Saturday, May 31, 2008

Another rainy day . . .

means more tents.

Little man in the mix.

Snack time in the trenches.
A perfect place to read a book.
Other than that, it was just a quiet day at "home".
Yeah, right.
Looking forward to: Mr. Posterick's homemade pizza for dinner!! Yumo!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer Days

It's been a beautiful couple of days.
There has been the usual hectic running around.
But there have been fun moments too.
There have been moments spent celebrating with friends, or engaged in quiet activities. (Well, okay. Maybe not so quiet.)
Yesterday, we began the morning with cinnamon rolls. Can't beat that!

The weather was perfect!
The boys spent most of the day working at the house with their dad while I ran errands with the baby in tow.
Family dinner was good, even though we were missing some members of the family.
Aunt Kathy made possibly the best beef cubes with gravy over egg noodles I have ever tasted!!
We had to eat and run, though, to help Jo's good friend and partner in crime, Nathaniel, celebrate his sixth birthday!
There was pizza and cupcakes and, of course, gifts.

Then, we all played a round of mini golf. Deb made everyone play, even the adults. I'm so glad she did. I had so much fun.
The boys had a good time too. I don't think Josiah remembered ever having played before. It was entertaining, watching the little guys play. (Plus, it distracted from us more pitiful adults!)

No one won the free game at the end of the course (you had to get the ball into the clown's nose!) so we headed over to the park for a bit to wind the evening down.

Unfortunately, the evening ended with Nathaniel falling from some playground equipment and getting the wind knocked out of him. But he is a tough little lion, and he was okay.
After not having seen our friends much since school has been out, it was so good to connect and spend time celebrating such a wonderful occasion.

Today, we woke up early, early, early to take Joe for CTR (Carpel Tunnel Reduction) surgery.
We got there at 7 a.m. and we were on our way home by 9:30 a.m. The miracles of modern medicine, I'm tellin' you!
He rested this morning, but then he went to mow the yard this afternoon, and then it was off to work for a bit.
He's a tough big lion!
We spent the day around the house. We were all a bit tired from our early morning wake-up.
I made Mexican for dinner. Burritos and rice and Tostitos with salsa.
We had watermelon too; the boys' favorite!
The boys and I watched Mouse Hunt.
Mom and Aunt Kat stopped in with coffee for me and milkshakes for the boys.
We read in Romans before praying together.
Now, the boys are asleep, and I sit, blogging. Reflecting on the past few days. Pulling out the best things about them to remember, to write about.
And there are lots of things, lots of good memories made in there to pull from.
One of my goals is to live with joy and purpose in all things.
Sometimes, I do.
Sometimes, I do not.
Sometimes, just sometimes, I think this blog should be titled "My run-around, crazy, pull-my-hair-out, yell-like-a-banshee, hormonal, emotional, selfish life with three kids I
I'm trying not to completely screw up and a husband who must really love me." (Well, this may be a bit exaggerated for dramatic effect; but some days, it's right on the money.)
Yes, the secrets out.
Sometimes the Joy of Three Boys isn't so . . . well, joyful.
And it's not that it's hellaceous around here.
Quite the contrary. We really have beautiful, amazing days full of lovely things and good times together.
But lately something has been missing.
It's like I'm on auto pilot for the summer.
It's like I have let go.
I have been anxious and upset about the renovation of the house more than I would like to be, and I know the kids see this, feel it, know it.
I know Joe does.
I have been lax with family devotions, and my own devotional time.
I have not been as diligent as I want to be in many things.
Some of you who know me may say, "Now, you're being too hard on yourself!"
But you have to understand, I do not write this as an invitation to my personal pity party.
Rather, I write it to remind myself of my goal.
To live with purpose and joy in all things.
Others may argue "That's not even possible. It's not a realistic goal!"
But I believe it is.
I have to believe it is.
And if my kids get nothing else from their formative years with me. . . I want it to be this.
That true joy is possible, but it only comes from God.
That all our days, all of our thoughts and actions should be directed by the purposes of God and furthering His Kingdom in and through our lives.
Am I really living like this?
Is this who I really am, or just who I say I am . . .who I want to be?
How do I change?
I know I will not be perfect in this. I cannot be.
But I must ask myself these questions. I must keep it real. I must be truthful in my answers.
I have three boys depending on me to do so.
So, there is another part of my day, a part I didn't mention earlier with all the other "nice" stuff.
It is the part I spent in prayer, repenting, re-evaluating, asking God for His grace and peace and purposes to visit me again.
I stood, repenting, as I folded clothes and watched the trees dancing in the wind and sunshine outside my window.
And that very fact -- that I could come before the Holy King of Heaven during the least sacred part of my day, bowing my heart before Him in humility, asking for His mercy, receiving His love among the tee shirts and towels and underoos, gaining divine strength from His example of sacrificial love to pick myself up, dust myself off and start over again where I need to -- that was His answer.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rainy days are perfect for . . .

Making a tent.
Playing a game on the computer.
Taking a nap.
And when a rainy day turns into a sunny day, sunny days are good for . . .


(Eventually, they resorted to the hose.)
And picking "flowers" in the yard.

And, apparently, walking.
Daniel, having had enough of his crawling lifestyle, picked himself up off the floor today and walked around the room like he'd been doing it all his life.
We were all stunned, and the boys clapped and cheered and jumped around, which made him laugh with glee.
I thought I wanted this.
As I watched him walking around this afternoon, I felt a twinge of sadness deep in my heart.
He no longer needs us, me, to get where he is going.
Daniel walks!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm a cowgirl at heart . . . who knew?! (I could also have titled this, "And much cattle . . . " )

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First, let me mention that the horseback riding pictures are up on the post from Monday, May 19.
We had a nice Memorial Day.
Joe worked at the house in the morning and I had coffee and a long overdue "catch-up" chat with a friend.
Then, we all got ready and headed out to Rachel and Kevin's for riding lessons and dinner.
The only problem was it was raining. And not just raining. Pouring.
We were hoping the weather would clear, so we could get some riding in. But really, it got worse as the afternoon went on.
Rachel was ready with an indoor lesson for the boys, though.
They got papers with barn safety rules, trail safety rules, the anatomy of a horse, the parts of a saddle, and the requirements for a rank I and rank II rider.
She also let them look at her saddle and point out and name places on it that they saw on their papers.
When they were done with that, we got dinner ready.
Hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, deviled eggs, homemade fries and chips.
It was all so delicious!
We brought dessert with us -- fresh strawberries, pound cake and whipped cream. Yum. It's the best, most refreshing summer dessert there is, in my humble opinion!
Rachel and Kevin live in a house out on the farm where she works.
It is so beautiful out there. There are slightly rolling hills, a patchwork of greens sloping and rising. Fields lay on every side.
Outside of Rachel's window, there are horses grazing, and even in the rain, they calmly ate, shaking the rain off every once in a while.
We talked about lots of stuff.
Rachel mentioned that she was going to be rounding up cattle today, starting at 5 a.m., at a nearby ranch. She thought the boys would enjoy seeing what it was all about.
The boys got to see the baby goats and kittens, but had to run around inside because of the weather.
At one point, the storm must have been right over our heads because the lightning and thunder overlapped one another, and the lights went out for a moment.
But they quickly came back on, and we continued our wonderful visit.
We had such a great time.
Rachel and Kevin are quality people.
As we were leaving, the sun began to poke his lazy head out through the clouds, and we saw a rainbow spanning the eastern sky.
We headed to Sonic for some drinks and then to the church's workshop to cut the boys pinewood derby cars.
Then it was home for the evening.
The prospect of getting up to see a cattle round-up at 5 a.m. was not so appealing to me, but I knew it would be an all day process, so I thought we could drive over for a while this afternoon and watch the action.
When we got there, the first thing we noticed was all the noise.
There was mooing and lowing non-stop and loud, a bovine chorus echoing over the hills, throughout the countryside.
There were five ranch hands, including Rachel, and they were prodding cattle down corridors into separate pens.
Rachel came over and explained to us that they were separating the cows. The ones to be sold in one pen, the ones that were a year old or less in another and the rest of the cows in yet another.
She explained that the babies were going to get immunized and have some other maintenance done. The other cows were going back out to pasture and the ones to be sold were getting ready for that.
She said that it was so noisy because the babies and mamas were being separated, and they were calling for each other.
My heart broke for them when she told me that, the fact that they were cows notwithstanding.
We stayed for over and hour, and would have stayed longer, but one of the boys, (I will not mention names) had to answer the call of nature, so we were off.
As we were driving away from the ranch, from the lowing of the saddened cows, from the ranch hands full of mud and sweat and determination, a blue heron flew up from the side of the road, it's shadow shading the truck like a sudden dark cloud, its feet almost touching the windshield.
It was so majestic and so unexpected.
"Look at that! Look at that!" I shouted to the boys.
They could not have helped but see it.
"It was so big, I thought it was some kind of vulture-like bird until I saw what it really was!" Isaac breathed out in gulps.
This simple statement made me think about a subtle truth in his words.
Sometimes, we see something looming large in front of us.
It can be something new that we have never encountered, or a challenge we are facing or a decision we have to make.
Sometimes, these things fly up around us, seemingly out of the blue.
For a moment -- an instant-- fear, dread, misinformation, the unknown can frighten us, can make us think we will be eaten up by whatever it is in front of us.
But if we keep looking, if we look again, at what we are facing, we often find that it is an opportunity, a destiny, something beautiful, majestic, a blessing.
I thought about that as we continued down the dirt road, heading home.
I eventually thought about other things too, like how where we are-- the landscapes that pass by outside the open windows of our SUV, the days spent by grandpa's pond or out on ranches watching cattle being processed, or watching horses through a friend's dinning room window, the smell of warm grain in the afternoon sun, the ripe scent of earth and manure cooling in the twilight of a long day, the sounds of night insects and frogs loudly playing their evening symphonies through our open windows -- all these things are making our boys, shaping their memories, becoming part of their stories.
They are stories that will be so different from their dad's and mine.
My memories are full of entirely different landscapes. The sea calls to me. I can smell it in my dreams. And city lights.
But I am finding that I like this landscape too. I love the scents and sounds and feel of it.
I found myself watching Rachel with awe and a bit of envy, perhaps. She loves the land, the horses, the work. She makes it look easy, though I know it is back-breaking toil. She makes it look fun. She is where she belongs.
I want this for my children. I want them to love a place so much that they have to be there; to love their work so much that they have to do it.
Maybe they'll grow up to be cowboys. Maybe they won't (I certainly might, though!).
But what ever it is, I want them to grow up to be them.
This mid-west life will always be a part of who they are, though, and if they ever leave it, there will be days when they sing songs about it.
There will be solitary hours of capturing a certain scent in a poem they are writing.
There will be an evening with a child who listens to stories about when they learned to ride.
There will be a catch of memory every time they pass through fields and flatlands.
They will smell the sweet smell of the fields at dusk, and they will remember.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Remembering . . .

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It's Memorial Day Weekend.
It is a time for reflection about what war is, and what it is not.
It is a time to remember those who have lost their lives for things bigger than themselves -- freedom, honor, loyalty, faith, their country and their countrymen.
My dad was a veteran.
My grandfather is one.
I have several favorite war poems I would like to share as a way of honoring and recognizing those who lived and died for greater things. Who live and die.
I say a humble thank you.
I whisper a prayer that this country would be worthy of the many sacrifices.
I hold my breath for my sons.
I hope for the peace that can only truly come from One.
These poems vary greatly in their take on the subject, which I believe is only fair for such a multi-layered creature as war.
The first is a poem called "Facing it" by Yusef Komunyakaa.
A long time ago, I found this reading of it on a site called To me, this is the best way to encounter this poem.
Please take a moment to click on the link below and select this poem from the list of poems available.
It is powerful.

Facing It

My black face fades,
hiding inside the black granite.
I said I wouldn't,
dammit: No tears.
I'm stone. I'm flesh.
My clouded reflection eyes me
like a bird of prey, the profile of night
slanted against morning. I turn
this way—the stone lets me go.
I turn that way—I'm inside
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
again, depending on the light
to make a difference.
I go down the 58,022 names,
half-expecting to find
my own in letters like smoke.
I touch the name Andrew Johnson;
I see the booby trap's white flash.
Names shimmer on a woman's blouse
but when she walks away
the names stay on the wall.
Brushstrokes flash, a red bird's
wings cutting across my stare.
The sky. A plane in the sky.
A white vet's image floats
closer to me, then his pale eyes
look through mine. I'm a window.
He's lost his right arm
inside the stone. In the black mirror
a woman's trying to erase names:
No, she's brushing a boy's hair.

Yusef Komunyakaa

Into Battle

    The naked earth is warm with Spring
    And with green grass and bursting trees
    Leans to the sun's gaze glorying,
    And quivers in the sunny breeze;
    And Life is Colour and Warmth and Light,
    And a striving evermore for these;
    And he is dead who will not fight;
    And who dies fighting has increase.
    The fighting man shall from the sun
    Take warmth, and life from the glowing earth;
    Speed with the light-foot winds to run,
    And with the trees to newer birth;
    And find, when fighting shall be done,
    Great rest, and fullness after dearth.

    All the bright company of Heaven
    Hold him in their high comradeship,
    The Dog-Star and the Sisters Seven,
    Orion's Belt and sworded hip.

    The woodland trees that stand together,
    They stand to him each one a friend,
    They gently speak in the windy weather;
    They guide to valley and ridges' end.

    The kestrel hovering by day,
    And the little owls that call by night,
    Bid him be swift and keen as they,
    As keen of ear, as swift of sight.

    The blackbird sings to him 'Brother,brother,
    'If this be the last song you shall sing
    'Sing well, for you may not sing another;
    Brother, sing'.

    In dreary, doubtful, waiting hours,
    Before the brazen frenzy starts,
    The horses show him the nobler powers;
    O patient eyes, courageous hearts!

    And when the burning moment breaks,
    And all things else are out of mind,
    And only Joy of Battle takes
    Him by the throat, and makes him blind.

    Through joy and blindness he shall know,
    Not caring much to know, that still
    Nor lead nor steel shall reach him, so
    That it be not the Destined Will.

    The thundering line of battle stands,
    And in the air Death moans and sings;
    But Day shall clasp him with strong hands,
    And Night shall fold him in soft wings.

Julian Grenfell

Dulce Et Decorum Est

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

    GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!- An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
    And floundering like a man in fire or lime.
    Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

    If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, -
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
Some one had blundered:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wondered:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre-stroke
Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not,
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

Alfred Lord Tennyson

How do you remember? Share your Memorial Day traditions, celebrations and remembrances in the comments.

Friday, May 23, 2008

We're all about adventures . . .

Take a road, a path you've taken a hundred times, two hundred times before.
Deviate, just a little.
Look around again.
An adventure is waiting.
According to, adventure is "an exciting or unusual experience."
We had an adventure today.
The boys and I went to Joplin with Patty.
It started out like any ho-hum outing. We hit some places in our recent regular repertoire (searching for things for the house): Trade-X, out to lunch. It was looking a bit identical to the morning we spent there on Tuesday (also to get things for the house).
On Tuesday, though, as we were passing Connie's Antiques, I said to Patty, "Let's go there right now!" and abruptly turned into the parking lot at just the last second it was possible to do so. I'm pretty sure at some point we had only two tires on the pavement.
I always want to stop in at Connie's, an antique mall/flea market type place the size of three football fields!
I want to, but the one and only time I was there, Isaac was not yet a year old as I strolled him in and out of the maze-like aisles.
We spent the next two hours browsing, meandering, admiring, considering and, I am not a bit sorry to say, ridiculing could be treasures and other people's trash.
We had such a good time, and it was a joy watching the boys discover all kinds of crazy things in the various booths, their eyes wide and shining with the wonder of it all: samurai swords, horse saddles, rusty egg beaters, old toys, baseball cards, things too strange and numerous to list here.
And I left the store with only one item! An old horseshoe to nail over the doorway in Josiah and Daniel's new cowboy room.
It wasn't a grand adventure or an exotic adventure, but it was an adventure, and that is all that mattered.
That was Tuesday. And I fully believe that it was this impromptu excursion that lit a spark in the tinder of my soul.
TODAY, after lunch I said to Patty, "Let's just go looking around and see what we can find. We'll stop wherever we want."
Then, we spent the next twenty minutes looking for an impromptu place to go, quite un-impromptu-ly.
As we were heading down Main St., there it was.
Painted on a storefront window, I saw the words "coffee", "deli", "pastries".
I caught a glimpse of the store's name "Columbia Trading . . .something."
It was that old "two tires on the pavement" story again, as I hung a quick sharp left in search of a place to park so we could explore.
Columbia Trading is a restaurant/deli/coffeeshop with a menu that would make any blue-plate-special joint in town green with envy.
And it's just so . . . cool inside.
I'm pretty sure Patty and I stood and read the entire menu, glancing at the display case and commenting occasionally, "Look! They have baklava!"; "It smells like a deli in Jersey in here.";
"This place is great!"; "Don't look, but that man over there is wearing a skirt."; "Mmmm. Too bad we just ate. The sandwiches look so good . . .".
Finally, we were ready.
The boys each got a single dip cone, Isaac's chocolate and Josiah's birthday cake flavored.
I got a Coconut Java (espresso, chocolate, almond, coconut, steamed milk) and Patty got a French Kiss (vanilla mocafe, caramel, vanilla and half and half -- cold).
We sat on couches and dreamed of future writing conferences to be held in that very spot (hint, hint Joe).
The boys took turns wheeling Daniel around the colossal dinning area in his stroller, and he got a few licks of ice cream and a few sips of Patty's drink. As he would say, "Mmmmm, Mmmmm!"
We took our time.
We talked and watched the boys and we approved of the bathroom facilities.
When we left, we were fueled up and ready for more.
We stopped and checked out some campers and RVs for sale on a corner.
Awesome. The boys and I had fun thinking about which ones would fit our camping needs best, and dreaming about camping trips to come in one of those sweet babies!
All I can say about that is . . . one day.
We were off again.
On the way home, I poked my head into this crazy little antique/furniture store called The Yardstick. Patty and the boys waited in the car, crashing from the sugar rush and the heat, and I had always wondered what exactly was in there, so I took the opportunity to make a quick dash in.
Three words.
Old Curiosity Shop.
It's the kind of place you see in movies.
I will definitely have to have that adventure on another day.
By the time we got home, we were hot and ready to be home.
The boys had a camp out at the church later in the evening, and I had to feed them before they headed out with their dad for a guys night under the stars.
It is an adventure they will have without me.
But I will hear all the tales they have to tell when they come home.
Adventures don't have to be complicated, or dangerous, or take place in a country far, far away.
Sometimes they are waiting on a known path.
They just have to be recognized in the moment, and taken.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

For my mom

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Mom asked me not to make a big deal out of Mother's Day this year, her first year without her mother.
I tried to respect that, but she is my mom, and I wanted to appreciate, to celebrate her.
We did give her flowers and gifts, but other than that, I tried to respect her request.
What I have discovered in my middle-aged life is while holidays are nice, we should celebrate those we love everyday, and not save it all for one Hallmark designated special occasion.
In this spirit, I share with you now a poem I have recently written for my mom.
Happy Thursday, mom. Today you are loved.

Because of You

Because of you,


Seed planted long ago.

The apple does not fall far.

Shelter, your branches.

Nourishment, your roots.

Seedling, sapling, shade tree,

Dropping seeds of my own.

We are Planted in the same soil,

Roots mingling, tangling, embracing,


Strong and beautiful, we;

Extending with a tremble,

Dancing in the wind,

Crying the rain.

Shelter, our branches.

Nourishment, our roots.

Seedling, sapling.

(C) J.R.N., 2008

Daniel dances!

How could I forget!?
Within the last few days, Daniel has discovered dancing!!!
I meant to blog about this in Last firsts, part II, but somehow it did not make it in there.
Put on music, any music, and Daniel will bop his head, move his body, mostly to the beat.
Smile spread from ear to ear, he has discovered the joy that is dancing; feeling music in your heart, your being, and expressing it.
He laughs.
He thrashes.
He is listening to the music.
He is dancing.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mamas, LET your babies grow up to be cowboys

Today was the first official day of summer break.
Sleeping in was divine. Of course, sleeping in for me is 7:30 a.m., so that's a bit relative I guess.
I made pancakes for the boys, regular and blueberry, and we took our setting the table and sitting to eat. No hurried bowl of cereal today.
The boys went to work at the house with Joe, and I stayed "home" with Daniel.
The boys and I had a date to keep this afternoon, so they came home and got ready about one o'clock.
Today was horseback riding lessons out at Westbrook with our friend Rachel.
We met Rachel and her husband, Kevin, at church. They are such neat people and after having them over, I could tell it was one of those connections where you know you will be richer for knowing these people.
She works out at a . . ranch, farm. I'm not really sure what to call it.
There are lots of horses and hounds and cows. They put on fox hunts there, among other things.
Josiah has had this thing for horses for some time now, and asked for one for his birthday. Because we are moving to a house that has two acres, he believed this was a feasible request, and fully expected one on his natal anniversary.
We did the next best thing.
Riding lessons.
We explained that first he needs to learn all he can about horses: how to care for them and how to handle them and how to ride them, etc.
Then, in a few years, after he has been around them and knows what to do with them, maybe we will look into getting a horse for him.
So riding lessons began today.
Rachel taught the boys how to lead a horse first.
Then they learned about grooming a horse in preparation for riding him.
After that it was time to pick a saddle. They chose a western one. I think the other choices were English or Australian.
They learned how to saddle a horse, and bridal one.
Then, it was "up in the saddle 101."
The horse they rode was a 15 year old retired race horse named Skyward Bound, or Bounder for short.
Boy, was he big!
Josiah got right up on him, though, and rode him all around the pen. He learned how to turn him and stop him and make him trot.
Then it was Isaac's turn, and he rode like a pro. He even told Rachel he thought he could ride without her holding on, and he did!!
You have not lived until you have seen your young sons up on horseback, trotting into the wind, their hair blowing back, their faces full of smile, their confidence swelling.
It was amazing!
I thought about cowboys.
I thought about the kind of men most of them were: hard-working, honest, loyal men deeply affected by the land they worked and rode. Men who got dirty, but would never think of saying a dirty word in front of a child or a lady. Men who wore out their boots, not their couches. Men who believed in something and fell for nothing.
There are very few cowboys these days.
We go again next week.
Rachel said maybe we could all learn how to ride.
"We could be the horseback riding family!" I laughed.
"That would be so cool." she said.
Yes, it would.

Last firsts, part II

Daniel will be one in three and a half weeks.
Where did the year go?
He has four teeth now, and he knows how to use em! Sometimes it's good, like when he's eating a cracker. Sometimes it's not so good, like when he thinks he's gonna kiss you and gives you a nip instead. Or when he's mad about not getting his way (yeah, we have to work on that one).
A few days ago he learned to wave hello and goodbye.
A few weeks ago he learned how to clap his hands.
Today, he took his first series of steps by himself. He walked down the hallway at my mom's between his dad and I.
He walks on his hands and feet. Too funny!
He enjoys going for walks, and hangs his head over the side of the stroller to see his shadow.
He has a new friend, a large stuffed bear named buddy who he cuddles with and kisses and loves. They are quickly becoming inseparable.
He discovered trains last week when one went screaming by, so close we could almost touch it, and his eyes followed every car, his mouth parted, breathing quick as he tried to understand what this new noise and motion was and how he could get a hold of it.
He loves to laugh at his brothers, and watches everything they do.
He's certainly been a joy to watch grow.
I found this song the other day and it makes me smile, because I think of Daniel and how much he is learning and growing, how full of wide-eyed wonder he is at everything around him, and how far he still has to go.
May these days go slowly by.
I wish I could capture them and put them in a jar.
But they are in my heart, and that will have to be good enough.
Here's to you, Daniel, my little man.
Enjoy! (Turn the music player off to listen to the song.)