P.S. Let's Have More Teen Pregnancy

I forgot to share this article that John shared with me. John has heard the author on public radio before. She's a thoughtful author, and reading this piece was time well spent.

A Fistful of Mixed Grain

After stripping our refrigerator of its friendly armor, it lost the will to live. Slain by the loneliness of a gleaming facade, it stopped working last Wednesday. Our landlords were leaving on vacation, so we told them not to worry about it. We don't miss it horribly, but since I drink about half a gallon of milk a day, and the girls like milk, too, John gallantly set up a "milk cooler" in our kitchen. (Side note-- Scott and Leah, we'd like to buy real milk from your cows once we move.)

My packing of most foodstuffs coupled with our refrigerator's nervous breakdown has produced lackluster meals; the girls slurped Tasty Oats with milk + last summer's thawed blueberries for supper last night. (If anyone wants the recipe, give me a holler, and I'll post it on buildabelly.) These cardboard meals come after again making the yummy chicken buryani on Tuesday night, too. John likes it so much that he threatens to find himself a nice, Pakistani girl if I don't make it frequently enough.

Thanks to the Eckleys sharing a feast with us on Thursday night, though, we'll survive. We filled our bellies so full that I figure we should last until next Thursday, at the very least.

The sun slipped past our horizon of houses quite a while ago, and the thermometer tells me that it's still 92 degrees in our upper apartment. It's always a good bit stickier up here than it is outside; since tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer, and Tuesday warmer yet, I am glad we're moving before August hits (although this feels like August). I made beef stew in the crockpot today so that we could use up some meat. Boy, was it ever a perfect day for piping hot stew. (I'm not Martha, that's for sure.)

We pack and pack. Boxes open their flaps for both the needed and unnecessaries, for the everpresent and near at hand to the old and nearly forgotten.

Distractions abound, chiefest of which are two boxes heavy with words and worth their weight in gold tenfold. A double portion, sent and received. Words are not what won me, but I'm glad of the Friend who wove them so well, and there are worse ways to procrastinate than to sit cross-legged on the kitchen floor, sifting through an alphabet of love. The sweetness of substance.

Yesterday, we didn't set foot outside the house until bedtime. Just shy of eight o'clock, a time when the girls are usually in bed, though not yet asleep, we bolted from our prison for a walk to the post office. The last round of bills for this place are now mailed, and good riddance to them. Snapshots of our escape stand at attention in rows below. (No pictures of the bills. Good riddance!)

Now that we've moved nearly innumerable boxes to the landlord's garage, our apartment is beginning to look nice in spots! Why do we ever have more than 3 cups in the cupboards? Why does the medicine cabinet ever hold more than one tube of triple antibiotic ointment and some bandaids? Who ever uses more than one pen and one pencil? I think it's not so much the type of belongings we have that become a burden as much as the duplication of them.

John and I are stupefied by the amount of boxes we've packed. Today, he switched our reservation for a moving truck to the next largest size. We feel better now, knowing that we'll have enough truck space, but it was a bit disheartening, as well. We are magicians to fit so much stuff into such a small apartment-- a talent I think we would do well to temper in our next place.

Now that the counters have been cleared of cutting boards and measuring cups, along with all else that of necessity was clumped thereon, my three feet of counter space yawn like an empty field. It's a beautiful sight.

(Maybe we should drive the moving truck straight to Amvets.)

I read a book in Sr. Seminar English class about a woman who broke the bindings of human ties and material stuff. I have no desire to walk without dear ones by my side, but I wouldn't mind lugging about half as much stuff along with us. We are so suffocated with material wealth in this country that a family like ours can be classified as poor and yet have abundantly more than we need.

I am certainly not complaining of bountiful provision, though, and I will be cheerfully grateful that we had so much to pack once it has all been unpacked and put into a proper place in our new home. And when I have a garage sale this summer, you're all invited, as long as you bring pockets nearly burnt through with money and enough time to enjoy good food and conversation.

Today was our last Sunday worshipping with the saints at Niagara Reformed Presbyterian. The leaving is bittersweet. Our membership will be transferred to the church group in Ithaca, and we are looking forward to getting to know them better, but we will miss the fellowship we've enjoyed for the past two years. Being part of such a small group fosters closeness by necessity, and being witness to a dear man's death after only attending for a few months gave us an immediate and irrevocable bond with those who helplessly watched the same. We are thankful for the friendships we've formed with perhaps unlikely folk and will miss them as they miss us. God has been and is so good to call us together with His people.

One last bit for a post delirious with heat...
I sent out our new mailing address via email several days ago. If you didn't receive it, and you'd like it, please send me an email at the fridgefame@gmail.com address, and I'll email it to you from my regular email account.

That's all.

At the Eckleys, Ben stealthly tries a nibble. (I have a picture of AmyBeauty with the dumpling baby, too, but I didn't ask permission to post it. Actually, I didn't ask Ben's permission to post this, but he's used to getting no respect.)

The square of green across the way from the post office.

This little dog's name was Susie, and her proud owner showed us all her tricks.

I shook the tree to release the dying blossoms. A flowerfall for the girls to dance in.

An excited blur.

Dudette, these glow-in-the-dark necklaces you gave were uncovered while packing and have once again become night-time staples for them both.

Susannah kept sucking on her sling, hoping to be the first to wring milk from cloth.

Ten minutes later, the outlaw has dozed off.

We found our way home at nine o'clock, and I nursed the fussy bird while the girls got ready for bed. I was quite amused to find this little stowaway from the tree squirming near her ear. He was caught in her wisps.

Millie was loath to part when bedtime came, saying, "He is my best friend, Mama, and I love him forever. He is so cute." I was still nursing Susannah, so I told Millie to put him on top of the garbage can in a tissue until I could return him to his outdoor home. I forgot about him until 1:45 in the morning, at which point I pawed through our garbage to find him at the bottom. The happy ending is that I gently transplanted him to a safer habitat.


Skim or Skip.

This paragraph especially for the curious friend Rebecca:

Enter numbers 5 and 6...
Welcome to Audra and Amanda, their Papa's little Jewels! (The sweet girls share that middle name for that very reason.) They weighed 5 lb., 10 oz., and 5 lb., 11 oz. This is impressive considering they were two weeks early, and Becky, excepting her big belly, was still a twiggy twig. According to the phoneselves of Becky and my Mopsy, they are healthy and hungry and the sweetest babies ever, and I am dying to meet them! Becky's recovering well but isn't supposed to be doing much at all apart from feeding her wee-est ones, so my mom's staying with them for a bit to help out with homeschooling, cleaning, and such. Um. That's it for now, I suppose.

In other, rather drab news, this house has sold. We move in the nick of time because the new owner plans to live in one of the lower apartments, and I can't imagine he would have allowed us to continue living in this small space. I sure will miss those neighborly chats with Mr. Realtor Man, though.

We drive on next Wednesday morning. We don't have a whole lot left to pack, and we're planning to move absolutely everything except blankets for floor sleeping, paper plates for easy cleanup, and a few outfits into the garage by Sunday night. That way, I can scrub the entire place on Monday morning, and then we can hang out and have fun until we pack the truck Tuesday night in preparation for Wednesday's departure. Smooth sailin'.

Not only is the garden plot already tilled for us, but Mopsy and the kids found some rhubarb growing, nearly choked, next to the fence. Hurrah! With a bit of love and some aged manure, I hope to have a bumper crop next spring. I invite each and every last one of you over for pie and crisp with cold vanilla cream.

Two bedrooms will be strange. Millie told me today that she and Annika will be lonely. I think we will be, too. Maybe we'll just use the second bedroom as a library.

I had no plans to post words today, but my heart softened at Rebecca's plea for baby news. I have to make potato salad for dinner at the Eckley's tomorrow. I can't wait to show off Susannah. Her rolls have my potato salad beaten fair and square.

Useful Information for Any Occasion

If one's bedroom has muddied green wallpaper at least 30 years old, which comes off on tape that was affixed to the backs of doodles and collages, leaving glaring white squares on the bare walls, here's the remedy.

To replace the white squares with green splotches, carefully mix burnt sienna, chinese white, and viridian hue to approximately the same shade of muddy green. Brush watercolors over wallpaperless spots.


(Sadly, the splotches are as obvious as the white patches were.)

Annie trapped in the laundromat today, waving at a plane flying free.

Redhead in the laundromat. Something about the lighting made her hair singe my fingers.

Little feet wear lots of little socks. Little feet sometimes forget to take socks off when they run outside, and big feet poorly wash socks for little feet. (I blame the laundromat for those black bottoms.)

This barber shop is a few minutes from our apartment. I think Leon needs some free, blog advertising because I've never seen a customer while walking past.

I laugh every time we walk by. Those styles in the window are JUST THE WAY I LIKE IT.

It's a wonder that no one's disturbed the stroller in all of our river-crick walks. Just over the ridge is a McDonalds and across the road is a Tops plaza, yet not one of the population has touched it.

Susannah by the water tower. Sleep, small one.

Annika by the tower. Don't ask me how she came by the red scrape on her head, because I have no idea.

Millie asked me to take a picture of it. She's getting sentimental about everything now that our move looms closer. (That comes from me.)

With most of the pillows packed away, the nursing pillow serves double-duty.

I rolled out the paper John's co-worker gave us because I was going crazy. The apartment seems smaller the more I pack because of the background of bedlam. A few minutes after I left them quietly drawing, I returned to find their clothes in a small heap. Apparently, they were getting in the way of Art. (See the bearded sun below Millie's elbow? Yep, that's what it is.)

Millie told me she wanted to draw an elephant and began by, in her words, drawing "...an ENORMOUS head, Mama."

The elephant, nearly complete. Not too shabby for a first attempt, eh? I didn't help her other than to tell her that he needed a trunk and two ears. She thought of the hands and fingers all by herself. Brilliant girl!

They fell down because ice is slippery, you know.

After the markers lost their appeal, the paper became a skating rink, and, right before naptime, a barrel racing ring. (Since I told Millie I can teach her to barrel race once we get down to Grandma Johnson and her horses, she practices when she can.)

When I took this out of the closet, Annika almost swooned with excitement. She had forgotten it existed, but made up for it by wearing it nonstop, keeping it on for every activity of the day except bathrooming (phew).

A maurauding oliphaunt.

So much to find when you're just shy of three months. A tongue!

Now that she's become a round, moon face, John calls her Little No Ears. She has the nicest ears placed flat against her head (thank goodness she has John's ear genes), but her expanding cheeks hide them entirely.

I was sorting through my hats a few days ago, and the girls enjoyed the ones I put in the thrift store pile.

A Millie, in deep thought.

And another Nixie. So coy.

Here's another tip. When you sort through your bathroom junk and wish to discard a bunch of it, don't throw the minty chapstick away in the trash can right next to the toilet. Apparently, Annika thought the black rim was a smiley mouth, eager for soft and supple lips.

On Thursday night, we =had a farewell dinner of sorts at The Family Tree Restaurant (not too far from our church) with some friends from church whose children are the most amazing friends of our girls. Their two boys aren't in this picture, but even the oldest, at seventeen, will be sorely missed by Millie and Annika, who view them as chums, too.

Millie took this picture of me saying, "Mhhmmmeirimmmm." (At least that's what it looks like I was saying.)

Annika and Emily.


Dead Aim.

John gave me a strand of silver on Sunday, the first jewelry since the Rocketship Ring that sealed our beautiful deal. Lamentably, its lovely sterling loop was not designed for a hurry-scurry mother of three children, and it opened a few times, spilling the circle pendant. It was expensive enough to warrant a swift return, so Tuesday evening when John left to face his foe in Hammer of the Scots, the three girls and I, with his encouragement (it didn't take much), went for our first ever Girls Only Date. Of course this isn't the first gaiety we've had on our own before; after all, we do have to occupy ourselves in the hours that John's at work. This, however, was an officially declared and duly celebrated Occasion.

Poor Millie was disappointed to see men here and there.
She thought the entire place should have been quarantined.

Our Jack-of-All-Trades Closet is clean, and most of its innards have been packed away. That's all. I thought yesterday’s big chore deserved a mention.

If you would, please keep my oldest sister Becky and her family in your prayers today. She had a c-section this morning to bring her twins into the great, wide world. She wished to give birth as naturally as possible, but both the wee ones foiled her by flipping into the breech position and refusing to flip again. No news yet, so we sit on pins and needles. We pray for as speedy a recovery as possible and can’t wait to meet them, Beck!

Susannah has rolled from her belly to her back and comes excruciatingly close to rolling from back to belly. Her mouth twists with the effort.
She laughs now, too. We love her.

The bottoms of my trousers are already rolled, and yet I grow older.

Laundry’s done, bread’s a’rising, girls are eating, and baby’s sleeping.
Having no news is often a very pleasant thing.
I’m off.

All four of us at the laundromat this morning, just barely crammed into one frame. Susannah kept lurching off to the side to stare at the lights....or something.

She was giving her baby rides on the merry-go-round (though only parents would understand her word for it) while singing her a song entitled "Happy, happy, happy." I think that's the title at least, because that was the only word in the song.

Annika kept grinning at me on our walk homeward last night. Millie is talking to a bird. (This may explain why Annika kept grinning.)

She poked out the back to catch me off my guard.

Cemetery. I know, the subject matter's wearing thin, but look at that wind!

Millie took this picture of the Pixie, or, rather, of her fire engine sweater.

Bark. I liked it.

All four girls ready to go on a date. You'll have to trust me that Susannah was, too.

The girls rode on lots of (stationary) rides. Why bother to plunk quarters inside when they delight in the rides anyway? (I did break down and give them a ride on a mini merry-go-round before we left, though. It was like one outside of K-mart that I used to ride-- usually unmoving-- as a child, and it was too much to resist.)

Annie alone.

Millie was transfixed, but Annie kept sliding her glance to the stroller.

Millie loves to push the stroller to give me and Susannah a break.

Annie gets a pushing turn, and Millie spies the fountains.

Millie had a Ketchupdog with water (anyone who knows anything knows that the ketchup is the most important part).