Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Photo.

I could snatch them up, take a private plane to a Montana ranch and settle into a tiny little house with a fireplace... live there forever... have some animals... sew them quilts... bake bread every day...

Grace: She got my make up out today. Spread it out in front of her and made some real decisions. Colors, textures, brushes. She had all the girls pick nail colors and cheek shimmer and lipstick. She looked beautiful with her painted face. She does everything for me. She carries Tada around like her own. And after all these years, from 18 months to 7.8 years old... she still pretends she's a puppy.

Ruby: She emoted a lot this week. Screaming, crying, stomping, glaring. I scold her and when her big chunky tears begin to fall I have no choice. I hug her and I hold her. There's no choice involved. My arms open and my hands pull her to me. She has incredible power.

Lillie: Today was another one of those days, we loved and we lost. So many battles with her as the victor. At one point Jake had to run away from her. Run down the hall. Her demands were just too unreasonable for him to satisfy. She's a tyrannical queen and at the end of the day, our beaten hearts swell with adoration of her ferocity.

Matilda: She learned to clap this week. She thinks she's the trickiest thing. She also sniffs loudly through her nose (pictured above). It's her way of saying, "hi". She waves "bye, bye" and tries to pull herself up on everything. That trick ends with head bonks, poor little babe. The older girls go to bed before her and Jake and I spend some baby time with her at night. We exclaim many many things but mostly, how much we love that little thing.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

All you need.

Thank you for the comments and compliments, for the site feedback, for the emails, facebook posts, facebook likes and blog posts. Thank you for all the support! I am beyond humbled. This project has been working its way out of me for a long, long time and I finally came to a point in my life where I could make it work. So, thank you.

Speaking of work... I am constantly amazed how our men work so hard... how we can marry them as young twenty-somethings, not knowing exactly what they signed up for. I doubt that Jake fully realized that someday, ten years later, he will work at the office until 8, getting tacos on the way home, and five minutes after he kisses his daughters' little heads goodnight, he'll set up his workstation at the teeny kitchen table.

Eyes stinging and cheerios crunching under his feet, he writes trucking schedules and orders materials. He feels the pressure and meets it head-on. He's the un-sung hero to four little girls who will one day believe, with all their hearts, that their daddy can do no wrong.

Life is tougher than we expected. But we have each other and we have our girls. Healthy, strong and thriving.

Long ago, Jake told me this song was ours... and I've loved it ever since.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


MyMatilda: Nurture | Life. --- Documentary photography for mothers and others.

I have worked on this project for a few months now, and I'm excited to finally be open for business!

Please visit, MyMatilda facebook page, and MyMatilda blog.

MyMatilda provides two types of sessions: Nurtureshoot and Lifeshoot.

Nurtureshoot: (two hours of photography) Centered around every-day home life. I specialize in natural shots (I give limited direction). I photograph you as you take care of your children, do homework, read to them, cook for them, hug and kiss them, get them dressed, do their hair. The results are astounding. Pieces of art are created. Women are changed. Proof is present that motherhood is absolutely stunning in its beauty and grace.

Lifeshoot: (three hours of photography) Centered around a life event. I specialize in Birth and Graveside photography, both of which are sacred and private events. I come with sensitivity intact. My life has been changed from receiving these types of shoots, and I understand the importance of having these events documented well.

MyMatilda offers very unique products including collages on gallery wrap canvas, custom-designed leatherbound books printed on fine quality photographic material. Single prints and digital images are also available.

I invite you to be a part of this... And if you don't book a shoot, spread the word! If you have questions, ask away. 

About MyMatilda:

My own Matilda was born my fourth daughter. Bright and lovely, she opened her eyes. She took my breath away, and the priceless photographs that were taken showed me my power and presence. But what about the following weeks and months? In my home that I love, with my family that I love. I wanted more documentation, more proof that my everyday life was nothing less than timeless beauty.

So I set out to fix this.

I document your treasury... your life. This validation will change you, rendering you finally aware of your life story's goodness and value. The toil that goes without notice or reward. Your face as you gaze uninhibited on your loved ones. That is the height of beauty. That one glance that says wisdom, heartbreak and ultimate happiness. The curtain falls and there you are, real.

That's all I ask.


These two are so much alike...

Very particular. Easy to anger. Possessive. Headstrong. Determined. Memories like a vice. Not too good at bedtime.

In other news, today was an ordinary day. What do I remember? Lillie didn't scream too much. Every time we arrived home from a school pickup or errand, she wanted to be naked. She stripped down and got her swimsuit out of her drawer and wore it most of the day. 

Grace practiced the piano. She's so musical. She told us that she sees music in art, in color. When she sees blue, she hears classical music. I really love her brain.

Ruby drew a picture for me and wrote, "My Mama..." "I wish I can be with you all day and that you can be with me all day too". She wrote on the front, "[look at this] every day win I'm at school". She asks me every day when she gets home if I looked at my card. Always, always, I say yes.

Matilda. If there were words to describe... even with sleep deprivation from that little piece of bone pushing through her top gums, she is a joy and a pleasure. Funny how much more I appreciate her baby-ness when many have come before.

Jake helped me with some things tonight. He made the funniest jokes. That laughter, the one where I close my eyes and tip my head back... it feels so good. I think it's going to be a really good week.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Photos

Today some good people at church discussed what they were grateful for. Everyone was telling-- of this and that and more of other things. The only thing that came to my mind were my four babies. They were four things, 1-2-3-4. There was nothing else. Nothing was even close to the platform that these things hold. They are beyond precious, they are stars, galaxies, precious gems mined from the deepest core of this chunky earth.

I am so truly, tearfully grateful for my girls.


I have a project in the works. A brand new undertaking. One that my heart won't let go. I have worked on it many hours and I'm ready to launch this week. Check back here for more news!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Today's moon brought to you by Lillie.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


She wanted to sell material out of our driveway. She decided to make a sign for her material sale. "FREE". If someone stopped, she'd just give it away. You know, like heart-of-Mother Theresa-style. She had her scissors ready so she could cut people pieces of the designs that they chose.

She carves a nice chunk out of January with her loveliness.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Thrift Store Fabric and Friends.

You know the flu has been to your house when the girls make throw-up buckets for their stuffed animals.

Thrift store fabric scraps, tape, scissors... All day, baby, all day.

Lillie my super model. 

Grace and Pinkie.

The "animals with injuries" rescue hospital. My girls always pretend that their little ones are blind, handicapped, in a wheelchair, have broken legs, need glasses, or have other infirmities. They are fascinated by differences.

Graham crackers and frosting, pretzels and friends over make the afternoon go by a little faster.

Today I want to share a link. My friend Lisa's mother is succumbing to ALS, or Lou Gherig's Disease. The disease has moved incredibly fast after her symptoms began in June. Her time is now short, and Lisa blogs info and updates for her. What a beautiful soul Caroline is. I think about her daily. This is tough, life is tough... Drop her a comment if you can. Lisa reads them to her each night since Caroline can't use the computer anymore. Comments make her day!

---Caroline Rober's ALS blog---

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Photos

I love how in so many photos lately Tada is looking at me like, "Uh.... Help? Please?"

Thanks to Martin Luther King Jr., my little girls will be home with me tomorrow. Needing, fighting, messing and yelling. I'm sure there will be good times like there always are. And then there will be the times when I have to find my happy place. That big bed with the white pillows and ocean breeze billowing out the pretty curtains...

But really.... Look at those four little heads. LOOK. I'm living the dream!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Madda, Matzarella, Matzaball.

Matilda, 8 months.

-- She's big. People think she's over a year old.
-- She eats anything. This is a really big deal... she's the best eater I've had.
-- She's our Ferrari. The baby that you just want to show off. Dangle in front of people and say, "lookie what we've got!"
-- I'm going to come back and look at this photo tomorrow. And Saturday and Sunday, and probably all next week. I can see a hundred years in her eyes. My baby baby baby Matilda.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chili Recipe

I don't consider myself a master cook in any way, but I am going to post some of our family's staple recipes here. New experiments come and go, but there are a few things we always eat every month of the year. They are easy and affordable. I love new recipes and have found so many on people's blogs. So I hope I can pay it forward!

The first, is my chili recipe. It's not super special, just a great combination of ingredients. I've tried a lot of different recipes and this one's not too beany, not too tomato-y.. just simple and yummy chili. It's usually dark when we eat (winter time!) so I have no picture. Let's face it, dinner time is way too chaotic to be taking photographs! :)


1lb. ground beef
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans
1/2 c. diced onion
1/4 c. diced celery
2 med. tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 c. water

Brown meat and saute onion. Drain if necessary, then dump in the rest of the ingredients. Simmer anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or so... I always serve with sour cream, shredded cheese and tortilla chips and if I feel ambitious, my mom's cornbread recipe.

Variations: I sometimes add a can of corn or a cup or two of sweet frozen corn. Sometimes I'll use black beans instead of one of the other kinds of beans. If I don't have fresh tomatoes I just use a can of diced. If I don't have tomato sauce I just use a tablespoon or two or tomato paste and add a little extra liquid. I find that no matter how much liquid I start out with, by the time I simmer for an hour or so it's the perfect consistency. There's no set cook time, just whenever Jake gets home, we eat. Sometimes I only use 1/2 pound of ground beef. I like it spicy, so I add extra chili powder to taste.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sick Day.

Fantastic excuse to drop out of life and not step one dainty foot on the frozen desert tundra. We hate the pukes but love our jammies.

Some of the strongest memories I have of my mother are when I was sick and she took care of me. I specifically remember having strep throat when I was young and my mom brought me sprite and toast in bed. I felt like a queen. She put a cloth on my forehead and told me I would be okay.

I hardly slept last night and dealt with a lot of sickies today but I tried to be that mom. The one they could use for comfort when their bodies were taken by a strong flu. Ruby asked me to sit with her on the couch. I had just put the baby down and had so many other things to do, but I plopped down beside her and held her until the baby woke up again.

And shhhhh... Grace stayed home from school, too. She's not sick, she's just really really helpful!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Sunday Photos

Ruby's got seasonal depression disorder...

January is flying by already. This week is the halfway point!

Grace: We are working on "talking nice". You seem to have many emerging strengths, but dealing with your anger and disagreements kindly is not one of them. You got in trouble last night for talking back to me and your dad. He dealt with the discussion part this time and when he was done you came to me to apologize. I was still annoyed at the way you acted, but I hugged you strongly and rested my chin on your head. You were so so tall then. So tall it hit me hard--- my growing, learning, struggling, blossoming girl. Tears rushed to my eyes, pushed through and drowned my eyelids until they spilled onto my cheek.

Ruby: You're so emotional, and it certainly shows in these shots. I frequently whisper in your ear: "Wanna snuggle all day with me in my bed? Just you and me, snuggling and loving?" Your eyes sparkle with, "yes". When you have an off day, you are ridiculously loud and emotional... I dry your crocodile tears and try to be fair. But your face when you cry, it's so sincere, it's so sad. Your touch is magical. You play with my hair and two seconds in I could fall asleep. Just like that.

Lillie: You are sick tonight. You threw up and your dad got you to the sink just in time. He hugged your body and brought you to the couch and held you until you fell asleep. We have a strong connection to you, all of us. We all try so hard to satisfy you, and through it all we come out loving you for miles and miles.

Matilda: You wake up in the night still. You want me to hold you a lot. You still don't cry much. You do the strangest thing. You scream... louder than any baby I've ever heard or had. It's part of the way you talk. It's part of your daily conversation. My eardrum splits and you don't care, you just keep on screaming. You grin, your neck gets skinny, your eyebrows raise, and we all plug our ears. You're gonna be my soprano.

Jacob--- You did something really loveable today. While I put our food in the crockpot, you sat on the couch and painted our girls' nails. And dried them with a blowdryer. And you combed and did their hair...    Love....

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

All Right.

The day can be the worst or the best. I can yell a million times or not at all. But when it's night, and the babies are sleeping, I go back and check if I can nuzzle in with one of the older girls. Tonight it was Grace.

I tell her a million stories of when she was younger. Random memories of her peeing on the floor or saying something funny or having a birthday party.

I know it should be the other way around. I should be comforting them. But when I'm lying in their arms, and they tuck my hair behind my ears, I just know everything will be all right.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011



You still scream so much and pee your pants regularly... but things do seem to be getting a little bit better. You talk. ACTUALLY talk. I ask you questions about the past or the future and you know exactly what I'm asking. And your lisp kills me with cute.

I just wanted to drop you a note to tell you that I love you so much.. No matter what happens. You are the fighter. And I love you for it. (and when you wear Matilda's pants you look absolutely amazing!)

Yo Mama.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Sunday Photos, 2010....

1/4 of the Sunday Photos from 2010. We have grown and changed this year, haven't we?

And a Sunday photo from today...

And my newest neice, Jade, almost three months old now.

We blessed baby Jade today and had a wonderful time with family. We sat in Miriam's kitchen, all the women, talking about the most interesting subjects. I looked around at all of us. Adults. We were kids together and now we are grown with opinions of our own that are all so different. I thought of my girls all grown and what they'll take from our life together. The things they will remember...

These are photos from our hotel stay over New Year's Eve. The top one is the evening, and the bottom one is the morning after.

We decided to make it a tradition to stay in a downtown hotel and have a New Year's party with the girls every New Year's Eve. Oh, and let me tell ya, it was a party! There were some super fun times and some super hard times.

The first thing that rushes to my memory is holding Tada and sitting around a tiny reading table playing cards with the girls. We played Go Fish while Jake was out getting pizza. Tada tried to use all of her fingers and toes to sabotage the game while Lillie kept stealing Ruby's cards and throwing them up in the air like precipitation. All the while, really, I tried to keep it light (while totally getting frustrated) and happy while Grace and Ruby fell apart. After all, winning is everything! In the end, their attention spans are short anyway, so they didn't mind that the cards were strewn everywhere.

Also, the sleep was horrible.

But the highlight? We drank sparkling juice and toasted to the new year. "To love, to life, to sisters, to family" I think they were. We had a high floor view of the street below where some downtown celebrations took place. They set the fireworks to go off on the roof directly below us, in our perfect line of sight. At the stroke of midnight and as Lillie slept, the whole downtown corridor lit up like the fourth of July (a cold one!). Tiny bonfires, which were the exploding fireworks, boomed below us while the actual show rippled in the air in above. I'll never forget how Jake held Grace and Ruby in his arms on the balcony, sillhouettes against the bright sky. I held Tada inside and sighed with happiness and closure.

This is our family. We're a tiny little one... with tiny little hopes and dreams. And I'm so happy to be part of us.