Friday, October 02, 2015


The month I draw all my capital O's as little pumpkins. 
The month with the birthday cake scribbled on the 9th square for Ender.
The month I come crashing down the doors of Hobby Lobby for even MORE fall decorations. 

The month I try to convince Ender that he doesn't want to be B-Dog from Space Buddies for Halloween.
The month that needs to come full circle in Cora's head.  Last year at this time, a beast was born.  I'm hoping this time the beast doesn't die, (because the beast is fun to laugh at/with) but that it just learns some manners.
The month where magic steps out of hiding from the lidless eye of summer to flit and flutter over cooler days.
The month that Sammy smiles more and more at his lunatic mom and the siblings that drove her there. 

Raising a glass of cider to you October!  In the desert you are especially enchanting. 

Some photos from last year's October from our humble abode's perspective.

My Ghost Pumpkins didn't make it this year.  The delicate sprouts wilted and withered while we left on vacation. And the one that managed to survive has stayed no more than 3 inches tall.  He's a determined fellow.  I'm not sure why he isn't growing, though.  His neighbors, the lettuce and the pepper are thriving.  Hmm... maybe the seeds were duds. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

They are like sharks, or are sharks.  They smell blood, weakness, and attack.  They are my children.  And they have a keen sense of when mama is barely keeping afloat.  Their father is lounging in the boat, soaking in the sun, enjoying the light salty sea spray, and glancing over the side thinking,  "awe, I didn't know dolphins had so many rows of teeth and a such a razor edge dorsal fin.... too cute!"  "Leslie, honey! You're swimming with flipper, we should instagram this."
No, Zander.  Wash the sunblock out of your eyes.  This is JAWS!  Get off your butt and get me out of here.

He did.

Needless to say the kids are being whipped into shape this weekend.  No, not literally whipped, people, but close.  Just kidding.

I understand exactly how that apple feels. 

 Below.  She leaves no survivors.

After a great change like a new baby, the whole house (except Zander, of course) takes the first flight off this earth to la la land.  Its only a matter of time, though, before things settle down again.  God is so faithful and I feel soothed by His non judgemental ears and eyes.  He knows to the core our weakness and the dark things that can prey on His children.  The lies.  The kids are one thing.

 They can be managed.  But its another to face your own demons.
In a city of 3 million people, I can still feel isolated.  The assumption that I'm the only one that struggles with such and such shapes my perspective, narrows it, perverts it.  Yet, when I get out the door, open my heart up to people, I realize I am not some sort of sub species, but very much human.  I'm trying to be more open in hopes to fish for more "I totally get you!" or "I'm so glad I'm not the only one"   And then there is Christ, fully human fully God, who mysteriously and undoubtedly understands and gets the nitty gritty details of being at home with 3 tots and much of the under lying issue connects to someone, anyone out there.  And it feels so good to find that person when I do who ever they may be. 
He can be a real slice of ham, this kid.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

Little beetles on their backs.  With wiggly limbs and smiles that quicken across their perfectly plump cheeks.  I don't know who they will be exactly, so I'll just safely put them in the category of 'AWESOME'  Yet, as people who love babies, we throw our love blindly into the future.  Hopefully, as it hurls headlong into the unknown, the path it carves will be the one we always follow.  In the future, as a mom and aunt, I will find my love face to face with these grown up cherubs.  I trust God to get us all there.

These two.  Basically twins.  Born three weeks shy of each other.  They are lounging on, what I believe to be a blanket intended for my older brother, my mom's first born who only experienced the woes of this world for a couple of days, then left to go help God find me the best sycamores to climb when I meet up with him.  I'm only assuming, but I think I have a pretty good hunch this was one of his heavenly priorities. 

This makes my heart settle in nice and cozy seeing them, all of the stinkers really, make use of their uncle's blanket.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

It is such a trivial thing.  I am foolish to obsess over it.  Fear of the future dims the lights and I can barely see my feet when I walk through this life.   If I can just find the answer to my question, I'd find the light switch and I'd quit chasing shadows.

Chalk it up to post partum, but I can't seem to shake the question "Should we have another biological child?"
"Who cares?!!"  I scream at my thoughts.  More softly, "Rest your mind, rest your heart on the amazing lifeforms that run around making a mess of my unfounded pride".

The other afternoon, Ender joined me on the bench swing in the backyard.

"Are we going to have another baby after Sam grows up?" he asks.

"Uh, I'm not sure.  Should we?"  (I'm losin it, asking family planning advice from a four year old)

"No, three is the rule"  He pipes.

"Oh really?  Who told you that?"

"Nobody.  Its just the rule."

"Well what if we had a fourth.  Then what?"

"I'd be happy"

"What about Three is the Rule?"

"Then Four would be the Rule"  he quips.  "THEN TWENTY ONE HUNDRED!"  (Thats his favorite number to yell)

Thank you my sweet boy, my little teacher with twiggy limbs and stinky breath. 

You're right.  Whatever we have, we have.  That is the "rule". 

Thursday, September 03, 2015

It used to be that Oak Creek canyon would begin to feel suffocating after a few days spent crawling around like an ant at the bottom.  Restlessness would begin to set in my bones and I'd want to escape to the wide open.

 Now, I know it's embrace was only meant to hold me until I stopped squirming from the fruitless busyness of my mind.  It holds me like Zander holds the children when they are having a complete utter melt downs.  Once I'm swaddled in emerald trees and the glowing rose of the canyon walls, I stop fighting.  I think I just might be learning how to be a child again: puttering around in an orchard, stopping for what seems like eons to let a snail pass, watching movie after movie not caring about the latest child development research, napping, snacking, playing, making unbeautiful messes..

And lets not kid ourselves, this is the reality of living with Calamity Cora these days.  

Of this picture Zander says. "you're welcome"



Sam would sleep so his siblings could terrorize the pristine creek.

He loved his lazy boy the most though. 
Our days could have stretched into months, but we ran out of food. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fathers Day - many many moons ago

This breaks my heart, but also gives wings to each broken piece.  I don't know how else to describe longing and joy.

Arica helped make this video for Zander a few years ago for Fathers Day.  I think the sound should work.  Hey Zander, let me know, okay?

Friday, August 07, 2015

Afternoon Storms

Those are some well defined ribs.  He "has a hole in his leg" as the expression goes.  This kid eats basically everything and anything.  He would guzzle a gallon of milk in a few days if we let him.   

 Ender changes outfits atleast twice a day.  Summer or winter he'd rather be in his "tarzans" (underwear) Cora, summer or winter would rather be buck naked.  In the winter, however she orders me to roll out the space heater in the kitchen so she can eat breakfast comfortably.  Anyway....

The lightning and thunder splintered and cracked the iron clouds.  Rain gushed out and my tough girl that likes to push her big brother around whimpered and begged to go back inside.  The thunder was intense, its great sound smashing straight over head, but I couldn't go inside.  Its not me.  I tried to comfort her with a little education and teach her to count the seconds between the flash of light and the peal of thunder.  I think it took hold.  Later that evening, she and Gunther accompanied me on a puddle jumping walk while the sky still gurgled and fizzed with electric clouds.  I am beginning to pay more heed to her.  She has always been so simple to interact with, yet lately, she is demanding a more complex response from me and zander.  Some things she just can't get over as easily like before. She needs a human connection to encourage, persuade or distract her.  It only takes a moment of this "extra effort" and she's back on track, but if you choose to dismiss her feelings.... cover your ears and duck because she's coming for you.  Its a normal and healthy thing being 2 1/2, its just that the majority of my mental energy was required by our strong willed Ender.  "Oh would you look at that, Cora needs a mom and a dad too.  Make room Ender Johnny" 

Sunday, August 02, 2015

It just comes with the Territory

A week before Sam was due, Ender contracted pink eye.  Lovely.  He was more than happy to share it with his sister.  If only they could share their toys and space so easily, we would have accomplished Miss America's dream of world peace within these walls.
Thankfully, it was plenty of time to medicate those angry eyeballs, so..... we could move on to the day of Sam's birth where Ender woke up with round two of pink eye, zander with flu like symptoms and me in early labor and a sore throat.  Stupendous.
Grandparents are the greatest.  I was worried no one would take our infested children so I could do the whole labor and delivery thing.  But, grandparents have guts and unconditional love.
With Ender and Cora gone,  I could focus on the contractions. By 11 that night we decided to head to the hospital for the heck of it, oh, and so zander could sleep.  He reasoned he already wanted to be there instead of me waking him up in the middle of the night because as it was he was not feeling well. 
We go through the annoying but I guess necessary steps it takes to get checked in through triage and eventually admitted to the hospital.  I get an epidural that works this time, have mercy!  so thats the heaven everyone is talking about!  The nurse seriously tucks Zander in for the night and he promptly passes out, leaving me to wonder.... was that my water that just broke? He misses a few scary moments of Sam seemingly disappearing, of needing oxygen, of being rotated this way and that, but I didn't mind a bit, not with an amazing nurse.  Nurses can be all you every need in life.
Around 6 am, I'm watching the planes land at Sky Harbor and its pretty much go time.  The doctor's and nurses scurry in and all that commotion wakes sleepy head in the corner.  Twenty mellow dramatic minutes later, we welcome Sammy boy into the blazing summer of this world.
Zander gets pink eye that night in the hospital.  I'm sick with swollen lymph nodes and my crotch hurts of course.  He takes medicine and is no good to me at that point.  Of course, Sam raises hell for me that night.  I've never been so tired before where I was hallucinating voices and getting a nice foot massage by a 1800s railroad worker.
You just got to keep going though.  We did and at the end of it all, and two weeks post partum, we rush Ender to the E.R. for a sudden attack of the croup.  But of course once again, I have to handle the situation because Zander has taken a sleeping aid.  Thankfully, those trusty grandparents I mentioned before come to the rescue. Zander's dad and Aunt Arica pick Zander up from home so he can switch with me at the hospital and I can be back at home with a hungry newborn.

I think things are settling down.  However, Zander's tendency for OCD -ism and neuroticism has been agitated and he's been fixating over the air flow and dust content in our house.
Because of that I have to open our vintage milk delivery door every time I run the dryer or bathroom vent, but I always forget.
In the middle of his air flow puzzle and the day after Ender's expensive ER visit,  he asks me to run the dryer.  I hit the ON button.  Ker-klump thump, clunk and maybe a snap crackle and pop was thrown in there too, but I'm not confident.   Then a dead dryer.  Aye caramba!  I'm thankful I married a problem solver.  I Just would have cursed the no good machine and bought a new one.  Zander gets to business.  I'm washing dishes as he's tinkering at the old clunker.   In helping him to diagnose the problem, I chime in "It sounded like a spoon getting caught in a garbage disposal"
"Um, well...come look and see then."
I go over to he machine and I see on the floor one of Cora's purple spoons on the floor.
"Huh, thats funny, "I think, "it doesn't seem chewed up.  In fact, its perfect"
"No, not there " he says "Look here"

As my realization comes into focus, my whole body tremors with disgust at the sight of a chewed up rat clogging the vent hole.  I proceed to surprise myself with a 5 minute long heebie jeebie dance paying tribute to all things putrid.   Dang!  Just when I was able to start eating spaghetti again.  Its taken me half a year to get over the first 45 minuets of the movie Seven.

And for as strong willed Ender is, he is equally tender hearted toward his little brother.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sammy Dow, how precious you are.  You are the first one of my babies that haven't brought me anxiety.  I feel more akin to a grandma with an aching heart, longing for the days to hold my newborn again.  Each day drifts into another and you grow away from your newborn self.  Sorry to be so mellow dramatic kid.  I know there will be a place for this again in Heaven. 

Yesterday afternoon, I slipped out the backdoor to sway on the porch swing.  The sun was hugging me tight, but not such a squeeze that I wanted to wiggle away.  Cora eventually found me.  Her daddy must have wedged a balloon between her shirt and already round toddler belly.  "Ah, does Cora have a baby in her tummy?" 
"Yeah, baby Kin" (Quinn, her cousin) She says as she gingerly rubs the balloon.  How tender.  Then she wants to swing with her baby.  So, she lays on the swing belly side down because baby makes a great cushion. 
When these two are left bored and alone, someone is going to lose a chunk of hair or a piece of skin.  That somebody is usually Ender, poor guy.  But when they are left with a spark of an idea, they play like storybook friends.  The air softens around them and their laughter almost makes me faint with nostalgia.  I swoon extra when they end up playing with things you didn't buy to encourage developmental growth.  Such as this fine specimen of child's pool discarded by the previous owners because their dogs weren't using it anymore. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Someone to celebrate

Oh Sammy, my love, my little darling, you're here!  I bottled you up in my body along with so much fear and anxiety for far too long. 
You smell amazing!
You feel amazing!

Leave it to your siblings to play ping pong with pink eye and finally hit daddy straight in the face the day you were born.  I am also sick with some sorta nasal drip, such as it is, welcome to the chaos.

The sky rushed our way when it caught wind of your birth.  It rains, it blows, it cools my after birth sweats :)

Ender entered this world under such serious matters.  IUGR, a c-section, freaked out parents.
Cora sashayed into  a party- so many females laughing and cheerleading for her in the delivery room.  Fitting for the extrovert.
Sam came with quiet reserve to live and just be here.  Fears told us you shouldn't be here, you shouldn't be healthy, but you came with confidence paying no heed.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Gentle July

July has come gently this year.  A week of very warm embraces and cool kisses.
Junipine didn't get to have us this Fourth.  I'm sure the sycamores drooped and the creek slowed.  We spent the holiday at Grandma's and Grandpa's and it made us all very happy and peaceful. 

Clearly Zander shopped H&
M by himself.

Grandma's patriotic red velvet flag.

Zander's antics he smuggled onto the plain from the midwest when he was twelve as claimed by him.
Cora, plugged her ears and scowled.
Ender shimmied a tree.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Dog Days of Summer

So our Samuel Dow.  Many a men have come before you with that name, and many will come after.  But you will never be one of them.  You fill out your own flesh.    
These three eagerly await your arrival.  I thought I might have to warn you about them, but if you are smidgen like them in diabolical madness and heavenly joy, it is me and the world who must brace ourselves.

The anticipation of you is on the eastern horizon.  Charcoal clouds smudged across the sky have me wondering when they and you will come and bless the hot days.

Another unexpected pet of your's is Claudette.  I'm not sure if she will make it to your birthday though.  She has laid two eggs and thus caused your daddy to close the system in case her babies escape.  The other night he caught another black widow, tantalizing her from her shadowed hiding place with a sacrificial cricket.  Eight, black sewing machine needles work in precise motion to stitch their pray into their webbed coffins.  Unfortunately, when daddy went to deliver Claudettes new room mate/assassin, that is when he noticed an egg was hatched.  With his typical shriek he closed her lid, shivered, and regrouped.  I went inside as he contemplated the fate of the ladies.
I had time to read, use the loo, scan through Taylor Swift's instagram, and take a snooze.  I woke up to find him still outside with the jar in his hand, looking a little dejected "I can't think of a way to dispose of her".
He smashed the unbonded spider, but what of Claudette?

Last night, Grandma and her gang (Ender the apprentice, Cora, the tag a long and Zander her back up, I suppose)  collected a slew of fresh scorpions.  Zander froze about a fourth cup experimenting with humane death penalty practices.  After the thaw it was just a soggy mess of dead bugs.
So I think Claudette will be frozen.  Bless her.  I suggested baking, Zander's dad suggested fireworks, but the freezer it is!

I write this as though this is how my mind works.  This is all your dad's influence.  Once I'm in the presence of my mama (your Nana) we decide that a nice trip out to the desert for a freedom
release party would be best.

Oh Sam, come soon and make our lives even more eccentric and happy.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Where to begin.

Have you every asked a spider if it hurts to molt?
Freshly molted spiders are very soft and vulnerable until their new exoskeletons harden.

My sister recently gave birth to a baby girl.

Quinn Isabella.

Quinn has down syndrome.

Can I say the words shock, denial, devastation,  grief?  That was me when mama's words slammed into my chest.   Then followed by self hate and guilt for experiencing those feelings.  Zander, mom, told me that it was normal to mourn.   But no I screamed inside my head.  Mourning shouldn't be normal, its not fair.  How could I feel anything but joy over this amazing little creation?  But I did and am still doing to be honest.

Part of me wants to wrap my arms around Morgan and Quinn and shelter them from the world.  Saying "Dont you dare look at them and feel what I'm feeling.  We're wrong.  Don't gawk and feel sorry for them, like I did."  But beauty such as Quinn's cannot be hidden, especially under a cloak of fear.  Its irrational to try and snuff out the sun with your thumb. Quinn dares us all to look, stare, and wonder at her exquisite form.  She's magic.  Don't catch her gaze if you're not willing to be transformed and leave your old self behind for something better. 

Because its painful to shed this old layer of skin.  Underneath is raw. I am soft and vulnerable until this new layer of truth can harden like armor protecting me against my enemies.  And it will.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dreamy Draw- March

I wasn't too familiar with the Dreamy Draw area.  It appeared to me to be the foothills that Ender's dragon slayer ancestor had his many hideaways and  look out spots.  I was feeling extra bloated with baby that morning and Cora was more of a parasite than the typical independent explorer.

We stay in this spot for about 10 minutes as she works on a poop.  She wasn't happy about it.

So beautiful, so prickly.  A perfect pair.
The other morning I am trying to get us out the door for swimming and Cora is insisting I read to her.

"I can't right now, why don't you read to yourself"

Whoa nelly, with that suggestion, she lets out a wail and pathetically cries over and over

"I can't read, I'm a baby!"