Monday, August 31, 2009


A few more swimming pictures in honor of the last day of August.

Ky is a fearless jumper. 
Seb is an anthropomorphic sprinkler. 
Abe is too busy holding his breath to be photographed. 
Daisy slept through it all in her stroller.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Things we accept in fictional dialogue, that are never actually said in real life

Exhibit A: the repeated fragment (aka "the Lord of the Rings Movie Rule").
"Oh Samwise, will we ever reach the end of this dark place?"
"Indeed we will, Mr. Frodo. Indeed we will."

I think this one is intended to add weight and finality to a saying that doesn't have enough weight on its own. You feel you can't simply end the scene/chapter with "Sure we will!" so you add in another just for good measure.

Exhibit B: The prescient interruption
M: I don't know if you're mad or . . .
P: Desperately in love?

Interrupting to finish someone else's sentence? Who's quick enough on the uptake to do that? Takes too much foreknowledge on the part of the interrupter. And even if that part worked out, the interuptee would still be finishing his/her original sentence, rendering the interruption too hard to hear/decipher.

Exhibit C. The lovey-dovey full name (aka the "Work and the Glory" rule)

"You'll be the death of me yet, Jenny McGee!"

[often used in combination with exhibit A:
"You're a spirited woman, Jenny McGee! A spirited woman!"]

According to books and movies, there's no term of spousal endearment like the full name. (A close second: calling your wife "Mrs. ___": "What a woman you are, Mrs. McGee! Come and kiss me!") But I've never heard this usage in real life. For the child in trouble, yes. But for your spouse? What are you, a telephone directory? If your spouse doesn't know who is being referred to when they hear their first name alone, something is wrong. ("Jenny? Jenny who? Oh . . . Jenny McGee! That's ME!") And if you think "Mrs. McGee" is a good substitute for "darling" . . . something is also wrong.

Well? Any others?

Thursday, August 20, 2009


A few photos, as I'm clearing out my "share" folder:

The family a couple days before Daisy was born. (Who is that poor woman in the middle? She looks exhausted.)

Bear sweater and hat I made for baby Benjamin
3 boys holding cameras up to their eyes

Pretty sunflower

Darling superhero outfits made for us by a friend (there's also a Superman one for Sebby)---don't you love "Wonder Woman"?

Abe wanted his cape to fly out behind him

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's re-creation of the new day

(lyrics by Eleanor Farjeon)

Daisy's birth didn't happen as quickly as I expected it to. I figured that each baby would come faster than the last, so when I woke up around 3 a.m. Friday morning feeling some contractions, I thought we'd probably have a baby by that evening. I got up and walked around the house and the yard, enjoying the quiet. There was a nearly-full moon.

When it got late enough, I called my mom, and she came to pick up the boys. My midwife, Cathy, came over and checked me. "Everything looks good," she said. "Just relax and enjoy the day."

It was the most beautiful day. Sam stayed home from work, and all the boys were gone. We hadn't had a quiet day like that in ages. It didn't feel like August outside---the air was a little bit cool, and the sun was warm, almost like it was Fall already. I felt great---good enough to walk around and be active, but not SO good that I didn't think things were progressing along. We went on a long bike ride. We went on a walk. We went to the store for fresh bread and made turkey sandwiches and a berry smoothie for lunch.

In the afternoon, I started to worry a little bit, because things weren't getting any more difficult. Cathy came over again. "Everything still looks good," she said. "Keep enjoying yourselves. It's date night---have fun! Why don't you go out to dinner together?" (Cathy is a very restful person to be around.)

We rode our bikes over to the lake again and borrowed a rowboat. Sam rowed us around on the lake while I rested and told him which direction I wanted to go. (I felt like one of those Victorian ladies being rowed around by her handsome swain. Like Amy in Little Women. I just needed one of those lacy parasols.) There was a very gentle rain shower, and we watched the raindrops fall into the lake and fill the surface with tiny ripples. It got a tiny bit chilly. Then the sun came out again. The sunflowers were blooming, big golden fields of them. It was so quiet! It felt like we were in some quiet countryside, far away from everything.

When the sun started to set, we went out to a restaurant for dinner. I was ravenous. I ate everything on my plate. Afterwards we came home and watched some episodes of "Lark Rise to Candleford" on Youtube. (It's one of those English period pieces they show on Masterpiece Theatre. Beautiful English countryside, and broad country accents. Lovely.) Then I was getting sleepy, so we went to bed.

I woke up around 1 a.m. Finally the surges were getting strong enough to require real concentration. (Hooray!) I called Cathy and she came over. Sam turned on some quiet music and a few lamps. Everything was so peaceful, with the boys gone, and the moon shining down outside.

Finally, just as the sky was beginning to lighten above the mountains, our baby was born.* "A girl!" Sam and I were smiling at each other in amazement. "We have a baby girl!" I couldn't believe it. She was so tiny and so perfect!

*Yes, Daisy was born at home, and we couldn't have been happier with it. If you are truly interested, and before you tell us we're crazy, read
Finally we could get out the stack of tiny pink things in the cedar chest (things that had been waiting patiently---just in case---ever since I was expecting Abraham).

I held our new little baby girl, wrapped in the tiny pink rosebud blanket my Mom had made. She gazed back at me for awhile with her little black beady eyes. She was so serious and interested in my face. She even kept watching me as she nursed.

Then she got sleepy, so as the sun came up, Sam and I wrapped her tight, and watched her sleep, and talked about what name we should give her. We were so exhilarated and so excited and so happy.

All my boys were born in the middle of the night, and their births felt just a little bit unreal, with the dark windows and that dreamlike feeling you get, being awake when the rest of the world is asleep. I loved that quiet, secret cocoon of nighttime, whispering to the new little boys in my arms.

But it seemed so right to end this long labor at dawn, with the morning light coming in, as we fell asleep beside our new little Daisy Aurora.

Daisies in the backyard. They are new this year. Next year, they'll be bigger (as will our little Daisy girl).

Cathy and Daisy
Sweet Daisy

Monday, August 3, 2009


I've always wished I was one of those fragile women that faints when upset. I've only even felt faint a few times in my life, and I've never actually managed to go through with it. Sometimes when I was fasting or something I used to close my eyes and think of floating and try to will myself into falling over, but it didn't work. Once I went running right after giving blood and I hoped the whole time I might faint. But I didn't. I just felt sick and hungry. And tired.

There was a girl at the temple the other day (and she wasn't even pregnant) who swayed delicately and nearly fell over. She looked lovely doing it. I was jealous. I think I'm one of those sturdy German farmwife-types with good birthing hips and "ample arms." I do appreciate it mostly, but sometimes I just wish I was more of a delicate flower. *sigh*