Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Gift of an Extraordinary Day

Mr. Weatherman says that it should have been in the low fifties today. Instead, we saw seventy. So I understand, every ordinary day is a gift. But today I'm here to tell you: So are the extraordinary ones.

On an extraordinary day, you'll fix the limbs of a naked tree against a blue satin sky and notice knots of red gearing up for a show. Suddenly, it doesn't matter if the pipes keep clogging or the beige makes you crazy. Spring is coming, Girls, and she makes things better.

We laced our shoes and tied Charles to Silas's back. We took some detours and walked on low stone walls. Around the bend, we found a Pussy Willow tree. It's been too long since I ran my thumb across one of those buds, all bundled up in their little fur jackets, the brave trumpeters at the gate announcing her arrival. My mom used to clip branches for me so I could wrap them in soggy paper towels and take them to my teacher. I could almost feel the bungle in my fist and there I was again, 35 and 9 at the very same time.

The kids skipped and ran, fresh air on forearms and cheeks, a prelude of everything that comes next. We were all thinking the same thing - Summer's coming! But we didn't dare say it out loud. Because for one thing, it could still snow. And for another? I didn't want to hurt Spring's feelings before she even officially landed. There's nothing worse than being relegated to opening act, especially when you're so dang good at putting on a show.

I've spent the last three months wondering where I went and if I'd ever crawl back out. Can it be as easy as a sunbeam and a breeze? I tell myself that I'm not that kind of girl, the kind that requires coddling, the kind whose joy is situational or seasonal.

But today I felt that ease. I wish I could tell you that I found it back in January, but that just isn't true. It must have been suffocating under all the layers, hiding out in the dark.

We ate both meals outside today.

We painted a birthday card for Daddy on the driveway.

Later, I overheard an argument through a blissfully open window.

Ruby: You're MEAN!
Calvin: No, you're mean.
Ruby: Besides, you're meaner!
Calvin: Well, you're the meanest girl in the Universe!
Ruby: No, you are!
Calvin: Well, I'm a fox and you're a plump chicken.

(I had no choice but to intervene at this point.)

Me: Well if Ruby's a plump chicken and you're a fox, I guess you really are the mean one.
Ruby: Yeah!
Calvin: {silence}

It reminded me of the classic time when Calvin was three and far too verbal for his own good. He was really, really upset at me. I don't remember why, but history would say that it had something to do with not being able to wear one of his sports jerseys. It would have gone something like this:

Me: Calvin, I said no.
Calvin: But Mommmmmyyyyy!
Me: Enough. I don't want to hear any more about it.
Calvin: (crying a little) Well, I'm from South Korea and you're from...from...NORTH KOREA!

Homeboy cuts to the bone.

For dinner, we high-tailed it to the park where we ate our picnic and then spent 30 minutes coaxing Silas to do his urgent business in the campground "bathroom". (Silas remains almost undefeated, FYI.)

We gave Daddy the gifts we lovingly chose for him: A pencil holder for his desk, a four-pack of highlighters, a match box car and a pack of baseball cards.

We hit up DQ on the way home. Calvin read snippets from his Lego Encyclopedia and Ruby shared her Arctic Blast with her brother without a second thought. Silas doled out his most affectionate words, "I tickle yewwwww!"

Straight up. I've never done a single thing to deserve this kind of happiness.

Dear gingham shirt and favorite jeans,

I wanted you so bad today that I got the shakes.
I had to leave the closet door shut. I didn't trusty myself.
But at least I had STATE.

See ya in two weeks.

I'm too scared to check the forecast for tomorrow, but I'm hoping that today has some sort of a time-release effect. I can already feel the ice dripping off of my cold, cold heart.

I'm back.

And no, that's not a warning.

And yes, that is indeed a threat.

And absolutely, I will be making a batch of salsa this week and eating it all within two days.

And thank you in advance for agreeing that switching from my wool bag to my Spring bag was not even optional today and that a purse isn't really an item of clothing anyway.

More yours than ever,


  1. That's a great picture of your peeps. I'm lovin' this weather too!

  2. No lie. I've said it before. I LOVE Calvin's hair. Homeboy rocks it! Such a handsome little man.

    Of course, the other two are too cute for words, too.

  3. Days like that are the best, best, best! I am LOVING this spring weather! And it isn't even officially spring yet, is it! YAY for nice weather. YAY for great kids. YAY for you.

  4. Yay for spring! You're one step ahead of me, rolling up those cuffs into capris and busting out the flip flops. My daughter painted my toes the other day, so needless to say i'm not ready for open toe shoes, ha! So glad you got some refreshment today! Let's hope she's here to stay!

  5. Happy birthday to the daddy man! Maybe I'll wear gingham for you in the meantime? You have some fierce willpower. Hope your tomorrow is just as bright as today.

  6. I think I may have made that macrame bag back in the late 70's in grade six. Did you buy it at a Sally Ann?

  7. Please keep these outside pictures and sunny talk coming.

    We're in the middle of a week of cold, gray, rainy days.


  8. 76, 78, 75, 73, 75, 72.....our forecast for the next 6 (and last I checked I'm north of you). Hope it's here to stay in more ways than one, 'cause like you I NEED it. Keep thinking one of these days we're gonna get a little 32 degree reminder that it is still winter. Your kids crack me up. I have a 3 year old talker girl should be interesting when quiet little sister starts talking more. And you look lovely even in the same-ish outfit 14 days running.

  9. I'm sooooo happy to read that your heart was full of spring blossoms and warm breezes today. May springtime live in your heart forever.


  10. ice melting. sunbeams and breezes. i hear you girl. i think i lost myself over the past few months too...for me today it was rain, blossoms and a long pep talk from a girlfriend who lives too far away. shine on my friend. shine on.

  11. These are such sweet moments to have captured! The photos and your sweet family make me smile :) Yay for sunshine!!!

  12. the teddy bear tied to calvin's back and his north korea comment made my day! oh man, that north korea comment! cracks me up!

  13. There are ninety two points I'd like to comment on.

    Ninety one of them are of the sheer awesomeness of your blog, clothes, kid, hilarity, gladness of the fact life is looking good for you right now...

    cause I've been praying...

    ONE comment would solely be about Calvin's hilarity. Can you package him up and send him to Canada? We need comic relief up in this hood.

    On a random side note...have you heard of the Jesus Storybook Bible? Go buy it for your children RIGHT NOW if you have not heard of it. Maybe we are under a rock, but we were just given one and I'm a-mazed!

  14. girl, this is what i love. you're outshining the very sun!!
    thrilled y'all enjoyed a fantastic day. our day was a dandy one.
    maybe a second cousin to your extraordinary one.
    can't complain though, spring is near! holla!

    love you. to the moon.

  15. Here's to the good days.....dreaming of spring.

  16. Love the photo with Ruby happily dragging the stick. If that is not a sign of a good day, then I don't know what is.

  17. I love seeing a family enjoying being together...not taking a single thing for granted, but realizing that both ordinary and extraordinary days are a gift. HE really knows how to give some awesome gifts, doesn't He?

    Your kids are beautiful, Shannan. <3 them!

    Oh...and the birthday card to Cory...the one on the melted my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

    Hugs, friend.

  18. This post made me want to jump up and down and fist pump in the air! Love it.

    And I have to share something that came to mind when you mentioned Calvin's sayings. My uncle's grandson was being picked on mercilessly by one of my uncle's friends. You know the type. Well, Porter had taken all he could take. He was at the door and said something like he wasn't his friend anymore and then for full effect and not being able to think of anything else to say screamed, "For-evah!!!!" at him and stomped out the door. So now when we want to make a point around here all we have to do is mock yell, "For-evah!!" and the point is made. ;)

  19. Ok, um, I have a crush on your bag. How good would 2 kids worth of cloth diapers look in there? Answer: I need it. Where is it from?

    1. Are you ready to have your mind blown? The bag is crocheted out of those plastic grocery bags. !!!!!!!!!!! My sister gave it to me. She knew a lady who would crochet mats and bags out of the plastic bags. They shipped the mats off to Africa so some of the people there could have a little cushion to sleep on. :)

  20. That picture of Silas and Charles is beyond awesome. It made my morning!
    Renee Wheeler
    Austin, TX

  21. Can you bottle up some of that sunshine for me, Farmgirl?
    I had snow yesterday.
    Calvin? Hilarious. North Korea? Plump chicken?
    Happy Birthday to your CMB!

  22. Oh gosh, that was fun! Can we do that again tomorrow?



    Siley rules the school.

  23. Sweet pictures. We had temps. of 75, which I am sure you already knew that. Then last night terrible storms. We have flooding now and they are rescuing people. (central Ohio) We also have piles of hail on the ground.
    Silas is getting big. Love the I am from South Korea. SOmetimes you have to shake your head.
    The little China doll that I watch reminded me of something I needed to do. I told her thank you and she said, "I have my moments." Gotta love them.
    Hope the temps. limb back up again. It is fun seeing everyone out playing or working in the sunshine.

  24. It sounds like it was a beautiful day all the way around, except for the fox and the plump chicken!! Miss all of you sooooo much!!!!!!

  25. I know. I am the same way. I get very sad in the dreary winter time, and it doesn't even snow here. Now that I'm out and in the yard...well..I'm so much nicer. I like to think it's because God put some magical properties in his creation. Those snapdragons and that earthworm have healing powers.

  26. lovey - first off, seriously: proof that I can't see your kids as growing up. When I saw that first pic of Silas, I completely thought it was Calvin. Then it wasn't until I read your words, I went, "oh..." then looked back at the photo. Can't believe how big they are all getting! It sounds like a lovely day all around, thanks for sharing and ps. I love your spring bag, although it looks GIGANTIC!

    1. Lovester: That giant bag isn't my spring bag. My spring bag is the African messenger bag that you can see in that shot of us walking away from the camera. ;) Everyone's all confused about my bags! Ha ha.

  27. Our computer is in the bedroom and my husband is not a night owl. Your blog is like this cool slumber party that I have to hear about the next morning. So I'm considering kicking him out of our room.

    It IS as easy as a sunbeam and a breeze. And your blog and your stories and your links to sidewalk paint.

    Yay for spring and yay for you!

  28. I feel the same way when it is finally spring! It has been like that here in Buffalo too.
    PS your kids are adorable & my husband has the same Tshirt as yours!

  29. Love that you embrace the gift of the day with the kiddos - - I do the same as often as possible. Our's are usually riverside picnics & strolls on lookouts for neighborhood chickens :) I enjoyed this posted so much ... The weather here has really helped dust off my winter blues - that and this great writing project that I came across. Stop by my blog to take a peek - - it truly rejuvenated my spirit :)

  30. Girl...

    I had a similar day! Just yesterday here in Minnesota! It NEVER gets to 70 degrees here in mid March, but it did yesterday!

    Like you, I had no plan. I thought it was going to be high 50's. I planned on taking the dogs for a nice walk. Perhaps strapping Curtis' version of Charles on his back (it's a "baby" bear and he tore the head off. LOVES that thing!) but instead- we went for TWO walks, one VERY long around the neighborhood. I, too, felt more alive than I have since either A) Mexico vacation or B) Last October.

    It's sad and I don't enjoy it about myself, but winter really does me in. I don't necessarily realize that I'm running on grey until I see the COLOR and possibility in a day like yesterday and I find myself emotionally saying "The birds are back! I can smell dirt! Oh, thank God!"

    I hear ya. I hear ya.

    Of COURSE you switched out purses. I was eyeing my summer purse yesterday. Then I headed outside & pulled up the dead stuff from my plants & mums are coming back! Holla!

    Glad you had such a great day. Calvin is a hoot! Sounds like Emerson who once told me "She's being mean to me!" and pointed at his mom, who had just bought him a stuffed animal from the Dollar Store! He was having a rough day. Also...again Em "You hurt my feelings" Me: "I'm sorry, but you can't act like that." Em: "What would make me feel better, I maybe a puppy or a bird." ?????I was no North Korea in that scenario, but it still strikes me as clever positioning!

    Today it's 50 here.

    I have the memories.


  31. Can you give us the link/purchase info on your mat bag?

  32. "Straight up. I've never done a single thing to deserve this kind of happiness." - that sentence brought tears to my eyes. You are one awesome mama. I love how much you love and appreciate your babies.

  33. A magical day. Glad it came and found you!

  34. Will you come post on my blog? I'm feeling a tad bit lost my own self. And could use a salsa intervention.

  35. Sounds a lot like our day yesterday. And today. I think we'll be on repeat for quite a while here and it's great. I kept having to remind myself that it is only March, not May, and not even April. I totally hear ya-there's something about these kinds of days that really make you feel alive. They shake all the cobwebs off.

  36. oh, purses get a free pass for sure. no question.
    that is the best argument ever. I had to read it to my hubby and he burst out laughing at plump chicken.
    your kids are hilarious, spread smiles, and warm hearts even when they are fighting. You are a good mom.

  37. Ahh, STATE! And here I was thinkin' you'd be sweating in long sleeves. So happy I was wrong.

    What a lovely little family day. Way to live it up and soak up the sun. Happy birthday to Cory!

    I'm still giggling over Calvin's North Korea comment. Homeboy does cut to the bone. He kills me.

  38. Totally laughing out loud with this one.

    I am a babysitter -- or as I like to call myself, a "nanny." And the kids say the funniest things sometimes. Kids are just so darn funny.

    So far, so good on the weather here. In the 70's until next Thursdaaaaaaaaaaaay!! Then, the 60's....I don't know how we'll survive. Hallelujah, Indiana.

  39. miss you when I don't read for a few days, so glad I took the time to catch up tonight. My little guy doesn't speak a whole lot but his vocabulary has gotten so much better since his surgery in December ... today he held me and squeezed me and then clawed my face off .... all the while saying "tikel, tikel, tikel", I let him scrape me and enjoyed every word :) {{Hugs}}

  40. oh I love those days!! I crave them, but you cannot create them, they have to happen! enjoyed it so much reading it.

    and you cracka meupa no way is a purse clothes, no never, no!