milk, coconut, and coffee

I'm truckin' on with my Grandma Pat Project. I have decided to set a goal to write one story a week, and see where they all lead me. They won't necessarily be chronological, but they will be written down, and that is the point. Here is LAST WEEK's.


Even before Daddy died, I didn't have a strict bed time. I can recall my mother once pushing me off to bed and I declared, "But it's not even MADNIGHT!" Such was the routine in our house. 

One morning we slowly got around, having slept in like usual. Mother went to the front door to retrieve the milk and, like many other days, we hadn't gotten up early enough to save it from the morning's cold fingers and it had frozen since being placed at our doorstep. The milk, having no where to freeze but up, was standing at salute out the top of the bottles with the caps crazily resting on top. Barbara and I set them on a towel on the kitchen table, waiting for them to thaw before we could have our breakfast. Waiting was worth staying up late and sleeping in. 

I suppose all the coconut is what made me thirsty for milk. 

Barely taller than the bushes out front, I would throw on my jacket and walk up town. Daddy didn't like me to cross the highway, but to get to the grocery store and the restaurant I didn't have to. And it wasn't like I was the only five year old wandering around town. 

I rattled the bell as I heaved the door open and tumbled into Clarence Pickart's store. I meandered through the aisles, but knew where I was headed. I stopped by the baking goods and saw it, like freshly fallen snow. I scooped up the coconut and headed to the counter. Daddy never used money at the grocery store, and that seemed to be okay. He would just show them his items, they would scribble a note, and out of the store we would go. So that's how I bought my coconut. 

I sat on the sofa, my book in one hand, my bag of coconut in the other. I would take a bite for every page I turned. I was on page 17 when Mother walked in. 

"What are you eating?" It didn't take her long to notice. 

"Coconut." It seemed rather obvious to me. 

"And where did you get this coconut?" I guess she did know everything that was stacked in that crowded pantry after all. 

"Pickart's." I turned back to my book, assuming the conversation was over. 

It wasn't. She informed me that I could no longer "buy" coconut from Clarence's store, or any of the grocery stores in town. She said "buy" funny, drew it out a little longer than the other words in the sentence.  And that was that. I didn't bring coconut home anymore. 

The next time I bought some, I put it in a brown grocer's sack. Taking a few pinches of the fluffy, sweet flakes, I made my way to the corner of our street where a culvert jutted through the ditch. I licked my fingers and carefully rolled up the sack. Dropping down onto my belly, I scooted into the culvert up to my shoulders. I reached forward and dropped the sack. 

It was always there when I needed a little snack. 

And Turk was always there when I needed a little coffee.

Around the time my coconut could be found in the town's drainage system, I could often be found at Daddy's restaurant. Barbara and I spent many hours upstairs, roller skating around on the wooden floors while customers were served below our spinning wheels. But I'm not referring to those times; I'm talking about the times I needed coffee. 

The dark liquid, with it's unequalled smell, had been present in my house since I could remember, but Daddy and Mother didn't let me have my own. I suppose they believed the old axiom that it would stunt my growth and figured I needed all the help I could get in that department. Even though I was just five years old, they must have been able to tell height was not to be gifted to me. 

At the restaurant I would climb up a barstool, tuck my feet under me, and plop my elbows up on the counter. I watched Turk, one of Daddy's employees, fly around on the other side. When he wasn't busy though, I'd ask him to pour me a cup of coffee, please. I made my voice confident and sure, so he wouldn't suspect that I never drank it. 

And on that barstool I learned how to appreciate the bitter taste; learned how to grip the warm mug in my small hands. 

And on that barstool was the only place I drank coffee for three years, until I was finally allowed to start drinking it at home. 

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brown eyed girl

When one of your best friends is a seriously talented photographer, you get emails from time to time with pictures attached from the last time you hung out. At least you do when your friend is as amazing as mine.

Here are a few I recently received:

Getting ready to open her present from Meagan and Shane [wrapped in zebra print, of course]

To Kill a Mockingbird! Special Edition! Just for Blythe! Do my exclamation points mean anything to you!?

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nap time dilemmas

It starts when you depart from your child's room, carefully but quickly pulling the door shut behind you. Of the 29,038,250 things I need to do and/or want to do, what do I do?!?! 

Right now I have two nap times a day to accomplish something. My daily chores and activities are split up into two categories:
-Things I can do while Blythe is awake
-Things I can do while Blythe is asleep

As those of you with small children know, very few things fall under the first category besides snuggling with Blythe, reading books, rolling balls, stacking blocks, singing songs, being crawled on, and maybe getting my makeup done. 

So nap time is crucial. CRUCIAL. And let's not lie to ourselves, without naptime WE ALL BE CRAZY!!! 

But what to do in the limited time?! Start laundry? Dishes? Vacuum? [Yes, I know people tell you to vacuum so your baby gets used to sleeping with noise but if I wake her up in the first 10 minutes, so help me I'll LOSE it somedays. So vacuuming usually waits]. Fold clothes? Pick up? Balance the checkbook? Make appointments? Sweep the kitchen? Mop the bathroom? Wipe up sinks? Clean out the crevices I never get to in the highchair? Change that lightbulb that has been out for 3 months? Pick weeds? Get supper started? Make more baby food? Write that grocery list? 


Do I just make a pot of coffee, write a blog, then read a book? If only I could do that every day…. 

But here are some of the dilemmas that we, the keepers of nap times, face:

Scenario 1: 
You haven't eaten breakfast, let alone lunch. Your hair is in the same ponytail it was in when you rolled out of bed at 6:30 this morning. You just laid Jr. down. Time: 1:30 p.m. You know you HAVE to eat something, so the hair can wait. You pick up a few cheerios from the floor [count that as sweeping for the day…also count that as breakfast!] on your way to the fridge. No leftovers. You sent them with your husband on his way to work [thank you, dear husband, for working so hard so I can stay in my pajamas until noon   love on our children all day]. Forget it. You start a pot of coffee and grab some crackers on your way to the bathroom where you decide the pony tail will work for today. You dabb on a little blush so you don't look like the living dead, brush your teeth, and change out your sweat pants for jeans, because jeans make you feel like more of a human, right? 

The coffee is done and while you pour yourself a cup you simultaneously hear a squawk coming from Jr.'s bedroom. Seriously? Fifteen minutes? I don't think so. You tip-toe into the room and, like a ninja, replace the paci back in Jr's reach. Sneaking back to the kitchen you add to the shopping list: Buy 12 more pacifiers to sprinkle in crib. 

It's nearing two o'clock and you promised your husband he wouldn't be eating cereal for supper  again  tonight, so you set some chicken in the sink to thaw, throw whatever looks like it's still edible into the crock pot and move on. You're feeling the pressure of actually getting something accomplished when you remember the load of wash you actually had a second to throw in this morning is sitting in a wet pile in the washing machine. You know you really should go hang it outside, but it takes five seconds to throw it in the dryer. Dryer it is. 

The dishwasher is full. Isn't the dishwasher perpetually full? You unload the dishwasher and wash up the few remaining dishes that were setting next to the sink, willing yesterday's oatmeal off of the bowl. You run the garbage disposal, simultaneously remembering that the garbage disposal is the one thing you should not do while Jr. is sleeping. On cue you hear the cry. You bow your head to pray. The crying stops. Thank you, Lord. I mean that. 

Feeling a little bit better about the state of your kitchen, you realize the clothes need to be folded. You fold them, sort of, and stuff them into drawers hastily. Time is running out, you know it. The toilet hasn't been cleaned in weeks, so you squirt the blue liquid in and slosh it around, realizing that it's trash day tomorrow, which means you need to empty all trash cans TODAY! Right now! You leave the brush in the toilet, and run throughout rooms like a maniac tying up bags and replacing them with new ones. You remind yourself to get the diapers out of Jr.'s room when he wakes up. Trash day? Uh-oh--that also means I need to pay our electric bill. You heave the bags of trash into the garage, hoping they land in the vicinity of the trash barrel, then plop down at your computer, billfold in hand. 

Thank the Lord for online banking. You schedule two payments, put the two pennies you saved this month into savings, then realize you only ate crackers and caffeine for lunch. Trying to be healthy you pour a glass of water, slap some peanut butter on some bread, and decide you've accomplished enough for one day. You carry your water and sandwich into the living room, sink into the couch cushions, and pull out the book you've started approximately 38 times. As you pull the blanket around yourself and settle in….

Well, I'm sure you know what happens. Jr. wakes up. You end up sharing your "lunch", and the book goes back on the shelf. 


Scenario Two:
You've just laid Jr. down. Time: 1:15. It's a little early for nap time, you know Jr. isn't super tired yet, but IT IS TIME, so help us all! 

You were super productive last night when you put Jr. to bed, and sweet husband helped you fold clothes and clean up the garage, so today…TODAY!… during nap time you get to have some precious, sweet, silent, do-whatever-you-want-with-it time. You skip into the kitchen, treat yourself to an Oreo or two, then you wipe up the kitchen counters and start the dough for the pizza you'll make for supper [some things still have to happen during nap time, you know]. But it only took half an hour. And now you get to go read that book, write that blog, WATCH TV! ...

You sit down. You open your book. You read two pages. 

Jr. wakes up. OF COURSE. 


BUT, you know what? 
I'm thankful I get a break, however small, even if it means scrubbing toilets. 
I'm thankful I get stuff done during the day and get to hang out with my family at night. 

And the craziest thing of all? 

A lot of days I actually MISS Blythe while she is sleeping. 

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a date that will live in infamy

In January I mentioned that I was undertaking a new "PROJECT." I have been collecting stories from Brent's Grandma Pat, in the hopes of writing some down. I've always envisioned this to take shape in first person, but I feel like it's almost blasphemy to try to embody such a wonderful person. I've only
recorded one story on my blog, HERE. And I'm going to try to change that. So on this gloomy-trying- to-be-spring day, I wanted to write about how I envisioned her listening to FDR's speech declaring war in 1941. She shared that they were ushered into the Study Hall to listen to the President's address, but that it didn't really register with anyone.


As a freshman girl who had read nearly every book in my small school's library, I was a little surprised there was a place I had not heard about. But ever since yesterday the teachers and everyone at Clarence Pickard's grocery store, and I'm assuming at his brother's grocery store up the street, were sloshing the word "Pearl Harbor" around in their mouths.

My brown curls bounced about my shoulders as I followed my classmates up the stairs to study hall where every student in the building was being herded. I spotted my friend Meredith, one year my senior, and made my way to her. Before I could say anything we were hushed to silence and the familiar crackling of the radio was turned up a little louder.

And then I heard our President's voice, a slight pop in the speakers. I remembered his voice well, having spent some evenings washing dishes while listening to his fireside chats on our small, brown radio. But here, in the crowded study hall room, President Roosevelt seemed to be coming at us from all sides.

Yesterday, December 7, 1941-- a date that will live in infamy-- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked…

I nudged Meredith, raising my eyebrows and pointing to the radio, as if to say, "Infamy? Where is Pearl Harbor?" She shrugged her shoulders at me and we leaned in to hear the rest.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory. 

This all seemed so distant; so far removed from my little life in U. Star, Missouri. If I would have looked directly into my math teacher's eyes though, I would have seen the trepidation they held.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japan Empire. 

And then the radio broadcaster came back on. The president hadn't even talked for ten minutes. Low rumblings began on the outskirts of the room and slowly rippled their way throughout: conversations about Christmas break and number 14 on the math assignment.

Our principal stood up and told us we were to report back to the class we had just left. And with that I followed the small throng of high school students, shorter than everyone not just because I was a freshman but because I was a Woolery. As my hand found the banister and I headed back down the stairs, I thought briefly about those poor people in Hawaii that must be scared about what this attack meant for them. I was glad it was far away, and that I would never know the underpinnings of war.

And as I crossed the threshold into my science class, I walked past the desks of two boys who, in their righteous might, would be strapping on uniforms in a couple years.

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that's what kids are made of

While subbing yesterday I had a class of 8th graders at the end of the day. But this was a MONDAY. And this wasn't just any Monday it was the dreaded "first-day-of-testing" Monday. And they had been testing ALL.DAY.LONG.

So for about twenty minutes I did something: I told them to put on their sweatshirts and we faced the [very] chilly April air and we trudged over to the elementary playground.

And something miraculous happened.

These 8th graders, though they may argue with you on this point, are more KIDS than TEENS. And at that playground in the icy breeze they let themselves BE KIDS.
The snips and snails and puppy dog tails were out in full force, throwing a football and jumping from swings, flailing about in the air. The sugar and spices and everything nice-s were swapping gum and stories, and teeter-tottering.
For a moment in time, worries were suspended in the air as they pumped their legs.

 For a moment in time, popularity was less important than keeping tire chips out of shoes.
 For a moment in time, they let themselves be the kids that they are still supposed to be.

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under construction

I'm messing around with new headers. Give me a moment…or a day or two. I'm not very tech savvy.



[I was excited to get all the responses about DIAPERS on my LAST POST. If you haven't weighed in go check it out!]

For Easter this year, we descended upon Brent's brother Scot and his family in Stillwater, Oklahoma. His sister Beth and her boys, Henry [3] and George [2 1/2 months], and his parents also traveled to Oklahoma. We had six kids and five adults together for three and a half days. The weather was a beautiful 80 degrees and we ran around outside and ate lots of food. It was perfect.
This was before we left. She is modeling her new camo hat she got from Papa. 

We took a pitstop on the Kansas turnpike for lunch. We all were in our KU gear so that we could watch the game that night [and be disappointed…boo Michigan!], but I love this picture of B in her jayhawk shirt in the sunflower state! 

She clearly thought we would get there faster if she drove

Blythe was really pretty good during the six hour drive. She napped or occupied herself most of the time. She got a little antsy once or twice, but for a one year old did awesome! Here she is reading "Romeo and Juliet" 

Scot and Rian have a trampoline and Brent was on it in no time flying around. He said it was just like riding a bike. I'll have to post the other photos of him on here sometime…this one is crazy enough!

Trace [6] taking a break. 

This kid is ALL boy! 

"Take a picture of me doing this!"

Henry is doing muscles in the background and Trace is…well…being Trace :) 
This kid is HILARIOUS

Hosing them down 

This is why I'm not sure if my heart could withstand raising boys… he was up there all the time! 

Blythe playing ball with her cousins, Kylee [11] and Myka [8], and PopPop

Do you see that round belly on my baby girl?! Henry asked, "Does she have a baby in her belly?" Ha. 

This is probably my favorite picture from the weekend. Since it was so nice, they thought it would be a good day to get their pool uncovered and cleaned and ready to go! [Do you hear that summer…COME ON!] Of course the kids could HARDLY STAND to see the pool opened and not just take a quick jump in. It was, of course, about 55 degrees so they didn't last long :) 

Modeling her new headband that Aunt Beth made her 

Brent, Scot, Beck. Some of my favorite people. 

Beautiful Beth and Baby George-- he was A PEACH all weekend. Super chill. And HUGE for a 2 and 1/2 month old. He'll outgrow Blythe in no time. 

Her toes finally got some sun! 

Sunday morning.  I really thought she'd be walking by the time she was ready to wear this dress….but alas. She struggled to crawl in it though, so I had to tuck the shirt in her bloomers and away she went. 

This was a big day for Kylee: She got BAPTIZED!!! We were all so proud of her and so glad we got to be there to share in that ETERNAL moment with her. 

When I get one of the family pics Beth took, I'll post that, but for now you get a picture of Blythe and me, with Brent behind the camera. And if you look above my shoulder you can see Rian. Apparently this is the only picture I got of her. 

This girl is always super sleepy on Sunday mornings after church because she misses her morning nap. She was ready to crash. 

A card game with the girls

I gave Brent the bunny socks to put on her, it was Easter after all, and we had put the bandana on her because I didn't bring a sun hat and didn't want her to burn her pretty BALD head…and the scarf? Well, I think Myka added that little assessory. With the zebra outfit it made for quite the look, don't you agree? 

Playing a little croquet. 

My sister in law, Beth-- I love this lady. We had fun walking our babies around in our matching strollers. 

And that's all, folks. Hope you had a wonderful Easter, celebrating our RISEN Savior. Easter has always been my favorite holiday-- after all, it's hard not to love it when you look around and see the promise of Spring on the tree branches, coupled with the promise of Eternity in your heart.