138.) How I walk outside in the bright sunshine, sweet air and think maybe I am inside too much- this air smells so, so good…
139.)And suddenly see- all the crocus- just popped. Everywhere. Life is blooming.
I look round and plan a bit for more beauty.

140.)My empty pansy bed- waiting.

141.)2/23 I step outside of Walmart- one mild, warmish, end of February night. Breathe deep and smile. Look up at the stars and think- how good it all feels. The night feels so good. I was so disoriented when we moved here- by the light, the stars, the moon, the sun, everything. The sunlight and the moonlight and the place of the moon in the sky- all was strange to me and uncomfortable. The sun hurt my eyes in the late afternoon- somehow it always seemed to be shining right in my face while driving and I could never see. This is West. West and South. I was North and East. Yes, it is different. And so, out I step, and smile inside and out. Those beautiful, endless stars and then- suddenly- stop. Because, yes, right in front of me, yes- the moon is smiling. A thin, very thin, bright crescent grin. Dead ahead of my face. I grin bigger. My heart is light. I lilt to the car and ponder. I wish for a picture- but there is no way to capture it in this dark. I ponder the clouds that are covering that moon revealing only that crescent grin- I take it – an endless gift-just for me. I unpack the cart into the car and turn. It is gone. The moon is gone- completely hidden by the cloud that left that grin for me. The moon has a crescent all along the bottom just like a grin. And it was shrouded in dark night cloud. Grinning,- at me.

I had moon calendar image in my “notes” all ready to copy into this post- and alas- it will not copy. But, O, it showed that little grin so perfectly. Here is a link to a calendar… not as cool as being inserted into the post. Ah well…

142.)The chart shows the crescent on the right side. Here in the mountains, that is literally the “bottom”- at least, to my very, very untrained eye, just looking up at the sky. You can see the ever so thin grin. J And Sunday night, Todd finds the grin again. Steps out on the porch. Comes in. I ask him to capture it with the camera. Try. It is a thicker smile. A bright, chunky grin. It is 2/26 and that cheeky grin really is just like a mouth- at the bottom- not the side- in our sky.

143.)The quiet that settles, settles deep over the house during “Reading Rewards” time each day. I soak this quiet.

144.)Her little “Foleyish” grin and bright, shining eyes (M)

145.)Saturday Night Family Fun Night- Homemade Goodness. Pizza (and some with Daiya!), and Kettle-Cooked Popcorn, and a Veggie Platter with Dip, and Fresh, fresh guacamole with Tostitos. And how he(Jonah) stacks the cucumbers high, declaring his love for them and how all the carrots- just disappear. And we, two, in the kitchen cooking, and I enjoy. I stop for a minute- because it is just fun. Family Fun.

146.)Them, two, in pink, play-penning together

147.)How she looks at her, all quizzical, lil eyebrows a- lift (A)

148.)Baby Baldie spot growing sweet, fine hair and her brothers noticed first.

149.)Her wisping, feathery hair standing up all over her wee head

150.)March 1st, 8:13 a.m., 60.1 degrees. Sunshine. He rolls up his sleeves and proclaims, “60.1! It’s going to be hot!”

151.)March 1st, and the windows open and the chimes singing and wisping hair wafting… breeze blows through entire house. Chimes ring music. I soak for a minute amidst lots and lots of strife. Now its 70.2.

152.)How they play Uno and Scrabble Slam all by themselves and laugh themselves silly.

153.)How we play a “story round” together- and each one adds their own unique, ridiculous part. I can barely understand him, he is erupting in giggles. We all laugh so hard for all different reasons. She suddenly springs off her chair and bops along the ground telling part of hers…

154.)The second half of the first year

155.)Golden Carolina Light spilling across the deck, through the doorway. The open doorway.

156.)The view outdoors from our kitchen table

157.)March Bird Songs in the morning…I think it might be time to figure how and when to start packing up and making the Greenway a part of our regular routine again.

158.)Time with my five ‘littles’- just us. And I serve up heaping plates of pancakes and eggs and we chat. 7,6,3,twins.

159,)How he brings her out, held secure in his arms, and says, “O, look at you! Little bright eyes and fluff hair.” And her hair, is indeed, all a-fluff.

160.)How I tell a couple of *very* rare jokes and one son looks at me, “What has gotten into you, Mommy. This is not like you. This is not your disposition.” And he is right. And we laugh. It is fun to watch their perceptions expanding and growing and it is comforting to be known and loved.

161.)A spontaneous dinner invitation. And how the warm, inviting beauty of the home and sweet spirit of the wife and mom just ministered to me… There was beauty and a sense of art and style. Everywhere.

162.)I retreat to her room to nurse, bringing a small crew of my children with me. I lay babies down on backs on her bed, delighting in all their adorable uniqueness. I sit on the edge of her bed and make a list. A list of all I can do to be better prepared next time. Children curl toes in plush carpet and crow delight over wooden puzzles and someone else’s stack of picture books.

163.)And how we survived a dinner in which there was shredded cheese sitting out on a plate next to the main crock of food and croutons with butter and chips that had trace milk and there were 13 children (including our two babies)… and all we needed was two teaspoons of Benadryl and of course our strict protocol. It involved precautions and wiping down and not sitting on the carpet and not touching this and that… and me, gulping down my misery, and asking- please can everyone wash up when we are done. And the mom says, “My kids too?” And I have to say, “especially your kids, I’m sorry.” As they eat cheese and chips and croutons and ranch dressing with glee. I watch him eat with an eagle eye, hoping we washed hands enough and I was careful enough. We were. We survived and didn’t need the inhaler at all or (thank you, Lord) the epi- pen. And I just tried not to think about how far away from home we were (50 minutes) and how far away from any medical facility that I was familiar with…swallowing hard. Watching carefully. Holding crying babies. Not for the faint of heart. And I am not sure if he had a good time at all. There were so many needs to care for and so many distractions. And he had to be so careful. And I couldn’t be all there to help. I am not sure about that part at all. And as I write this out- maybe this is some of why I bit back tears all the next day and do now, writing.

164.)Truly, we achieved a milestone that was shown to me years ago. We made it.

165.)Daffodils, unfolding, and by the time, this post is all. written. many will have bloomed and faded. How I love the Spring Bloom and my thoughts just move toward how can I just plant beauty all over our “land.”

166.)How I lay her little head on my shoulder and rock and sing, and she gently, softly, sings too.

167.)Time to plant Spring Pansies…

168.)Doors and windows flung wide and sweet breeze wafts through through house