Saturday, June 30, 2012

i'm so embarrassed

It is really really hard not to become soppy and cliche about growing things in a garden. One would think, or at least I always did, that putting your fingers in the dirt and mucking around with cheap packets of seeds and flinging slugs over the fence to the poor neighbor (whom, of course, I love as Christ has commanded me) would be a task sent to ground me in terminal Reality.

And yet, morning after morning the nearly same euphoria of having a new baby is constantly attacking me as I Inspect My Garden. I am daily grossed out by my own nostaligic love for the various badly arranged plants in my back yard and bit of community garden.

I know you must all be horrified to hear that on occassion I am overcome by delight for my own children, and now also my own garden. Soon you will find me canning and driveling. And before that, swooning over my new fence.

I'm so sorry, and yet, I think, not really.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

blown along

As usual at this time of the morning, there is some kind of crazed circus being played out by a variety of children who wake with every dawn ready to jump, shout, twirl, kick,  whine and in other ways make me count the minutes till my walk at 7am. Four out of six are sleeping the sleep of the stayed-up-till-9:30 but those two goodness. They could go to sleep at 3am and still wake ready to kick me in the head.

This week has wandered quickly away from me before I could catch it and make it do something sensible. I've had extra children in amongst my own to play and I've been weeding my lettuces and staking up my tomatoes. And all the way along I've been feeling really sad about my friend Lauren. Elphine, who happened to be around when we read all the news reports on Sunday (see the post directly below this one), has wanted to talk about it, so much so that I had to forbid her from talking or thinking about it before bedtimes so that she would be able to go to sleep. And honestly, as I wake up morning by morning, and think 'maybe I should blog' I usually choose instead to have a look at the garden and destroy slugs etc rather than clutter up the internet with anything extra. The simple domestic rites of opening the curtains in the morning, picking up toys and crayons and shoes scattered all over from the day before, making a child brush her hair, holding someone else's baby for an afternoon, pulling out and throwing away the six pairs of shoes I long to wear but never will, is it possible that these are more important, more weighty, this week?

Lauren has been carrying on writing on Facebook since her blog has been shut down. Reading her is like gazing down into a great abyss of grief, so vast, so immeasurable, that only God could gather it up and measure it. On Tuesday we started reading The Silver Chair after dinner. Jill, you might remember, immobilized by fear, stands on the edge of the precipice as Eustace tumbles over. And then, as it seems that all is lost, she sees that rather than falling, he is being blown through the air, and then she looks over and sees it is a lion doing the blowing. That is all my prayer for Lauren and her girls. That she be blown along by Jesus, that her feet not touch the hard rocky ground.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

please pray

If you have a chance to pray for my friend  Lauren who blogs at Sparkling Adventures I'd be so grateful.
I've had her linked on the side for many years now.

She lost her baby, Elijah, this weekend and it seems that her husband, David, is under suspicion.

Please pray for Lauren and her girls and her family as they struggle to discover what happened and grieve the loss of their precious baby.

Friday, June 22, 2012

quick birthday takes

If I was going to start a new blog (which I'm not going to do) I would call it My Obese Cat. But then I would have nothing to say because everything is contained in the title.
Today is my Mother's Birthday!
Happy Birthday Mother!

Earlier in the week she made a gorgeous dinner for us and my aunt and uncle from Norway.
 The salads were beautifully abundant enough to feed us for a whole week. 
But we ate them all and then ate Zanzibar Chicken (unphotographed) and finally chocolate pots.
 And Elphine made brownies AGAIN!
 The dogs lay about hoping for food to rain down, upon the place beneath.
And then, because... well....when Landers gather together inevitably the subject of my late grandmother's unfortunate habit of crochet rears its startling head, my mother put on the famous purple teacozy? or is it a hat? And she and my aunt talked Lander Legs, Lander Arms and Lander Hearts.
Anyway, today, in furtherance of the festal birthday, we're going to go to a local park with a lake to pray against the scattered thunder showers. Elphine made brownies YET AGAIN for our lunch and we'll probably have some other nice things. And while we do that
the fence will be going in!
The wood is here, the cement mixer is here, the massive post hole digger is here. And we will be here except for when we're picnicking. SO Exciting!
Also very exciting and wonerful, albiet boring to all those whom I love, is that I got my quarterly and end of the year home school reports in on time. Not only so, but I've put serious time and energy into next year's plan, both calendar and curriculum. The glow of well being and accomplishment is only slightly softened by the large pile of other work sitting on my desk and in my heart--like going over our Sunday School program with a fine tooth pen.
Also, I need to wrest out of the grubby grasp of the baby some horrible birthday card that, when you open it, sings 'Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh, tubby ol something something'. She was rewarded in her twice daily dig through the waste paper basket ("STOP THAT BABY" the whole world yells as she hones in like a remotely controlled Obama drone) by finding this card which sets us back days and days in the breaking of this vile habit.
And that, dear friends, is the substance of my life. If I don't get up and start finding sunscreen, hats, umbrellas and food, these children will rise up as one and fling me into the Susquehanna.

Go check out Jen!

Monday, June 18, 2012

hee hee

David Mitchell is doing soap boxes again! And since practically everybody at Good Shepherd stood in front of the vast array of coffee hour celebratory Anglican cake yesterday and 1. knew they shouldn't eat it and 2. had been told not to fast by the preacher, I thought this really would cheer them all this fine Monday morning. Except, don't believe him! heheeeee

Saturday, June 16, 2012


 On Tuesday, a very cool awesome backhoe came to our yard to pull up and replant a hedge of arborvitaes.

 They were pulled right up out of the ground and carried along and replanted along the back fence of the church property. It rained and rained and rained as a something like 14 trees were pulled up and replanted.

 We all came out and watched for a while in the rain, trying to keep well out of the way. Marigold had to be held because she was afraid of the back hoe. She worked on saying 'back hoe' all day. What a helpful word to have on hand. Last night she worked hard on saying 'pizza cutter.' Language is so interesting.
 So amazing, how the tree dances along through the air, before being rooted back into the ground.
 Here they are basically all in place. While all this was going on, Elphine was baking her brownies (God help us).
Here was the fence before the trees.

 Here we are, looking back at the house, the trees all gone. It looks very bare and exposed, but a fence is going to go in later. Meanwhile, there's a huge stretch of grass upon which to run races.

 Here they were, right before they were moved.
 The Long View.
 By the end of the day, they were soaked through and mud covered.
 This is still my favorite bit, tree after tree, dancing through the air.

a little gardening

Last Monday we forced the children to help in the community garden. They worked hard for five minutes and then the boys started whining. "Its too hot. I'm too tired." Told them to "man up" or they would be in for a "world of hurt". There's nothing like a cliche here and there to carry forward a morning of great parenting and helpful gardening.

Gladys and Marigold got to help plant tomato plants. Marigold just helped herself to the plants without being asked. That's just the way she rolls.
Here is my own plot! Look! Its not dead! Amazing!
 These are alive carrot plants. Don't say what you're really thinking. Say something nice instead.
 A lettuce and a half.
 Someone planted lovely flowers to dress up the whole garden.
 More children working hard, or something.
 And when we were all through, Marigold put a tea cozy on her head.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

cook with your children, the experts say

Elphine is making brownies.
She's been making them since about 1pm this afternoon. I've been trying to patiently not loose my mind, but as we head into the fourth hour of brownie making (from a box, let the truth be known) I feel that the battle may be too much for me.

First she got the boxes of brownie mix out of the cupboard.
Then she read the directions. We got all the measuring cups out and talked about fractions....again. Her eyes glazed over and she stuck her chin out until that part was over. Then she got a half a cup of water from the sink, and a cup of oil  from the cupboard and six eggs out of the fridge.
"You're only making two boxes" I said, "you only need four eggs." So she put two eggs back.
(God help us all.)
Then she poured all the liquid into the dry mix and stirred it for a while.
And then she added the eggs.
Then she stirred it some more.
"Good job." I said smiling through clenched teeth, "Let me stir it a little bit more so that there are no lumps."
Then she spooned the batter into muffin tins.
At this point I went and did something else because of the possibility of either infanticide or suicide. When I came back, she was covered in chocolate.
I know, as a parent, that its easy to toss that off--covered in chocolate--like, you know, the child has a lot of chocolate on the face and some on the elbow. I just want you to stop and rethink that image of "covered in chocolate" and instead of a child with a little bit of chocolate on the face and elbow, think of first a berry covered in chocolate, and then think of my whimsical meadow loving child (can you feel the positivity oozing from my pores?) covered in chocolate.
She was covered in chocolate.
Then she put the pans in the oven. After a bit she undertook to take them out. One pan was done, and then a few minutes later another pan was done and she took it out. But in all the comotion, she also took the third pan out--the bigger muffin sized tin. Through the course of the afternoon I have put it back into the oven no less than four times, and each time she has taken it out again almost immediately.
And so the final product (I hope its final, she is now in the shower trying to get the chocolate off) consists of a lot of underdone brownies jammed into a small casserol dish and then lathered with chocolate frosting. I expect they will be declicious, but they look a little worse for wear.
So there we are. Elphine made brownies. Maybe later she can make something else. May God have mercy on my soul.

Monday, June 11, 2012

a decade

Another church picnic come and gone (yesterday). As I stood in the water at the lake counting five of my children plus two others (one...two...three four five six.....don't see the seventh...oh, there it is) and catching up with friends I've not seen in a month, I realized that it was really the picnic that was our "first Sunday" ten years ago. We weren't ordained yet and we had just arrived so it wasn't our first Sunday in terms of work, but it was in terms of meeting everyone.

And, of the ten picnics come and gone, I guess I was probably pregnant for a full six of them. Well, I'm not sure. I would have to figure out when I was pregnant each year, bla bla bla, and that's too much trouble. I'm sure, however, that the sheer number of children has made the time go faster than it otherwise would.

So I think I'll go count up my gray hairs again, and reexamine the lines on my face.

Friday, June 08, 2012

7 takes to catch up

I think its been a busy week but I can't really remember. My mom and dad are here and yesterday they drove down to NJ to pick up my Great Aunt and bring her up here for a visit. So that's very exciting and wonderful, and the explanation for why I've barely popped open my computer except to check my email, and even then I've been forgetting to do that.
I have been rather successfully keeping school going. I'm dreading the moment we finish everything and the multitude of the Kennedy children can wake up and careen around purposeless and triumphant. Some of them are already negotiating the level of their academic pursuits over the summer.
"Half an hour of reading" Alouicious has decreed, "no math, no writing."
"We'll see," I've said, "But whatever it is will definitely be more than half an hour of reading."
On the whole this year has been pretty good. ('High praise indeed,' you might scoff, unless you homeschool, in which case you know what I'm talking about.)
And I've sorted out my next school year, and planned when to buy what I'm going to buy. And I've deep cleaned my school room. And I finished the Great Clothes Change Over of 2012. But no I haven't weeded my garden, or planned Summer Sunday School (still accepting teachers, all you Good Shepherdians!), or gotten a handle on the laundry, or removed the horrible green marker dots from Glady's lovely pink dress, or clipped the dogs heavy coats of hair and given them a bath (Rain Rain! Go Away!).
Speaking of which, here is the little pom. Cute, if loud. But he is cured of barking on walks. Now he weeps at not being allowed to bark. And he is eating and sleeping comfortably.
He must be mixed with something. From all the pictures of Pomeranians I've looked at, he doesn't look exactly like that and his body is too squat I think. Anyway, there he is. Or rather, here he is with us.
I'm trying to read, or rather listen to, the Bible chronologically. This is the second time I've started (like a Pharisee, I never make it past Deuteronomy) so I've blown through the first 90 days of the plan in three weeks. I started this years ago when Jessica blogged so beautifully about it and I thought, 'Oh, that will make me so spiritually mature, like her' but then, obviously, here I am, three years later, still in the Pentateuch. Anyway, I finished Deuteronomy This Morning. So now I have only to click forward with my mouse, instead of sabotaging myself by going backwards.
 As part of the Great Clothes Change Over of 2012 I came across a bin of pre-marriage skinny clothes and........I fit back into them. I almost wept with hope and wonder. And also wept because even though I can get into them, they don't look the same as they did so long ago. My shape has been irreparably altered by the six enormous human beings I've given life to. And, what a joy and wonder that's been. Anyway, I am heartened because I've been eating less food, which, if you read the books, you have to do to get skinnier, and walking up the wretched hill. And I've been hating every minute of it. But I think its been worth it. Of course, having written it down in a blog, I'll probably accidentally eat a whole cake today and balloon out. But there it is, marked in time and space, Anne Got Skinnier one time.
Matt's parents are moving out of their lovely and beautiful home this weekend. They sold it very quickly when it went on the market, so quickly they haven't found the next house of their dreams. Matt looks like he could use a cake to cheer him up (just kidding, he hates cake! Don't bring cake! He won't eat it but I will! Srsly! NO CAKE!) and I'm sure they could use your prayers as they move into an apartment and keep house hunting. Don't you just hate change? And yet God is always asking us to change and be different and grow. I think some time he should just let us sit and not move house or anything.

And on that note, go check out Jen and have a lovely weekend!

Friday, June 01, 2012

seven more quick boring takes

The dogs are curled up together. It looks hot and uncomfortable. The two babies that are awake are fighting and hitting each other and me. Every now and then the baby tries to sit on my head. They are also 'singing' which just means they are just shouting really loud.
Really sad and discouraged by this news yesterday. Seems like we're not just sneaking up to the line of barbarism and violent ruination but are sprinting there.
My mom and dad get back tonight really late from their jaunt to the West Coast. So why am I lying here? Why am I not cleaning and doing laundry? Why? Why? Why?
Good Shepherd's Ice Cream Social/Health Fair is tomorrow from noon to three tomorrow! Pony rides! Ice Cream! Face Painting! Tons of awesome cool stuff! Come see us! You'll find me wandering around trying to keep track of all my kids and making sure they don't scam the system and take more stuff than they should.
Some of my seeds are coming up! And Elphine planted a little garden on Monday. And we're going to plant a little apple tree this weekend in between all the other excitements going on.
Naval Gazing is blogging again for those of us who regretted her long silence. Here is the best line of all my blog reading anywhere this week.
I don't think God blesses righteous people financially unless everyone in the third world is an unrighteous piece of crap. 
Read the whole post, as I've obviously taken this totally out of context. heh. 
And on that note, I'm going to move on to the next thing since I started writing this at 6am and now its 10:37 and basically in that time the house has vomited on itself, the children are not doing even one thing they're supposed to be doing but are instead fighting and wrestling and being awful and Matt keeps looking over at me pointedly like 'so, um, are you going to do anything today besides sit there blogging?' to which I reply, with my pointed glance 'you're sure one to say anything about blogging.'

Have a great weekend and go check out Jen!