52 in 52

December 28, 2011 by Rieshy

I'm joining a book challenge this year.  52 books in 52 weeks.  Even though I'm a reader it sounds insane to me. However, I never claimed to be entirely sane.

With the exception of Kafka and Nietzsche, I never read German literature in school, so I thought that my particular spin on the 52 would be to do a survey of German lit. through the ages.

I've melded a variety of book lists together to come up with my particular list and added some oddball choices. I like the Cornelia Funke series- and I thought it would be a nice break from heavier reading.

I've talked one daughter into reading along and my father said (rather vaguely and probably not intentionally) that he'd like to do it too.

I reserve the right to read only the easy choices in German and the rest in English, because, well- have you looked at Hesse's, The Glass Bead Game!?!  The English translation makes my brain hurt, the original German, assuming I could manage it- which I couldn't, would make my eyebrows get red hot.
  1. D'Aulaire's Norse Mythology
  2. Hildebrandslied 
  3. Cornelia Funke, Tintenherz
  4. Hartman von Aue, Der arme Heinrich (1195) 
  5. Nibelungenlied (1200) 
  6. Wolfram von Eschenback, Parzival (1200/10) 
  7. Johan van Saaz, Ackermann aus Böhmen (1400) 
  8. Poetry of Walther von der Vogelweide 
  9. H.J. Chrisotffe von Grimmelshausen, Simplixius Simplicissimus or Die Landstörzerin Courasche (1670)  
  10. Andreas Gryphius, Squentz (1658) 
  11. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Emilia Gaolotti (1772) or Nathan der Weise (1779) 
  12. Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz, Die Soldaten (1776) 
  13. Immanuel Kant, Beantwortung der Frage: Was is Aufklären? (1784) 
  14. Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Die Leiden des jungen Werther (1774/1787) or Die Wahlverwandtschaften (1809)
  15. Friedrich Schiller, Die Räuber (1781) 
  16. Friedrich Schiller, Wilhelm Tell (1804) 
  17. Cornelia Funke, Tintenblut
  18. Heinrich Wilhelm von Kleist, Das Edbeben in Chili (1806) 
  19. Ludwig Tieck, Der blonde Eckbert (1796) 
  20. Clemens Brentano, Die Geschichte vom braven Kasperi und dem schönen Anneri (1817) 
  21. Joseph von Eichendorff, Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts (1826) 
  22. Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, Undine (1811) 
  23. Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, Die Elixiere des Teufels (1815)
  24. Heinrich Heine, Deutschland.  Ein Wintermärchen (1844) 
  25. Georg Büchner, Junges Deutschland or Woyzeck (1836) 
  26. Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Die Judenbuche (1842) 
  27. Friedrich Hebbel, Maria Magdalene (1843) 
  28. Gottfried Keller , Der grüne Heinrich (1854-55) or Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe (1856) or Kleider machen Leute (1874) 
  29. Theodor Storm, Der Schimmelreiter (1888) 
  30. Theodor Fontane, Frau Jenny Triebel (1893) or Effi Briest (1895) 
  31. Gerhard Hauptmann, Sonnenaufgang (1889) 
  32. Arthur Schnitzler, Leutnant Gusti (1901) 
  33. Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks (1901) 
  34. Cornelia Funke, Tintentod
  35. Thomas Mann, Der Zauberberg (1924) 
  36. Robert Musil, Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törleß (1906) 
  37. Heinrich Mann, Der Untertan (1918) or Professor Unrat 
  38. Hermann Hesse, Das Glasperlenspiel (1943)
  39. Bertolt Brecht , Neue Sachlichkeit or Mutter Courage (1941) 
  40. Franz Kafka, Die Verwandlung (1912) 
  41. Alfred Döblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929) 
  42. Joseph Roth, Radetzkymarsch (1932) 
  43. Elias Canetti, Die Blendung (1936) 
  44. Wolfgang Borchert, Draussen vor der Tür (1947) 
  45. Wolfgang Koeppen, Tauben im Gras (1951) 
  46. Stefan Zwieg, Die Welt von Gestern (1943) 
  47. Anna Seghers, Das siebte Kreuz (1942) 
  48. Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet On the Western Front
  49. Heimito von Dodener , Die Strudhofstiege (1951) 
  50. Max Frisch, Montauk (1975) 
  51. Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Die Physiker (1962) 
  52. Heinrich Böll, Ansichten eines Clowns (1963) 
  53. Günter Grass, Die Blechtrommel (1959) 
  54. Christa Wolf, Nachdenken über Christa T. (1968)
  55. Ulrich Plenzdorf, Die neuen Leiden des jungen Werther (1972) 
  56. Thomas Bernhard, Holzfällen (1984) 
  57. Patrick Süskind, Das Parfüm (1985)
  58. Imre Kertész, Roman eines Schicksallosen
That's more than 52 because life is too short to read a book that one despises, so I gave myself options.    On Sundays I'll post snippets about the week's readings- my daughter is going to give her opinions as well, for any other insane people out there who happen to be interested in German literature.

Happy New Years and happy reading!


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What Home School Moms Do Over The Holidays*

by Rieshy

I am Woman, hear me roar.  
Well, not roar, but see the (mostly) sanitized version of me butchering my first deer.  Yes I am girly enough to be wearing a glove.

Angie, my teacher and friend, is waiting patiently for me to get that skin off.

As any self-respecting home-educating mother I packed up the kids to watch/help.  It was a blast.  A gross and educational blast. 

 The first venison dish I cooked was awesome. 
Thanks to the hunters- Phil and William!

 Thanks to Angie and Jeff for lending us the use of their tree and for only laughing at me a little.

*I never thought about how much red-necks and home schoolers have in common...

I'm Dreaming Of A Brown Christmas?

December 22, 2011 by Rieshy

Who needs snow for snowballs?


Efficiency Experts

December 21, 2011 by Rieshy

"Dad took moving pictures of us children washing dishes, so that he could 
figure out how we could reduce our motions and thus hurry through the task." 
Dr Frank Gilbreth, Cheaper By the Dozen

Once as a child, wandering through the legs of coffee drinking and chatting ladies my mother was entertaining, I was asked if I had any chores.  I beamed and proudly proclaimed that I had many, including cleaning my own bathroom.  

I was eager to share my new bathtub cleaning discover with my apparently eager audience.  It was quite a while later before I understood just why the watching faces began to grimace when I explained that my short arms made tub-scrubbing difficult but that by scrubbing the toilet first, and thereby getting the toilet brush nice and wet, I could use the toilet brush to scrub the far corners of the tub, thus entirely circumventing my short-arm problem.

Brilliant, no?

Brilliance runs in my family.

"Find the laziest worker and study his approach."
also by Dr Frank Gilbreth

My 5 year old is responsible for drying and putting away the silverware.  Let's just say that the shine has worn off the responsibility.  He often dawdles.  So the other morning, as I doing paperwork in the kitchen, a part of my brain registered that said 5 year old was working on his huge stack of silverware with unusual uniform motion and efficiency.  

He would grab a utensil standing tall,

and in ballet terms he'd demi-plié ,

do something I couldn't see,

return to first position and pop the utensil in the drawer.

Hmmmm, I investigated.  

He was sticking each utensil between his pliéd legs, closing his legs and then pulling out the now jean-dried silverware and popping it away.

Who needs those pesky, annoying dishtowels?


Traveling With a Chronic Condition

December 16, 2011 by Rieshy

Or: The Never Ending Search For The Right Purse

Over Thanksgiving my entire family drove to Grandma's house which is 11 hours away. Packing for a family trip with a van load of children is always involved but when you add chronically ill children to the mix there are extra steps one learns to do.

My extra steps:

  1. Ensure that both my sons' letters of medical protocol are up-to-date and not stained with too many coffee cup rings or sticky with gum from the bottom of my purse.
  2. Pack a folder with abreviated medical records, just in case.
  3. Pack extra meds. in case I do something stupid, like trip in the night and spill the entire contents of a bottle. Not that I've ever done that... oh, wait, I have.
  4. In fact. on meds.- since one son is still on mostly liquid medication I have the pharmacist fill 4 small bottles instead of one large one. They are easier to handle, plus if he gets a virus and I've accidentally double dipped with an oral syringe I haven't contaminated his entire supply.
  5. Pack extra syringes.
  6. Pack all of the above meds. and supplies in two separate locations, just in case.
  7. Call ahead and find out where the nearest E.R. is located and do some research to try and discover whether it is staffed with monkeys or caring professionals.  I do this online at FOD Family Support Group because they are they go-to support group for my sons' particular condition.
  8. Call ahead and get the name and location of the closest hospital staffed with a metabolic specialist.
  9. Pack the car with enough food for the trip, because road-side fast food is not an option.
  10. Look at the itinerary and figure the furthest we will be from medical care and decide if that is acceptable. We have family in an area of the country that I cannot take my 5 year old to see, they are just too far from a children's hospital for me to take the risk.
  11. Find a purse that all of the above will fit into.
Then I count my blessings.  My sons can travel.  I don't have to pack large medical equipment.  

Btw, we had a great time at Grandma's.



December 7, 2011 by Rieshy

I spent time driving the kid's car yesterday. Besides being a sticky experience an overly helpful security guard blew out the electical system jump-starting the car for my son last week. We got everything fixed but the radio.

No music means lots more talking.

Talking 5 year olds involves a lot of grammar. I have to admit to zoning out, only to zone back in on language usage problems. My brain was somewhere in Tahiti when I heard, "So do wolf-feses really like to fight?"

"They're wolves."

"Were-wolves like to fight, but mom, do wolf-feses like to fight?"

"No sweetie. One is a wolf but more than one- they're wolves."

"Hmmmm, so when there is more than one they're were-wolves, and they like to fight?"

Later on the way to our first ever karate class....

"Is the teacher going to be a man or a woman?"

"I think it's a man."

"Do only mans teach karate?"

"No, honey and we say men not mans. One is a man but 2 makes men."

Short silence from the back seat followed by, "So man plus men equals 3."


Worried Racoons

December 5, 2011 by Rieshy

Define Righteousness: Why?

Let's backtrack. Sunday I listened to a lesson on worry by Craig Evans. He got me to thinking... drat that man...

So Righteousness-
James 2:23 "And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend."

On Worry, righteousness pops up again-
Christ says in Matthew 6:25, 33-34 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink nor about your body, what you will put on... But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Webster defines righteousness as 1. acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin.

I like Abraham's route to righteousness. Faith ought to be easier than Webster, right?

Buuuuut, faith in the Creator requires a submission of the spirit. I Peter 5:6, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him for he cares for you."

Cares for me, wow. But just doing what the day requires and letting go of my invisible and completely imaginary hold over the possible happenings of the future? That's a different matter.

The funny thing is that even if I am unable to trust God to care for me; as Christ says in Matthew 6:27, "Which of you by worry can add one cubit to his stature?"

Evidently, I'm not quite as smart as the racoon in Where the Red Fern Grows. -The one that was trapped by the butter churn because it wouldn't let go of its handful of butter. At least it was smart enough to try holding onto something yummy...

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December 3, 2011 by Rieshy

What's better than tucking two freshly scrubbed and shampooed little boys into bed while older children string Christmas lights and blast Drumming Song by Florence and the Machine?

Or, what's better than sitting over a post-parade spaghetti dinner listening to your children discuss what sort of dog they want. Not that getting a dog is an option.

10 year old, "I want a black lab."

12 year old, "But purebreds are usually stupid."

5 year old, "I want an Irish Wolf Hound."

Not that dogs are an option. Especially dogs with digestive systems the size of San Francisco.

4 year old, "I want to go to the store and get a dinosaur, a nice one."

5 year old, "You can't buy a dinosaur, and it would be too big anyway."

"I CAN TOO! And I'll build a metal house for it and teach it to fight the robots."

Or, what's better than going to a small town parade with people you love and watching your little's eyes sparkle at EVERYTHING and watching your older kids meet up with friends and help give out candy.

What's better? Maybe it's doing it all in one evening, a small town evening, topped with a pot of hot tea.

Smallville rocks.


Odds and Ends- or maybe just Dregs

November 30, 2011 by Rieshy

When I signed in to blogger today they promised that their new interface was, "Clean and modern."  I haven't seen a sign with the spectacular promise of Modern since I was a child and a dilapidated sign in the teeny tiny West Texas town near my grandparents farm promised both, "air conditioning and modern rooms,"  as an enticement to brave their Bates-motel establishment.

Onto Dregs.  I am the grinch.  In surveying my non-holiday decorated house this morning all I could think was- will my children notice if we don't have a tree and it's accompanying clutter this year?

Heavy sigh.  I'm pretty sure they'll notice.  Last year I got away with not putting up our huge fake tree because my husband and I bought a live Norway Spruce as our anniversary gift to each other and put it in the living room.  My children were unimpressed with it's 3 1/2 foot splendor and the fact that I wouldn't let them put lights on it.

Less clutter, but the fear and trembling with which I had to work to make sure the expensive thing didn't get shocked and die before we planted it in the backyard was exhausting.  Besides the expense, having your 23rd anniversary present die would be pretty depressing.

Exhaustion versus clutter versus permanently scarring my children's holiday spirit.... hmmmm.

Am I the only one out there that wants to run at the first sightings of Christmas sweaters, and that sees seasonal decorations only as dust-catchers?


Honesty Is The Best Policy?

November 28, 2011 by Rieshy

I went to a local community bank this morning to open savings accounts for my 4 and 5 year old boys. The joy at realizing that they would both be getting identical plastic piggy banks knew no bounds.

The noise that a few dollar coin pieces can make in a plastic piggy bank in the hands of aforementioned mancubs also knows no bounds.

I explained to both boys that I would use a Sharpie pen at home to write their names on the pig's bellies. My 4 year old held up his hands, palms forward, and said, "No, Mommy don't do that," at this point he took a deep breath and exhaled loudly, "because when I loose mine I'll just take Brother's and I don't want his name to be on it."


Puddy Muddles

November 21, 2011 by Rieshy

How tempting is a mud puddle
lying still and silky,
reflecting sky and White Pine boughs?

There it is, secreted behind the climbing cube.
Calling with a slight ripple
caused by the fall wind.

That same cool fall wind that in the perverseness
of mothers deems muddy water out of season.
Out of bounds,
and "you may not get your clothing wet and no face paint either."

Face paint
Fishing tank
cauldron of mysteries
holder of globby muddy snowless snowballs.

Why, why not?
Temptations of childhood are a myriad lot,
but none so strong, and fraught with discovery
as illegal muddy puddles.

Yes But... No

November 19, 2011 by Rieshy

I was reading about some of Jesus' miracles to my 5 and 3 year old sons when it occured to me to ask if they knew what the word miracle meant. When the 5 year old answered no I attempted to explain.

Exlaining what a miracle is is harder than one might think. It's easy to end up describing either Harry Potter or an X Man and not divine nature.

My 5 year old got excited and interrupted my obviously boring miracle-example of water turned to wine. "Did Jesus ever," he looked around for ideas and grabbed the pencil from the table in front of him, "make a pencil float up and make it fly into a bad guy's eye?"

I must have looked horrified because he added, "Not to poke through the bad guy's eye or anything, just to give him a really bad black eye."

My 3 year old was listening with rapt attention until I attempted to explain that no, in fact God's plan was not to send Jesus to beat up bad guys, but to love them and turn them into good guys.


A couple of early mornings later my still pajama clad 3 year old had kissed his dad goodbye and shut the front door with big-boy aplomb. I reminded him to lock the door. "Why?", he asked.

"We don't want bad guys to come in."

"But God loves bad guys."

Yes, but....


That Pesky th Sound

November 16, 2011 by Rieshy

My 5 year old abruptly asked, "So was he just really really fat?"




"You know", my son spoke more slowly. Obviously Mom was not on top of her game, " One of Jesus's disciples."

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Through a Mirror

November 14, 2011 by Rieshy

I went to the park in a funk on Friday, put there in part by new hospital bills and new medication needs for my 5 year old. I had one of those headaches that have you seriously considering attempting self trepannation. I was hoping the little boys would wear themselves out, while I sat like a reclusive sloth on the sidelines.

No such luck. The only free bench was mined with a chatty mother watching her daughters. Sure enough as soon as I sat, with my hood up, my body in a non-attitude of chattiness, the chatty mother began to chat.

I'm glad.

One of her two daughters has a chronic ilnness, she told me out of the blue. She had no idea that she was speaking to a fellow "caretaker" of a chronically ill child.

This articulate mom was at the park with her polite, smart, well-behaved, social little girls. She's managing her daughter's illness so well that her daughter can be out and about, learning and playing and being a child. Until her daughter's next crisis...

Yet, this mom wasn't basking in the peace of the sunny play day, she was frustrated with a myriad of things from chronic lack of sleep to her weight gain since her daughter's last round of hospitalizations to the feeling of being "undisciplined" and not accomplishing enough. She was frustrated that though she is a christian she is still sometimes gripped with fear when she looks at her daughter. She felt that she should be over that by now. And that's just what she shared in our 45 minute acquaintance.

I didn't have many words for her. All I could think was, really? And then I checked to make sure I was speaking to a real person and not some phantom projection of my subconscious. I hope that venting relived her spirit. I hope she gets some sleep.

It was illuminating to see the commonalilty of frustrations and the tendency towards an exhausted sort of self-flagellation among caretakers. A sort of tunnel vision that lacks grace for self.

She will probably never know how she relieved my gloom. It is always illuminating to see one's self, even be it dimly, through the mirror of someone else.


Dreamy Concert Grands

November 13, 2011 by Rieshy

This morning as I was pouring a cup of coffee my 17 year old rounded the corner already dressed for her part time job.

My daughter is a pianist and plans on majoring in piano. At school she plays on Steinway Grands. Alas, at home it's just a Craig's list fussy upright piano- the kind whose purpose is usually limited to acting as a 350 pound holder of doilies and framed cat photos.

She practies at school instead of home a lot, even though it means she has to drive in to work with my husband at 5:45 a.m.

Seeing her triggered my memory of a dream I had had in the night; I was listening to her play but she was frustrated with our little upright- when I suddenly remembered that our concert grand was out on the covered back deck, we had merely forgotten it was there.

My husband quickly got some power tools and cut a hole in the dining room wall so he could slide the grand piano back into the house. Problem solved, and the finish on the Steinway Grand was only a little dulled by it's 3 months outside.

My psychology-class-taking-college-student-son, who was perched on a stool eating breakfast while I recounted my dream, commented that Freud would call the dream wish fulfillment, but that Freud's system of dream analysis has been thouroughly discredited and was never based on actual research anyway.

So, I'm thinking if Freud has been thoroughly discredited I need to check the back deck quickly, before the finish dulls even more.

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November 12, 2011 by Rieshy

I've been underwater all week with the combination of a cold, worries and the kind of tiredness that comes from your heart and makes your bones heavy.

My 17 year old has me reading Les Misérables this month. Hint, don't read Les Mis. when you are bone weary. It won't help. I opted to endure my daughter's literary scorn and read The Power Of Six instead. I also read Disappointment With God, by Yancey.

Power Of Six- who writes in all present tense? Oh, Pittacus Lore. Nothing like blowing up some aliens and enduring some poorly thought out anti-catholic sentiments that are quickly followed by fatalistic philosophy- also poorly developed. I did enjoy the blowing up of the aliens, but I'm deep like that...

Disappointment With God, though it had not a single sword or ray gun, was surprisingly uplifting. The main thing I took away from the book was that I either believe God or not. I either believe he is, and by definition he loves, or I don't.

I, an almost yuppie, who loves to over-analyze everything could get used to the freedom of not having to figure everything out.

On Wednesday my 5 year old asked me if there would be hospitals in heaven. He looked worried when I told him no. He looked radiant when I explained why there would be no hospitals.

The radiance of a child's faith.



Off Track And Under Dressed

November 10, 2011 by Rieshy

Sometimes the simplest things take forever.

I was reading my 3 and 5 year old a very simple version of the baptism of Christ.

John the Baptist's clothing came into question.

"Why is he dressed different?"

"He's wearing animal skins."

"Where's the animal?"

I explained as briefly as possible and attempted to finish the story.

"So he took out the animal's insides? Well, that makes sense. Because if he didn't then he'd have blood running down his legs, and he's not wearing any pants, so that would be gross."

"Really gross", affirmed the 3 year old at top volume as he leaped off the ottoman to climb up and see the picture. "Why isn't he wearing any pants!?!"


Interrogations and Negotiations

November 5, 2011 by Rieshy

I'm pretty sure every mother loves it when people ask their children random questions. I know I can generally depend on my children to answer in unusual and usually unflattering ways. Recently my 5 year old was peppered with questions.

"So, what grade are you in?"

"I don't go to school."

"Oh", surprised look because my 5 year old is so tall he looks almost 7,"well then,do you like to play outside??"

"I like to just watch T.V. And play video games all day."

Perfect, an answer to make any parent proud. He doesn't GO to school because we home school... We don't even get television because we don't have cable. We also don't have any video game gizmos- no Wii, X-box, or whatever the latest video-flavor is current.

My son was answering not what he does but what he would do if the governing of the universe were in his control. Thank goodness it is not.

I was treated with a condemnatory look that made me want to giggle and add in a whiney voice that my son wears Velcro sneakers because tying shoes is just too hard and that he eats cheeseo's with Spam and Sprite for breakfast because he, "Just won't eat anything else".

If my mothering is going to be condemned because of my son's imagination, I might as well take a flight of fancy too. In for a penny in for a pound...

No t.v. But my kids do watch movies. I figure the negotiation skills my children are learning through the arduous process of choosing a movie that the majority can agree on is priceless.

Yesterday after 50 minutes of non-stop bargaining between the three youngest my 3 year old ran into the kitchen holding up a movie. "I agree, I agree, we can watch this movie now!"

As he was unaccompanied and I could still hear the sounds of shuffling in the movie cupboard from the next room I asked, "Who agrees with you on this movie?"

He looked at me as if it were obvious, which I guess it was, "I agree with me. Can you put it in for us now?"


I Think I'm Being Laughed At

November 2, 2011 by Rieshy

One of the advantages of having a lot of children is that  even if you don't have overwhelming worries about any one particular child you can pick and choose various small concerns, add them all together, and lay awake worrying over the sum of all the parts.

It's fabulous.

A couple of weeks ago I was laying awake worrying and unsuccessfully working on not worrying.  I had decided to focus my worry on one of my children's upcoming college midterms- because let's face it, what's the fun in late-night-worries if it is about something that you have any control whatsoever over?

And we all know that possibly poor college midterms will lead to the permanent downslide of a child into madness and depravity, subsequently submerging the earth into war, anarchy and chaos.  And I would be the mom of the child that did it.

Finally I got out of bed and decided to open scripture and do some reading for comfort.  I didn't want to go to Matthew 6 and read Christ's teaching on worry so I flipped open the Bible trying to hit a calming Psalms but something different popped open:

  1 Samuel 2: Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord; for men abhorred the offering of the Lord..... Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.... And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hopni and Phineahs ; in one day they shall die both of them.


Oh, yeah, Perspective.  The Bible seems to be full of it.


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Halloween Hangovers

November 1, 2011 by Rieshy

Candy Hangover that is....  necessitates a small chocolate Hershey's bar at 5:30 a.m., before the kids see.  Hair of the dog and all that.  With piping hot coffee, yum.

Halloween at our house is a pretty cheap affair.  $3.50 for duct tape and a t-shirt is transformed into a knights mail-of-amour.  We already have plenty of capes, swords, scabbards and shields-  4 boys will do that to you, not to mention daughters who were obsessed with the Redwall series, Tolkein, and Howard Pyle's version of King Arthur.

Indeed, several years went by in which my oldest 4 children were always armed and spoke only their version of Middle English.  "A boon! a boon! I do beseech this of thee, mine mother, that when thou preparest luncheon it includeth a fair portion of dessert for each of these deserving knights."

I've lost track of how many treasure maps have threatened to catch fire in my kitchen during attempts to age and weather parchment purchased from Hobby Lobby.

My oldest just taught the 5 year old how to use his alphabet stamp kit with lemon juice on parchment in order to write secret messages.  They look like crazed notes from a conspiracy theorist, or the uni-bomber.

Emerging literacy aside, my brain is fried from sacrificing myself for my children's health by eating their chocolate after they went to bed.

Today should be a national day of mourning for all the teacher's trying, against all odds, to teach hung over children anything on this day of sleep deprivation and sugar comas extraordinaire.


Theology For 5 Year Olds

October 28, 2011 by Rieshy

This morning I was greeted with the question,"If you are about to die and you yell real loud for God to save you right before you die, he'll save you- right?"

Coming from a chronically ill child who has survived several harrowing ambulance rides to the emergency room: this is not an idle question.  This is a child who has prayed for other children with his same disorder, some of whom have since died.

Why do my children only ask questions like these early, before coffee, or so late in the evening that my brain is fried?

Last week this same child whispered to me that he sometimes thinks God isn't nice.   He told me about praying for snow- and how "It Never Snows!",  praying not to have to go to the hospital and, "having to go anyway."

His line of reasoning was scaring him. God not answering prayers = God not being good.

That is a scary thought.

It made me think about how we sometimes thoughtlessly mention Intelligent Design when describing a loving God; how God makes everything to work together perfectly because he loves us.

What does that mean theologically for a 5 year old who's body wasn't "perfectly" made?  Whose body is lacking a critical enzyme?  

He tried to trap me with a question about God's goodness- "Does God watch girls when they change clothes?"

We simplify the message of the Gospel and Creation so that it is accessible, but platitudes about God don't sustain, don't hold up to deeper questions.

I would imagine this problem holds true for any young children that are not basking in a Disney-esque perfect childhood.  I'm praying that I listen when my children ask questions. I'm praying that I won't pretend to know the answers just because the questions make me uncomfortable.

Matthew 19:14
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”


What You See And What You Don't

October 23, 2011 by Rieshy

These are growing along my front sidewalk.

I didn't plant them there this year, they volunteered from a couple of seasons ago.  Luckily I was too busy to weed them out this spring.  

What you can't see is the overall shape and condition of my garden.  Neglect would be the key characterizing word.  My husband enjoyed the vivid color enough to snap the photo.  He carefully left the rest of the garden out of the snapshot.

He loves me like that.


Not A Synonym and Too Much Hank

October 21, 2011 by Rieshy

My 5 year old checked out a Hank the Cowdog c.d. from the library.  Everywhere we drive we are accompanied by Hank's tales.  I'm starting to cogitate in Hank's vernacular, see, because as head of this ranch's social life I do a lot of cogitation.

It's kind of like what happens after an overdose of Dr. Suess.

I was fixin dinner yesterday.  "Fixin" because we live in the South.  We fix a lot of things.  We can even be fixin to fix a lot of things.

Anyway.  I'll try to write normally now...

My 3 year old ran in the back door in a gleeful burst of fresh air and hollered, "I need a sharp knife to cut the skin off too!"

So of course I reached in the knife drawer and handed my 3 year old a sharp knife.

Wait, no I didn't.  I believe what happened was a momentary tableau.  At the exact moment that he hollered, "sharp knife, and, skin," several other family members were in motion moving through the dining room and kitchen.  We all froze.

I think the word "skin" was the clincher.

"Um, what skin?"

"The skin like big brother is cutting off with his knife."

Well that was helpful.   There was a general household-wide movement to the back door.  "The skin of the pointy thing... you know..."

Why do children speak so slowly when you most want them to HURRY UP and get to the point.

"Oh, you know off a tree, a stick.  The skin on a stick."

"Bark!" exhaled 3 or 4 listeners all at once.

I think we offended him with our laughter.


Dangerous Platitudes

October 16, 2011 by Rieshy

We depend on them to fill the empty spaces.
Embarrassing spaces between what we know
and what we feel.

Or what we know and what we fear.
Grammatical spaces between the subjunctive planned for
and the indicative received.

 lest one must openly say,
"Don't despair, kind friend, it may leave a stain on my brain and that won't do at all."

Platitude spray, a killing kindness-
thought repellant, most viscously efficient
at killing nothing short of Faith.

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Murphy's Revenge

October 13, 2011 by Rieshy

If you are squeamish, or are lucky enough to be eating a danish and enjoying some coffee, you might want to skip this post.  Don't say I didn't warn you...

There is a lesser reported Murphy's Law of parenting.  It covers the relationship between a freshly purged and cleaned child's room and how quickly and how disgusting it can become.

Last week was fall break.  I cleaned out dressers, closets, mattress pads, pillows, sheets, blankets, toys, books.  It was a full boy's-room purge.  What was I thinking?

Nature abhors a... clean room?

My 19 yo commutes to college and has a bunk in his little brother's room.  He also freelances as a grip in production.  Yesterday morning he came out of his room still wearing his clothes from the day before.  "Hey Mom, the music video shoot was a lot of fun, but I got home pretty late.  It was in an old meatpacking plant that's been closed down for years- the architecture was interesting, but boy was it dirty, the dust was inches thick and was starting to turn back into soil."  He picked up an english muffin and continued talking.

At this point my brain stuck on the fact that my son had slept in his nasty work clothes; I was wondering how to reenact the decontamination scene from Silkwood.  And my son wonders why I sometimes don't pay attention to what he is saying.

I thought I had fulfilled Murphy's law.  But I underestimated it.

This morning I played a well know and well despised game of "Horror Hunting."  It's that lovely game that begins when a young child has been taken ill in the night, from one end or the other, and has subsequently walked through the house in search of assistance.

The rules of Horror Hunting are simple:

  • clean and comfort said child
  • backtrack their trail looking for artifacts of their passing
  • you must maintain a loving composure
  • you must avoid finding "artifacts" with your bare feet
  • gagging sounds are not allowed
My husband maintains that we need sloping floors and a large drain in the center of our home so I can occasionally just hose the whole house down. 

Yet, how would Murphy equalize that,  a falling satellite?


Define Chatting

October 7, 2011 by Rieshy

When you have an emergent reader running errands with you, the conversation can turn into a Strip Mall Alphabetarian

"That said S T O P. Stop has a P in it.  So does Panera.  It also has an S.  Starbucks starts with an S.  Look, there's a Starbucks.  McDonald's starts with M"

"No Honey, that's a Barnes & Noble.  It starts with a B."

"No it's not, I see an S, that says Starbucks."

Small hint, never argue with the distance vision of a 5 year old.  Barnes & Noble did indeed have a teeny tiny Starbucks sign.  My literacy in question, my son moved on to automobiles.

"If you see these circles," I could see wild air-drawing in the rearview mirror, "they say Toyota."

This consumer education was almost non-stop.  It was like driving with an overly enthusiastic tour guide.

"Mom, why does my foot hurt?'

"Is it asleep?" I asked.


A lesson on blood flow ensued.  Then it was time to stop to eat.  I mentioned that it was a special treat for just the two of us to eat out and that we could chat in the restaurant.  There was a pause.

"I don't think I can chat."

"Why [on earth] not?"

"Well Mom, I don't chat.  I only talk when I have something important to say...  Or if I need to ask you a question."



October 5, 2011 by Rieshy

Pointless: without force, meaning, or relevance

I have figured out a couple of things about parenting a child with a chronic illness.  Just a couple.
  1. It's pointless to think about the things your child might not be able to do in the future.
  2. It's pointless to wonder when the next hospitalization will come..
Yet I do think about these things.  

  1. Today, as my teens left for a 4 day hiking trip, I wondered if my 5 yo would ever be able to go on a trip like that.
  2. I found an old hospital-bag in my closet yesterday while searching for the boys' winter clothes. Should I pack a bag for this winter?

When does wondering cross the pointless threshold? 

I've come up with an addendum to the definition of pointless, if maudlin violin is playing in the background of my mind, I've reached self-indulgent pointlessness.

Wondering if my 5 yo will ever be able to go on a 4 day hiking trip? - definitely pointless.
Wondering if I should keep a hospital bag packed? - that's called planning.

If I want to wallow in self-indulgence I might as well eat chocolate because I don't even like violin music.  That's why my children take piano.



October 1, 2011 by Rieshy

One size fits all?

Some nights, getting bathed and dressed for bed takes a detour-
into silliness.


From the Locker Room

September 29, 2011 by Rieshy

My 3 year old son was born intent on world domination.  He's an alpha male in a 3 foot tall body.  I have to wonder, is precocious interest in girls part and parcel of being an alpha?

My 12 year old overheard the following conversation between my alpha 3 year old and my laid back 5 year old sons:

3 yo:  "Do you think girls like me?"

5 yo: "Some do, I bet."

3 yo: "Why do girls like pink so much?"

5 yo: "I don't know.  It's kinda weird."

3 yo:  Deep sigh and then a rhetorical, "Why are girls so pretty?"

I'm thinking we should be planning for a wedding... in about 10 years.


Not Quite A Homophone

September 28, 2011 by Rieshy

And Other Joys 

My 5 yo goes to, "Invisible Therapy."  It makes me laugh, to hear him say it, every. single. time.

I told my three year old that he was not allowed to color during nap time.  He exclaimed with a sad face, "You Just Broke My Heart!"

Life is good, in the visible South.


Laundry Ethics

September 24, 2011 by Rieshy

My washer ate a Haitian octagon-shaped coin.  It did not agree with the pump.  While waiting for the new part to come in I've been communing weekly with a laundromat.

Washing weekly instead of daily for a family of 9 means that I load up the back of my van with bag after bag after bag of smelly laundry... actually it means I have the children load up the van with bag after bag of smelly laundry, and then head to King Neptune for 2 hours of washing bliss.

I'm not kidding about the washing bliss part.  I can knock out 12 loads of laundry in 2- 2 1/2 hours.  Not only that but I can buy a large drink and sit by myself and read while the rest of the family does Saturday morning chores at home.  As a bonus, when I arrive home to my newly clean house my family even feels sorry for me.

I shouldn't have let it slip that the Laundromat has free wifi, my husband is getting suspicious; last weekend he asked just when the part would arrive.

If it wasn't for the $25- $30 a weekend to use the Laundromat I might never fix my washer.  Well, that and the fact that to keep to 12 loads a week I've become the laundry police, "What do you have on? No, wear what you had on yesterday.  Sheets?  No they don't need to be washed yet!"

Normally, my older kids do their own wash.  Everyone helps fold- everyone puts their own things away.  This is important because it prevents me from facing a moral dilemma faced by mothers everywhere-

Can I throw away this particular item of clothing that personally offends me while no one is looking and afterwards feign ignorance?

At the Laundromat, however, I have have no audience, no witnesses, no accusing glances to fear.  If I simply pitch something there will be no wail of, "But that's my FAVORITE."  Or even worse, the calm, self-assured voice of an older child asking, "Why are you throwing out the 3 year old's favorite pair of shorts?"

I'm not talking morally questionable clothing, modesty and respect are not involved.  I'm speaking of personal preference and taste.  I'm actually specifically referring to a pair of silver basketball shorts owned by one of my younger sons.

They are tacky.

That's it.  They are just tacky.  So of course, in accord with the mysterious physics of hated clothing, he will Never outgrow them and they will never stain or rip.

I recently read the book, Zebraland, by Marlene Roeder.  In it she asks if who you are is defined by how you react most of the time, or how you react under extreme circumstances.  Actually, she asks a lot of questions along the lines of whether people are basically good with occasional evil actions or basically evil with occasional good actions...  thus the zebra stripe imagery.

Anyway, back to the laundry.  Am I basically deceitful, with honest moments, or will I wash and fold these stupid silver shorts and take them home for another week?

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Beware of That Person

September 22, 2011 by Rieshy

We have to drive to another city for my 5 year old's physical therapy- it's not too far, just 45 minutes but that's far enough that I have to take a snack for my son.  Last week I forgot to pack one so we stopped; the only nearby option other than McDonalds was Panera.  Admittedly not a great choice given my son is on a low-fat diet for his medical condition.

My 12 year old, along for the ride, was thrilled.

As I had my nose pressed against the display asking which muffin was the lowest in fat grams, I realized I was going to have to ask to see their published nutritional data because the thought bubble above the employee's head clearly stated:

"Bahhhh.  It's a bakery.  It's all empty calories, so what's the difference?- enjoy your food and stop holding up the line."

Their nutritional data is in a humongous 3 ring binder which was handed to me with an humiliating flourish. That was when I realized I have become That Person.  The mother with weird needs for her children.  Needs that don't make any sense to the casual bystander.  

I ordered a fat-free muffin for my son, and a fat-full bearclaw for my 12 year old.  My son's muffin came with an extra dollop of incredulous pity from the cashier.

"That Mother..."


Train of Thought

September 12, 2011 by Rieshy

My husband and I were relaxing in the living room chatting this weekend; perhaps I should say attempting to chat while all the kids were home doing a million different things.

After the 17th interruption my husband pointed out that our large family has the timing of a sitcom.We sat and counted.  Sure enough every 3- 6 seconds:

  • someone entered or exited from varying directions
  • a loud sound occurred off-stage
  • a person appeared with a question or a one-liner
  • random neighbor-children entered and exited carrying swords 
All in all, a normal Sunday afternoon.  It's a funny life...
and no commercials.

How to Help?

September 9, 2011 by Rieshy

Pondering parenting.

I've been searching for articles about how to help children with chronic illnesses deal with fear.  Most of the advice is so basic that it could have been written by a hamster.

I want nitty-gritty, in the trenches advice. -From people with experience, not just a deadline to post a feel-good upbeat article.

My 5 year old woke at 12:30 a.m. with an earache last weekend.  Normal childhood stuff, except with his medical condition he's been hospitalized at least 3 times for metabolic de-compensation kicked off by a simple ear infection.

I did what I could to make him comfortable and to support his metabolism, but he was too wound up to sleep.  I put in the most boring movie I could find and snuggled with him on the sofa.  He chatted/asked movie questions non-stop until 4:30 a.m.

Out of the blue around 4:15 a.m. he confided, "I'm always asleep and then I wake up and have to go to the hospital when I feel this way."

5 year old logic: staying awake=no hospital.

After he explained his fear we talked and he relaxed, and fell asleep.  I just wish I could have figured out the issue 4 hours earlier.



September 7, 2011 by Rieshy

"Wow, what happened?"  Not a good sign to have to ask that right after pulling back the covers-cocoon of your 9 year old son. 

"Well Mom, After you left last night I jammed my finger."

"Yes, but your lip is enormous?  I've never actually seen a fat lip until now."

"After I jammed my finger I figured out I had a bruise on my leg and arm."


"Then I was holding onto brother's arms.  When he let go I flipped over the sofa and luckily didn't hit the piano, just my knee."

"What did you hit your knee on?"

"My lip.  [of course, silly me]  Then I was doing handstands and hit my back on a chair.  That's when Dad said to sit down."

The 5 year piped up at this point, "Yeah Mom, we really need to get rid of the piano, it's kinda dangerous."

And that is my definition of Boys.



Not A Flying Toy

September 6, 2011 by Rieshy

We've had a wooden jointed toy snake for years.  Every few months I'll be in the boys room late at night re-tucking someone in and it will accidentally get bumped and slither down the wall from the top bunk.

I'm a transplanted West Texan.  I've seen more than a few rattlers rattlin in the wild, in the suburbs, even downtown from a rattlesnake that had hitched a ride into town on the underside of a car.  I know what a rattlesnake sounds like.

It sounds Exactly like my boys wooden toy snake.  "It's just a toy, it's just a toy," is my calming chant- after I climb down from the ceiling fan.

My two little boys both recently got plastic toy snakes as a sort of prize.  They are very realistic, they look just like baby snakes.  They keep reappearing in the dryer.  But, I've gotten used to them.

At the park last week my 3 year old was showing a 15 year old friend of the family his toy snake.  Our teen friend was really impressed.  "Wow, Miss Susan, I think that really is a snake."

"No, no, he got it at church.  Look at it closely.  Isn't it amazing?"

"Uh, Miss Susan, that's not a toy." Whereupon our friend tossed it to the ground.  "It's eyes are sunken in."

A crowd gathers as I'm leaning over the "toy" saying, no really- it's a....  I was interrupted by my 3 year old decisively clarifying the situation. He did this by emphatically stomping on the snake.

Blood squirted everywhere.  

I think enough adrenaline rushed through my body to do permanent brain damage.
Nope, not a toy.


Labor Day Search Party

September 5, 2011 by Rieshy

The kids thought we were crazy.
We loaded up in the rain in search of... 



Gigantic leaves.


and fun- 
nine pairs worth.


A Care-Taker's Dilemna

August 26, 2011 by Rieshy

Yesterday, as the doctor told me that my 3 year old may be experiencing growth plate issues or necrosis of the blood supply to his hip that would require surgery, he added, "But I don't want you to worry."

I almost laughed.  What's one more really expensive, possibly necessary or possibly unnecessary test that gobbles up another day and another dollar?  What's a few more care-taker decisions in a long succession of decisions?  Decisions that I constantly second-guess.

The thing is, I was relatively sure that his pain and limp were related to his metabolic disorder.  But we weren't sure.  Turns out (after x-rays) I was probably right. 

Today at my 17 year old's piano lesson I heard her teacher telling her that since she has small hands she must learn to think through and re-arrange her fingering so that she can play a piece with the same ease and power of a pianist with a larger hand.  Perseverance despite a shortcoming.

In a life of faith, is it possible that the propensity to worry is the equivalent of small hands?  If so, it's something I need to take into consideration.  If so, I can clearly relate it to the passage in James 1:1-3

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.


August 24, 2011 by Rieshy

Last night I was reading a book about the planets to my 3 and 5 year old.  They were seated to each side of me, slurping down their before bed snacks. 

We came to a page with a picture of the whole solar system.  Things were going well.  I asked a few questions about the sun that my 5 year old answered confidently.  Then...

Then as usual he stumped me.  My 5 year old pointed to Mercury.  "How would I die there?"

What?  I tried to brush the question off and we moved on to Venus.  Again, "How would I die on Venus?"

"Well, you wouldn't be able to breathe there..."  He interrupted me, "Would I burn up?"  He made a weird choking face to illustrate.

O.k., moving on.  But with every new planet the same gory questions about possible cause of death.  12 year old listening from the kitchen and making death-throe sounds didn't help.

All I can say is that teaching little boys does not remotely resemble teaching little girls.


New Year

August 23, 2011 by Rieshy

Yesterday was our first day back to school.  I generally fly by the seat of my pants, but this year I had invested a lot of planning time so that the kickoff to school would flow smoothly.

I just forgot to carefully plan that before breakfast my 12 year old was going to get locked out of her dogsitting house, with the dog.

Talk about an adrenaline rush- my daughter calls me and tearfully announces that I, "Must Drive Over NOW!"  I thought the dog was dead.

The (non-dead) dog spent the day with us.

I also forgot to plan that I would have 2, yes 2, flat tires.  Should have penciled that in.

Thanks to the unknown (and slightly scary looking) gentleman who knocked on my van window and told me something was wrong with my tire,  I was able to drive straight to the tire store before it went totally flat.  By the way Discount Tire rocks.  They found a huge bolt in one front tire and a screw in the other front tire.  The joys of living near new construction.

Did my planning pay off?  I did.  I knew where to pick-up after everything fell apart. 

I just hope today's planning doesn't reap quite the same benefit.


More Nocturnal Nonsense

August 21, 2011 by Rieshy

The other night I couldn't sleep so I sat in the den and wrote sloppy prose and checked email.  About 3:30 a.m. I heard it.  Something rattling a pan in the kitchen.

I stopped breathing and my fingers froze above the keyboard.  A mouse.  A large one by the sound of the rattles.  I ran for backup.

My newly awoken husband went into the kitchen and looked around while I stood on a chair in the dining room and watched.  Yes, I stood on a chair.   Frankly, I loose 3 dimensionality when it comes to rodents.

My husband rattled everything I could suggest but nothing made the same sound.

He went back to sleep.   I did not; I lay awake considering a rodent menance.  Until I heard it again.  A LOUD metal rattling sound.  The Rats of NIMH dismantling the oven?

I sat up and peered out through the bedroom door only to see a dim shape swish down the hall.  O.k. not a mouse, not even a rat.  I got up to investigate, but as I crossed into the living room a form floated past me, a form with a maniacal smile.

A nanosecond of terror and then laughter.  A smiley face Mylar balloon with trailing ribbons was free-floating through the pitch dark house.

My hair was still standing on end when the balloon was suddenly sucked up into the ceiling fan and, with the now familiar large metal rattling sound, it was slammed to the ground and trapped under a rocking chair. 

My husband pointed out later that the possibility of a mouse caused me to shriek and run for help yet an unknown form moving through the house, making large sounds caused me to... investigate?!?

I'm too happy knowing I don't have mice to mind a spot of teasing.

Things at 2 a.m.

August 20, 2011 by Rieshy

Things that go bump in the night:
the chirps of a son's uncharged and dying cell phone

wake you, but you don't know why.
Thoughts under control by day,
wander at will.

Things done
things undone
things that might be.

Things that go bump in the night grow,
and suck oxygen.

Sleeplessness and reason,
are not happy companions.
The devil's in the details
and the darkness,


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Game Designers, Take Note

August 17, 2011 by Rieshy

I walked through the den and noticed my 15 year old daughter on her older brother's computer.  Steam was open and the screen looked like she was playing one of her brother's games.  Yet, nothing seemed to be happening.

"What are you playing?"

"Half-Life, the zombie version."

"When your brother plays this there are zombies attacking and lots of shooting.  Are you sure this is the same game?"

"Oh, yeah.   This game is Great, it has all these beautiful old houses in it.  I go into a house, shoot all the zombies and then I do this."


"Well, it's the fun part.  I clean up the mess and then rearrange all the furniture until the house looks really nice.  I have a gravity gun, I can move Anything."



August 16, 2011 by Rieshy

Most of the time, if someone asks me the ages of my children, I stumble and trip and have to think.  People's expressions falter when they have to wait patiently for me to spit   it   out.  I'm sure they think my children are imaginary- what type of mother can't remember ages?

This is the time of the year when I can remember everyone's ages.  When our oldest daughter has her birthday it makes everyone's age odd or even, with our youngest daughter being the marker by being opposite neatly in the middle.

This time it's 19, 17, 15, 12, 9, 5, and 3.  See how handy that is.

We planned it that way.

I found this picture of our 17 year old this morning.
She was 35 in a 6 year old body.
 Actually she hasn't changed much.  
Happy Birthday Sweetie!  

And quick, someone ask me my kids' ages so I impress myself by rattling them off without thought.


Do It Yourself Health Care

August 13, 2011 by Rieshy

At the park Monday I was watching the kids play when my 5 yo climbed up to the monkey rings, grabbed a hold and then, hand over hand, worked his way to the other side.

Today at the pool I watched the same 5 yo launch his body face first and swim a couple of body lengths underwater.

Where did he learn these skills? How did he develop the strength, despite his hypotonia, to do these things?

Swim lessons? I priced swim lessons at the beginning of the summer, too high.

Physical therapy? We are still on the waiting list for physical therapy.

It was old fashioned family fun.

We had been told by the PT that swimming would be the most beneficial and least risky activity to build strength and endurance. How often is medical advice so pleasurable?  Our local rec center has a sloping pool entrance.  It was perfect, something all the kids enjoyed. We made it a priority to go to the pool as often as possible, and...

I just let them play.

Monday at the park, and today watching my newly self-taught swimmer?   I'm thankful for such a glorious summer of do-it-yourself health care with fabulously concrete results.


Curious Lines

August 6, 2011 by Rieshy

Yesterday in a lull between sizzling summer heat and summer lightening storms, that also sizzled, my Littles and I played in the driveway.

They didn't want to.  They were grouchy from being stuck inside, grouchy from being sick, and envious that the big kids were off doing mysterious big kid things; they just wanted to watch a movie.

We went outside anyway.

My three year old looked at our huge double driveway, perfect for scootering and bike riding, and complained that there was nothing to do and nowhere to ride.  Until I handed out the sidewalk chalk.  Immediately they began to draw streets and lanes and stop signs.

They had a blast.  They even drew rest stops and parking lots.  It was hilarious watching them fill up their scooters at the "gas station."  They pantomimed entering their PINs before using the invisible pumps.

What is it about lines and walls and rules?  We pretend to ourselves that we desire total freedom, but when confronted with it... the first thing we do is draw boundaries.


Night Sights

August 3, 2011 by Rieshy

Last night, in the wee hours, I heard someone sleep-talking and went to investigate. I found my three year old sleeping, half off his bed, wearing the sleep T-shirt I had put him to bed in along with the surprising addition of a pair of his dad's black socks.

His dad has size 12 feet.

The black socks were pulled up to the top of his thighs, almost to his spiderman underwear. They looked like hip boots ala the three musketeers. They also resembled the thick black tights I saw several Japanese teenage girls wearing under micro shorts recently.

As a young married couple we wanted children, I don't remember exactly why, but I'm pretty sure it included a lot of rosy and unrealistic expectations.

Reality is sooo much more precious.... not to mention funnier.


Note To Self

July 31, 2011 by Rieshy

My 17 year old daughter has been away for almost 3 months. She arrives home from Austria tomorrow evening. I am almost giddy with impatience... I can't wait to hug her neck, hear her German, and eat the chocolate that we all assume she'll have in her carry-on case.

She owns an Ipod dock/clock radio that she didn't take with her. I think the 3 year old messed with it because it started going off every night around 1 a.m.

It's loud. Extremely loud. Yet, I am the only one that can hear it... from the other side of the house, through two wooden doors.

I've tried messing with it myself, in the dark and with great hand-scrabbling exasperation, feverishly trying to get "Oh Mandy" to stop blaring before my head explodes.

I've woken my 15 year old to ask her how to turn it off but she just cried out something about kittens and rolled over again. The strange thing is that by morning I cannot remember to ask my husband to reprogram the blasted thing.

Tonight it was playing some death metal song. Seriously, what possessed radio staion plays Manilow one night and death metal the next? So I'm posting this at 1:30 a.m. as a note to self to fix the Ipod dock during the day.

Because, as I stand in the airport hugging my long-missed daughter, I don't want to say:

Yesterday's a dream I face the morning,
crying on a breeze the pain is calling
Oh Mandy.

I think that might confuse her.


At The Intersection of Hope, Medical Knowledge, and Chronic Illness

July 27, 2011 by Rieshy

It's a low day.
A below day.
Another, "We don't know day."

I know better than to pin hopes on a new specialist.  Yet, even as I convinced myself that I hadn't really hoped, I found myself trying not to cry with disappointment in yet another flavor of pediatric specialist's office.

A least everyone participated in pretending that I was not crying.

Having a rare genetic disorder isn't good enough for my children.  They get to have a rare genetic disorder along an as of yet unknown biochemical pathway impacting unknown enzymes.

Yay us.

So round and round the traffic circle I go.  Medical Knowledge is blocked and (hopefully) under construction. I need to exit at Hope, but I keep just barely missing it.


Super Human Housewife?

July 26, 2011 by Rieshy

I was spinning wool into yarn today while watching I Am Number 4 with my children, for the 4th time, when it occurred to me that I'm so hopelessly domestic that I'm past the point of alien super powers.

Bear with me.  I love the idea of super powers.  I even 'fess up to admitting that I enjoy I Am Number 4. Yet, putting super powers on along with my tek sandals and Gap sundress in the morning wouldn't really impact my life.

If I could suddenly fight with super strength.... against whom? My toddler?

Perhaps I could call a babysitter to come over while I troll dark alleys trying to pick a fight.  Um, baby sitters are expensive and actually, our small town doesn't really have any dark alleys.

O.k. free-running without fear of a sprained ankle would be awesome.  Huge even, really huge.  Instead of barely making it through Pilates at the rec center I could race about, leaping and flipping over park tables while my Littles played on the playground.

Again, though fun, not really life altering.  It does amuse me to imagine it; I already get strange looks for merely hanging from the monkey bars.

Moving on- being fireproof?  On a daily basis I am thankful to say that being fireproof has never been a necessary aspect of my life.  Being able to read minds?  I have teenagers, do you seriously think you could peacibly coexist with such creatures if you could read their every unfiltered thought?!? 

Do you see the pattern?  If I was suddenly embuued with alien super powers while somehow still remaining me, the powers would be superfluous instead of super-anything.

Though, now that I think about it, when my 3 year old was in his biting stage being able to lift him away from his intended victim with a lumen force field would have been fabulous...