a time to remember

A rare precious moment I never want to forget. My daughters dressed as superheroes. My boys followed suit. Since the girls were done first, and Fritz was rushing to catch up, he said, “Don’t save the world without me!” The neighborhood kids got dressed up too. The whole lot of them ran off to help the poor and oppressed. These are the moments of childhood I find most precious. Would that they all continue to try to save the world the rest of their lives.

Local superheroes: Jacob Pearl, Billy as Spiderman, Danielle Holdeman and Jenny as Supergirls, Katie, Sam Chase as Darth Vader, Tucker Chase as Robin, Fritz as Batman and Erin Chase.


I went shopping yesterday. I had a mission: to buy a formal dress. The last time I had to do this, I decided to sew my own dress. I still have that dress and like it a lot, but I’m still 11 pounds up (but only 11 pounds up!) from my pre-pregnancy weight and it’s just a bit tight. I’d rather be comfortable, and it’s always good to have a spare dress…or two…or three…

Along on this mission I took a young woman I know. She is 20. It was good to take her, since she kept me from even looking at the old woman dresses. These are very nice, very modest dresses that look best on someone who is 45 or older. I’m not there…yet. Soon, but not yet. So, it was nice to have someone along who kept me focused on younger styles.

The problem with taking this particular woman, though, is that she is a size 4 with A cups. I am currently a size 12 with C/D cups. So, every dress that she tried on looked fantastic on her. Ugly dresses looked great on her. Beautiful dresses looked beautiful on her. And I looked like an slightly overweight, soft-bodied mother of 5, which I am.

big sigh

Anyway, I looked at the dresses that were available and was so very disappointed. Every dress is either strapless or spaghetti-strapped. I couldn’t even find any sleeveless dresses. To make things worse, the cleavage on these dresses dropped below the breasts. And most didn’t have backs, either. Now perhaps I am a bit of a prude and I’m not interested in showing off my body to a whole room of strangers…but from a purely aesthetical standpoint, I really don’t want to see that much of somebody else’s body either. Unless it’s a really nice body. Some dresses simply shouldn’t be made in a size larger than about 8. And perhaps it is fashionable to go about without a bra, but if you’re bigger than a B cup, it’s really not attractive. Really, it’s not. And dresses that have no back, have spaghetti straps and have cleavage to the navel do not allow for the wearing of a bra.

I tried on 6 dresses and settled on one with spaghetti straps. I bought a sheer black scarf to go over the shoulders, since I freeze at normal room temperature. And I’m determined this coming fall to start another sewing project. I’ve got to figure out a way to make an attractive, stylish dress that adjusts without too much trouble to the constantly changing measurements of my constantly changing body.

And with that invention, I’ll make a million bucks!

rhymes with duck

All the fun stuff happens around the dinner table. Billy announces that he knows how to spell “yuck.”

“Y – u – c,” he says.

“K,” says Fritz.

“Oh, y – u – k,” says Billy.

“No, honey, ck. It rhymes with duck. y – u – c – k Yuck, duck, same ending,” say I. First of all, why is YUCK a word being spelled around MY dinner table? Should I be taking this personally? (yes) Secondly, why do I not see where this conversation is headed? I have become so naive over the years.


And so the boys and I begin to list all the words we can think of that rhyme with yuck. Finally Billy comes up with one that starts with F.

I was completely blind-sided but managed to maintain composure. “Oh, we don’t say that,” I said. Thankfully, the kids translated that as, “Oh, that’s not a word,” and we went on to buck and luck.


A common everyday miracle

Is there such a thing as a common miracle? Of course. These are the things that happen naturally, and we tend to never give them a second thought. But I try very hard to praise God for all things.

So, you can count yourself lucky if you find a parking spot right near the door when you’ve got a doctor’s appointment and 3 children in tow. You can smile when the forecasted storm blows over on the day you planned to go to an amusement park. You can sigh in relief when your toddler gets distracted instead of rushing head-long into traffic.

And when your tiny baby is diagnosed with a miniscule hole in his heart that will most likely close and even if it doesn’t will only require antibiotics before dental work…and when you take this baby 6 months later back to the cardiologist for a follow-up appointment and he declares that the hole has in fact disappeared, you could just smile and think it’s great and then get back to your everyday life.

OR…if you’re like me and this happens, you can be nearly reduced to tears that God has been so kind and gracious as to permit you peace of mind and a healthy baby. Thank you, God, for my many blessings and especially for closing the hole in Peter Damian’s heart. Amen!

For many weeks now (an eternity around here), Pete has been unable (or unwilling) to go to sleep in his bed and stay there for more than about 15 minutes. Daytime or nighttime, his favorite place to sleep has been in my arms or perhaps in the car seat. It’s a bit exhausting, especially since he weighs about 18 pounds now. I generally take a shower at night before bed, and in order to accomplish this, I would nurse him to sleep, slip out of bed and take a shower, only to emerge to his screams or to find Bill pacing the halls with him on his shoulder. Then I would just go to sleep with him. I don’t mind him in my bed, but every so often, it’s nice to snuggle up to hubby and not kiss goodnight over the head of a sleeping baby.

Ah, but to everything, turn, turn, turn…blessed relief, I’ve been able to nurse him to sleep in the evening and put him in his crib where he remains for, sometimes, a few HOURS. Wow.

Last night I took a shower and went to bed, kissing my husband goodnight with no little body between us. Several hours later, I was wondering “what in the world is that noise?” And fighting that little nagging voice that was telling me to get up. I’m just not accustomed to responding to a crying baby in the middle of the night!

grocery shopping with a swarm of bees

Imagine a warm June day. Suppose you are granted a few moments of rest. You pour yourself an ice-cold glass of lemonade and select a comfortable seat outdoors near some flowers. You close your eyes and raise your face to the sun. One or two bees dance lazily around the nearby blooms, and their quiet humming is a soothing background music that you hardly notice.

Now suppose that, instead of one or two bees, there are five or six or more. Each bee is meandering along, bobbing over and around the same flowers. But the buzzing is louder since there are so many of them. Their music is no longer in the background but commands your attention. You open your eyes. You consider relocating your chair. You remind yourself that they are just bees, that they pose no threat, that if you mind your own business they will mind their own business. But you don’t close your eyes again. You aren’t as relaxed. Your moment of rest is disturbed.

This is grocery shopping with all the kids in tow. Each child, considered alone, is his own hub of energy and is busy attending to the business of being a child (which means observing every person, product or display to determine it’s intrinsic worth; reporting that intrinsic worth to me; making recommendations for purchases based on what commercials have informed them are the main advantages of the product; and attempting to follow and keep up with me while looking in a different direction). Every other child in the store is behaving in much the same manner. Yes, a few are throwing fits, a few are silent and abnormally well-behaved, but most kids are just going through the store being kids.

But unlike that mother over there with one toddler and one preschooler, I have a whole swarm of bees. You can’t ignore us. You hear us coming and are distracted from your shopping. You stop and count. You pull over and let us pass. You marvel at my bravery and/or insanity or perhaps you feel sorry for me and think my husband is an ogre for oppressing me and turning me into a stay-at-home mom. Perhaps you remember those days and your own brood of children and wish you could go back.

I haven’t noticed you. I, the beekeeper, am busy blowing smoke and keeping order. The bees aren’t dangerous, but you need to be careful lest you get stung (toddler has a melt-down, baby begins to howl, preschooler knocks over some items, a child walks backward in front of every other shopper in the store). But I know you’ve seen me. You stop me to tell me your thoughts. Yes, I have my hands full (better than empty). Yes, I will treasure every moment as best I can. Yes, they grow up fast. And then, like those bees, we’re off to other gardens.