Friday, August 26, 2011


The air is stifling. Hot, muggy. Like a wet woolen sweater that gets stuck when you try to pull it over your head. Stepping outside makes my sandals condensate and my ribs ache from breathing in.

It’s calm. The warm breeze is riffling through the leaves, dry and whispering secrets that they won’t tell me. It’s all a trick, a false serenity to lull us before the storm.

And the storm is coming. I feel it, like I’m at the top of a roller coaster, peeking down in that split second before chaos happens. That second where you think, "I changed my mind--!" The second right before the drop.

I’m waiting for the drop, trying not to fear. Trying not to freak out for my kids’ sake, who are watching me. Trying to ignore that there’s a mandatory evacuation for my city. Trying to stay calm, to breathe it in and not out, to hold onto it.

“...I know Whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him...”

I’ve entrusted Him my children.

I've entrusted Him my family.

I’ve entrusted Him my home.

I’ve entrusted Him my fears.

And in return, He gives me calm, before the storm.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Buckling Down

Irene is coming. Are we prepared? Nope. Am I scared? Yep. I had about 6 different dreams last night, all involving dire consequences of the storm... flooding... month long power outages... my house being looted and someone stealing all my books... my kids screaming in terror as our windows shattered.

So this morning I went and did what every sensible person on the East Coast is doing: I bought batteries.

I bought Ds, and AAAs and AAs. And I bought a pack of mini LED flashlights for my kids.

And it all cost me $55. For batteries.

But at least now I'm prepared, right? 

What are you doing to prepare for Irene?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Princess Syndrome

Someone asked me recently how I felt about Chloe starting school. Was it bittersweet? Did I think I would cry? I thought about that for a few minutes, and then gave my honest answer:

“Chloe is a middle child. While that doesn’t make her any less special, it does somehow deaden the milestones. I cried when Ashton started kindergarten. He was my first. And I know I’ll cry when Atleigh starts. She’ll be my last. But Chloe is... well, middle. I’ve done that. I’ll do it again.”

Wrong answer, apparently. I was immediately submitted to a barrage of uneasy chuckles and gasps of outrage. And then came the advice: Don’t ever let her hear you say that, make sure she always feels special, middle children can tend towards acting out if you don’t make sure you take time for them, etc, etc, ad nauseam.

Chloe has answered to a great many nicknames in her short life. Chlo-Chlo, the Chlo-ster, Chloe-Bug, Chloe Noey (A derivative of her middle name, Noelle)... but the name she answers to the most, and the most willingly, at that, is Princess. When I was pregnant with her, Jeremy and I decided we would never call any daughter of ours “Princess”. It was cliche, obnoxious, gave off the impression of spoiled brattiness. Well. We took one look at her, 2 minutes old, and cried, “She’s such a little Princess!!!” The name stuck, obviously.

Chloe is my easiest child. She slept through the night at 3 days old. You read that right. 3 days. She’s my helper. She makes her own bed, folds her clothes, puts her shoes away. Almost always puts her dishes in the sink. Of course, she’s far from perfect. Her squeal could shatter glass, and she’d rather tattle on someone and have them get in trouble than deal with the issue herself. She can be manipulative. But she’s... soft. Sweet. Genuine.  She is so, so special.

She also knows that she knows that she knows that she is a Princess. There’s never been a doubt in her mind. If anyone ever tried to convince her otherwise, they’d have a healthy argument on their hands. She walks like she owns the earth: shoulders back, head held high. I’ve raised her to understand and believe her value. I hope I have. And I hope that my referring to her as “a middle child” won’t undo that value in her mind.

I mean, honestly. Does this look the like the face of a girl struggling with middle child syndrome?

And, in case you were wondering, I proved myself (and my advice givers) wrong: I am not a soulless monster with a wicked stepmother complex. I definitely, definitely cried yesterday.

Friday, August 19, 2011

So Long, Summer

After weeks of griping about it, it appears that all my murmurings and mutterings have caught up with me... summer is officially over. Well, for our family, anyway. It seems like it’s only been a week since I wrote about the beginning. Has it really been almost 3 months?

You’ll be happy to know that all the myriad crayons, pencils, glue sticks, scissors, and folders have been properly labeled... the Mario backpack was found, and both backpacks are packed and sitting on the floor by the front door, ready to be grabbed in the midst of the early morning rush. Orientation is over, teachers have been met (incidentally- Ashton’s 2nd grade teacher taught Jeremy in 5th grade. One wonders why she’s still teaching after that...), and classrooms located.

As for me, I’ve said my goodbyes to summer, with only a little regret. I’d like to give a little nod to all the things that have helped make this summer happy for me:

These albums, which have been my summer soundtrack:

  Songs worth repeating:
North Country Blues
Boots of Spanish Leather
Songs worth repeating:
Marching Bands of Manhattan
Brothers on a Hotel Bed
Songs worth repeating:
Don't Worry Baby
God Only Knows
Songs worth repeating:
Deep Cries Out
Songs worth repeating:
Still Saving Me
Immortal Invisible
Songs worth repeating:
My Father's Father
20 Years
Songs worth repeating:
Perfect Opening Line
Star, Star
Songs worth repeating:
Walking Far From Home
Godless Brother in Love
Songs worth repeating:
Sun and Moon
Heaven Fall Down
Songs worth repeating:
Songs worth repeating:
A Stick, A Carrot, and String
The King Beetle on a Coconut Estate

My constant staple- solid colored layering camis... they got me through the sweltering heat:

I’ve read too many books to count this summer, but here are a few that stuck with me, requiring extensive discussion, and in some cases, rereading:

Summer wouldn't be
summer without my
friend Elizabeth.

There are 3 in this
series currently out.
Nothing better than
hot faeries, right?
This book reminded me
a little of The Shack. I
definitely recommend

My mom lent me these
from her Kindle. I read
the whole 6 book series
in 3 days. And then re-
read them. No joke.
Another childhood staple.
This book (series- there are
5 so far) required exten-
sive midnight discussions
with my brother Ben.
I really think Stephanie
and I could be BFF's.

These movies:

Let's just say I have
a healthy interest in
The Avengers now.
I liked the first one better.
Well, you all know how
I feel about this one. I
wrote a whole blog
about it.
I don't think I even need
to say anything concern-
ing Captain Jack.
I read this book last summer,
and couldn't put it down.
The movie was
incredible. I shouldn't
have even bothered
wearing makeup.

And finally, some of my favorite photos from this summer (if you've already seen some of these, bear with me. There's a reason they're my favorites) :

So thanks, Summer, for making me smile. See you next year.

Now bring on Christmas!!!