Thursday, December 18, 2014

Birthdays, Baby Blessings, Etc.

Two grainy, black-and-white birthdays. Six and fourteen. (Fourteen!??):
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Gingerbread waffles, anyone?
IMG_7738_edited-1Good work, Doodles!

Sight words, Christmassy things, and first cousins once removed:Photo Dec 06, 4 44 38 PMPhoto Dec 07, 7 27 46 PMPhoto Dec 07, 6 23 16 PMPhoto Dec 07, 8 16 35 PM (1)Photo Dec 06, 4 45 15 PMPhoto Dec 10, 4 53 34 PMPhoto Dec 16, 1 24 33 PMPhoto Dec 16, 1 26 52 PM
Remember how our tree was 16.5 feet tall last year? This year it’s slightly less impressive. Like . . . 14 feet less impressive. Ha! Mike really wanted one we could plant at the cabin afterwards. The kids were good sports and made the most of decorating our Charlie Brown tree.

Birthday cash, Goldie’s choir concert, Daisy’s choir concert, flying babies, and asthma attacks:
Photo Dec 09, 4 05 44 PMPhoto Dec 11, 6 35 53 PMPhoto Dec 11, 7 19 52 PMPhoto Dec 11, 7 20 00 PMPhoto Dec 16, 7 48 26 PMPhoto Dec 17, 2 50 10 PMPhoto Dec 09, 4 44 22 PMPhoto Dec 17, 2 50 07 PMPhoto Dec 16, 8 14 33 AM

Baby blessing (Summer Maren):
Photo Dec 07, 12 16 48 PM (1)Photo Dec 08, 3 49 26 PM
I knew nothing about Mike’s third great-grandma Maren (nor did Mike really) until, assigned with the task of middle-naming our baby, Mike spent a morning looking over family history records. Maren’s life was not a life of simple choices and angelic ease; and she died on the ship bringing her from Denmark to America on the very day land was sighted. She was buried on a little island in the Mississippi Delta. A little island that likely no longer exists. After reading about her, Mike felt that she should be remembered, this Danish grandma of his. It’s funny because Maren isn’t even my ancestor, but she is Summer’s, and I feel so strangely happy that Mike found her. I feel something bordering on fierceness in my feelings of loyalty to her. I am so glad a little connection has been forged between Summer and this fourth-great-grandma of hers!

Lastly: chickens – always wishing I’d let them in (and being disappointed in that wish); a Goldie-made Perry-the-Platypus ornament that I am quite sure I’ve wanted, without knowing it, for all of my life; and, a little Christmas-hatted baby girl.
Photo Dec 10, 4 11 00 PMPhoto Dec 13, 12 50 58 PM
Photo Dec 18, 8 37 58 AMPhoto Dec 18, 8 37 45 AM

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Songs . . . and Other Beautiful Things

I've been listening, over and over . . . and over to songs that . . . what is it that they do? They . . . I don't know . . . they keep me in a constant flux between joy and sorrow. No. Not sorrow. That's not right. But, they do make me feel like I have tendon-like chords running up and down all along the full length of my rib cage – like some tight, thick harp strings – and that someone is reaching in, grabbing onto them and pulling with all of their might.

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It would have sounded prettier, perhaps, to have just relied on the already-safely-tested metaphor of “heart strings”, but it feels like this straining runs across my entire chest . . . and my heart, biologically speaking, wasn't quite big enough to explain properly how much pulling seems to be going on inside of me – how much of me is being pulled.

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I’m sure plenty of it is caused by the way the music rises and falls, the way it swells, whispers, or suddenly grows loud. And, I know nostalgia has more than it’s fair sway in what is going on here.

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But listening to these songs seems to fill me with some longing that I don’t have the words for; and I find myself more keenly aware of the contrast between beauty and goodness and light; . . . and this fallen, tangled and messy world.

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I’m so glad it’s here: so glad there are glorious things, and innocent and pure things here. . . . But I feel somehow pained that they must exist amidst difficulty and darkness. It is that same feeling I’ve often had before that I can only really describe as “homesickness”. I love the complete familiarity of the beautiful here – in songs, and words, . . . and people. But . . . oh how I want to keep the darkness far far separate from ever touching those things.

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Still. As I said, I love that those spots of perfect brightness do exist – do shine out their brightness amidst all the struggle of mortality. I feel myself gathering those things into my soul – holding them fiercely – wanting to keep, and remember, and stop anything from dimming.

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(Speaking of beautiful: the fact that this song has showed up on my Facebook feed roughly one-hundred-billion times the past few days, has done nothing to overdo it’s loveliness for me. It’s so pretty. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELjgFKACcdQ – When you listen to it, do you feel a little bit of what I have so falteringly tried to get down here?)

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Misc. Misc. Misc.

The weather here has been so unseasonably lovely. It's like 50 something-or-other today! I love it because it's . . . well . . . warm, but I don't love it because it's . . . just . . . so . . . unChristmas-like and I can't help but feeling . . .

Wo. Wait. Stop, Nancy. Stop.

Shoot. I just realized I was talking about weather. (Said with my head shrinking awkwardly into my uplifted shoulders.) This always happens. I start missing writing, and, in desperation for something to say – something to satisfy the blank-screen emptiness – I leap right into the weather.

We may as well all be on a first date. And . . . it's clearly not going well. “So . . . it's sure been . . .warm for December.”

“Yah. Really warm.” Uncomfortable silence. “Do you like . . . snow . . . and stuff?”

Shudder. And also sigh. I just want to spill out something thought provoking. Or funny. Or insightful. Or interesting. Because I feel like those things are there – thoughtful and interesting – coursing through me, bouncing around in my head and hitting off the sides like some sort of a pinball game. But . . . sometimes they just won't . . . I don't know . . . coalesce. They won't materialize into writeable words.

Blast.

Perhaps they just need a little more time to steam before they are ready to condense. (Ooh . . . metaphor though that was, it does kind of feel that way. Nicely done, self.)

Ah well. A photo dump from the cell phone then.

My boring plan of simply throwing away the pumpkins that still remained around here from Halloween and Thanksgiving was upped to “way more fun” by Mike's addition of baseball bats and also . . . axes. (Yipes.)
Photo Nov 28, 10 20 44 AMPhoto Nov 28, 10 31 38 AM

And . . . miscellaneous stuff. *When I blow dry my hair, Anders often demands I turn the dryer on him. *Look how mad Goldie is at Abe for spraying whip-cream into his mouth during our “hot cocoa party”. *Daisy's warm clothes/camping chair pic was taken moments before leaving to the local-ish Christmas parade . . . and was almost all for naught as we discovered, just before leaving, that our dog had run off. Luckily, dog was found, and we made our way through the traffic and crowds – thanks to Mike's excellent driving, parking and overall navigating skills – just in time for the parade to start.)
Photo Dec 02, 8 57 52 AMPhoto Dec 03, 3 10 08 PMPhoto Dec 04, 4 25 03 PMPhoto Dec 05, 8 00 34 AMPhoto Nov 28, 5 31 14 PMPhoto Nov 28, 10 25 47 PMPhoto Nov 29, 11 43 12 PMPhoto Nov 30, 6 50 49 PM

I love our magnet board. It is an easy way for me to switch out displayed pictures on a regular basis. Also, at four months, Summer's hands still can't touch over her head. That always makes me chuckle.
Photo Nov 29, 8 54 25 AMPhoto Dec 01, 3 18 00 PM

The girls had some of their cousins over for cookie-making and crafting. I love so much that Daisy and Goldie are old enough to create “fun” of this nature with pretty much no effort on my end. They did everything from making the dough, to figuring out the craft, to organizing the order in which kids would take turns to “cookie-cut”.
Photo Nov 29, 1 28 34 PMPhoto Nov 29, 2 00 52 PMPhoto Nov 29, 3 02 46 PMPhoto Nov 29, 3 25 32 PM (1)

Daisy, of her own accord, convinced Penny to let her give her piano lessons a few months ago. While it hasn't been incredibly consistent, I have been amazed at how much Penny has learned from a few “lessons” with her older sister. When it came time for Daisy's Christmas piano recital, her teacher said that Penny would be welcome to perform at it as well. And then . . . we went to Old Navy and Michael's. (Shrug.)
Photo Dec 04, 4 19 51 PMPhoto Dec 04, 4 26 38 PMPhoto Dec 04, 6 02 09 PMPhoto Dec 04, 8 09 14 PM

Penny and Anders studying their Pokemon. Thank goodness. And Anders playing with our set of Book of Mormon figures. I always have mixed feelings about kids playing with “scripture characters”. I've mentioned before how I once chanced upon several of our nativity figures – all loaded in the Barbie Corvette and headed for Smith and Edwards Country Store. Oh the potential for sacrilege . . .
Photo Dec 04, 4 34 20 PMPhoto Dec 05, 9 29 20 AM

Anywho, happy Christmassy-time-of-year to you all! I keep hearing about everyone having their shopping all done and their presents all wrapped, and, it's too much to bear – hearing those things. We haven't even started – on Christmas or the two birthdays we'll celebrate next week. I've simply had my hands too full hot-glueing all our broken Christmas decorations back together. Me and that hot glue gun? We're tight.

The End.

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