Make-Up Shorts

I hope you have all been enjoying my special October series, “31 Days of Silence.”  I know, I know, I promised not to get involved in 31 Days this year, but I just couldn’t help myself. However, today I’m interrupting my record-breaking stream of non-posts just to say hello, because I miss you and want you to know that we are all still alive and well.  Also I have an hour before the laundry is ready to be folded and no urgent lesson planning demanding to be done, and these opportunities don’t come around often so I thought I’d see if I could crank out a few short thoughts, at least.


So earlier this month we road tripped to northern Georgia for my sister’s wedding. If you know me at all, you already understand that having my family all together is my favorite thing in the whole world, and our week in the mountains outside of Chattanooga did not disappoint.


Hiking in Cloudland Canyon State Park

At the Chattanooga Choo-Choo

At the Chattanooga Choo-Choo


I wore dressier shoes during the ceremony, but it was chilly outside, so I switched to boots at the earliest opportunity!

With my dad and Abby, who shone in her role as Flower Girl

With my dad and Abby, who shone in her role as Flower Girl

Jemmer was not a happy camper during the ceremony, but he perked up when the food was served at the reception.

Jemmer was not a happy camper during the ceremony, but he perked up when the food was served at the reception.


When Abby was first born I compared watching a baby develop to sculpting a stone figure.  Just as I’m sure it’s very cool to see an actual human shape emerging from a block of marble, it’s miraculous to watch your little lump of newborn grow more and more into a little person that is NOT YOU. This is still happening with my children (now five and two, in case you’ve lost count). Abby talks all day long (it’s an hour past her bedtime and she’s still in her room going strong, as a matter of fact).  She’s making up knock-knock jokes, using language to be devious, appropriating big words she hears in books, and repeating stories that I didn’t even realize she heard the first time (Aunt Katy’s coconut oil pizza is her current favorite). She has not yet learned the art of hiding her thoughts and feelings, so that constant stream of words is a fascinating and sometimes terrifying insight into the person she’s becoming. Jem is much slower in his language development, and he’s just hit that word-explosion phase where he repeats and labels everything he hears and sees.  I love this stage; the annoying screams of last-month’s Velociraptor have given way to words that I can actually identify and understand.  It’s such a delight when I pay close enough attention to recognize that he’s re-telling Abby’s favorite joke, or noticing something out the window that I’ve overlooked, or requesting a special kind of food for breakfast. As much as my ears and brain are exhausted by the end of the day, I am exceedingly aware that a day will come when both of these kids might become brooding and mysterious, and that I’ll pine for the day that they shared so many details with me that I couldn’t even listen to them all.


Four is 32 weeks old now, which means only 7 more until his or her anticipated arrival.  I affirm daily what I’ve already said once on the record:  Once you have one child, every decision to have another is an act of irrational optimism.  I am SO in over my head with Abby and Jem, yet not a day goes by that I don’t pray for God to please let us keep this baby, that I don’t impatiently tap my toe for December to JUST GET HERE, that I don’t think longingly about the moment when we’ll find out if this wild pony in my belly is a little boy or girl and see his or her face for the first time. Oh man, I’m excited all over again, and I haven’t even started in on CHRISTMAS-THEMED NEWBORN PICTURES.


My mom has been converting our old home videos into digital movies, so every once in a while she emails out a link to a website where my siblings and I can watch the latest installment. The most recent videos she sent out were from the Christmas that I was thirteen, and my awkwardness and tweeny moodiness are terribly painful to watch.  I’m astonished to consider the fact that there are people in my life (including but not limited to my immediate family) who knew me then and who still speak to me today. Also I think that every one of my grown-up insecurities can be explained by the fact that in my mind I am still That Girl.


Although some details are better left forgotten, it is amazing to realize how much is captured in a video.  A thousand still photos are just not the same! When we watched our home videos, we realized that no one remembered my brother had a lisp, or that as recently as 1995 everyone in my family spoke with country accents like the Waltons. Of course this has given me an urgent sense of obligation toward taking more videos of my own children, trying to get Abby’s Amazing Expressive Eyebrows in action or preserve Jem’s baby words for ourselves and our posterity.  But I have mixed feelings about this endeavor, because I already have a hundred thousand hours of (mostly useless) video footage that needs to be edited, and the last one I looked at was from before Jem was born.  Also, my kids start acting weird when they realize the camera is on, so the moments I do have captured forever are hardly representative samples.


Overall I think (???) that homeschooling is still going well.  But we’ve definitely hit the October Slump.  Lord help us all.


I definitely go through phases on this, but after my last bout of serious doldrums I resolved once again to get up early enough to have some quiet time to myself before the kids wake up.  It’s been almost a month and I’ve been reminded that this simple habit is a total game changer.  The lion tamer analogy is so, so perfect.


One parting thought: if, like me, you occasionally feel overwhelmed by the horrible state of the world, I highly recommend the fascinating podcast “Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History.”  The five-part series called “Wrath of the Khans” is a great reminder that things could always be worse.  Big thanks to my brother Alan for the recommendation.


That’s a wrap, friends.  Hope to be back here before Thanksgiving!!


8 responses to “Make-Up Shorts

  1. love the way you captured Jem’s language growth–all the different things he says + notices even though his language has come slower. exactly the same here with our oldest girl + boy.

    peace keep you.

  2. You look amazing for 32 weeks!

    I, too, recently had to get back into having Quiet Times in the morning. It’s really hard to do after you’ve had a baby (mine just turned 1, but he still wakes up frequently at night) and sleep takes first priority! I’ve found, though, that if I ask the Lord for strength, He comes through.

    Thanks for the podcast recommendation. I’ve been listening to the Read Aloud Revival podcasts and they are SO GOOD. Are you familiar with them? Anyway, I’ve listened to all of them, so having new ones to choose from is great.

    • Thanks for the podcast rec. I think I’ve heard of RAR before, but haven’t listened to them. I’m going to add it to my library!

      And yes…my morning routine is hugely dependent on how well the little people are sleeping. I’m enjoying this stage while it lasts!

  3. Thank you! Love love love hearing from you!!! Agreed. (On everything!) 🙂 also, I’m so excited to be starting to read Dinner: a love story. Dinner is an especially important time for our family so I’m excited to hear what she has to say.

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. You might have just sucked me into iTunes with that history podcast link. Shame on you. 😛

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