farewell to long light streaked afternoons that once stretched on til bedtime. and this change in season marks a change in my boys. they are no longer boys. they are future men. 

i recently heard someone refer to god as a gentleman, "he does not force himself upon us". that was probably the most endearing description i have ever heard of god. and in pursuit of raising gentlemen, i can only hope these fellows will seek the likeness of the ultimate gentleman as they grow in stature. 

while the big boys were off traipsing in the woods, the littles and i took in a fun afternoon at the big wooden slide. imagine a bowling alley turned on an incline with a few moguls for good measure. serious fun.

p.s. i asked the Mister if we should throw out those terribly cheesy christian sex CDs. he thoughtfully replied, "i kind of think we need to make the younger boys listen to them-just to be fair." 


17 November 2012

guns a'blazin': venting and vetting

my sweet friend allison texted this morning, "what's going on? you haven't blogged since you were sick. are you okay?" 

i realized it's been a while since i clicked on this little place. the truth is every single time i thought i had 3 consecutive minutes to sit down, a boy hollered. a bloody nose dripped{or was it a broken nose?}on my shoulder, an arrow nicked someone's neck, a dog needed tending, a fist fight broke out, or someone needed help spelling for the umpteenth time.

the truth is i have been covered up with life-some good, some crazy, some surprising, with a great deal of anxiety, gnashing of teeth and sleepless nights to boot. i know you get it.

here's the thing. i long thought that once my boys no longer needed me to bathe them, change their diapers and feed them, i would have a break. WRONG. the physical needs decrease{in direct proportion}as the emotional needs increase. it's some kind of sick game of whack a mole. and when i say their physical needs decrease, i simply mean, their physical needs they need met by me. because lord have mercy their physical needs are off the chart. wrestling, throwing, fighting, climbing, running and did i mention wrestling? it has me wondering if we should be looking for a house with a padded room-for me or for them.   

right now as i type, the dog is barking like a lunatic{our neighbors looooove us} whilst the mister is readying the two older boys for an overnight hiking trip to the mountains of virginia where they will explore nature as they talk birds and bees.

with all this increasing hormonal upheaval in our household, it seems like the time is here. we've always been open with our boys about sex. trying to answer their questions honestly, but with this new stage in their lives... goodness. all this emotional upheaval. happy one second. raging the next.complicated. and for the first time i am not just writing about me. for all those out there who think girls own the monopoly on emotional complexity, let me just tell you-THEY DON'T! so the Mister is going to take them to the woods to chat about their changing bodies and how natural it is and how to work with what god gave you. i'll be honest, the boys were less than thrilled with the prospect of hearing their father address issues of masturbation and pornography. yikes. lucky boys. lucky.boys. i'll maybe ask them to debrief here afterwards. what do you think?

some of you might be reading this with that familiar smile. you have lived through it. would you please let me know that i will too? i could use some encouragement. 

some of you are reading this horrified. i am sorry. the business of parenting isn't for the lazy or faint of heart. and don't count on it ever really ending. your gig as parent{as far as i can tell} goes on til you're in the grave-or it takes you to the grave.

in the past 20 minutes of trying to type this little piece, i have had about 24 interruptions. life, it seems, is calling...

"mom! come quick!" yells the littlest. he points out the window to a male and female cardinal who dance around and fly into the same bush. hmmmm

okay. onward. and upward. 

have a lovely weekend.

06 November 2012

saved by the bell

you're welcome, future daughter-in-law

the boys have been so kind to me today. one chided, "mom, go lie down. i'll keep everyone on task." one donned an apron to take charge of the kitchen{for a small fee}, bringing me a bell to ring in case i needed anything. one came in to give me a cuddle. and one forgot he had a HUGE biology assignment due today for his science class. 

i am home, sick. our little household has been a bit under the weather as of late. this morning i woke feeling rather crummy. sadly nothing has made me feel better. not yoga. not hot coffee. not resting in bed. not even an uninterrupted hot shower. but it's still early. 

and once all this good attending wanes, i'll be thrown back in to wrestle the monkeys. until that moment comes, i plan to sit in my quiet room. with my bell.

o, before i forget...wanted to show you a little snippet of an amateur{shot by the 13 year old}video the two oldest worked on while we were in philadelphia in september. they approached strangers to ask, "what does it mean to you to be an american?" here is one interview of many. i hope it inspires you to talk to strangers and maybe find your way to the polls{if you haven't already}.

another important bell


05 November 2012

rock, paper, scissors

eleanor roosevelt once said, "do something every day that scares you." okay.

research papers are not for the faint of heart. research papers with 9 year old boys can be downright horrifying. 

consider the evidence.
jotted notecards that will ultimately become THE paper

"what are those squirrels up to?"

eleanor roosevelt also said, "you gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. you are able to say to yourself, 'i have lived through this horror. i can take the next thing that comes along.' you must do the thing you think you cannot do."

and i am happy to write, we made it through-the first paragraph. all three sentences of it. we'll tackle more tomorrow. more fear, ms.r.

here's hoping your day is equally scary in as much as it makes you productive. do the thing you think you cannot do.