Monday, October 18, 2010


Compliments often say more about the person giving them than the one on the receiving end.  I have been thinking about this recently because I have received a few compliments on my children's behavior in the past few weeks.

I enter society with trepidation, as so many mothers of young children do, never knowing whether my outing to the bank, church, park or grocery store will be productive or leave me vowing never to leave the house again.  Let's face it, children are unpredictable.  Yes, I have my fantasies that if I could stumble upon the right parenting method, or a fabulous color-coded organizational plan, or Mary Poppins, then my children would be so well behaved that I could venture out with confidence into the world knowing that my children would be a delight to all they come in contact with.  

But I live in reality.
I get annoyed looks, snide comments, criticisms, and judgements often.  I even had the 80 year old greeter at Wal-Mart hand my daughter a sticker the other day and then look at me with a scowl and say, "You should take care of that dribble on her nose you know before she gets someone sick".  Nice greeting.

So I take notice of compliments.

Compliment #1

I was in the library check out line with Molly a few weeks ago and a middle age woman behind me smiled  and said "Your daughter is so well behaved and quiet".

Nice compliment right?

Well she continued, glancing over her shoulder at the mother entering the library with a baby and the family of 3 boys noisily stacking their books on the counter, and the toddler crying because her mother didn't let her put the Barney video in the return slot, and said with a look of disdain "I mean it's nice to see a child who knows how to behave in a library these days".

My heart sunk.  This was just her way of voicing her complaints about the other families.

I said thank you but added "I actually have 4 children and we have plenty of noisy moments too."

I identified with those other mothers so much that I wanted to defend them from this woman who so obviously thinks that children should be banned from the children's section in the library.

Compliment #2

After a church service in which I had attempted to keep my 4, standing during the singing, bowing during the prayers, and quiet during the sermon, I was tired and ready to run to the car.  The elderly woman behind me touched my shoulder and said "I just want to tell you how well behaved your children were during the service."

She smiled and it was genuine and I just wanted to hug her.

I gushed "Oh thank you!  It felt like so much work."  To which she replied, "Well perhaps you have higher expectations of their behavior as the mother than we do.  But you are doing a wonderful job".

That woman knows how to encourage.  That compliment will go a long way to refueling this mother's heart.

Now for the record, I am not a wonderful mother.

But I am a good one.  Trying my best in the circumstances.
Stumbling, wondering, worrying, praying, crying, analyzing, correcting, and questioning my way through motherhood.

Friday, October 15, 2010


It was hard being the new girl, with a birthday only 6 weeks after school started.  There was much discussion about who to invite and who would come.  Ellie wanted to go to an indoor bounce park and it worked out perfectly.  This year was not a year for fancy decorations, elaborate gifts, or huge parties but she said it was her best birthday ever.
That's all I needed to hear!

Here are some highlights. 
8 bouncing children are hard to photograph but I love the blur of motion in these photos, the disheveled hair, and rosy cheeks from all the fun!


Sunday, October 10, 2010


My first born girl turns 9 today. 

Her daddy said this morning, "That means half our time with you is over!  In nine more years you can drive and vote and have a job and get married.  But don't you dare do that last one at 18!"  he added hastily.

Her eyes grew wide.  She gulped and just said "Really?"

And her mama, who was in the bathroom listening, did the same.

She is still a little girl, thankfully, in this age when girls are not little for long.
She is a joy.  Our dark haired beauty.
Our wanna be farm girl
Daddy's girl
glamour girl
freckle face lovely

Happy Birthday Ellie!

Monday, October 4, 2010

GIFTS 386-415

386.  sunlight on aspen trees
387.  the soft rattling sound they make when the wind blows
388.  happy hikers
389.  ticking clocks
390.  new pillows on the couch
391.  teeny-tiny pumpkins from the farm stand
392.  the last of the tomatoes
393.  and peaches
394.  and summer squash
395.  and zinnias
396.  the beginning of apples
397.  and cider
398.  and pumpkins
399.  hand knit dresses
400.  polka dots
401.  little girls twirling in the grass
402.  over night camp outs for boys
403.  zip lines and ropes courses
404.  slumber parties for girls
405.  silliness over mood rings
406.  mountain lakes
408.  visitors in town
409.  hearing an elk bugle
410.  out of town guests to share it with
411.  ice breakers with little boys
412.  shoulder rides
413.  realizing that my first born is growing up
414.  giving his baby sister a ride
415.  cooler temperatures