Thursday, July 14, 2016


The catch all ketchup post, summer's a flyin':

Fancy Family Dinner
Because, we had gift cards, Because, our children will SIT through a dinner out now. Score! Winner dinner.

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing
Oh children literature, you speak to me. This page fed my soul on a recent afternoon.

First week of summer/annual night away-at-home/last week of School
Besides some vision migraines (goodness, I thought I was enjoying the week and doing well?! Body said, um no, sorry, you're stressed) we soaked in the last week of school: class girl playdate, Shakespeare Faire (yes, that's how they spell it). Sweet times. Oh, and Memorial Day weekend our kids went to the lake and we picked them up a day later . . . spent our away at home time at temperament counseling, Tay's birthday party and Trev going on an 8 mile run at 10pm. Because, that's what he does.

"Being in a new place helps break the stiffness of the daily grind . . . " (from Happy Wives Club)
Left early the day after school ended for Park Rapids, the annual reunion and extended vacation. Love! Good times, laughs and my fave: Elodie cuddles. Oh that girl, she is precious and snuggly and sleepy and sweet. Loved getting to know her better. Time with "Izzy", headwaters of the Mississippi, girls' coffee date, boat ride to watch a baby loon on its mother's back, ice cream shop, dining together, celebrating 60th birthdays. Terrific togetherness.

"Camping" & Twin Time
With the Dierkers. We are so thankful the invite us to invade their camping space, go swimming, do dinner over the fire . . . thanks, framily and Happy Birthday dear Eliza! I left early to go hang with my bro and his darling children. Oh those babies, heart melty-ness all the time. Being an aunt is such bliss.

12 on the 12th

Wedding Anniversary, that is. Our usual dinner out to Pig ate My Pizza, always satisfies. The day of we did a pizza picnic with the kids, just right. Karis so gets me and gave me the gift of asking every so often that day: "And what were you doing right now?". Yes, reminisce with me! Thankful for this covenant commitment, we're learning more about each other always and growing up together during each new life season.

And because I want to remember:

Lovely intersection of fact and fiction, our anniversary weekend I was in the middle of Joy Comes in the Morning, reading the story of the beginning of a marriage and their reminiscing of coming together . . . helped me get into that nostalgic mode of remembering with joy the journey we've been on so far.

And then fact and nonfiction, I started Happy Wives Club and she nailed it:
"He loves me far more than I have earned. His nature is so much better than mine, and I feel as though I will never compare. I've always known this. What I work so hard to accomplish in my personal life comes with great ease in his . . . "

"creating a happy marriage starts with choosing the right spouse"

"no one is perfect and we all have work to do. Onward . . ."

And then that night my dear sister friend A sent a quote she heard from a priest about marriage - he was speaking to a couple celebrating 70 years. Wow.

And weeks later (but still in June) from So Many Africas:
"We all come to each other the same way, clear and wrapped onto the styrofoam try of our own past. There is such ignorance in young marriage. We think we see, but there are clear layers still to be unwrapped"

Swimming Lessons
Karis passed, I was so thrilled to watch her progress. And crazy randomly ended up meeting some new friends . . . the only other mom in the bleachers was there with her 3 1/2 year old son, watching her olders swim. Kindred spirits, had some great talks, Judah and his buddy played with cars, and we all celebrated graduation swimming-ending-success with McDonald's ice cream.

Cousin Stay & Father's Day
Super summer weekend, got to have dear cousin A and C here for an evening on the deck (they jump roped with the kids); the next day had Father's Day here, great grilling and convo with some in town fam. We celebrate you, Trevor - oh wise and gentle and kind father you are. I love watching the kids pummel you when you get home, cuddle with you (and Calvin & Hobbes) before bedtime, Judah mowing the lawn with you, Karis crawling up on your lap, your Sunday dates with her to read. You enter their world with understanding and compassion, you rock it with ease.

Grandma Camp
Super. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. The best. Middle of the week, Alexandria, Gma N and Great Gma C. A fave memory, Judah looking at us downstairs and saying, "I have to go upstairs and play with Grandma Carole!". We relaxed, the kids swung, went to the beach to "swim" (read: me watching everyone else do things - mom refresh), grandmas' brought the vittles and the care and the laughs.

Potty Training Party
It happened. Judah Rudah just needed a chance - a couple weekend days sticking close to home,  lots of juice, birthday suit, potty chair in the kitchen, with daddy here to lead the process (you rocked it, Trev!). I made the plan, prepped my team, blocked off the weekend and . . . by noon on Saturday (note: I was gone part of the morning and for most of the accident time) Judah totally got the hang and ever since has only had a few accidents. We tried to make the weekend fun so had friends over to grill and took a "wear underwear and see if this works" trip to see those cute cousins. If you want the dirty details, this dude does 2 right when he wakes up, in his diaper. Not worried. Yay for waiting until 3.5yrs!

Second Tooth
It happened. Sunday night of the all-eyes-on-Judah potty party weekend. Sweet little lady padded down after being tucked in: "Um, I think I need to lose this tooth?" So Trev stuck his fingers on that wiggly thing and yanked it. And, it was the sweetest thing. K and I cuddled on the couch waiting for the blood to stop flowing, she chatted, she got our full attention, we made a forever memory. Grateful.

Homeschool Preschool
Pretty random, usually happens on our rare "nothing" days . . . Karis takes the lead. A fave was the letter "V", we did a volcano, a nature walk, painted pinecones. Ahhhh, summer.

July 4th
Stars and Stripes and church outside by a lake and kids tubing with Trevor and relaxing and laughing and Karis making the traditional "happy birthday America cake" and togetherness. A fave was watching the sunset on the dock with my parents and Karis and glimpsing a few fireworks - Karis (probably for the last year the wool will cover her eyes) thought she got to see the finale. Which in a way, breaks my heart and in a way melts it.

Night Away-at-Home/Mommy Vacation/Gparent Camp
Always hard to leave, always good. Trev and I came back here and the kids stayed at the lake for another full day-o-fun: park, DQ, petting zoo, Peanuts movie. Love. Trev worked and I - I will tell you what I did. I rested and read great books and watched an awesome movie and I enjoyed the sound of silence.

Read this and then understand why I don't feel bad about that:
"Like every mother on the planet, from the moment my first baby entered the house, I stopped getting real sleep. Motherhood means I'm always a little bit awake, a little bit alert at all times. One eye open." (from Year of Yes)

Only when my littles are out of my orb can I fully relax - and then I have no choice, I crash. I will say I'm working on doing little refreshes throughout the day . . .  and you know I'm grateful for this life and these precious ones that are in my care. I'm also to a fault "all in", not a relaxed person by nature and . . . growing, always growing.

Oh, and then I picked up Trev and we went to our special spot, Bar La Grassa and then we zoomed home to beat a storm - stopped on the way to get ice cream and Star Wars. So fabulous. And then next morning my house got clean, which truly was so fun. And then . . .

Twins game, so fun
And Disney Store for kids and haircuts for ladies and no cooking . . .

And then the Pope clan continued the party with fun gatherings here there and everywhere: literally here, Tay/Kate's, fun restaurants, and a wedding reception at the Arboretum that was totally unique and wonderful. We're so thankful for so much amazing family who come here to spend time with us.

Trev's Birthday
Not exhausting! Perhaps he figured me out, that making a big deal of birthdays brings me joy and makes me really tired. So we spread out the celebration (I am a Pandolfo, you know, and love this part of my fam!) . . . I gave my full attention to watching the latest Star Wars, rented Guardians of the Galaxy for evening viewing (not full attention from me), root beer floats, the day of he got a card and his favorite powerade and gum and a coupon for a Saturday of me joining in organizing the basement. He lit up. Ha! Karis made him ginger cookies and the kids wrote cards and "hid" them in the mail box. He came home early to kayak with Judah and then we did a fam of four dinner at Milton's (great success, kids sat and were so distracted by the surroundings they barely talked). Trev, we adore you and love exactly who God has made you. Wise and humorous and adventurous and rational and renaissance man and music loving and sci-fi devouring and faithful and committed and loving and gentle and . . . thank you for sharing your life with us. We celebrate you!

Things are real here, people. I'm writing the good stuff. If you're reading this and thinking . . . "must be nice". IT IS. I'm deeply grateful for this season and I'm trying to live it to the fullest. AND there is zero perfect here. Note that I write this during my happy time - early in the morning. Coffee. Podcast (Sorta Awesome, you have to try). Have you heard the term "Threenager?" It's a thing and it stretches me to new heights of self control (or lack thereof, depending on the day). I'm thinking once again about needs - what do we REALLY all need, so we can live and grow together in the fullest way possible.


Clara from Lonesome Dove said it well: "That's progress . . . Rome wasn't built in a day". HA

(referring to the boy she's raising as her own) "I won't have him spitting out food . . . the reason men are awful is because some woman has spoiled them. Martin's going to learn manners if he learns nothing else"

Unrelated to Clara also said it well:
"I got to have sweets, at least," she said, eating a piece of of cake before she went to bed, or again while she was cooking breakfast. "Sweets make up for a lot".

Amen, sister Clara.

Pay Attention
Oh books, oh the Word. Always wild. Two books, one morning, same verse referenced (So Many Africas and The Story of the Von Trapp Family)
"And the Lord said to Abram: Leave thy country and thy people, go out of thy father's house and come into the land which I shall show thee"

And then, again, in two places in one morning, Psalm 31:24
"Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord"


Judah - Country Mouse, City Mouse, Red is Best, Alexander and the Terrible . . . , Birthday for Frances, Thomas (old school - 1980's version), Miles of Smiles
Karis - Betsy Tacy & Tib, Kirsten, Kit, Boxcar Children, Cody and the Mysteries of the Universe, Ramona and her Father
Trevor - The Trail Wars of the West, 
Andrea - Present, Rising Strong, Joy Comes in the Morning, Happy Wives Club, Lessons from Madame Chic, So Many Africas, Astonish Me, Raising Kids up Without Tearing them Down, The Story of the Von Trapp Singers, Year of Yes

- "Ahhhhhh mommy! We're going on our first midnight errand to see Uncle Stevie!" (really just an impromptu after dinner meet up . . . 6:15 pm to be exact)
- "Ohhh look that other fish is coming, he must be jealous!"
- "I was just too tempted, Mommy, I cut a piece of my hair" (I think I suspect why - we had just that afternoon looked at pics of her haircut that resulted from her cutting her own hair)
- "Momma, is it Midsummer Night's STREAM or DREAM? . . . .oh, I thought it was STREAM?"
- "I'm going to be really sad when school is over"
- "I wanna be a teacher someday. A kindergarten teacher"
- "Is that your blog?"
- "I wish on a day like this people could just be naked" (when it was 90 degrees and humid and yuck)
- "Is Marco a boy or a girl? How can you tell?"
- "Momma, is there a only a daddy longlegs or are there mommy longlegs too?"
- "Oh no, you have to make sure they're all getting some!" (while feeding goats at the petting zoo)
- "Momma, it's kind of disgusting, but we got to see a bug go 2"
- "Food trucks aren't my favorite . . . I like to have a roof over my head when I'm eating" (I laughed so hard)
- "Whyever in the world can't Grandpa Kirk come with Gma?"

Judah Jabbers:
- "Thank you for the day!"
- "I want french fries and chicken hands!" (at a restaurant, after I had asked if he wants chicken fingers or a cheeseburger)
- "I just took him apart - I made him die!" (talking about an inchworm)
- "Mommy get new hair!" (said in tone that meant - Mommy your hair looks different please put it back the old way)
- "We're having life group tonight? I'll play with my friends! Judah Moon, Evangeline Moon, and also might there, baby Bella!"
- "I'm wearing conductor pants!"
- "I'll be the conductor! Joshua can ride the caboose!"
- "I'm playing Bob Dylan!" (when he got K's mp3 player to turn on)
- "Yes, Karisee can borrow it for a few minutes!"
- "Is daddy lawn mowering? Is he trimmering?"
- "WHERE'S DADDY!!!!????"
- "We're going camping?" (yes Judah, you can think that we are camping when we simply visit friends at their campsite)
- "Read with two hands, mommy!" (Karis was always like this also at his age, funny)
- "I love daddy. He's my favorite"
- "Well sure, you bet I can!" (when K asked for his help with something)
- "I'll potty train after 5 naps!"
- "I have to go potty!"
- "I don't WANT to!"
- "Excuse you, mister!" (while trying to get past me in the kitchen)
- "Are you Judah's daddy?" (said to Trev)
- "Let's read 'Chumbo Bar'!" (what he calls Birthday for Frances, because they talk about a chumbo bar lots)
- "Are we going to have dinner at hotbelly's?"
- "Let's get more bananas to make banana pancakes! And we can listen to the song . . ." (one of our new fave breakfasts, thanks to Uncle J!)