Tuesday, November 28, 2023

6 Yeti cups

I watched the patterns of that steam rise off our tea cups this cold morning with the sun as the backdrop; quite beautiful! I love getting up early each morning, making tea in 6 Yeti cups, setting out biscotti and then waking the boys to start their day. This morning, though, the miracle of those 6 cups lined up next to one another stood out to me. 

I've been given these 5 people to live alongside. Everyday I am changed by that fact and I am thankful. Because we spend life together, we annoy, disappoint, and pester one another and we know exactly how to be the worst part of each other's day. Yet, we also know how to love, encourage, build up and build into each other because we know deeply about one another.  

There's a little bit of crazy in this household - the chaos that isn't mastered by any kind of order. The granola bar nailed to a tree by the front door. The legos in the disposal. The constant stream of fixations that Lochlan brings to the table and our responses to them. The raft sitting in the living room "just because". The horse that periodically comes into the house. The laundry basket that is never not full. The driveway gate that refuses to stay on it's hinges. The kid who shows up for an outing with one foot fully shod and the other fully socked. The wild hair of a 9 year old who has crawled out of bed fully dressed for the day - includes morning breath! The tools scattered around the yard as the 13 year old completes another creative wooden masterpiece. The horse reins used as a belt. The kitchen sink always full of dishes. The dirt - so much dirt everywhere. The dog hair on the carpet. The disgusting "boy bathroom". "Dr. Frankenraffe" the stuffed giraffe that lives in our house and owns one of my children. 

Please note that my stove has eyes and a tongue. 

The adventure is real. I will live in it fully, as I am able. These days will not last forever and I will not always be filling 6 cups of tea. I love those 6 cups of tea and what they represent to me. 

Sunday, November 26, 2023



4:00 AM. 23 degrees. I hadn't slept much that night, so in a way the early hour didn't feel that excruciating; not like trying to pull yourself out of a deep slumber. We threw on our hiking gear, forced down a snack and drove the 1 hour to the North rim trail head.

Krista and I had planned to do a memorial rim to rim hike for Daddy. We had both been training for it and had our hearts set on it. One week before the scheduled hike Krista developed tendonitis in her leg and her doctor strongly recommended that she not take on such a challenging hike. So, we set that dream aside for another time, and I was really sad about it, honestly. 

The following day I was talking with my friend, Casey, who was the barista making my coffee at my favorite coffee shop that morning. She said, "Eryn, I would love to do that hike with you!" I knew she would be the perfect hiking buddy because a short time ago, she completed a 491 mile hike in Colorado over 36 days!!! She has always wanted to do this hike as well. It was such an unexpected blessing, for both of us. 

So, Kris dropped us off at the trail head in the morning darkness, around 5:30. The first 1/4 mile was pretty dicey as there were patches of ice and snow, but once we dropped down a bit the trail was completely clear. In less than an hour the light was good enough to turn off our headlamps and see the canyon's glory. It was completely breathtaking in the dawn light. 

What draws people to the canyon? It's not just the absolute grandeur and magnitude of the place... it is the subtle beauty of the color in the canyon walls, the clear water that pours out of crevices and into creeks that lead to the river, it is stories that the canyon walls whisper, it is the wild animals that call it home, it is all the things that cannot be summarized with words but that fill us if we stop to listen. It is a place where we are forced to recognize our vulnerability and how finite our existence is. 

Mountain sheep! 

Wee tiny deer. 

Casey and I hiked approximately 25 miles in 10 hours. I looked out, over the canyon so many times that day, and thought of Daddy. I know he and Mom shared a love for that place. I'm thankful that I've been given the opportunity to come to understand it, even a little. 

Our only hiccup was a blister I developed at mile 23 on my left heel. The last 2 miles were painful with each footfall and by the time we exited I had blood in my shoe. That sure didn't put a damper on our exhilaration at the top! We got out at 3:30, bought a R2R sticker in the gift shop and celebrated the wonder of a truly wonder-filled day! This memory I will treasure always. 

These trails that we follow... the trails of those gone before us. 

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Guns in the dishwater

"Please do not put your guns in my dishwater!"


There are so many things I never thought I would say. Back when we belonged to the DINK (dual income no kids) category, life was simply... well, simpler. For the first 9 years of marriage, we faced our fair share of challenges, but in 4 major ways, life wasn't as complicated or as full. 

Today, this day of Thanksgiving, I spent the majority of the day watching - really watching - and absorbing all that was going on around me. I was in the kitchen preparing stuff for the Thanksgiving meal, but I had my eyes and ears on the smallish humans that were busy being busy about me. 

Declan's puns DO NOT STOP and he just subtly drops them in response to almost everything that is said. I asked him to vacuum the floor and he took over 1 hour to do so because he was thorough and unhurried. He was listening to his audio book while he worked but it didn't distract him from doing an incredible job. At one point, I frustrated him today because I took out my frustration in a way I shouldn't have. I asked him to forgive me for being unkind and for treating him in a way that I should not have treated him. He laid his head on my shoulder and said, "Of course I forgive you. You're allowed to make mistakes." Unconditional love... it's beautiful. 

Kelton has walked over at least a dozen times today to kiss me - on my shoulder, on my hand, on my cheek, or on the top of my head if I happened to be bent over to do something. He helped me make cookies, bread and even the turkey. He looked at me this evening and said, "Mom, this was a really great day. I just loved every minute of it." Happy little heart. 

Lochlan followed me around, taste testing everything he could. He pointed at the oven and said, "Turkey ready?" for over 3 hours. He was in a wonderful mood until I told him not to eat the chocolate pie. Then, he melted, but only for a couple moments because honestly there was just so much else to anticipate! He looked at the mountain tonight while we were outside waving goodbye to everyone after dinner. He grabbed my hand and said, "Pretty". The sky was beautiful with pinks and oranges and yellows, but his appreciation for it was extraordinary!  

Madigan tackled one wood project after another wood project all day long. His mind is full of ideas and inventions and his abilities are not far behind his creative mind. It's exciting to see all that he is capable of. He was frustrated to the point of tears when he attempted to dedicate some time to teaching Declan how to properly row a raft. Declan was disinclined to acquiesce to his request. The man (Madigan) was quite put out! We talked for a while about the temptation to be bossy and in charge... he reluctantly agreed that he may have some tendencies in that direction. 

It's another day; a holiday, but the magic of the ordinary filled my heart this day.