Herd of Turtles

As a family, we are getting pretty good at getting out of Dodge.

Off like a herd of turtles!

This weekend was no exception. This 4th of July we packed up the 1963 Holiday Rambler we stumbled upon on Craigslist and headed to the Whispering Waters Campground in Hastings.

Even the coolest cats have to get that booger sometimes.

While Paul spent time troubleshooting leaks and figuring out how to use the camper, we relaxed poolside. All of the manuals are from the 60s and therefore they mostly recommend you figure it out your damn self.

To each his own. Paul prefers tools and tinkering. I prefer sunshine and bad tan lines.

But seriously, aren’t all tan lines good?

The boys spent hours in the pool this weekend perfecting my panic response to their underwater swimming.


Of course, Isaac continued his exploration of Michigan’s insect population with the help of Momma’s Google.

The Leaf-legged Beetle

We also went hiking on the Paul Henry Thornapple trail. My boys encouraged my hopes for a future of sibling best friendship with their hand holding and walking way ahead of us deeply involved in their own conversation. I knew that they were creating their own personal memories of each other just out of earshot.


Levi found and named a little frog, ‘Crickety’. He also discovered the happiness that comes with finding wild berries growing right were you happen to be in need of a sweet snack.

We also removed Levi’s training wheels right before we biked nearly 8 miles over the course of two and a half hours.

Truth be told, he’s been biking for awhile with them teetering just off the ground. I’ve even had a few bikers comment on it and I was all…



It was NOT easy for him. It involved mosquitos and falling again and again. He even rolled off the trail and into some brambles one time. After a few squeezes and tons of encouragement from his whole family – well, look at that photo – he was our hero for finishing stronger than he started.

The weekend included a few of my favorite, most beautiful purple sparklers in the hands of some happy little boys.


And other kid friendly explosives.


I also settled into that space in my head that I find in the woods. I didn’t write much but I did take notice. Mindfulness is so much easier to find in the woods.

It reminds me of my smallness in comparison to the universe.

I set an intention to give my boys and amazing last summer before they are all in school fulltime this fall. I’ve done my best to work less, spend more time creating good memories and focusing on important lessons.

It’s been as delightful as you can imagine.

It’s also been hella frustrating because I love my work. I’ve had to say no more often and it’s causing my inner over achiever some serious anxiety.

That’s the truth. It’s hard for me to slow down. I wish it came more naturally but it doesn’t.

I’m like Isaac in that way. I have two speeds: sprinting and sitting.


This isn’t really a stop. It’s more of a change in direction. A tuning in to a different, more playful channel where the house is cleaner, the meals are healthier and the children are better behaved.


I could definitely have worse intentions.

I love this family.

I love watching my husband working to make our newish camper a home away from home. I love seeing my oldest gain independence and test it in stepping outside of our little circle. I love seeing Isaac wonder at the science of the woods in cocoons, insects and water. I love watching Levi learn to be more lionhearted as he tests his own strength.

Time is frail and we only get one chance to give our children all we can before they’re ready to leave us for the world.

I’m so deeply grateful for this time



PS – Speaking of a herd of turtles, I found one. About 26 of them on a log, to be exact.


The Year of Leather & Pottery

On May 14th, 2013, I rolled over to my husband smiling._JRM2444

“Happy Anniversary.”

I said, “Sing the song.”

“What song?” he replied.

“You know the one.” I smiled.

And then he sang it.

Because out of the billions of people on this planet, he is the only one who would know just what song I meant.

Because he’s my guy.

He knows that I don’t like ice in my water or refrigerated fruit because the cold hurts my teeth. He knows that a hammock to me is what a hug machine is for Temple Grandin. He knows that I don’t like to go a day without chocolate.

He pays attention. He knows me.

We have now been married for 9 years.

The accurate length of time was news to us. We thought we were about to celebrate our 10th anniversary until we counted more carefully.

The traditional wedding gift should be one of pottery or leather.

I don’t know why.

It seems a perfect fit.

The past two years have been rough. I can tell you this now.

It seems as if our marriage was a new leather catching mitt that needed to be broken in with a solid beating. I imagine our pot needed to be fired to strengthen a few weaker spots.

So, yes. Perhaps leather and pottery are the perfect gift ideas this year.

This is the year that we celebrate in the spirit of survival.

We have bailed all of the water, patched the sail and eaten nothing but saltines for months. Storms have raged and yet suddenly, we spotted the shore, leapt from the boat and swam for our lives.

We are past the exhaustion of the swim. We are now laying in the sand with the sun kissing our skin. We are now rolling over to smile at each other in disbelief that we made it. At times we both veered off course but we landed safely next to one another.

Watch this video to hear this post’s soundtrack.

Those of you who are married and have been for a long time will know this story without hearing the details. You know what it feels like to be leather broken and a pot fired. Your ship almost went down. You know the gratitude of the lessons.

For those of you who have only been married a short time – may you never see a shipwreck. Godspeed. However, if you do, bear down and hold on. It will be awful. It will hurt and when people tell you about leather and pots, you will want to shank them.

I understand that too. May you find yourself being kissed by the sun on a safer shore someday.

For those of you who know the pain of pulling yourself out of the ocean alone – you are not a sunken ship or a weak pot. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try or how deeply you want to stay on the same course with the person you love, it doesn’t work out.

Be gentle with yourself. Love yourself. Recognize that you survived. Reward your own bravery.

Love is not easy. It is hard. It is not a napkin to stuff into your pocket. It’s not pennies that you let slip to the bottom of your handbag. It’s not a can to kick down the road out of boredom.

All love is to be treated with respect and tenderness. Love is so easily lost when it is not treated like the gift it is.

Love is like nails freshly painted. It is like flipping an omelet or whipping an egg white. Love is a box marked fragile.

Love is a battlefield.

Heh. Couldn’t help myself. :)

Our 9th wedding anniversary, the year of leather and pottery, is the year that we celebrate those lessons in survival.

Safe journey,


Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death. ~ Song of Solomon 8:6




10 Years of Motherhood: Evading Death by Lego

July will mark a wonderful anniversary for me.

No, I’m not talking about my birthday. Although, I know you know how important that day is for me.

I told my husband in December that we better start planning. My birthday is in May.

As of July, I will have been a mother for 10 years.

Isaiah, our sweetest mistake, will be 10-years-old. A completely unplanned, bundle of mysteries and lessons that I decided to accept into my life, has survived 10 years with me as his mother.


There’s your proof that angels do exist.

I cannot imagine a world where my children do not exist. I feel like I’ve always had them. When I close my eyes and think of my life before kids, I still feel their presence in those memories.

I recently learned that – crazy as it seems – It’s scientifically proven.

I have a super geeky teammate named Vicious Velma. She mentioned to me that at birth women have every egg already inside them waiting for their chance at this thing we call life.

Science says I have never lived a day without these boys which explains why I am so crazy about them.


Anyway, 10 years is a long time and affords you many lessons. In a couple of months, I am sure I will be focused on the sentimental. Today I’m feelin’ snarky.

1. No matter how loud you call them, they will pretend that they can’t hear you.

2. If you tell your children to put their shoes on, they will put on sandals in the winter and snow boots in the summer.

3. Your fridge may be stocked to the gills with delicious and healthy food. They’re not interested.

4. You will get a skull to the nose, an elbow to the lip, trip over shoes and step on Legos that feel like their number one ingredient is razor blades….

5…..and when that makes you curse, you will be judged.

6. They will try one of the following if not all of these ways to kill themselves: get lost, swim in water that is too deep, run into the street/parking lot, fall or jump off of something high, etc….

7. If you have concrete and impossible plans to change, they will get sick or try an item from #6 that will require a visit to the E.R.

8. If there is heavy snow or a down pour, your child will struggle as if in the throes of death to avoid being buckled into their carseat.

9. Your hands can never be full enough to not be asked to carry one more thing.

10. They want what you have. Always and forever, amen.

The final thing is less of a lesson and more of a law of nature.

Despite it all, you will love them and want them to live their lives guarded from pain and injury.

The fake pout. Vito is good.

But seriously, how is it no one has ever died from a Lego injury?

Happy parenting,



While I was away, something happened.  Many of you will remember my blog post called Thoughtfully Considered inspired by my husband’s Christmas trickery.  He had somehow carved out the time and the privacy to partially finish our attic.  It was a dry walled half painted room when I left for Uganda.  I will let the video illustrate the rest.  

He managed to take a room that was built because of his love and transform it into a room filled with the love of the people I value most in my life.  I don’t know how he comes up with these things.  All I know is that the people I love conspired together to show me how much they loved me and I wept because of it.

Logo painted by Ben Corr (My derby wife’s husband)

Love can be overwhelming that way.

He listened because everything was done the way I had been dreaming aloud about for over a year.  It is exactly the way I wanted it to be.  Now, all that’s left is to hang the pictures and fill it with some small pieces of furniture.

It is Sunday afternoon and I am writing in a room that is just swirling with love.