Monday, May 30, 2011

Westport on Memorial Day

The Old House
Beach path and a red hat.
Trap door in the lookout tower.
Window views from the tower.
Can you spot Ben?
Nothing better than an outdoor shower.
Zibby & Emily
Sara & Ben
The rafters.
Beach Barn Ping Pong.

Our neighbors graciously invited our family to join them at their beautiful beach house in Westport to celebrate Memorial Day. This home and farm land has been in their family for almost a century. Every bit of it was bursting with character. Every view, breathtaking.

I could write pages about today.

The way daughters clung to their fathers while dodging sparkling surf,

Purple lipped kids, hand in hand, flying over the tips of icy waves,

Playing Ping Pong in a dusty sun-streamed barn,

A treacherous lookout tower equipped with a trap door and views untouched by time.

Having my mom here makes these memories all the more treasured. I feel grateful for the hospitality of the Carney's, who blessed my loved ones with a day that will not soon be forgotten.

Monday, May 23, 2011

When we are all together

Weekend Warrior.
Abby Sue's pinwheels.
Ben's music.
Love those curls!
Green grass!

Daddy is a weekend warrior. 12 hours after getting off an international flight, having worked non stop in four different countries, he still finds the energy to move irrigation lines for the new flower beds he dug out and in preparation for the new patio. (Hopefully going in this week if the rain lets up!)

Abby Sue is an artist. She found the design for making pinwheels in an old craft book. Doesn't she have a great eye for color!

Ben is a composer. He wrote this music completely on his own. We were amazed. He played it for us yesterday and it is simply beautiful.

Zibby is fun. Her polka dot dress, muck boots, and red tricycle were the perfect photo op.

European treasures from Daddy, including the "stroopkoeken" cookies from Holland, were a favorite. When you set the cookie on top of a hot cup of tea the caramel on the inside gets warm and gooey. Yum!

My tulips are almost done, but still glorious.

Sunday night dinner with our neighbors, The Carney's, has become a tradition, one that even an un-social girl like me is beginning to enjoy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Quotes of the week

"Mom, can you pick me up some liquid nitrogen?"~Ben

"Shirley Temple stop hitting your sister!" ~Zibby (while playing with my old paper dolls)

"I'm so excited that we are going to be studying the providences of Canada in geography."
~Abby Sue

Manny's Birthday

Manny is a 75 pound lovable chocolate lab. He is also Charlotte's best friend.

His owner is Ryan, our neighbor who lives just a short walk through the woods. Ryan is the only other person I know that loves animals as much as Abby Sue. The two of them have found a common bond and become true friends. Almost everyday after school I can count on Ryan and Manny coming over to go on an adventure with Abby Sue and Charlotte.

Aaron and I have had more than one conversation about our fourth grade daughter having an eighth grade boy for a friend. How very sad that we live in such an age in which we have to worry about adult issues concerning our innocent children. Both Abby Sue and Ryan are as childlike as they should be in regards to their ages. In fact Ryan might be one of the dearest boys I have ever met. He is the same age as both of Abby's oldest cousins, which might explain the ease she feels around him. Still, we have talked with Abby and discussed the guidelines that we expect her to follow when it comes to Ryan, or any friend for that matter. She understands.

So, today was Manny's birthday and we had to celebrate. Abby Sue pulled out her "Dog Bible" and found a recipe for homemade dog treats. Ryan loves to bake and was more than happy to come over and join in the fun.

While the kids made the treats, Manny & Charlotte tramped throughout the house. (Did I mention they were soaked from being outside in the rain?)

We had so much fun celebrating together....

but I will never own two dogs....that's just too much slobber for me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fun Food Day

Massachusetts has been under a drizzly fog for almost a week now, (hello oregon), and Daddy is still away, so we decided to turn a normal Wednesday into something a little bit more memorable...Good Morning Faces, (love the oozing eye.)
Artichoke & Oz Dinner. I'm so proud that my kids love to eat these flowers as much as I do! (We purposely waited to replace the old rug in our front room so that the kids can eat "Japanese" style while watching a favorite movie. We didn't have time to watch all of "The Wizard of Oz", but I wish I recorded Zibby singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" while gnawing off artichoke leaves...hilarious.)
Smooze! pops are a new favorite around here and the perfect guilt free dessert. (you gotta love Zibby's band aid...she caught my nasty cold and her poor nose is raw so she insisted that a band-aid would make it better. "She looks like Hitler mom."~I knew that was coming.)
A neighbor introduced us to Smooze! pops and I found them at Whole Foods. (Aaron calls it "whole paycheck".)

I'm proud of my tulips this year, just looking at them makes me feel victorious...kinda like we both survived a very long winter.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Like it is...

A damn airplane took my husband away from me once again. Sorry for the cursing, but I have a wicked know the kind that make your face feel like one giant oozing booger. Ick. I just want to pull the covers over my aching head and be dead to the world, but alas, those three precious little kookies are in constant need, and their pets can't seem to live without me either. So, here I am with a stack of used tissues to the left and right of me while Mr. Wonderful flies business class to Paris. You and I both know that godly women don't sulk, nor do they have pity parties....godly women probably don't let their kids survive on granola bars and movies all day long either. Godly women kiss their husbands goodbye too. You must think the worst of me now. I think the worst of me too.

But, for some crazy reason I'm still loved...

By Mr. Wonderful,

And a Wonderful God.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Second Grade Field Trip Day

I went on a field trip with Ben's class today and there were a few things said that I don't want to forget...

"Mom, you need to dress like an onion." (layers)

"Mom, when I found out that you were coming on the field trip my heart almost beat out of my chest."

"Mom, you look really good, those clothes will be warm enough."

And this one was said to me from Cindy, one of the girls in Ben's class,

"Mrs. Koch, if I had to choose between Justin Bieber and Ben, I would choose Ben because he's way more funny, he's super nice, and he has a handsomer face."

(Well, I'm gonna have to agree with her on that one...but of course I'm a little bias.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"If you build it they will come..."

Last weekend Aaron and I dug a hole in the middle of our woods, filled it with rocks, and had a bonfire.

By Sunday we had about fourteen neighbors gathered around sharing "smeeps" ('smores made out of a peeps), and watching our kids play flashlight tag.

We have been judged here...even scrutinized and ostracized for our faith. We have been slandered, and we have withstood the blows of harsh criticism. We have been misunderstood and left alone.

I truly had no idea that building something as simple as a fire pit would help begin to bridge those gaps.

"This is what life is all about," stated our next door neighbor, "taking joy in the simple things."

There was less swearing and more smiling.

Walls come down brick by brick.

Please pray with me. Pray that this upcoming summer will be full of many more bonfires and nights filled with conversation. Let's ask Jesus to be revealed there in His glorious creation.

One of the kids asked, "Why are all those stars up there?" Her Dad answered, "They just are...they always have been."

Let them come to know their Maker. Amen.

Monday, May 2, 2011


About a month ago Abby Sue received a phone call from a friend at school inviting her to be a part of their dance routine for the upcoming talent show. You can imagine her surprise and excitement. This was the first time anyone had invited her to a be a part of anything at her new school. She was beaming for the rest of the week and chatted with me often about how thrilled she was to be included.

One and a half weeks before try outs the phone rings again. This time it was the parent who was choreographing the dance. "I'm not sure who told you that Abigail could have a part in the routine that our kids are doing but, there isn't any room for her. Sorry." click.

I was standing over dinner, asking God how in the world I was going to break the news to my little girl. I know that working though disappointment is an important part of childhood, but she had gone through so much already, couldn't He give her a break?

No, instead He gave her grace.

After gently explaining to her the situation and (both of us) shedding a few tears, my Abby Sue dries her eyes, lifts up her chin and says,

"That's okay. I'm sure they didn't mean to hurt my feelings. There must have been some mistake. I think I should do my balloon art instead. That's my real talent any way."

And so, this past Friday night she jumped out on that huge stage, in front of an auditorium full of parents and peers, and danced, smiled, twisted and created a balloon hat, a balloon wand, she pulled a balloon rabbit out of a magic box full of an assortment of many other balloon animals, all made with her own two beautiful hands.

It was unique. It was happy. It was incredible.

It was courageous.

"Mom, I think these balloon things really make people smile."

She's right of course...and it makes people (like me) cry.