Friday, August 26, 2011

An update on Baby Dove

Baby Dove flew the nest yesterday.  She was the first one to attempt flight, and flew straight into my neighbor's garage.  Welcome to the world little birdie.  Stop flying into garages. 
The neighborhood kids were outside running crazy playing tag under the tree where the dove have made their home.  The kids were L.O.U.D.  Loud like only 15 kids can be that have been cooped up in a classroom all day.  And I wonder if Baby Dove didn't just get so fed up with the racket, she decided that flying the nest was her only option.  I was sitting in another driveway and just happened to look over and witness this crazy first flight...I couldn't believe my eyes.  I looked at the other ladies sitting around me...they were all still chatting.  They hadn't seen Baby Dove's perilous first flight, and I honestly think if they had seen it, they wouldn't have done what I did next.  I said "I think that Baby Dove just flew into that garage" and got up...I walked into the garage and began to search for Baby Dove.  A gray bird blends in well with a gray concrete garage floor.  I'm just sayin'.  After a bit of searching, the neighbor came out. Don't worry, I didn't alarm him...we drift in and out of each other's houses all the time.  He was not shocked to see me in his garage.  He was shocked to hear that Baby Dove had chosen his garage as the destination for her first flight.  And as soon as he closed the door, Baby Dove fah-lipped out.  I tried to scoop her up...but she was fast!  And I only ended up "herding" her into the tall Pampas grass outside.  The children swarmed me.  This was great!...exciting!...they were all talking at once "can I touch it?" "what happened?" "Are you gonna keep it?"....  Baby Dove was terrified.  This was the most action she had seen in her short little life.  I was able to scoop her up and attempt to return her to the nest.  But that startled her brother--still safely in the nest--and he flew off.  He flew into a tree.  Like a normal bird.  And Baby Dove, startled by her brother, flew into the street.  Great.  I herded her under a car, told the children to leave her alone, and went back to chatting with the neighbor ladies, who all looked at me like I had 6 heads and  probably a fresh case of lice compliments of Baby Dove, but said nothing.  I'm a stranger in this world.  Weird.  Unusual. Abby-normal. I try to be normal.  I really do.  I only end up seeming more weird.  Ahem...moving on.  After 20 minutes or so I looked up from my attempt at making "normal" conversation, to see the three girls of the neighborhood gang (my girl included), all walking behind Baby Dove, who had found her way back into the middle of the street.  *Sigh*  They all wanted to touch her.  Pick her up.  Put her in a Princess lunchbox.  I suggested we try once more to put her back into the nest.  They agreed that this was a better idea than the lunchbox and lugged over a chair for me to stand on.  And this time, Baby Dove stayed in the nest.  I think she had learned her lesson.
We checked on her on our way to take Grace to school this morning.  She was still there.  I wondered for a minute if something was wrong with her.  If maybe she had been injured in her shenanigans from the day before.  But as I stood looking up at her, my children gathered around me, curious, wondering...she stood up and flew away.  Into a tree.  Praise be to God.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"  Matthew 6:25-27

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

For my momma...

A nest?...A covey?....I dunno...whatever...a family of dove, has made a nest in the tree across the street.  Our neighbor discovered it and showed my children one unseasonably cool Sunday afternoon while they were playing outside.  My children showed it to me.
Very fantastic.
The nest is only about 8 feet up in the tree and when I stand on a small chair, my face is level with the birds.  There are two babies.  A week ago they fit nicely in their new home, snug under Mama Dove.  Now?  Well now they are spilling out of the nest...
 Geez!  And I have the gall to complain about my house being too cramped!
 The babies are rather darling.  And unlike other baby birds I have had the privilege to meet, rather quiet...I haven't heard a peep out of them! 
My have they grown quickly!  I'm guessing they will attempt their first flight sometime very soon. 
Do you know that dove mate for life?  That they are monogamous?  Well...they are.  And they are quite a team. I've been checking on this nest for almost 2 weeks now and it has never been left unattended.
We had a terribly powerful storms roll through a couple of nights last week. I woke up, WIDE awake...I listened to the thunder roll, heard the wind beat the side of the house, and I began to pray for Mama Dove.  I was so worried that I would find her nest on the ground the next morning, tossed to the ground, the babies spilled out.  So the next morning, before I had my first cup of coffee, I raced outside in my pajamas, stood on the chair and saw--much to my relief--Mama Dove and both of her babies.  Carefully nestled in the branches of a Bradford Pear, safe from the storm.  God is good...even to a family of dove.  
This post is for my momma.  The woman that taught me, and continues to teach me, that we are all connected.  Each and every one of us.  She taught me to marvel at the mystery of nature and taught me to respect the wild things.  xoxo--Kate


Today my daughter started 1st grade.
 How quickly these 6 1/2 years have gone.
 I walked her to the doors of the school and into her classroom.  She told me she didn't need me to walk with her this year.  That she knew the way.  What she doesn't know is that I needed her to walk with me.  One is never prepared for these moments in motherhood.
 She wears a size 2 tennis shoe.  When did her feet get so big?
She rolled her eyes when leaned down to kiss her goodbye.  Where did she learn that?
 She assured me that "yes Mom I can open my fruit cup at lunchtime...all. by. myself."
 She is my challenge.  My exuberant one.  Full of fire and life and passion.
 Earl and I have learned to mostly just watch.  She has so much to teach us.  She makes us laugh and cry and scream and wonder "Are we raising her right?"....Whatever "right" is...
 Today my daughter started 1st grade. 
Simply unbelievable.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Random thoughts from a messy mind

  • I wish my life had a soundtrack. 
  • I saw Bumblebee (the car, not the insect) for sale at a car lot today. Wonder if I could get a car seat in the back?
  • I learned to drive a stick shift when I was 27 years old.  I like driving a stick shift and wish I had learned sooner.
  • Earl and the kids went to the Kansas City Airshow yesterday.  A plane doing a stunt show crashed, killing the pilot.  Wow.  Interesting to watch a 3 and 6 year old process such a tragedy...There have since been numerous reenacted toy airplane crashes on my living room floor.
  • I have stopped eating meat. 
  • I have also stopped drinking Diet Coke.  Shocking, I know. 
  • I have not however stopped my consumption of dairy.  I like cheese.  I really like yogurt.  So sue me.
  • The debate is still out on eating eggs.   
  • Earl took the kids back to the airshow this afternoon.  They seem to be having a grand time.
  • I am home alone.  I had fabulous plans to deep clean the house while the children were away.  Those plans have since been cancelled and operation "Lazy Mom" is in effect.  Cleaning can wait.
  • I just finished reading The Devil in the White City.  It is a "heavy" read, but quite possibly one of the best books I have ever read. 
  • Earl wants to buy me a Kindle.  I'm not exactly sure I would use a Kindle.  Most of my books come from the thrift store or are given to me by my neighbor.  I also enjoy reading in the bathtub.  Can you read a Kindle in the bath?  This is a question I must google.
  • On Wednesday we will have a 1st grader living under our roof.
  • Our children no longer go to the church nursery on Sunday morning.  They each go to their respective classes.  This is mind-boggling to me and something I was not prepared for. 
  • We have a pumpkin patch growing out of the compost pile in our backyard. 
  • I wish I were more organized and less chaotic.  
  • God is busy in my life.  So busy that I feel pulled in 25 different directions...this makes me feel even more chaotic than usual. 
  • My prayer for my life is that God shows me exactly where He wants me to be.  Maybe I'm meant to be chaotic?  I dunno....but I did buy a small planning calender and am trying to get all of my "chaos" down on paper.  Maybe that will help....
  • This post is beginning to seem chaotic.
  • I'm gonna go read a book....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Most of the time I blog about the crazy things my kids say and do.  I joke that I drink tubs of coffee just to stay awake.  And I ask you to pray for me....because frankly, mothering is not a job for the faint of heart and I try not too take myself to seriously.  But truthfully...I struggle.  Every-single-stinkin' day.  I struggle with the decision Earl and I made over 6 years ago.  The decision for one parent to stay home.  It's a non-stop job.  It's intense and often confusing.  I spend my days doing the laundry, making meals, cleaning up after meals, refereeing, translating 3-year-old speak, and playing "Chutes and Ladders" (possibly the worst game ever...just when you think you've gotten to the end, *shwoop* you land on the big chute and slide all the way down to the beginning.  Who thinks of this stuff anyway?!)  The rewards are not those offered by mainstream society. No promotion here.  No raise.  No paid time off.  No evaluation.  No lunch break or even a bathroom break really.  I'm raising America's future and yet society doesn't see my job as worthy enough to earn Social Security.  If I were to define my life right now, I would use one word--sticky.  And so occasionally I get myself into a self-induced funk when I think on these aspects of my "job"...I throw a pity party and drink lots of coffee.
It was on such a day that I decided to take my little "clients" to the library for the "Summer Carnival"!  After the carnival, as we sat on the sidewalk to eat our popsicles, and I overheard a woman say to the little girl standing beside her "What's that honey?  Oh...well of course we can call your mom and tell her how much fun you had!"  And that's when I was hit over the head with a proverbial 2X4.  No one has to call me.  I don't have to hear about my children's lives from someone elses point of view.  I'm there.  Right there.  Smack dab in the middle of this crazy, sticky mess that is my children's life.  And honestly, even on the bad days, there is no where else I'd rather be....
Grace, my dramatic firstborn, drove this point home later that day when we went to the pool.  I got to be there...smack dab in the middle of it...when she jumped off the diving board for the very first time
Very cool.

And then we headed home...for nap time, for quiet time, for folding laundry time (I do laundry all. the. time.)  More of the mundane.  But no, God is funny that way.  Just when you think you've got it all figured out...WHAMMO....God shows up.
Wanna see what He did? 
He did this...
He took an ugly green caterpillar we found eating the dill in our garden and turned it into an amazing butterfly. Upon our arrival home from the pool, we found her flapping her new wings in the glass jar she had attatched her chrysalis to only 11 days before.
I came home from my "lesson" at the library...from watching my girl take her first leap off the diving the newness of a most fantastic creature.
It left me speechless.
And utterly humbled.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come! The old has gone, the new is here!"  2 Corinthians 5:17  This verse certainly illustrates the transformation of a caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly, but it also speaks of us...All of us...when we let Jesus into our lives.
This morning--at the library--I was disgruntled.  I was tired.  I was burdened with the humanness of my life.  I saw the sticky fingers on my children instead of sweet smiles on their faces.  I was an ugly. green. caterpillar.  But slowly, throughout the course of the day, God wrapped Himself around my life.  He showed me how beautiful my life really was...and my attitude emerged, much like the butterfly, new and fresh.
What a gift I was given! 
Thank you God for my children.  Thank you for the opportunity to walk through life with them.  Thank you for libraries and diving boards and butterflies.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Things I learned while canning spaghetti no particular order.

  • I have amazing neighbors with amazing tomato plants.  Seriously, every year they have a phenomenal crop of tomatoes.  Even when everyone else's tomato plants wither in the heat and die, my neighbors plants double their production. 
  • Tomatoes are very messy.
  • My kitchen looked like a tomato exploded.  Cabinets, counter tops, the sink, the window.  Everything was covered in tomato juice, tomato seeds, tomato pulp, tomato skin.  It was shocking.
  • 6 year olds like to "help" in the kitchen.  But really, it is best to wade through the mess alone.  6 year olds create even more mess and ask a LOT of questions.  "Well...we're doing this because it's fun.  YES!  I know we can just go to the store and buy some spaghetti sauce."
  • Skinning a tomato feels a bit like what I imagine skinning an animal must feel like.  I sorta felt like I was killing them.  I apologized, out loud, several times to several tomatoes.
  • Lucia Micarelli is quite possibly a musical genius.  Google her. 
  • Life seems fairly simply when you're up to your elbows in tomatoes.
  • I'm not Italian but I wish I were.  I also wish I had either made the spaghetti sauce after 5pm or on the weekend...I found myself craving a very large glass of red wine. 
  • I like food.  I like to cook it.  I like the smell and the taste and the texture.  I like that, when I cook, I think of nothing else except the task very near at hand.  In the entire 2+ hours that it took me to process and can the sauce, I never once thought about the balance of my checking account.
  • Lots and lots of tomatoes (read: about 20 pounds)=only 6 jars of spaghetti sauce.
  • Dogs won't eat the basil leaves that fall on the floor. 
  • If you squeeze a tomato, juice will squirt out and at times, reach an alarming distance.  I'm talking not just inches but feet, people. I think I have tomato juice on my ceiling...
  • If you ever start to believe that you are not wonderfully and fearfully made, dissect a tomato.  Tomatoes are fascinating!  I'm thinking if God put that much work into a vegetable, err fruit...whatever...then He certainly cares for and loves me more than I can ever imagine.
  • Fresh picked tomatoes taste like a firework in your mouth. There is simply nothing else like it.  They taste of fresh air and sunshine.  They taste like the heat of a summer day and newly cut grass.  More proof that God loves me and wants me to be happy.  Money won't make you happy...but a fresh tomato?  Now that just might do it... 
  • When you boil jar lids and then reach into the water with your little magnetic lid grabber...wear a hot pad glove thingy.  Boiling water is hot.  And metal lids are even hotter...more hot?...whatever...
  • I now have the up most respect for "Ma" from the Little House on the Prairie.  And I have a new appreciation for store bought canned spaghetti sauce.
  • My sauce tastes pretty good...I think. 
  • I will enjoy opening up a jar of sauce this winter...When the snow covers the ground and I'm so cold my teeth are cold.
  • I thanked the tomatoes.
  • My kitchen has never been cleaner.  It took almost as long to clean up as it did to make the sauce.
  • All this spaghetti sauce talk is making me want a big plate of spaghetti and a glass of wine.  It also makes me want to live in Italy.
I really have no nice and neat way to wrap this up.  So this is it.  Things I learned while canning spaghetti sauce.