06 February 2010

It's So Hard To Say Goodbye

How do I break the news?

I guess I'll just say it.

I'm moving.


I'm not leaving South Carolina. (Notwithstanding the town of Walterboro, it's a pretty great place to reside.)

I am just relocating this blog.

Re-everythinging this blog, actually.

And I am pretty excited about it.

I can't wait to hear what you think.

Here's a hint . . . remember how I once wrote that I wish I had named this blog "So Every Day"?

Well - now I have!

Please follow me on over - http://www.soeveryday.com/.

05 February 2010

Letter Three (3)

Dearest Sir Will,

You are indeed Good, my friend.

Today my son is dressed in a dashing ensemble, constructed entirely by items purchased at your low cost store.

Yes. I always launder my purchases before allowing them to adorn my precious offspring's bodies. But I am okay with that.

Why would I pay $42 for a pair of size 6 Gap Chinos at the mall when I can acquire the exact same pair for a mere pittance of $3.00 at your casual storefront?

I do wish your clothing was sorted more effectively but if it takes me thirty minutes to unearth five pairs of size 5 pants, I'll spend that thirty minutes. I will. Because in the end those five pairs of pants will cost me less than one pair of pants at fill-in-the-blank-fancy-pants-store.

Many thanks Good Will, for your same-quality, much lower-cost apparel. My family thanks you as well.

Yours truly,


04 February 2010

Piper Finnian Willow Lacey Keigley: The Interview

Why do you think Mommy and Daddy chose your name?: Because you like nice babies.

What do you dream about at night?: I dream lions and elephants and monkeys and they carry me away. I was floating away and they say, "Hello Baby."

Tell me about your brothers and sisters: I hit my brothers and sisters. Hitting is a different word.

Oh. That's not kind. What should you do instead?: Say sorry to them. Be kind to them.

What do you like to eat?: Bubblegum. Uh ... food. Food is different word.

How can we fix the current economic crisis?: Uh. My marbles. With marbles.

What is your favorite toy?: Uh. This guy. (Holding a donkey-shaped Pez dispenser.) No. A baby. See. (Grabbing a baby doll from the floor.)

What do you like to play?: Uhhh. Weebles. Uhhh. Those. (Pointing to Sequence game spread out on living room floor.)

Why do you love Daddy?: Because he is strong.

What makes a rainbow?: A rainbow is at our house. Um. The sun. And the rain.

Who is your favorite friend?: Barack Obama is. Uhh. Nate.

Anyone else?: One, two, three, four five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

Are you for real?: No. I'm not for real. (Breaks out singing) For real, for real. I not for real.

How does your new underwear feel?: Good. My underwear has flowers on them. (Looking) No, they are snowflakes.

What job would you like to do as a grown up?: Grown up is a different girl. Give a grown up girl a treat.

Did you love Disney?: Disneyworld. Uh-huh. It has Mickey Mouse in it. And it has Donald in it. And surprises. (Singing again) Surprise, surprise, surprise!

What do you love about Magnus?: Getting him out.

How do you do that?: First he does roll on me. And then get him outside. I open the door.

How old are you?: One. Two actually.

What is your favorite name? Piper.

What does Daddy call you?: Piper? Lacey Keigley? He calls me (begins singing) Little Munch, you're the cutest Little Munch.

Tell me about Eagle: He get messy in Grandpa's potty. He fell.

Anything else you would like to say?: Uh. Happy birthday.

Next Up

And then it was my turn.

To be sick, that is.

I will spare you the gory details. But let me just throw a few adjectives your way.

Early. Violent. Aggressive. Wretched. Debilitating.

02 February 2010

Rainy Day, Inside and Out

What a gray day.

Sleep-deprived from the instant I heard the alarm. (Derek Webb's "Mockingbird" is a lot less lovely at 6:30 a.m.)

Kevin wasn't feeling well. The rain was steady and the clouds blocked the sun from showing even a hint of itself.

I should have stayed in bed.

Or at least stayed home.

But the fridge was empty. And had been for two days. No, I don't just mean that we were out of milk - which we were. I mean - we needed groceries. As in, I saw Riley packing her lunch last night and she was cutting open some old MREs from my brother the Marine and she was stashing odd combinations into her lunch bag. (I fear for her health.) I think for breakfast she ate her own fingertips, but I'm not sure about that.

I fed Wilder and put him back down for his morning nap (all the while being uncontrollably jealous of the life of an eight month old). He and Kevin could stay home together. And then I gathered the other four and added shoes or hats or jackets where they were lacking. We sloshed through the wet, slushy snow remains through the pelting rain. I strongly dislike (hate is such a heavy word) loading kids into the Suburban when it's raining. They have to climb over one another and multiple car seats to reach the back row, which means that several kids end up with wet and/or muddy bums from their siblings' feet.

The Suburban was making most concerning sounds and as I sloshed out of the driveway I was pretty sure that it was not shifting properly. I called Kevin, you know - like two minutes after I had just left him.

"Uh. The Suburban isn't shifting properly," I said. (That was my professional opinion.)

"Is it still in four wheel drive?" he calmly inquired.

I looked down. Yes. "Yes, it is."

I had to make a stop at our bank so I decided to include Whole Foods in my plans, if I was already driving that far.

At the bank I waited for the check to be deposited and the cashier asked me for my debit card. And as I reached for my red bag, my stomach sank a bit. Suddenly I was pretty positive that my wallet was in my green bag. Oh Stink.

No debit card. No ID.

I quickly asked for cash so I could still redeem this trip and go to the grocery store anyway.

The cashier politely refused to give me any cash without my ID.

Plan B, I figure. I'll just write a check at the store. But wait - who will accept a check without an ID? Oh yeah - no one.

Okay. Okay. I'll just run by the ATM and get cash to buy the groceries. Guess what you need to get your cash? A debit card. Of course. What in the world was I thinking?

And so I did what I do sometimes.

I cried.

Sitting in the suburban. In the rain. In the bank parking lot. I cried.

Because sometimes I cry over seemingly unimportant things. Like spilled milk. And Magnus eating my pizza dough. And forgotten wallets.

And then I turned around and drove all the way back home. Through the rain. Windshield wipers flip flapping.

I unpacked the kids. Sloshed back into the house. Told Kevin my sad story. Received sympathy. We fed kids some half peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the heels. (If you turn the heel inside, the kids never know it's the end. Shhh. That's just between us, okay?)

After lunch I put Piper and Fox down for naps and London and Mosely stayed home for their math tutoring with Laura (a bright spot in their day twice a week) and Bergen and I headed back to the wet Suburban - wallet in hand.

By the time we finally arrived back home it was past time to eat and Kevin was heading out the door to his art class (like two ships passing in the night). I strongly dislike (hate is such a heavy word) that moment when you arrive home from a store, crushed under the weight of your plastic bags (or reusable ones, that's what I meant), to realize that you have nothing in mind for dinner.

Really. This day seems mostly a drag. (In fact, I apologize to you for recording it all. What was I thinking?)

Maybe TV can redeem it. I have high hopes for you Lost, high hopes.

01 February 2010

Last Night

It was late.

As in, kids all tucked in, kitchen cleared, computers powered down, sitting on the sofa kind of late.

I was writing a letter to my friend (sorry Sara - I may never get to finish that epistle at this rate) and Kevin was watching (with his eyes closed) some M. Night ShimmyWhoWho movie on television.

And that's when we heard the cry.

"Mommyyyyyyyyyyy." (Hmmm. Now they call my name. Interesting.)

We discovered Mosely in the bathroom, over the toilet, taking care of her little sick self.

We wondered if Mosely had managed to make it to the bathroom before the sickness began. But evidence to the contrary was all over her face. And arms. And shirt. And hair. And, upon further investigation . . . the blankets, the wall, the floor. Oh and yes, the bed she was sharing with Bergen and London.

And so our night began in earnest. At about 1 a.m.

We shifted sleeping, non-sick children to alternate locations. We divided and conquered. Kevin cleaned up the bedroom, I cleaned up the six year old. And mid-process we heard a familiar sound. Behind the closed door of one little Willow.

Sure enough. Sick kid number two. And there was no time for a trip to the bathroom. It was already too late before we even opened the door.

And so we started the process over again. Stripped sheets. Piled up pillows, eagle and anything else unfortunate enough to happen to be in Piper's path.

The night was long. Two baths after 1 a.m. Two beds stripped of sheets. Two beds remade. Two buckets located for any more incidents. Two girls outfitted in new cozy pajamas.

Somewhere along the way, Piper sat up and said, "I am having fun with Mosely in my bedroom." Some fun, Sweet Little Munch. But I like that attitude.

We had at least three more incidents throughout the late evening - maybe more. I might have lost count.

But the day did dawn brighter, no one has been ill all day.

And on the positive side, for the first time in maybe a year or more - every Keigley kid took a nap this afternoon - even London Eli.

So there's your silver lining, I guess.

31 January 2010

Saints and Sinners

On a ride in the Suburban recently, the kids and I had a pretty heavy theological discussion.

"How do we know who goes to heaven and who goes to hell?" one of my deep thinkers asked.

"Well," I started. Like I usually do. A stalling method I think I have perfected but which I know will have a short shelf life.

And Bergen jumps in - "I know that. Good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell."

"Well," I paused again. "That is not exactly true son. Are you a good person?"

He nodded his head yes.

"Do you ever do bad things?" I probed.

Bergen said, "Sometimes."

And we all started a conversation about how good people do bad things. And how bad people do good things.

We talked about how everyone has the capacity to be both bad and good, mean and kind - saint and sinner. Each one of us. Sometimes on the same day, even within the same minute. I have seen it with my own two eyes in a toddler and I have witnessed it in my very own actions.

Saints and sinners.

"So people who will go to heaven just believe that Jesus died for them - right Mommy?" Mosely asked.

"Yes. I believe so."

"I love God," Bergen said softly from his booster seat.

I smiled in the rear view mirror at my boy.

But he had one more question.

"Did God just hear that?"

"Yes, buddy. He did."

30 January 2010

One Snowy Day

A snow day in South Carolina.

From my experience thus far, that's a pretty rare treat.

And something worth celebrating.

It started as a small group - our family and Chris.

A little rolling in the snow. A little throwing of balls crafted from snow. A little sad snowman building. A little trekking through the snowy woods. A little grilled cheese and soup eating.

And then Walter sent a text warning us that a group of adventurers would be arriving shortly. And nearly immediately we looked out the window and saw a gang of pals approaching via foot on the driveway.

Our small group quickly leaped into a gathering.

A little game playing. A little caramel popcorn baking. A little hot cocoa drinking. A little snow sledding.

And then along the snowy driveway appeared a mini camp vehicle with good neighbors and friends.

Our gathering instantly morphed into a happening.

A little more game playing. A little pipe smoking. A lot more caramel popcorn eating. A little more sledding.

And finally the Demings showed up.

Our happening turned into a full-fledged shindig.

A lot more loud game playing. (Pit is an unreasonably loud game.) A lot of pizza eating. A little basketball watching.

You could call it Community.

And that would be true.

Or you could call it Life.

And that would be even better.

28 January 2010

Big Week

This might just be London's week.

Chocked full of Big Deal Moments.

This week London discovered that she has another loose tooth. (She has plans for how to extract this one - use that special numbing creme Daddy found. And she has plans for how to spend that tooth fairy fortune - buy Mosely an American Girl doll. How do I break it to her that one of those two things is an absolute impossibility?)

London also gained a new Big Deal Skill. It was time to leave the house and she could not find her favorite slip-on shoes. Slouching and making a most unpleasant face she trudged off to obey my directive to put on her Chuck Taylors. She avoids these shoes because of two long, skinny points of frustration - shoelaces. But in just a matter of minutes a defeated little girl transformed into a proud big kid. She marched into the room where I was and pointed at her feet. And I saw the little miracle. Two shoes. Tied.

But wait, there's more.

This kid regularly challenges herself to try to climb up the door jam. Her goal since we have moved to this house has been to climb up the door frame without any assistance and bump her head on the ceiling. She practices every day. Really. And this week was her week. Because, there she was, with us as her audience, climbing and climbing when suddenly . . . bump . . . her head reached the ceiling. And she did this not once, but three times!

Ahh London. I guess it really is the little things.

The Next Thing

Today I woke up feeling . . . defeated.

Like the battle was over and I had already lost.

I read this quote once that Elisabeth Elliot (our Mosely Elliot's namesake) had once said to her daughter. I read it probably ten years ago. Maybe more.

But I still think about it nearly every day of my life.

Especially on days when I just need to manage. To make it to the next day. Or the next afternoon. Or the next hour. Or whenever.

She said, "Don't think about everything you need to do. Just do the next thing."

27 January 2010


After reading a story in the Bible about Lot and his infamous salty spouse, London tried to retell Piper the story.

"And Lot's wife turned into a pile of salt!" London informed her younger sister.

But Piper misunderstood.

"Oh," she replied. "Lot's wife turned into Bible sauce?"

26 January 2010

Sounds Logical

I am simply going to record a real conversation that took place earlier today in the confines of our Suburban.

London: Who will I marry, Mommy?

Me: Oh. I don't know. I guess you will have to wait and see who God has planned for you.

L-: How will I know who that is?

Me: Well. In a lot of ways I guess. The young man will be pursuing God. Your daddy and I will like him. Uh . . .

L-: So why can't I just marry Bergen? We're all Christians.

Me: Brothers and sisters just do not get married to one another.

Mosely: I plan to marry Otto.

L-: I think I'll still just marry Bergen.

Bergen (with a shrug of his shoulders and a resigned voice): Ohhh-kayyy.

L-: I guess I could be kind and marry a poor man. Then I could help him.

Me: Yeah, you could. Or you could marry a rich man and he could help you.

L- (weighing the pros and cons and displaying her classic London smirk): Yeah. If I marry a rich man I will just say right away, "Let's get some mac & cheese".

Piper: I am marry Mose-weee.

B-: Girls don't marry girls. And I am marrying London.

L-: Wait. Can I marry Colton?

Me: Um. Maybe.

L-: Listen Bergen. Just marry Raven. She's fun and then we can all be friends and the girls can hang out and the boys can hang out - okay?

B- (with another shrug of his shoulders and another resigned sigh): Ohhhh-kayyyyyy.

I guess that's all in order then.

25 January 2010

Some Days

I was thinking about not writing today.

Because some days are simply a lot less fun to write about than others.

And today wasn't all that fun, really.

Our littlest dog, Kipling Sunshine, passed away today.

She was eleven years old and was nearly blind and losing her hearing too.

But even events that are expected can still be sad.

We had Kip, along with her dog co-conspirators Sadie and Bosco, before we had children. And so we did what lots of children-less adults do . . . we treated our dogs as four-legged people. (Can you believe that?) But it's true. (Today we even discovered the photos that proved it.) We bought her Christmas presents. (It is possible that we even went so far as to wrap those presents.) I am ashamed to admit that we even bought the tiny little dog a ski suit for the Virginia winters. (Yes. Yes. There is photographic evidence of that as well.)

Just this morning Piper hugged Kip and held her too tightly, as is her tradition. She calls her "Kip-ah-ling".

And this afternoon, as we gathered around the little grave site near the woods, surrounded by spreading ivy, I was proud of my husband. (Dads get a lot of the tough tasks, don't they?) Kevin didn't talk down to the little people tossing their drawings of Kipling into her grave. He didn't tell them that we would see Kip in heaven. But he talked about death. And sin. And how one came about because of the other.

Then we went inside and looked at all of those incriminating photographs. And we remembered the little dog who was once small enough to sit in the palm of Kevin's hand. Who was always so hesitant that she approached you while at the same time tried to walk away from you, thus creating a "U" shape with her body.

Little Kipling Sunshine.

We are glad you were a Keigley pet for so many good years.

24 January 2010

Now, THAT Was A Good Time

Friendship is a sheltering tree.
-Samuel Coleridge

There are just some people that you love to be around - aren't there?

People who make you laugh. Who make you feel good about being exactly who you are. Encouragers. People who are not naively optimistic but yet exude warmth and cheerfulness and hopefulness.

I have a friend like that. And this past week she and her two adorable boys came to our house to hang out for a few days.

We did a lot of silly little things (pretended our kitchen was an internet cafe and played on our laptops simultaneously).

We seemed to eat a lot of food (like creating hilarious squids for the kids' lunches which consisted of hotdog chunks with spaghetti noodle tentacles, crafting the absolute best caramel popcorn which we very tempted not to share and making homemade pizzas where Emma threw the crusts in the air which will make my children even less impressed with me the next time we make pizzas and I cannot perform on demand).

We accomplished a thing or two (organizing the bundles of baby boy clothes from our many sons to pass on to the newest-not-yet-born Wickstrum boy and helping design and write some ideas for each of our websites - yet to be revealed).

And we even did some wild and crazy activities (like Emma rode the Look Up swing for the first time and only screamed a little and we both joined a silly group of others to become the first members of the Look Up Lodge Polar Bear Club by jumping into the lake on 1.23 at 4:56 p.m.).

The kids had some big experiences as well. Bergen and Cole enjoyed an all-boys sleepover. Beckett and Piper tried their first sleepover, but it ended badly. Piper and Beckett also discovered that they can each hold their own against one another. Uh-oh.

Really, it was just a super swell visit.

Emma may have been tired when she left, but I sure hope she thinks it was worth it too!

23 January 2010

It Has To Be Said


Here's Wilder.

He's really devouring the Word.

22 January 2010

The Drive Home

Do you know what is the best sound to hear as you drive through a torrential downpour?

Mosely, singing "somewhere out there".


Not a song.

Just those words.

"Somewhere out there."

20 January 2010

Because She Can Read

If you have read this blog for very long you may have noticed a few things.

I think our kids are funny.

I like to take pictures of them and to tell stories about them.

There are six of them.

But one does not appear here nearly as frequently as the others.

Yes. I know.

But it has nothing to do with my love for Riley, our beautiful teenaged daughter. (Or maybe it has everything to do with my love for her.)

The primary reason I do not write often about Riley is simple.

She knows how to read.

I love Riley. Of course I do. I think she's funny. And beautiful. Kind. Flexible. Easy going. Friendly. And loaded with potential. I loved her twangy little accent and her unruly, choppy hair the day I met her six year old self. And I was thrilled the day her adoption became final when she was nine.

But this blog is actually not a place where I lie.

Soooo . . . .

The truth for me is . . . parenting Riley can be hard.

Maybe parenting any teenager can be challenging. So I've heard.

And losing both my mother and Kevin's mother in such a short span has altered a bit of our perspectives on ourselves as teenagers. (There are just some memories only a mother holds.) Sometimes I forget that I was ever like Riley. Fifteen. Absorbed in me.

Because most days I feel as if Riley is just so . . . . not like me.

And I never really know how to handle that.

If I am honest, and I did just proclaim that I am, I would have to admit that most days I am pretty confident of only one truth regarding my parenting of Riley. I'm not doing so well.

My tendency is to correct, reason, monologue . . . because I desperately want to see this fifteen year old live up to that untapped potential. I want to see wise decisions. A pure heart. A life that doesn't look like every Disney teen bouncing across our screen or clogging the radio waves.

Yes. I'm pretty sure I just discovered the heart of the issue.

I want what cannot be had just yet. I want the end without the means. I want the prize without the race. I want her to have the knowledge that only comes from experience because I want to spare her the heartache that so often accompanies that experience.

Ah. Fifteen.

Even revisiting it vicariously is difficult.

A New Standard

Growing up, my family lived down a mile long dirt driveway. We had a horde of dogs. (One with only three legs. Oh - but that's another story.) The dogs let us know, loudly and with gusto, when a car was approaching the olde homestead. When we saw the vehicle pull in by the mailbox we had at least five minutes, maybe ten if it was Fred Iraggi driving his shiny red sports car. In those fleeting moments, a lot of action occurred behind closed doors. Mom ran around and scooped up mostly invisible dirt, we kids shut doors and followed commands and my dad made sure he was wearing pants. (That sounds far worse than it actually was.)

My mom's house was always clean. As in, spotless. And that was quite the miracle given the situation: one irresponsible daughter, three sons who believed cleaning was a woman's job, a husband who maybe just believed the same thing and a stinking dairy farm full of cows and their waste products outside her kitchen door. Sadly, I was not very impressed with her mad housekeeping skills back then. But only because I had no clue. Absolutely. No. Clue.

So when I acquired a husband, a house and a load of dirty little children myself, I assumed my mom's way was the only way.

And it did not take very long for me to realize something. I could never measure up. My home would never be as shiny. The toys would never all find their correct bins. I could never keep the dustballs from forming colonies and reproducing en mass. I would not achieve perfection in the domestic department.

And it took a long time (I mean, an exceptionally long time) before I finally (at long last) came to another realization.

It's okay.

It's really okay.

Our home is not as clean as I would like it to be. I sometimes let Magnus in on purpose to serve as a moving brown broom. Dishes do not always get washed before I go to bed. Beds are not always made and I don't keep a record of how frequently I sweep the living room floor.

And I am so glad.

Because now when people drop in for unexpected visits (and they do here since we no longer live in rural rural Virginia), I can welcome them with open arms. As we are. Without a stressful two minute clean up. Without explaining that our house is perhaps a bit untidy. Instead of worrying about the pressure to live up to an impossible standard, I have decided to focus on those lives walking into our two-toned, half-painted house.

And I find that I love our visitors.

I love our always evolving array of friends and family and framily that enter and exit through our bright sunroom that is continually littered with Kid Art. I love that our home always has space, albeit messy space, for a pal to make her first from-scratch chocolate chip cookies. (And they were delicious Rachael. Delicious. I know - because I ate way too many after you left. And if you can make edible anything with the busiest, rowdiest helpers on the planet, then you should be well on your way to the next Top Chef.)

And I trust that all those drop-in, wonderful surprise and old faithful visitors will embrace us in return - our family - and excuse the mess that surrounds us.

19 January 2010

Letter Two

Dear Craig,

Your list is cooler than any I have ever made.

I love our new sofa.

Thanks for your help.



18 January 2010

Blame Kevin

Need more proof that the Keigley children have been allowed to watch too much television?

Then I submit this little number.

Bergen watched London spread strawberry jam on her bagel.

He said, "That looks like ballistics gel."

17 January 2010

I'm Sorry

After a kid infraction of most any variety, we require an apology from the offender. (A real apology. Not a mumbled-under-your-breath-just-because-Mommy-made-me-do-this sort of apology.)

Someone is always apologizing for something at our house.

Recently, after one such incident, followed by a mostly sincerely apology, the offended party refused to be consoled.

"'I'm sorry' doesn't change anything!" the still wounded child shouted.

But I think maybe she was wrong.

I think it changes a lot.

When one of my darling offspring spills a drink for the seventeenth time that morning and actually speaks the words, "I'm sorry Mommy for spilling that drink. May I help you clean it up?" something is changed.

My attitude.

My heart is softened.

Your "I'm sorry" changes me.

Because, at first, although my brain tells me the spill was just an accident, I just want to let my anger win. I am tired of cleaning up messes.

But the spoken apology pulls me back to see the bigger picture. The example I would like to be. Your "I'm sorry" reminds me that I want you to learn how to be forgiving and gentle in spirit so I had better figure how to model that behavior myself. Your "I'm sorry" reminds me that you are four (or six or two or thirty-five) and you deserve the same grace I want you to show me the next time I have to say "I'm sorry". (Which will probably be soon.)

So, sweet child o' mine. I'm sorry, but I think you are wrong.

"I'm sorry" changes everything.

15 January 2010

The Sniffing Habit

Bergen has a sniffing problem.


He sniffs you if he likes you.

(I have no reason to make this up.)

I get sniffed pretty often. Usually routine, run of the mill type sniffing. My hands. My arms. When we are cuddling - my neck. Sometimes my hair. Just sniffing of the normal variety.

Kevin - now that guys gets sniffed. And how! Bergen just hovers around and over (maybe even under on occasion) and sniffs Kevin. Sniff. Sniff. Sniff. For as long as Kevin will allow. (For which he has gained an amazingly high tolerance, as a matter of fact.) Lately he has been experimenting with a new sniffing location - under Kevin's armpit. And when he emerges from the pit, he generally comments, "You smell good." So that's a plus.

And there's another little guy that Bergen has a fondness for smelling as well. Yeah, you guessed it. Wilder. Bergen sniffs his little brother so much that we always say he is trying to absorb him. As in, "Bergen Hawkeye. Stop absorbing your little brother."

So I guess if you want to know if this four year old likes you - hang out with him for a while. If he sniffs you, you're in!

14 January 2010

In the Heart of the Country

We may not live on a farm any longer, but we sure can play as if we do.

Kevin recently crafted a clever and warm winter abode for our three dogs. He made it out of hay and it serves its purpose of dog shelter while being amazingly eco-friendly. (What a guy!)

And the kids think it's real cool too.

The play of every day since the dog home's construction has been hay-related.

Stick hay in the empty trash can.
Rain hay upon one another's heads.
Roll hay into eleventy billion piles.
Load hay into the red wagon and pull it all over the yard.
Fill the trash can with both hay and a person and then roll that person around until they almost cry.

And that's what I call - Farm Fun. (Even if three dogs and tens of thousands of potential bees does not a farm make.)

How did you do?

If you guessed the kid with the least self-control was Piper Finnian ..... then you win!

High fives all around.

13 January 2010

Lunch Lesson

This was yesterday's lunch for my children.

I like to call it . . . self-control on a plate.

Sometimes I like to place the kids' dessert on the same plate with their food, a la Look Up Lodge cafeteria dining style.

The rule governing desserts in our house, and probably in every house with young children, is basic. Eat your dinner first.

It hasn't changed in a long time. Back in the day, John the Baptist was probably eating his honey after his locust.

So I just placed the Oreo on the plate beside the other food options. Oreos are actually a pretty unusual treat at our house but they were purchased to fulfill their destiny as truffles but the package was opened early and the word quickly spread.

Self-control is hard. And it takes practice. Years of it. And we still frequently lack it.

But yesterday the Keiglets managed nicely.

Three out of four children waded through every required eating before they munched on their Oreo, earning them an additional Oreo to dunk in milk, TV-commercial-style.

Can you guess who caved into the temptation before dinner?

12 January 2010

Super Walter

I live in a funny house.

With funny people.

Mostly under four feet tall, funny people.

I put Piper Finn down for her nap today and noticed a sippee cup in her bed. Inquiring from whence said sippee cup appeared, Piper informed me, "Walter gave me sippee cup."

That was plausible, since Walter was one of the co-babysitters last night while Kevin and I attended our first Bee Keeper's class. (Yes. Bee Keeping. That'll keep for another post.)

The cup's lid was twisted and I couldn't fix it, despite Piper's obvious frustration with my lack of sippee cup skills.

"I cannot fix this Finn," I told her.

My two year old sighed. "Walter can."

And then, a mere few minutes later in Real Time but who knows how much later in Piper Time, she proclaimed loudly, "I love Barack Obama and Walter."


11 January 2010

So Every Day

Life is so . . . full.

Full of the type of moments that make this blog. Full of the moments when I reach for the camera to capture that funny face. Full of the times when I say to one of my children, "Say that again for Daddy" and record their quirky words on my fun phone and send it right over to Kevin. Full of the moments when I text my friends about something hilarious the kids have done or some criminal act the dog has committed.

And life is also so full of the stinky moments. And the even worse than stinky times. The moments that sometimes fill this blog as well. The sorrow over loss. The pain over disappointment. The bitterness over unmet expectations.

But I think maybe life is the most full of . . . the ordinary. The average. The Every Day. Because

life is




(In fact, I wish I had named this blog just that. SoEveryDay.)

I adore the highs of life.

Am not so fond of the lows.

But I guess I pretty much make my residence in the flat lands.

At least physically.

And I think maybe that is why I work so hard (on my good days) to find the beauty in the Every Day. To make the choice to make function pretty. It's why I love Sally's amber colored-bubbly drinking glasses. And why my favorite plates are hand-painted pottery pieces. It's the reason I get dressed in a cute skirt on a morning when my only plans are to teach my children how to read, write, add and be kind. It's why I make homemade cards and cherish handcrafted gifts. It's why my favorite dishcloth is the green knitted one. And why I paint on the walls and sing songs with my kids. It's why I stand too long in the peanut butter and jam aisle at the grocery store, laughing with my husband about the absurdity of lime curd jam.

Because we do live in the Every Day.

And I'd like that ordinary to be a little more . . . extraordinary.

To praise the simple for its beauty.

And to embrace the sunshine, the warm cookies, the well-shaped, from-scratch biscuit made by my daughter's capable hands.

To cherish the Every Day.

Every day.

10 January 2010

They're Here

Oh hooray!

Check us out!

Many, many thanks Page.

A Letter

Dear Lady in the Red Sweater,

I like you.

I noticed you at church tonight.

You lifted your arms high into the air while we sang.

You stood up and praised God publicly in the way I only do in my mind.

And when we were all sitting down for one song, you couldn't help yourself. You stood back up. You lifted your arms back in the air. You closed your eyes. And you just praised God.

Because you wanted to.

Because you could.

And I like you for it.

09 January 2010

O Boy!

And he's up . . .

belly off the ground

legs pumping

into a genuine crawl.

Plus . . .

Wilder has discovered

how to stand up

in his crib

but he
doesn't know


O boy!

07 January 2010

Thanks, Piper

Not too many days ago I was instructing my determined (read: stubborn) youngest daughter. She did not care for my instructions.

I don't actually remember what I was asking the spirited (read: strong willed) two year old to do or to stop doing, but I do distinctly remember her response.

Piper Finnian said, "I don't like you." And she spoke clearly. Very clearly. (She's a pretty good communicator. Maybe a little too good.)

I was really embarrassed. Really embarrassed.

Because I wasn't at my own house. The words were not spoken where only I had the displeasure of hearing. Nope. It never works that way - does it?

At that moment, I desperately wanted to parent based out of my embarrassment.

I wanted my parenting to show everyone watching me what type of mother I am.

That's a recurring theme to me, it seems.

I foolishly want my children's behavior to reveal something about me as their mother.

Right then, I wanted Piper's behavior to reveal that I am a good mom. A put-together mom. A mom in control. A mirage.


My Pride. Revealed. Again.

And actually, the truth is . . . Willow's behavior was reflecting my parenting. And reflecting me. Parenting in an imperfect world. By an imperfect parent.

It was exactly right. Piper's little attitude was reflecting truth.

What I wanted was misleading. A lie. A false representation.

And what I got, from the mouth of my persistent (read: obstinate) little girl, was a reminder that I need much too often.

I have to parent from something far more solid than my feelings. Something far more stable than my emotions.

I need to parent from what is true and right and pure. From what is reliable and secure.

And that isn't me.

06 January 2010


Sometimes I wish I was crazy rich. I mean crazy rich.

As in, way too much money to know what to do with.

As in, yes, I gave loads of money to orphanages, fed the inhabitants of a third world country for the remainder of all time, tithed more than ten percent, wiped out every living relative's debt loads, prepaid my six children's college tuitions and gave so much money to my Alma mater that they named the new theatre complex after me.

That's the kind of rich I'm talking about.

And if I was that rich, here are just a few things I would purchase with my wads of cash. (After all of my good, kind, endlessly charitable deeds. Of course.)

A new razor every time I shower. Every. Time. Even if I take up showering three times a day. New razor. No questions asked.

Someone to purchase my razors for me. So I would never have to wait in line at the special aisle in Wal-Mart for a cashier to impatiently wait while I try to remember if my favorite razors are green or pink and have three blades or five and if I want the four pack or the six pack or the eight pack. All the way taking her word for it because I am not allowed to actually see the items of which she is speaking.

Freshly laundered sheets placed on my bed, by someone else, every night of my life. Every. Night.

A person carrying ambient lighting around me everywhere I go. All the time. Because with really good lighting, my skin looks fresher and I look - well, just better.

And . . . reliable internet service.

This is not an exhaustive list.

And I recognize that it is a vain list.

Judge me if you want to.

But if you do, when I am really, really ridiculously wealthy, I might not let you sit under my ambient lighting.

03 January 2010

Little Boy

It wasn't just the first Christmas we ever went to Disney. Nor was it just the first time we visited my Dad & Jenny at their new place in Florida. Or even just the first time we stayed at the Phelps' house.

There was another first this year.

For a little boy.

Named Otto Fox Wilder.

It was his first Christmas. Ever.

He won't ever have another first Christmas. And even though I know he won't have any recollection of this first Christmas, it was still pretty special to celebrate with him this year.

I think I can say confidently that this little boy was the absolute best thing to come out of 2009 for me.

And when I think back to this little boy pre-birth, I cringe at my own thoughts and I am ashamed of my own hesitations. I cannot believe the doubts I carried and the paths I allowed my mind to wander down. I am sorry. So sorry. (Oh, for a magic wand of Erasing The Past.)

We always purchase the kids one book for Christmas and the tradition has always been to place that wrapped book at the foot of the bed while you slept on Christmas Eve.

The book we bought for Fox's first Christmas is called Little Boy.

It is such a sweet book. (In fact, if you have a son - go order that book today. No. I am not getting commission. Although that would be cool.)

I am grateful (beyond my poor ability to express) to God for His scandalous mercy in allowing us the opportunity to know this last little Keigley. Our last little boy. My little boy. My Wilde Fox.

This is what I wrote in the cover of Otto's first Christmas book . . .

Little Boy.
It's your first Christmas.
And so much of us depends on you.
On your beautiful grin - toothless and wide.
On your giggles. On your warmth as we cuddle.
What a blessing you are.
One we are so grateful to enjoy.
O Little Boy.
Let us live in the now.
With you.


And it just would not be a trip to Disney without meeting these guys.

Do you notice one Keiglet missing?


Bergen waited in line for over forty minutes to meet Mickey and Minnie. At the very last minute, however, he bailed. After forty minutes waiting in line - it was not worth a battle.

02 January 2010

Mosely is Six


I love them.

Mosely celebrated Six while we were on our vacation.
In honor of that number and that stinkin' adorable little girl - here are Six things I love about Mosely.

One. She loves her little sister. When Mosely wakes up in the mornings she eases up to my side of the bed and asks quietly, "May I wake up little Pipes?" And once I agree Mosely makes every effort to take care of her little sister. She tries to change her diaper and dress her in clothes that are Mosely-approved. (Which usually means a dress, of course.) She even gets her a cup of water and entertains her before breakfast.

Two. Her sporadic, but precious, bouts of physical affection. With the Mo-Town, you cannot force affection. The harder you push, the more she resists. (But Daddy keeps trying anyway.) So when Mosely deems it Cuddle Time, you drop everything and hold that kid tight. When she's ready for hugs, they are powerfully good ones.

Three. Those big, brown eyes.

Four. Her love of all things pink and pretty. It is so fun to buy Mosely trinkets and hair bands and bows and little pretty things. She adores them. The shinier the better. Her sparkly pink Chuck Taylors just define her sweet style.

Five. Mosely's laugh. I mean, have you heard this child laugh? It is fantastic. And contagious. And unstoppable. I love it.

Six. Her curiosity. She asks fun questions. She likes to know why. And I like to tell her.

Happy Birthday Little Six Year Old. Happy Birthday.


It was like Lego heaven.

I don't know how your theology rolls, but I am pretty sure that if toys make the cut, then Legos will be in the after life.

Just sayin'.

Bergen's Choice

We stopped at candy stores.

More than once.

Each Keigley was allowed to choose one treat.

Whatever they wanted.

Mosely and London chose cotton candy. (I think they were influenced by the sheer size of the bag. They're into quantity right now.)

I chose a chocolate covered strawberry that was practically the size of my hand. (Maybe I am into quantity too.)

Kevin and Riley chose some overwhelming chocolate/ ice cream/ waffle cone concoctions at Ghiradelli's.

And Bergen chose this.
Three marshmallows dipped in chocolate then rolled in sprinkles and crushed peppermints and speared on a Mickey Mouse straw.

He loved it. Savored it.
Slowly eating this masterpiece of tooth decay for more than thirty minutes.

01 January 2010


At some point during our Florida Adventure we made our way to San Antonio.

Florida, of course.

We were finally able to visit my dad and Jenny at their new home. We were greeted at the door by Darryl - a super handsome greyhound who used to be quite the competitor. Piper was his biggest fan. She tried to sleep beside him in his dog bed with her own little pillow.

Actually, the pillow she was lying on is part of this story.

Jenny bought the smaller kids the most adorable pillows, called Owl Buddies. The kids loved them - and they made the perfect sleeping companions for the rest of our car journey. The pillows are actually sold on an etsy site - and are hand crafted by Jenny's daughter-in-law's sister. Really, they must be a pretty talented family because her daughter-in-law makes fantastic pendants and Riley and I each received one of those. (We don't look as cuddly with them as the kids do with their pillows - that's why our photos didn't make the cut.)

We had a lot of fun meeting Jenny's sons and their lovely families. The house was loaded with kids, but everyone played together swimmingly. Bergen seemed pretty excited to have a small fellow his own age to push tractors around with.

Another fun part of visiting family was being able to attend church together. I like seeing how other churches organize and meet and worship. GrowLife Church was led by a dynamic and interesting pastor and it was a rare treat to be able to sit in a service with Dad and Jenny.
I must admit, it was a shift to see my dad in warm, sunny Florida as opposed to cold, snowy Wyoming.

But be it the south or the west, it is always good to hug my father's neck.

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

At Disney's Kingdom of Good Times, we spent a fair amount of our day waiting in lines.

While in line, we chatted. We told stories. We made funny faces. We yawned. Otto Fox slept.

And Piper played her own special Waiting in Line game - she pretended to pull off tiny parts of Daddy's face and then proceeded to pretend to feed his own face to him.

We all laughed a lot at that.

I don't know if it was really funny or if we were really tired of waiting in lines.