February 24, 2011

Gotta get me some daiquiri...

Have you ever been truckin' along  and thought:

I could really use a frozen daiquiri. If ONLY there was an establishment that was willing to serve me alcohol...and not demand that I get out of my car to purchase it.

What's that you say?

You don't have drive-thru frozen daiquiri shops in your town?

No drive-thru jello shots?


You have to walk into a store  or sit down at a restaurant or bar to purchase your beverage of choice?


That's so archaic.

It's no joke.

Drive through daiquiri shops made it to number 12 on the blog, "Stuff Cajun People Like."

I'm not Cajun...but it must be true.

I mean. 


Why not?

(The kids and I were driving around in the rain tonight. Thought I'd get some proof of the uniqueness of the town we live in.)

Next on my list: midget wrestling...

February 23, 2011

Moments such as these...


After we've gotten up at the butt-crack of dawn...

When I've helped with homework, made five breakfasts, prayed and sent three kids off to school...

After I've taken a 22-month-old in for a chicken pox vaccine and then waited for THREE hours at the hospital while coordinating hospital records and preventing tag-a-long three-year-old from setting off the fire alarmTWICE...

When I've then gone and registered said 22-month-old with CYS (Child and Youth Services), signed a second and third grader up for baseball, looked at toys at the PX with 3-year-old, made it home just in time for naps and breakdowns...

When I spent said naps talking on the phone with banks and hospital records departments...

Picked up kids from school, helped with homework, taken five kids to McDonald's for sundaes to celebrate good grades, gone to church, and finally loaded children back into the van...

"Shot gun!" 
"No, I called it!" 
"Mo-om! He hit me!"
"Why do I have to sit next to her?!"
"Can I watch Superman when I get home?"
"Can I have a snack when I get home?"

When that last buckle is clicked.

When the last of the four van doors has slammed shut.

Drowning out the sound of my precious cargo inside.

That precious. 

Precious cargo.

When I feel the cool night's breeze. 

When I hear the cicadas whirring and taunting me with their freedom.


Some days.

In teeny moments of exhaustion.

As that last door slams.

My mind screams...


(I like to imagine a crazy hillbilly laughing maniacally while running through a cornfield.)

February 22, 2011

Homesick (continued)

Oh, wait. You thought I was done exhaustively detailing why I miss my family?

Only 7 more to go...

 Hannah-Banana. Her name is a palindrome! How can she not be cool? Even though she's married now, and I see her and her husband more than anybody else; I miss my sister, Hannah. I miss living with her while she went to college. Hearing her in her room with my daughter, Kennedy. Painting toenails. Putting on makeup. Child whisperer. Seeing her soft as butter towards my children.Loving them as her own. I miss watching her with any child. She has a way with little people that is beautiful. I know it sounds cheesy; but it's true. I miss getting to know her as a friend...and not as a way older sister babysitting a younger sister. I miss her practicing her ballet positions in the kitchen. I can't name any of them.  I miss her teaching my kids her latest dance routines. I miss feeling peaceful because she was there.  I miss her.

Cole and Hannah visiting Louisiana April 2010.

I miss watching her husband, Cole,  get to know my family! An L.A. kid, navigating his way around eastern Oregon and a room full of 30 people! He's a rare, kind, intelligent, honest, and giving person. It wasn't just Hannah that hit the jackpot when she fell in love with him. We all did.

I miss my little sister, Bekah. I miss her borrowing my clothes...and not telling me. I miss her coming over to cry, or laugh, or talk about Jesus. I miss her heart for God. I miss her social butterfly-ness.  Oh, how I miss that. I miss her awesome-crazy-style that we all make fun of her for. But, that I really think is freakin' cool. I miss her little 4'8" frame always, always, ALWAYS snuggling up for a hug. I miss her playing with my kids. And, selfishly...I miss her watching them while I go get a coffee! I miss how she bubbles with the things she's excited about. How she cannot contain information...that it emanates out of her cheeks, teeth,  eyes and fingertips. I miss feeling happy because she's in the room.  I miss seeing her at church and feeling like I have a connection. I just miss her.

Bekah and her boyfriend, Cam. July 2009.

I miss my little sister, Suzy. I miss her awesome smile. The most awesomest smile on the planet.  I miss watching her grow into a young woman...who constantly makes me scratch my head. "Where'd she come from?" How is she so normal...and nice? What happened to the little mop-head who crawled around on the the floor and pretended to be a puppy?  How did she get to be a young woman? I miss her gentle spirit for others and her passion for God. Watching her be so willing to invest in my kids. Go toad catching with Jack. Let the littles feed her fish. I miss watching her constantly go against the flow of a typical teenager and evolve into a college student who lives at home, drives her little brothers around, and helps with the chores. All with radiance...that you just don't see often. I miss just watching her live her life so differently than me and the other girls. And being in awe of how graceful she is, despite her giggles and goofiness. I miss her.

Ray and Suzy. July 2010

I miss my four little brothers who aren't so little anymore.

I miss David, who is an old soul. Not because he's a know-it-all. But because he watches people...and notices. Because he takes care of people smaller and weaker than himself. I miss watching him play with my babies...and protect Ked. I miss watching him wrestle with my boys, or give them wedgies. I miss watching him at church. Awkward gentlemanly-ness. I miss watching him and Suzy's old couple relationship. "Suzy, you should call mom. Suzy, you should get money for lunch. Suzy, what time are we supposed to be home?" Like an old man who doesn't know where his socks are. I miss his smile. I can't wait to see what he does next.  And, I only hope that the girl he marries knows the kind of protectiveness all his sisters feel for him and the other "little" boys.  They better  be nice. I just miss him.

David holding Ray while she drools and falls asleep. July 2010.

I miss my Sam. The little stinker who organized blocks by color and size right around the time he could walk. He learned to walk before any of us...not because he's one of those hyped-up, super physical kids. But, probably because he thought in his little baby brain, "Walking is a mathematical equation. I see all those chumps doing it. By dandy--I'm going to walk, too!" I miss that he is usually watching the adults and always knows what's going on...but will act too cool to know. I miss our sarcastic interchanges that never seem to hit right...but have potential non-the-less. I miss seeing him with his animals in 4-H, and seeing him carve out his own path in a family that has a little bit of everything. I miss watching him become the tallest member of the family. Something we all knew would happen; he's always been the, "average height" kid. Didn't fall off the growth charts like the rest of us. I miss watching the movies he  directs with David and Suzy. Because, I don't care what you think...they are FREAKING AWESOME!!! I miss seeing their crazy funny sense of humor! I miss watching him change from a kid to a teenager...and soon a young man. Full of dreams, plans for the future. I love him. I miss him.

Suzy, Sam, and Hannah. January 2009.

I miss my little brother, Josh. This kid is FULL of...stuff. He's fascinated by things kids his age shouldn't care about. Watches political talking heads. Builds robots. Thinks outside the box...always. I miss watching him keep up with grown-up discussions on politics, science, or God. I miss his self-assuredness that seems to be a common thread with the men in my family. I miss him explicitly indicating to people...that despite the fact that he has inherited our family's disposition towards smaller statures; he is NOT going to take crap from anyone, any day, anytime. I miss him so eagerly begging to babysit or do something to help. I miss watching him grow up. I just miss him.

Josh getting tidied up before Hannah's ceremony. 2010.

Daniel. I miss that kid!! The fat baby I showed to Jason the first time he met my family. The baby who wouldn't walk down the aisle at my wedding. Who became my son's first friend. Who is still my son's best friend in the world. I miss the way you can ask him to do anything...ANYTHING, and he will nod his head and say, "Yeah, sure." 

"Drive the car to the grocery store and pick up some milk Daniel."


"Daniel! Do you think you could lift this 9000 pound boulder out of my yard?

"No problem."

"Daniel! Can you solve world hunger?!"


He's great. He's a blessing to me as a sister almost two decades older than him. He's a blessing to my parent's as a gift in their oldER age. And, he's a blessing to my children...as an uncle who is real, true, friend.
I miss him.

Lincoln, Daniel, and Jack, Fourth of July, 2009. He's being totally patriotic during the nation anthem. Lincoln...not so much.

I miss them all.

One of my all time favorite pictures of my family. Oregon coast vacation, 2009. Minus all the married kids at the time. Still awesome.


(T-shirt design by Jesse Lefkowitz)

Tonight I was going to try and write my conclusion to, "Phone calls..."

But all I can think about is how homesick I am for Oregon.

I want to post a million pictures of the people, and the places that I love.

I miss them allI miss it all. 

I miss finally being able to understand where east, west, north and south are. I can't tell here! I got east and that's about it. Plus, the moon travels funky in the sky. It makes a Cheshire cat smiley face, instead of a crescent during half moons. I miss knowing where creeks, rivers and trails are...just minutes from my front door. I miss our old house, the kitchen, the sound of rain on the skylight, the deer, and the creek in the back yard. I miss my friends. I miss the mountains. I miss knowing where to go. I miss faces.

I miss my family...

Me, dad, and Bekah. Thanksgiving 2009.

I miss how my dad will come up next to me and gives me awesome sideways squeezes 
 that hurt my ribs.  I pretended to hate them when I was 13... but they've always calmed something in my soul. I miss him saying, "How's RoRo?" (A nickname I got when my brother Sam was a kid and couldn't say "Sarah.")  I miss his smile and his red hair. I miss his slow, deliberate, sarcastic humor. 
A lot. 
 I miss him stopping by during his lunch break, and, "checking in" on me and my little family.  How he will let about anyone dig their own verbal grave. Just by being quiet. By letting a few moments of silence...go by. I miss seeing him talk to my husband, and giving him the kind of father/son relationship he always wanted--but never had. I miss watching my sons talk to my dad. What a strange thing. I miss him forever working SO hard to take care of his family. I miss watching him show up guys half his age...because that's the way he is.  Strong, capable, young and wise. Watching him be a man of integrity in a world full of lost men. Even though he's been lost, too. I miss the rare moments that he'll open up to me about something personal and invite me in. I miss seeing him around town and being proud that, "Hey! There goes my dad!"  I miss him asking my mom what I said. Because he couldn't hear. He's a little hard of hearing...and he's used to asking her.   Even when I'm right there in front of himI miss his wisdom and insight. I miss him eating peanut butter sandwiches and drinking a can of Coke at just about any given minute or hour of the day. I miss his crazy, perfectly timed, spot on encouragement.  
 I just miss him.

Hannah and Dad, at her wedding.

I miss my mom. I miss commiserating about pregnancy and homeschooling. I miss her inviting me to sit and talk on the living room couch. Amidst work schedules, a gaggle of horses, dogs and chickens, her husband, giggling, screaming kids, sulky teenagers, crying babies, my nine siblings, and her 11 (counting baby Audrey) grandchildren; she still makes time for me. I miss getting to be her friend now. I miss her awesome blue eyes and amazingly perfectly straight teeth. I miss her pretty hands. Her cute little feet wrapped up in Birkenstocks. I miss being proud of her freakishly wonderful talent and expertise as a O.B. nurse in a small community. "Yes, she does work there...yes, yes, she is amazing." I miss her giddy about a new horse to take on trail rides. I miss how she lights up when she talks about poetry. Or anything that moves her.  Tangents on politics, religion,  or relationships. I love that she doesn't shy away from things some people are too wary to face. I miss walking around their property and seeing what new projects have taken hold. I miss her gardens and seeing her find peaceful moments wandering around her haven. I miss how she finds special ways to spend time with each of her grandchildren; while she is working so hard to take care of her own home. Even though she's still raising children who aren't grown. I miss hearing her try to recite something fascinating that she just read, or heard... but never finding just the right words.  How hugely intelligent and smart she is;  yet totally goofy and silly. Seeing her  moved to tears over Shakespeare or Monk. Either one will do. I miss sitting on their couch with Jason and the other couples in the family...staying up late and inevitably watching her laugh until tears are streaming down her face. How she searches for and finds meaning in things forgotten or passed by others.
  I just miss her.

July 2009: David and mom. His birthday. Long hair stage. She's trying to embarrass him by oozing cheesy love songs his way.

 I miss my older brother, Joel.  I miss his slow smile, that can never be held back. I miss his ability to sell ideas and projects. That he can fix anything, anywhere, with whatever he has. That he has always and will always stand up for those left behind. That he would and has put himself between me and danger. I miss the crazy things he likes to eat.  I miss the ingenious contraptions he is constantly building. I miss the way he thinks. That he would give me the coat off his back. That he would give you the coat off his back. I miss his ability to tell a story...and make it brighter, bigger and better just because it was told by him. I miss his ability to find unique solutions to help people in pain and hard life situations. I miss watching how God is working in his life...and knowing that it is something special.  I just miss him.

I miss his wife, Shannon, and the way she can turn ON the sunshine in a room. I miss that she has my back. Always. That she thrives on planning ahead. That she will find a deal in the silliest, most run-down, un-likely, ridiculous places. She is smart and very hard working. I love that I knew her before my brother. Hippie, punk kid that she was back then. She was still amazing. I miss talking to her about marriage and babies and God.  I miss that I could say, "Man, if only I had a pink ribbon..." and she would have five pink ribbons out and ready before I finished my sentence. I miss that she is supportive of me and my family. That she makes special events...more special. That she is the most helpful person I've ever met.

Kennedy and Joel and Shannon's daughter.

Hands down. 

Besides my other brother's wife. 

Maybe they're tied.

They are wonderful.

I miss my younger brother, Zach. How incredibly funny he is. I miss waiting and trying to figure out when the punchline is coming...because there is always  a punchline. And, when there isn't...it's fun anticipating anyway.

(Okay. Maybe it's slightly annoying to him that I can't stop giggling around him.)

How he is so much smarter than he thinks he is. That he is wise. Kind. Creative in a way I could never be...and that makes me slightly jealous.
Jealous in the good, "Man. That's cool. I wish I could do that!" way. I miss the beautiful songs he would write  and play on his guitar. Or on the piano...how he would try and get me to, "jam" with him. Even though I was too square and uncreative to keep up.  I miss hearing about his and Joel's adventures; that usually involve someone's car breaking down. I miss eating with him! Because he is a fine connoisseur of...anything that you eat. Believe me. I miss watching him try to be the best dad. I miss watching him evolve into a husband and grown-up man. Not just my baby brother. I just miss him.

I miss his wife, Katie. I miss her because, she's family. I miss her because, even though her and my other sister-in-law married into this craziness.  I realize how amazing they are and how bonded I am to them. How lucky I am to have not three sisters...but five. I miss how freakin' funny she is. In a totally,  *bah-domp-domp-BAM!*    There's your joke!- way.  I miss how supportive she is. That she wanted to be around us all. How she valued our family and showed us all how lucky we were. I miss how she can take anything and turn it into something stylish and pretty.
I just miss her.

Grant and Zach and Katie's youngest son.

To be continued...

February 17, 2011

What a difference 278 days make

 A few days ago, Lincoln had stayed up late to do his homework. While I kept him company, I started going through home videos. I came across this first one of Reagan. She had been home for six days. I can't get over how hurt and withdrawn she seemed. I had forgotten what her cry had sounded like. That apathetic, "Uh. Uh. Uh. Uh."

 When we first met our daughter, we had no context of who she was. What she looked like when she was truly happy. What she looked like when she was truly sad.

Now I know.

At the time, I was thankful that six days later (after arriving in the U.S.), she seemed happier. She wasn't sick, she didn't have a fever, or that oozing sore on her mouth. She opened up more and more every day. The other kids loved her. I was just glad to be home.

But now I watch this video and it sucks the air out of my lungs. It hurts my heart. I knew that she'd be grieving. I just didn't know what that would look like.  
This is what it looked like. 


I know it might not seem like much. 
But it's the difference between confusion, pain, hopelessness and heartache. 
And, confidence, determination, intimacy and happiness.
It's the difference between a smile brought on by fleeting entertainment. And one brought on by trust and joy.

She was hurting.

I remember now, how she would withdraw and stare off into nothing. How she would turn away. I remember that deep, pitted, scared feeling...that maybe something was really, really wrong. That maybe it was something I couldn't help her with.


And then here's today. A friend of mine had posted the Katy Perry cover of, "Fireworks," on her facebook page. Grant asked me to, "beedio" him dancing to the, "moon, moon, moon song." Sorry it's so long. Grant doesn't even dance very much. What I couldn't stop smiling at is Reagan. 


Sometimes we need a reminder of how far we've come.

I know that with all my children...we are in a lifelong journey together. 

I know it's not over.

But to quote Confucius, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

If I haven't lost you already with my insane amount of cheesiness, don't worry. I'm done. :)

I'm just happy.

February 16, 2011


Grant makes me crazy.

Tonight he seriously risked life and limb 18 different times by sneaking out of bed to ask ridiculous questions like, "Are we dowing have candy for breakfast tomorrow?"

To try and butter me up, "I dust want to tell you, you are bery, bery bootiful.

Or because he had to go potty for the millionth time. 
(That's code for him wanting to sing on the pot.)

He is a lot of work.

But, dang if he didn't make up for that by being so stinkin' cute and funny.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and I was tired of being in the house. So we decided to load up and drive to post to return library books. I also wanted to listen to a CD of a sermon from our hometown church, my friend had  just sent me.

When your husband's deployed, there is no greater feeling of control and  freedom, than when your kids are buckled in their carseats...and not fighting, whining or crying.

Beautiful, beautiful day. 

Or night.
It was perfect.

The kind of night you would beg to play outside just a little bit longer in as a child. The kind of night you would wander with friends through as a teenager. Having deep discussions. One-upping each other with dares.

The kind that gives hope of spring to people everywhere.
This is the time of year, I find myself thinking, "If only Louisiana stayed like this...I wouldn't want to leave."

But, back to Grant:
After the library, we drove around a bit, and eventually I remembered that I hadn't fed my children. So, we decided to try out a restaurant we'd never been to in town, "Fatboy and Skinny's."

Kinda cheap. Free drinks for the kids. Greasy, good diner.
 Awesome customer service.

While I was washing Grant's hands after he'd gone potty, he looked up into the mirror and said, "I hope dey yike my style."

"Who? The people in the restaurant?"

"Yeah. I dust hope dey yike my style."

I laughed and told him he had great style...and people would be crazy not to like it.

After we sat back down and a few minutes later he said,
 "Oh mom. I really hope dat people call me fat boy. "



"FAT BOY!! "

"FAT. "

"BOY. "

*Looking around

"Hey mom! Dat guy is fat, too!!"

*My arm shooting across the table, over his mouth*

"Okay! Shhh! I get it."


"Why do you want people to call you a fat boy?" 

(totally forgetting where we were eating) 

"Because he has da best style! AND I dust love fat boys!!!" 

Then I looked down and saw the Fatboy and Skinny characters on the table. *Aaah.*

( A few minutes later, probably because I was ignoring earlier requests to go-- with the logic that he had just gone. ) 

"Oh mom!! Oh mom!! I gotta go to da bafroom again. "

"I have to go NOW! "

"I have to GRAB MY BUTT...BECAUSE POOP is dowing to come out of it. OH my doodness!! TAKE ME to da bafroom!! OH my doodness!!"

 "Shhh! Grant. Calm down buddy. Let's go, I will take you potty again. "

"Please don't yell about poop anymore. Shhh!"



"Oh my doodness mom. I hafta dow so bad...thank-you."

Aww. You're welcome Grant. 

I don't care that this is my third trip to the bathroom.
I don't care that I haven't had a single bite of food yet.

I don't care that everyone is staring in horror at your proclamations of fatness and poo.




worth it all.

February 14, 2011


Since the three olders have started going to school, I've realized even more, what a hermit I am. I want to be outside. I love to have soulful conversations with friends. I crave time with my parents and siblings. I want to challenge myself, learn new things, make a difference in the world around me, and be apart of the general chaos of life. 

But...I honestly get lost in my family. It's not that I don't completely enjoy hanging out with other people. I never get tired of knowing someone better. Any someone. But, as much as it's made me insane to be here so constantly with the kids. I really, emphatically, truly enjoy the company of my children. 

I can't help but see them all as little clocks...slowly ticking away our time with each other.

I know. 
That's kind of depressing.










 Childhood is fleeting.

February 7, 2011

Ode to Spring Soccer

  (Twelve steps for cold, muddy misery:)

  1. Rush through homework, skip dinner, change out of uniforms...
of ... 
*Heavenly choir*

2. Dress five-year-old in heavily gauged plastic shields. Strategically place over shins.  
This is in case of attack.

3. Place expensive, uncomfortable, fashionable shoes on five-year-old's feet.  Attach dangerous spikes to bottom of said shoes to ward off assault from other participants. Feel comforted that five-year-old is wearing her shin shields for gosh sakes! Reason that the added mud and grass ALL over truck is worth it.

4. Important: Forget to dress children for Louisiana's freaking hot/cold, menopausal weather especially so you can win the idiot mom award...again. Leave house with light sweaters and jackets. Don't bother with hats, warm coats or any of that tomfoolery. It's February after all.

5. Drive to soccer. Psyche five-year-old into playing.

6. Get five children out of truck and navigate to one soccer field that is eight miles away from mode of transportation. Wait for five-year-old to rapidly dissolve into a puddle of blubbering incoherent tears (apparent fear of peers in cleats).

7. Bribe five-year-old with every imaginable toy, treat, and tantalizing temptation you can think of. Be flatly repudiated. The past five and a half years mean nothing. 
You are dead to her.

8. Spend 15 minutes playing soccer with other little people while simultaneously entertaining and freaking out baby on hip.

9. Throughout duration, ignore the five-year-old who sleeps in your home, and who is standing on sidelines, crying, blowing snot bubbles and complaining of low temperatures.
Pretend it's all so fun.

10. Last five minutes; give five-year-old your sweater to layer with and wipe nasal mucus on.

 11. Stop for a moment to ponder. To wonder why you're playing soccer with a bunch of midget people shorter than you are. Work through the name confusion of other girl on team named, "Sarah."  Realize sadly no one was cheering for you to begin with. 

12. Leave... towing five muddy, cold, whiny, and crying kids.

Yay spring soccer. 


(Plus my sweater's all snotty.)