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Monday, June 11, 2018

June so far

A highlight of our week---2018 MJ Dance Recital!  These two were fabulous!  

Our first week of summer was a win.  We settled in, not really with any sort of rhythm but it's coming and that feels great.  Lucy had a camp last week, the older girls worked on figuring out how much to sleep in and how to manage their time so they both feel free and not like total slobs :).  I had one last work commitment last Friday and so now I also feel like summer is here!  I'll still work some but with a lot more freedom until the girls go back to school.  Yay!

A few more moments from last week...

A great visit with Grandpa Bill full of grocery store trips, tons of laughs, a paper map, card games,  a dessert challenge, and driving in St. Louis traffic on a Thursday night! 

 A nice family lunch (Emma was there...her head is just hidden by Kevin's!) after the dance recital.  

Lucy has not stopped reading since summer has started!  I came upstairs this week and found her standing and reading.  She is nearly always on the move so standing and reading makes a lot of sense for her!

Emma and Eleanor are running this summer! Emma even tackled  a loop of the park with me on Saturday!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Summer 2018 is here!

It feels like summer!  We had a really nice weekend of relaxing and enjoying beautiful weather and time to do whatever we pleased.  And this morning, I'm enjoying a cool morning in the back yard while the girls get to sleep in!  We've had no rushing, not a bit!

A favorite summer ritual which I started last year- each morning after I work out I sit in the back yard for an hour or so with my coffee and computer getting caught up on work or reading.  AHHHH!  

One afternoon last week we held our annual summer summit where we lay out the summer calendar,  figure out some ground rules and talk about our hopes for the season.  It sounds pretty official but really it's not.  It's just a time to connect and think about how to have a great summer!    Mostly summer for us is just about extra time to do things we love.

Doing whatever we love sometimes means giving mom a heart attack!  I am really proud of her for getting that back handspring though.  That girl is a hard worker!

Part of our summer summit was a conversation about rebooting our family blog!  We're all pretty excited about it since this is essentially a family scrapbook and the last few years as I've been figuring out how much to share without giving up confidences it's been awfully quiet.  And you know life right now in our house is not quiet!  So much good stuff is going on!  Emma and Eleanor each want to try out blogging here.  From time to time they each want to write about something--no telling what.  I'm looking forward to writing here again, too!

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Again this year I'm doing the Rethink Church Lenten Photo A Day Challenge.    

February 14- Spirit

Yesterday Lucy and I got ashes at the Cheshire Starbucks, where the McCausland site pastor, Matt Fulmer was stationed. She was a little apprehensive about the ashes.  
Matt told her about the significance of the ashes, about our human imperfection, about how much God loves her and is always there for her.  
Lucy lost her apprehension.  She happily accepted prayer and ashes.
And then I asked these two for their picture because in the moments Matt spoke to Lucy and Lucy listened, I felt the Spirit move.

February 15-Water

Unfortunately I have no actual picture from today.  But this picture in some ways represents what I wish I'd taken a picture of.  This morning I had coffee with two women from our church who serve as reading mentors.  They are in the late 50s and early 60s.  We spent an hour and a half sharing stories, laughing, and being together.  They are joy and energy.  Their lives are full and rich and interesting and remind me of what can be.  
This afternoon, I had lunch with Lucy's piano teacher.   She is 8 years younger than me.  We spent an hour and a half sharing stories, laughing and being together.  She has three little boys and is in the midst of big decisions.  Some of the exact same big decisions I found myself working through just about 8 years ago.  She is joy and energy.  Her life is full and rich and interesting and reminds me of what was.  
This was water for my soul.  Being with women who share a lot with me and yet are in different places. 
And this is why the picture of above sums that up.  My 14 year old daughter marching alongside an 81 year old woman.  
Women are amazing!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Summer Camp Day 1

Before the sun was up this morning Kevin, Emma and Eleanor headed to Wisconsin.  The girls are going to be away from home at a summer camp, nearly 10 hours away, for the next two weeks. 
This is a new thing for us.  
So exciting.  

This morning as they were getting ready to depart, Eleanor (whimpering) said, "What was I thinking in the winter when I signed up for this?!  I can't do it!"  
I know that feeling.  That questioning of your strength, that doubt of your ability.  
But I also know Eleanor and Emma. 
 I told her, that her February self knew what her July self was forgetting.  That she is strong and wise and so brave.  And that sometimes doing really scary things gives us the push to grow into who we are meant to be.  

I'm praying that tonight the girls are busy singing and having a camp fire, and meeting some friends.  Or at a minimum not balling their eyes out.

With the older girls away, Lucy and I are going to be keeping ourselves quite busy!  We started our day with a trip to Kingdom House where we got to participate in the opening activities for their summer program and then Lucy took over the Executive Director's Office!  She has big plans!


Christy came by for lunch and we had a good visit with her.  Then we walked to the doctor, where Lucy received an excellent bill of health.  We stopped by Schnucks on the way home, baked some banana bread, made tuna casserole for dinner, planned a tea party, and had a marathon FaceTime call with Grandpa Bill.  
It was a good day.


I'm already excited to have this little crew back together again!

Sunday, June 4, 2017


If I had any doubt that it was summer, I've become certain this morning.  It's 9:52 and all 3 of our girls are still asleep!

Lucy did this for nearly 3 hours last night.  After doing this 

in the afternoon which followed having a couple of friends over earlier in the day.   
So much summer fun!

The older girls are having a great start to summer, too.  They planned and oversaw a Moana playdate for Lucy and her friends.  There has been baking, and swimming and of course reading, too! 
And summer just started at 1:15 on Thursday.  I have to say, this is my favorite summer start ever.

Eleanor finished elementary school on Thursday morning and will begin middle school in August.  Eleanor is all of the things this world needs more of.  She is quiet and calm where the world is loud and chaotic.  She is thoughtful and wise where the world is reactionary and shallow.  She is empathetic and kind where the world is judgmental and cold.  She sees the good and believes adventure await around every corner.   
I'm so grateful I get to be a part of her life!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Good bye, Agatha

It seems that somehow we've landed well into the season of Lent.  How quickly 2017 is passing!   I'm enjoying two different Lenten reflections each morning.  One is from the Ignatian Solidarity Network and another is from Portico Collective.  Both can easily be subscribed to and I highly recommend them as an simple anchor for each day.  

As a family, we've each chosen a fruit of the spirit to focus on and are hoping to find ourselves with a bit more of that quality showing on Easter morning.   I've chosen to work on self control.   I've given up desserts/sweets which is really allowing me to practice self control around every turn and except for a mishap with a fortune cookie (which I do not even like in the first place!) I've shown great self control in the area of desserts. Never mind that it's not even been a full two weeks yet!  Practicing self control has also helped with not checking in on the news with fevered frequency, which has done wonders for my peace.  

This year we also took the 40 bags in 40 days challenge.  You give/throw away 40 bags of things you don't need over the 40 days of Lent.   I'm pretty sure we've already hit the 40 bag mark.  It's been awesome!  I started planting the idea with my family in January, hinting that we all ought to watch the Minimalism documentary on Netflix while reminding them of how much fun it was when we were in Michigan last summer without much stuff.  So they were primed when I approached everybody about clearing out some things around the house.  We have cleared out bedding, clothing, books, as well as general junk in the basement.   And there's no end in sight!  Ok, there's probably an end in sight but the point is, it's going great.   Kevin and I have said we're not getting rid of stuff in order to make space for new stuff.    We're clearing stuff out because we don't need it, it doesn't bring us joy and it is actually having the opposite effect on us.  When we have too much stuff it owns us and our time.    It's actually pretty simple, we're keeping the stuff we love and use and need and the rest can go.  Which is how after 20 years I was able to give away a huge collection of Agatha Christie books today.  Those books took me many used book sales to collect.   But for years they've sat in boxes waiting for a time when I had the bookshelf space for them.  I don't want them anymore.  There was a time when the collecting and reading brought me joy and that is enough, they've served their purpose.  This afternoon, we donated the entire collection to a used bookstore.  Just the thought of some Agatha Christie fan like me coming upon those titles brings me a new wave of joy.  

Lucy is working on being peaceful.  She is really making an effort at choosing peaceful words and actions! 

Walking to school!
This afternoon Lucy played with our next door neighbor.  She was invited to stay for dinner and begged us to please let her eat with the neighbors because they were having BACON with their dinner!  Lucy is a reluctant vegetarian and has missed bacon so much this winter so we agreed :).  When she came home she told us all about a new toy her friend has.  And then she got out her markers and paper and wrote a note to the Easter Bunny asking him if he'd please bring her the toy for her Easter basket.  Kevin and I laughed and laughed.   The "we aren't getting new stuff to replace the old stuff" seems to be sinking in.  But no matter the talk, a six year old is still a six year old and that's a wonderful thing!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Heart of the Week

Presenting the Captain Elementary Heart of the Week!
Yes, her crown says Happy Birthday.  
No, it is not her birthday. 
Or even her half birthday!
Her half birthday is next week and I will be out of town so her teacher moved Lucy's celebration to today so I could be there.
I love kindergarten teachers!
Being Heart of the Week is a really big deal for the kindergarten set. 
You get to bring in a poster about yourself.
You get to share a special toy with your class.
And you wear a crown.  
It's a lot.

"My teeth are tap dancing."- Lucy Adelaide Baum, on the morning of 1/30/17 as she shivered on the way to school.

Poetry just might save us all.