31 aug 2018

Gertie is asleep. The girls organized the toy room and are now watching a movie and I’m doing what I love to do: planning. Will these ever come to be? Maybe, maybe not. But this is my favorite part of the process. And it feels different this time because I’m forcing myself to take it slowly. Everything in dotted lines are the far future, but we do have 1 garden bed, a new chicken coop, and compost bins.

Here’s our first and only garden bed for next year. I’m excited about it. My back goes out a lot, so we’ve decided to raise the bed to a standing/sitting-on-the-edge height as a preemptive strike. Beyond it, to the right, are the fruit trees with more to come. A Dogwood behind the garden is a sweet place for a bench. Mandy, my gardening/chicken-raising/bee-curious soul sister, walked me around the backyard and suggested a layout. I will forever love her for that.

Behind the bench and tree, in the sunny spot near the two chairs will house our new chickens. We’ve missed having those silly girls around. I kinda want to mix up the breeds, but also feel like I should stick to what I know. And we do love our Buff Orpingtons.

We never really used this side of the house very much, so it feels like a new property in a way. So happy.

29 aug 2018

Today is what I’d say was our first full homeschool day since she was sick last week. I’m so thankful I have a teacher that’s walking me through this, keeping me accountable. I could see myself saying “Eh you’re smart Ruth, just play.” And then we’d get nothing done. I can feel a difference in workload between Kindergarten and First. We’re also already talking parts of the government so I’m quickly delegating that to Ryan.

Keeping Annie busy was a little difficult, but with lots of coloring and play-doh and puzzles we made it through. This has become our little work space with their new fish (Ocean Patricia Collier, nickname: Seaweed) watching them.

It took us 2 straight hours to get everything done, and that’s with a lot of hemming and hawing. Ruthie really likes to chat and anything distracts her because she wants to provide commentary on whatever’s happening. I told Ryan this at lunch and he said one of his teachers had said “Oh there goes Ryan again. Takes him 15 minutes to sharpen his pencil because he has to stop and talk to everyone along the way.”

Ruth’s taking an Improv class this year where she will have to come up with skits, impromptu speeches, and yesterday they had to take turns acting out something to try and get the other kids in the class to laugh while they tried to keep a straight face. I’m excited to hear more about it. Remember when she took Public Speaking last year and gave her Thanksgiving speech? I’ll have to try and find that again.

Annie wanted me to take a video, then started humming loudly and giving me orders.

Laundry day with Disney songs blaring. They sort and put away, then fold towels/napkins. Gertie asks to be held. It’s not really a fight anymore which is nice.

After a busy August, I am leaning into our life at home with a vengeance. It feels so good to have a routine. I’ve got oven baked chicken in the oven, corn on the cob ready to be dumped in and a creamed rice side, Ruthie’s playing her accordion, Annie’s out with the cats, and Gertie’s watching her ABC videos. Whenever I look at old photos, these are the  burning questions I have about them, what did they do in their day-to-day?

27 aug 2018

We’re free. I guess they’re free, but really it’s us. We let George & Ginger (the ever changing names, but I think these have stuck) out today and everyone came back at night except for Ginger. I went to the gym and after coming home, started a mini search party with a flashlight, eventually finding her up in our big gum tree. Way up. Ryan said to leave her, but I politely asked that he put on his shoes and climb the tree to retrieve her. He did. And we got her. And it was such a big hullabaloo.

I love these pics of Annie. Of her in mid-skip and smiling so big walking toward me. She’s enamored with this dress because it has pockets. The girls are feeling better, thank goodness. It’s been a long week.

I never had my camera around with Gertie today, but we had such a good day walking and swinging and sitting on a bench outside feeling the wind around us. She walked all over the driveway and into the backyard while the girls rode their bikes by her and she wanted to go through the grass into the more open space. We’ve started working on some things for next summer, only one single raised bed and planning around that because I’ve realized that I need to do babysteps to be successful at anything. But seeing her push through the grass always gets us wanting to move forward our plan of crushed gravel paths in the backyard for her (and me. and my pinterest boards. and my daydreams of winding through pockets of wildflowers.) Our local master gardener group is having a plant sale and I’ve pre-ordered some fun things: milkweed (there is a butterfly garden at our art museum with milkweed as its star and ever since our latest walk through it, Ruthie has been begging me to get some), Black-eyed Susan, Echinacea purpurea, Elderberry, and one I’m most excited about: Nanny Berry bushes. They said it’s native to Missouri and makes a nice hedgerow with pretty leaves spring/summer/fall as well as produces berries that can be eaten off the bush or canned. I’d planted a row of lilac bushes in a couple areas and our mow guy mowed them all down despite them being marked (ugh!) so these Nanny Berries may do the trick. I am falling in love with flowers!

Back to Gertie, she also moved out of her crib onto her floor mattress. I knew in the back of my head it was the beginning of the end for naps but I’m ready for it. I laid her down and it only took a few minutes before she crawled out of bed and knocked on the door. I’d open it to put her back in and she’d try to bolt (awkwardly and slowly – if you can imagine it, it was funny), but I’d pull her back in. Finally I just let her go and she crawled down the hallway repeating “Night Night” over and over. She’s a stinker.

Tomorrow she has a botox appointment to relax her eye muscles, allowing the one that’s pulling her eye inwards to loosen up and straighten out. We’ve done it before and it seemed to work a little bit. Her doc doesn’t like to rush surgery and we are definitely on board with that if there are other options to try beforehand. All I know is Ryan has to take her in at 5:30am and I’m thanking the heavens above it’s not me.


26 aug 2018

She had eaten frozen blueberries – but it looks so much worse, like she’s straight out of a Dickens novel. Ryan’s reading a story to them about a magical pig that, in one chapter, helps kids learn table manners. The next night when we ate spaghetti we looked over and Annie was shoving a fistful into her mouth with the tendrils all dangling down. Anyway, all I wanted to show here is that the page said to “draw an animal with spots” so she wrote Tiger and drew spots around it. She was dead serious.

They’ve been sick all week and grandma sent us a care package. New coloring books help everything.

Ryan got a taste of being needed in all directions for 15 minutes: Annie wanted to do puzzles with him, Ruthie make jewelry, and Gertie standing up.

Annie said today that she couldn’t decide if she wanted to be a swim teacher or a pirate when she grows up. Ryan suggested being a swim teacher on a pirate ship.

22 aug 2018

If you ask her, Ruthie hates Hobby Lobby. Because one time three years ago she toppled backwards in one of their small carts. She’s sure the same employee is still working there and will recognize her.

We finally convinced her to walk through the doors again and behold, how these aisles must look to a 3ft child. Pretending to be in a jungle ate up a good ten minutes.

It may have even inspired the big eagles nest they made later that day. I have to remind myself that telling them to not come inside unless they’re hurt or needing the bathroom may be a good thing despite their howls at me. They worked on and played in this nest for a good hour.

Ruth’s first day of first grade. She wanted to wear different earrings, and so while I was putting them in she said that last year another girl had these exact ones too but she never told her because she was shy. I asked if she was gonna be different this year and she said, ‘No, I’ll probably still be shy.’ Sweet Ruth.

19 aug 2018

All we did was spend a day on the lake yesterday but today it feels like it was a week long party cruise. And this is from someone who snuck back onto the boat for two naps.

Ryan’s best childhood friend has a family house on Beaver Lake with his six siblings and we got a coveted invite this year. Their first adults-only weekend get together. Although I’d never met them, their reputation had preceded them as funny and loud and good company. Fifteen minutes in and I was already gushing over them to them. Warm people. Instantly.

My floppy hat flew off en route to a cove and I screamed as if it were my wallet.

I’d gotten up at 430 to go to the gym, skipped breakfast, and immediately entered vacation mode upon arrival, so by late afternoon after jabbering to anyone within earshot of my noodle, I was already floating on my back fast asleep hanging onto the anchor rope.

14 hours after arriving we drove back home, kinda wishing we took up the offer to stay over. It was a short and fun adventure with the Redington crew, but it worked out because Ruth lost her second tooth while we were gone and only we had the special gold coins. She’d dropped it in the yard and left a note and drawing.

The kittens loved dad. He’s like the cat whisperer. I hope he told them they’re getting evicted to the garage next week after their surgeries. Mom got scolded by the girls for yelling at the cats. I don’t blame her though, they’re so obnoxious, but they’ve helped confirm that I will never get a baby animal ever again.

The night before, we turned on some 60s music and had a dance party. Mom likes to remind us that she grew up during the best decades of music.

And when mom read a chapter of their book and skipped over a few lines, Annie called her out. The era of jumping over sentences to speed up the book is over and we all grieved the loss.

Thanks for babysitting Grandma & Papa.

16 aug 2018

This isn’t the best pic I took of them, but it’s the one I like most. Ruthie starts school next week and met her first grade teacher today. She wanted to wear her most sparkly dress, given to her, I’m assuming, by her cousins. She brushed her hair twice and still looked like she’d rolled down a few hills. When asked a question, she answered in the quietest voice possible. I told Ruth she’s lucky to have such a sweet teacher, but truthfully her teacher is lucky to have Ruth.

She says her teacher has Aunt Amy’s nose.

Right now we’re at the library waiting to pick up Gertie. Annie skipped to the bathroom. After a few minutes I heard her calling my name. I opened the door and asked what she wanted and in the not quietest voice possible, told everyone in earshot how poop comes out your butt. I think Annie’s teacher is lucky too, mostly because I know she’ll get a good laugh in.

14 aug 2018

Ryan had a business trip so we went to KC for the week.

They listen to audio books in the car and one of our favorites is Winnie the Pooh (Judi Dench, Stephen Fry, & Geoffrey Palmer!!). I don’t remember ever getting into it as a kid, but these stories with the fun voices has me hooked now. And it’s a million times better than hearing If You’re Happy and You Know It over and over.

Anyway, the new movie about Winnie, Christopher Robin, is very sweet. I cried within the first 15 minutes and Ruthie said she cried during it too.



We’d been trying for years to catch this darn train. Finally did and Gertie was not a fan. The rest of us were though and we went around 8 times!


While Gertie and I took a break, one of the adorable volunteer workers came over and talked about how she’d raised a disabled son. She then cussed about the weather and thrust a bottle of water in my hand. It was a meeting between me and my future self.

The rest of the time was spent shoe shopping, playing with cousins, and binge watching shows, none of which I took pics. I need to be more aggressive with the camera again.


The day after Ryan flew back to KC, we drove from there to Oklahoma City and visited our friends that’d moved from NWA. Ruthie dove off the diving board and Gertie, I’m not exaggerating, kicked her feet and arms until she swam by herself. It was maybe for 6-12 inches, but still. She loves the water so much.
We pretty much didn’t stop talking for 48 hours. 30 of those were me going on and on about her garden area and backyard (there’s not many who will gladly talk compost and chicken poop with me), 16 about the meals and ginger drinkie poos, and the remaining 2 hours me thinking I’m funny because of those ginger drinks.

At one point Annie had to go pee so Mandy told her to just pop a squat in the yard (another reason we’re friends!) right by the fence. Annie, in her own special way, decided to go in the middle of the front yard right as a car drove by.

I hardly saw these three girls the whole time. It was nonstop mermaids and dolls and dress up clothes.


On our way home.

We drove through Siloam Springs and decided to show Ruthie where she was born. We made a big ole deal about the home there, in the countryside, on a dirt road, surrounded by cows. We laughed so hard thinking of what she was picturing. So we slowed down and showed her her birthplace.
And for proof that she is indeed my daughter, she didn’t care at all about what it looked like. She gasped and squealed and said she loved it.
I love enthusiastic people, Ruthie. Thank you.img_0250

A fun full week. We tired though.

7 aug 2018

An early birthday present came when Aunt Mary brought over an old photo album for us to go through, writing as many names as we could identify on the back.

Sisters with their magnifying glasses.

Ruthie started writing down all the names she heard too, just like me. If she gets into family history, I will be thrilled. I can picture us traipsing through all sorts of landscapes uncovering clues.

Mom getting flustered over our cute farm stock genes. Great Uncle Bessie and lots of giggles around the table.

So much fun. I love hearing about these lives before me.