Category Archives: Family Matters


My favorite time of day is 2pm.

If you were to come over then,  you would find me sitting in the front room in Leina’s old nursing chair.   The chair is angled toward the front window and affords me a perfect view down our cul-du-sac and across the street.  Right now, with the beautiful autumn weather, I’ll probably have the window raised up so the air will be fresh and breezy.  I’d have something in my hands: maybe my journal, a book I’m working my way through or my iPad.

Two o’clock means school is letting out soon.  I have about fifteen or twenty minutes to myself before the kids arrive home.  I can sit and rock in my chair, read or swish my pad, and glance out the window waiting to see my girls appear.  I love to watch them trudge up the street.  You can tell so much from how they arrive.  Sometimes, they are heads together, chattering and I know they are in a good mood.  More often, one is ahead of the other.  Grumpy and hot.  Tired and hungry.  The door bangs open, the dag starts to bark like crazy, and in a few heartbeats, the house is strewn with school stuff.  It’s actually a scientifically unexplained phenomenon.  They walk in the door and by some unknowable force their bodies explode.  Shoes in one spot; twisted dirty socks in another.  Backpacks dumped on the floor, half open, a trail of crumpled papers that probably need to be returned, litter the carpet.  Lunch boxes are dropped in the kitchen for cleaning and the kids begin moaning about how they are hot/starving/bummed/bored. The dog, still barking, dances around them demanding attention. My job is to try and restore order to the chaos.  Remind them to put away their shoes, where dirty socks belong, gather up forms and homework to hold until needed.  I shoo them from the fridge and take back the bag of cheetos they are trying to open and replace it with something “healthy”.  The dog gets her peanut butter smeared Kong, the kids apple slices or cheese sticks, and we all settle in the kitchen where I can listen to their daily update about what they did, who got their name on the board, what they learned.  By three, they have wandered off and I’m on the down hill slope the afternoon.  The whirlwind of music lesson, swim team practice, homework assignments, dinner and phone calls make the rest of the afternoon whiz by.

And so, I look forward to my two o’clock moment.  It’s only 15 or 20 minutes of calm before the storm but I relish it.  It’s my favorite time of the day.

Snow Day

Our first, and probably last, snow day of the season. This is my kind of snow day. It began falling late in the afternoon after we were safe at home. The flakes where large and wet. The dropped lazily through the air. No wind, no ice, just juicy flakes drifting by. This morning, there was a single layer of fluff on the ground. Enough for a snowman…..


…. a quick snowball fight……


and then off to school for a late start day. Fabulous. The clouds are high and white. The sun is starting to break though and touches of blue peek out. Gone are the grey slate skies of winter. Maybe now, we can start spring full on? Let’s hope!

The Sweet Sound of Fighting

I woke this morning to the sound of fighting. Ah, sweet music to my ears. I always know how sick my kids are by two factors. The cleanliness of my house and the level of bickering. The last few days, toys have remained on shelves and the silence of a sick room has hovered over the sofa. So imagine my delight to come downstairs and find the sofa empty, toys scattered under foot, and the sound of a full fledge sister spat going on. Yes, recovery at last. Even better, it stopped raining and the temperature rose above 40 degrees which, for Portland, means it is a beautiful day for a water ballon fight! Yes!


Signs of Life

The fever remains but some sass is returning to the kid. I take this as a sign that she is recovering. But if this fever doesn’t break today, I’m afraid we will be headed to the doctor tomorrow.


A New Twist

My poor little blog has been sadly neglected for a host of reasons. Mostly because the computer has been taken over by my children. But I have recently discovered this cool iPad app for blogging and I’m hoping it will help me get back on the writing wagon because goodness knows I have tons to write about!

Right now I’m suffering from a severe case of cabin fever. We are on day 3 of sick watch and I’m slowly going crazy being stuck indoors all day long with a sad and snotty child. The allure of sofa snuggles is easily squelched every time I’m showered with a wet sneeze or juicy cough. Of course I’m resigned to my fate. This sickness will soon be mine, I know. But what can I do when my sweet baby looks and me with bleary eyes and a red nose so miserably? And so I have watched countless hours of kid tv, monitored a low grade fever, and cajoled 18 tbsp of fever reducer in the last few days. The fever hasn’t broken yet and cough is getting worse. Tomorrow looks like a repeat of today. But that’s just part of my job description. Mothering. Comforting. And wiping away snot. Good times. Good times.


Hello Summer!

Well, we made it.  It was very close.   There was a flurry of last minute activity, running around town, and last night crafting but all projects were finished, all gifts given, and a few tears shed.  But it was good.

Kulia rocked Kindergarten.  I was overjoyed that she was placed in Mrs. Derry’s class.  Leina had loved it and I knew it would be a good fit for Kulia.  Boy was I right!  Kulia looked forward to every single day of school and came home full of happy chatter and proudly displayed worksheets.  The end of this year was a bit sad.  I wish I had another McL waiting in the wings.  I’d love another year of hanging with Jenny.  She is beyond fabulous.

And, of course, no year would be complete without good friends.  Kulia’s very best friend from preschool was in her class this year and the girls were inseparable.  Emily finds Kulia uproariously hilarious and Kulia adores Emily’s sense of adventure and imagination.  They are a very, very good match.  I hope we get lucky and have Em in our class next year too!

Kulia also made a lots of new friends.  On her first day of school, she sat next to a sweet little girl named Payton.   That first new friend is so special.  Payton has an older sister so every day when we went to pick up Leina, Kulia and Payton would run around the front lawn together like the wild kids they are.  Never once did Kulia bemoan the fact that we had to get Leina.  She was always excited because she knew Payton would be there.  Her other good buddy is Julianne.  They are in a dance class together and have such fun working on all their steps.  Both girls are sweet, kind, funny and smart.  Just the type of girls I love to have around!  Kulia picks very very good friends.

Leina’s year was a bit rougher.  First grade started out hard.  None of her friends from last year were in her class.   Her teacher was 8 months pregnant on the first day of school and they didn’t know who would be subbing during maternity leave.   I was worried.  But, as it often does, what looks at first like disaster turned out to be better than ever!  The school managed to find the most fabulous and wonderful substitute teacher!  Mrs. Taylor was crazy and wild and full of ideas and energy.  She had big plans and loved a class that was loud and creative.  The kids adored her.  She was like something out of a movie.  While every other class was bent of worksheets in silence, Mrs. Taylor would toss them aside and decide on something totally inventive and fun.  Awesome.  Every Friday I helped out in the classroom and every Friday I was blown away by what she could accomplish.  Even better, after maternity leave was over, the two job shared so the kids got to keep their beloved sub right through to the end.  The only sad bit is that next year, Mrs. Taylor won’t be there.  So our end of the year farewell was a bit hard to swallow.

Mrs. Machan was the exact opposite.  Her classroom was quiet and orderly.  She had a ton of tricks to settle the kids and taught them countless songs about colors and numbers.  I didn’t get to know her as well as I would have liked since she was out on leave for more than half of the year.  I’m secretly hoping Kulia is placed in her class next year so I can get another shot.  But, when she was there, she really managed to teach those kids a ton and Leina adored her.

Friends were hard for Leina this year.  Many days, she came home in tears with stories of feeling alone.  She excelled in the classroom but felt lost on the playground.  She wanted her old friends and seemed lost on how to make new ones.  And then.  Somehow.  It happened.  About half way through the year, she found her group.  They were silly, silly girls who all loved Pokemon, drawing, singing songs, and teasing boys.  Perfect.  On the last day, Leina broke down crying again but this time it was at the thought of leaving behind these hard won friends.  I don’t blame her!  Here are all the girls in her class.  Sweet and silly!