Thursday, April 28, 2016

Is it true? Is it true? Is it true?

As I sipped my morning coffee, Paugie tapped my arm and said, "Mama, is it true? Is it true? Is it true?" "Is what true, my dear boy?" "Is it true that you are the queen?" I'm not sure where you gleaned that information, but... let's just say yes. For today. :-)


We've been battling the flu for weeks, and I started to feel pretty hopeless at the beginning of this week as yet another day was passed in complete worthlessness for the majority of us. We've suffered in a fair degree of luxury, however, resting in hammocks in the shade on sunny days. Madigan even mastered the art of barfing over the side of the hammock, with relative ease and none of that unnecessary rush to the bathroom.

I lay very still on the couch, feeling strong enough to close my eyes and do absolutely nothing. Within minutes, I was surrounded by a pile of boys, all laying closely next to me. One was above my head stroking my hair, one behind me sandwiched between me and the back of the couch, one on top of me and one curled up at my feet. They stayed in their respective places for over 30 minutes and I felt so incredibly rich. These tender hearts are so full of love which they give freely in each of their unique ways and in every place in which they find themselves.

Lest you be concerned that this household is one reflective of peace and harmony alone, be assured we have an abundant share of squabbles in the ranks (usually followed up with some quality solo time for each squabble participant) and Mama meltdowns. As each day passes us by, our weeks are filled with all that is life, both ugly and beautiful. In this flu-filled week we finally received a clean bill of health for the beloved Scottish Terrier who manages this family, after an almost 13 week battle with pneumonia. Wahoo! In the same week, we managed to kill Mama's computer with a prodigious helping of hot tea (thank you Shmelty Caleb).

We have nearly beaten this beast that has ailed us and today is another sunny day. So, here's to more hammock happiness and the running of little feet that finally have the energy to carry on the famed dump truck races.

Pics from this week: 

Happy Girl

Paws up! Pneumonia free! 

Flu therapy

Basking in sunshine and the wonder of baby chicks

 was able to talk the redhead into a nap

Valiant and "her babies".

Beauty surrounds us - love the springtime flowers

Kelty got his first boo boo requiring a bandage. "Broken" toe (skinned the tip of it). 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Remodeling our fixer upper

This was our basement before. It had filthy, 20 year old carpet, florescent lights, holes in the ceiling, stains on the walls from former water leaks, and the pungent smell of mold. 

The outside of the house had white paint of various shades. 

Madigan and I removed a large shelving unit and then Madigan, Declan and I ripped up the carpeting, with the assumption that there would be mold underneath. Upon doing so, we discovered that there wasn't any obvious mold, but there was a layer of 40 year old linoleum that was badly chipped and aged. I chipped up the remaining flooring and found black mold covering the concrete beneath. After getting it all up, I sealed it with an oil-based sealant and we prepared to paint. The boys grabbed their rollers and the floor transformation began! 

Off with the old (room) and on with the new (room)! 

We set up the little corner with books and an Edison lamp. 

Lastly, we painted the outside of the house to match a color in the bricks, as well as the front flower bed and sidewalk. 

chicks and giggles

My gang. 

Hangin' out in the hammock. 

Those brothers love each other. 

The Scot that manages our household. 

Tea time with Mama, in the hammock. 

First-born's solution for a runaway grocery cart (bungie cord).

Chick love. 

These babies have been held at least 200 times each, in the past 2 days. 

The nursery. 


Saturday, April 16, 2016


Ultimate problem solver. Leader of the band of bros. Determined.

You are a creative problem solver, offering solutions to any obstacles you encounter, be they imposed by your surroundings, your parents, your brothers or by mishaps of the universe. You are eager to roll up your sleeves, work hard, and to bring about great change to things that need it (like this old Fixer Upper house we call home). You gallop through your day, inspiring the rest of us, as we feel the wind of you passing by us. You care for your brothers with fierce loyalty and love. Today I saw you tear down a hill on your sled, with no regard to danger, showing the world that you are ready to take on the challenges it dares to throw your way. A minute later, you picked up one of your new baby chicks, holding it tenderly and speaking softly to it. How can one person be so much?! You truly are my Bundle. 

Perceptive. Kind. Gentle Paugie. 

As you sprayed me with the hose you were supposed to have turned off many moments before, your horror was so perfectly blended with your complete delight. You passionately love your Mama, Daddy and brothers. You ferociously defend yourself and others against (usually correctly) perceived injustice. You build intricate train tracks for your trains and creative machines out of legos. You are always available to snuggle and give a hearty hug. You are completely beloved to me. 

Scientist. Thinker. Loves prodigiously. 

I looked into your bleary eyes, and you reached for me, imploring me to hold you tightly and kiss your sickness away. Within minutes of rocking you in the hammock, you were fast asleep. An hour later, your eyes opened and were bright and full of joy. When you realized I was still holding you, you laid your curly head on my chest and held my hand tightly in yours. Please let me pause and keep these moments through the expanse of time that will inevitably separate us, even just in seasons. You are ever experimenting, testing the bounds of nature (gravity, mostly) and exploring the possibilities to decipher what is acceptable and unacceptable (to the parental figures). You, I treasure. 

Inquisitive. Expressive. Unstoppable. 

I stripped you of your ringing wet clothing (thank you big bros) and wrapped you up in your blue blanket, and you smiled at me and exclaimed "Whhhhheaaayahhh!", which I think means, "I love this!" Watching you mimic your brothers, drive your dumptruck around at full gallop (sometimes to the detriment of your body), test the lines that have been drawn for you to thrive within, and throw yourself at every possibility with boundless enthusiasm, I am speechless - in awe and delightful wonder. 

Photo credit to Gwenn McCaleb