Friday, February 21, 2014


The past several weeks have brought with it an experiment.

Some of you might balk at the idea…but hear me out.

If you know us-and by us I really mean ME- you know that I lean heavily towards minimalism. I left the country seven years ago and gave away 75% of my belongings. Including my winter coat. I didn't think I'd be coming home in the middle of February to a snow storm.

Since then I've not really replaced much of my stuff. I got married, so that stuff came to inhabit my space and we had to buy some furniture, but mostly its the basics and one carry-on size suitcase filled with mementos. The ones that mean the most, the ones I want my posse to show their posses.

And since I worked in an orphanage in rural Burkina Faso I came home with a different idea about what kids NEED in order to learn and grow and love and be loved. (And it's not loads and loads of toys. And then more toys. And maybe a few more).

My posse has the least amount of toys of any kids I know save for maybe one. And it sometimes still feels like too much. They don't play with what they have and whine and beg for something else. And the mess. Don't even talk to me about the mess. I have such a hard time with THE MESS. I'm sometimes afraid I'm going to give my children a complex with all the cleaning up (before we leave to go somewhere, before lunch, before naps, before dinner, before bed…) and then I relax and tell myself I'm going to give them a complex about something, might as well be cleaning up. It's part of the job of being an imperfect teacher to young impressionable souls.


We I took away the toys.

Not all of them.

But we've got a system now. The toys live in the closet. Every week each posse member can choose 3 toys for the week. The rest go back. (Toys are grouped in piles-so all the plastic animals counts as one toy) Even the big ones like the kitchen and the workbench. In the closet. Off limits for the week.

It felt a little extreme as I was doing it. Honestly. I was doing it out of frustration and at-the-end-of-my-rope feelings. I didn't know what else to do. I was screaming (in my head of course) "WHY ARE YOU NOT PLAYING WITH YOUR TOYS!!" So I just decided spur of the moment in the middle of the afternoon while Partner in Parenting and Life was watching a Bears game. (That's sacred time you know. DO. NOT. INTERRUPT.) I find that most of my best decisions are made spur of the moment. I just decide to do it. And then do it. And then I'm so glad I did. And the same can be said for this one.

I have nothing negative to say about this experience.

They play with their toys more. There is less to clean up. They are excited to get 'new' toys every week. There is a sense of ownership and pride I see in them when they make a choice for the week. Sis is playing with 'boy' toys and Bubs is playing with 'girl' toys…

I will not go back.

And just for the record, Partner in Parenting and Life is totally on board.

Anyone else want to try it out and see how it goes?

Thursday, February 13, 2014


The moon is full.

And chocolate chips are 'hiding' in the freezer.

This equals disaster for dreams.

They can't imagine and dance and, well, dream. There is no sleep happening.

Apparently a full moon makes people crazy and werewolf like. This is true for the posse. And  me.

And chocolate-my demise-is 'full' of this stuff called 'caffeine'. If you have too much, or in some cases, just a handful at 9pm, it causes sleep to be elusive.

So it's been a long week.

Not in the 'It's been such a LOONNNGGG week-I'm-ready-to-start-over' kind of way. Just in the 'I've hardly slept at all it feels like one loonnggg day' kind of way.

Two 'caffeinated' (let's use that term lightly) nights that followed a day of skiing and a day of working. And today was another day of working. At 6am. Careful NOT to eat ANY chocolate last night, sleep was still elusive as the anxiety about waking up on time forces my eyelids open every hour.

It was also elusive because of this sweet girl.


At this point it's obviously not going to stop by itself. The realization should have come sooner-but it was only 3 hours before the alarm went off!! Staying in bed to try and sleep seemed rational (it wasn't). Also, there is no cough syrup in the house. Sickness rarely visits this house in a way that calls for medicine.


Honey works well for sore little throats and coughs.

(Sis did NOT mind this)

Still coughing.


We have Vick's. The menthol-ly greasy rub. When put on the bottoms of feet covered in socks coughs disappear. Lesson learned three years ago. Never used again-still have the Vicks.

Squinting in flashlight light (It's incomprehensible when people turn the light on at 2am) I look for an expiration date. There was none.
Sweet, patient talking is not my forté at 2am-did the best I could and talked the Princess into letting me rub her feet and put socks on 'But my feet are not cold!' (vigorously shaking head) and let me rub a little bit on her chest. 15 minutes later we heard

235 'cough cough'
240 'hack'
250 'cough'

300 zzzzzzzzzzz

Until the 430 alarm for the RN and the 530 alarm for the barisata.

The day is almost over. The weather is beautiful and my body is aching for a run outside but that pillow is looking D E L I G H T F U L.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


January is the longest month ever.

And also the shortest.

The darkness drags on and on.

The cold lingers inside my bones.

It's always been this way. It probably will always be this way.

Death is a good reminder of life. After the death comes the life. Comes the warmth. Comes the flowers and the green and the being outside without coatshatsglovesboots.

But it gets old.

It's why this place has been empty for so long. What is there to write about when its all so still, so quiet, so dark. But also so loud and chaotic and the posse is basically breaking down the walls to get outside?

It's felt like something to endure. Something to 'hold your breath and close your eyes and just get through it'

BUT what if instead it was celebrated for what it is?

Celebrate Wyoming winters? I hardly recognize the girl who got along famously in a sub-Saharan country.

We are going to start by getting coatshatsglovesboots on and going outside.

I cross country skied today, for the second time ever. It was SNOWING. Coming down. The whole 2 hours we were out. Never let up. And it was beautiful. Mostly quiet. Trees, clouds, snow, friend, dog, me. No screaming. No attitude.

The peace that is found in the stillness, in the laughter, in long answers to short questions, in the working hard to get up that hill only to turn around and come gliding down it…that is what I am determined to make of my winters. Memories.

Memories that include the cold, the snow, the grayness.

Every season has its merit and ALL THINGS PASS. It will not stay this way forever.

(which means you will be hearing more from me!)