30 June 2009

Give Me A New Law

While helping Bergen get dressed one recent morning, I experienced a momentary lack of sanity.

I asked this four year old boy, "What do you want to wear?"

Well, Hawkeye wasn't exactly sure what he wanted to wear, but he had a pretty good handle on what he did not want to wear.

The conversation went almost just like this . . .

"How about this shirt, son?"

"Ummm, too many buttons. "

"What about this one?"

"Too big."

We finally picked a shirt that was neither too big nor featuring too many buttons.

On to the shorts. (I was already in this deep, I just kept right on digging deeper.)

"The zipper doesn't work."

"They always fall off."

"I don't like dangling strings."

And then, my favorite response.

"Those shorts are too buckly-strappy."

Okay, son. You're going to wear these shorts. Don't say anything else please.

It was my own fault for asking, I know. Normally I just set out his clothes and he puts them on. On very special occasions, I let him pick out his outfit entirely without my presence nearby. (And by "very special occasions" I mean days when I am too tired to be concerned about his clothing and we have absolutely no plans to leave our home.)

At any rate, the boy was overwhelmed with choices. His options were seemingly endless. So many shirts from which to choose. And with every choice, the possibility of a better option was just around the corner.

Just like our own lives - isn't it?

Overwhelmed by options.

Is this the correct path? Should I take that job/ spend that much money on this computer/ marry that person/ quit volunteering on Tuesdays/ drink a beer with my friends/ move to that house/ confront my co-worker/ let my kid attend that event/ wear the blue t-shirt?

What's best for me? Which is the right choice to make?

This is the precise point in my own life where I wish I heard that audible voice from the sky. The voice that says, clearly and without stuttering, "Go this way." And maybe even a big neon flashing finger pointing east or west would help. (Okay, even a small whisper would suffice.)

But then we wouldn't have free will, now would we?

But we always want the easy way. At least , I always want the easy way.

The hard way is . . . well . . . hard.

Examining a situation. Reading the Bible for answers and guidance. Seeking out wise friends and leaders. Being willing to decide something contrary to what mainstream culture promotes. Pursuing truth even when it hurts.

That's hard.

Using our minds and our experiences and other's counsel to determine our way is just plain painful sometimes.

And it is our nature to avoid what hurts us.

Sometimes we just want God to lay down the law. Because following a rule is usually easier than discovering truth and then acting upon it.

"A New Law" - Derek Webb

Don't teach me about politics and government.

Just tell me who to vote for.

Don't teach me about truth and beauty.

Just label my music.

Don't teach me how to live like a free man.

Just give me a new law.

I don't wanna know if the answers aren't easy.

So just bring it down from the mountain to me.

I want a new law.

Don't teach me about moderation and liberty.

I prefer a shot of grape juice.

Don't teach me about loving my enemies.

Don't teach me how to listen to the Spirit.

Just give me a new law.

What's the use in trading a law you can never keep

For one you can that cannot get you anything?

Do not be afraid.

25 June 2009

Read This Book

Turn My Mourning Into Dancing by Henri Nouwen

I'm thinking about buying this book in bulk and handing it on the street corners.

Seriously. It's that good.

(At least, it's that good to me right now. And I know books are like that. They seem like miniature miracles when the words hit you when you most need them. )

This book is about suffering. And hope. It is about pain. And grief. And grace.

And it is about seeing God in the suffering.

Nouwen says, "We do not nurse the illusion that we can hopscotch our way through difficulties. For by trying to hide parts of our story from God's eye and our own consciousness, we become judges of our own past. We limit divine mercy to our human fears. Our efforts to disconnect ourselves from our own suffering end up disconnecting our suffering from God's suffering for us. The way out of our loss and hurt is in and through. When Jesus said, 'For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners' (Matt. 9:13), he affirmed that only those who can face their wounded condition can be available for healing and enter a new way of living."

The way out of our loss and hurt is in and through.

This train of thought is foreign to me. I want to avoid my loss. I want to run from my suffering. I want to obliterate my pain. I don't want to go in and through it.

This book offers a message of gratitude.

"If God is found in our hard times, then all of life, no matter how apparently insignificant or difficult, can open us to God's work among us. To be grateful does not mean repressing our remembered hurts. "

"To heal is to let the Holy Spirit call me to dance, to believe again, even amid my pain, that God will orchestrate and guide my life."

"It takes sustained effort to reclaim my whole past as the concrete way God has led me to this moment. For in doing so I must face not only today's hurts, but the past's experiences of rejection or abandonment or failure or fear."

"As long as we remain resentful about things we wish had not happened, about relationships that we wish had turned out differently, mistakes we wish we had not made, part of our heart remains isolated, unable to bear fruit in the new life ahead of us. It is a way we hold ourselves apart from God."

Oh my goodness.

There is so much more. But this post is already long. And the night is late as I type this. And I have a young son whose tiny tummy will soon be alerting him to its desire for sustenance. And so I must stop.

Read this book.

And then talk to me about it.

23 June 2009

Wee Little Finnian Facts

Tonight, even as I type this, Piper Finnian is sleeping in her big girl bed. A bed without walls. A bed that does not mandate containment, but merely suggests containment.

Wait, did I type "sleeping"? She is not sleeping. At last check, her lights were on. I have corrected that situation and now we will proceed to see how the night breaks down.

In other Piper news, she learned a trick from her friends Mandy and Jody.

And it's really cute.

She lies down somewhere, anywhere, puts her hands behind her head and says in an exaggerated sigh, "Lax". (Which means "relax" you know.)

Oh and she can also drink proficiently from a regular cup, a cup that is usually larger than her face.

We all really love her Wake Up game. You pretend to sleep - eyes closed and slight snoring sounds - and she screams "WAKE UP!" And you pretend to. Then she pretends to sleep - eyes closed and slight snoring sounds - and she waits patiently until you scream "WAKE UP!"

And next time you see her, ask her to show you her blinks. Yep. her blinks. They're great.

22 June 2009

What You Want

One morning recently London approached me and out of the blue stated, "Mom, God just doesn't do what you want."


"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, last night I prayed for God to shut the door and I waited and He just never did it."

I didn't laugh. Because I didn't think it was funny. I thought she was right.

Sometimes God just doesn't do what we want. Period.

I didn't try to convince London that God does do just what we ask. Because I don't think that's true. And she is young, not dumb.

I didn't try to explain that her demand was illogical. Because to her, the demand was perfectly logical. (Just like we think our demands to God are always perfectly logical. When they are not.)

She was right. London was right.

God does not do what we want.

And I don't know why.

I could wax philosophical and say that we don't really understand our wants and that our wants are not always God's will and that we often mistake our wants for our needs.

All of which may be true.

But what difference do any of those truths make when we are begging God to meet our wants and we see that He isn't? That God is not doing what we want.

Because God does not do what we want.

I said I didn't know why, but I guess I do know why, actually.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. . . . . my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. - Isaiah 55:9,11

So there is a plan.

And we don't know it.

Because we aren't God.

And He doesn't have to do what we want.

21 June 2009

She Said

A few years ago our family discovered a little product known as a buff. Since the buff's introduction into our household, there has probably not been a day that has passed that some Keigley head has not donned one of these head wear miracles. (If you have any questions concerning buffs, ask any of us. Except Wilder. He can't talk yet.)

We should be spokespeople for this product. Really. In fact, in a way, we are.

I mean, there's the whole word of mouth thing, of course. Truly, strangers have frequently stopped me to ask about my head attire and then have actually written the website down. There's also the handful we have purchased for friends as gifts. And the crowd of summer staffers at Look Up who have bought a buff after seeing it sporting on one of our heads.

Plus, to top it off, Riley sent an e-mail to the company and told them our story - pretty much the above paragraph. The company liked the letter so much that they sent Riley two free buffs and actually started a rewards/points system for loyal customers such as herself!! (That's my kid!)

So it is no surprise that our kids love to wear their buffs. (Piper is the only Keigley who doesn't officially own her own. I guess I should correct that - eh?) London wears her buff so religiously that many people we know do not even know what color her hair is. And she is very particular about the manner in which she wears it. And she sleeps with it on. And she prefers her own blue buff over any other colored buff in our home.

But I promise that this post is actually going somewhere.

(Spoiler Warning: This is an awfully big build up for a mediocre punchline. My apologies in advance.)

Anywho . . . Our family attended a birthday party for a friend recently. London, Mosely and Bergen all entered the party house wearing their buffs. A woman who we did not know remarked to a women who we did know, "Why are all of those children wearing underwear on their heads?"

The Day For Fathers

First. My Father.

When I was a kid I thought my dad had the same super powers that every kid thinks their dad possesses.
You know, eyes forever roaming the world that can quickly pinpoint ME hitting my brother across the back with my Cabbage Patch Kid. The Long Arm that could reach all the way into the backseat of the station wagon while driving the death-defying curves of the back roads up the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Disappointed Look when my report card comments revealed the classroom sins I thought I had kept hidden. The Ability to Magically Produce Money out of the air when I really wanted those cool British Knight basketball shoes or when I wanted to go to church camp the summer of the drought.

When I hit college I realized that my dad wasn’t exactly heroic like Superman, but gosh, he was smart. When he explained to me how I could save money by living off campus IF I followed his instructions - he was right. (I might have only learned this by NOT following them, however.) And when I had a question about cars, decisions, money, the future . . . I asked for his advice. And it was good.

Now as an official member of the Grown Up Club, I know my dad isn’t entirely super human or always super smart. He’s my dad. And he’s human. Maker of mistakes. His heart bent to the best interests of those he loves. Normal. Wise from years of living and mistake making. Humble. Kind. Far from perfect and far from acting that way. Generous. Full of knowledge. A man who loves me. Without fail. A man who recognizes his role as my father and who lives a life that says, "Don’t follow me. Follow who I am following."

Actually, when you think about it - a man like that, a man like my father - is pretty much a super hero after all.

Now. My Children’s Father.

This guy could not be more loved and adored by the small people who call him "daddy".

When I married this guy, the father of our six children, I had no concept of what type of dad he would be. (You see, I wasn’t exactly planning on having any children, so his Dad Potential wasn’t high on my list of concerns.)

But here we are, almost fourteen years and six children later, and I know precisely what type of dad this man is. He has his super powers, alright. The Ninja Skills that can catch a falling child before that child even knows she is in danger. The Magic Lap that can soothe a fussy infant to sweet sleep. Enduring Patience that happily answers every "why" and "how" question with sincerity. The Voice of Reckoning that demands obedience from even the wiliest Keigley kid. The Arms of Strength that can carry three children at once and lift sleeping children into high loft beds.

This is a man who lets his kids see his imperfections. Who loves his children with abandon and makes their lives a priority. A man who takes his daughters fishing and runs races with them. A man who gets on the floor and chases his toddler until she screams with delight. Who insists on trying to teach his son to act like a gentleman and to put his sisters’ needs before his own. A man with a nickname for each child. A man who draws pictures for his children and makes them laugh so hard they cry and spit drink out of their noses. (At the dinner table.) This guy stays up late when they are sick and carries a first aid kit in his bag and shares his cereal at every meal without complaint.

These kids who live in our house, they believe this man is a super hero. And I know how that goes. And my prayer is that they’ll keep believing that for now. And when they reach college and the super hero phase begins to fade, I trust that they will realize how smart their father is. And when they join the club of grown ups, I hope they too will see their dad in the same light that I now see my dad. And I trust that Kevin too will still be saying to them, "Don’t follow me. Follow who I am following."

And then our children will indeed know a true super hero.

19 June 2009

Four Weeks

My Littlest Son,

When I discovered that I was pregnant with you, I was . . . . surprised. Not entirely excited. Worried. In shock. I didn't tell anyone for a long while.

Your daddy and I really thought that your big sister Piper was the last little Keigley we would bring forth into this messy world.

We were clearly wrong.

And then I was so sick. The doctor and Daddy and I thought you wouldn't survive. Oh, but small one, you are a survivor. And more than that, you decided to thrive. (God decided.)

Let me be honest, my little Wilde Fox. Times at our house were not exactly good. The world was far from perfect. Shadows hung heavy. But you endured. You grew. The miracle to one day be named Otto was growing and stretching, kicking and sucking his itsy thumb.

Born late, as Keigley babies love to schedule a dramatic arrival, you finally reached the outside world on May 22 - all eight sweet pounds of you. And your daddy and I knew we were witnessing a miracle. A miracle of grace. (More than what we knew we deserved.) A miracle of mercy. (Not at all what we deserved.)

Otto Fox Wilder - you are wonderful. You are more than I can explain. Four weeks have slipped away already in late nights and early mornings. Spit up on all of our clothes and yellow poop escaping from your diaper. Cries calmed when we hold you close. Sweet sleep when you hunker down in our arms. A little man emerging.

You fit here. You are a part of us now. Miracle upon miracle God has allowed to drop upon our heads. And you are a piece of that story.

Being your mother is a blessing - one I did not expect and one I am in no way worthy of bearing, but a blessing that is mine all the same.

Here's to the journey ahead of us, my boy. Four short weeks in . . . and, Lord willing, so many more to discover.

May God bless and keep you always.

May your wishes all come true.

May you always do for others and let others do for you.

May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung.

May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous.

May you grow up to be true.

May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you.

May you always be courageous . . . Stand upright and be strong.

May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy.

May your feet always be swift.

May you have a firm foundation when the winds of changes shift.

May your heart always be joyful.

May your song always be sung.

May you stay forever young.

18 June 2009

This Boy

This boy was shopping with his family at Hobby Lobby, searching for great Father's Day gifts for an artistic dad. His sweet, calm, beautiful mother was patiently waiting for several pieces of art work to be framed.

This little boy really needed to use the bathroom. Accompanied by his older sister, this young gentleman approached the public restroom facilities.

At this particular art and hobby store, the bathroom door was located directly beside the emergency exit door.

The little fellow anxiously reached for a door handle. A shockingly loud noise reverberated throughout the entire store. Apparently, this little guy had accidentally tried to open the emergency exit instead of the bathroom door.

With his hands clasped over his ears and tears streaming down his face, this little boy froze in place, unable to move from both his fear and from the very scene of the crime.

The horribly loud noise awoke his sleeping infant brother, whose cries joined the piercing fire alarm.

Although the boy's mother tried to smile and comfort her teary boys, she found herself red-faced and more than anxious to be done with that day's errands.

17 June 2009


Funny story.

It had been raining all day and the sun didn't come out until after dinner. With both mom and kids anxious for some time spent outdoors, I went against my better judgement and answered in the affirmative when four small faces requested permission to play outside. Yes, four. I even let the little Willow join her siblings for some big time play time.

What with all the torrential downpours all day, it wasn't exactly their fault that the most exciting adventures awaiting outside were discovered at the bottom of a mud puddle. I mean, they are children after all.

I let the play go on as long as I could stand it, but eventually this party needed some serious policing. I scooped Piper up first after admonishing Mosely Ella about the inherent unkindness associated with piling mud on her younger sister's head. I'm pretty sure Piper wasn't even slightly offended, however.

As I tossed her in the tub, Piper happily showed me the contents of her grubby, mud encrusted hands . . . one fourth of a squirming worm!

16 June 2009


So maybe I just didn't keep up with laundry as well as I should have this week.

And so maybe Piper Finnian is wearing the pajamas that she wore last night, because they were conveniently lying beside her bed where I conveniently dropped them (I mean wisely placed them) this morning.

And so maybe Bergen just went to bed wearing swim trunks and a t-shirt.

And maybe Mosely went to bed wearing Bergen's Batman underoos, Bergen's almost-too-small-for-her running pants and Bergen's little boy white undershirt.

And so maybe London is sporting a more classic pair of Bergen's underwear - the whitey-tighties.

Maybe tomorrow I'll do some laundry.

Or maybe not.

(Do you think any of Bergen's underwear will fit me?)

15 June 2009

Tears, Glorious Tears

At this house, it seems as if someone is always crying.

Little Mister Wilder cries when he is hungry. And he cries when he can't manage to flip his thumb in the correct direction and maintain its position in his own minuscule mouth. He cries at four a.m. and he cries around seven thirty as well. If his diaper change is taking too long, tears ensue. When the food that should stay in his stomach flows out of his mouth and around his head, he cries about that as well.

For Piper the tears are born of genuine frustration with her current lot in life. She wants to go outside like the big kids. She cannot. She cries. She stands at the window, watching the life she wishes she had and she cries for what she cannot yet achieve. If the butter doesn't get passed to her quickly enough at the dinner table, she might cry. If a brother or sister is standing on her toy - she'll let them know with a big, fat cry. When she wants her shoes on her feet, crying is her preferred method of communicating that fact. She sees a bug - tears. Wants to get out of her playpen - tears. Wants a cracker - tears.

Believe it or not, Bergen's tears are almost always generated from hurt feelings as opposed to hurt body parts. (Of which he has more than his fair share.) Through his tears he tells me that London/Mosely/Piper hurt his feelings. And that makes him soooooooo sad.

Mosely cries when her feelings are hurt, when her finger is hurt, when the weather turns warm or when the wind blows. Tears come fast and furious to her.

London primarily cries for physical pain - and although that isn't often, she can really lay it on thick when the pain deems it necessary.

Riley doesn't cry nearly so much these days - at least publicly. But oh - let me tell you some stories sometime of her past teary escapades.

And if it isn't one of the kids, it might be me.

Sometimes I feel like I live in a Tear Factory and my primary task is picking up the pieces After The Tears. I get my arms ready for hugs when that's appropriate or my mouth ready for words of encouragement or admonishment - whatever the situation demands. And sometimes my actions can help heal the tears a little and I offer some basic comfort and sometimes I fall far short of healing and am hurtful instead, causing more tears.

Which makes me think, I bet God looks at this world He made and these people He has set loose with their crazy free wills and thinks that all He made was a Giant Tear Factory.
We are always crying about something - aren't we? And sometimes, like Wilder's cries, the complaints might be legitimate. But probably the cries are more often like my other kids' cries - born of selfish motives and self-serving ambitions and desires. Sometimes we cry out of our genuine pain and I think that's okay. And I know God greets our tears with understanding and patience or correction and direction. He isn't like me and I am so grateful. He never adds to our hurt by saying the wrong words or losing his temper when our whiny cries reach deafening decibels. He is true and steadfast and he has the ability to turn the weeping into joy.

14 June 2009


Doesn't this maple syrup look like a healthier, better for you, version of syrup?

I mean, look - there are woods in the drawing on the label and maple syrup comes from trees - right? And this company has been making this sticky stuff since 1889. Shouldn't that imply quality?

Yeah, at least that's what I thought when I saw it on the shelf at my local grocery store.

At breakfast I was reading the back label, something I should have done at the store I guess, and realized that it was just normal old-full-of-high-fructose-corn-syrup syrup. Shucks!

I was tricked by a nice label.

12 June 2009


We all have those phrases . . . those pithy sayings that we always fall back on. Some are ridiculous, some are funny and some we just cannot believe we are saying, even as we hear them spewing from our lips.

Lately, it seems as if I hear them from my children's lips as well.

After giving the kids a short to-do list, London and Mosely came to me, complaining of the current working conditions. "Mom," London began, "Mosely wants me to carry the dishes over from the table but I told her she has to do it because I am already in the middle of trying to do two things and I told her - 'You know, there's only one me.'"

Oh. My.

I realize I say "there's only one me" dozens of times throughout the course of a day.

Whenever one child approaches me to complain about another child's lack of participation, I always ask, "Who are you responsible for?" After that child grudgingly admits "myself", I send them back on their (not so) merry way.

Particularly when the kids were very little and now for Piper Finn, I use a phrase to sum up the attitude I expect them to have - Kevin and I stick all the attitude issues under a "happy heart". We are forever telling some small person to "have a happy heart". I guess we really overuse that one because my parents always teased us about our own happy hearts.

I know I have dozens of other much-repeated phrases. But I want you to guys to tell me some of yours. (I don't want to be the only one who says too many goofy things out loud to my children.)

10 June 2009

In Case You Were Wondering

This is Piper. Someone, we can only assume it was a person under four feet tall, gave this not-yet-two-year-old an open box of Cheerios to look at during breakfast.

I had to use the restroom during our breakfast. Silly me. Why can't I just plan a little better? (And why does every bad/mischievous/injurious/disobedient/dangerous event occur while I am trying to spend two and a half minutes using the restroom anyway?!)

I returned just in time to hear the sound of Cheerios cascading from the box to the table, to the floor, to the tiny space between the table leaf.

Before I could clean up the mayhem, I heard Otto Fox begin to cry. Upon checking out the tiny man I discovered he had peed through his clothes, his blanket and his crib sheet. While I was changing his everything, I started yet another load of laundry.

At some point, I fed Otto, diapered and dressed Piper, supervised the dressing of Bergen, Mosely and London and set the kids to various tasks. I think some other events occurred during the course of the morning - like more using of the bathroom and more general home and offspring maintenance - but I'm not really certain.

Suddenly starving children faces were before me and I discovered that it was indeed the appropriate time for lunch to served. Hmmm. Breakfast was still pretty much lying all over the table (and the floor and that tiny space between the table leaf).

"Could I interest anyone in some Cheerios?" No takers. Truthfully, and to my shame, I simply pushed aside the breakfast mess to make way for the new and improved lunch mess.

I don't even think I know what the afternoon held exactly, but you can probably guess as well as I can. Probably some tears, some poop and hopefully some laughter.

Around 3:30 I finally forced myself to have a rendezvous with the blue-handled broom. Way too many minutes later, every Cheerio was accounted for, the table was scrubbed of its sticky morning mess and the leaf was even removed to reach that tiny space.

Before I could even walk the broom to the closet (and it's only a few steps), my attention was diverted by a baby or a spider or an M&M. Suddenly, because my life feels like I fall in a lot of black holes lately, I was informed again by my apparently starving children that food should be served again soon.

But the kitchen was just clean for the first time that day!! And I also remembered that I needed to drive into town to pick up my weekly veggie/produce delivery from our local co-op.

So you know what I did? I left my kitchen tidy and Cheerio-free, picked up ultra-healthy, locally grown produce and milk and eggs and then circled through the local dining establishment known as McDonald's and let my kids eat their dinner in the Suburban.

09 June 2009


Before Otto Fox Wilder was born, the creation of his name was causing quite a controversy in our house. The little guy has had so many names tossed around as "the one" that everyone lost track of which name we liked best at any given moment. (Oliver, Oscar, Oz, Stryder, Striker, Ryder, Ollie, Wyatt, Truett, Greenleaf . . . )

Early on, Bergen tried to keep the peace by suggesting the perfect name - Superman. And Bergen has really been the only consistent one - always calling him Superman.

Two days ago, Otto tried to prove that he was indeed worthy of his superhero nickname. I placed him down for a morning nap on his belly to see what he thought of that position. Not too much, apparently, as his cries were blasting from his room. Riley went in to check his tiny status and discovered he was on his back. Seriously. So we placed him on his stomach again, just to confirm the fluke the rollover must have been.

Surprise! The crazy little action figure pushed himself up and over again. What in the world?

Little Superman.

07 June 2009

The Magic's in the Music . . . .

(Photo disclaimer - another photo that has very little to do with the post. But it's Piper and that little unnecssary, but adorable, ponytail. Well, calling that sprig a "ponytail" is a stretch, I know!)
When Bergen Hawkeye was a baby I finally had a good idea to help him differentiate between day time naps and night time sleep.

Mosely was dependent on a blanket and that was really a bad idea because blankets can be lost (she has lost two) and blankets can be forgotten on road trips. And lost blankets add up to sleepless nights for Mosely and everyone else within earshot.

So with Bergen I wanted to think of something that can't be lost and can be used anywhere and pretty much by anyone. Every night at bedtime I sing Bergen the same song I have been singing to him since he was hours old in the hospital room. I rubbed his little head (and now his bigger head) and sung "Lullaby" by Matt Costas. (It's on the Curious George movie soundtrack - such a sweet song.) The great thing is that we can sing the song in any hotel room or friend's house and it never gets lost or misplaced during the day. Berg is four and still asks for his song every night. In fact, we have even added "Beautiful Boy" by John Lennon to the evening's lineup since Bergen is a fellow who always wants more.

The song choice for little Piper Finnian was easy - "Little Willow" by Paul McCartney. She knows when she hears that song to lie down on her tiny willow pillow (really, there's a willow on it - it's so cute) and to close her eyes. I must admit, however, Piper also sleeps with a Marine Corp. eagle that Aunt Beckey purchased for her. Piper is quite attached to her "gull". Oops!

During my pregnancy with Otto Fox I started thinking about what song that little guy needed nightly. I was inspired by this great book Oma bought for London - an artistic rendition of "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan. It's the perfect song! (And I sequestered the book for Wilder's room - sorry London.) He's already learning to be soothed by the melody, even if it is sung in my less-than-stellar vocals.

I love that about my wee ones - they have no idea yet that Mom is tone deaf!

I wish I had thought of this musical bedtime ritual for the older kids. During tuck-in time tonight London and Mosely requested their own song and I realized, hey, it's not too late to start the tradition with them. But I am somewhat stuck for song ideas. What songs would be great for a little Scout and a Mo-Town? I want your suggestions!

06 June 2009

Come on, London!

So I was sweeping the kitchen floor.

Underneath the table I spotted a container of sour cream with no lid and a spoon sitting in it.

I picked up the container, knowing it would be empty when I looked inside. It was. I don't know a lot about a lot of things, but I know a lot about my kids. And I didn't even have to really waste brain power to know exactly why an empty sour cream container was underneath our kitchen table.

I called London from wherever she was playing. "London, did you take this sour cream container and sit underneath the table and eat the rest of the sour cream?"

A very sheepish nod followed my question.

That kid!

She thinks sour cream is a dessert.

(For the record - We had sour cream with our burrito lunch and there was not very much left in the container. I know that doesn't make a big difference, but at least it's better than the idea of her getting the sour cream out of the refrigerator and eating the entire container. It is - isn't it?)

02 June 2009

I'm Not Making This Up

Today . . . . .

Piper wore a tiny, tiny ponytail in her hair - Pebbles-style. It was unnecessary. But it was cute.

Bergen came running into the house this morning carrying a dead bird. "Hey, Mom - I found a dead bird," he announced. This was also unnecessary. And not cute.

Riley had to receive five shots at the public health department for her upcoming adventure to Kenya. The facility was ugly, windowless and depressing. The nurse acted as if the two of us had single-handedly, purposefully set out to ruin her day. I hope if our government ever decides to choose universal health care they can figure out how to run that system better than their current government-run health care system.

I took six children (five under the age of five) to eat lunch at Mellow Mushroom. (I was the only adult. I just want to emphasize that.) And no one spilled anything. No extremely inappropriate noises were made. Pizza was ordered. Kids colored. We ate the pizza. No one complained about drinking only water. Riley didn't even really complain when the server gave her a kid cup with a lid. Baby Otto slept through the whole meal, allowing me to eat both my Caesar salad and my pizza slice in relative peace and enjoyment.

While in Target I confiscated Mosely's prize quarter after finding it in her mouth for the second time (post-warning). The child perfected the most pitiful, humped shoulders, lip protruding, arms crossed waddle for the remainder of our visit. She seemed as if the Peanuts music was playing all around her and a little black rain cloud was raining on her alone.

At dinner Riley offered to make us all a delicious smoothie. She has made smoothies many times before. I assumed that she knew the basic blender operating instructions. Silly me. One loud noise later, followed by a spraying of strawberry goodness across the cabinets and a shriek from the blender operator, I realized Riley was not aware of the cardinal blender rule. Never put anything into a blender that is turned on. Certainly not a long wooden spoon. Oh my. After being assured by Riley that the break of the spoon was clean and all wood chunks were located, we all proceeded to pick our way through toothpick and telephone pole sized wooden chunks in our smoothies.

After dinner Piper climbed on to the table and when I told her to get down, she fell off. She was only wearing a diaper, which somehow made things seem worse.

Bergen fell up the steps and scraped his knee and his ankle, causing copious amounts of blood and a concerned Piper Finn, who kept reaching out to touch her brother's blood, despite Berg's constant cries of, "Please don't touch my blood, Piper. Please don't touch my blood."

Mosely spent at least eight minutes crying because she couldn't remove her water-soaked shirt after playing in the stream.

I didn't take any photos of any of this. It seemed enough just to live it. More than enough. (Besides, the dead bird was really disgusting.)

It isn't even seven o'clock.

Can everyone go to bed early?

01 June 2009

Greener Ideas

The kids are displaying their own love of trees and all things green.

I'm not a radical environmentalist - whatever that is - but I have been trying to trade in some of my earth-harming habits for some greener choices for a few years now.

For me, it really comes down to what I believe about God more than what I believe about the earth. I mean, to make it simple, God made the earth. He made people and told those people to take care of the earth. So here I am. And if I am doing a less than stellar job of stewardship, than I am basically saying I am not concerned with the gift and responsibility God placed on my head.

There are a lot of things I would like to do better. And many things I have changed. But a small step is a good step. And I think the way to conquer the big things is to be faithful in the little things. (Doesn't God speak to that too?) I think if you can change one habit for a month and make that habit become a normal way of life, that's big progress. The next month, conquer a new habit. And on it goes. Like the proverbial snowball. Suddenly you are doing many things differently and it wasn't even really that difficult.

I thought this blog would be a fun place to share a habit or a new idea every now and then. The really cool part about being more conscious of our decisions is that the new choices usually end up saving us money too. And who doesn't like that? (Then maybe I can afford to buy those cool earth-friendly Patagonia shirts that are currently out of my price range.)

At our house we have given up paper towels and napkins. Not buying paper products means less manufacturing of those items, which would result in less trees being timbered to create the products. Additionally, we make less trash to fill landfills because we have no paper product waste.

In place of paper napkins, we use cloth napkins. Instead of paper towels, we use washrags. We keep the napkins in a low drawer where the kids can easily reach them to help pass them out at mealtimes. It's a great task for little helpers. After dinner, small assistants clearing the table simply gather the cloth napkins and place them in a little red tin pail I keep nearby for such a purpose. (They also actually enjoy loading the pail's contents into the washing machine every morning. Put those tiny hands to work!!)

This has been an easy change and once we purchased the initial cloth napkins, the cost has been nothing. And we aren't spending extra money at the store on paper supplies. And there a lot of really cool cloth napkins out there. You could easily make your own as well. I say "easily", but that depends on your skills with scissors and a sewing machine. Maybe not so easy for some (like me).

So save the last of your paper napkins for summer picnics and once you use up that last roll of paper towels, don't walk down that aisle at the grocery store again!