The 940 Saturdays of Childhood

There are about 940 Saturdays between the time your baby is born and the time they move out, assuming they are off to college after graduating high school. Sound like a lot? 260 of them are gone by kindergarten. Oh man. Now I don’t know about you, but reading things like this inevitably sends me into a breathless state of  lumpy throated pre-cry oblivion. For the rest of the day I see my family in slow motion, kind of like a slideshow of beautiful moments, with this song playing in the background (that video isn’t even of my kid but I still want to cry, see what I mean?) and instead of being in those moments with them I feel like they’re already past and I’m just mournfully reflecting on them from some point in the future.

I have a real problem with what I call “senti-mentality”, or being obsessed with the fact that my kids are growing up faster than I can savor. I start to think about all of the sweet little thoughts and outfits that they have outgrown, and the words they couldn’t pronounce last week that they can say perfectly today, and my heart breaks a little. I read a children’s book once about how we as moms remember a lot of firsts, like the first bath, first time to the beach, first wiggly tooth, but we never know when the “lasts” are. I wish I could remember the last time I needed to tie Adeline’s shoe for her, or for that matter the last time my now grown-up baby brother asked me to come outside and watch how fast he could run. One of my 5 year old boys will still ask, when he’s extra tired, if I will hold him. I say yes every time I can, partially because I’m thinking, “Now this is definitely the last time he will ever ask. I have to remember it.” I’ll hold him, rub his back, and try to drink this “last time” in.

But this is where things get tricky. If I’m honest with myself, I’m not drinking it in at all. I’m too distracted. I’m too busy worrying that this won’t happen tomorrow to savor God’s beautiful blessing today. My dad has a talent for putting things into words, and he often says, “Remember, these are the good old days.” Wow. That fresh perspective always jolts me. Instead of being consumed by all the lost yesterdays, can’t I remember that I will one day look longingly back at today? And how do I want to remember it? How do I want my kids to remember it? I definitely don’t want their impression to be that mom was fine until the day got too fun or happy, then she couldn’t stop crying and taking pictures.

I think my current stance on it is this – moments/phases/days last exactly as long as they are supposed to. Any longer and we wouldn’t be as motivated to cherish them. And by the way, when I doubt that I’m not being an effective enough cherish-er, I think of another piece of wisdom from my daddy: “If you’re always worried you’re not doing a good job, you’re probably doing just fine.”



August 5, 2013 · 9:22 pm

For Your Twinformation…Diaper Blowouts are a Phase


If there was anything I appreciated back when I was expecting my boys it was a thumbs up from a twin mom on the other side. Even when they were infants and I had dark circles, milk crusted clothes, a pacifier in my teeth and giant biceps from hauling two baby carriers around, I loved running into a stranger at Costco with older twins or triplets who would give me a knowing nod and say, “It gets easier.” It put the wind back in my sails, for a minute. Then the inspirational music would fade out, she’d walk away, I’d be jerked back into the present by warm spit up traveling down the back of my shirt from the boy I thought was sleeping on my shoulder. Oh well. That little bit of encouragement would keep me going 6 more sleepless nights until my next Costco trip.

Let me tell you, anyone expecting two or more babies and feeling terrified, I’m finally on the other side of toddlerhood and it not only gets easier, it gets awesome. The boys are each others’ best friend. It’s like having a constant play date without having to clean up before the other kid comes over.

I feel like I pushed a double jogging stroller (the kind withOUT the front swivel wheel) up a hill for a few years, and now that we are coasting downhill I’m more worried that they don’t need me to push anymore and the handle will slip away from me. (Don’t worry, I’ll probably let go around the 18 mile marker.)



Filed under Kids, Twins

If You Give a Kid a Camera


At first I was super excited when my 8 year old daughter asked if she could take the camera outside “because there is so much pretty nature stuff out there today.” I thought, “Oh good! She sees it! She sees the colors, the filtering of the midday sun through trees…she is inspired!” So I handed over the camera. (Okay, actually I tried handing over the camera but my hand wouldn’t unclench and release it. The logical side of me kept reminding me that as cute as she is, she has very little in the way of collateral and the camera is probably my most expensive earthly possession. My silent compromise was to use lots of eye contact, do an impression of my mom’s serious voice, and remind her to be extra, extra careful.)

When she came back inside five minutes later and said she found a dead frog with “his guts kind of sticking out”, and needed me to take a few pictures of him since she didn’t want to get too close, I decided some people have different definitions of “pretty nature stuff”. I obliged, but before I actually took any pictures she saw something else she thought was even more beautiful, grabbed the camera from me and was gone.

The frog gut project was over before it started, and I was glad. By the way, somehow those are always the pictures that wind up in our screensaver slideshows. Does that happen to other people? You have a friend over for coffee, your kids are playing knights together peacefully, the laptop purrs in the background, flashing 3 second slides of the boys playing in the river, Adeline with a bubble beard, then a graphic close-up of ants feasting on a cricket carcass. The real friends will say, “Gross, what was that?!” But then there are those who act like they didn’t see it, make small talk for a few minutes,  then quietly gather their kids and leave. Probably a good thing. If they had waited two minutes they would have seen the full-screen shot that Joey, amazed by the abilities of our new micro lens, took of Eli’s horrible knee scab.

Anyway, Adeline ended up spending about 30 minutes, in the front yard, in the back, and finally inside. I loved how she experimented with different perspectives and used some natural framing, but the coolest part was seeing the world through her eyes. Here are some of my favorites. (I resisted the urge to throw in a scab picture. You’re welcome.)

lipstick plant

Lipstick plant (I think) by Adeline

Our "Dr. Seuss palms", her favorite

Our “Dr. Seuss palms”, her favorite


The mango tree

The mango tree

I didn't know we had a Wonka bush...

I didn’t know we had a Wonka bush…

Papaya flowers

Papaya blossoms



Fireplace and spider web. Ghosty huh?

Paparazzi pic

Paparazzi pic





Obligatory brother shot.



Filed under Kids

iPad ShmyPad – Treehouses are Better


It’s funny how when the electricity goes out at home, there is a collective bored sigh. The majority of the kids’ toys don’t require a plug or even batteries, but when power isn’t even an option, everyone gets worried about how in the world we will pass the time.

Then there’s the cabin. Every year we try and make it a point to stay in our church’s cabin for at least a night or two. It’s over 2 hours away, which is about as much of a road trip as my island kids have ever seen, and way up on a mountain, so the nighttime temperatures hover around 40 degrees. It’s like another world to them.


I came outside one morning to find Rush laughing hysterically and our dog barking. “Mom! Koa is barking out smoke!” Rush was amazed when he realized he himself was laughing out “smoke” too. The kids have only experienced steamy breath during our cabin trips so they associate the whole phenomenon with the cabin itself when they tell their friends about it. (“We are going to the cabin this weekend. It’s super far away. You have to wear a coat and socks and you can make smoke even without a cigar…”)

The cabin has a wood burning fireplace and gas stove, but no electricity. There is a 3 level tree house, a tire swing that you board from the top of hill and swing out until you are 25 feet above the ground, and the best sunset view I have ever seen. No one mentions the iPad, nobody asks why there is no TV, it’s interesting. Maybe because they know those things aren’t options, or maybe because the natural stimulation is more than enough, or maybe because they were too cold to put a coherent argument together so they decided not to bring it up.



Filed under Kids

Adeline summed up in a picture…


Math on the front porch, in her pajamas, with hair that hasn’t seen a brush since hula class and a month-old glitter tattoo she has been careful not to scrub. I love this girl.

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Filed under Homeschool