much else

even with the emotion-educing music of over the rhine's beautiful melodies and lyrics, namely "latter days", i'm finding it hard to write (these days).  i'm also finding it's easier to keep my distance from the keyboard, my heart, deep thoughts, and good sleep.

"i just don't have much else to say."

this is the gentle cycle in the kenmore high efficiency sea of life:  turning over, being reverently spun so as not to give notice of the change.  of the washing through.  another movement and beginning which holds hands with the ending.  but when we are bundled and fall out at this new beginning, it's sad that we can't smell that ending...it's faded.  that lovely bit, the stains of memories, the mark of growth have all been washed out.  we start again in doha and have packed up the summer, this last year, moving outgrown clothing to storage and crayon drawings to hanging files.  we look over pictures and say, they have changed.  so we came through and are back at the start.

i've lost some of that ambition to write.  i mark out with ordinary, untrained words these two remarkable lives that ben and i share cultivating together.  and the crazy of their mother is blotted throughout this accounting too.  it's not powerful or print-worthy or particularly life-changing.  but i write for them to know, someday, what made up our days.  what mothering was for me.  what they meant to me...just in case i can't say it enough or it gets lost in the mundane or the screaming or pleading to clean up the toys, or the empty threats to force them to stop hitting each other.  i don't want them to forget.  

i don't want to forget.  

without further adieu and without much fanfare:

-"we are farmer girls" sung by sophia and audrey while their mama drove the tractor, raking hay (and performed for me when i took a break in between rounds.  they also cheered for me while i passed by)

-audrey sleeps in a big bed now

-dip in a geothermal hot spring

-sophia decided the kitties at grandma and poppy's farm needed sunblock to keep them from getting a sunburn

-sophia designs dresses/draws out her unique dresses daily

-audrey and sophia play together better then ever (not without incident, but generally peaceful)

-sophia will be homeschooled and we are both excited but also have no idea what to expect (i'm probably supposed to do something to get that thing going soon...)

-we maintained a low profile this summer (pittsburgh and nebraska were the only trips taken as a family while back in the states for the summer).  ahem, well there was that trip to denmark, sweden and iceland before arriving state-side

-yet ben and i managed a week in amsterdam while the kiddos stayed with my wonderful parents

-i think i actually learned to say good-bye to our pittsburgh house, in a round-about way that snuck up on me.  i still grieve that reality, but it seems apparent that it will not house our family long-term like i had envisioned.  maybe it was reality that hit me.  maybe it was the unearthing of how stressful it was to figure the house and ultimately, pittsburgh, into our life plans.  so i broke the glass box of protection i had placed around our pittsburgh house, my heart, and my unrealistic dream and i'm just hoping that God will instead make his presence real there in that place.  does it mean i surrendered it if it feels both a relief and a great loss?

-we were loved once again by our pittsburgh family who feel more and more like second and third cousins (this is naturally so i believe, but painful and unwelcome nonetheless).

-strawberry picking!!

-whale watching with audrey and trying not to vomit out my entire stomach on the faxifloi bay

-placing my foot on the soil of my ancestry:  sweden (while carrying a feverish toddler)

-the absence of my sister in wisconsin this summer was noticed and not welcomed (but it was so good to have her to myself with her visit to doha in february)

-i don't listen very well to my children.  i'm busy and impatient.  i hurry and make them hurry along.  i can't wait to get to the next thing and i constantly look for it.  i'd rather take them in the car so that they are not able to fight as much with each other.  i am missing out and they are learning that i'm not the one who will hear them and i will soon be avoided.

-audrey rolled around in the grass at every opportunity she had this summer

-audrey asked what church bells were ("what's that sound mommy?").  she is not used to it

-sophia caught not 1 fish this summer, but 4 and screamed in delight and horror and shock each time she brought it up out of the water

-my mom retired.  my mom is at an age where she retired.  my mom retired.

-i wished i'd talked with my grandma more.  and written down her stories.  i'm hopeful for another summer/more time with her soon.

-sophia and audrey took their first official swim lessons

-the past few summers that we've returned to the states, has increased my desire to live back in the states just so our children can have those same experiences that i remember as a kid and loved (all of the good, memorable ones).  i think about people i meet from small town, USA and sometimes get jealous of their simple, travel-less life.  i'm ashamed to admit that since i believe my life is enriched because of these experiences living abroad and traveling and meeting people unlike me.  i am so thankful and grateful for this opportunity, but i can't deny that part of me feels like that:  still wanting to be in america.  i wouldn't trade what i have with any of those people, but there is a sense of "when will i return here?"

that's it.  not brief.  not poetic. a list--some of which i need to spend more time and energy on.

"they've taken their toll, these latter days."