Real Time

This afternoon, the younger children and I started a new science book about flying creatures.  While explaining terms like "lift," "thrust," and "drag," I absentmindedly poked my belly, still jiggly with 30 pounds of baby-doughnut weight.  A few minutes later, an unnamed child looked at me thoughtfully and said, "Um.  If you were a bird, I don't think you'd fly very well." When I innocently asked, "Why is that?" knowing the why full well, she was too embarrassed to explain her reasoning.

Right on.


May Love Be Equal to the Task

I just deleted most of this post, because that's what I do. What's left doesn't make much sense, but who said I ever make sense?

John and I read Howards End recently, together-apart.  Given a stack of potential books to read, I wouldn't have singled it out, but it surprised me, and I enjoyed it a great deal.  I don't take notes while reading a book for the first time (with apologies to all you commonplace journalers), but I was tempted to extract lines here and there to save for later.  I didn't, but now I find myself thinking of several of those lines and wishing I could recall them more clearly (and now all you commonplace journalers are saying, "See!  I told you so.")  Wait a minute...
There.  I just looked up one quote that sunk straight into me so that I wouldn't mangle it through rephrasing:
Under cosmopolitanism, if it comes, we shall receive no help from the earth. Trees and meadows and mountains will only be a spectacle, and the binding force that they once exercised on character must be entrusted to Love alone. May Love be equal to the task!
Life behind the blog is fraught with tangles, as living is for everyone.  These winter months have minor hardship (not even hardship when looking at the reality of worldwide suffering), and they can stretch long.  In the quiet and dark, I wake up with the company of old sorrows and new worries, as everyone does.

Trees, meadows, mountains.  Those secret spaces still exist, and a part of me is still there in them.  A quick walk down the hill, and there they wait. The true 10-year-old self, the turbulent 16-year-old self,  the sober 20-year-old self-- right there.  Perched on the rock where the deer spoke; swinging legs from the barn beam, watching the sun illumine dust; hiding under the dripping, mossy overhang by the ravine.

My, Their Feet Have Grown

McGamma, the girls can wear Darn Tough socks right into the ground, and the three oldest just had replacements for their Christmas socks mailed to them recently.  Susannah and Mildred both chose the same style, so when they dressed all matchy-matchy for church, I wheedled a picture.

A flock of birds!  We must be aching for spring.

And these three together.  I love to see them growing up so fine and true, but still...sigh.  Remember them?

Reality. Check.

Zeke thinks the optimal place to work on mathematics is on top of the world's largest laundry pile waiting for me to fold it.  Sisyphus, I empathize.

I have no idea what's going on in this picture, but I include it to prove that I at least gave haircuts to those shaggy boys I found living in the laundry pile.  I'm all about balance...

Now Both of Us Look Like Middle-Aged Ladies

Someone acted without thinking and evened up the front wispies to match the ones in the middle that are growing out after being singed off.

Someone regrets giving her daughter such silly-looking bangs.

Skylark Wins Her Wings

The world is full of talented and generous people, one of whom is my good friend Rebecca.  She made Skylark this charming frock, in which Skylark spans the heights of fashion perfection.

I think it's absolutely beautiful and will stuff her into it for as long as I can until, as a ten-year old, she protests the fit.  (A certain Susannah Wren has requested I make her a matching one. Someday.)


Not that Skylark's concerned about fashion, mind you.  She's too busy growing those delightful rolls of chub that keep her and her wings earthbound, and I heartily approve.

As Long as We're Talking of Talent and Generosity

As you know, my mother makes the most beautiful quilts...

I always feel like it's MY gift until the baby grows big enough to appreciate the beauty of what I tuck him or her into.  

Here's my Skylark's baby quilt!

It came complete with a baby floating in with all those candy-hued balloons.

And because I never took a picture of Cadence's baby quilt, here she and Beebee are reclining in the hallway with her quilt.

Life accidentally imitates art imitating life.

Baby Boy, We Love You

Any day now, Debbie and Rundy's baby is due to arrive.  We couldn't be any more excited to meet him and smooch him and squeeze his (hopefully) chubby cheeks.  (And if they're NOT chubby, Deborah, we're pressing charges for raising false hopes.)  All babies are fearfully and wonderfully made, and we are thankful for every last one.  This little boy is an answer to much prayer from many corners, and we rejoice in him.

In multiple trips, Mom ferried all the boxes, food, and me and the children down the hill to the church the day before the shower so we could set up.  The roads were too snowy for our van, and she deserves a lot of credit for being a cheerful chauffeur in her little car.  

 The only things we bought for the shower were plastic tablecloths for the round tables and ingredients for food.  Oh!  And Becky bought some things for the prizes she put together, too.  I scoured the house for everything else, which means that either I furnished my house with a baby shower for Deborah in mind or that I have Too Much Stuff.  Let's be charitable and assume the former.

Someone had given us a remnant of gold-trimmed ribbon before Christmas, and we cut off the gold edging and cut it in half lengthwise to have just enough for the mason jars.  Coupled with yarn from the basement and stuffed with hemlock* branches the girls foraged from our little woods a few days prior, all perched on top of our "company" plates (which came from the dollar store-- ha!), the centerpieces were simple, pretty, and in keeping with a winter-born baby.

I had so much stuff I even decorated the gift table, even though 2 minutes after gifts arrived, it was piled with presents.

I made the same mistake with the food table, choosing to use silver, wood, blue, and white platters to unify through color, which we then covered with so much food that colors didn't matter one bit-- pickled beets and dill pickles, deviled eggs, tortillas and bean dip, chicken wing tortilla pinwheels, bread and chipped beef dill dip, vegetables and hummus, Italian cheese bread (ugly picture alert), fancy cookies from Aldi, buckeyes, peppermint patties, my sister Becky's famous miniature cookies (SO good...and I lost the recipe again, Beck), cupcakes, and cake.   And blue punch, 'cause every baby shower needs some poisonous chemical drink.

(Sarah-- recognize your leftover wedding ribbon?!)

I decorated the cake at the last minute, proving that sloppiness is covered by a multitude of sparkling sugar and some cute little animals stolen from my children's toys.

I had made 6 dozen cupcakes and a bunch of frostings ahead of time, and Millie, Annika, and Candida frosted them all before anybody arrived. They did a wonderful job!

We kept Cadence around mostly to coordinate with the 70's vibe going on in the church kitchen.

And what else?  WHO else?!  Deborah and the people who came to rejoice over this baby, of course!  Once people arrived, I replenished food and drink and didn't have time to leisurely take pictures...you know, like I did of inanimate objects before people arrived.

When I did pull out my camera, however, Mildred and Deirdre kindly obliged me.

Everyone blessed Deborah with a bounty of gifts-- useful, beautiful, and meaningful-- along with books, which just happen to be all three!

Mopsy finished his baby quilt in time, too!  Here Cassandra helps Debbie model it properly.

And the whole thing, without her glorious belly distracting us from the quilt.

Even though it was dark outside, I took a picture of Deborah in her forest-elf dress, looking beautiful in spite of the lighting.  We love you, Debbie and Rundy, and we can't wait to love your little boy, too!

*Credit to Regina and Mrs. Purdy for the positive i.d.!