The night I got to hang out with Jimmy for the first time we talked until 3 am. The night couldn't last long enough. There was so much to be said. I think we both sensed we had a lifetime of words for each other. That we would never tire of talking to each other. 

When we were newly married and away from each other all day we would talk on the phone if at all possible. He on the phone in his classroom, me either at home or in the office at the BCM on campus at FSU- no cell phones for us then. 

When Jackson was born I had someone to talk to all day and I did, and being the type of person he is, he loved it. Jackson and I have been talking every day for over 14 years. 

But now, in 2016, I find myself on this particular night all out of words to speak. Sometimes you just use them all up. And for me, this seems to happen more and more often the more kids I have and the bigger those kids get. I'm reading everything from WW2 history to Dr. Suess, I'm trying to communicate with a babbling toddler, I'm answering math questions, I'm explaining how someone becomes president, I'm diffusing the latest "he said, she said" in the sibling world. I'm not going to lie, it's exhausting. And sometimes I'm just plain out of words. 

(And now I am dealing with the irony of the fact that I just wrote a couple hundred words about the fact that I don't have any words left. It is maybe a way to cope.)

Yet His mercies are new every morning and somehow I wake up with a new bank full of words and I am happy to greet my children with a Good Morning! and Did you sleep well? By God's grace. And I am so greatful. 

Kids, I'm sorry when I run out of words. But there are a lot of you and only one of me and I pray for God's strength and patience and as you know, a mother can communicate quite a bit without saying a word. So, there's that.

I love my kids. They're worth the word depletion, no doubt. And hugging. Hugging doesn't need words. I'm going to try more of that. Less words. More hugging. 

And now I'm really out of wor



My sweet Juliet turned FIVE about three weeks ago and in the bustle of the new year I neglected to post about her wonderfulness even though I intended to.  And even though it has passed, I'd like to honor Juliet with a blog just for her.  Because she's super.

Juliet is a quiet human, and when she is loud, it is 95% of the time a wonderful happy talking or laughing about something.  Juliet is soft spoken, so it's been a little bit hard to adjust to that...having to lean over and ask someone around here to repeat themselves.  Because everyone else is pretty high volume.  She is incredibly perceptive, and interprets the world around her in a very unique and original way.

Juliet always wants to be the one to pray at dinner, and always thanks God for all our blessings and often goes on a little longer than we want.  I heard her say under her breath quite a few times this past holiday season, "All I want for Christmas is a happy family."  (Usually said when siblings were arguing or getting in trouble!)  Not too long ago she wanted to listen to an audio book reader she got for Christmas but Penelope (her best friend and roommate) said that the noise would bother her.  I told Penelope she could put up with it for a few minutes and told Juliet to go ahead.  Juliet quietly remarked, "I don't want to upset my sister."  She is so sweet.

Earlier this week Juliet told me that Barbie is the richest person on TV.  After I asked why, she said it is because she has a car, an RV, a dream house, AND a boyfriend.  I couldn't really argue with her logic.

She also told me a few days ago that she had a hole in her heart.  When I asked why she said it was because she couldn't find her tiny stuffed animal, Silky, the gray elephant.  So of course today when she found him, she held him behind her back, came to me and said, "I don't have a hole in my heart anymore!" and revealed Silky to me with a big smile.

Monday I played ponies with her on the coffee table and discovered, as we were playing, that a large majority of playing is setting up everything for playing.  This makes me so happy, because I love to sort and set up figures, what I have trouble with is the pretending and the voices and the imagination part.  Sorting them according to colors or type, or episodes, as Juliet was doing, makes sense to me.  She was so proud and happy with her pony groups, I had to take her photo. 

Then I let her take some photos herself.  Not bad!!!

When she ran into our kitchen island this week and hit her eye on the corner she came to me crying.  Through her tears: "I gotta stop getting these owies!  I gotta get taller!"  That is so Juliet.  Putting it together immediately that if she were taller, she wouldn't have been able to injure herself in that way.

And tonight, while she helped me give Violet a bath, something happened (I missed it) and she turned to me and said, "Are you thinkin' what I'm thinkin' sistah?"  And I just laughed, and never even figured out what she was thinking or what I was supposed to be thinking.  I just love this kid.

Juliet is brave, independent, and smart.  She is the fifth of six children.  She is the baby sister, but a big sister all at the same time.  She has never seemed jealous or impatient of Violet.  She understands dirty diapers and nap times and "I have to help your brothers and sisters with school" on a level way older than her years.  I am so happy to be her mom and see who and what she becomes.  I know it will be wonderful.


Hiding in the Dryer

This past weekend, beginning when we got home from winter vacation on New Year's Eve, we enjoyed hanging out with our friends the Bennages who were visiting from out of town, along with all their entourage.  Meaning, a fun reunion of all our friends from college whom we see, but not very often all in one room, unless an occasion like this occurs.

They even got to be here for the birth of a baby- our friends the Stricklands had their baby while they were here.  Sandra even had to step in and cut the cord for dad Michael, as he was out of town!

Sunday was their last day here. (They had moved over to our house to give the Stricklands some room with their new baby!) We had a bunch of folks over and people brought their own food and ate lunch after church.  We lit a fire in the backyard, let kids play, mommies talked, the men played games, folks got sticky roasting marshmallows, and we just generally enjoyed each other.  The afternoon went on, and no one left.  We all got hungry again and some of us moms went to the store and got more food, and we continued to hang out and just be there together.

As I was thinking about how cool it was that we got to host an 8 hour play date with some of our best friends, I remembered my friend Eric from kindergarten.  I used to stay at his house after school for a couple hours.  I'd go home with him when us kindergarteners got out at 1:00 and my mom would come get me after she finished her full school day at 3:30.

When it was time for my mom to come, when we heard her knock on the door, we would always try to find someplace to hide so that I could stay a little bit longer.  Once Eric shut me in the dryer.  They'd never find me there!  I could stay all night!  (Five year old logic not understanding the flaws here on many levels.)  Of course when I was found, there was a scolding of how dangerous it can be to be shut up in a dryer.  And I had to go home.  All good things must come to an end.

Our day long play date with multiple families was wrapped in just a little bit of five year old logic.  Let's all just hide in the dryer, so we can keep this fun alive as long as possible.  I'm sure everyone had stuff they were going to try and get done that day- chores, errands, etc.  But you know what?  Letting ourselves hide in the dryer for an afternoon was really a very, very, good idea.  Having a group of people that love you and your kids, no matter how crazy or quirky you might be-- that's how I want to do life.