Category Archives: Friends

Happy Hearts


Another week, another delightful visit with beautiful online friends.


This time it was the charming Diane of Journey of a Mother's Heart who paid San Diego a visit. Erica did the honors, opening her lovely home to me and my brood, Kristen
and her sweet girls, and Diane and her sister-in-law and adorable
nephews. What a fun day. I already knew I was going to love hanging out
with Diane; her warm, funny, generous, lively spirit won my heart a
long time ago.


Wonderboy was smitten too.

Delicious lunch, stimulating conversation, busy children, snuggly
babies: a perfect morning. The time passed too quickly, is all.

All right, who's next?

On the CPSIA front: Alicia has started an Illegal Books Meme
to help spread awareness of the issue. I'll be chiming in as soon as I
can upload some pictures of books it would now be illegal to sell.

Par-tay in the Bonny Glen

Oh, we had so much fun yesterday! It was As Cozy as Spring over here, and believe me, the company was not a Small Treasure but rather a big one! Jenn and her lovely family were in town for a short while and did me the great favor of spending the morning at my house. Kristen
drove down with her gorgeous girls, and pal Erica brought her gang to
join the fun. Snacks, conversation, bloggity friends, and seventeen
children—who could ask for anything more?

I haven't uploaded photos yet (and in any case, my camera was AWOL during the group shots), but Kristen has a nice pic of the four moms on her blog. I wanted the baby in the picture but Rose had him and wouldn't give him back.

Bosom Buddies

During the long months of this pregnancy, I have been blessed with
the companionship of a few special friends. We used to see each other
only once a month, but lately we've been able to get together once or
even twice a week, and how eagerly I have looked forward to these sweet
moments of fellowship with women whose joy in motherhood outstrips even
my own!

I realized today that our time together is drawing to a close…very soon (very, very
soon, do you hear me?) it will be time to go our separate ways, and we
shall see each other only once a year or thereabouts. Ah, dear friends,
whatever will I do without you? Fortunately I happened to have my
camera in my bag at our visit today, so I was able to capture a few
treasured snapshots of these fair and tender ladies I have come to know
so well.

Here they are all together with their precious infants, the whole beautiful bunch of them. Aren't they lovely?

So serene, so gentle, so rouged.

have learned so much from these ladies. For example, here I am about to
give birth to my sixth child, and yet until I met Angelica would you
believe I had no idea it was proper to blow-dry one's hair to a
silky sheen, tie back a few glossy locks with a ribbon, don a ruffly
off-the-shoulder gown, and apply several coats of blusher before
sitting down to breastfeed one's baby?

This is going to make a real difference in my next post-partum
experience, let me tell you. Angelica always looks so calm and well
rested. I realize now that my customary get-up of hastily scrunchied
ponytail, spit-up-stained T-shirt, and no makeup whatsoever has been at
the root of the exhaustion I typically experience during those first
weeks with a new baby. LOOK beautiful and you'll FEEL beautiful is Angelica's motto.

has a similar philosophy about pregnancy. I understand now that in
banning white clothing from my wardrobe several sticky-fingered
toddlers ago, I have been depriving myself of a kind of delicate
radiance that would surely have blessed the child in my womb and all in
our presence. And that band of pink ribbon below her bosom—how
beautifully it offsets her the rosy glow of her lips. Every word that
comes out of a mouth like that is pure honey, I suspect. (I can't say
for sure, because demure Elspeth never utters a word. But you can see
just by looking at her that she is full of warm and soothing thoughts.)

for our ringleted chum Swoozie, I admit I worry a little about her
sometimes. Those raw bruises on her cheek…the dark rings around her
eyes…her habit of staring off into the distance, lost in thought,
bottle-feeding her infant without even looking at him…I have some
concerns about her home life. But she has never uttered a word of
complaint, so perhaps I'm mistaken. Possibly she is only thinking about
when to get her next perm.

Oh, dear friends, how grateful I am for the many times you have
entertained me while I waited for our obstetrician to amble into the
exam room! It is very good of you, all of you, to have kept such a
patient vigil with me as the long, long minutes ticked by.

You will be sorely missed.

Hat Tip

After looking at yesterday’s photos, Mary Beth wanted to know if Rilla ever gets a chance to wear that oh-so-fetching pink hat here in sunny San Diego. Listen, that hat is so darn cute it’d be worth running the air conditioner in winter to lower the temp enough to chill a baby’s ears. Fortunately, our nights here on the edge of the desert can be quite brisk, almost what you Easterners call nippy. We’ve even had a few days lately where we had to wear long sleeves. On Christmas Eve, when we drove up to that little mountain town, we thought about bringing jackets just in case, but they were all buried under our surfboards and beach towels, so it’s a good thing I had these scrumptious knitted caps on hand for the three younger girls. And credit for that goes totally to (whom else?) Alice. She called me one day last month especially to tell me Hanna Andersson had the world’s cutest hats marked down to a ridiculously low price and I hung up on her to get my order in rightaway. As always, she was one hundred percent correct. Cutest hats ever.

Reason #41: Ramona Stories

In response to a French book containing "40 reasons not to have children," the inimitable Karen Edmisten has written a list of her own: 40 Reasons to Have Children. It’s a gorgeous, powerful, right-on-the-money list.

One year ago today
I had the immense pleasure of meeting up with Karen and her three children, Anne, Betsy, and Ramona-who-makes-me-laugh, at a motel in Salina, Kansas. They had driven all the way down from Nebraska just for the rendezvous. Karen and I had been close online friends since 1998, but this was our first time meeting in person. It may as well have been our 500th, like we were meeting at a park for our weekly playdate. The kids hit it off like they’d grown up together. In a way, they had. I’ve been regaling my children with tales of the Edmisten girls’ hilarious exploits since all these lasses were teeny tiny. They’d read all the same books, shared a common lexicon, enjoyed the same brand of mischief. An hour in their presence and I could come up with another forty reasons for Karen’s list.

Wouldn’t be half as lyrical as hers, though. Go read and you’ll see what I mean.

East Coast Pals, West Coast Adventure

So I know I’ve been quiet here lately. First we had company of the very nicest sort (about which, more later), and then the kids and I took a jaunt up the California coast to rendezvous with Alice and her family. You should harass Alice for more pictures. I loaded her memory card onto my computer and it is ridiculous how many adorable shots she snapped. Like this:


Whereas my shots always come out like this:


The car part of the trip was a lot harder this time around, but I blame L.A. On the northbound trip we crept in bumper-to-bumper traffic from San Diego to thirty miles north of Santa Barbara. (Later, Rose reported to Alice: "We sang 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall all the way to the end!" Alice, to me, deadpan: "Oh, honey, you WERE desperate!")

The return trip on Sunday afternoon was much brisker, hardly any slowdowns, but spirits were low after our tearful parting from the Gunthers, and the back-seat contingent sought to relieve their feelings with bickering of the most crazy-making sort. After a while I began to feel like Nurse Ratched in a mobile version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In an impulsive move even more desperate than the launching of 99 Bottles of Beer, I pulled over at a Toys R Us close to the highway and bought Rose and Beanie each a Tamagotchi. Because, you know, incessant electronic bleating is so much nicer to listen to than sweet childish voices raised in song. I told you the bickering was crazy-making!

(Best Tamagotchi moment so far: yesterday I was cooing over the then-and-now baby pictures Alice posted, marveling over how much Rilla and her pal have grown. Beanie heard me and mournfully agreed. "I know just how you feel, Mommy. I miss my Tamagotchi baby so much!"

Me: "What do you mean? You just got it!"

Beanie: "No, Mommy, it’s a toddler now! It hasn’t been a baby for HOURS!")

While the 600-mile round trip proved more sanity-challenging than last October’s 2800-mile travelpalooza, the two-nights-and-a-day sandwiched in the middle were blissful. Except, you know, for when Wonderboy wouldn’t stop shrieking because someone had turned off one bedside lamp and left the other one on. And because he was alarmed by the pull-out sofabed. And because the baby was playing in the closet. And because Beanie was holding the remote control. Poor, poor kid. Poor, poor lodgers in the rooms on either side of us. At one point I realized with a jolt that we had become those people. You know, the ones whose overpowering noise makes everyone else in a hotel gnash their teeth.

But downstairs in Alice’s rooms, delight reined. Our girls picked up right where they left off, right down to the Snoopy songs and the homemade comics. Beanie and Patrick tested every possible surface for bounceability. ("What are you shooting out of your wrists, Beanie?" "Vines, of course! I am Vinesnapper, you know!") Maureen mothered the babies (and Wonderboy too, when he would let her) in the most adorable manner. I got to see all of Alice’s San Francisco photos, which alone would have been worth the trip. Beautiful stuff she’s got, and she already knows the city’s history and architecture through and through. Amazing.


I shall enter this closet to make my brother scream!

(This is a cute picture, so Alice must have taken it.)

Ooh, it all went too fast. I feel like Beanie, mourning the all-too-brief infancy of her Tamagotchi. I wonder when—and where—our next rendezvous will be?

Happy Days

Online friends of mine will remember my desperate pleas for prayers for my beloved friend Brigid after she was nearly killed in a terrible car accident four Decembers ago. I still get letters all the time asking how she is doing now. If you’d like to know, head over to Cottage Blessings, where Alice has posted a beautiful and heart-wrenching tribute to the miraculous recovery of someone for whose life we both thank God every single day. Love you so much, Brigid.

Letters from Thailand: the Second

Another delightful missive from our globe-trotting pal…

Feb. 12, 2007

Dear Rose,

I think people in Thailand must love elephants. I’ve seen many statues of them as I explore the city. They are in different positions & as big as real ones. I think I’ve seen as many elephant statues in Bangkok as real elephants in India. I like the real ones the best.

Also in Thailand are a lot of geckos. They scamper all over the place & they move very fast. Do they have geckos in California? I think you’d like them.

The hardest part of being in a different country is reading maps & signs. The written language in Thailand is totally different than English so I can spend a lot of time standing on a corner trying to figure out which direction to turn towards. Usually someone comes along to tell me where to go. I’ve gotten myself lost many times, but I rather like the adventure of finding  my way back again.

The most strange thing about Thailand is the potato chips. They are flavored with fish, crab, shrimp, & even seaweed. Rose, it’s as gross as it sounds! If you were here with me, I’d buy us a bag & we’d get lost together!