Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Seven is knees and elbows and awkward grownup teeth in a mouth that's not quite big enough yet.

Seven is staying up too late reading to yourself.

Seven is snuggling up next to me and being read to.

Seven is being picky about what you eat and having the verbal skills to explain exactly why you will not eat whatever gross stuff I'm serving.

Seven is finally understanding more than knock-knock jokes. (Our current favorite: Q: You know why seagulls are called seagulls?

A: Because if they flew over the bay they'd be called bay-gulls! ba-dunh-dunh!)

Seven is making your brothers and sister laugh at some of the silly things you do.

Seven is screeching when you suddenly change your mind and decide that whatever you just did isn't funny.

Seven is screeching. Alot.

Seven is wishing you had long straight hair so you could wear it in ponytails and braids and then crying over the reality that you have fairly curly and unruly hair that is best worn short.

Seven is enormous blue eyes that twinkle.

Seven is tight hugs that require grunts from both the giver and receiver.

Seven is still having a slight lisp--a lazy tongue--that makes you say your name Mary Rosth.

Seven is stubborn. Oh, so stubborn.

Seven is speaking your mind and telling others exactly how things are--feelings be damned.

Seven is loving Jesus with your whole heart and not understanding how others don't.

Seven is singing. And singing. And singing.

Seven is being willing to watch your brothers play video games just to be included with the big kids.

Seven is nervousness about the approaching school year with all of its changes: new school, new teachers, bus rides, school lunches, new friends.

Seven is me wondering where the time went, what happened to that sweet little toddler that carried her stuffed dog around by its ear.

Seven is me stunned by your insights and amazed at your intelligence. Seven is me held in awe at what you were and who you are becoming.
Seven is you wrapped up and bound in beautiful skin, a precious and unexpected gift from God that pushes me to my knees daily, delights me in improbable moments, and reminds me that God is good all the time.

Happy 7th birthday, Mary Rose! I love you.


P.S. You are my favorite Mary.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Florida: Beaches, Family, And Fourteen Year Old Crazy Girls

I really wanted to title this post "I Went to Florida and Got Stuck in My Swimsuit. Twice." but since a title is supposed to sum up what's written and getting stuck in my swimsuit (twice!) is only a fraction of what happened, I guess that would be an inaccurate title. I will tell the story of being stuck in my swimsuit (twice!), just not today. Today I'll just fill you in on the rest of the trip.

I drove to Florida with two 14 year old girls.

Really, I could stop there and you might have a pretty good idea of the trip, but since this is my blog and I can get as wordy and boring as I want to, I'll fill you in.

On the way down, I was worried about driving the whole way, so we stopped about half way and stayed in Athens, Alabama. It was there that we did the first of our Walmart stops. Seriously, friends, THREE stops in to Walmart in 24 hours. I've had my fill for a very long time. On the other hand, Walmart! In the South! (Note: In reality, Walmart in the South is exactly like Walmart in Indiana. I have a feeling that Walmart is the same the world over. They just started one and have been duplicating them and the people inside them ever since.)

It was here, in Athens, at the hotel where I first got stuck in my swimsuit. And it was because of this incident that the phrase "Ma'am? Ma'am? Are you engaging in inappropriate behavior in the facilities?" became a hilarious joke and an oft uttered sentence on the rest of the trip. It was also here that we discovered that Natty, (or Notorious, as I call her) the friend that Maggie brought along, talks in her sleep.

We also discovered that Alabama is a very long state. And it's made all the longer when you reach Florala and get stuck for an hour in traffic because everybody and their dog is headed to the beach for the weekend and apparently this is the only road that goes there. Or something.
On the upside, the girls were able to watch and I was able to hear half of the entire first season of LOST on DVD. Awesome! Entertaining! Scary, creepy music to drive to!

Once we arrived at our hotel in Destin and moved our 17 metric tons of crap--by the way, did you know that females have a tendency to overpack??--into the hotel, we headed to Walmart yet again. Good times. Then we went for a walk on the beach. Then we found some place to eat dinner. Then I expired on my bed.

The next day we went over to my sweet Aunt Bonnie's house.

I haven't seen her lovely face in eight (8!!!!) years. She strong armed invited my cousins over too, because I hadn't seen them in eight years either.
Turns out that they are all still very sweet and funny--just like I remember. We had a delicious meal and a good visit.

Then it was back to the hotel to hit the beach. That night the girls and I went for a walk at night to hunt for sand crabs. When they actually found one the size of a spider--an Indiana spider, mind you, not the enormous kind that only seem to breed in hotter climes--you would have thought that it was a giant crab hellbent on destruction for all the screaming and jumping and carrying on that those silly girls were doing.

Moments later, the girls ratcheted their screams up a notch when a passerby found a bigger one and brought it over for their inspection.
The young man even left it in their bucket. I think he might have been trying to flirt with them. I'm not sure the girls could see past the crab, however.

The next several days were spent at the beach, the pool, Goofy Golf (which my aunt's family recently sold and has been a wonderful Florida memory for me for years and years), the Gulfarium,

the pier,
and the movie theater--where we watched "Super 8". Great movie and especially great to see with my daughter who is easily freaked out. (There was a lot of ammunition to use after this movie, is what I'm sayin'.) We also watched a movie in our room--several, actually, because the hotel provided free, unlimited rentals. But the best was watching Liam Neeson get down with his bad self in "Taken." It was here that I introduced the girls to one of my favorite silly things to do during a movie--inserting the word "dammit" at appropriate and inappropriate times and sometimes stretching the word out with a Terminator-like voice--daaaammmaaaat! I fear I may have unleashed a monster upon the world with this. Sorry in advance if you are seated near Maggie or Notorious in a movie theater.

Almost all of our days there were red flag days, meaning that the surf or currents were very strong and caution should be used in the water.

These were the best days for riding the waves on boogie boards and body surfing, however, so we wore ourselves out.

We also found seashells for Mary Rose, who has a collection. And we watched a beach wedding from afar. I also discovered that it is best to wash your suit out after every wearing into the gulf, lest you wind up smelling like something that previously lived in the gulf but was found dead on the beach. Kinda wound up running into the water that day to get away from my own smell. You're welcome!

After spending nearly a week in Destin, we were ready for home and so we made the nearly 14 hour drive in one day. Maggie kept offering to help with the driving. I, wishing for us to arrive home alive, refused. Meanwhile, Natty found my camera and took pictures of herself for me to find later. Wunderbar!

We made it home safely and with no incidents--other than Maggie being grossed out by Waffle House and me losing the feeling in my butt from driving so long--and were met by my beloved and the other kids at 11:30 at night with hugs and kisses. We had a great time, but home felt really good, daaammmaaatt.

My favorite memories of the trip:

*Visiting Navarre with my Aunt Bonnie.

It's a beautiful, nearly pristine stretch of beach that my aunt says looks like it did when they moved to FL over 40 years ago. Simply lovely.

*Playing Goofy Golf with the girls and my Aunt.

*The video of Natty dancing in the Olive Garden bathroom. If I figure out how to get it posted I will. Until then, picture this: Upon entering her stall, Nat says, 'Wow! This stall is huge! You could have a dance party in here!' After exiting her stall, she sets up her iPhone in the sink and dances around to the piped-in muzak of Dean Martin. In the middle of the dancing, this brief conversation: Maggie (from inside her stall): Natalie?
Natalie: What?
Maggie: Are you dancing?
Natalie: (in an astonished tone): Nooo!
Then Natalie leans in close to the camera and chuckles silently and gives the grimace of a villain. Seriously awesome.

*Going to the Krispy Kreme factory store for breakfast and fearing after taking instagram shots that it is a front for the Russian mafia and leaving in a hurry.

*Seeing Nat freak out at trying to touch the horseshoe crabs at the Gulfarium.

*Watching the girls on the pier--including Nat, spitting at the fish and saying 'die fish, die!'.
Who knew that a girl who loves to swim in the ocean would be mortally afraid of fish? Believe me when I say that Maggie and I used this fear to scare Nat for our own entertainment.

We had a great time together. The girls were an absolute blast to be around. I think that the trip will be one that Maggie remembers fondly. I know I will.

Well, except for the getting stuck in my swimsuit (twice!) part.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


You are 10.

I have to say, that that was a decade that simply flew by. One minute you were a tiny, blonde newborn napping in the bassinet by the window to help clear up jaundice, and then I blinked and you were a curly-haired two year old who was running after his sister and brother trying to keep up with everything they did. When I blinked again you were five, missing your front teeth and just starting to sprout freckles across your face.
Then suddenly you were eight and full of both freckles and grownup teeth.

And now. Now you are ten.

Now you swagger around the neighborhood with your buddies. You tell tales of video game prowess, pro-wrestling scandals, spectacular skateboard crashes, and awesome bicycle races. You are a whirlwind.

You are always looking for the next thing to do, finding the next person to "hang with." You are a bike riding, Heely wearing, WWE loving, joke telling, baseball playing dude. Emphasis on the dude.

Except when you are not. Which is basically when you are sleeping. And somehow, you have adopted the sleep habits of your teen aged siblings ahead of puberty--staying up too late and sleeping in until it's almost no longer morning--worrying me about what will happen when you are actually a teenager.

You come downstairs in the morning, your curly hair flattened in spots by your pillow, with a blanket draped around your shoulders and you head right for me, to sit on my lap or give me a hug. You will never know how much I love this. I simply adore that you don't feel too big for my lap, too old to hug. I know this won't last. I know one day you won't try to sit on my lap. I know one day you will shrug off my hugs in embarrassment or haste. I am sucking every bit out of this time that I can, stock-piling hugs for the future.

You are starting to care more about what you wear, how you look. You have definite ideas about the clothes you like. Which is all the more puzzling since we have to threaten you to shower and we have to smell your breath to make sure you have actually brushed your teeth. (This is one of the parts of parenting that nobody speaks of, because frankly, if you tell a new parent that one day they will be smelling the morning-foul breath of their sweet little offspring to check for dental hygiene, they will never believe you.) I remember your brother passed through this phase and came out on the other side, so I'm guessing there is hope that one day you won't think of tools of cleanliness as your enemy.

I love your sense of humor. You make me laugh. A lot. And very often, you make me laugh when I shouldn't. You have an uncanny way of making me stop in the middle of an angry speech and start giggling. I have decided that this is for the best and that I'm just going to go with it. I spend enough time making angry speeches. Giggling is good. Especially with you, because you have one of the best giggles I've ever heard. It's one of my life's joys to make you laugh.

I know that the next decade will likely fly by as quickly as the last. I know that I'm likely to blink and you will go from a little boy that looks up to me, to a young man that I will look up to. I know that soon enough your birthdays will be spent away from me.

But until then, I intend to savor each year, each moment with you, my dude. Happy 10th birthday, Seannie Buck!

I love you,

P.S. You are my favorite Sean.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Couldn't Resist or I Am The Worst Mother In The World

James, with pillow perm. Shall we call him Major Bedhead? I took this picture about 2 minutes after he rolled out of bed, hence the puffy face. I'm not sure exactly what he was doing in his sleep that led to this particular, um, hairstyle. I sang "My Hair Had A Party Last Night" by Trout Fishing in America to him. He sang along. He posed willingly for this photo, lest you think this is child abuse. It's nice to know that he found it just as funny as the rest of us.

But just in case he decides it's not nearly funny as he once thought, excuse me while I scrounge through the couch cushions for change to toss in his Therapy Jar.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I think this may be the craziest summer I have had since I had children. I feel like I haven't had a chance to catch my breath, let alone fill you in on all that has been going on around here. I am tired. I am going to take the next couple of days to recoup. Then I will fill you in. There are stories. There are stories about nearly dying in my swimsuit. There are stories about two 14 year old girls in Florida--with pictures too! There are stories about hot air ballooning. And maybe a picture or two there. There are stories about my family invadingcoming to my home to visit. There are stories about my beloved's class reunion. It was his 30 year reunion. He is old. Isn't he lucky to have a much younger, hot wife? ( I am talking about me, you know.) (Stop laughing.) (Also, shut up.) What I'm saying, is that there's stuff to tell you. Stories. I has 'em.

But first--sleep. And maybe some lazing around by a pool. And then possibly a little more sleep. Because I wasn't kidding. In the words of Lili Von Shtupp (from Blazing Saddles) "I'm tired."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Twenty years ago I was walking down the aisle, young, blonde, slim in my sparkly white gown. I was concerned with making sure the order of service went smoothly. I was smiling at the friends and family that had come to witness. I was happy. I was in love--wildly in love.

Twenty years later, there is no aisle. I am no longer young, blonde, or slim and the closest I've come to a sparkly white gown is sparkly white earrings or sparkling white wine. I am happy. And I love. But I am not wildly in love like I once was.

Twenty years has a way of mellowing even the most intense emotions. Twenty years has pushed and pulled us; smoothed our rough edges and softened our hard lines. There is no way to be with someone for twenty years and be unchanged. It is impossible to be static in a relationship. We take turns changing, being the needy one, being the strong one, being the pusher or the one being pushed. We have started to resemble each other in some ways and in others we have gained our own distinct uniqueness. It is pretty much as you would expect after twenty years. When I imagined my life twenty years after exchanging vows, I could see it pretty much as it is now--a deep sense of comfort with my mate, children who bring me joy, a home that makes me happy.

But if that twenty-three year old bride could have peered into the future and seen the things that brought us here--underemployment, unemployment, the birth of four children, the loss of a child, raging arguments over religion, bouts of unrest and mild depression, concern over aging parents, financial worries--she might not have been grinning as she walked down the aisle.

But! If that twenty-three year old bride could have peered into the future, she would have also seen something else: herself as a married woman. Not a new bride wildly in love, but a woman who has loved deeply and has herself been deeply loved. A woman who has cherished the bits and pieces and messiness that is her day-to-day life. That young bride would have seen a deep contentment with the man she chose--a man who has been her strength; a man who rented awful SuperDave movies to try to get her broken heart to laugh; a man who rocked screaming children and offered pinkies as pacifiers when she was exhausted to the bone; a man who has laughed with her late at night--laughed until tears streamed down both their cheeks--over ridiculously silly things; a man who has worked--worked hard and travelled thousands of miles and missed milestones that it hurt him to miss-- to provide financial security and give a comfortable home to his family; a man whose family causes him to puff up with pride and who is certain that his is the best family on the planet.

And she would have seen herself lose herself. She would have seen her lose herself to her job. Then lose herself to her children. She would have seen a woman so lost that she felt invisible and unimportant. But if she looked longer, she would have seen that woman find herself again. She would have seen that woman find the things that matter most to her and cling to them until they pulled her back to safety.

If that young bride could have peered into the future, she might have had second thoughts. And that would have been as it should be. As it said in the vows, 'marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly.' Weddings are easy. Marriage is hard, hard stuff. But I believe if that young bride had seen the future, she would have taken her parents' arms anyway. She would still have walked down that aisle to meet the tall, dark-haired, handsome groom, despite the hardships and the trials and the tears and the work.

She would have done it, because she would have also seen the joy--the deep, abiding, unfettered joy that she would have from walking down that aisle and saying "I do."

I am not young or blonde or slim. I am not wildly in love. Generally I find that my fluctuations about anything these days tend to be less fluctuating than they once were, but more of a gentle swaying, a sense that I have found the sweet spot between the waves. No, I am not wildly in love. But I love. I have loved for twenty years. I have seen the past and it is good. It is what has made me, him, us--who we are. It is good enough to say "I do" for the next twenty--and all those that come after.

Happy 20th anniversary to my beloved, who still makes me laugh, still kisses me until I'm weak-kneed, and is still the one I want next to me when the sausage hits the fan.