Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I saw Gunther affirm is devotion to the little cretin, Cora.  Ender accidentally pushed Cora down while swinging.  Knocked off balance and irritated she cried.  I asked Ender to apologize and help her up. He went to attempt a rescue, but Gunther bounded in between Cora, gently pushing Ender away from her with his nose.  He kept it up until Ender backed away and Cora found her own footing once again.
We have always laughed at the idea that Gunther is partial to her, but I never really saw it until then.
Thats Cora, you know.  She is a natural at life and relationships.
I was too forced with Ender.  I tried too hard to create his world, but his world was already there for his taking. Cora has shown me that I'm simply her bubble encasing her  as we  float whichever way the Wind blows.
Her life is worry free.  Her personality charms the sox off me.  She exists to be loved.  In a sense she is someone I want to be.  I want to exist to be loved and let the rest of life fall in line behind.  Her laughter transports me to another place where Time is not bitter, but a sweet,endless sea.  And she just came into being without me reading any  baby education textbooks, websites, or well meaning advice.  I hardly even prayed over her when she was incubating inside of me.  I ignored the wild imagination of God.  I knew He was up to something, but I didn't have time to give a second thought towards it. 
Ender as the firstborn got the short end of the parenting stick.  He had to absorb all my undue worry.  All is not lost though :)  His sister has come with a message from God and I'm all ears.  Ender has already tasted the good freedom of his parents choosing Love first.  Its our mantra, our battle cry.  Right now Cora is safe in her innocence.  The easiness of Love will unfortunately wear off and she will have to join us in the fight.  But I have confidence in our Creator to carry her through it. 
in the bunker, one of her favorite places to observe ender's antics.  gunther will often sit by her here.

he will endure her sharp claws and her futile attempts at being gentle when petting his head.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The spring came suddenly, 
bursting upon the world as a child bursts into a room, 
with a laugh and a shout and hands full of flowers.

I'm usually given a handful of mud or soggy crackers from Cora.  She is such a little thumbtack.
Last year, our barren yard had only a few wild flowers, which are miniature snap dragons. Truly, a flower that grows rightly well at the home of our very own Ender the dragon Slayer/Tamer.  Zander convinced me to let the scraggly things go to seed.  So I bore the silly humiliation of having our gravel yard dotted with dead weedy things.  He handpicked all the unwanted weeds and helped along the wildflowers to spread their love. I wasn't a believer in reseeding.  It just seemed too magical and not bought beautifully grown already from Bakers Nursery. 
Zander and nature proved me wrong.  Our yard was full of wildflowers. Yeah yeah yeah, from a distance it still looked like an unkempt lawn, but given a closer look, rainbows would suddenly splash through crushed granite and brick.
Flowers that just spring up seem like the friendliest kind. 

Monday, April 07, 2014

I remember when I was a kid, I wanted to be a kid forever.  I especially thought that on stormy days when the whipped through my hair and I feigned illness to stay home from school.  I especially thought that when I babysat children younger than me.  I was also disillusioned about being a mom.  As I scoffed at other moms for being utterly boring (God forgive my puff and pride) I determined I would live a fantastic and free life with my future babies. 
When Ender came along, suddenly every mom I saw had my utmost respect regardless of lifestyle.  They were demigods, and I nearly worshipped them, in awe, wondering, how they ever did it!  The simple tasks in my life (getting out of bed, nursing ender, changing his diaper right after his circumcision) were miracles.   Every second of survival was triumph.  I loved being there.  The world was an inspiring place. 
Over time as Ender became more independent, I too became more independent of God.  Seriously, the media has taken over in defining me and placing value on me and my mothering.  I reek of false perceptions of the world.  Turn my heart inside out and its grotesque.
All this to say, I think I need to make some practical, seemingly small choices in my life.  For instance, adios Facebook.

Simple. Petty.  But so profound for me.  I'd like to be a kid again.  I know I'm not being clear in making the connection between childhood and social media, but I'm afraid I would get too wordy if I tried to type it out.  Besides, I'm not entirely sure myself. 

One Saturday morning, (I love Saturdays by the way.  Zander is home) we were listening loudly to music, as usual.  Zander turned on some Elvis song that he says will be his and Cora's song at her wedding.  Oh brother.  Anyway, he gets up to dance with Cora and Ender gets upset for whatever reason.
I explain,  "Ender, let daddy dance with his little girl.  One day she will grow up and get married and daddy just wants to practice dancing to their wedding song.  Like you, bud, you will grow up one day and leave us...."  What a sad thing to say to a precious three year old.

He immediately freaked out and ran to our room, slammed the door and threw himself on the bed, crying.  Realizing he's having an existential crisis, I try to clean up my mess. I tell him that its ridiculous to think any of us will ever grow up!  Because the more we grow big and strong in Jesus's arms, the more childlike we become.  Daddy and Mommy are children too. (he didn't like that though, too scary), but I just continued to ramble on about being a kid forever and because we have Jesus in our hearts/tummies, we will never have to be apart.  At some point during my spiel, he started laughing and all was well.

Ender climbs above our couch to escape Corzilla,

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Happy hearts and happy faces,
Happy play in grassy places-
That was how, in ancient ages,
Children grew to kings and sages.

Friday, March 28, 2014

We all had the creeping crud.  It lurked for two weeks, so at the first sign of healing we skipped church, watched heart warming you tube videos of German Shepherds, cried, laughed, then went to hike Camelback Mountain.  "This is the perfect time of your sickness to get out and hike" sayeth Zander as we pull our vehicle in which will remain an undisclosed back way to the ever popular Echo Canyon trail.

 I carried one of the stinkweeds on my back and huffed and puffed my weak lungs up and over boulders, because Zander tells me, "I always seem to lose track of this trail"
Ender looking for his daddy who disappeared over the ridge. 
And Gunther.  Zander's newest best friend, who has awakened his boyhood and compliments his manhood.  Zander has written many letters to the puppy stork and sat dreaming of his new floppy eared bundle.  He has elevated this dog so much, that I'm half expecting Gunther to prophesy the future and see through to people's soul.  Zander pours a lot of thought and training into Gunther's hoped for outcome and relationship with our family.  And I can't wait till I can walk through my down town neighborhood with my intimidating beast by my side, ready to protect his pack.  With dedication and love I know Gunther will prove himself to truly be a creature that only a God could imagine and bring to reality.  I also want to teach him to dance and wear dapper top hats.  He can't take himself to seriously.

*I also must confess that I sprayed Cora twice with the hose.

Monday, March 17, 2014

 Ornery! Ornery! Ornery!  A sassy, opinionated gal, loves exploring, getting messy, climbing in small spaces.  She'll still slap the stupid off your face if you irritate her.  I'm patiently waiting for her verbal language to kick in so I can try and reason with her.  Ender, he's strong willed, but dialogues with you.  He's willing to play because he knows a lot of the cards in the deck.  I do believe Cora is a different bird altogether.  She is set in her ways.  However, she is such a happy, social creature too and loves to join in any one's jubilation.  I think she would rather be shown what to do than convinced (ender).  ??  Its all speculation, really.
The first bloom of the Oklahoma.  I had the hose and was watering another rose bush when I noticed out of the corner of my eye, Corzilla, creeping over to the eye catching red.  At perfect sticky finger level, she didn't hesitate, and began ripping off petal after petal.  Realizing, I was too far to save the flower entirely, I yelled and sprayed the hose at the little monster.  Oh man, such a bad idea, in more ways than one.  As a wave of guilt washed over me, a wave of anger passed over Cora and she screamed and started slapping the rose.  As the velvet petals hit the ground one by one, she didn't release me from her "don't you even dare" stare. 

There are two things Ender will drop everything for:  Reading a book and jumping in front of the camera, especially when the camera is aimed at Cora.

Ender's shirt is off and we're in the backyard, he pipes up,
"when my things grow then I will give milk"
I respond, "no, you won't give milk, only mommy's can.  daddy doesn't give milk does he?"
Answering correctly, "no...... but I think his things will grow and then he will."
To his daddy "Your breath smells like trash"
To his mama" Your breath smells fresh, like air"
"dear Jesus, thank you for taking Cora out of mommy's tummy"
Some Ender trivia:
What 1 song has Ender sung EVERY SINGLE night for the past year and a half?
Answer:  Away in a Manger
My fault.  Christmas of 2012 I wanted him to be prepared for his Christmas program at church.  I was over enthusiastic about him learning Away in a Manger.  It only took a few nights of dramatic hand motions accompanying the lyrics and he was addicted. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ender weilds the camera instead of a sword........

Oh! I love zander's smile here. and cora's quiet expression.

Now, this is with mama's expensive camera.  When Ender gets a hold of his Nana's iphone camera, behold......
there are at least 25 more copies of this exact same face, plus the ceiling fan, knees, blurred images of what could be sold to the tabloids as an extraterrestrial or big foot, and nothing after nothing.

Monday, March 10, 2014

All around, Ender is hedged in with an amazing family.  Aunt Katie and Uncle Pj took the boys one Friday.  The end goal was for the kids to slumber party over night, but...I knew it wouldn't fly with Ender.  Thankfully, we're neighbors with these two goons, so I just planned on staying up watching romantic comedies until they brought Ender home.  I bet he would make it to midnight, well, he out did it by a whopping 15 minuets!  That's my boy!  I was pleased to tuck him in his fort bed at 12:15am with his pirate booty he commandeered from whatever adventure they took them on.
Its fun sending Ender out into the teeming world.  He is like a net scooping up all sorts of the bizarre and wonderful.  Throughout the next few days, while his mind is still fresh from his travels he unconsciously shows me all that he has collected.  Language, songs, and desserts are just some of his souvenirs from "abroad".  I'm mostly pleased, though, that he doesn't make the trek alone because its the bond of the travel mates that most blesses his life.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Arizona's Birthday

February 14th, a day to celebrate your love for good o'l Arizona.  You know, I used to wear black on this day to show everybody who was boss, that Valentines was a sappy, fake, made up blah blah blah.  The point being, I needed to get over myself :)  I think I did for the most part, but I still don't get into it.  Zander could care less and so could Ender.  Cora might like it; I know I did when I was a little thing because my mom was my sweetest valentine. 

I forced my family to Hunts Tomb, though, for a picnic commemorating 102 years of statehood and just to remind us that we love this land.  Zander was sick, Ender was getting on my nerves, and Cora was starving by the time we rolled into the park.

None of that matter,though, and besides, the children whipped into shape and Zander, eh, he didn't complain.  The air was electric, my head was buzzing with the view and perfume of all the plants. 
And as the fiery chandelier diminished, the moon appeared in the east, perfectly round and proud to traverse the sky. 

There was another family up there and Ender, no questions asked or insecurities known, started to play with two of the kids.  The two young strangers ran around the pyramid to try and escape the clumsy boy.  Ender was confused, but having a blast.  I think he proved himself, because the kids finally initiated conversation and they began to play more mutually and soon were teaching Ender how to play hide and seek.  He was still confused but having even more fun.  What a guy. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

dragon lair exploring

Sometimes you tell this kid stories to get him to eat his breakfast.
Such was the situation one morning a couple of weeks ago.

In a nutshell....

There was once a terrible and cruel dragon named Pico Paco who stole a precious baby girl from her crib just before dawn.  The heartbroken and panicked parents were led by un hombre misterioso to a large tree in the desert.  There they enlisted the help of Ender the Dragon Slayer.  He and his steed (a very large german shepard) rode under the blazing sun to the foothills of Pico Paco's mountain.

blah blah blah

he met his buddy Niko, they snuck into the cave, the dragon laughed, mocked, and tried to torch the boys.  They ran and tumbled down down down into a dark cavern.  When Ender lit a match, Whoosh!  the rocky room was dazzling with wall to wall sheets of crystal.  The surface of the crystal was so pure and clear it mirrored perfectly the startled boys.  A whole army of Ender's and Nikos stood dumbfounded. Ender had an idea.  They taunted the dragon down into the secret room of "the Many".  When the dragon landed with a clumsy thud into the darkness, Ender yelled "Now!" And niko lit a match which revealed a host of brave 3 year olds with shiny daggers.  The dragon (and Ender at this point) was very confused which allowed fictional Ender to stab Pico Paco in the soft flesh of his belly. 

So forth and so forth.  They found the precious baby (cora) asleep in a golden cradle and returned her to her parents.

"Tell it again mama!" 


Instead we went to Papago Park to explore an old dragon lair.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

These two again

Even the sun glows palely in the face of their happiness.  There is never, I repeat, never a dull moment with either of them.  I don't even think Zander, certainly Cora, knows that boredom exists.  But I do, and I think Ender might too.  His brain grows restless as it flexes and pumps eager to muscle through the next mind boggle.  Its getting increasingly difficult to challenge him. Anyway....
Zander and Cora. Ambassadors from another planet where joy literally comes from the food you eat and the air you breathe.  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Reflection on who Cora is has been lacking.  I've only had enough time to experience her, barely contemplate her.  When Ender was a baby, I had two or three naps to myself to muse over his idiosyncrasies.  Last night, after the kids were in bed, I found myself thinking of Cora, the creature :) 

This is one way I see it.  One way that helps me to make sense of the little things I try to shepherd.

First of all both of them came from some other dimension.

Ender, when he entered this blue terrestrial ball, came with a purpose.  His plan is to eventually take over and rule the people, all the people.  Zander and I are doing the best we can to deactivate his tyrannical brain, but he's smart, he's determined, he's Ender.  The forces of good and evil are already battling it out inside is  three year old heart and mind  Its intense.  But we know we have a winner.

Now,Cora. When she entered our planet, she came in the likeness of a plump fairy godmother.  She wipes away the tears and grants wishes.  Her happiness is contagious and she blesses those who will pause to meet her gaze.  She will reward them with a bright smile, a laugh, a silly gesture, a conversation that sounds more like a nice rest by a babbling brook...or.....squawking peacock.  Be careful though, she has an odd twitch in her arm, and will slap you in the face if you're not careful.  Its just a minor malfunction that tech support is working on....  I'm sure some wiring in her celestial brain overheated when she entered our earth's atmosphere.

Sometimes Zander and I try to explain to each other how Cora made us feel that day.  But there are no words.
"she's like.."
"Its just that..."
"And then she did, you know that thing...."

a dreamy sigh from us both....

...."And oh my goodness she's
just so amazing!" 

Cora is stumping me.  How can someone so small, so apparently human, (she certainly has a good disguise at least) be so incredibly  happy? 

Oh, wait, other things that will trigger a glitch in her perfect being is being short on blueberries, daring to give her a vegetable and sleep deprivation.   Here she half laughs and half screams for blueberries.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bobbye Jean

 the morning mama called to tell me our Bobbye had passed away the babes were awake and the day was beginning its demands on me.  That has been one of my fears since having Ender: what can I do when I lose someone I love?  I cope by completely unraveling, then silence, then more weeping, then running to some place solitaire, a tree, a mountain, under my covers.   A mother cannot do that.  I inhale deeply and go and make breakfast. 

 Cora and I made the journey home.  I thought I would be given a chance to say goodbye, but I was sleep deprived this trip.  Cora, I love her, but she is what she is, a baby girl with needs.  She did not do great at night, though during the day she was a champ, regardless, I was exhausted.  Plus, it was mama's mama who died, I wanted to go to support her.  Its funny, my Phoenix community hardly batted an eye at her loss.  Its not that I needed everyone to know and so fawn over me, its just strange to have such a big part of my heart hidden a thousand miles away, another life.   I've said this before, it comes to mind again, "my heart is fractured across time and space"  Grandma had a piece of me,  and she still has it in a place that is not this earth. 

God help me, I'll miss this woman.  She meant something deep in my heart.  I came from her.  As a child I idealized her.  She was the Queen of Guthrie and her castle was a little yellow house on Washington.  The air there was thick with memories.  People complained it was the humidity, but surely it was the dew of the town's past, my past.  I loved it.  Somewhere in all that intrigue and mystery was my story.  I'd listen for someone, anyone to tell me the tale of my family.   I strained my ears to hear it in the wind that rushes through the cotton woods, down the brick streets, under the vi dock, past the porches of familiar faces.  Grandma was the portal to my past and a key to part of me. 
She was a firecracker. 
The summers were warm and damp with a chance of tornadoes. 
Cucumber salad
Saturday mornings in the kitchen watching the Price is Right.
Exploring the abandoned hospital (where mama was born) and the ice house by the train tracks with Tyler.
Bringing Sharon her paper.
Experiencing an epiphany as a child sitting behind my grandmother's curly brown hair on a rollercoaster  just as the train of rickety cars reached the brink before the plummet. At that moment she astonished and inspired me.
Buying vegetables from the man with one arm
Coloring while Grandma watched her soaps.
Outings to the cemeteries and gossiping about the dead (God bless them)
Jumping in her water bed and forcing her to cuddle with me while she watched football. 
She laughed a lot.  She teased, flirted, had her opinions. She was the matriarch and I felt so empowered and safe surrounded by her, mama and my aunts. 

Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children. ~Alex Haley

Saturday, December 28, 2013

a day in our urban desert. makeshift sling shot. baby snacking on rocks and dirt.  I forgot how blue can be such an empty color in the sky.  I tried to fill my eyes up with it before I had to take the next step on the trail or look at of these beautiful persons below.

"she'll play with baby dolls.  don't worry she will also play with swords."  - zander daddy

Ender was cradling Cora's baby doll this afternoon with the encouragement of zander.  He held it so tenderly walking down the hallway towards Cora's pack n play.  I smiled as I imagined the cute scene unraveling when ender reaches said destination and chucks the baby head first down into her crib.  He raises the doll over his head to reach the top edge, but "its too deep" he's says.  He can't nicely place the baby on the mattress.  Ahhh, sweet boy.  This, just an hour after pushing the real life baby down on the concrete outside....

Friday, December 20, 2013

 Ender has happened upon an unlikely friendship with a little girl, whose older sister takes piano lessons from Miss Izzy, next door to his Nana's.....random, but definitely a kid thing.

I remember summers in Oklahoma, visiting grandmother
"can your granddaughter come out to play, mrs buckner?" 
I'd shyly peek around the corner and see little faces with their noses pressed to the screen.  Sometimes, I would dare to go, if the boys didn't seem too ornery.

When I would stay with Grandma Bobbye in Guthrie, the nostalgic town of my childhood, my imagination would be bursting at the seams to get out and pretend I was back in the 50s and had all day to play kick the can and tell ghost stories.  I would track down any kid I could find to try and weave them into my American fairytale.

One time, I was forced to go to a drive in with one of my grandma's daycare clients older son (and a group of other kids too) My gut told me this boy was icky like chewed up bubble gross.  Turns out he tried to put the moves on me!  Little o'l tomboy me.  I was sorely disappointed.  This kid was not old fashion friend material. 

I often stared up at a two story house across the street from grandma's house.  I heard rumors a mentally challenged boy lived in the top story bedroom overlooking the street.  I tried to get his attention by communicating telepathically or make it look like I was having a ball playing to try and coax him down.   Turns out I never the met the boy.  I don't even know if he exists.

Ha, with this weird brain as a child, I am so glad I grew up in a bustling city with lots after school activities. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My childhood Leslie would through a temper tantrum if she knew what her "grown up" self was doing: scaring and thus forever ruining the magical powers of her rocks.  Thankfully, I don't have to deal with that little brat and can do what I want!  Besides, I did extensive research on how to remove adhesive from porous rock.  My rocks, my precious and beautiful rocks.  My closet was filled with egg cartons of rocks, among other treasures.  I hid them away and pawed over them after school and on weekends.  Oh.  It just occurred to me.  I was kind of pathetic.  I thought everybody would oogle over them and be insanely jealous of my collection.  So I brought them to school to brag.  Apparently, third grade girls could care less.  Heck, even the boys weren't thrilled. 
Whatever.  I can't get over how beautiful they are and the stories they hold of childhood exploration days.  So, I dusted them off and glued them on some canvas and hung them on our wall.  I'm honest when I say, I get butterflies in my stomach whenever I walk past them. 
Among my trinkets and things was this gilded, and probably cheap elephant locket.  I begged the next door neighbor to release it to me.  At the time, it was the most exotic artifact I ever beheld.  He laughed and said "sure, its probably cursed anyway" 
I also have my coin collection, shells, keys, beads, little boxes, pins that really should have a chance to shine on the blog stage.   Stop cringing, I won't post them. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I have never met a more happier person than Cora.  She even beats out Zander.  Her joy is infectious.  The fellows in our family adore her.  We all do.  Its not like she is the perfect baby.  She wakes periodically in the night, she whines,  poops steaming sulfur turds, and she will gauge out your hair and eyeballs.  But the spirit inside of her illuminates our world and we forget why we needed to worry.
Ender and daddy are her best friends.  If you are blessed to be holding her when Ender is in the room, then you will experience her energy and zeal for him.  You physically feel her happiness.  Its incredible.

I don't want to think about her future in terms of "what if all this changes" "I'll be eating my words once she turns two..." "what will the teenage years be like?"
Today is all we have and know.  And today, my goodness, she is our healing joy.

*the trio by the fire.  Daddy exemplifies tenderness towards his baby girl and Ender falls in line.  That is something that Zander is teaching Ender:  how love, respect, and servitude are the nuts (haha) and bolts of a man.  ;)

Thursday, December 05, 2013


An undertaking or enterprise of a hazardous nature.
To take a risk; dare.
To proceed despite risks...
I will never use this word loosely again. 
"Zander, do you think we were bad parents?"
"Maybe.  We took a risk.  We all take risks every day we walk out our front door"  in retrospect, something along those lines were said.
There has been something about this year, 2013, that has not boded well with me.  Despite my sweet daughter giving me a mouthful of toothaches... its been oddly melancholy, in a personal way.   For if you ask Ender, Zander, or especially baby Cora what their year has been like, you would get an earful of happy stories.  And they are all true, I witnessed them myself.  Its not worth it to be self analytical, especially here :)

Our family accidentally found ourselves on an adventure.
Zander had enough zeal to announce that we were going to touch the snowy rim of Oak Creek Canyon.  I humored his thought, because I knew it wasn't in my cards.
My first concern was my weak,soft body, "how would I carry Miss Plump up the canyon?  Oh well, I will climb as far as I can and then turn around".
  Cora was quiet and observant as we trod lightly under the canopy of trees.  The last of the amber leaves were clinging to the bare branches of the sycamores, about to be stolen for good by the chilly wind. Soon, we approached the beginning of the steep ascent up AB Young trail. 

We rested under a lone Juniper.   I found myself refreshed and decided to go further until I hit my threshold, or Cora's.
But soon the mist drew itself like a blanket across the trees and fell on heavy eyelids and baby Cora was fast asleep.  A mama doesn't stop if a baby is sleeping, especially a baby who likes to nurse when she wakes up.
Zander was still determined to reach the rim.   Well, now that baby was dreaming away, I thought it was possible.  I imagined zander the "mountain man" building us a warm fire and shelter up at the top where I would hold Cora close to me and feed her as the snow fell like dew from the white heaven above.    Strangely, after Cora fell asleep, my mama brain ignored the pain signals coming from everywhere, all over my body.  Fact was: I had a kid to keep asleep until I reached a warm place.  Three quarters of the way up, my feet were soaking wet, further on, my pants were soaking wet, and so were Cora's.  Once her little pads were wet, I started to freak out a little bit.  Once I heard the snow crunching beneath my feet I yelled back at Zander "I can't wait for that fire and shelter"

"What?  I'm not making a fire in this weather!"
My perceived reality slowly transformed into an idea, a dream, a wish, a prayer, then pure fantasy.
More panicking from me.  We stuffed Cora's feet in my pants and ascended onward.  Past rock slides treacherous with thin layers of ice, through bramble laden with snow.  Ender at this point was screaming his head off.  Possibly because he was on Zander's back being whacked with the snowy branches...

At one point while crossing an icy slope, I thanked God that none of these children's grandparents knew what we were up to.  It would be like watching The Fellowship traversing the Misty Mountains. 

But we did it!  We made it to the top!  We had to turn around fast before the snow queen came bounding around a forest corner.  Surely, it would be Ender who would succumb to the Turkish Delights.  He's weak for treats.  And he was miserable. The boy was belligerent.  He fought us tooth and nail to get back in the hiking pack so Zander had to carry him in his arms the whole way down. 
Zander was thrilled that we as family took on a challenge that spontaneously sprung up before us.  We were a little "high on life", but agreed to do things a tad differently next time :)