Sunday, June 05, 2016

Disney or Bust

Its 8pm in Phoenix.  We just picked up the kid's from their cousins house.  Every square inch of the inside of Cora's belly is packed with pizza.  Our parent's hope is that baby Sam will fall asleep.  He's already fussing.  Every alarm bell is going off in my brain.  Can he do it?  Will his little chin settle sweetly on his chest?  Will his eyes bed down behind cozy lids?  Its a straight shot to Palm Springs.  We're not stopping for anything.
"I have to poop really bad!  Right now" 
It's Cora.
Zander and I give a "What do we do?" look towards each other. 
"Are you sure?"
"Can you hold it for four hours?"
"Just wait to see if it goes away."
I gotta go now!!!
Zander, "poop your diaper"
No! I'm not a baby!

Well, seeing how it was bedtime on the road the car soon hushed.  The baby fell asleep.
The I-10 stretched out before us, hopelessly straight, terribly dull pavement, a badly healed scar.
The western horizon was like fresh laid pitch.  Meteorite debris flicked across the sky like a discarded cigarette butt.  My hands clenched the wheel stopping the clock at ten and two. 
Outside the car, though, time and wheels continued to speed on till we crested the hill of Coachella Valley.  A glittering valley of orange electricity.

We stopped at our hotel.  The kids stirred awake.  I went to unclick our princess from her car seat.  A ghastly smell smacked me in the face.
"Gah!  What is that smell?!"
Cora sleepily said, "Me.  I pooped"
"You told me to!  You said "Poop your diaper"  She pouts innocently. 

The windows were slightly cracked during the drive to give Sam some white noise, simultaneously shielding us from four hours of marinating fecal matter.  Thus, we were unaware that she did what she had to do.  She's apart of the team.  We love her for it.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I try to think.  Walk the trails I've been wearing down since childhood.  But it feels like someone came by and smoothed my brain across like warm butter.

Exhibit C


This might be the guy with the butter knife.
I am dumb in love.
Its hard to reason beyond the tip of his nose.  Or dream about anything other than that chin.
But, perhaps he has only whisked me away to another landscape of my mind that is unbroken, slick.  The butter knife is now carving knife, etching new pathways with in me.  We are pioneers breaking new ground.

I have abandoned temporarily the parts that have been conquered.  I can't stay.  There is more to be discovered.  Of course I'll be back.  I need to vote in this upcoming election, but ask me about politics now?  Forget it.  You'll get a blank stare because I won't be there.

Disclaimer:  Can a person parent and have careers, opinions, and complete sentences come out of their mouth at the same time? Can they do something productive with their lives other than their children? Of course! By all means, break free, it behooves everyone involved.  All I am saying is that this little guy is really convincing ya know?  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March 4 was a decade!

"If its half as good as the half we've known,  here's Hail! to the rest of the road"

All I really can say is that God is so faithful and tender.  Truly.  Looking back I see two odd kids riddled with flaws.  Especially me.

But before there was messy, there was childhood.  An outspoken girl introducing herself to a kid who was sentenced with many years in the awkward phase of puberty.  A hello was said, a friendship was sealed and then she forgot that he ever existed for the next two years.

Alas, our fate was sealed and it ended up Us Two and now Us Five (including Gunther no questions asked).

Friday, February 26, 2016

Johnny Rocket

An invasion.  Out of no where.  Russia, the blessed United States, the conspiracy theorists, no one, saw them coming.  Except one.
The world is under attack, it could be the end.
But there is a boy.
Just the other morning he was breaking the news to his mama that he "had to wait till  he was 30 until he could build a rocket ship to take her to the moon"
Today he squeezes his eyes shut and blows out all the candles he has to work with, a handful, just 5.
But he musters up to the courage for the fight.
An invasion like this, though?  "It could be a slice of cake", he thinks. For no one would have ever suspected that he has survived the hatching of Corzilla.
He's ready for anything now.
Peeing in public restrooms.
For whatever this world or other worlds will throw at him.
They call him Johnny ROcKeT.
Thirty will have to wait.  He's gotta rocket ship to build.
It will be the first lego engineered shuttle expected to withstand launch and an alien attack of unknown extra terrestrial technology.
His mom was suspicious of something brilliant  going down behind those "nap time" doors when Johnny came out more exhausted then when he went in and took down a gallon of milk by himself.
Save your lego kids.  You never known when the Commander in Chief will upon you. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I think this is how it went......

God looked and saw a very pathetic girl.  Her eyes tended to roll backward and inward instead of out and up like the other little girls at school.  Her legs were sturdy and fast, but ran to no where.  At the tip of her nose was always a book titled Escape. 

"Hmm." thought He.

He called out into the great light of stars and planets and soon three sages appeared at His feet.

"I have a very humble mission for you.  You will go and teach one of my wayward daughters about Me and how much I love her.  You will find her on the outskirts, easily recognizable as the stubborn ass.  You might even find her donning a tail and little hairy ears.  Draw her back in again.  There is no fame and glory in this quest for you or her.  Nevertheless, go and bring her back to me."

With a great sigh the three sages departed.  One, Two, Three they came.

I'm not entirely confident they are taking their job seriously anymore.....

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Breaking the Silence on her Birthday

The Wild Child turns three today.
She is a force you must reckon with if ever you see her.  She is the edge of the storm before it swallows up the sun.  That is where she exists, just on that beautiful and brilliant tension of light and utter down pour.  I have always been under the spell of a storm anyway, so for me, she is the thrill of a lifetime.

"I will do all things by myself, I know how to do, mama!"  She barked at me one evening while I tried to help her into the bath.  She insists on doing everything by herself, everything.  I have learned to back down from her battle cry and watch her fight with the buttons on her jacket, a snack wrapper, or her hair brush.  So if you see a little girl walking down the street with half of her curly hair matted to one side, shoes on the wrong feet, pants backward, leftover breakfast smeared across her cheek and her head held high, you can tell yourself   "Hm, now there goes one independent little gal."

She is tough as nails.  She is tender, so very tender.  I wont admit that she uses her baby bother as a trampoline.  And I will never tell you she bites or that she's a human paper shredder.  But I will say, that her heart is disproportionately larger than her tiny body.  Her hugs are strong and warm.  She is quick with  a sad and pathetic "I'm sorry, I forgive, you can buy another one mama" when she breaks something of mine.  She's the only one besides Zander who doesn't mind Gunther's wet kisses in her eye and mouth, blech!  Gunther is pretty aggressive even with his love, so we are always ready to call him off  "Leave her, Gunther!"
 "its okay, he's only giving me kisses, good boy gunther" she quips. But, she has to be holding onto something or otherwise those kisses will knock her flat on her back.

I love her.  I love her. I love her.

Happy Birthday sister golden hair.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Dusky Desert

The desert is like a rose blushing again after its been withered from the heat. Its beauty never gives up. 
We spent some time at the archery range on Thanksgiving.  Gunther and the human pups from his pack ran wild.  Zander threw the ball for Gunther and his powerful body shot straight like an arrow; he impresses me. At one point Zander threw the ball off of small hill that dropped suddenly at the bottom. 
 I didn't see, but all I heard was the weight of a canon ball hurtling from a great height, hit the dirt with a mighty thud then run off with winged feet. 

 The story of their lives.....

Gunther clothes lined them.  Ender is actually taking it really well here, believe it or not.  In seconds he'll pop his head up with a smile. Cora is spittin' mad, however. 

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Life's Rhythm

When I was younger, I took piano lessons in a mint green house from my best friend's mom.  I don't know where she kept her reservoir of patience hidden, but she seemed to never run out.  My lack of musical talent must have had her dipping into her surplus tank as I tripped across those measures, each note more like a crack in a sidewalk then a ripe fruit waiting to be plucked by nimble fingers.  My hands became even more confused when she brought out the metronome.  tick. tick. tick.  The little woodpecker picking a hole in my brain, I could barely think.
I can't even clap along to a song.  If I'm lucky enough to be standing by someone who knows what they're doing, I'll tune out the song and focus all my energy on watching their hands, guiding me into the world of rhythm.  After a few rounds I get a little cocky and think "I got this.  Easy"  So I'll add a little shoulder or foot tap.  Big mistake.  Its a race to find my guide again before anyone notices the girl who can't clap.
And Zander on the drums?   Thats pure quantum physics.

I was thinking about this as I was pushing Cora on the swing.  Back and forth under the porch in our back yard.  Forth she would fly out under the sun, yellow curls an impossible mess, glowing, then back to me under the shade for another push on her back.  Over and over again and nearly every day.  

I finally found a rhythm I'm good at.  My own.  Day in and day out with 3 unruly and fascinating children and 1 man equal to their spunk and magic we rise, eat, play, work, and sleep

Even then, though, I'll find myself with stumbling fingers, completely making a mess of the measures.
"Zander, I feel so overwhelmed, panicky.  What am I going to do?"  I'm known to ask this in the mornings before he leaves for work.

He pulls out the metronome.  It begins its rhythmic ticking. 
"Just love the kids today Leslie."  I don't think I've ever told him how purely pragmatic that response is to me.  It changes everything.  It keeps me from feeling frustrated that I'm not a musical prodigy.  It frees me from playing some other composers piece to playing the one me and the kids create. Listening to the One who loves me changes the way I do the dishes, wipe stinky butts, discipline the cats and dogs, plan for dinner, and the way I see myself as a mother, as a human being, as just plain jane me.  When I love, I find myself with the strength not to sit idle in my fears or not to panic because I'm not living up to some great expectation.  I'm just living this life of mine in freedom.

 The kids standing on top of the dirt pile.  Ender came out one afternoon to find this particular dirt pile and his eyes lit up and his jaw dropped.  "Mama!  There's a dirt pile!  Is it for me? Did you make it for me!?"  (uhh sure kid)  "YES Ender, Just for you!"  Zander likes it because Gunther will poop on it and then it rolls down the little hill getting coated in a light powder of dirt which helps with flies and cleaning up too, I guess.  I'm trying to eradicate this though.

They are always begging us to take them in the alley when we take out the trash.  Its always a no because they never are wearing shoes and by the time they get their shoes on, the task is completed.  They recently got new easy slip on rain boots so they were elated to bust out of the shelter of their backyard to see what lies beyond its borders. 
Now that I think about it, I used to love riding my bike up and down the alleys.  One of the best producing pomegranate bushes there ever was grew up and over an alley wall.  That was "Arcadia" though, this is straight up Coronado. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cora pranced around with her floppy hat and poofy hair winning a humble award for the "cutest" costume.  Though when Zander styled her, he was definitely going for more of the creep factor.  When her curls have been brushed out, all that is left is a scary white guy with a fuzzy mullet.  It makes me shudder and laugh at the same time.  I tried to showcase it in the setting sun.
Ender could care less about entering in any costume contest.  He contently wolfed down his hot dog so he could attack the games and candy at our church's trunk or treat.  He much prefers Cora in the spotlight.  The nights leading up to Halloween Ender was getting nightmares and not wanting to go to bed.  After praying over him, I told him to try and think of happy thoughts.
"I just can't.  I won't.  Its going be Halloween soon so I can only think of spooky things.  After Halloween is over I won't be scared anymore"
And he's not.  Onward to Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Precious Poppy

We were having such a hard time keeping Cora from stealing Sam's pacifiers which she refers to as "poppies".  When the house went quiet, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt she had located the forbidden fruit and was defiling it in her germ filled mouth some where in secret.  She burrows under blankets, pillows, or just behind her crazy fray of hair to hide. One time I found her perfectly coiled in my little suitcase, lid closed.  The blanket hide out is the best though.  She throws it over her head and leaves the rest of her naked self out to air dry. Its quite startling.

Cora can be such a bear.  Naturally, she loves stories about them.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Cora.

"No, I'm a big girl!" Oh, yes yes, of course.

Once upon a time there was a big girl named Cora.  She was a very fortunate girl.  She had so many poppies; one in every color of the rainbow.  Except she did not have blue.  Her baby brother had one poppy in the whole wide world to call his own and it just happened to be blue.  Cora wanted that poppy and she stopped at nothing to get it.
One day she sneaked into his sun filled room while he was napping and soothing himself away on that gloriously blue poppy.  She tip toed over to his bed and quick popped it out of this mouth.  His precious bottom lip puckered and quivered and then the loudest and saddest wail bellowed from his baby lungs.  A moment later, down the hall way, came a low growl and a fierce snarl.  Cora froze.  The terrible noise came closer and closer, until Cora saw a great big paw creep across the threshold to Sam's room.

**(I know this can sound traumatizing, but I'm paying close attention to my human test subjects and noting if there is any impending psychological damage..  Of course, I won't get my longitudinal results until they are all grown up and any unforeseen consequences have already and irrevocably occurred.    :) 

The beast was a dreadful bear who introduced himself as "the guardian of baby brothers and their poppies"

At this point Cora and I get into an argument about what happens next.  I say that the bear gives her a stern warning not to take Sam's pacifiers anymore, or else.....!  She is adamant that "character Cora" takes out her sword and kills the bear.  Swipe, swipe! "I kill you bear!"

Suffice it to say, I think the story has worked.  She no longer steals his poppies for sucking. She still looks at them hungrily though.  If the temptation is too great, she will grab for it and say "here you go!" or "let me wash it for you", just so she can have a moment with it alone in her hands.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Are you really FIVE years old?

The night you were induced, we were blaring Weezer through out the house.  Daddy was cleaning it like crazy and I was showering and curling my hair.  Ha!  I don't know why I wasted time on my hair.  The sweat of labor foiled my beautification attempt.
Well, turns out kiddo, induction wasn't working with you.  Figures.  It wasn't exactly your timing.  Twenty odd some hours later, I wasn't dilated and you were still the farthest point away from the exit.  It took a scalpel to get you here.  If it were not for your IUGR "diagnosis" I totally would have waited for your go ahead.  Nothing much has changed.
If you don't want to do something your heels are dug and they are not budging.  However, if your mind is made up, there is no stopping you and you're totally "cool with it".

I imagine your mind to be bolted shut with a complicated combination lock.  Experiences, stories told, music heard, tv shows watched, people interacted with, adventures that were had, all have an assigned number which remains unknown.  Rotating the sequence in the correct order:  turn left, then right, past 0 three times..... but who knows.... then suddenly Click! a part of your mind is thrown wide open and you swim, climb higher in the tree, pump your legs on the swing, read words and so on. Life is furiously working at trying to unlock the mysterious of you.  Some compartments are easier to get into than others.  I have witnessed some of the most rarest treasure spill out when a lock has been broken.  I never know when it will happen, but I'm so glad I get to be around when it does.
Ender, love, you've opened my eyes to the supernatural, to the humble, to God.  Thank you darling.  And here is to another year of discovery and loving you!

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".