Friday, March 31, 2017

31: For the ages...

 Dad and I were in their garage workshop this week
He updated me on current furniture refinishing projects
and I noticed a new one: this


A showstopper

"What do you plan to do with this mantel?"
I ask before I get too attached
even though I already have designs about 
how it might be sanded, stained, sealed
to allow the piece's beautiful details to shine


How we might revise our current builder-grade mantel with this
what arrangements we'd need to make to start the installation project
support its progress, and see its completion
what materials we might use in the square opening: brick, tile, or shiplap


Even in its roughest form 
I know it is a beauty
a rare find
full of potential


In the hands of someone who knows about
types, characteristics of wood
how to use tools and materials artfully
the time and care it takes to refine roughness into beauty
{someone like my dad}
the piece will become the truest version of itself
one for the ages
for those in the past
and the special people yet to come
to remember them, him, me
us

Then I started thinking about 
how these special antiques mimic my writing life
March reminds me to get back into the workshop
and notice the beauty in moments, minutes, months
March reminds me
to lovingly refine
and save each one 
as the truest version of itself
to remember
for the ages
for my people
for you

Write on,
b


Congratulations, fellow writers, on SOLSC 2017! 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

30: You

I snuggled into bed with you
early afternoon today
You yawned - I knew it was time
You cradled your blankie and rubbed the tag
while sucking your thumb
Your tell-tale sign

It was time for me, too
I don't remember much
past your yawn
your blankie
your thumb

I made it over the hill...
...and then woke up to you 
tapping my nose and 
finger-combing my hair
and giggling

One more tiny kiss on the hair
"Sleep tight"
and
"I'll set the timer and you can get up when it goes off"
and
"Make sure you're quiet enough to hear it..."

And you ran around upstairs instead
while I sat downstairs reading

So I invited you, again, to
"Stay in bed quietly"
"Just five more minutes"
and 
"Be super still..."

And guess what?

You were

For better than three hours

***

At dinnertime
you bounced downstairs
to notice the cookies on the cooling rack
"I was TIRED, Mommy!"
and 
"That was a goooooood nap!"
fell between cookie one
and cookie two

***

Sleepy you...
Funny you...
Growing you...
Blessing...you

Write on,
b

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

29: Heart check...

Tonight I escaped into the laundry room
to fold the finished clothes and transfer the wet load into the dryer
to find a little peace

I opened the washer
"Moooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmy!  Where ARE you?"
Really?
"I'm in the laundry room."

I could hear the elder little's feet 
pad down the stairs and across the wooden floors
until they stopped on the rug beside me
17 seconds.  17 seconds.

"What do you need?"
admittedly sounding more annoyed than charitable




"I just wanted to see if you need any help.  Can I help you?"

{heart check}

"Yes.  Absolutely.  Thank you for thinking of me.  Thank you for being so unselfish and caring to ask.  Your words made my day."


Write on,
b




Tuesday, March 28, 2017

28: Weighty questions...

After orange chicken and fried rice at Panda Express and dominoes at home on New Year's Eve, the elder little and I prepared for sleep by snuggling up for Elephant and Piggie stories.  I hopped out of bed to flip off the bedroom lights in favor of the dimmer closet light. His still-wet spikes of chocolate brown hair stood tall against the red-and-white-firetruck pillowcase and his eyes were dark pools as I knelt beside the twin bed for prayers.

"When we're in heaven, will I know you?"

That's a good one.  

"Of course, Buddy."

I mean, I can only guess.  But it seems like we would, right?  

Ever the rational one, the elder little made a plan. "Since you'll get there first, do you think you can call me to tell me what it's like in heaven?  You can tell me where you are."

"There are no phones in heaven; we won't need them," I rationalize in return, already anticipating the peacefulness.  I looked over to his soft, sweet cheeks...they were turning red hot.

He paused and then stammered. "But how will I find you?  There will be millions of people there."

The enormity of it all.

The red hot cheeks progressed into a full-blown sob.  He continued.  "And you're just one person."

I slipped underneath the covers next to his little body and covered the right side of his velvety forehead with the tiniest kisses.

"You'll know my heart, right?  In fact, there are only two people who have been nearest to it...you and your brother.  Don't you spend even one second crying about that... We will find each other."

I just know it.  

I turned away to catch a tear or two sliding, hot, across my right cheek. His face, covered by the crimson quilt with ivory stars, hid equally well.

"I love you...always will; whenever...wherever.  Night-nights."

I pulled down the quilt, just a smidge, to kiss his forehead one more time before tiptoeing downstairs.

He had me thinking...


Write on,
b

Monday, March 27, 2017

27: Surprise...he's in the club

on
the
way
to
grandma
and
grandpa's
house
we
spent
two
hours
on
word
work

beginning
sounds
ending
sounds
middle
sounds
decoding
encoding

he
could
do
it
all
i
was
surprised

he's
four
how
does
he
know
?


Write on,
b

Sunday, March 26, 2017

26: Pieces...

I think we were probably doing dishes, reflecting on the day, recapping ball games. That's when we noticed the house was quiet...

The elder little was upstairs working on his arcade.  It is the smaller little who sometimes...disappears.

"Grant?"

Silence.

"Where are you?"

Nothing.

We both walked the first floor, only to find this about a minute into our search...

A piece of hair here, a clump of hair there...

"GRANT!  WHERE ARE YOU?"

More pieces.

Big pieces.

Sections.

We turned the corner into the powder room to find him with orange safety scissors.

Up against more of his "yellow" hair!



"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"

He offered, "I'm cutting my hair.*  Reid says I look like a 'goyl'..."

*Now, for your frame of reference, it is helpful to note that this blonde hair has been the source of many conversations over the past couple years.  I'm on team "let's not cut it -- he has curls;" my husband...well, opposes that team, and often asks, "Can you please just cut his hair?  It's time..."  I resist.  Every.  Single.  Time.  


I surveyed the damage -- large chunk of bangs, missing; even larger chunk of hair from his left side, missing.  Noticeably.

*Until this time...

"Tomorrow we'll get a hair cut after church.  This style needs some tweaking."

Together we shuffled over the living room carpet and also the wood floors to pick up the pieces.  My mind imagined the smaller little with one 'little boy cut.'


This morning, we tried to comb straggly strands of wispy blonde hair over the offending sections. The right side didn't hide the second bout with the safety scissors quite as well as we'd hoped.

So, as promised, after church we went for the long-awaited haircut.

The pieces fell to the floor, first large...and then small.  His 'do, shaped, in a way that only someone who truly knows how to cut hair, can.

"One little boy cut," Abigail proclaimed. She cleaned up his neck, preened his risky sections, and added, "I texturized it...you know, so it all blends in the best it can."

"I appreciate that.  You are really good at what you do.  Thank you."

We lifted the older-looking little boy from the car chair and stepped over the million little pieces toward the door.  Abigail began sweeping them into a pile.

A few minutes later, inside the car, Grant celebrated.  "Mommy, I like my hair."

"I do, too, Mr. Moo..."

Very grown up.


Write on,
b


Saturday, March 25, 2017

25: That snack...

You know how it feels to just want a snack.

The kind of snack that you should really just reconsider and not put that first delectable, delicious morsel inside your mouth.  The kind of snack with no nutritional integrity but instead a score of sinful adjectives...ooey, gooey, or salty, or sweet, or even salty and sweet together. The kind of snack that you'll regret later but can't seem to turn down....because...

That snack.  

Ree Drummond made that snack on this morning's episode of Pioneer Woman. Barely finished with breakfast I became obsessed with how quickly I might be able to get my hands on that snack.

So in rapid rehearsal, we got out the chocolate chips, flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and butter (so it would be room temperature).  We lined up the flour, salt, and baking soda next to an assortment of measuring cups and within reach of the Kitchenaid mixer.

We ran to Target for eight ounces of bagged perfection...

And then we went to town.

Half butter, half shortening (the secret)
brown sugar, white sugar

MIX

Vanilla, two eggs

MIX

Flour, soda, salt

MIX

Chocolate chips

MIX


Pause -- you think you know about this snack, don't you?  Yep; I did too.  I know all about this one. Could make it in my sleep.  But, that Pioneer Woman...you know she doesn't like to just hang with 'standard'.  She likes to make snacks homespun.  And hearty.

So, the next step invited us to get out a gallon-sized baggie and pour in the chips.  All of them.  (Well, except the handful we snitched for two reasons: a) because we do not buy chips at our house, and b) because we couldn't wait [refer to former reason]).  Then, we closed it up and took turns crushing them to medium-sized bits with the first little and smaller bits by the second little.

And then we poured half of them into the batter.  Half.

MIX

Note: I tasted the batter at this point just to ensure we were on the right track.

(Undoubtedly, yes.  That snack...)

Then, we used the cookie scooper to make nice, rounded spoonfuls that we plopped into the remaining clump of crushed chips and rolled them around before a toasty fifteen-minute trip into a 375-degree oven.

That snack.  

Golden. Crunchy.
Chippy. Chocolately.
Ooey, gooey.
Sweet, salty.








Beepbeepbeep.

The downfall to this recipe is what happened next -- waiting five minutes to remove the cookies from the baking sheet.









But oh -- with one bite many details disappeared
time, space,
propriety, objectivity
restraint, concepts of calories and weight
and were replaced by golden, crispy sweet-salty goodness, melty chocolate chips
in ooey-gooey batter.

That snack.

I texted my neighbor who responsibly spent the day working in her yard.  Want a chocolate chip potato chip cookie?

My doorbell rang two minutes later.  I answered with two perfect specimens tucked into my right hand.

We sat on the front doorstep and devoured that snack.



Write on,
b


P.S.  You know you want that snack too.  Here's the link to Ree's recipe...