The funny moments…

We got a new camera recently (Nikon D3300 — thanks for the recommendation, Grampy!) and today Piper took it to Beethe to take pictures of Top Gun. I didn’t get a chance to go over all of the camera with Piper last night so I wasn’t surprised when I got a text message from her this morning asking about something (how to turn off the flash).

Instead of texting her back I decided to call Mystique’s phone (which she was obviously using since she doesn’t have her own). The call picked up and I heard nothing but silence… after a few seconds I said, “Hello?”. Nothing. A couple more seconds I tried again, “Hello??”

Finally, after 10-15 seconds, I heard someone say “Hi.”

I asked “is this PIper?” to which I hear a quiet little, “Yes.”

I finally asked, “Why didn’t you say hello when you answered the phone?”

Piper said, in her standard deadpan voice, “I thought you were going to say something.”

I just laughed… and then gave her a hard time about it as we turned off the flash on her camera. She cracks me up all the time in the simplest ways.

Fast track

This has been quite a week😀. Piper and Landis moved up from recreational gymnastics  to competitive gymnastics in just a few short months.  It’s seems that Lela is on the same fast track with horses.  Just a few months ago we were happy to have found a place where she was getting the instruction she needed and where we felt comfortable as a family.  And here we are getting fitted for a saddle suit and buying a show horse!!  Honestly we couldn’t be more thrilled for all our girls and the year they will have competing, growing and becoming.  How fun!

Photo by Jack Haslup

Kindergarten for Phoebe

Well August finally rolled around and the time came.  I don’t know if we were dreading or anticipating the start of school but either way it came without much fanfare.  Phoebe was so laid back about it all, packing her backpack and picking her clothes.  She made it painless for me which is different than all her sisters.  Part of that is that they have paved the way for her, shown her what to expect and supported her in a way that only big sisters could.  She had the same teacher that Landis had for kinder and she is at the same school she attended last year.  All those things add up to a very smooth transition to school.

  Landis is missing Phoebe already but soon she too will be too busy with school at home. 

Darn I love that girl

IMG_6140.JPGPiper is not tidy. She loves little bits of papers, cloth, doll clothes and other tiny things. Her room can be a train wreck. Today we are doing her laundry because we are going out of town. I ask her to get her laundry and bring it to the laundry room which she does.

I get it washed and ready to be put away, yes I do this for them and I like it:) I will do their laundry until they don’t want me to do it anymore, they do know how to do it themselves. Anyhoo, we go to put it away and there are dirty clothes on the floor, grrrr. I like doing the laundry for her but I don’t like doing it twice. I am frustrated and she is pouty.

We start to clean up her room and I am throwing away bits of paper as fast as she can pick them up. We get it tidy (aka we can walk without tripping) and we start putting away her laundry. I hang the clothes and she does the drawers. When we get to the end of the basket I separate out the underwear, tank tops and PJs. She puts the PJs away, then the tank tops. Now all that is left is the pile of underwear. She scoops it up, looks right at me and throws the underwear up in to the air with the most delightful squeal in the world and lets it all rain down on her head.

We laugh and I remember all the reasons why I love that little sprite that isn’t bothered by mess:)

The curse of the tall, thin girl

Well we had an exciting horseback lesson the other day.  Lela was doing awesome riding her steed, it was a breezy 90 degree morning and we were all reveling in the wonderful weather (for an Arizona July).

Post ride Lela told me her arms felt “dead” which I quickly wrote off as her arms feeling tired from a killer workout.  I had her get some water and then we went to unsaddle her horse and get it washed down.  By the time we got her horse to the wash stall she was looking really off and she was being pretty cranky.  So I told her to go and sit down.  After her horse was secured in the stall I went to check on her.  She was teary eyed and told me she couldn’t see.  Her vision was blurry and it was “all purple” at the edges.  Then all of a sudden she went a ghostly white.  I am pretty sure if she had still been standing she would have fallen down and passed out.

I had packed her electrolyte water and snacks so I had her drink some water and eat some grapes.  After a few minutes she was okay and able to continue with her horse.  She ended up staying another hour and working some horses for her trainer.  She was a little freaked out and I was a little freaked out.

I made an appointment with her pediatrician for the following Monday.  The pediatrician said it was hypotension and common in tall, thin girls.  I am glad it isn’t something more serious and now we both know the warning signs.  I am also glad that it didn’t happen while she was on her horse.  The remedy is to get your head below your heart as quickly as possible and to eat a bigger breakfast:)  Lela hates to eat breakfast, but this day she had eaten a pretty good one for her and I was feeling accomplished (that didn’t last long) for getting her up early, fed and hydrated:)  HA!

4th of July

We had a wonderful staycation at the Fairmont for the 4th.  The girls had never seen fireworks up close, only from 10 miles away.  We figured staying at the hotel would give us a speedy exit plan so we gave it a go.

The weekend was great, we had wine and cheese night with the grandparents, swam, rode zip lines, listened to music, watches fireworks and had a great time together.  Piper, Landis and I watched from the lagoon and Jason, Lela and Phoebe watched from the balcony of the hotel room, it was perfect.


The letter your child can’t write you

I read this letter and it is sooooo Phoebe and Lela. I am sure Landis and Piper will have their moments too but Phoebe and Lela are not waiting until the teen age years. I am putting this here so I can remember and re-read it, so I can have thicker skin and know that they need to be mad at me even when I am doing my best and they need to know I still love them even after they just spent the last two hours yelling at how much they don’t like me, or even hate me. I get it and I can take it, with copious amounts of chocolate and wine:) I love my emotional children.


Gretchen Schmelzer June 23, 2015
Dear Parent:

This is the letter that I wish I could write.

This fight we are in right now. I need it. I need this fight. I can’t tell you this because I don’t have the language for it and it wouldn’t make sense anyway. But I need this fight. Badly. I need to hate you right now and I need you to survive it. I need you to survive my hating you and you hating me. I need this fight even though I hate it too. It doesn’t matter what this fight is even about: curfew, homework, laundry, my messy room, going out, staying in, leaving, not leaving, boyfriend, girlfriend, no friends, bad friends. It doesn’t matter. I need to fight you on it and I need you to fight me back.

I desperately need you to hold the other end of the rope. To hang on tightly while I thrash on the other end—while I find the handholds and footholds in this new world I feel like I am in. I used to know who I was, who you were, who we were. But right now I don’t. Right now I am looking for my edges and I can sometimes only find them when I am pulling on you. When I push everything I used to know to its edge. Then I feel like I exist and for a minute I can breathe. I know you long for the sweeter kid that I was. I know this because I long for that kid too, and some of that longing is what is so painful for me right now.

I need this fight and I need to see that no matter how bad or big my feelings are—they won’t destroy you or me. I need you to love me even at my worst, even when it looks like I don’t love you. I need you to love yourself and me for the both of us right now. I know it sucks to be disliked and labeled the bad guy. I feel the same way on the inside, but I need you to tolerate it and get other grownups to help you. Because I can’t right now. If you want to get all of your grown up friends together and have a ‘surviving-your-teenager-support-group-rage-fest’ that’s fine with me. Or talk about me behind my back–I don’t care. Just don’t give up on me. Don’t give up on this fight. I need it.

This is the fight that will teach me that my shadow is not bigger than my light. This is the fight that will teach me that bad feelings don’t mean the end of a relationship. This is the fight that will teach me how to listen to myself, even when it might disappoint others.

And this particular fight will end. Like any storm, it will blow over. And I will forget and you will forget. And then it will come back. And I will need you to hang on to the rope again. I will need this over and over for years.

I know there is nothing inherently satisfying in this job for you. I know I will likely never thank you for it or even acknowledge your side of it. In fact I will probably criticize you for all this hard work. It will seem like nothing you do will be enough. And yet, I am relying entirely on your ability to stay in this fight. No matter how much I argue. No matter how much I sulk. No matter how silent I get.

Please hang on to the other end of the rope. And know that you are doing the most important job that anyone could possibly be doing for me right now.

Love, Your Teenager (or any age type A child)

Dry all night 

When you become a parent there are some things you give up, like sleeping through the night, having your bed to yourself, or using the restroom ALONE!  All these former luxuries…vanish.  But your life is never the same.

Phoebe had never been dry one single night of her life…never.  My pediatrician told me to just let it go when I took her in for her four year check up.  She said I had enough to do:). So I did.  By the time she was 5 I was beginning to worry I was training her to actually wet the bed, I freaked a little.  Because of that I spent 3 night in a row sleeping with a child that peed on me.  Neither of us woke up, it was unpleasant.  So I fretted to her teacher and out her back in pull ups.

When we set out on our trip this May, Phoebe got sick.  She ran a high fever for 4 days causing her to wake in the night for water.  She started asking if she could go to the bathroom when she woke up and of course I took her.  She was dry the next morning and every morning during the fever.  I worried that it was dehydration.  Finally the fever passed and the night waking went away but the dry in the morning stayed!  The entire trip!

So just like that with no intervention from me some flip was switched and Phoebe is now dry every morning and hasn’t worn a pull up in 3 weeks.  A lesson for me in faith that all things will happen in their own time.

5th Grade

Fifth grade is a turning point in education.  This is when children typically enter the “logic” phase of development.  I suspect Lela has been there for a while and that Piper is about 6 months away.  This means that I have to up my homeschooling game a bit.  Lela and I have been busily planning the next phase of her (and Piper’s education).  We are still going to take science with Covenant House and probably do one day of homeschool co-op.

Coursework for 5th Grade

Logic, Mathematics, History, Language (this is spelling and grammar), Writing, Science, Latin/foreign language, Religion (world religions), Art and Music

I am gathering all my new materials and organizing existing materials.

I am pretty excited about 5th grade:)

They are breaking up

Well it was bound to happen at some point but the big girls have broken up.  They split their rooms.  It is bittersweet for me but a step towards independence for them.  I don’t know exactly why they wanted it, at first Lela was making remarks about having her own room, I think because Piper is messier than Lela.  So Lela kind of planted the seed and it took root and grew.  Now Lela is NOT one for change so by the time the writing was on the wall she had changed her tune but it was too late.

We moved Landis and Phoebe to what used to be the unused guest room and Piper moved in to Landis and Phoebe’s old room.  So Piper and Lela share a Jack and Jill suite and spend a lot of time in each others rooms.  They both have a trundle so they can have sleepovers with each other.  I just want them to stay as close as they are now so they always have someone to talk to, just in case they don’t want to talk to their mother:)

As expected Lela’s room is neat as a pin and Piper’s room…well it looks loved.