i write so that i will remember

Yesterday my littlest woke me up before it was light, just like she does every morning, like she has every morning since I stopped nursing her through the night.  I pulled her from her bed, brought her into mine.  Her daddy lay still on her other side.  She was on her back looking up at the ceiling fan as it slowly rotated.  I curled into her and listened to her breathe.  Her small, perfectly chubby hands found my hair, my neck, my cheeks.  "Mommy, I'm ready for my milk and water and graham crackers," she cheerfully announced.  Snuggle time over.  Morning had officially begun.

We went downstairs, retrieved her snacks.  I silently cursed the dishwasher which had failed to complete its cycle.  Lu sat perched on the counter where she always sits while I do the morning chores - dishes, silverware, counters.  I changed the date on the white board to attempt to orient my grandparents to the day ahead.  I made tea.  Lu sang.

We went upstairs and read from our giant stack of library books.  Aida burst into the room, sleepy-eyed and smiling.  She created a spot for herself in the rocking chair.  Her daddy pulled himself out of bed and into his 6-mile-running shoes.  We read some more, and listened to Lucy as she pretended to go to the fair, and relived the best moments from the previous evening's carnival.  We got tired of waiting for Sister to wake up and Daddy to get home and make waffles so we went downstairs for a bowl of cereal.

Sophie galloped down.  We cleaned up cereal bowls and moved to the front porch to await the arrival of that running Daddy.  My favorite part of Saturday.  Each of my big girls huddled into my sides, knees bent and nightshirts pulled over goose-bumpy legs.  Lulee was on my lap.  We swung and sang.  It was raining, and it felt like fall.  I breathed in fresh air and exhaled thanks.

We waited.  Daddy came home.  He turned on some music (heavy on the synthesizers) while he stretched and Lucy hopped down, poised to begin.  Her favorite part of Saturday.  She hopped, and ran, and spun, and bent in half so that her head was on the ground and her face peeked at us through her legs.  She made faces and we laughed and laughed and laughed.

Inside for puzzles while Daddy finally made those waffles.  Mimi restarted the dishwasher again.  (I had a minor ridiculous freak-out moment.)  The girls ate a 2nd breakfast.  We putzed and puttered.

At lunchtime Aida cried about her head hurting and not wanting to eat.  She crawled back into bed and I took her temperature.  Fever.  And then, after such a sweet morning, I found myself holding onto her and a tupperware bowl as she retched and spit and cried.

And I thought about how motherhood - or the idea of motherhood - inspires so many fantasies, and about how during my pregnancies I had these (silly) visions of cutely dressed children in coffee shops, sitting nicely or playing cards while I drank my vanilla latte.  I haven't had a vanilla latte in years.

Motherhood is closing your eyes as you dump vomit from a bowl into the toilet.  It is getting your heart tugged and squeezed and stomped on.  It is poop all up in everywhere and it is trying with every ounce of self-control to stay calm and speak gently.  It is working to forgive yourself when you don't.  It is humbling and exhausting, and the best work I've ever done.  It is chubby hands on my neck and songs on the front porch swing and the ache deep within that says, "This.  Thank You for this."


a belated birthday post

These girls, these teeny tiny babies who rushed into the world on an August day

are now 6, tall and long-legged and funny, creative and loud but quiet, in Kindergarten and suddenly away from me more than they are with me, loving and lovable and quirky, beautiful and intelligent and exhausting.

Aida loves to create things out of crumpled papers and boxes and cast-off toys.  That "trash" in her room?  She's playing with that, and heaven forbid anyone tries to throw it away.  She leaves the sweetest notes on my pillow that say "Mommy. I love you so so much.  Love Aida" and they will never, never get old.  I love it when she comes downstairs in the mornings, usually a few minutes before her sister, hair disheveled and glasses off, rubbing her eyes.  She likes to be sung to and snuggled in those moments, long legs and all.

Sophie is still our fancy girl.  She loves sequins and rhinestones and dresses her stuffed animals up in the most elaborate costumes one could imagine.  Each one is beribboned and bedazzled.  All of a sudden she is a fluent reader and she perches on her bed with a stack of books and reads.every.word.  By herself.  She is a dancer and a singer and a dreamer, and loves to giggle uncontrollably with her friends.  She is gentle and dramatic and loves to cuddle her baby sister.

We celebrated 6 years of twin delightfulness 2 Saturdays ago with a unicorn pool party (don't all unicorns swim?).  The day of their actual birthday they took brownies to school to share with their classmates.  Lucy and I met them for lunch in the cafeteria and I marveled at how comfortable they already were in their new environment.  Grandmom had a special birthday tea party for their afterschool snack and then we Skyped with Nana and Grandpa and Auntie Cat and Timmy and Ginny and then we headed to McDonald's (always their birthday choice) to meet Daddy for dinner.

Then we came home and Sophie cried because her tummy hurt and 2 hours later she threw up more than anyone I have ever seen.  We officially dubbed her as having had "too much birthday" and will probably not return to McDonald's for quite some time.   Or forever. Which was perhaps an unexpected birthday present.

Happy birthday, sweet girlies.  Oh, how we love you.



These little cuties started kindergarten today.  How did that happen?

They picked out their clothes last night and we laid them out in piles on the toychest.  As Aida pulled her shirt over her head this morning she noticed her pocket.  These girls love pockets because these girls love tiny treasures that fit inside pockets.  She immediately began the search for something to tuck into hers, but Kindergarten has rules and in Kindergarten you can only bring toys on Friday for Show and Tell (oh, the world gets so mean as you grow up!).

Thinking quickly, I piped up, "I can put a little heart in your pocket."  We dashed into my room, pulled out the arts and crafts bin, rifled around for some orange and pink paper and cut out 2 tiny hearts.  I whipped out my pencil and wrote, "I love you.  Love, Mommy"  We slipped them in.

"Yeah!" shouted Aida.  "This way, if I ever need to remind myself that you're coming back to get me, I can pull out my heart and remember."

Oh, melt my heart, little girl, this heart that beats love within and through and out of me each day for you and your sisters.

But how DID they get so big?


warming up those winter days

So it seems that we might be emerging from the gray chill of winter into the windy sort-of-warmth of spring.  Hallelujah! this wimpy Santa Barbara girl cries.  But we did have a fun way of bringing some light into the browns and grays of late January and early February.  I left the girls this little invitation:
They took it VERY seriously.  Fancy dress-up clothes were donned,
(and they insisted Mommy wear some, too - you should have seen me trying to wriggle into this tutu)
the tea set was put out and hot chocolate was procured,
and treats were enjoyed by all.

SOME of us got messier than others - 

but we all had plenty of fun.  And the best part?  That evening, after Daddy got home from work, 3 little messengers delivered this:

I love having little girls. (I also love their Daddy.)


making a little noise

So I've been quiet in this corner of the universe for awhile.  And there are many reasons for this.  My responsibilities have expanded, the number of minutes in each hour has not.  By the time we get the girls tucked in bed and the kitchen cleaned and lunches made and dogs attended to, bathrooms cleaned and grocery lists decoded and the news from downstairs blaring in my ears - well, I'm just really tired and not very likely to sit down at this silly computer and do much reflecting.  And a little bit of quiet seems attractive - no, necessary - in this new life we live.

Mostly, though, I'm finding it complicated to write about our life because it now involves 2 people who are grown adults, who I love very much, who deserve to have their dignity maintained and their privacy respected and a say about what gets written and posted about them on this World Wide Web.  (I suppose my children might argue the same thing about themselves some day!)  It feels inauthentic, though, to write about our life as if they aren't a part of it, and so sometimes it seems easier to just not write.

I miss it, though, this blogging thing.  I miss recording our sweet little life for friends and family and for my children to look back on.  I miss the way that writing about a difficult day gives me some perspective and makes it a bit easier to see God's hand in it all.  So I'm going to try to carve out some time here and there to visit this space.  No promises of a schedule or a certain number of posts per month.  Just the time, when I have it, to say thank you for this.

And this, too.