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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.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Praying for our President....

“Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election!  Why didn’t these people vote?  Celbs hurt cause badly.” Donald J. Trump

Dear Mr. Trump,

I am one of those people and I voted.  Though you and I disagree on many things, you are my president and so I place great hope in your care of and love for our nation.  I believe in your power to be an agent of positive change.  I also believe that you are not the only one with that power.   I did not lose my voice when the candidate I voted for lost the presidential election. My personal beliefs did not suddenly wither and become one with yours.  I will not simply shrug and hope for the best. Oh no.  In the words of Fredrick Douglas, “I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs”.   Yesterday, along with my daughters and millions of others, I prayed with my legs.  As our president, I ask you to listen, to reflect and to pray on what it means when millions of people march. You have an opportunity and my hope is that you will use it for good.

Peace and Prayers,

In case you have your own thoughts to share you can- Email Mr. Trump here :)!

Saturday, January 21, 2017


When I heard about the Women's March I knew I wanted to go.  
I wanted to march because I needed to do something. 
I wanted to stand up for my girls. 
I wanted to stand up for my brother. 
I wanted to stand up for immigrants.
I wanted to stand up for Muslims.
I wanted to stand up for our planet. 
I wanted to stand up for myself.

Weeks ago, when I asked my older girls if they too wanted to go to the march,  Emma immediately did.  She has such strong feelings about our current situation.  At 13, she's far more informed than many grown Americans.  And so we've looked forward to this day for weeks.  Eleanor was less committed and thought she'd probably not join us.  
 Until last night when she changed her mind. As we drove to Schnucks to get posterboard I asked the girls why they wanted to march.  To the best of my memory here are their answers-

Emma-  There are so many reasons.  But if I choose just one, it has to be that I don't want to worry about being judged on my looks.    I shouldn't have to worry that I'm not pretty enough, that I don't wear makeup, that I don't care about fashion.  I want to be enough by just being who I am.  Boys shouldn't get to tell me how I need to be in order to be successful.  I'm smart and I have a lot of things I want to do.  

Eleanor- Well, that's kind of like mine but kind of not.  Mostly, I just don't want to change for anyone.  If I like fashion, that's ok.  If I like make up, that's ok.  But that's for ME.  I get to be whoever I am and nobody else should tell me that it's not ok.  I'm tired of hearing how girls should be.  How women should be.  We get to choose.  Nobody gets to tell us.  And just be kind.  That's important, too.  Just be really kind.

And so we marched.  
On a beautiful sunny morning.
A morning full of 

We rode to the march with friends.  With Hamilton playing, our excitement filled the minivan!

It was emotional.  So many people.  Babies, grandmas, grandpas, brothers, friends.  All marching in the same direction.

We met Tishaura Jones, who is running for St. Louis City Mayor. 

And then Claire McCaskill.  Which was pretty awesome!

The back of Emma's sign.  It says "Dumbledore wouldn't let this happen". 

I loved the girls signs!  All made and designed by themselves.  We all agreed for our next march (because there will be a next march) we need signs with holders!  

I love you, St. Louis!  

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hello 2017!

The last day of 2016 found us celebrating our New Year's Eve baby, Eleanor.  
She is quite an amazing kid.  
Let me tell you a story about Eleanor that captures the kind of kid she is.  
In mid December I was sweeping  the living room.  I realized as I bent down to collect all that I'd swept up that I'd not watered the Christmas tree even once since we'd gotten it.  So, since I was already down on the floor I reached into the tree stand hoping I'd find a little water still in there but to my surprise it was totally full!  Irritated I said, "Well shoot,  our tree stand is full of water!  It looks like we have another one of those trees that never drinks.  It won't be long before this tree is bare."  Eleanor rushed into the living room and said, "It's been drinking!  The stand is full because I keep watering the tree".  10 years old and she's watering the Christmas tree.  On her own.  No one asking her to, just thought it up on her own.  That's the kind of person she is.  Always looking around figuring out where she can be the glue.  This girl is a blessing for sure!

We celebrated with a couple of days at the Lake.  Lots of swimming, movies, lounging and time together.  So much fun!
Christmas was wonderful and the break was amazing.  For all I care it could have gone on and on and on....

But instead, today we returned to work and school and  I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with our showing today.  However, it's a good thing we just have two more days left in the week because we don't have a full week in us yet.  

I'm looking forward to 2017.  I have some goals and resolutions and I'm excited by the way I hope they shape the coming year.  Also, we now have a vegetarian (Eleanor) in our house so that will make at least part of 2017 a fun adventure!  

Some exciting things in January....
  • Kevin turns 41 :)  
  • Emma will play clarinet in a prestigious wind ensemble performance at a teaching conference at the Lake. She just made first chair in regular band and we are so proud of her.  She worked very hard for this!
  • Eleanor begins an Acro 4 class.  She is an awesome dancer and was asked by her instructor to move to a class that you ordinarily have to be 13 to take.  Eleanor knows this is really going to stretch her and she's excited which makes me excited!
  • Lucy is a reading machine!  Our whole family is having a great time with her reading and I know January will be a big month for her!
  • I found reading glasses at the dollar store yesterday!  I've needed them for a good three years.  They aren't perfect and they are seriously flawed in the looks department but they really helped me see tonight when Lucy challenged in me in a game of Guess Who.  
Here's hoping it snows so much tonight that we have a snow day tomorrow and we can sleep in as late as we want!  Though I'm setting my alarm fully expecting to be shoveling at 6:20 so I can get Emma to school by 7:10 :)!  No matter, I LOVE WINTER!