Dear Mary,

STOP GROWING!! I mean it. Just for a few months, okay? You are really cute. You are easy to please. You don’t move when I put you down. You sing these really sweet gurgle-y baby songs. Sometimes you even nap for an hour or so. Your smile makes everybody smile back. You tame tough nine year old boys into gentle baby-talkers. Stay for just a little while longer, okay?


And, yes, it is still there

Monday, nap time

Peter: Where’s my race car?

Me: I put it on top of your dresser. You can have it after nap time.

Monday, bed time

Peter: Where’s my race car?

Me: It’s still on your dresser. You can have it tomorrow.

Tuesday, nap time

Peter: Where’s my race car?

Me: Buddy, it’s still on your dresser. You can’t have it until after nap time.

Tuesday, bed time

Peter: Where’s my race car?

Me: On your dresser. Tomorrow, Petey.

Wednesday, nap time

Peter: Where’s my race car?

Me: On your dresser. Sorry, honey. I’ll get it down after you nap.

Wednesday, bed time

Peter: Where’s my race car?

Me: It’s on your dresser. Still.

Peter: That’s not my race car. That’s Jenny’s race car. My race car is downstairs.


Baby Talk

Peter’s latest addition to his vocabulary: horrible.

I don’t know if he knows what it means. I think he just likes the way it sounds.





That’s how he sang himself to sleep tonight.

Birthday Boy

When Billy was a toddler, he liked to get up between his father and I. He would grab us by the head and pull us in so that we three would all have our head resting on each other. It was sweet.

Bill deployed a few days after his third birthday. Billy didn’t do this with just me – it was something he did with all three of us. As time went on, I completely forgot about it. Bill returned a few days before his fourth birthday. Several weeks later, we took a train from Philadelphia to Orlando for one of the worst vacations of my life (it’s another story, and so is my trip to Paris which ranks as the worst trip). At one point, Bill and I were sitting on aisle seats opposite each other. Billy stood in the aisle, his head on level with ours, and pulled us close. Suddenly, I remembered that he used to do it all the time, and I’ve never forgotten it since, though that was the last time he ever did that.
That little boy turned 8 yesterday. He declared it was the best birthday ever. With Billy, everything is “the best” or “the worst.” It’s tough to be the second son, especially when your brother is less than two years older. But where Fritz has taught me everything I know about unconditional love, Billy has taught me the magic of the multiplication of love. It is not that my love is divided between my children but that our family love increases.

Happy birthday, big guy.

The Evolution of a Side Dish

The boys had their Cub Scouts’ Blue and Gold Banquet yesterday. Every family was supposed to bring a side dish. The theme was “Chinese New Year” and our $5 per family contribution was paying for Beef with Broccoli, Sweet and Sour Chicken, rice and drinks. Since my kids don’t like Chinese food (and probably half the kids I know don’t either), I thought I’d make macaroni and cheese.

That was THE PLAN.

When I went to the grocery store early in the week, I completely forgot about THE PLAN. For the rest of the week, I kept reminding myself I needed to go back there for virtually every ingredient in the recipe. I even made a list. The week progressed into Friday morning, then Friday afternoon, then Friday evening, and I was too tired to summon the strength to go to the store. I looked in the fridge and saw grapes and a melon and apples. Suddenly, I had a NEW PLAN: fruit salad.

A little voice in my head told me I’d better do it right after the kids went to bed. But I was tired from my usual long day, and wanted to sit for just a few minutes. I reminded myself that if I didn’t do it that night, I wouldn’t have time the next day. But my few minutes of sitting was all the free time I had. My adoration hour is from 10 pm to 11 pm, and by the time I got back from that, I crawled straight into bed.

The next morning, I thought about my NEW PLAN, and told myself that I would still be able to do it. It would only take about ten minutes. But I had a house full of kids to get ready, Mary would not let me put her down, and I was trying to help Billy decorate the cake he was entering in a contest at the Banquet. Finally, it was time to go.

I washed the grapes and put them in a bowl. It was MY SOLUTION.

In the end, there was more than enough food. At least two other people brought macaroni, and several brought spaghetti. All my grapes were gone.

Next time, MY SOLUTION will be THE PLAN.

Adoration Hour (a sonnet)

I come slowly to this holy hour,
Within my heart deeply regret my pace.
In truth do I long to receive His grace,
Knowing this time in prayer it does shower.
Time and again witness to His power,
I should eagerly run and take my place.
Seeing Him there contained in that gold case,
Incomprehensible Truths; I cower.
How can it be that God, Maker of all,
Deigned to be there for all of us to see?
Crumb of Divinity captured and shown.
Something so great found in something so small.
God speaks softly in a whisper to me,
Blinking back tears trembling before His throne.

Clothes shopping

I’m shopping for clothes…ack.

I wouldn’t mind shopping for clothes if my size were in the single digits.


The idea of spending money on something that really had better not fit me in 3 months is depressing. But so is getting dressed every morning.

And it doesn’t help that I’m very picky. My arms are short, so nothing long-sleeved. I like 3/4 sleeve best unless it’s hot. No V-neck (always too low). No boat-neck (they always slip off my shoulders). No trim at the neck or cuffs that might irritate my sensitive skin. Must be nursing-infant accessible. And what is up with cowl-necked sweaters? Can we please move on to the 21st century? Or at least the last decade of the 20th?

And then there are color issues. I like blue. Outside of that, my taste is very limited. Black and gray and navy are great…for winter. But spring is coming (right? spring is coming? sometime?) and I prefer lighter colors in the spring. But a wardrobe of blue shirts ranging from pale blue to robin’s egg blue is rather boring. Lilac is cool. And, uh, that’s about it. I’m actually considering pink, because coral just won’t look good on me.

And then I look at pants. I prefer boot cut. Tapered legs seem plentiful. Yeah, I’ll order one of them and a cowl-necked sweater and play some Go-Gos.

I’m just glad I’m doing this all online and not in a store. I’m exhausted and I’m not even physically trying on clothes.

Thank goodness I’m not looking for a bathing suit.

P.S. Holy cow! Spell checker worked!