"Mom, a rooster is in the nesting box," Jack calls all a-tumble into the living room, winter coat and boots molted by the back door. "Looked like it was grunting," he says out of the side of his mouth, eyebrows raised.
I fold a pair of blue jeans, watch him lilt around the room. "Oh," I say and add the jeans to a stack of folded laundry.
"I guess that rooster comb isn't a rooster," Janie adds and shakes out one of Myra's white undershirts, folds it into a square.
Jack jumps off the hearth for the bliss of it all. Jane gathers laundry piles and heads for the bedroom.
"What if the chickens actually lay a baby?" Jack whispers, a marionette puppet at my elbow. He makes his eyes wide and round.
"Oh, they can't do that, honey. They just lay eggs 'cause there's no rooster."
"But Momma, what if they accidentally lay together in that special way?" he persists hardly able to stifle a giggle, smile round in his cheeks.
"But if there's no rooster, they don't do that," I say.
He hops on one foot, makes lap through the kitchen, then trots back out to the henhouse for another look. Oh, the mirth of all these eggs.
1685. How Myra says, "Yay," and hugs her head when we give her Greek olives.
1686. How Lucy holds her baby's finger to follow along with the words while she reads.
1687. Jane's comment, "I don't love love math, but I love arithmetic," her grin and teehee. "It's a grown-up joke," she says.
1688. How she tells us, "My favorite part about Christmas isn't getting the gifts. It's GIVING them." And the subsequent hours sewing away on her machine.
1689. How we decorate the tree and they want the backstory on every ornament.
1690. How so many are from my Gramma, and Jane determines, "She spoils you rotten, Momma."
1691. The children trying to make a compliment, "Mom, this tastes as good as store bought!"
1692. Jane's determination, "If you love Jesus, you can't love animals more than people."
1693. How Craig's parents treat the kids and I to a night out when Craig's out of town for a couple days.
1694. How the children whoop into laughter and a heap of wrestling chortling screams when Craig returns, a tornado of glee.
1695. How Myra climbs up and rests her head on my tummy when I fall asleep on the couch.
1696. An afternoon with dear friends, 10 children between us, miles and miles of history.
1697. Fresh eggs.
1698. How the children mop up their own messes, clean white hand towel not withstanding.
1699. Watching Myra Rosie try to sort laundry.
1700. Feta with charred pineapple sauce.
1701. Meyer lemon cookie thins.
1702. The continual tap-tap of baby limbs in my womb.
1703. Lulie's exclamation, "Momma, Momma -- we're playing where I'm a bear and they're shooting me." How Jane and Jack pound by hand cuffs, goggles, and nerf gun in tow. "Not with a REAL gun," Lulie adds.
1704. The kids tidying the living room before lunch. Jane's frown and, "Momma, I'm trying to work, but it's hard when a bunch of kids are acting like one-year-olds."
1705. And her assessment as she seams a bookmark, "This might kind of clash together, but it's just what I made."
1706. How when I ask her what God's been teaching her lately she says, "To not be angry when I do something wrong." And while I pause she adds, "'Cause when I do something wrong I just want to get all worked up."
1707. All that drive for perfection gradually, day by day, smoothed still by grace.