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This is my first time trying this… so be gentle with me ladies!
The Gypsy Mama invites everyone to join her every Friday as she “stops, drops, and writes” for 5 straight minutes. No editing. No over thinking. No backtracking. No worrying if it’s just right or not. Oh my goodness, I’m not sure I can do this…

1… 2… 3… Here I go!

I always knew I’d love my kids. I always knew I’d be passionately attached to them. That I’d eat drink and sleep motherhood and that this whole gig would be the defining of me. I always knew that. I expected that.

But this I never expected.

My twenty-one year old daughter left this morning… off for the weekend with her friends. Ponytail bobbing along as she ran to the car in her red and white polka dot dress. With a petticoat underneath and a black cashmere sweater over top. Then she ran back for the cinnamon rolls she’d gotten up early to frost and pack into little red and white boxes. With a separate baggie full of wetnaps and napkins. Where does she get this stuff?

“Gosh girl, I’m gonna miss you this weekend,” I said as she leaned in for a quick hug.

“Oh yeah Mom, who’ll be there to make fun of all the silly things you do?”

“Seriously,” I laughed. “How will I know that I’m being weird if you’re not here to mock me for it, huh?”

“Text me!” She was halfway down the stairs. She held up her phone and waved it back at me as she ran across the driveway. “I can ridicule by text too!”

I never expected to spend so much time smiling. I just never expected being a mom would make me laugh so much. Oh yeah, I knew I’d love my kids….

I just never expected to like ‘em so much.

Troo confession time… I actually wrote for seven minutes.

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Amelia does Monday

Since Amelia “had to be up at five for the baby anyway” she volunteered to do the Monday morning baking. The result: tiny little lattice topped apple pies and wee little pumpkin tarts made in my old little tin patty pans which I had actually completely forgotten I even owned.

And since Noah is off on a camping trip to Gettysburg and since Millen has taken to starting her mornings with an “exercise video” marathon (current fave: Yule Be Wiggling done at least three times in succession)…

Wiggles 4 LYF!

… so since no one needed me and since it’s officially a holiday, yours truly had a perfectly disgraceful morning. I stayed in bed until seven thirty, had latte and the aforementioned pie-lettes for breakfast and then went out for coffee with the Pastor’s wife.

And oh lookie! Now it’s time for lunch!

Yep, livin’ the dream… that’s me. Pretty much.

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Amelia fashions for herself

a bracelet…. made from flowers she picked out of Louisa’s garden: forget-me-nots and violets and daisies and some other little ones I don’t know the names of.

All for the grand occasion of Wednesday evening church. She teaches the primary class dontchaknow.

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I have a new favorite blogger!

I gotta tell ya ladies, this gal is great…. every time I read over at her place I laugh. I cry. I am moved.

Okay, so yeah yeah yeah, I’ve only read over there once,
but that one time was a truly transformative bloggity experience. Mmhmm. Yup.

Portrait of the blogger as a young woman.
With pumpkin.

All I can say is; Pioneer Woman look out! cuz Turtlehearted is a’nippin’ at your heels! Go visit her now and you’ll instantly see why I’m so excited.
I guarantee you’ll see. Instantly.

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Hereditary inclinations

All the Tomato Patch Women have this thing about clothing.

In my memories, my Nana was always dressed impeccably in her trim little woolen skirts and perfectly tailored blouses; her cashmere cardigans and modest little pearls… you’d never have known to look at her that she was an impoverished widow, but she was. When I look at old photos of her- little chin up and immaculate bag and shoes- it’s hard to believe that she led the grueling life that she did. Her life was hard, but she made the ends meet by scrimping and taking in sewing. She always kept that chin of hers up and she always dressed well. The woman loved her clothes, oh yes she did, and she passed that predilection on to her daughter, my mother, who passed it along to me.

At my mother’s knee, I learned how to spot good design (look at the lines, my mother used to say.) She taught me all about various fibers: cotton = good; silk = better; wool =best (and the wool from Scotland is better than best.) She taught me all about various brands and designers, when to pay attention to labels and when to ignore them. She taught me how to get it all on a budget. Now, I was never aware of teaching any of this to Amelia, but she seems to have caught on to it all by some sort of mother-to-daughter osmosis. As a matter of fact, when I look at pictures of her, I see shades of my Nana, only pushed forward into the next millennium. That girl loves to dress well, she hates spending any more of her hard earned money than is absolutely necessary and she loves the thrill of the hunt. Behold a recent outfit, plundered from the recesses of a nearby outlet mall:

Bright rusty red constructed dress from Banana Republic: regular price $189.00

Amelia price: $15.99

Drapey linen and lambswool sweater from Gap: regular price $69.99

Amelia price: $4.79

Floral patterned microfiber tights from Anthropologie: regular price $25.00

Amelia price: $6.00

Nana would approve, oh yes she would.

In fact, I think she might even loan the girl her pearls… mhmm.

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Silly girl

Amelia spent all afternoon making two different varieties of peanut butter cookies, then she packed them up and gave them all away.

Cookies are her ministry, you see.

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Wednesday nights

On the weekday evening that our church has Bible Study meeting, most of the adults are in the sanctuary…. diligently studying the Bible with the pastor. But a few of us especially fortunate grown-up-types have another sort of evening altogether. Mrs. Marshmallow* has all the preschoolers singing and coloring in one room (and wearing sailor hats if I’m not mistaken.) Mr. and Mrs. Mountain** have all the teens in another room (doing whatever it is that teens do.) Dana and Sakiko are in charge of the rest and Amelia and I pitch in wherever we’re needed.

Bible study starts at 7:00, but we all meet at 6:30. Many of these children come to church hungry and, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but fun is rather hard to have on an empty stomach. So the ladies of the church provide dinner for all of us. Every single week. Last night we had tacos and the fun came very easily after that. Most weeks we start with a lesson and then Eileen, our pastor’s wife, teaches us some songs. After that Dana has some sort of rolicking game planned. One week the kids were racing all over the fellowship hall looking for construction paper toppings for pizza (hold the bugs please!) Last night the game involved freezing in one position, then leaping cat-like into the air in an attempt to land smack dab on an unsuspecting friend’s feet… or something like that.

The details of these games frequently elude me.

Occasionally we do something completely different… just to shake things up, dontcha know. Keep things hoppin’, so to speak. Case in point: the other week Amelia and the kids made cookies. Everyone got their own little bowl and ingredients and their own little spoon to mix with. Many of the children had never done any baking before… but we all got the knack of it pretty quickly.

Amelia went to the store beforehand and bought a little bit of every kind of mix-in she could find.

She was very popular.

Hey, now that I think of it, and now that I’ve got your ear, would you mind doing me a favor? If someday you happen to find yourself with an extra moment or two would you mind saying a prayer or two for our young friends?

There’s Arthur, who I’ve known since he was two years old… such a bright little boy, he’s learned to find Bible verses faster than any of the other kids. We’ve been praying together that he’d be able to stop getting into fights at school. One evening I got a message on my phone, ” This is Arthur. I’m going back to Mexico on Friday. I’ll miss yooooo!”

I’ll miss you too, honey.

There’s Mari, whose baby goat died. And Liza, whose cousin hits her sometimes; she gets very angry about that.
I don’t blame her a bit. I’d be ANGRY too.

There’s Stephan, who has always carried an incredibly heavy load for a kid his age, yet a kinder, more diligent boy you’ll never know (and I don’t care what other boy you know, he’s not kinder or harder working than our Steph. NUH. UH.) Besides which, the kid has great hair.. Seriously, I’m talkin’ really great hair.

“Stephan!” Amelia calls across the fellowship hall. “Why you so awesome?!

“I dunno,” he says. “uh.. Cuz.”

*Not her real name.
**Yes, this is their real name.

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Amelia dresses the baby

1. Slouchy thigh high stockings
2. Ruffly gauzy cream colored crinoline
3. Faded pin-tucked denim dirndl
4. Heathered gray cardigan with cream lace appliques, which handily match the crinoline, which handily matches the stockings
5. Cutest baby evah

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Amelia goes to Washington

Amelia and her friend Casey went to Washington DC a few weeks ago. They went to the Smithsonian…

the Washington Monument,

and the Capitol building. They took lots of pictures and met lots of nice people and came back with many an interesting tale.

I loved hearing all of their news and looking at the pictures… but somehow I couldn’t help feeling a bit unsettled. Who is this young woman all grown up? Last time I looked, my Amelia had pigtails. She wore her pink striped Osh Kosh b’Gosh jumper day after day after day. Who is this oh-so-mature thing in the cashmere scarf and the little black dress?

She’s my baby, that’s who. Oh yeah…

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