Thursday, February 25, 2010

What Do You Have in Your Pockets?

I love the treasures that I find in my pockets at the end of a day. They tell me so much about my life and what it centers around, what I value, what I do. -A pair of hand-knit mittens that my friend Michelle made for Ruthie. I love handmade things and on snowy days we take them everywhere we go. Ruthie didn't want to wear them when we first headed outside, but as she ventured out into the snow and inevitably fell down and planted her bare hands in the cold snow she realized that she actually did want her mittens and asked for them. Moms like to be prepared, it makes for fewer tears and a more enjoyable time had by all.

-Some hair ties. Mothers of little girls will understand that a Mom needs an unending supply of these in her pocket.

-Quarters. It was laundry day. One of the domestic arts that has become immeasurably easier in the last hundred years of human history for many in the world. Part of the daily rhythms of my week, the making of a household and a home.

-A stick. This was Anna's 'treasure box', as she called it, and she gave it to me for safekeeping while she played at the playground. This Mom takes her role as guardian of her children's treasures very seriously. What may mean nothing to an adult mind may mean the world to my child. To an active imagination any ordinary, daily object can become anything you want it to be and the line between make-believe and real can become blurred.

-Two rocks. These were Josie's treasures, her 'special rocks' that she picked up at the playground, that she chose as hers from among all the others that could have been had. Yes, they do remember what treasures they gave me to hold and will ask for them later.

-Chapstick. I have to have something in my pockets that is just for me! Mama-care, because I, too, have value as a human being.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Slumber Party!

This has become a Friday night ritual in our family, a sabbath ritual. Our faithful blog readers know that Friday night is when we celebrate the sabbath as a family, when we stop other work and take time to intentionally reconnect as a family and focus on the bigger things in life. Since it is the one night that Mitch doesn't stay up late working on the computer getting schoolwork done with the light on in the living room, it has become the one night that the girls are allowed to sleep out in the living room. Slumber Party! It always takes a different form. Sometimes they want to sleep in their sleeping bags, sometimes in their tent, sometimes the whole family is out here, sometimes just the two older girls. This Friday night they wanted to sleep on the couch together and fell asleep to the sound of their Mommy and Daddy's voices talking as we sat on the other couch drinking chai, enjoying each other's company and watching our daughters drift off to sleep.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Parents of young children beware! This post contains content that might inspire other young adventurers to try things in your home that might not be considered safe by all!

Consider yourself forewarned.

The new setup in our house, the girls' kitchen is now out in the main living area:

I put the coffee table close to their kitchen, a surface for them to play and cook on.

Or a surface for them to climb on, as the case may be:

And climb higher from:

And do flips:


Anna in action:

Yes, inspired by little Ruthie, that coffee table ladder has meant hours (literally) of play for three little girls as they climb, flip, run around to the back of the couch, and climb and flip again.
No injuries yet.

Here's a little video of Ruthie in action. You might want to turn the sound off, it doesn't add anything to the video. Anna had a sore throat and ear ache for a while this afternoon and you can hear her crying in the background. She feels fine now, but she had a rough afternoon. Thankfully for me, Ruthie and Josie were completely self-entertained (by a coffee table and a couch) and I was able to focus on Anna. Anyways, enjoy the video of a cute Ruthie doing her flip:

My Favorite Corner of the House

It's not really a corner, it's a wall. These last two weeks have been tough. It was one of those times when you feel unable to get on top of anything, life gets you down, emotional tensions run high in all directions, you are kept busy with sick kiddos all day, all week, it seems impossible to keep your house clutter free and feeling peaceful. I was feeling pretty low and stressed to the max in all directions.
And my friend Michelle made me this banner:

"love lives here"

Our reminder, even in the tough times, of what it is that keeps us going, of the good that we do have, of so much to be thankful for.

I was inspired to create my own artwork that symbolized our family to grace our wall: And then I cleared that wall of everything else, so these reminders stand out to us of who we are and what we have.

Even if I have been unable to keep the floors or counters or desktops cleared of 'stuff' in the craziness that is our lives, there is a simple space in my home that reminds me of the peace and grace and love that lives here. My favorite corner of the house.

You Little Stinker!

This is a phrase that gets said often in our house these days, with much affection towards the person at which it is directed. I must say, it fits. Ruthie is a little stinker! She makes the most of every opportunity that comes her way. She has an immediate magnetic attraction towards anything she's not supposed to get that you happen to leave where she can reach it, and has an irresistible draw towards anything she can climb onto to get to higher ground. I can't tell you how many times a day we find ourselves laughing at the youngest member of our family when we find her yet again getting into or onto something she knows she's not supposed to, looking at us with a huge grin of delight on her face.

Oops, Mama forgot to push in her chair:

My Outside Girl

You may have thought that all the Clement girls loved to be outside, but this one tops them all. She's the first one to ask to go outside each (and every) day, goes and gets her jacket, hat, shoes, whatever she thinks she might need, comes and finds me and says "ah-ah", in that distinct toddler talk way that only a mother understands. Outside I send her, and her sisters soon follow. Nothing brings a smile to her face like getting to play outside. She'll play outside for hours, long after her sisters have given up their games, felt the cold and come trooping back inside.
You never know what she might be concocting in the bird bath. Something yummy. At least she thinks so because she keeps trying it to see if she has added enough of this or if it needs a tad more of that.
This is her domain.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"

I thought you all might enjoy a little music video that we made with some friends to the song "Girls Just Want To Have Fun". I think some of it is just hilarious. Very fitting to who my girls are. Along with all 4 Clement girls, the video also features Lily and Isobel Testardi, Anna and Elenore Needy, CJ and Miriam Hess, and editing by Jenna Hess. We made the video for a Film Festival at our church, part of a yearly talent show tradition that we have.

Some of our video will make more sense if you've seen the original music video by Cyndi Lauper. If you've never seen it, check it out at

When the snow is falling outside and the long, dark winter days are upon us, what better girl fun can be had than a dance party complete with tons of costume changes?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Contest Is On!

The "Biggest Snowman of the Year" Contest!
Can you build a snowman taller than ours? This guy stands 7 ft tall, and was made with only a 1/2 inch of snow on the ground, to boot. I have to say, I put that middle body part on all by myself. I had to use a board to make a ramp to roll it up, but I got it up there! I couldn't reach to get the head up, though, we had to have a little help from the neighbors. We're pretty proud, and unless he topples over he should be around for a while!
This really was all Anna's fault. When she went outside to play in the falling snow today she got so excited when she discovered that the snow would pack and immediately wanted to make a snowman (as you will recall, our snow is almost always so dry you can't even pack it into a snowball to throw at your Dad). So I started rolling a little ball and then handed it over to her. She didn't stop!
She said "It's like the Lorax, Mommy! It keeps biggering and biggering and biggering!" (The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss) Even when her ball got bigger than she is she didn't want any help.
So Josie and I had to get to work on more body parts.

The challenge has been set.
All entries must be photo documented and can be sent to me at

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sweet Sister Spirit

With three of the four girls in this household feeling under the weather today, Anna voluntarily became our nurse. She was amazing, bringing us water, puke buckets, washcloths, Becky blankets, dolls, instruments, making cozy spots for us to lie down in, taking care of Ruthie and reading to her when Ruthie was starting to feel better but Mommy wasn't... You name it, she did it. Thank you, nurse Anna, for all the little ways you showed us love today and took care of us.

While I was making them some food this afternoon Anna told me "Mommy, I was a nurse today, but you are a nurse everyday. Mommies are always nurses." So true, Anna. That is my joy and privilege as your Mommy.