Oh Gosh



I'm completely hooked and in love with the Anne of Green Gables series.  How is it that in all my years I've never read these books?  I think I tried once when I was very young, but probably found them too wordy.  Now I hang on every description of Prince Edward Island and adore the way that Anne notices all the beauty in nature. There is such a simplicity in the way they lived I think, that they were able to see the beauty without a bunch of junk crowding it all up.  They sewed, they read, they walked, they canned, they farmed, they baked, they talked to each other!  Imagine that!  It makes me think that just about everything else in life is taking away from life itself.  Frankly, I'm quite sick of it all.  Driving on the high way the other day I noticed all the big ugly billboards, all the unmatched and ugly stores and restaurants, all the words yelling at me everywhere.  I want quiet!  I don't want all this stuff thrust in my face every time I wander outside my home.  Anne of Green Gables has left me in a beautiful stupor of pretend land where roses bloom, and fir trees sing, and there isn't a giant Rite Aid on every darn corner.

I am on book three presently, and I'm requesting the entire set for my bookshelves as a birthday gift.  Here are some gems I gleaned from the first book.

"It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will. Of course, you must make it up firmly."

"Why must people kneel down to pray?  If I really wanted to pray I"ll tell you what I'd do.  I'd go out into a great big field all alone or into the deep, deep woods, and I'd look up into the sky-up-up-up-into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness.  And then I'd just feel a prayer."

There's such a lot of different Anne's in me.  I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person.  If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting."

One June evening, when the orchards were pink-blossomed again, when the frogs were singing silverly sweet in the marshes about the head of the Lake of Shining Waters, and the air was full of the savour of clover fields and blasmatic fir woods, Anne was sitting by her gable window.  She had been studying her lessons, but it had grown too dark to see the book, so she had fallen into wide-eyes reverie, looking out past the bought of the Snow Queen, once more bestarred with its tufts of blosson.

"Marilla, isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"

I came to the conclusioin, Marilla, that I wasn't born for city life and that I was glad of it.  It's nice to be eating ice-cream at brilliant restaurants at eleven o'clock at night once in awhile; but as a regular thing I'd rather in the east gable at eleven, sound asleep, but kind of knowing even in my sleep that the stars were shining outside and that the wind was blowing in the firs across the brook."

"Did you see all the diamonds those ladies wore?" sighed Jane.  They were simply dazzling.  Wouldn't you just love to be rich, girls?"

We are rich," said Anne stanchly. "Why, we have sixteen years to our credit, and we're happy as queens, and we've all got imaginations, more or less.  Looks at that sea, girls, all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen.  We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.  You wouldn't change into any of those women if you could.  Would you want to be that white lace girl and wear a sour look all your life, as if you'd been born turning up your nose at the world?  Or the pink lady, kind and nice as she is, so stout and short that you'd really no figure at all?  Or even Mrs. Evans, with that sad, sad look in her eyes?"

I'm just as ambitious as ever.  Only, I've changed the object of my ambitions.  I'm going to be a good teacher-and I'm going to save your eyesight.  Besides, I mean to study at home here and take a little college coruse all by myself.  OH, I've dozens of plans, Marilla.  I've been thinking of them out for a week.  I shall give life here my best, and I believe it will give its best to me in return.  When I left Queen's my future seemed to stretch out before like a straight road.  I thought I could see along it for many a milestone.  Now there is a bend in it.  I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does.  It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla.  I wonder how the road beyond it goes-what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows-what new landscapes-what new beauties-what curves and hills and valleys further on."


Pure Sweetness

My new niece!  SO easy to take photographs of...she was very cooperative and obviously, quite photogenic.

 My favorite of all:


A Ski Trip

Jeff has taken the older kids with lots of members of his family up to a ski resort for the last couple years.  I chose to stay home with the little ones, and to tell you the truth, I loved the quiet time.  This year I was “forced” to go…because I always have to be forced to leave my warm, safe, predictable home.  I haven’t skied in more than 15 or so years, and I couldn’t believe that, in spite of what Jeff said, Andrew and Patrick would be able to ski as well.

I was shocked at our success.  All my bones are in tact, and I didn’t fall once.  I kept up with the older kids, except for Isaac, who at 16, was way too fast and daring for me.  

Patrick, who just turned 3, stood up on those skis for the first time and could get enough of it.  He would scream bloody murder if Jeff tried to slow him down…the need for speed is in his blood, and let me tell you, it was quite funny.  We finally bought one of those leashy things, because he’d throw such a fit about not being able to keep up with the older kids.  He would point to the highest hills and say, “ME, ME!!!”  He’d have a huge smile going down the big hills, and let out a scream for faster!, faster!

Andrew was nervous about the trip too, and wasn’t sure he could do it.  He was a natural!
I had so much fun skiing with this gang on Saturday.  They took me down some nice, kind, relaxing runs.025
Here’s about 1/2 of us…053
Isaac and his snowboard.
It was so peaceful up on top.


Nap Transitioning

Patrick is about done with long afternoon naps.  You know what that means.  A really crabby sleepy child at 5:00 pm.  If we have to pick up a sibling in the car after 1:00 pm, I'm trying desperately to keep him awake in his car seat while his eyes get all droopy.



My brother and sister-in-law have a new baby boy, Abe.  I am so happy for them, and so excited.  There is nothing like becoming a parent for the first time, is there?  It's such a scary love that you never knew existed.  There is no preparing anyone for it.  Oh sure, advice can be given about breastfeeding, or burping, or sleeping, we've all heard "your life will change so much", "you'll never sleep again", and "they get big so fast", but there is no way to describe that love, until that love is bundled up in your arms and you are thinking, "I would die for you in a heartbeat, rip apart with my bare hands anyone who threatens you, sacrifice sleep, nourishment, anything and everything, just so you are comfortable, and how crazy is this, I just met you in person this instant."  

I was thinking about my own experience with my first, and how each age and stage, infant to soon-to-be-adult, I am shocked by how much I have had to learn in the thick of it.  With my first, whether it has been umbilical cord care, or college planning, I have been constantly learning on the job, and truthfully, scared to death to not do it right.  I read, I ask, I think about everything.  There are so many books to read, experienced mothers who I trust to glean information from, and professional experts in everything from infant care to college planning to consult, but in the end I've concluded, as parents, we walk alone .  That sounds awful and I don't mean it to.  I mean that as scary as it is sometimes, we have to make our own best decisions, trust our instincts, trust our child, and forge ahead.   Sometimes I feel I am so worried about getting it all right, I have robbed myself of some of the enjoyment of raising that sweet first little baby of mine.  

I've come to realize that we all have to create our own map of parenthood as no perfect map exists to follow.  There are as many maps as their are children.  Each child deserves his own. We start the journey at the same time they do, not knowing what we will encounter. What mountains we will climb, or rivers we must cross.  There are beautiful meadows we can catch our breath in, of course, but we can't always anticipate what is around the bend.  We are always right there with each child..in front of them in the beginning, and then as they get older and grow, we are by their side, and then of course even older, we walk farther and farther behind, watching and nudging, and oh, cringing sometimes I'm sure.  We must let them complete that journey we started.  We let them grab that pencil out of our hands and map their own life and watch from a distance, and try to zip it, and find peace with their choices, and hope and pray that by their own accord, they create a beautiful life on their own.

And sometimes, depending on how many children we have, we do it all again and again and again.  Some of it gets easier I suppose.  I can do new belly buttons now...just a walk in the park, where with my first I thought I'd mess up for sure.  I'm pretty good at potty training having been through it five times, and I think I have learned to navigate elementary school well enough. Talk to me in about 15 years, and I'll have a decent grasp on some of what goes into the teenage years.  (If  I'm still standing.)  It's darn scary sometimes though, isn't it?  Exciting also.  And if I let it, if I can learn to forgive myself easily, stay open to new experiences, be brave, and humble about those surprises, trust myself and my husband and my children, by the end of it all, I think I might have this wealth of knowledge about how to raise my own children.  Of course, after they are all done and raised.  That's the kicker.  

I struggle through all this day-to-day mothering to remember this: It isn't the destination I should be looking forward to, but the journey I should be enjoying.  Over the last 16 yearsI have been slowly teaching myself to just jump in and enjoy this map-making, stop reading, consulting, doubting, worrying, and just enjoy it all, the joy, the frustration, the heartbreaks, the fear, knowing that the scary love I felt with each new baby, is enough to guide me along the way.


Reading and Thinking

I am reading this book right now and love it.  All I think about as I do my household chores is when I can get back to my book.  Last night I tried to stay up to read it but crashed at midnight.  I needed toothpicks for my eyelids I think.

Stories of pioneers make me realize what I take for granted.  These women started with nothing...or hardly nothing...maybe a pot or a pan or a quilt.  They lost babies left and right and what a heartbreak.  They were no different from us in the love for their children but they had little time to mourn I think because they had mouths to feed and that took a heck of a lot of work, not a run to the grocery.

When I think of how worried we all get about the dangers out lurking in the world, I realize how most of our fears our imagined or just thought up to bring drama to our lives.  Their greatest fears, whether it was a storm that ruined their crops, snake bites, bear attacks, robbery and murder, the flu, you name it, happened frequent enough, yet it doesn't seem they were filled with anxiety and couldn't go on...they had such strength.

I wonder what they would think of us today with our conveniences and the ability to feed our children meals, and our warm houses and drawers and cupboards full of things, our antibiotics, and still we worry and fuss.  How quickly we forget the past.  I think of my grandmothers, my great-grandmothers...I think our generation needs to hitch up our bootstraps and zip it when it comes to complaining and excuses.

What also strikes me is how these women so enjoyed the simple things.  A flower poking up through the snow, a bolt of cloth to make the first new dress they'll ever own (that they had to find the time to make themselves), a letter from a relative that took 6 months to arrive.

I look at how I rush through life, answering a dozen emails a day without hardly thinking about any of them, buying a $12 bunch of out of season daffodils which really takes away the joy of all that time waiting for the first bloom in April, how easily I replace this or that in my kitchen or closet when I didn't have to save for months or years to purchase them.  I think of how a treat isn't a treat if it is easily and readily accessible...if there isn't hard work, or appreciation and patience put in place to get that treat.  What is else in life is left then?  Of course, we do the same for our kids.  What else in life is left if you can't appreciate the simple things because you have easy access to them all the time and they take no sacrifice?


Tiny Sprouts Giveaway

Oh, my Lord, is this stuff cute.  2

Tracey from Tiny Sprouts is offering one lucky winner a $25 credit to her site.  Check out her shop here, full of hand-embroidered sweet baby and children things, and come back and leave a comment telling me what your favorite item is.

Winner will be randomly drawn and announced on Friday.
Good luck!