Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My soul.

I did an inspection on her upper back today while she watched cartoons. Little purple veins crawling everywhere, a good strong ribcage and some random freckles. I can't stand her beauty, it hurts the way it bores into my soul.

She loves to fake like she's asleep. Her eyes shut tight and the corners of her mouth turn up slightly into a grin that's impossible for her to hide. She did this tonight during my 9 o'clock rounds. Lillie was sprawled out on her tummy in her crib, congested nose singing the house to sleep with its rhythm. Grace was forcing some stuffed kitties to dance together across the top bunk's railing. And Ruby faked sleep.

I leaned in toward her and let my lips rest in that warm space between her chin and bottom lip. I sweeped up her cheek until mine was against hers and I felt the corners of her mouth form a grin. Her arms quickly wrapped around me.

I hope she remains this honest, passionate, impossible, loveful baby that she has always been.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Little girls who dance.

Perfect smudge job in the bathroom.

Girls get a bit nervous. Mouths are set, chin tight, performance is soon...

Watching other dancers before them.

I had so much fun. So did the other seven Smylies that came to watch. You underestimate the grin that will spread across your face when you see your tiny girls on stage with their eyes full of stars. Never to be forgotten.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


It doesn't matter who calls me. Or comes over. Or emails me. Or meets with me. I always go home to this thing. This little piece of flesh that drinks a bottle of whole milk in the groggy morning light. The girl whom I do not know how to separate myself from.

Today she sat on my lap after her breakfast and I massaged her ankles and feet as we watched the rain fall against the window. Ruby puttered around down the hall. There's an atmosphere here in our house. It's a racing, busy feeling that has moments of soft, slow realizations and you can't have one without the other.

There's space between us all tonight, as they lay in their beds. But really, truly, we're all one big pot of soup.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


My favorite things:
Baby's morning nap
Sound of my sewing machine
Rainy day
Littler helper in her pajamas.

I am a lucky girl.

Monday, May 18, 2009


We're a church going family. It's hard to get up in the morning, hard to get the girls looking decent, but we attend every Sunday. Most Sundays, during the last two hours of church, Jake takes care of Lillie while I'm busy in Primary.

Yesterday when church was over, I gathered my books, children, scraps of paper and headed out to the foyer and waited. Jake was not at our meeting place. A long 20 minutes passed full of the older girls running around an empty chapel, Ruby jumping on the couch in the foyer before I could catch her and tons of other shenanigans. I began to really stretch my imagination of where Jake could be. See, he's not the kind to chat it up after the meetings. He gets out of there as fast as he possibly can.

So I walked down the hall. I listened for his voice. The building was practically empty by now. A few voices came around the corner, I looked, nope, not him. I started opening a few doors only to find empty classrooms. I stopped short at the end of the hall at the Mother's Lounge. I hesitated, wondered if there was any chance... I opened the door slowly.

The sight will forever be etched into the inside of my skull. Jake, on one of the recliners, hunched over, snoring, with Lillie asleep against his chest. I stopped and stared with my mouth wide open for ten seconds, just enough time for Jake to sense my presence and blink his eyes open wildly.

20 minutes, people.

Get. Real.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Brand new skin.

My new niece, Natalia Ledoux. More photos [HERE].

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

At Night.

It's amazing to think that my warmth, blood vessels, months of consuming vitamins and popsicles, my every effort and desire made those lips on that girl. With that hair and that nose. Perfection, my crowning achievement.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kids need molars.

But three at a time is just cruel.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Family Dynamic.

I took Grace and Ruby to see "Earth" in the theater. There were a family of elephants crossing the Kalahari desert, thirsty, ragged and "discouraged" as the narrator put it. Grace looked at me and with a shaky voice asked if there was any way we could "Bring all the African animals here and give them water. We have plenty and the poor things are so thirsty!" The girl has quite the compassionate heart. Ruby on the other hand, while the film showed the father Polar Bear being pummeled to his death by some nearby Walruses, ate popcorn by the handfuls. And sipped her soda.

And please let me add, Lillie fights as though her life is on the line. Her cousin has a brand new sister so she's been over at our place. She is 17 months and Lill stares her up and down like she's nothin'. Like, 'I will scream your face off if you even touch this doll stroller'. She's no stranger to oppression, my third child. But she did learn quickly that Simone doesn't let things lie. Give them a few years and I'm sure I'll be calling the cops.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Niwe, Niws, Lills, Thrill, Thrilla, Nins, Poochie Pants.

With the birth of a new baby in our extended family over the weekend, I see Lillie in a different light.

Like, kid, you're huge.

And in 10.5 months, how much she has learned!

One of my favorite things is to watch her pudgy body doing a shaky frankenstein walk, whispering "da da da da da da da" with her bucky teeth reaching out into the living room air.

Still, after all this time, we die over her every single day.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Neck Nuzzles.

Jake took the girls to Disneyworld last night. Add this to the list of things I love about him, will ya? In addition, he teared up during the parade. "Dreams can come true", he said in his own defense. I just looked at him with pure love in my eyes. My emotional partner in this thick and humid life of ours.

My little lover girl likes to fall asleep on the floor of the hallway while she listens to our voices float down from the kitchen. To snuggle a human is her nightly wish. She usually feels lonely and needs neck nuzzles 'til at least 9:30. I don't really mind.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Not bad for an old guy.


In high school when you sang stupid songs and made me pancakes at 5am? I loved it. Loved it then and love it now. Sometimes you came in my room and interrogated me. In a nice way. I knew that you cared. Time went so slowly back then.

There was a volkswagen bus that we used as a tent while camping in the forest. There was a California coastal bay that you took us canoeing in before school one morning. There was your easy laughter, your willingness to cook and your skepticism.

I loved your innate ability to take orders from mom leaning its back against your sly tendency to quietly rebel against anyone else that tried to tell you what to do.

You never stop moving and doing and whistling and joking. You are the reason I cannot teach anything or anyone without an object lesson.

The love that you gave me dipped and pooled, and is now poured forth directly to my own daughters.

Some memories of growing up with you are sharp, but most are fuzzy. I'm sure yours are much sharper and that's the gift you get as a parent I guess. My best ones are the trip you took me and my best friend on when I graduated from high school. I learned so much during our 225 miles together, and at such a pivotal time in my life. Thank you for everything.

Happy Birthday.

Here are a few excerpts from your replies to my blog posts that make my day:

"what could be better than a toilet and a newspaper? better than a religious retreat..."

"that kid's got Jake written all over her face..."

"sobering to realize that it's the daily stuff that imprints character, personality, and a love for life and family."

"another cool part of raising girls is when they are raising girls...

"awesome, Sarah, life is for those who love - you are a lucky valentine..... Dad."

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Long Time Comin'.

There are no words to describe how these images make me feel. I thought we were just going for a couple of snapshots because it really had been SO LONG (2007), and what I got was so much better. The first image really made my breath catch in my throat: yes, that was a cliche I just used... and I'm not going to apologize for it. I really am that happy. I love my little family.

Thank you Ashley for the lovely photos, they mean so much to me.

Friday, May 01, 2009


I usually do this. Wake up in the morning and decide what my inspiration will be for the day. Sometimes it's Wall Street Journal news, or Dooce, or Church stuff, or a Rolling Stones song. Lots of times it's photography. I was sifting through one of my favorite super-famous-and-talented photographer's blogs, reading about a magazine-published wedding here and a martha's vineyard-3day open house there. I was in that world for a moment, like, wait, where is that? Ok, when? Oh so-and-so is catering it? How interesting.

Then a cry came from the hall and I responded right away. Miss Thang had her 10 month old fists in the diaper bag and was ripping a baggie of cheerios to shreds. I cleaned the cheerios. My mind wandered, and I wondered what the most effective way was to clean all the strands of black hair from my tiled hallway. The ones that gather in the corners from having a family with at least three girly heads of thick dark hair.

I felt lonely for a second. Cleaning hair from the hallway floor, knowing there's a big world out beyond my front door full of people who have socials and workshops and know each other's names. And I'm a little shut in.

I thought about Grace. How she goes to school every day with people whizzing around her and only wants to come home and read into the night. How she might feel lonely sometimes, but safe. Being famous to the people that truly love her. Her family.