do not worry about tomorrow

Yesterday I found myself thinking ahead.  I've been doing that a lot lately.

To be honest, I have spent a great deal of my life doing it.  I know I'm not alone in this - it seems to be part of the human condition to look forward, to long for something else, or something more, to worry about what is to come, or to simply wonder (in anxiety or joyful anticipation) about the future.

And when I do that here, these days, I can start to feel overwhelmed, buried.  These things we're living with - the quirks of being a multi-generational family and Alzheimer's and I know what that looks like today but what in the world will it look like in 2 weeks or 2 months or maybe even 2 years - they can pummel me like an ocean wave (Goleta tar and seaweed and all) until I'm left gasping, spitting out salty water and rubbing sandy eyes, straining desperately to discover which way is up.

Yesterday, God spoke a quiet word to me.  "Today."  Be here today.  Just be here now.  Don't worry about tomorrow, and by the way, My grace is sufficient for you.

What a tragedy it would be to let the fog of my worries about tomorrow obscure the beauty of today.

And so I breathed in and out and looked around me.  Here is what I found:

Muddy fingers and dirt-smeared cheeks.
A beloved blonde head glinting in the sunlight.
Twin sisters running through golden leaves, hair streaming behind them and strong legs racing.
A profile I love, freckled nose and little round chin.
An old man's smile, and his wife's laugh.
Food in the oven, and then on the table.
Eyes that behold me with love and honor.
A strong hand giving my own one last squeeze before I close my eyes and sleep.  In peace.

Here is where my life is, right here, right now.  God, in Your mercy, don't let me miss it.


counting my blessings

6 precious feet
30 beloved toes
3 sweet sisters giving their toys a bath in the sink
1 incredibly blessed life


for Katie Jo

This post is dedicated to Katie, Sarah, Christine, Carrie (Oh, how we miss you!), Kristin, KK, and Josh.

When I was in high school my friends used to make fun of me because I'm not much of an animal person.  What kind of a person doesn't like puppies? they'd tease.  And I would insist that I didn't NOT like them, I just liked people better.  And then they'd laugh because, well, the double negative wasn't all that convincing.  One of my dear, fabulous, funny friends - Katie - had a crazy puppy named Pepper who did not help my case.  I probably could have done without all of the barking, jumping, licking, furry, in your face madness that Pepper added to the many days and nights we spent at Katie's house.  Okay, I know I could have done without it.

I recently turned 30 (and I thought about blogging about it and being all reflective and stuff, but let's be honest here, I am barely putting one foot in front of the other these days) and Katie wrote a sweet note that included the line: "Maybe 30 is the year where you get a dog?"

Well, guess what, Katie?  I have not only 1 dog now, but 2!!!  And guess who gets to feed them?!?!

Life is funny sometimes.

So, this is Blue Girl:

And this is Bella:
 Bella reminds me of Pepper in some ways.  I especially love to watch her when she's tearing after the family of wild turkeys that lives in the woods around our house.  Running turkeys are hilarious.  Some people might think that's mean, but you know me.  I'm not a huge animal person - I just don't NOT like them.

(But I sure do love these people.)
 (Isn't Lu's hair awesome here?)
 (Love love love this girl.  And her mouthful of food.)


for my 5 year olds

Dear Aida and Sophie,

Yesterday you turned 5.  Sometimes it leaves me speechless when I think about the day you entered this world and made me a Mama, and the ways in which you have grown since then, the ways in which I have grown.

We celebrated you right this weekend, with all things pink (Sophie's favorite color) and orange (Aida's favorite).  Friends and a pool and 2 cakes with rainbow candles and My Little Ponies and new bikes and only 1 hysterical-excitement-almost-became-a-huge-meltdown.  It comes with the 5-year-old territory.

Girls, this is a huge time of change for you.  Huge.  You have held up tremendously as we have thrown you into a new environment which is filled with fun and blessings - beautiful scenery in which to ride you bikes each day, a creek to throw things in and fresh air and safety and adventure to breathe - but which is also filled with challenges and unknowns and loud noises - none of which you have ever been very excited about.  I know you are being stretched, and while I sometimes wish I could make everything simple and easy for you, I know that this is good, too.  And I am working hard to be your peace and your home and your safe place in the midst of it all.

And tomorrow you start school!  My 5 year olds, going to pre-K and away from Mommy for the first time ever.   I know you will cry tomorrow.  I know I will, too - I will miss my faithful companions of the last 5 years.  But I also know that this is something else that will be so good for you.  That when we reach the end of this year and you are on the cusp of 6 I will once again be speechless as I consider the ways that you've grown.

Little Loves, I thank God for the gift of each of you in my life.  And now I'm going to go into your room to play some My Little Ponies with you.

Love, Mama

(The girls insisted I take this picture after they had lined up their new ponies.  Because we need to record the really important stuff, you know.)



 No, we have not begun consuming ridiculous amounts of alchol.  (We have, however, been going through ridiculous amounts of baby wipes.)

The Reynolds clan is packing up and heading out - out of this sweet little home that we love and into another home that we love.  We're moving in with my grandparents - Mimi and Granddaddy - to be with them and help them and learn from them, to give our girls wide open spaces to play in and to be a 3-minute walk from our church, the place we go for healing and rest and peace on this journey.

So, while I would love to blog about our family vacation in FL last week (lovely) and our 7th anniversary (I sure do love this guy) and all of the silly and funny things these 3 girls are doing (love love love) I can't.  Because I'm packing.  And going crazy.
I wish I could hide under a box.

Pray for us!  We'll be back in blogland soon.


pool hair

I love summer, when we fill a bag with towels and a cooler with homemade popsicles, slather peachy-pink skin with sunscreen and pile into a hot car.  We drive to the pool, little sandaled feet kicking the back of my seat while we listen to classical music and the blast of the AC and Lucy's yelps and shouts.  We park in the shade (hooray!) and begin the process of unfolding bodies and floaties and the giant bag of towels and the cooler from our little car, then flip-flop through the gate, depositing our load on the nearest lounge chair.  We ease into the cool water, cringing a little at first, then relaxing into the relief of it all.  We paddle, we splash, we laugh, Lucy yelps, until I am pushing, rushing, out of the pool NOW so we can get home and have some dinner before we all fall apart.

And I love my girls' hair after they've been in the pool.
 (I also love it when their faces are covered with ketchup.)


happy birthday Lucy

My little Lu,
You turned 1 a week ago.  It was a fast year - I remember so clearly the morning you were born and it doesn't feel like 366 (well, 373) days have passed.  We are so grateful for the gift of You, little Lucy Rose.

You are an emotional little bit, riding high and crazy and then crashing hard and loud.  Your scrunched-up-nose faces and silly closed-eyed smiles make us laugh.  You squeal and you shriek and then, when something goes differently than you had hoped it would, you throw a giant tantrum that would put any 2-year-old to shame.  You keep life interesting, and joyful, and loud.

You love love love your big sisters and they adore you back, although they have started rushing to close the door of their bedroom more often since you became mobile.  You crawl around all day and say, "Hi!" to the people you love - and if you're feeling generous (which you usually are) to people you don't know, too.

Your current obsessions are doggies ("ruh-ruh" all day long) and hummus (you could eat a tubful at each meal) and working on pulling up (you clap for yourself once you sit back down).  You put your fingers together to "cut the pickle" when someone tells you to give them a high-5, and you wave and you love to be carried around by Mommy and you bob up and down when you want me to turn on music.  Your favorite birthday gift was a toothbrush.  You barely touched your cupcake.  You melt my heart when that little blond head lies on my shoulder.

I love you, little girl.  Happy birthday - may our God grant you many more!


if you ever need to cross a hot lava lake...

...be sure you are wearing the proper attire.  Disregard the amount of sunlight and heat in the environment.  Cover yourselves from head to toe.  (Footie pjs, mittens, and hats are perfect for this.)  Make a mighty run for it across said hot lava lake and jump onto the counter next to a bowl of waffle batter.
Brave the fierce Hot Lava Tickle Monster.

After you've shown him who's boss, ask him to make you some waffles.  Slather them in Nutella.  Forget all about hot lava.  Onto the next adventure...


oh Lord, it's hard to be humble

Little Lu has had an ear infection.  Her first.  Sweet thing was clearly in pain and was not afraid to let us know.  Communication seems to be one of her strong points.

I've noticed something about myself over the past few days as I've devoted most of my time to holding her and/or keeping her from exercising her all-out banshee scream.  A strange mixture of discontent and inadequacy seeps into my bloodstream when an entire day's moments are not particularly enjoyable.  All of a sudden it drives me absolutely CRAZY that I'm unable to pull weeds in front of the house.  Funny, I didn't feel compelled to pull any weeds in the previous 2 weeks when I had 3 relatively happy girls on my hands.  I glance around my home and only see mess.  I decide I should be more serious about finding time to exercise/bake healthy snacks/blog/organize the master bathroom closet.

It happens every time.  I wish it wouldn't.  But here's what I'm thinking - the more I am compelled to put the needs of someone else (or multiple someone elses) before my own, the more my will tries to assert itself in any way it can, to the point that it tries to convince me that if only I was baking multigrain banana muffins instead of caring for my precious (albeit screaming) child I would feel fulfilled.

I was home in Santa Barbara for a whirlwind trip a few weeks ago and got to enjoy a rollicking meal with most of my family.  I can't remember what led up to it, but in the middle of dinner several of them broke out into a song I've heard sung many times before: "Oh Lord, it's hard to be humble, when you're perfect in ev-er-y way..."

It made us all laugh, just like it always does.  And we sing that song tongue-in-cheek.  But the truth is, it IS hard to be humble, not because I'm perfect in ev-er-y way but because it is hard work to try to quiet my pride and my need to please myself.  It's not something my heart always wants to do.  Motherhood, however, requires it of me, whether I'm ready for humility or not.  It can be a hard way to continually learn this lesson.  But it is such a sweet way.



I had to post these pictures of my Lu for posterity.  Her teeth have just been cracking us up for the past 2 months.  The funniest thing was the way she would use those 3 (off-center) teeth to take bites out of her Cheerios.  Bites.  Out of Cheerios.  With 3 off-center teeth.  I love how everything about this little Lucy is so Lucy.  

 Now all of a sudden she is in the throes of major teething and 3 more top teeth are erupting through her gums.  Her look is changing quickly.  But she's still Lucy.  Thank God.


Daddy's Sping Bake

*or "Spring Break" for those of you who like to articulate your r-blends*

Last week was Elijah's Spring Break.  Ooh, it was glorious.  No trips to the beach or fancy plans here - just playing in the backyard and riding bikes in circles on the deck and learning about Tetrus on Daddy's phone.

The girls learning about Tetrus.
Apparently, Lu would rather flash her cheesy smile than play video games.

And walking.  Lots and lots of walking.

The weather couldn't have been better.  We took full advantage and walked through the neighborhood, at the greenway, through Cheekwood and Percy Warner Park.  We walked in the rain.  We walked in the gorgeous sunshine.  Lu got a free ride strapped to me or nestled in her stroller.  Sometimes the big girls took their own babies in their strollers and mothered them about.  It was sweet, and blessed, and we are Definite-yee (as my girls say- what, you articulate your l-sounds, too?) missing Daddy as he is back at work this week.  Can anyone say, "Summer Vacation"?  I know my girls can.


the dreams that you wish

We love going to Storytime at the downtown library.  It is fabulous - puppets and songs, juggling and rainbows and books.  The girls and I have developed a little post-Storytime tradition of visiting the fountain in the library courtyard.  If they're lucky, I have 2 pennies for wishes.  And my sweet girls don't know yet that you're not supposed to tell what you wished for.

So last week, after Aida and Sophie took turns looking hard at their pennies and tossing them in (with feeling!), I asked them: "What did you wish for?"

Aida replied, "I wished that Lucy (Yucy) will be a teacher."
Sophie, looking thoughful, answered, "I wished that Lucy (Yucy)...could eat potatoes."

Somewhere along the line, while I was pregnant with Lu, my big girls got "wish" and "prayer" a bit muddled.  The line can be fuzzy, anyway.  And while Lucy was quietly gestating, her sweet big sisters were offering up prayers on her behalf - that she would be healthy and strong and safe.  Once she was born, they continued to pray for her - that she would get better from a cold, or have long hair.  (One day, my darlings.)  Any time they "make a wish", it is about and for Lucy - more prayers offered up from innocent lips for their beloved baby.

Oh, my girls, I wish that I was better at hanging onto these sweet moments, at remembering every detail - the way hair wisps and curls at temples, the freckles on a nose, the crooked teeth and rosy cheeks and hilarious smiles.  I wish - I pray - that I will not take these days with you for granted, even when it's not fun and fountains and wishes.  I wish that you will know just how much this Mama treasures you.

A lot.  A whole, whole lot.



2 years ago today I went to the hospital, very newly pregnant, writhing in pain and scared out of my mind that what I knew was happening was actually happening.  The next day I came home, missing a fallopian tube and missing the child we never had a chance to meet.

In the time since, God has brought healing, peace, and a beautiful, healthy, precious daughter - the best gift.  I don't wish that things were different.  But today I have still been hit with, and surprised by, the grief.  I am trying to live in it, to let myself feel it and know that it will fade, to kiss my babies and thank God for the beautiful souls He has placed in my life and to miss the one I have yet to meet.


lucy's new 'do

Oh, how I love baby hair in the winter.


full of static,


Lucy fills this house with laughter - how could she not with her two little hair-horns?