Making it count

"I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life,
To put to rout all that was not life
and not when I had come to die
Discover that I had not lived."

~Henry David Thoreau

We are doing our best around here to suck all the marrow out of life.

I look at my three babies, one of whom is only a year away from high school, and my chest tightens into a ball of emotion. I feel compelled this year to make every moment count. To not waste one minute of this summer, this life. The life that seems to be slipping through my fingers like soft, white sand.

I find myself letting things go that would normally be screaming for - and receiving - my full attention. My conscience won't allow me to keep them in for something so trivial as organizing the closets. The house, for the most part, is sitting untouched - dishes are loaded and floors are swept - and that is about it. We have been soaking up the sunshine, swimming through muddy creek beds, racing together down the big slides at the pool, and laughing about all of it over melting ice cream cones.

The poem that I have often rolled my eyes at is running through my head on repeat because it's true -- babies don't keep. And cobwebs do indeed sleep.

Or at the very least wait for another day.

I feel like this summer should be the one that they remember because they played so hard, laughed so much, and smiled until it hurt. I want them to drop into bed exhausted every night, their freckled noses crinkling with silly giggles. Eyelids heavy, hearts full.

This summer will be the one we played together every day.

So, dear friends, you will understand if I suspend some of the regularly scheduled blogging around here for the summer. Posting will be spotty, but there when I can. Rest assured, come August, I will return with stories and How-To's galore.

But for now, I am not going to miss this summer. I am not going to miss them. They are growing before my very eyes and I am afraid that in a blink it will all be over.

I am going to suck the marrow out of this gloriously wonderful life I've been given.

After all, we only get one.

Here's to making it count.



Mother's Day for me was one of the best. With church at nine a.m., I woke early to breakfast in bed and four smiling faces. The presents they gave me were much more than I deserved and proved definitively that diamonds really are a girl's best friend.

Leaving for church, I glanced behind me with a smile at the spotless kitchen that I had nothing to do with cleaning.

Lunch and dinner were made while I sat on the couch in my bare feet with the iPad. Diet cokes were topped off and treat samples brought to me for tasting.

I tried not to laugh too hard at the sight of the Husband decorating the coconut cupcakes. Somehow a pastry bag does not look very much at home in his big hands. But they were as delicious as they were beautiful.

I was pampered and loved, and felt utterly appreciated.

These four fantastic people in my life are a miracle. I love them with the whole of my heart.


It started out as a simple, regular, ordinary day.

One boy, home from school, taking his mental health day. His mama gives him one per year, you see, and he chose a sunny, happy Friday for the occasion.

The boy and his mama started the morning off right with a four-mile run together. They talked easily as they ran, each with one headphone pulled out. Music still flowed, as did their effortless banter. He asked questions; she answered them. He made her laugh; she smiled at him. They set a goal to beat the washing machine busily spinning at home.

And beat it, they did.


They hydrated and showered, then headed over to the mall for a movie. It was definitely his pick, for she happily sacrificed one of her own. After all, she can see movies any day she wants. She never gets to see them with him.

He loved it. And that was what mattered to her.


She treated him to lunch, and he repaid her with lively conversation. She watched him across the table, listened to his chatter, and wondered when it was exactly that her little boy grew up. She relished all the secrets he divulged without realizing it - these thoughts he keeps locked up inside; the things that make him tick. They shared a piece of cheesecake, and she gladly gave him the lion's share.

Her dessert that day had nothing to do with food.


She offered to take him shopping at those stores he loves, the ones with the brand names splashed across every shirt. He tried on everything until he found just the right items. He did not even seem to mind when he was accosted by the mama paparazzi outside of the dressing room. In fact, he posed for her and made her laugh with his very serious GQ face.


Her laughter flowed freely, and it was all because of him. He, this sweet boy of hers with the blue eyes and splash of freckles across his nose. The one who pretends he's tough and acts too cool for silly things like pictures and hugs. He filled up her heart and soul in just the way that only 13-year-old boys can do for their mamas.


It started out as a simple, regular, ordinary day.

And ended as something so much more.

Snow day

The call comes in early this morning, the one we were waiting for. I listen to the recording with a smile on my face, and hear two sets of feet immediately climb out of their beds and pad softly down the hall to my door.

Even in the darkness, I can see their anxious looks. A nod of my head, cheers from their lips, and a stern shhhh, lest they wake up their sister. I pull the warm blankets up and feel the pull of sleep. I give into it with a grin on my face.

A couple of hours later, I stretch and yawn, relishing in my laziness. I ignore the scale, for surely today it shouldn't count, and slide my feet into the worn, fuzzy slippers. I shuffle downstairs, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, and pull my hair into a ponytail.

I bypass the sugar cereal with a sigh, and reach instead for the heart-healthy fiber one. I sit and read a few blogs, relishing the unhurried feel of the day. Downstairs, the sounds of Bear Grylls float up from the tv, and I smile, thinking that they likely will reenact later whatever insanity shown them. I laugh thinking that maybe even they'll film it.

Next on the schedule is a very clumsy, short-winded run on the treadmill. I think of this newly returned pleasure in my life with a deep sense of gratitude, for the healing that has taken place in my body. I have desperately missed the one thing in my day that makes me feel like me. I am not whole unless I can sweat and strain, working this gloriously imperfect body, pushing it to the limits.

What also tells me that I am, and forever will be, me is the mental note I make WHILE on the treadmill to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

I finish the run, and look in on my babies. They are snuggled up under a warm blanket, laughing together over a Calvin and Hobbs. The phone rings, and it is the Husband, calling to be a part of it all. I regale him with the exciting stories from our short morning. He chuckles and sighs, wishing he were in town to share it with us.

I take a deep breath, as the tears threaten to spill over, and I thank God for the blessing of this beautiful, imperfect, amazing life he saw fit to trust me with.

I have everything I ever wanted.

And I never want to take it for granted again.

I am...


I am the kind of mom that says yes to yet another package of silly bands.
But says no when they want to play in the muddy rain puddles.

I am the kind of mom that always says yes when they beg for a treat at the store.
As long as that treat is not the Skittles.

I am the kind of mom that likes to read a story out loud to them.
But seldom finds the time to to do it anymore.

I am the mom who hugs and squeezes their dad in front of them.
Even when they pretend to be thoroughly grossed out.

I am the kind of mom that gets frustrated and cleans their rooms when they're at school.
But I never tell them what I throw out in the process. (And they almost always never miss it anyway).

I am the kind of mom that takes time for my own hobbies, dreams, and needs.
And I think that's extremely good for them.

I am not the mom who sits on the floor and plays legos or does puzzles with them every day.
But I am the mom that sits and listens, then dries their tears with encouragement and support.

I am the mom that has fresh-baked cookies and milk waiting when they come home from school.
I am not the mom who buys the Oreos.

I am the mom who loves these three with a fierce intensity that goes down to my core and sometimes nearly consumes me.

I am their mom.
And they are my heart.

The sad, irrefutable truth

Teenage Stie, in all her scary, big-haired, mini-skirted glory

When you're a teenager, you sneak out of the house so your mom won't see you wearing a mini skirt.

When you're a mom, you sneak out of the house so your daughter won't see that you're not wearing the gaudy, homemade princess necklace she crafted for you.

When you're a teenager, you stay up late partying with friends and can sleep in until midday.

When you're a mom, you stay up late doing laundry and cleaning toilets and have to pull yourself painfully out of bed early in the morning.

When you're a teenager, you wear clothes that look cool, regardless of their comfort factor. [Pegged jeans and shoulder pads, anyone?]

When you're a mom, you wear clothes SOLELY for their comfort factor.

Pegged acid-washed jeans and freakishly matchy-match-socks Stie & date
(whose face has been changed for his protection)

When you're a teenager, you freak out when your brothers walk into your room because you think no one respects your privacy.

When you're a mom, you find yourself unable to even pee in solitude because your children are always chattering on the other side of the bathroom door.

When you're a teenager, you have braces, pimples, and feel awkward almost all of the time.

When you're a mom, you have cellulite, under-eye bags, and feel only slightly awkward at the PTA meeting when you look down and realize you are still in yesterday's ponytail and your sweatpants.

Most scary & awkward of all the Sties: Middle School short-haired mullet Stie. Yikes.

When you're a teenager, you fight with your parents for control over your life.

When you're a mom, you fight with the world for control over your child's life.

And when you're a teenager, you eat everything in sight without fear for the future.

When you're a mom, you have to hide in the closet while snarfing down the last of the good chocolate...for fear the children will see you and want some.

Mom Stie: The Happiest (and possibly cutest) of them all

P.S. Have you seen all of the fabulous sessions happening here? Stop by and take a peek. Exciting stuff, people.