Category Archives: Gregor

Family Love and No Shave November

Brynne told me this morning that she wishes she was an only child.
“Because then we could go on trips together all alone and you would only pay attention to me.”

I told her how much she would miss her siblings. But as she shrugged and skipped downstairs I felt a little sad. This spunky, resilient little girl needs some one on one time where I sit down and look into her eyes and she doesn’t get interrupted by any other child so help me! 

The opportunity came when Nelson called from school needing his play script. I saw it as fate. I lovingly brought it in (and announced to his English class, who loves you like I do? He blushed as his classmates waved, “Coach does!” I’m so embarrassing). His forgetfulness was the perfect opportunity to steal Brynne for lunch. We went to the local Pizza Chef for a half hour lunch and she felt mighty special. 

Are you a middle child? I hope my girl feels special even though she’s not the only boy, the oldest child, or the baby.

I have been reminded.

This scene sends me into a tizzy. To me, it is the antithesis of family love. I try to be reasonable. But I am decidedly. Not.

Other news fronts: No-shave November is a way to show love. This is what the American Cancer Society website says:

No-Shave November is a unique way to raise cancer awareness.  What better way to grow awareness than with some hair?  Show your support and give back.


So the man shows some love! It begins as a little scruff

that begins to grow into a furry beast.

The goal of No-Shave November is to grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free.  Donate the money you usually spend on shaving and grooming for a month to educate about cancer prevention, save lives, and aid those fighting the battle.

And then one day it turned into a mohawk. That’s the “wild and free” part. He left his mohawk in all night. The kids began to hop up and down. Who is this mohawk man in the house? Is that our father?

Mohawk man turned into Don Juan. 

Participate by growing a beard, cultivating a mustache, letting those legs get mangly, and skipping that waxing appointment.


This website cracks me up. I think he’s going to skip that waxing appointment but those legs sure are mangly. Like, all the time. Maybe I should try it. Sexy.

Cope is most definitely not feeling the love. She has to go to school with her dad. They share the same campus. And while she appreciates many of his antics, her response to Don Juan was, “No. You are not going to school like that. No. That’s not okay.”

Which just makes us laugh.

“Seriously, Dad. You can’t do that. No.”

The more emphatic she became, the more we laughed. It’s really not funny. Poor girl.

I have to admit, I’ve always loved this particular part of my husband’s personality. The man comes across as so serious and professorial and then every once in awhile…Did he just do that???

Oh yes he did.

This morning he really did go to work as Don Juan. “Don’t you have some…important meetings or something?” I asked. “Probably,” he said. Whatevs.
It’s hard to even remember that clean-shaven man oh so twenty days ago…

His eldest daughter was so mad at him that she wouldn’t even look at him. And then somehow it was my fault. I am wondering how their time together on campus is going? 

I’m laughing again just thinking about it.

Meanwhile, to feel greater family love we have started our Secret Santas a little early. Nelson says this is definitely not okay and when I played Christmas music on Saturday he gave a great protest and said this was not allowed until December 10th!

Just this morning I read three great posts on love…Lindsey…and C.Jane

Lindsey quoted Ann Voscamp and her blog post, “The Real Truth About Boring Men – and the Women Who Live With Them: Redefining Boring.” I love it. It’s definitely worth reading.

Even though I obviously don’t have me no boring man! I’ve got the Don Juan.

Voscamp writes, 
“Let everyone do their talking about 50 shades of grey, but don’t let anyone talk you out of it: committment is pretty much black and white. Because the truth is, real love will always make you suffer. Simply commit: Who am I willing to suffer for?” 

The real romantics are the boring ones — they let another heart bore a hole deep into theirs.

Yes, family love can sometimes be boring and mundane. Our Love Story has involved wet beds, puke in cars, lice, and annoyed teenagers. I so hope it doesn’t involve Depends. But you never know, do you?

And shhh, don’t tell him, but I secretly love those unpredictable, spicy Don Juan moments. Because every once in awhile, it’s good to try not to be so boring. Make the girl laugh, let her heart race a little (as long as you’re scrubbing the toilet.) And she’s yours forever.

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Love is a Split-Rail Fence

When I was younger, love was red roses, wild horses, and maybe a Ghost scene or two. You know, from the movie.  It looked nothing like the VMAs.

Don’t you love to people watch?  Study relationships, analyze the way couples interact in public, then wonder if they’re really that nice or rude in private.  I’m sure my discerning conclusions are always correct, but – maybe not.

My father used to counsel many a married couple.  He once told me, “You would be shocked at the number of people you only think are happily married.”

“Who?!” I pounced.

He shook his head.  “You would be shocked.”

Since that time, as a young lass, I’ve always been curious.  Who is happy and who is not?  And why?

Last week was our 16th wedding anniversary, me and my honey lamb.

There were no roses, wild horses, and sadly, there is no potter’s wheel sitting in the living room with a hunk of clay on top 🙂 

We did go to a Red Sox game (that was a observation hoot!) and out to dinner, and it was grand.

We decided not to exchange gifts; too many other shared, mundane expenses like braces for kids, an unexpected car repair, and too many gelato trips last month.

But that morning I came home from an early run and the sun was just coming up, hitting the house.  I noticed the fence.
***

When we first moved into our home we had a little wooden, split-rail fence, but sadly, it rotted and we had to throw the wood away.

For six years I talked about wanting another fence.  Gregor did not want one.

Round and round we went.  I wanted the fence.  He did not.

Then, last May we were visiting Lowe’s and I saw the pieces of wood.  Split rail – it was like a kit.  A really easy kit you put together in two seconds.

“Look!” I said.  “It’s our fence!  Let’s get it.”

“No, no, no,” he said.  “I don’t want a fence.  It’s hard to mow around, I don’t like it, and we don’t need it.”

“I want it.”

“I don’t.”

“We have the trailer on the van right now – let’s get it now – it’s meant to be.”

“No, no, no, no.”

“I really, really want it and I’m not joking and I want it.”  I was starting to feel hysterical.  I really wanted that FENCE!  Maybe I was going to cry.

“Well I really, really DON’T want it,” he said.  He was not hysterical.  He does not cry over fences.

“Yes.”

“No.”

I may have said some other things, but have blocked them from memory.

I glowered.

He wouldn’t budge.

We left without the fence.  And I was mad.

Could he not see how much I needed this fence, how much it would complete my life? How much better the yard would look?

Life went on without the fence.  Just like it had for the past five years.  And since we had gone five years without a fence, it could very well be five more years. Oh well.  It would be alright, I suppose.  We give up wants for the ones we love.

Mother’s Day came.

It was a very busy weekend.  He had no time to get a gift.

But that morning my children led me outside and there by the garage were ten pieces of wood.  To build the fence.

Somehow, in his very busy day the day before, he made time to drive all the way to Lowe’s with the trailer on the van and picked out the ten pieces of wood, piled them by the garage in the dark, and went back to work.  For his wife.  Because she wanted the fence and he did not.
We built the fence together.  It did not take two seconds.  We had to dig.  We had to dig into New England soil.  Do you know why there are so many rock walls in New England?  It wasn’t because the early settlers had nothing else to do – they just had to do something with the rocks!  We had to dig faaaaarrrrr into the earth and had to use these special tools that left large gaping blisters on the man’s hands.  For days I would frown at them and he’d say, “That’s true love.”

And I heartily agreed.

And didn’t say anymore bad things.

Everyday I walk outside and I see the fence.


Every time I come down the road and pull into the driveway or run past the house I see the fence.

And I’m reminded of the evidence of true love.

It’s a small thing in my yard, but a big thing.

And I feel more inclined to be nice 🙂

To say yes next time he asks me to help change the awful rubber tube on the lawn mower.

Compromise.  Saying Yes when you want to say No.  When you don’t want to.

It’s been 16 years of marriage.  And that’s what I know from a wooden fence that sits on the front lawn.

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Did You Know What You Wanted?

This is me being indecisive….waaaah!


My therapy sessions are pretty cheap.

I howl and husband listens.  I am Speaker.  He is Listener.

Once, when I was howling he said, “Do you want me to chime in here or just listen?”

“Just listen!”

He then says, “I hear you.  I see you.”  If you’ve ever seen Parenthood, you can thank Zeke for teaching my husband that line.  It’s used often.  Thanks, Zeke.  

My howling is due to a personal trait I find intensely annoying.  I’m the second-guesser, the decision-making agonizer, the hemming-and-hawing wringing-your-hands kind of gal.  I attribute this fact to my personality, which is sometimes bossypants, but most times easy-going.  Overall, this easy-going personality has served me well.  I was never prone to many tantrums. I liked hand-me-downs. I wore jeans to soccer practice.  I’ve never been diagnosed with manic-depressive disorder.  

Even-keel can be a blessed state to live in.

Growing up, my twin had the stubborn streak; I was the peacemaker.  I was an obedient child and cried if you looked at me cross-eyed.  I only snuck out of the house a handful of times and that was because I wanted cousin Clin to be happy toilet-papering.  (Alright, perhaps I wasn’t so innocent.)

I still like everyone to be happy.  I really don’t care which restaurant husband chooses, as long as he smiles through dinner. 

But sometimes, it’s time for gumption, no?  Sometimes I think my even state is laziness.  Perhaps I just don’t like to make decisions.  

I want to be more like the rock and less like the kite, less like the pebble you watch skittering down the street.

Because when it comes to making decisions, I can be terribly indecisive.

Should I sign up for that class or not?
Should I learn photography?
Am I a good mother?
Am I supposed to be scrap booking instead of writing?
Should I guest post or not?
Should I write that article or work on the novel?
Cookies or brownies?
Is my blog header perfect?
Should I potty train now or is later better?  (okay, hallelujah, we are hopefully past that stage…)

Perhaps this is very common.  Perhaps this is “weighing the options.”  But I’m tired of agonizing.  Rock, I say! Be the rock.

I also have to talk out loud, going around in circles like a corralled horse. I stew and fret until I finally just GO.  But it takes me soooo long to get there.

Do you think this is more of a female trait?

For days I’ve been mulling my “life plan.”  Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing?  Am I destined for something that I haven’t found yet?

My Paige is leaving me for this lame thing called, school.  The end of days is coming, I can feel it.  I’ve tried rolling over and playing dead, but whatever. It’s not really working. We are now on Plan B.

I am on the verge of something.  I can feel it.  But I’m not sure which path to take.  I’m standing in front of many paths.  Maybe I’m just on the verge of craziness, which is entirely plausible.  I’m thinking Frost, two roads diverged in a yellow wood...except there’s about four paths.  Could Frost have written a poem with four paths?   

So I said to Dear Husband, aka Mr. Darcy, aka The Professor who uses big words,

“I wish I was one of those people who just knew what they were supposed to do!”

He looked at me as I became more and more animated.  I continued.  Speaker.  Listener.

“You know, like those kids who know their junior year of high school exactly what they want to be in life and then they just go do it!”

The professor opened mouth.  And his arms folded (He’s a brilliant non-verbal communicator.)  He cocked his head to the side with his stern, furrowed brow.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” he began.

“No, really,” I said, charging forward.  “I was never one of those people!  I always wanted to DO so many things and was always changing my mind about what I wanted to be!”  

And I think about all those agonizing days and weeks and deciding and the classes and prerequisites and I’m still that same person…over-thinking and discussing and second-guessing and balancing.

He opened mouth again and I kept talking.  Listener, just listen.

“Like in college I never knew what I wanted to be and was always changing my major and then I just had to pick…”

Listener interrupted.  Bad Listener.

“Ame,” he said.  Arms still folded, brow furrowed deeper.  “What did you want to be?”

“I wanted so many different things.”

“What did you want?”  Arms still folded tightly, stern-voiced questions.

“I was going to be an actress!” I said, throwing up my hands.  “I mean, seriously.”

“That’s not what I’m asking.”

“And after that it was English and after that I…”

“No.  You’re not listening (wasn’t he supposed to be the listener?)  What did you want to be?”

“What did I want?” I repeated.  

And then it suddenly occurred to me that he wasn’t asking about my major or my indecisions or how I wanted to be an actress or an english major or a doctor or a coach or a runner or any of those things we DO.

He was talking about our family.  

I always knew what I wanted to be.

Of all the things I was going to do, there was one thing that was clear as day:  Come hell or high water – I was going to be a mother.

Oh….

Lisa talks about “catchlights” when taking a picture; the reflection of light in the eyes which is really just a reflection of your light source.  The catchlight must have been in my eyes because The Professor started nodding.

This is me again.  Catchlight moment….Ohhhhhh.

He was right.  I always knew what I wanted to be.


Therapy was successful this time.  Subject was smiling and nodding, too.

I held up my hand.  “High Five!”  And he rolled his eyes because The Professor hates to high five.  It reminds him of our first date when I awkwardly held up my hand at the doorstep for a high five.  I mean, what was he expecting???

Wait, The Professor was dating his student?

Anyway, I guess he decided he’s been a pretty good Listener after all because Speaker was smiling and offering a high five.  He humored Speaker and gave his hand up.  

“Thanks!” I said. “You’re so good at this.” (insert valley girl inflection)  And I clapped my hands, reminding him that I really have not grown up in the slightest. 

***

I’m still on a catchlight high.

I knew what I wanted to be.

Heaven knows I am not a perfect mother, but most days I am trying awfully hard.  Remember that one time I swept the floor?  I’m trying not to be Speaker all the time, to be the Listener.  I hug and kiss.  I say “I love you” everyday.  I’m fond of chore charts.  I’m not even trying to be perfect, just good. Enough.  Strong enough.  

I know you’re trying, too.  Maybe there are days we are less deliberate than other days, but a part of us has to recognize that without us “keeping the family,” we lose that thing we knew we always wanted.

The realization that I’m livin’ a piece of the dream?   

Man, that makes me so happy.

Sometimes I feel apologetic for being happy, like I shouldn’t ever talk about it, as if being happy will make someone else feel badly.  So I keep it carefully hidden, shhhh!  we’re happy, but don’t tell anyone!  Because I know very well, that there are unhappy families.  There are terribly unhappy mothers, who through no fault of their own, wanted to be exactly what I wanted to be.  And I love those mamas.  

But today I’m going to be happy about what I am and what I have.

I’m on the catchlight high, remember?  The light source is present. The evidence of what I wanted to be is sitting in my lap.  Sometimes licking my neck and biting my ears. Not everyone gets that lucky.

What I do is so secondary, so inconsequential to what I am.  It’s completely second-rate to what God so generously placed in my lap.  And I can almost hear him saying…they are yours to keep for just a little while…take good care of them…remember what you are here to be…






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The Epic Pig Roast

One more birthday post for the year.
Gregor has the last birthday of the year in our family.  This year was a big one….40!
Thanks to Brendaen, Gregor’s younger brother by 18 months, who put this video together for us.  And for all the family and friends who were super sneaky to make his day a true SURPRISE!

And yes, that is a pig.  Sold to us by a pig vendor.  Who knew there were such jobs?

We love you Daddy Gregor, aka Mr. Darcy, The Professor, G-Baby, G-Money, GG, Gerg, Cupcake, Loverboy.  May the next forty be ever in your favor.

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Gregor’s New Chapstick

“You should have seen the looks I got when I pulled this out of my pocket today.”

We take what we can get around here and apparently, the princess chapstick with the jeweled lid was all that was in the drawer.  Paige got mad and crossly said, “That’s mine!”

Miles run today: 2 ish.  Pushing stroller up the hill and back down in time for Paige to meet bus.  Today she got on and actually talked to some classmates on the bus.  Then she sat by the window and waved to me until I couldn’t see her anymore.  I keep wondering when I will skip down the street in glee because I have three hours alone rather than…not.

Today I had two hours to get ready to coach a soccer game and clean up the disaster in the house.  Instead I made a new blogger banner trying to follow Sarah’s instructions under “tutorials.”  It was much more satisfying.  I’m terrible at following directions but love the way it turned out…do you likey like?

Next I skipped down to the the school at 1:30 to get on the bus with 18 7th/8th graders to go to our soccer game.  Do you ever talk to the bus drivers?  I try to talk to them.  I find that even when they are abrupt and standoffish, they can warm up with smiles and thank-yous from kids.  Most bus drivers just seem to not know how to talk to kids and are a little bit shy about being made fun of from that crowd in the back.

We drove 35 minutes to the game in the pouring rain and then I got to coach in the pouring rain and tornado-like weather while taping an ankle, giving personal and group pep talks, patted a lot of backs, slapped a lot of hands, used a porta-potty, answered a bazillion questions, said no to going to McDonald’s, asked a lot of questions like – Where are your soccer shoes?  Where are your mouth guards?  Any shin guards today? and felt the pitter patter of my heart when the other team scored, when our goalie made a save, and when we put one in the back of the net.

Do you play all the kids even if it’s a liability to your team?  Do you say no to the boy looking up at you with puppy-dog eyes behind rain-soaked glasses begging to go in?  Our team policy is that everyone plays, so everyone played.  We were down at the half, made some midfield adjustments and pulled out a win by 1.  All in the pouring rain.  Yessirreee!  Sometimes it’s all worth it.

I wish I had been more patient with my children when I got home.  Sometimes I have trouble switching out of all the boxes I’m in.  When I’m in the writing box I have to clear my head, remember my plot, thread, the feeling of a scene.  Then bam, back to mom box to pass off a piano skill.  When I’m in my coaching box I must be authoritative but friendly, patient and explanatory.  Then practice ends and I hop back into the mother box.  Unfortunately, my voice often sounds like the coach ordering another round of push-ups.  Sometimes I miss the softness I seemed to have more of when I had a wee baby in the house.

Maybe I should hold a doll at the sidelines.  Or steal back the princess, jeweled top chapstick.

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The Vitamix Romance

My breakfast of choice
Miles run this morning:  8.1 (no pain!)
Minutes gone back to bed:  0
Agents queried today:  1 (could this be the one?)
Mr. Darcy and I have hit 15 years together.  It’s a long time and it’s nothing.  But a milestone.  I’m so proud of it.  In the beginning, the husband would say these milestone holidays were “contrived,” nothing more than us supporting profit-driven companies getting rich.  Well.  (insert Amy rolling eyes here.) We still celebrate.  Since this was a big anniversary, I was thinking a two-day trip away to Ogunquit, Maine would be simply splendid.  But husband had another idea.
Out in Arizona, he said he had a surprise for me.  A Vitamix demo at Costco!  He drove an hour with me tired and huffing, to get to this thing.  We got kicked out once for not being members, and had to sneak back in past a very diligent Costco employee, until we were in front of the amazing Vitamix machine.  Seriously?  I asked.  It’s a blender.
Well, let me tell you, after leaving this amazing Vitamix demonstration, I was a changed and repentant woman.  
I am now a walking infomercial.  
Our two-day getaway was traded faster than you can say, Vitamix!  Yep, we could only have one.  The fancy kitchen machine or the vacation.  This “blender” is a bit pricey.  Even the refurbished one that we went for.  But wait, you can’t call it a “blender.”  It’s far more than that.
In seconds, almonds turn to dust.
In minutes, water boils for a chicken/tortilla/black bean soup.
Ice-cream is easy.

Here we have ice, a tad bit sugar, peaches, and a drop of vanilla.  Ta-da!  Peach sorbet in mere minutes.
Now, every single morning, husband faithfully makes me the drink of all drinks.  It is the post-drink of choice after a grueling hill run.  It’s the go-to drink before I sit down to write.  It’s the breakfast that fills me for the morning.  It’s brain food.  It’s disease prevention.  I will never get sick again!  Oh and guess what?  There are no little parts to take apart and put back together.  You put on, you take off.  Yes, you see, it has changed my life.  It’s loooove.
That days-old fruit that is half-price at the grocery store?  It’s now in my freezer.  Stocked up!
Those vegetables that no one likes to eat because they look a little icky?  It’s in my breakfast smoothie!
This morning’s recipe:
1 whole carrot, unpeeled, uncut
4 apples, cut, not cored
1 handful of frozen spinach
1 handful of kale
1/2 an avocado
1 handful of blueberry/raspberry mix
1/4 cup of amaranth (grain of the Gods)
1 frozen banana
ice
water
When I laugh and say, can you believe we got a Vitamix for our anniversary, husband smiles and says, “15 years of good health?  15 more to come!”  Amen, brother.  
But beware, I tell him.  We ARE going to Spain for the big 20-year.
P.S.  That Vitamix was supposed to be the only present.  But then he also surprised me with a whopper of a camera.  Don’t you just hate when people do that?  I guess I’ll forgive him 🙂  Mr. Darcy, I love you.  Are you so embarrassed?  I just can’t think of anyone I like to embarrass more.

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Basketball Has Come to Town

Last year was a hard year for the boy’s varsity basketball team.  There are so many factors at a prep school.  Do you go out and recruit?  Do you play everyone in your league or only those you can be competitive with?  Today they play Brewster, at Brewster, a prep school ranked in the Top Ten of the nation!  G trudged to school.  It’s hard to compete.
Yet off he goes, season after season, to coach another game.  Because there are lessons to be learned from sport.  And sometimes they win.  
Many teams they play have a staff of three, four, or five coaches.  We always have two.  It’s our winning dynamic duo.
These pictures were taken before Christmas break.  It was a game they had to win.

It came down to the last seconds.

A time out was called.  What’s the play going to be?

One of my favorite moments of every game is looking across the gym and seeing Art take a break from the kitchen, to watch the game.  We then have a breakdown analysis in the dining hall afterwards.

We can do it, big team.

The seconds tick by.  The score stays the same, but anticipation rises. I feel myself saying, Come on, please, please, please.  I’m not sure who I say this too.  Does God really have a favorite sport teams?

The final buzzer goes off…and we win the game!  The crowd goes crazy.  The high will last a few hours.  Until the next game, when we lose.  We sure love the winners.  We particularly like the underdog, who comes from behind, beats the odds, and pulls it all out.  This is that team this year.

The obligatory handshake.  I love that Coach G. most often coaches the tallest kids in school.

Basketball is all in the family.  This is the year my son is really getting the game.  He better, his shoes cost enough to take me for a nice dinner!  When I protested, I remembered when I first got my first pair of good shoes for track in 6th grade.  I couldn’t stop staring at them.  I was sure I was unstoppable in them.  Do you find, that a shoe, a most desired item of clothing can inspire your child?

Fifth graders on the bench.  Looking more grown up every day.

Skinny like his mama, intense like his dad, competitive like them both.  I still yell, “Go Nellie!” and he hasn’t told me to stop.  There are months of basketball left to watch.  I find myself excited to cheer and root for the underdogs – my boys.
Post-edit note:  G’s team did play a top ten team in the nation yesterday, but Brewster Academy is not just top ten.  They are ranked NUMBER ONE in the nation, with five of their players already signed to Division I schools.  First we’re watching them on ESPN, and then we’re in their gym getting whooped by 40.  You know what?  Our boys made us proud.  They never let up and the coach in this house came home with a smile on his face.  And a box of pizza.
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What Makes You Feel Like a Real Man?

For Nelson, it’s a new pair of running shoes.  Genuine.  The real deal.  The kind of shoes made just for running.  That aren’t from Wal-mart.
He’s been wanting to run everywhere!

He is very careful with his shoes and will not wear them if he thinks he’ll get them dirty.  The novelty hasn’t worn off yet – he ran two miles with Gregor and me this morning.  And made us work for it!

He feels even more manly if I let him wear my GPS watch that tells him his time, pace, and distance.

He had some chores to do so he couldn’t wear his manly running shoes, but the magic must have rubbed off because he cut down a small tree for me.

This guy requires more than running shoes.  For months and months our neighbor has been asking if Gregor will buy his John Deere Mower.  I have been opposed.  We purposely bought a real-man big-time DR Mower so he could walk and get exercise.  But Gregor drooled from afar and wished with all his heart that some day his manly pursuits would be realized.
Then finally, Mr. Goody (that’s really his name and he really is GOOOD neighbor!) made an offer.  Gregor crawled home on his hands and knees and no joke, honestly asked with…”I won’t ask for anything for my birthday, anniversary, or Christmas…”  Seriously, how many times did you use that one when you were a kid?
Well, it worked I guess.  He loves his John Deere as any real man would.  He is in a new John Deere club with all the farming neighbors who tilt their hats at him when they pass him riding his John Deere tractor.  They recognize this great passage in life.  Oh he loves it.  He wants to stop at all the John Deere stores and talk John Deere talk.
He keeps saying, “Pinch me.”

He makes up stories about the lawn needing mowing so he can go outside and ride his new John Deere mower.  You see?  Dreams do come true.

Tenny, what makes you feel manly?  Just look at that old-man face.  We promise not to dress you up in ballet dresses for the next little bit.  Sometimes a man just needs to be a man.
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The New Grad

If we are facebook friends you’ve probably already seen these photos…but gotta get this suff into our history!  No, I did not get a new camera.  These were taken with Gregor’s iphone and I was happy to get a record of the day.
The big graduation day came early.  We left the house at 7:15 Sunday morning and headed north toward Hanover.  Gregor was outfitted and lined up at 8:30, waiting until 9:45 for the graduation to actually begin.  As Hugh Nibley famously said…the robe of the apostate priesthood.  Makes me laugh.  We thought daddy looked dashing.
Luckily, the graduation was outside and we could get up and move around.  It was really cold, unusually cold for a June day!

We had our umbrellas just in case and the kids each had a blanket.  Cope suggested we wrap ourselves in a penguin huddle.  This lasted all of a few minutes until mom said, “Stop poking, wiggling, and tickling!”  Stop having fun!  We actually did have fun with all the kids only getting one time-out each 🙂

Good luck, Daddy!

We didn’t sit in seats.  We put our blankets on a lawn adjacent to the stage and could still see alright.  We played Go-Fish, UNO, and The Worst Case Scenario Survival Game.

Compliments of Grandma Heather.  Now I know how to eat a frog:  Boil the whole thing and eat it – no need to just eat the legs.  It’s a myth you will die from toxins in a frog body.  Oh, and I know how to eat a grasshopper too:  Pull off all the legs, head, and wings.  Cook over fire and wah-lah!  A delicious treat.  Want more?  We can play the game together!

As the hours passed…literally hours…the kids played and ran around.  They especially liked to wrap Paige up and carry her up the small hill.  Until they dropped her on her head and that ended that game.
I made 12 blueberry muffins, brought water and juice and pretzals, but by 11 the kids were complaining of starvation.  “I can’t go on any longer,” and “I’m really going to die!”  Wait, I said, it’s almost over.
Dartmouth does all the graduates together – all the medical degrees, engineering, Master’s (Gregor), Ph.D.s, and the undergraduates.  And every single name is called.  At 11:30, after CONAN O’BRIEN spoke (irreverent, captivating, hilarious, and good stuff!) they announced that now the undergraduates would be presented with diplomas.  All 982 of them.  And each name would be called!  Oh my goodness.  More wailing for want of food.  “You’d be terrible pioneers,” I said.  “I don’t care,” Cope said.  “I’m not a pioneer so I’m not used to it.”  They weren’t down with the pioneer talk.  “I want a cookie!” Paige screamed.
It could have been worse.  I could have been pregnant or nursing, or bent over walking with a one-year old, chasing a two or three year old.  Life has gotten easier!  
While waiting, we explored a beautiful campus church, a hindu temple, a dormitory, and a tree a squirrel ran up.  Overall, it was a great family day and a good experience for the kids to watch their father graduate and care about knowledge and education.
Yea!  A more educated man with a Master’s of Art and Liberal Studies.  If you want to talk digital colonialism, we can arrange that.
We left at 1:30, broke the sabbath, and bought food on the way home.  Our punishment was getting a speeding ticket on the highway.  “Don’t worry, Mama,” Gregor said.  “It’s only about the price of a new camera.”  If I were the slugging type…must not dwell further on the subject.
Congrats to you, GG.  We are proud of you.  Take a breather from classes and writing.  Now, I told him, it’s my turn 🙂
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Elegance & Sweat

Cope had a daddy-daughter date this week.  Her grandmother Heather throws the most wonderful Activity Days.  This one was a “coming out” party and “presenting to society” of sorts.  All the girls were to wear a prom dress – but not to go out and buy one!  Cope raided my closet and wore my dress – a dress I’ve never worn.  I like it but it was a dress bought for a brother’s broken engagement and every time I see it, I just put it back in the closet.  But Cope thought it beautiful, even though we had to pin it up.  She was sad not to have long white gloves.

She did have to bring her elegant fan

She had a great time with Daddy.
The next day….
The State Track Meet!
Cope was on the 4 x 100 relay team that qualified for state.  She was an alternate for the mile but didn’t run.  
Her team was awesome!  They came in 5th place out of 17 schools.  For our teeny tiny little school, this was very impressive.  The 4 x 100 boy’s team came in fourth and we took state in shot put and disc!  If you aren’t familiar with track, the 4 x 100 relay is a race where four team members run 100 meters.  400 meters is one full lap.  So, this relay is a very short race – about a minute.  They had a bit of trouble passing the baton, but were happy.  These girls are 8th graders which is why Cope looks so small.  Thanks to Becky for snapping this picture…again!
I love that Cope likes the elegance of a dress but also the sweat of a race – it reminds me of someone I know 🙂  And now, we look forward to tomorrow where we’ll run the 5k Black Fly Blitz together!  And then we’ll put on a dress.
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