My inspiration for this record of my days:

“The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less” -Anna Quindlen

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


These are just a few of the things I’ve answered today:

Why do I have to wear clean clothes?

Is this my wallet?

Do cowboys toot?

Why is this called a pinky finger?

Can I please move out of this house (with your stupid rules) and move in with my friends? (At age 11)

How many days ‘til the cruise?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012



The other day we watched a documentary that showed some bighorn sheep fighting for dominance.  Today that was the image that came to my mind as I tried to get the kids off to school.

There are those in my household… particularly the young of the male species… that are constantly challenging my authority.  

They don’t seem to believe (and I think they are actually sincere in this belief) that I should have any more authority than they do.  They don’t think I have a right to make rules and/or enforce them.  They sneer at me when I try to correct something they do, and tell me that I’m not perfect myself.  When I tell them to do something they don’t really feel like doing, they try to pretend they didn’t hear me, or let me know they will do it when they’re good and ready.

Sheeeesh!  Maybe what I need is a good strong set of horns or antlers.

Thursday, April 12, 2012



I was talking on the phone the other day with a friend of mine.  We were bemoaning the fact that we spent so much of our time following kids around, trying to get them to stay focused on chores, homework, piano practice, etc.  Not fun for the kids, and certainly not fun for mom!

She made the comment “I really need to think of a more fun and loving way to help them get everything done!”

Oh my gosh.  I forgot that was the goal!  I was so busy being annoyed that they couldn’t be as productive as mini-adults, that I completely forgot that it was my job to make learning those skills fun and rewarding.  And most of all, it is my job to teach with love, not with endless nagging.

How could I have forgotten that?  I used to know it.  When my older kids were little we had elaborate reward systems that kept everyone happy and busy.  Davis dollars!  I realized that sometimes I expect my little ones to behave like the older ones.  It seems like I have already been teaching those lessons for years, so I subconsciously expect the little ones to have learned them too.

Anyway,  I began with Jonah.  I picked him up from school one day last week.  We went to lunch, got a haircut, and spent some quality time together.  We also talked about the “new” Davis dollar system that we would be implementing next week.  He was so excited!

I noticed an immediate change in him.  He was getting up earlier, in a great mood, anxious to get started on his chores.  He packed his lunch without needing to be reminded.  He came home from school and immediately started on his homework.  He made the observation, a couple of days later, “Mom!  I guess all you have to do is take me out to lunch once a week, and I’ll be happy and motivated for days!”  Such a sweet little guy!  A little positive attention from mom can still solve so many of his problems!

We’ve been doing Davis dollars for a week now.  I write all the “jobs” on his very own white board in the morning.  I include “packing your lunch” and “brushing your teeth.”  He checks off each task when it’s finished, and collects Davis dollars at the end of the day.  No more nagging or reminding!  It’s a miracle!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Facelift

A little over 3 years ago, we moved into our house. 


My mother-in-law told us that when she saw the house for the first time, she wanted to cry.  And not for happiness.  She couldn’t believe her son would bring his wife to live in this place!

Jeff has spent the last 3 years working vigorously to turn this house into my dream home.  He has done everything himself, from adding on a dining room to raising the kitchen ceiling to building a fort in the back yard.

And slowly but surely, this house has become just perfect for me!

The most recent project was the outside facelift.

Well, back up for a bit… we have needed a new roof ever since we moved in.  Every time we had a big rain, we would need buckets to catch the drips, and Jeff would be up there patching, trying to hold off until we had the money to redo the whole thing.

A couple of months ago, Jonah and Simon came running out of their room in their pajamas, super excited to tell me something.

“Mom! It’s raining!”

“Yes, I know!  It’s raining hard out there, isn’t it?”

“NO!  It’s raining IN OUR ROOM!”

Sure enough… the water was dripping steadily into their room.  I poked at the ceiling where it was wet, and the drywall came crumbling down, along with a puddle of water.

It was time.  We decided to just bite the bullet and pay somebody to do the whole roof for us.  And while we were at it, we would pay somebody to do the outside trim work and paint the whole thing!

The whole transformation took only a few days!  Jeff couldn’t wipe the smile off his face every time he would come home from work and see all the things that had happened while he was gone.  All that work would have taken him months!

porch after

I LOVE the way it turned out!   The good thing about starting out with such an awful “before” is that the “after” looks amazing!

My kids laugh at how often I say “What a cute house!” when I drive into the driveway.  And I have spent hours sitting on my porch swing enjoying the lovely spring weather.