Month: June 2015

Father’s Day Fire

I happen to be married to the world’s most amazing gift giver. He always gives me something I absolutely love and didn’t even know I wanted. The gifts he comes up with are thoughtful and perfect. That drated man. I mean, who can compete with that? The pressure to deliver a stellar present is too much. I try and try. My mind spins so much it gives me a headache, and still I’ve got nothing. Every. Stinking. Holiday.

I began considering Father’s Day gifts two months before the event. I Googled and fretted until I had a breakthrough.

Fire.Huge Bonfire

What man wouldn’t want a large fire? I texted all the kids and asked if they could attend a bonfire on the evening of Father’s Day. They were in.

How could I ever have guessed that in the two month’s time between solidifying my bonfire plan and the event itself, my husband would fell three, yes, three whole trees and load them onto the fire pit in our backyard? Every time I saw him and our strapping sons adding branches and trunks onto the enormous pile of wood, I grew giddier.

Technically, yes, he built his bonfire himself. Glossing over that, the kids secretly spread blankets just out of the incineration zone, carried buckets of popcorn and gallons of Kool-aid, and, as the sun set, we let them loose with lighters and the fire blazed toward the heavens.

We had underestimated the inferno, and some of us sacrificed eyebrows. There was more than a little sweating going on, and the blankets had to be moved to accommodate the adjusted incineration zone. Once our adrenaline wore off and we inventoried our body parts, we sat on our blankets and gazed at the magnificence of the blaze against the night sky. The crackle of logs joined the song of the crickets and toads, and we sat, content in a way that only happens when nature shows off all around and you realize that you are the smallest part of the show.

still burningEach person had come prepared and we told stories of our favorite memories  – laughed at some and cried at others. The conversation was every bit as mesmerizing as the flames.

Twenty-four hours later, the fire was still burning.

And Mike does not regret wearing his pajama pants the entire evening.


Summer In The Midwest

What I love about summer in the midwest:my backyard

Long, long hours of daylight. Seriously, the sun is setting right now, and it is 9:30.

Heat lightning.

A hundred shades of green and grass so rich in hue it is hard to believe.

Fireflies that turn my backyard into a magical fairie land.

Plummeting temperatures and thunder rocking the sky as a storm rolls in after a sweltering day.

The breeze blowing through my house from all the open windows.

The feel in my lungs after a deep breath.

There’s actually no place I’d rather be than my own backyard during this glorious season.

Don’t talk to me about winter – I’m pretending it doesn’t exist.



Emery laughing in B&W“Gah! I took the wrong turn and now we’ve wasted ten minutes,” I told Emery as I navigated the car like a pin ball  through the city. “I’m helpless with directions.”

“Well, you know… XP,” she said.


“In video games XP means experience, and you get points for it.”

Because I’m a bit slow and because my daughter communicates as if she is rationing her words, her meaning caught up to me two days later. Experience. You get points for it.

In other words, the ten minutes I thought I had wasted could actually be seen as an experience in which we were together and I learned my way around town a bit better. Experience is a good thing – good enough to get points for (if we lived in a digital reality and survived by collecting points). So, instead of being hard on myself due to my lack of navigation skills, I could choose to look at the experience as a positive event.

How many times am I hard on myself when I could give myself points for XP?

Why is she smarter than me?

The Melting

melting metal
Melting pennies and cans in a bucket over a fire

“Hey,”  Josiah called from the front door, “you know that metal bucket you keep mittens in? Would you be upset if it melted?”

Such questions just aren’t as rare as one might hope.

“What exactly are you doing?” I asked.

“We are making Thor’s hammer.” After I gave him the raised-eyebrow look he continued, “We are melting pennies and cans over a bonfire, and then we will pour the melted metal into a mold that Kellen made with his 3D printer, and, once it cools, it will be a replica of Thor’s hammer.”

“Did you already start the fire?”

Stoking the fire with a leaf blower
Stoking the fire with a leaf blower

“Yeah, and I’m using the leaf blower to infuse it with oxygen so it will get really hot.”

Of course that is what is happening tonight in my yard. What else could be happening?