Sunday, December 23, 2007

Grandad Santa comes to town

Santa: Have you been doing what you're told right away?
Shiloh: Well I did once.

Santa: What should I bring for your Dad?
Hannah: cooking mitts!

This one of Levi and Santa is him whispering what mom should get.
More pictures and hopefully a video on facebook! ('course we all know how long it takes me to figure out anything technilogicalish.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

inspiring social abberation

I went shopping with a friend who is staying with us last night. It was snowing. The kind of snow that comes straight down, not falling but floating. So when we were done putting our groceries away I lifted my face to the sky to catch fat fluffy flakes in my mouth. Suddenly, I was hit in the chest with a snowball.

It wasn't the snowball that was odd, it was the culprit who threw it. About ten feet away, in the almost empty parking lot stood a woman laughing out loud. Not a menacing laugh, but a cheerful belly laugh. My friend burst out laughing so hard she couldn't breathe. What could I do but join in?

It was late and we had left Alex alone with six small children, so there wasn't time to chat in the parking lot, but as we drove away I wish there had been. It occurs to me that she is the kind of person who will keep you from taking your life to seriously. With her slightly greying hair, laugh lines, and fabulous aim, this random woman made me laugh more genuinely than I have in a good while.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I am taking six kids (four of them under 5) to playgroup and shopping today. The part that makes me insane is that I am actually looking forward to it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


We put Grover down today. Now we are eating ice cream and watching movies. Poop.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A deep breath

As I was sliding down the street to home this morning I was excited to see the snow melted from around my yard and learn that no more of it had entered my house. Yay!

We are decorating today. Scented candles, a rosemary mini-tree and pots of freezer soup simmering in the crockpot and on the stove has made my kitchen smell tremendously welcoming. Today I am going to unpack a few boxes, bake some cookies, sort and tidy, and enjoy my children.

Today I am going to finish recovering from the rest of the week and put up more pictures so I will have reminders of why a job, a duvet, and a basement aren't what give my life meaning. Maybe those reminders will help curb the incredible whining I am capable of next time there is a glitch in my plans. Today I am going to take a deep breath and a chill pill.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A series of unfortunate events

Apparently I am just as stubborn as I seem, maybe more.

The basement flooded today. I considered using the shrunken, matted llama wool (as mentioned in a previous post) to soak up the water in the pantry. It seemed a tragic picture that would satisfy the universe that hates me.

My children spent the evening speculating what would happen if we didn't get the water to stop and how long it would take to flood their rooms. Then Shiloh was trying to convince her younger sister that it would be cool to swim in the basement. This will all be very funny when the carpet is dry........

Mom brought me some wine. I will be having a glass or two tonight and I will probably be praying (as described a few posts ago).

Ah blog therapy, I almost feel as though sanity will someday come again......

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ok, so I am a SPAZ

Today, several times, on the radio and in conversation, this scripture from proverbs has come up: "Lean not on your own understanding...." By about the third time I threw up my hands and said, "K, God, I get the point. I don't always have to know how it's going to work out."

Within an hour of my frustrated surrender, I got a phone call telling me our contract has been held over until Jan. and my duvet was in the process of being replaced by a brand new fluffy down duvet. Things work out how they are supposed to. I know this, have always known this. So why do I keep flipping out at every bump? I guess I will just have to keep slamming up against walls until I learn the lesson. Boy, I hope I am less stubborn than I seem..........

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

There are some days you shouldn't get out of bed for....

Already tired and miserable from yesterday's events, I went to go pick up my Llama wool duvet. I thought maybe wrapping myself in cuddly warmth with a hot choco would cheer me up. Made with love by a friend who owns the Llamas. I sheared the wool off these Llamas my very own self. When I left it at the dry cleaner, I made a point of explaining all this to the nice lady at the desk.

My Llama wool duvet has been washed....


So yesterday, while pulling a 33 hour shift, I was informed that my regular hours at work have been cut in half. Apparently I am going into the Christmas season as a part-timer instead of a full-timer. (Breath Mom, it'll be OK)

My employers say they are going to do everything they can to get this decision reversed. In the meantime, I am spending the morning budgeting. Oh goodie!

Monday, November 26, 2007


It is certainly a Monday morning. Slow and groggy, already wishing for the weekend, I am brewing coffee and blogging the A.M. blues away. As I am sitting at the computer this morning I over hear this adorable exchange:

Selah wakes up and sits down to breakfast, obviously not quite ready to be awake. She hears the kids cleaning up downstairs. "Oh! Doh!" She says excitedly and heads for the stairs. At the top of the stairs she yells."Dooooooohhh!" Shiloh responds, "Hi Selah, it's me, Doh." Darned cute is what that is!

Anyhoo, coffee is brewed and I have many important things to do today. Like laundry and dishes and finding my bed under the boxes and books we unpacked. Happy Monday!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


My sister keeps tagging me and I am getting behind so I figured I better answer quick before she gets another in. Also, I think I need to start heading out to read other peoples links so I can meet some people to pass the tag to. Anyhoo, my answers:

1. What were you afraid of as a child? Well, after sneaking to a friend house to watch a movie (that I wasn't allowed to watch) I acquired a fear of dark water.

2. When have you been most courageous? Just recently as I watched my son walk down a busy street by himself to go to a lesson and didn't chase after him. I am very good at babies, 8 year olds and budding independence terrify me...

3. What sound most disturbs you? Careless disrespect spilling out of human orifices. Whether it is a spouse belittling a spouse, a parent disregarding a child, or a child being utterly ungrateful. Especially when I realize it has slipped out of my own mouth. Makes me sick.

4. What is the greatest amount of physical pain you have been in? 3rd child, two hours of transition and tearing uterine ligaments. She was still worth it.

5. Whats the biggest fear for your children? That the society we live in will make them selfish and bitter or selfless and angry. That they won't find love or balance. That they will inherit this society's feeling of entitlement.

6. What is the hardest physical challenge you have ever achieved? Climbing Fisher Peak. Especially the last 20 feet, since I wasn't breathing from fear of falling off.

7. Which do you prefer: mountains or oceans/big water? I have a very deep love for my mountains, especially as the seasons change. You can watch winter creep down them in the fall and retreat back up in the spring. Breath-taking. However, for as long as I can remember I have had a secret lust for the ocean. I crave the opportunity sit on the edge of a sailboat, at night, in the middle of the ocean, to see what the stars look like from there.

8. What is the one thing you do for yourself that helps you keep everything together? I pray. Not always that nice holy praying either. Sometimes I scream, or sob, or sit silently with God, and sometimes I just list all the reasons I am grateful, but every time I walk away having regained a sense of myself and my place in the universe.

9. Ever had a close relative or friend with cancer? Of course. The first person I lost to cancer was my best friends mom when I was little. For a long time after I dreamed about her. She was very pretty and she would let us sit on her bed and help us paint our nails. I remember overhearing my parents talk about her in the car in front of swingstreet before she died. I didn't know it was cancer until several years later.

10. What are the things your friends count on you for? An ear,a cup of tea, a bit of chocolate, and every so often, a little advice.

11. What is the best part of being in a committed relationship? Pillow talk. Tickle fights. A shoulder to cry on that comes with unconditional understanding. Accountability. Fresh coffee in the morning. Having someone to watch my back, especially when I am too tired to protect my front. Cuddles. Having someone who loves me enough to tell me when I am acting like a child or just being plain stupid. Indoor water fights. Not having to change all the diapers. Being challenged to grow. Knowing there is someone who will sit quietly and hold me when the world is caving in and I am so desperately sad that I can barely sit upright. Knowing he shares my joy. And, as everything attached to me succumbs to gravity, he will still think I am beautiful because he knows the premature grey hair and stretch marks are pretty much his fault. And the naked thing......

12. What is the hardest part about being in a committed relationship? Trying not to take it for granted. I am so comfortable in this relationship that it has become like my right arm. I am glad I have a right arm. My world would change drastically without my right arm. I would miss my right arm if it wasn't there when I woke up in the morning. But, it's not like I remember to thank God for my right arm every day. I don't spend time thinking about how lucky I am to have a right arm. I don't get up in the morning and put scented lotion on my right arm just to make it feel special, just to make sure it knows how much I appreciate it. But, I am really glad I have one.

13. Summer or winter? Why? Spring actually. I love watching the fresh green things stretch out of brown, wet earth. Babies of all kinds appearing everywhere. Peeling off the layers of winter clothing to let my skin get acquainted with the warmth of the sun again. Pressing my hands into the soil of my garden to plant new seeds. Hmmm spring.

14. Have you ever been in a schoolyard fight? Why and what happened? Gr.10. I had a friend named Peter who was dating a girl who had a habit of being a bit jealous. Another girl had hugged Peter and, his girlfriend, being the jealous type, started spreading the news that she was going beat her up after school. Even in high school, I threw my two cents into piggy banks where they were not welcome. I stuck up for the offending hugger, saying that friends hugged friends all the time and it wasn't an excuse to bruise people. Well, as I was packing up my locker, two girls came to inform me that the girlfriend was in front of the school waiting for me. What else could I do but go out to meet her? So, out I went. I stood there, trembling, silently telling my body not to pee, and watching the crowd of faces expand. I looked at the girlfriend and, in my best I'm-not-really-scared-of-you-voice, said, "I am not stupid, you are half again my size, you could absolutely kick my ass. I am not sure what this will prove but do what you have to do so I can get on with my homework." She never did end up hitting me, but she has never spoken to me again, and I managed not to wet myself so I figure it ended well.

15. Why blog? Because I can't afford therapy.

16. Did you learn about sex and/or sex safety from your parents? I don't remember "the talk" but I do remember my Mom cleaning her room when I was 17 and asking if I wanted her lifesaver pack of condoms. I asked her if they were usable and she said no they are expired. About fifteen minutes later she followed me into the bedroom and said, "Are you having sex? Don't you dare get pregnant!" 11 months later I was married and holding my new baby boy. I never have been very good at doing what I'm told.

17. How do you plan on talking to your kids about sex and/or sex safety? We use proper names for body parts. We talk about reproduction. As they get older we will talk about how sex is not just an activity to pass the time. It is beautiful and special and has all kinds of consequences attached. Some of those consequences can be guarded against but some can't so you better be darn sure you know what you're getting into.

18. What are you most thankful for this year? My sister getting married to a man I feel good about my children calling uncle.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's raining, It's pouring.......

.......inside Boston Pizza. Yup. Inside. One minute, we are having a lovely dinner with Mike and Anie; the next minute, Alex has a torrential downpour in his lap. It made for a good story and some giggles for dessert. We were just about to leave anyway......

Friday, November 09, 2007

dreams filter to reality...

So many exciting happenings have come about, or are coming about, this fall. New babies, long wished for, a homeless shelter long worked for and a fuller home long sought after.

A week and a half ago, a friend of ours invited me to share in the birth of a baby that took a little while to get here. He is beautiful and he has that intoxicating new baby smell that had me melting and had Alex reminding his doctor to get him a referral to the surgeon.

Two days ago, the shelter officially had all it's start up money. There is construction going on down at our church and it is awesome! We still need money for operating costs, but once people see it up and running, they will see the need to keep it going. Yay!!

As for some of the other transitions going on in our life, they are exciting, but not yet a definite reality. We are moving slowly especially with one of our adventures to be certain our priorities stay firmly in place.

More news as it comes.....

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Gettin the word out

News about the shelter seems to be propelling through cyber-space. Cool. A local musician put together a video on youtube with a friend. Rick was one of the generous people lending their talents to our fundraiser on Saturday night. Check it out.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Cranbrook's first shelter

Our church, along with The Salvation Army, has been trying to raise funds to put an emergency homeless shelter in Cranbrook. We have been working at this for over a year now and tonight we had a fundraiser concert. We need renovation money, money for beds and other such necessary equipment, and we need operating costs. Things are moving, but slowly, and winter is coming down the mountain at a rapid pace.

So, I realize many of you who read this blog are from other communities. I realize that there are issues that your own cities face, that you could support solutions for. However, if anyone has an extra $20 (or more) laying around that they haven't found a use for yet, you could send it my way and help support getting a few people out of the cold.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Stones

Nope, not going to a concert. I am talking about the green ones that my dear Mother promised to leave to me when she kicks the bucket. When she awoke from her recent gallbladder surgery, these precious gems were at her bedside in a little plastic jar. Apparently, the doctors felt she should have a memento to remember her forsaken organ by. With my older sister as a witness, my Mom stated that I get to have the earrings that she will someday make from these little green pebbles. I think it is quite fitting since my birthstone is green. Just imagine, some moment in the distant future, I shall be sitting in my rocker, with my purple hair, red hat and green earrings, reminiscing about my Mother. Perhaps, I will have grandchildren scattered at my feet. After I tell them all about this marvelous woman who raised me, I shall show them my earrings and tell them, "This is all I have left of her."

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Good ol' Gratitude

Ok , so it's cliche. But I can't help it this time. Alex and I just came back from a conference that really altered our perspective. I am genuinely exited about how unbelievably cool my life is. So here it is. My list of gratitude. It is a mix of deep and very very shallow.

I am thankful for:

*My unbelievable children, who, on more than one occasion, have been my reason for getting out of bed in the morning.
*My husband and his incredible character. How did I end up with that guy?
*Big windows for all the light to shine in.
*Baked brie and garlic. Need I say more?
*Accountability and the people to share it with.
*Good food and good music. mmmmmm
*3am tea
*Skinned knees
*The entire Dalton/Sharp/Marriott clan with all it's many quirks. I'm am glad to have known some that have moved on and all that chose not to.
*My very hip bathroom.
*KCF and the tenacity of friendships conceived there.
*My God, his son, and the ability to move on from my mistakes.

There is so much more, but there are turkeys to cook and potatoes to mash.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Especially Erin and Ferd! We miss you and are thinking of you!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Just another night at the stage door

I was asked if I would do concession for a concert I hadn't really intended to go to. Not because I wasn't interested but because September is just busy. Well, since it was going to be free except the cost of a little schmoozing and money counting, how could I refuse. So I went. And fell in love with music all over again.

His name is Kelly Joe Phelps and by his own confession feels socially awkward between songs. However, from an audience perspective he makes you feel as if you are in his living room having a weekend jam session after a hearty potluck. He is quiet but clever and inviting. Good entertainment from the first hello. Then he starts playing....

His fingers literally dance over the strings of his guitar as if they were life long lovers. The picking is complicated but the music simple enough to draw you in. We sat there in awe as we watched him caress his music from those strings. Beautiful. As if that isn't enough, he starts to sing...

I would use the term "voice like an angel," if it weren't for the incredible raw humanness he sings with. He hits you with wave after wave of unashamed emotion. It's been a long time since a musician brought tears to my eyes. Especially one whose story I didn't know well. I think it took me a few songs before I managed to actually hear the lyrics. Which are, in themselves, testimony to incredible talent and heart. It made more than one of us wonder what the heck this guy is doing playing at the stage door and other such small locations.

The musician in me is more than a little envious. It is simply unfair for the universe to bestow such talent on one individual. Yet the music lover in me is so grateful that such talent wasn't wasted on someone who doesn't get it and wouldn't use it. I have walked away with a sense of being satisfied as though I have eaten or slept well; as if my soul has been well nourished. I am inspired again to continue on my own musical journey, remembering that the very best part comes in the sharing.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Two today

Conversations to be overheard in the Marriott house .....

Mom: Hannah go clean up the clothes on the floor in your room.
Hannah: Okay (pause) The garbage can keeps moving. That means its alive.
Dad: Sure it does.
Hannah: No it doesn't.

Mom: Selah why aren't you wearing pants again!?
Selah:(looking down at her half-naked self as though she didnt realize, and then doing the home alone face) Oh no! I peed downstairs! Oh no! OH NO!

Mom: (seeing Selah has no pants again ) Selah where are your pants?
Selah: NO!
Mom: Selah did you pee in your pants?
Selah: (singing) no no nnoooooooooooo (runs away)

Fall Fellowship

The other day we went for a romp in the park with a friend and her crew. It was chilly, but not too cold to play without mittens. It was one of those afternoons that stripped ordinary humdrum from my view of my life. It happens every so often. A moment bursting with richness that takes my breath away.

This time it was simply watching my children interact with each other. Watching Hannah and Levi take turns bearing the other up on their shoulders so they could cross the monkey bars. Seeing the uncontainable excitement on Shiloh's face as she makes it up the climbing wall, "all by myself, Mama!!." Hannah and Levi helping Selah have a ride on the seesaw, one holding her up and the other pumping the other side up and down.

It made me think of another bunch of siblings playing in a little lake while their parents watched from shore with such odd grins on their faces. I didn't get it then. I thought maybe those two parents were getting soft. I think I get it now.

Friday, September 21, 2007

ceasing summer

The early morning chill has set in. Creaking joints and back muscles are beginning to beg for the big blankets to be applied to the beds soon. This weekend we will break out the winter clothes and tuck away those items reserved for summer moments. I must say though, there is a crisper quality to the sun cascading through the front windows that makes me want to get outside despite the cold. It's going to be a fantastic fall.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Goodbye kittens

Yesterday morning the very last kitten, Cricket, left on her journey to the coast to live with friends of ours. Suddenly the house is a lot quieter. The incessant scratching has ceased and the constant thumpity thump of kittens attacking each other, fluff, and imaginary kitten friends is no more. Sparrow has settled down and is already blissfully calm and snuggly again. She has stopped mewing at me to help her get the darn little things off her. I guess even four legged mom's get excited about having a little personal space now and then.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I am home

It happened again. Another well-meaning high school chum I haven't seen in awhile tried to give me the get out of Cranbrook pep-talk. And once again I tried to explain why I am still here. Why this is "home".

I am not sure when the transition happened. For so many years of my anxious teenage life I couldn't wait to leave. Eager to stretch my wings and "make something of myself." Somewhere along the line my roots dug deeper than I had intended. Places, people, and moments in time stacking up on one another until they became my recipe for home. This dish is ever expanding and just this summer has begun to add farther away places to the list of ingredients. Yet still most of these ingredients are safely tucked around this little valley, keeping me warm and holding me up when the chill sets in.

Home is a little bridge behind the trailer court where I used to catch slimy things with my baby brother. It's the "family" tree in Rotary park I can't climb anymore. It's in the playground of the school down the street and under the lamppost where we kissed our first kiss. It's in the waters of lakes and ponds where I have swam, canoed and drifted in good company and sometimes just my own. It's on the mountain I was too young to climb with Dad but managed to climb on my own and share his view. It's in the coffee shop where so many good friendships have been nourished. It's in a water wheel I wasn't suppose to climb but climbed anyway. It's on a back porch swing I can't swing on anymore. It's in the frame above my parents kitchen sink where my sisters and I discovered something to share. It's in a garden I share with strangers and with friends. It's on stages; many stages where I found so many pieces of myself. It's in several churches where I have found my place in the universe and the magic in everyday. It's on the swing in my Mother's yard where there hasn't been nearly enough wine yet. It's in the faces of my children when they are with any of the many Grandparents they have here. Its in stockings so full of fun that its hard to get through the hallway to wake up the rest of the gang.

And now I have found more of my ingredients in these sunshiny walls and massive windows that let the world in. I have found it at both of my Grandmothers feet where they weave stories from memories. It's in a football game with the many faces of the Sharps. It's in my grandparents kitchen where Grandpa holds my face in his hands. And it's even in the echo of voices in a Catholic church.

Home is trickling through creeks and and in the quiet woods, where the branches whisper secrets of my youth and my one love.

Home definitely rests and is woven through circles of song and pots of wild rice. Guitars and voices so familiar they are like a warm blanket for the soul. Gatherings of a community held together by some force indescribable.

I have not made something fantastic and adventuresome of myself. My stage is not grand and the tickets to my show aren't sold out. But ever so slowly my life has become something beautiful and satisfying. I wouldn't have chosen this a decade ago but you couldn't make me go back and change it for anything. I am home.

Saturday means nothing

Alex is getting ready for work, the kids are doing schoolwork, and I have a full day of cooking, cleaning, and preparing for school ahead of me. Ah, the good 'ol days when Saturday meant staying up late on a Friday night and dozing in bed till 10am. *Bliss!* Anyway, enough with the self pity.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Just another moment

Driving home from dropping the babysitter off, the kids were sweetly warbling the ever lovely "You are my Sunshine." This is Shiloh's rendition of the first line of the verse....

"The other night dear, I was sleeping and I loved you in my armpits."

I dont think Alex and I have ever managed to laugh so hard, so silently.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Second Guessing

Today has been a difficult day. I can't seem to get anything of any real value done. I am already behind with the children's schoolwork, and we are only into week two. here begins another round of, "am I doing the right thing? Would they be happier/learn better/more well-rounded if I just sent them to school?"

The cat peed on the couch. I made an appointment to get her fixed. Selah was awake at 5 am. The dishes aren't done. Shiloh couldn't find her Tuesday underwear. Levi took an hour to do two pages of math. I really need to mop my floor. It was a long day before noon.

But then I see Hannah laying on the couch with Selah reading to her. And Selah leaning over to plant a kiss on her big sisters cheek before settling back down beside her to listen.

I see Shiloh exclaiming, "Look Mom!!!" at just about everything. I see Levi choosing to play with shapes rather than the game boy.

Maybe, I haven't caused any irreparable damage. Maybe the cat peeing on the couch just threw me off a bit.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Marriott family Harvest festival

It is indeed a fine day when you can load up your fridge and pantry with beautiful
earthy things grown with the care of your own hands or of hands belonging to people you know.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Saturday snack with the girls

So today I learned that chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick may sound, look, and taste like a good idea at first, but after about 6 bites becomes more burden than delicacy.....

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The night off

  • Baked brie with apricot jam
  • white cranberry coolers
  • comfy couch folded out
  • Pirates of the Caribbean three
  • kids in bed
  • Mr and Mrs Marriott at home at the same time
Me thinks we have the makings of a beautiful evening captain!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Theme blogging

After reading my sisters creepy post I am inspired to share my own spider story. Her name is Almaline, which is german, meaning work. Her incredible changing web is stationed on the outside the window next to my computer. She is mottled orange and black, more round than slender, and she is slower moving than you would expect of a spider. It gives her an air of care-free confidence as she travels the expance of her net towards her prey.

It is the window between us that allows her to live long enough for me to admire her. Her sisters who have ventured inside have met with quick and painless ends. Because of her unknowing choice to stay out of the spider free zone, the kids and I perch on the couch and watch her repair her web quite often. It's location has made her a very successful hunter. Right now she is curled up in the window sill awaiting her next victim which will, no doubt, arrive before noon. This afternoon we will gather again to watch her spin her web anew. The whole thing almost makes me like spiders.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The thing is...

I heard it again today. I am pretty sure for at least the last four years I have heard it every day that we have left the house. "I bet you're busy!" It is amazing to me how many people see this as an original thought that simply must be uttered aloud. O.K., I will admit, today I was busy. The kids have been cooped up for a week and were a bit rambunctious. Not usually though. Not busy enough to be worthy of constant comment.

The thing is, I have grown up with the knowledge of my Grandmothers having broods of 7 and 12. I have watched teachers, camp councillors, and childcare providers manage hoards of children at a time. Nobody echoes the word busy at them. I have a much smaller class size than any teacher I know. Why am I getting all the sympathy? Sure they are all getting paychecks, but we all know that on a philosophical level what I get is far more valuable.

So yes, I have busy days and sometimes it feels as if my life is not my own, but I chose this. I wish I could get a little more sleep but somehow I don't think that will be on my top ten regrets when I am old and grey. Sooner or later I will have gained enough of my brain back to come up with a good reply to the busy comment. For now I will stick with the good 'ol smile and nod response.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


So, I promised a little more detail on the visit to Toronto and Cleveland. Here are some, and some pictures too.

We were picked up at the Toronto airport by my Aunt Linda who took us to this fabulous restaurant on a street that reminds me of kensington (I remembered Mom!) in Calgary. Cool shops and Divine food.

Back at Grandma Dalton's I got to see almost all my aunts, a couple uncles, and a few cousins for a brief visit that evening. I spent the morning sitting next to Grandma and listening to many varied stories while she knit away.

Soon it was up and into a car with uncle Tom who took us out for lunch on the way. While looking at the menu my mother slapped my side and gleefully declared "fried baloney sandwiches!" I didn't understand until later why that item elicited abuse in public. Grandma Sharp later informed me that this was a favorite of Moms and didn't appear on Canadian menus. I will sit across from my dear Mother for the next trip south. :)

The rest of the weekend was jam packed with activity and catching up. I discovered that my relatives knew alot more about my life than I did about theirs. My cousins even knew my childrens names. Between making homemade burgers with Uncle Chuck, family booklets with Aunt Margy, helping Uncle David with his three energetic children, and hangin at the house with my Grandparents, there was ample time to ask lots of questions and listen to many stories. I am so incredibly glad that I went and was very sad to leave (which was evidenced by all the tears on the way out ; I am a suck, I know). I am, not for the first time, very proud of where I come from. Locally and otherwise. Good times.

Friday, August 24, 2007

As the world turns

I came home to find the universe altered. O.K. maybe it's not that dramatic, but still totally impossible to wrap my head around. I have an eight year old son and will no longer be buying diapers. We have officially entered a new era. Not only that, but for his birthday, my eight year old received a wooden elastic shooting gun. *gasp*

Is it just me or is the world spinning faster these days. Wasn't it just the other day that I was round and full of Hannah while Levi and I chased ants across the sidewalk to see where they were going? Suddenly there is a soon-to-be young man standing at the door to greet me and asking if he can help with the dishes and make lunch.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Home sweet home

After death defying flights from Cleveland to Toronto, Toronto to Calgary, and Calgary to Cranbrook, I am home safely. Upon my arrival the kids and I snuggled up for a book reading and pictures of the trip.

The trip was wonderful! I shall give more details in peices when I have more energy to think straight. I will say this now though; my roots go deep and even when it isn't obvious, these roots are tended with great love. As I watched my Grandparents over the weekend, I thought of Alex and I and what our family may look like in years to come. I hope my children, whatever paths they choose, see us as parents worth celebrating. Amazing.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Selah cleans up

"eewwwwwww," said the little voice around the corner from the kitchen where I was cleaning up the remnants of breakfast. As I poked my head through the door way I saw the owner of said voice scurrying down to the front door with about three squares of toilet paper in her hand. "eewwww Mama" Then she reached down with the toilet paper and picked up a fist-sized bit of poop she obviously left there by mistake. Realizing the toilet paper hadn't protected her little hand like she had hoped, she echoed her previous statement and promptly cleaned her sweet little hand off in her hair. Well it wasn't long after that we were both in the shower having a good scrub. At least we weren't in the carpeted basement for this little episode......

As a totally unrelated aside; I really need more coffee and chocolate at my immediate disposal.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The fabulous adventures of Mad Cow sisters

My biggest sister and her hubby have stayed here on and off the last couple of weeks. Last night was an unexpected ON night. Before bed the plan was hatched to get up in the VERY wee hours and watch the meteor shower. Seconds after the plan was birthed, the boys ducked out. Ferd meandered off to the Cranbrook musical round table and Alex to bed.

Erin and I, being good, faithful sisters, crawled out of our nice warm beds, tucked ourselves into sweaters and hopped into the van. Both motivated by the desire not to dissapoint the other. We saw about 3 falling stars, shivered, gigled a bit, and hopped promptly back into the van. The whole event over about 45 minutes from when we forced ourselves out of bed.

All in all, regardless of the cold and the numb tiredness of today, I was glad we did it. I miss having adventures with my siblings. I have become the responsible, sensible mother who says things like , "It's late and the kids needs their sleep." or, "Alex has to work and I have to keep up with the kids tomorrow." How boring for a 25 year old woman of the 21st century! Every so often the resonse to an offer of even tame adventure should be "Carpe Diem!"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Directionless contemplation

A bit of an odd morning. I was awake at 4 am crawling into bed with Selah and Shiloh with the intention of preventing Selah from crawling into bed with us and waking Alex. They woke up at 6 and we all headed to the chilly basement to watch a movie so I could try and get a little more shut-eye. No such luck. So I have been puttering around ever since in a fuzzy state.

At 10am a friend came to drop off her two nephews, one of which is now sleeping on the couch next to me. Shiloh is asleep on the couch downstairs and Selah is trying to lay down with her "baby" on yet another couch in here. The sounds of children are coming from every direction and the smell of lunch is wafting in from the kitchen.

I have a lengthy list of things I could should would be doing if I could focus for more than a few minutes. Contemplation on the meaning of life brings memories to mind of "Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy." How many weird movies have I sat through since Alex and I started dating? Some were good .......some hours of my life I would like back.....Not years though. I wouldn't ask for any years back. 8 years for us, 60 for my grandparents. Where will we be in 52 years? Will we have grandchildren? great-grandchildren? Will we both still be living? In this house? Will Alex stay the fantastic oddball that he is? Will we have regrets? Do I have regrets now? I don't think so. I have no real ambitions for anything more than we have. Maybe a couple more kids somehow. I would like to knit just one pair of socks. I don't need a wardrobe of knotted string like my sister. Just one pair of socks would be cool. I would like to be healthier than I am now. Well, I am far too tired to do anything about that today. Tomorrow maybe I will walk before everyone gets up. I can't wait until Alex and I can take walks again. That will mean we don't have babies or toddlers anymore. Hmm. Everything is a trade I guess. Pros and cons everywhere. Kids are waking up, asking for food. No more daydreaming in type for now. Maybe tomorrow I will wake up with fewer questions, distractions. For now, more coffee will keep me going.

I want one

camper bus

Saturday, August 04, 2007

kitten farewell

One of the kittens left home this week. Friends of ours took Bugaboo and have given her a good home. A visit to their house last night revealed a very good home for her indeed. They have a little bed for her and it seems she is pretty much litter-trained. She had several good cuddles in the couple hours I was there. We can even visit her so the kids aren't as upset as they could have been. Now if only there were volunteers for the other two.....

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Pajama day just doesn't have the same effect when you are homeschooling........

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How does your garden grow

We ate the first cucumber from our garden yesterday. Mostly we have tomatoes this year. No sweet peas or yummy carrots. Too many people getting hitched this year for early crops like that. So we stuck to late summer/fall harvests. I do, however, have an amazing herb garden with all kinds of goodies I have no idea how to cook with. It smells good on the way into the house though!

As for flowers, there are amazing blooms coming from the green things we planted at the community garden. I wish I could remember their names. At the house, the lilies bloomed and they were gorgeous for a few days....... until they wilted because, apparently, I wasn't suppose to plant them in full sun. The green bush-like plant I put at the end of my garden has purple flowers popping out everywhere. They are very pretty little things and they are very abundant. I am going to venture a guess that I put that one in the right spot. I think it started with a P.

Anyway, the green things all look good and the tomatoes I planted too early and barely watered until recently are heavy-laden enough for me to think I will probably have to take up canning this year. So either my thumb is turning green, or I am getting very lucky. Probably the latter is true.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Get real

I have been having a bit of a panic lately over life's difficulties. Big and small. Frustrated at God, my prayers have been a little more like accusations, ending in, "why couldn't you have made this easier?" or "why didn't you equip me better for this?" I felt as though the beautiful moments were becoming fewer and farther between and I was enjoying them less because of other things weighing on my mind. Finally, one morning after work, I confided in a friend that I was feeling overwhelmed by many difficult situations in my life or in lives of friends and family. My question was, "Am I just an emotional wimp who needs to suck it up?" Her answer was, "Naw, I get like like that sometimes." And suddenly I felt better.

I enjoyed my children more that day than I had in a week. I noticed the incredible view from my kitchen window again. I put my fingers in dirt and smelled earth and remembered how to smile after days of being in a funk. Somehow just knowing that this woman, who I respect a great deal for her compassion and her positive outlook, felt just as crummy just as often as I do made me feel better. Life just sucks sometimes. It's not my opinion, or my secret weakness. I don't have to apologize for it. Sometimes it's just not easy and trying to fake it just makes it worse. So get real about it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

More firsts

Well, we had a fabulous evening with friends at Kootenay lake last night after which we camped a kilometer or so down the road from their cabin. It stormed like crazy and though Alex and I had a wakeful night, the kids slept right through. In the morning, a friend RVing in the same campground had us over for ham and pancakes, coffee for us, hot cocoa for the kiddies. Loverly!

Anie and I left the Dads with the kids in the park to set out for an hour or so of funky store hopping. When we returned and packed the Marriott tribe into the van for the ride home, Hannah was holding her left arm and bravely explaining how much it hurt. By the time we hit Creston we had managed to convince Hannah to take off her sweater. By then Alex had told me of how she had been launched off the merry-go-round and landed on her shoulder. One look and I called ahead to the clinic for an appointment.

Following in her mother's footsteps Hannah has broken her collar bone. Unlike her mother, she will not be forced to wear a useless contraption that will contort her shoulders into an awkward position for 4 weeks. I was told by my grinning doctor that they decided those pretty much did nothing except cause more discomfort. So, so, glad "they" managed to figure that out. Anyhow, Hannah has survived her first broken bone with few tears and will heal just fine in a few weeks. I even managed not to do the spazzy mother thing at the hospital. Also a first.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Eight years and counting

Today is our eighth anniversary. I gave him chocolate, he made me a bracelet and a "pioneer's engagement ring." We had a pizza dinner on the deck with his parents and cake afterwards. The kids played on the slide, I watered the gardens, Selah pooped on the grass. We saw each other for a total of 3 hours that we shared with other people. Pretty ordinary day. Except it's not.

Eight years ago I was 17 and eight months pregnant, newly graduated, and moving out of my parents house for the first time. Alex had just turned twenty, was terrified at the prospect of being a father, and being financially responsible for a family. Many of the people at our wedding had spent the months before repeatedly asking if we were sure. Asking if we were being hasty because of the baby. Asking if we knew the chances of our being able to stick it out and stay married. Despite all that, our wedding was beautiful and full of hope. Everything made or tended with love. Still, people wondered.

Even now the occasional high school chum asks if I am still with "that guy." I love explaining that I have been Mrs. Alex Marriott since two weeks after we graduated and we have four children now. Eight years. Still married. Still happily, affectionately, electrically married.

In two years, we have decided, we will renew our vows and have a party. Not because our vows are dull or tainted. Not because any hint of their strength has faded. Because we want to. Because we are excited that we are still married and still want to be married. Because we aren't bored. Because not only are we still in-love, but we still really like each other. In fact we like each other more than we did eight years ago. So happy anniversary to us.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The lazy days of summer

Lazy days, my butt! (which is looking slimmer every *scoff* lazy day) Summer is more like "months of multitasking madness." No matter what schedule slimming I do, four kids and hot weather equals busy. So I am taking this time to be purposeful in my activities. If I am whisking the older two off to the library for an activity, then I am careful to use that time bonding with the younger. If I am nursing Selah, I am blogging or reading (can't forget to nourish my own soul). Doing chores, I pray. Gardening, I teach. Watching a movie with hubby, I knit (or nap). As purposeful as I am to waste no time, I am also learning to be calm in my chaos. Rest and relaxation can happen to a spirit even when there is no time for the body to sit down. What a lovely and life-saving discovery.

In other cool news, Selah had a poop in the appropriate place today! This is more exciting than with any of the other kids because she is the first to insist she is potty trained long before she is actually using the potty. She walked up to me as she was taking off her diaper and said "ewwwww poop." This usually means she is halfway done and about to make a mess I will shortly have to clean up. Horrified, (since we were downstairs in the carpeted area of the house) I ran to her, hoping to convince her to stay in the diaper until she was finished. I watched the diaper fall to the floor and glorious relief passed over me like a cool breeze in 40 degree weather. It was empty. She headed up the stairs while I tried to convince her to put the diaper back on. Silly me, after potty training three I still didn't register that she was heading for the bathroom. Well the whole event has reaffirmed my belief that potty training need not involve the parents outside of struggling through the messy bits. They can and will figure it out on their own every time. Your average seventeen-year-old is potty trained whether or not his parents read the books or bought the outrageously expensive and cheesy singing potty.

Monday, July 09, 2007

In the berry patch

Thursday, July 05, 2007

earth, water and sky

Last night was fabulous! When Alex came home, he and the kids dropped me off at the garden and came back soon after with a picnic dinner for us to share. We all shared in eating, pulling weeds and planting the last of our garden. What an entirely wonderful way to spend an evening with the family. Selah spent most of her time in the sandbox that is up there. Up to her diaper in grit, she was as happy as a pig in slop.

As if all this wasn't already a perfect end to a productive summer day, I also went for a swim. Alex left the garden with the kids about 45 minutes before I did. I continued to pull weeds until my clothes, face and hands were covered in dark soil and green streaks. Sweaty, muddy and satisfied, I hopped into my friend Kathy's truck. She drove us up to Jim Smith lake which was colder than I thought it would be. We swam out to the centre of the lake and I was struck by how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place. The sky was a fading blue by then, as the crisp, cool water rinsed the last bits of mud from my hair. I think I shall do it all over again soon. I just need to figure out how to add in a guitar to the mix....

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Slow and ordinary

There is a lovely quote on my fridge that says, "...the powerful religion of ordinary life, a spirituality of freshly mopped floors.....and clothes blowing on the line." -Adair Lara. I love the philosophy of this quote but until today didn't really get it. This morning I woke to a house unkept and disastrous. With babysitters coming and going this week, our full time plus overtime jobs, and cleaning out the cantankerous trailer, our house has been left to chance. With six cats and four kids, chances are that I would wake up to what I woke up to today. I was frustrated and I pouted. However, four hours later, I am feeling refreshed and optimistic. I have washed all the stacks of dishes, done three loads of laundry plus one load of hand washing. I have fed my children a healthy breakfast, motivated them to clean up their playroom, and even managed a few snuggles along the way. Slow and ordinary are the words of the morning. Yet as I sit here and blog with my nice fresh cup of coffee, I am feeling very satisfied with slow and ordinary. Later on we will head up to the garden of weeds and see if we can't make it a little more beautiful. Tomorrow I am going to paint the wicker furniture a friend gave us and enjoy my cuppa out in the shade. Slow and ordinary. One moment at a time.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Simply Bamboo

Yesterday we skipped our usual lessons and headed to Jaffray for a feild trip. Once there we popped into the local house o coffee to ask where Scott Buxton lives. We arrived at his home to find him outside his Simply Bamboo workshop preparing large sticks of bamboo to be made later into digerydoos. When he was finished he showed Levi and and Hannah around his workshop and even had Levi playing a flute by the end of our trip. We learned all kinds of interesting things. For instance, some types of bamboo can grow fast enough to watch it happen. Another interesting tidbit that I didn't know is that bamboo is a grass not a tree. Before we parted, Scott and I traded CD's of our music and he challenged Levi to learn some scales by Christmas. Levi has been playing or begging to play his new flute ever since.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Crying over spilt milk

Two litres of milk was rescued from the prison of it's jug this morning by a thoughtful two year old. The milk made the most of its new found freedom by making as much ground as it could across the Marriott family's unsealed, tile floor. Soon after, the milk was recaptured by way of bath towels and scrubbing by the frazzled, sleep-deprived mother of the two-year-old accomplice. The Marriott family is said to have survived the incident, but they wish to remain in isolation while they recover from the emotional morning.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The leftovers

Since my biggest sister beat me to the posting of wedding details I shall direct you to read her bloggity blog as well. I will only add on a bit.

First, my left arm will never be the same after having sacrificed much this weekend. After slicing off part of my left fore-finger whilst trying to cut satin for the ring pillow, (good thing it was red) I took a trip to the ER where I received a tetanus shot in my left shoulder..ouch! (still ouch) The next day, whilst sewing said pillow, I stabbed my left thumb hard enough to need a second bandage. The morning after that, I attempted to iron the little man's shirt and not only did I put an iron print in the shirt (the tuckable part, thank goodness) I also burned, rather badly, the inside of my left arm. Was it worth it? Every bit.

The second story I shall add upon is what Dad did for us girls during the father daughter dance. Before the dance he handed each of us an envelope and told us to open it half way through the song. Part of the song says "I'll stand guard like a postcard of a golden retriever". In the envelopes were postcards with a picture of our old dog, Sandy, on them. Well, Erin and I teared up and, of course, in good Dalton fashion, Dad started howling dramatically imitating his emotional daughters. It was good.

Well, Leah's married, we laughed hard and cried hard, we stressed-out, we sang, we danced, we threw up our jazz hands, we played, we drank, and we ate. Good times. Goooood times.

Friday, June 22, 2007

My family adventure

Three dresses, neclaces, and pairs of white shoes prepared, along with one sweet little white shirt, black shoes and pants and tie, the children have had a full day and I just hope they sleep. Tomorrow, we will get our hair done, paint our nails and have a tea party with auntie Leah before the main event. These are some pics of the day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Regarding the training of potty use

The discovery that one's very small child has decided to potty train themselves seems at first to be an optimal situation. That delusion lasts about as long as it takes to clean up the first floor puddle. Of course a child this small simply cannot be convinced by any reasonable parent that they, in fact, are not potty trained. The attempt to re-dress the leaky areas of said child's anatomy is met with rather disruptive and eruptive denial. The attempt to direct said child toward the loo before leakage occurs is met with the same. What, then, should one do if they are saddled with a leaking child who insists on sitting on the toilet for 1/2 hour before hopping off and promptly relieving themselves on the floor? My simplistic response is as follows; prepare the coffee early, cover irreplaceable and stainable furniture (if you have more that one child you are smart enough to have given these away by now) and have hand towels at the ready in every room. If this does not protect some semblance of sanity then I am not certain sanity has any hope of being saved.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Parade pics

Yesterday at the Sam Steele Parade the kids had a blast on our church's float. Here is a couple of pictures of this fun event.