Stir Me Crazy.

With little desire to write, I spill too many words and smother all.

I am tired but content. Two girls peacefully sleeping means a dim-lit bath and music full of memories, and now I sit, squeaky clean, listening to the Songs: Ohia record that John gave me for Tax Day. (My first-heard and favorite song of Jason Molina's-- The Lioness-- can be heard here.) We either deliberately gave our c.d. copy to Mister B. Boyd E. a few years back or lost it in one of our shuffles from place to place, so John replaced it in superior form. Vinyl or bust.

That same Heart is off throwing people into volcanoes (Board Game Night Abroad). On nights like tonight, when Susannah obliges, waiting for his cominghome is my time of quiet, which I'm now heedlessly spending by feeding pictures to this greedy beast. (Bursting shotsnaps belly.)

John is honing in on two potential jobs, and we continue to look, with hope, for a place to live while we prepare the Nanticoke land for house-raising. In the meantime, we walk around a giant, plastic desk in order to sort through a ridiculous amount of belongings. We spent the day indoors, missing the sun and breeze that teased us from the window. I hunched in front of the computer hunting down details we need in order to move, while the girls eyed agog every last inch of their new desk.

Yep, a new desk. It's funny. After nearly drowning in things we don't even care about, John and I have been slowly weeding through things and sending bags and boxes to thrift stores. He sorts through books with a ruthless eye, and I steel myself to do the same. In a few days, we'll begin uprooting our hideous thrift store/road-found furniture and transplanting them to the side of the road to be found anew by treasure-seekers or garbage men. It's only now, preparing for a someday move, that our home will begin to look filled instead of unpleasantly overstuffed. So, of course, it was today that one of John's co-workers handed down a giant, rich-kids desk for the girls. I scoured it bleach-clean and put it in the living room, where it obscures half of a wall and devours more than it should of our vanishing living room floor. The girls are delighted! So be it.

And now, with hearts a'pound from your vicarious living of today's non-adventure, what are you waiting for? Move on to the glut of snapshots!

*Honest Update: Though the bath was luxurious (as baths become rare when comes motherhood), it was regrettably cut short after five minutes due to Susannah rolling off the pillow I'd placed her belly upon. Loud-voiced displeasure, and her gruntings continue even at quarter-past eleven. The Wren....right. Night Owl, rather.

p.s. I'm not complaining. She is dear even when she grunts past midnight, and I thank the Great Giver for His gift. (I also thank Him for a husband who snatched her from me last night, garnering me seven straight hours of sleep. Hoo Boy!)


So sweet.

AWAKE! (Go, team, go...)

I've never seen the movie, but I think she's imitating him...

Thursday, I scrubbed black pan bottoms copper clean, and the girls visited their reflections.

Friday was balmy and beautiful. We hopped into a toy store to buy a cheap dice cup, but the girls tested out every toy in the place.

We spent a drizzly Saturday on a winding, long drive with no destination, punctuated by a surprise book sale and John's ditties about long drives and the price of gas.


Plump all over.

If she really does take after me, of which she shows some early-- and, therefore, untrustworthy-- signs, she'll suck her thumb until she's almost twelve. (Sad, but true. I took after my dad,only he got away without the protruding teeth I was punished with for that bad habit.)

John dismantling a bookshelf yesterday = Millie skis today

She tested the tracing light when the desk still boasted dust and dead bugs.

Nick made it necessary that I scrub for quite a while....

Isn't this cool? It's like a "lazy susan" for markers.

Newly awake from napping.


She is the Nixie Pixie, after all. Expressions like this are part of the package.

Bellybuttons, however, are also glorious things.

I liked their shared understanding of how glorious large pieces of plastic are.

(Note the headless, and now also tail-less, rubber snake by her feet.)

Millie made John a birthday cake. (See the holes for candles? That's how a birthday cake is made.)

(Note the everpresent snake now lounging on the desktop.)

I post this picture because the first time we saw this hearse, it was parked right in front of our apartment, and we thought our elderly downstairs neighbor might have died. John covets it (the hearse, not the death..) Can't you just picture lots of Owen children peering through the back windows of this?

One of our road-side finds sits on end in the kitchen awaiting its return to the road. It's the perfect place to eat a peanut butter sandwich.


For Mrs. S.C.P. Tate...

and anyone else who may be interested in bellybuilding.

Thanks to an impromptu (but no less heartily celebrated) chat with the aforementioned, I have posted a few recipes on buildabelly.

You all may use or abuse them as you deem fit.
(They're flying my coop to yours...)

A glut of unrelated snapshots to follow, perhaps tomorrow.


Bits and Pieces Form the Whole

This Moment
Sigh. If only all things that dropped or spilled onto the living room floor were Easter nerds, I'd have even less need for a vacuum. The girls are eating them, not me! You and your silly notions.... [crunch, crunch].... I'm eating the honey whole wheat bread I finally made yesterday after a week of avoidance, and it's a bit dense, hence the crunching noise.

Last Night
I am a light sleeper.

When we first moved to town, it took me nearly a year, even with draped blankets and heavy curtains, to easily fall asleep with the leftover light spilling into our room. When we moved to this place, sandwiched between two railroad tracks, I adjusted again. If my mind a'whirl cooperates, I can now fall asleep seamlessly enough with these sounds and lights, but I find that I'm still a light sleeper in all other regards.

After John soundly whomped me in a few board games before bed...
In the deep hours of last night, I came halfway back from Slumberland to hear a delicate thumpity-thump-thump (my girl is too robust for pitter-pats and prefers to thump instead, of which dissatisfied, downstairs Frances is wont to "remind" us from time to time). Five minutes later, I walked through the river to Awake and noticed a bright bathroom light. (Yet another advantage of our small apartment-- from any room, I immediately know where the girls are and in what mischief they are mired.) So, I heaved myself off the mattress and stumbled to the bathroom, where I found a Nixie Pixie, bare cheek to bare floor, sound asleep next to the light she'd just turned on.

A bit after returning to bed, I was roused by the same. That little Walker had slept her way to the bathroom again! Finally abed, I fell asleep to the rhythm of Millie's and Annie's breath, the grunts of the Bird, and my dearest Heart, murmering in his sleep, "I'll teach you how to play...." What a beautiful night to be family. Surrounded by their night noises, even when a touch of a nuisance, brings comfort just the same.

The Few Days Behind

Spring trawls through town and scatters green and growing in her wake. We've been outside enough this past week to give even a normal-complexioned person a sunburn. I had mine after the first half an hour outside, and now, instead of pasty white, I'm a pleasant shade of faded salmon.

The girls and I walked out of our scruffy railroad town into the gilded halls of Lancaster a few days ago. (Depew isn't quite Lancaster's ugly step-sister, but she certainly is the working girl of the family. John calls us Lancaster's ghetto...) Spring in town is a singular thing, not appearing with the same subtlety as it does in the country. Birdsong explodes almost without warning and trees are in full blossom just after one first notices the buds. (Except for this year, the buds arrived before winter ended, and they've been hanging around, ears tuned for the step of spring.)

Last night after John came home, we went out before supper for a walk across four footbridges to reach a Lancaster park. At the playground, we met a mother and her children. When the mother, to prevent the careless words he'd heard before, explained that her son was autistic, I replied that Millie certainly wouldn't care or even notice. She rarely gets a chance to play with children her own age, I explained, so she loves any chance to. Plus, she's a bit kooky. Sure enough, as the boy careened about with barely repressed atomic energy and making noises of excitement, Millie pursued his sister, oblivious to the obvious fact that the girl did not particularly care for a huffing, puffing shadow and was trying to lose her. If a half-hearted observer had seen this scene, he may have thought there were two autistic children running about.

And now, with the advent of spring, Millie calls herself "Sally Millie Forsythia." Wherefrom the Sally? I've no idea.

An Extra-- In praise of Susannah Wren...
She is the amazing baby. Millie and Annie (both chubby) woke me up so many times each night for bedtime meals that I stopped counting after a week or so. Equally chubby Susannah, on the blessed other hand, sleeps soundly and wakes me only once. This is especially nice now that she's begun falling asleep by 10:30. Three cheers for the wee-est!

Post Script
Just this moment, while eyeing the bag of grass seed, Millie innocently asked that if grass seed spilled (by itself, mind you) all over our living room floor, if grass would grow there. Perhaps the vacuum will yet be needed, after all...

True distress is having a long, rubber snake, whose head just gave up the ghost after too many violent twirlings, coupled with a mother who says that it cannot be properly mended with scotch tape.


Proof of spring, take 1.

Bridge above.

Bridge below.

Under the bridge, we passed some Norman Rockwell boys, fishing poles in tow, and a few minutes later Millie stopped me. She had a Rooster Tail fishhook caught in her sock. (Inept boys...as if that's any way to catch a girl.)

Splashing sticks in the water...to kill fish for the ducks to eat, says Millie.

Chasing a pair of intoxicated butterflies by the river's edge.

Downward rolling laughter and grass stains are a sure sign of spring.

Back up the dike to resume our journey. (For Dudette-- The yellow hint at the hill's top is a McDonald's.)

Blossoms and...

Greedy little bees.

Another sign of spring. Pinwheels bloom in our cemetery.

Mister Softee's back with his musical machine.

Annika wouldn't stop tickling her.

See picture below.

She was tapping the trees for maple sap like Grandma J. does. (Tap, tap.) The funny thing is that I hadn't noticed that she'd filled the bucket with her "sap," too. Heavy garden dirt.

Millie tried to plant a forsythia twig in our garden. No such luck.

Susannah gets her dose of sunshine, too.


She stole this from the Lancaster Parks and Recreation Dept. before I knew what she was doing.

Bubble head.

yesterday's walk over streams and bridges four.


Five for Not Forgetting

I set them down here because otherwise they'll slip away.

Color the Weather
My mind is immersed elsewhere when Millie runs to me from the living room, inexplicably near tears. "Mom!" she quavers with eyes welling up, "It's windy out!" Then, an eyeblink later, she begins to laugh, "...AND there's paint in my armpit!" Sure enough, it was and there was.
[I'm teaching her to handle life's rollercoaster as steadily as I do, eh?]

The Knowing
Right before the Lord's Supper is given at our church every week, John always leans to Millie and whispers, "Christ died for you." This past week, after he whispered this truth, Millie whispered back, loudly and pertly, "I know. He tells me every week!"

The Naming
The girls and I were in the store, and Millie was chatting with a friendly, older lady. When the woman asked Susannah's name, Millie replied very glibly, "HernameisSusannahWren, but we were going to name her Mable-Mable-Set-The-Table." The woman cleared her throat and politely said, "How nice..." [How nice, indeed.]

The Price of Gas is Irrelevant
Millie, overheard from the living room, "You're in your seventies, and I'm in my eighties." Annika, ever obliging, "Evteeeee." They were having a teaparty on the ocean, but then Annika somehow displeased Millie, so Millie handily taught her a lesson, as follows.

Millie: "I'm going to fwim all the way to England! Fwim, fwim, fwim, fwim, fwim, fwim...." [Arms akimbo all the way to the bathroom door, at which point the following Nixie arrives]
Then, after leading Innocence into the bathroom and swiftly shutting the door on her, satisfied, "There. You're in jail, and I'm in England."

The Honest Truth
Millie has adopted the Nixie's surly practice of growling and eating our hugs and kisses when she's too grumpy to graciously accept them. A few days ago, I told Millie that I loved her, and she replied (with the attendent surly look), "I took it all, Mom. Oh! It's flying away!" Then with thrashing arms holding the invisible, "I'm catching all your love in a net!"

Her logic was that she'd foiled me by catching all my love. See, that way, I'd have none to give her and sit thwarted, emptyhanded. She didn't understand my jubilant response, "That's just what I want, Millie! I want you to catch all my love, because then you'll have it!"

Sometimes human ties are a mirror of that we have with the Father,
and this gave me a glimmer.

And now, we're off! A long walk awaits because that's the only way I know to get rid of my excess inches while bringing the girls along (What! To stop stealing my children's Easter candy might do it, too, you say?!?!?! P'shaw...)

we're back from the walk. new growth.


The World is Too Much with Us

On an otherwise quiet night, the plunk of fingers on keys is punctuated by the hiccoughs of a wide-eyed Bird who needs no rest. High, soft, little hiccoughs that startle me even when I try to anticipate them.

Twenty-seven years ago Saturday, except the day was instead an Easter Sunday, a wrinkled baby arrived, and her father named her Abigail Joy. Hard to believe that I'm not still 12, grubby with tomboy outdoorsing, or 16, still grubby with the same, or 22-- you guessed it-- with grubby bare feet taking me down the aisle to John, or even 23, 24, 25, or 26 (yep, still grubby). I feel too young to be so old, which is a feeling I'll have every year until I die. (And some give me a well-deserved chuckle, "Twenty-seven? You're a babe in the wood, Abigail Joy.")

We spent the first half of Saturday moving slowly and contentedly at home before going out for greasy food, ice cream, and sliding. It was a good day. Not only did I receive $ expressly for greasy food and ice cream, but my Mopsy gave, among other things, a copper curiosity which made me laugh aloud with delight. John gave me music and the promise of lenses that darken in light. (I have cataracts and bad, squint-eyed sight. New York requires me to wear my glasses while driving, and I perch sunglasses over my regular glasses. No longer!) Dude and Dudette shocked the stuffing out of me with a sewing machine that they'd hidden in storage during their last visit. I'm keeping my trusty, old one for regular sewing, but this one has fancy stitching features and a button holer! Now I need not borrow a fancy machine for the applique of the still-unshaped summer quilt, and I can make other cool things with the push of a pedal.

We worshipped with joy on Easter Sunday, knowing that Death is defeated--a risen Lord! I prepared a pint-sized feast while the girls napped. A smaller ham, though still too large, sat on our table because we celebrated at home. John didn't trust our car's weak heart to last all the way down to Long Island and back, although we sorely wished we could be with our Owen kin. We haven't made the trip down since last summer, so it's long overdue.

And now, tired eyes turn traitor. The Bird has stopped her high-pitched hiccoughs, and I'm off to bed. See pictures below if you need a few playgrounds, greasy food, and the color of boiled eggs. (*Grandmothers-- The Easter morning pictures were snapped in hastiest fashion right before we walked out the door. If you want some smiles, we'll bring them in person!)

*** Actually, it's now Tuesday noon. The girls and I just completed a visit with our friendly laundromat, and a clothesline too heavily burdened fills our yard.


Millie entubed.

We went out on Thursday-- just for fun-- and it was.

She borrowed mine. (Addicted to sunglasses now...)