Eve at (almost) 4 months

Dear sisters, It’s the dead of winter. There’s so much snow, temps are frigid and the drain hose on our washing machine keeps freezing, making it impossible to do laundry until the space heater thaws it back out again. The laundry piles up. The house is dirty. My car is filthy, but am I going to clean it when it’s 5 degrees out? I am stuck inside with kids, or stuck inside at work most days. The skin on my hands peels and cracks, no matter how much lotion or coconut oil I rub into it. I feel stale and grumpy and tired. I hear Dar Williams singing, can we live through February? So I remind myself of all the good in my life. Cross-country skiing in snowy woods helps me like winter. You get your body moving and the cold is brisk and invigorating. We are reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter to Miriam at night, and I am so grateful that I do not spend my days grinding wheat so I can have bread to eat and twisting hay so I can have heat. We have heat automatically, I just plug in a space heater or turn up the furnace if I want. I have pork roast and brownies and wine. But those are fleeting joys. I also have the joy of my children, which is infectious and renewable. Having a baby in the house is constant entertainment. Eve is such a delight, she brings us all so much happiness every day. So, here’s your bleak midwinter pick-me-up.


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Throwback Thursday: Stories from Childhood

Dear sisters,

I’m trying something new for Throwback Thursday. As I get ready to have a baby in 6-8 weeks (WHAT?!?!) Kevin and I find ourselves thinking about random aspects of parenting: for example, the other day Kevin couldn’t fathom what we’re going to do when our kid has to go to birthday parties/have birthday parties, and I keep thinking about the moments when our kid will want to hear stories from my childhood. I’m not particularly good at coming up with engaging stories off the top of my head. Combine that with my inability to remember more than little flashes of memories from childhood and I knew I would answer him, “Oh, I can’t really remember.” But the stories we heard about Dad and Mom growing up (mostly from their siblings/Grandma Buckwalter) are some of my favorites: Dad falling off the tractor/hay baler and getting run over was an entrancing story (that I frequently embellished in my imagination), Mom exploring the city of Belmont all by herself and playing in the waterfalls (I generally imagined Mom as Ramona from Beverly Cleary’s book Ramona and Beezus, spunky and mischievous). It’s an important thing to be able to create a history for your parents, to hear what they were like as kids and what their families were like, even if, through the telling, it becomes a mixture of fact and fiction. Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Stories from Childhood”

Throwback Thursday: The Border

Sisters in the desert. Christmas 2004.

Here we are in the New Mexico desert, during that trip you all made to visit me over Christmas during my year in El Paso. It was unseasonably cold to the point that there was a little snow that was melting by this point. I’m the only one wearing a (very large) coat (donated to the place where I worked)–maybe I had adjusted to southern climes already. By the time I left the southwest I was wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt when it was 70 out, though temps are different without humidity. What are your memories of that year that I was in Texas? Rachel and Krestia were married about 4 months previous. In this picture Martha is proudly wearing her engagement necklace from Bradley, given to her a few weeks earlier before they both returned from their semester together in New Zealand. Jewel is 16 years old and Esther is almost 13. Right?

I’ve been thinking about the border recently. Maybe because it is negative frazillion degrees here. Oh, fine. Not quite. It made it to 2 degrees today and the wind chill was only -19. But the internet tells me that it was 75 in El Paso today. I will cope with this snot-freezing, squeaky snow cold by thinking about the place where I learned what 105 feels like.  Here are a just a few of the many things I learned in my year living on the border. Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: The Border”

A full life: Jewel at 31 weeks

Dear sisters,

Life (and my belly) has felt really full these past two weeks! I’m really enjoying this stage of pregnancy. Having a big belly hasn’t gotten annoying or too uncomfortable yet, and I finally feel like a cute pregnant woman. Up til now I just felt like a swollen lady, but now that the belly is the biggest part of me, it makes the rest of me look petite ;-). I decided this week I would take a picture a day (though I missed Monday) to document how I’ve been dressing the bump and to try to give you an idea of what I look like throughout ordinary life. I have to admit, I tried a bit harder to come up with cute outfits this week since I knew I’d be taking pictures. Continue reading “A full life: Jewel at 31 weeks”

Fourscore and seven haircuts ago

I’ve been musing lately on how significant hair is to how a person looks, feels, and is perceived. I recently got a significant haircut, and it helped me realize that I often locate an event in time by my haircuts! For example, I’ll think to myself, what year did I start hanging out with my hometown guy friends? And I’ll remember how long my hair was at the time, and that we were already friends when I chopped off all my hair for Locks of Love, and I’ll locate myself in time around 7th or 8th grade. So, for nostalgia’s sake, I bring to you the timeline of my life, as measured in haircuts:

In the beginning, there was not much hair. It was whispy and very curly as it grew in, and I had a Shirley Temple-esque look to me in my early days. Continue reading “Fourscore and seven haircuts ago”

We Remember Ellen

On January 4, 2015, our beloved high school English teacher and theater director Ellen Shultz passed away. You can read her obituary here. Janna and I got the news while in the car on the way home from the winter Buckwalter reunion. We started thinking and talking about her influence on us and our memories of her, which led us to writing about it here…

Janna here. Did you have much experience with Ellen, youngest sisters? I blame her for the fact that I never have free time. Remember before I started theater? I used to get so much sleep, travel to exotic places that exist in real life. No longer.

Drama Club photo from my senior year yearbook.
Drama Club photo from my senior year yearbook. Rachel and I got the two shoulder seats. This may look small, but number-wise it is only about 8 people less than my entire graduating class.

Continue reading “We Remember Ellen”