Light and Loveliness

Reflections of Emily Sue Allen

Date archives May 2014

Family / Life & Faith


Colorful photos from today, between the new hats and the blooming rhododendrons. The older kids are all excited about their hats. Two Seahawks and one Batman. If you scroll down a bit, they all turn into superheros for a shot or two. Oh, and the littlest miss is just about 3 months old now. Those months just zipped on by.

One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 21/52

I haven’t mentioned it here yet, but I’m at the tail end of reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts for the second time, this time with a fantastic group of women who come to my home. We meet every other week to discuss a few chapters over wine and dessert, complete with hilarity and tears. This book is one that challenges me in the best way…A dare to count the blessings right in front of me as a means to a full and joyful life. So going forward, you’ll be seeing numbers at the bottom of my blog entries with things I am thankful for. My sweet friend Hillary has been doing this on her blog for a long time, and every time I read them, I smile. I thought now would be a good time to start mine, starting with these pictured people who are definitely at the top of my list.

1. my beloved one, 2. twirly girl, 3. smarty pants, 4. batman, 5. sassy pants, 6. squishy love bug, 7. sunny afternoons, 8. husband’s bbq skills, 9. new days and seasons, 10. pins and threads, 11. forks in the road, 12. words of life, 13. grace, 14. conversations, 15. a tender heart

Creativity / Family / Motherhood

Go Fly A Kite

One thing I have loved about schooling at home these past few years is the open time and space for my kids to explore and create whenever inspiration strikes. For this sweet chica, inspiration strikes multiple times a day, and she has created all sorts of interesting things out of ordinary household items. This time it was an ‘owl kite’ that she found directions for in a library book. I confess I immediately thought it was a fish, but she quickly corrected me. She asked me for days about getting some wire for the project and because of the many other things on my mind (plus the fact that at first I had no idea what she wanted wire for) it took me a few days to dig some out for her. Once she had the wire in hand, she sat for several hours crafting this beauty, remaking the wire frame a few times because it ‘just didn’t look like an owl’.

When she came to me several hours later with this completed kite, I was a bit surprised at how well it turned out…not that I was surprised by her creativity, but I was surprised that she hadn’t called upon me to assist her in crafting any part of it, save procuring the wire. Usually she is bugging me about doing this thing or that, and while I do sometimes oblige her, a lot of times I either can’t or don’t want to.

She may be the oldest of the bunch, but she is also the most scatter-brained, and hands down makes the biggest messes of any of the kids. It drives me nuts because every time I turn around she has left another pile of supplies half-finished out in a space we need to utilize for something else. Of course it bugs me mostly because she is just like me. Leaping from one idea to the next without ever finishing because how can one possibly suffer through the finishing of a task when there is a whole new idea to chase after? Guilty as charged.  And yet, there is the reality that some things must be finished. And every project has to be cleaned up by someone. Sometimes I don’t want her to create new things because it is not convenient for me. Sad truth.

In reflecting on her strengths and weaknesses (ok, and mine too) I came to the realization that I have a choice to make about how to respond to her creativity. I can either make time and space (and joyful attitude and supplies ready) that give her freedom to create, or I can shut her down just because I don’t want a mess on the dining room table, forgetting that her presence in our family is the very reason I have been able to recapture wonder and unlock my own creativity in recent years. I don’t want to slow or stifle her unique brilliance, even if it does cost me a tidy room. Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t keep working on how to start, finish, and clean up our own creative projects…but it seems we’re on our way to that, if this kite is any indication.

She asked to go out in the yard to fly the kite, so of course I had to bring the camera.  I love the above photos of the little sister following behind and the photo below of her goofy teeth (a perfect picture of her equally goofy and joyful personality). The takeaway for today….take time for the sweet and silly things your child likes to do. They are only children for a short while, and inconvenience is no reason to miss the delight and wonder. I swear it was just yesterday she was the size that the little sister is now. Excuse me while I go kiss her sleeping head with a tear in my eye.

Family / Motherhood

Park Shirts

Park shirts are a recent addition to my bag of mommy tricks. I’ve actually wanted to get some for a long time (3-ish years or so), but never made it happen. I guess now that things are 20% crazier than they used to be, I needed a little help keeping track of my little crazies. When I walked by these shirts and saw they were $5 each, I snatched them right up and they became the new big thing around here. They’re sized a little big for each person so they can slip them on over their regular clothes, and they live in the car between park (or zoo) outings. The whole idea is that it is easier to count neon dots on the playground than remembering what all of my mobile children are wearing on a given day.

One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 20/52

We took a total of 3 family shots this week..the first two were ‘normal’ (whatever that means) and then we had the obligatory silly shot at the end (the only reason we were able to get ‘normal’ shots). I loved it so much, I decided to share it instead of the others. Everyone needs a little spontaneous silliness in their lives.

Can you spot all 5 kids in the shot below? Seriously, I love these things, and truthfully, the kids love them too. Every time we arrive at the park, one of the kids inevitably shouts, “PARK SHIRTS!!!” and they all start suiting up. We do get some funny stares on the playground from people who probably think we are some club or class or something, but we don’t mind. We are a club, of sorts. I plan to put emergency contact info on the shirts as well, but haven’t done that yet…for now, I still watch like a hawk and count four neon dots every other minute. For the record, this is the first time the baby has worn hers. Since she’s typically strapped to my body, I don’t bother with her neon shirt, but who could pass up the opportunity to take a weekly family pic like this?

Family / Motherhood

Broken Arm

The little man broke his arm last week. It took some interrogation to get the whole story from the kids about how everything went down, but the injury happened after bedtime tuck-ins when, naturally, the three older kids decided to jump off the side of the low ikea loft bed to a twin mattress on the floor…in the dark. We have thus far avoided any broken bones in this house, so it’s been an adventure figuring out how to both treat the injury and make necessary adjustments to tasks that can’t be done in their usual way (like modifying car seat arrangements to help him buckle and switching up showering routines to accommodate the cast.)  There is a fair bit he can’t do on his own, so the others who participated in the dangerous deed that caused the injury have been experiencing the natural consequences of having to do his chores for him while he’s healing.

One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 19/52 

The photo from this week is all grumpiness, with the exception of the little lady in the front. Sometimes the grumps just have to oblige the mama, whether they like it or not. The highlight for me this week is the 14lb butterball. Wrist and ankle rolls are the best.

But back to the arm, our little dude has been a total champ about it. The morning after it happened, before the fracture was confirmed, we were driving on our way from the pediatrician to another place for x-rays and the whole way there, he was singing “Ho-ho-ho-Hosannah, Ha-ha-Halleluia, He-he-he-He saved me, I’ve got the joy of the Lord!” over and over. It was a sweet little thing that touched my heart in the midst of my mommy feelings that morning…hearing my son with such a joyful attitude while we were in the middle of seeking care for a semi-serious injury.

While I don’t expect there to be any issues with his recovery, we’d love your prayers for his arm to heal perfectly, and for all the kids to learn their lesson about late-night shenanigans so this story isn’t repeated in the future. The older two seem pretty sobered about it, so I’m hopeful it has taught them a little bit about why safety is important. Hope you enjoy the Buzz Lightyear Lego Robot creation and that big goofy grin.

Creativity / Family / Life & Faith / Motherhood / Poetry

Few Words

One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 18/52

few words, many thoughts
rollercoaster of calm and chaos
ordinary tasks bound to thoughtful introspection
never pausing with the moving on to something new
dishes washed, dishes dried
toys in bins
pride laid down for humble joys
again and again
full but empty
a cycle familiar but still uncomfortable
the giving up to gain what waits beyond my vision

aches hang bare and lonely
longing for heaven
but living something close
living yes the best i can
giving more
focused attention
moments that can never be replaced

spring to follow hard
live a journey traveled less
a mess with heart and soul
the art of doing love


Sunny Days and Soccer

I’ve had great intentions to write earlier this week. However, the sun has been out in Seattle, and the weather has been fantastic, so I have dropped everything to be out there in it with my kids. We’ve been to the park several times and I have a light sunburn to prove it. The house is a mess and we haven’t done much school, but we are all loving these warm days.

This week we decided to highlight the addition of soccer to our schedules for the season in our weekly photo. All three of the older kids are playing (don’t worry…action shots will come soon enough!) so here you see them in their soccer gear. Nevermind the mismatched clothes. I can’t care about everything. Plus, the free spirits like to announce their free-spiritedness in their clothing choices. I would think you could guess which two are the free spirits in this family? The kids have all been having a blast (well…little man starts in 2 weeks…but he’s ready!) and the oldest had so much fun the first few practices that we had to lay down some ground rules for her:

1) No dancing during practice. A serious problem. She gets so excited to be there she just dances all around like a silly person. And she is a silly person.

2) Chase after the ball. Due to said dancing and excitement, it has taken her a while to figure out she has to get after it if she wants to really play and learn. There haven’t been any games yet, but I’ll be interested to see if there is dancing then.

One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 17/52

This dude is all business. It occurred to me that I never did get around to mentioning on the blog that he turned 6 years old a little over 6 weeks ago. Happy belated birthday, son! We love you so much. Can’t wait to watch you kick butt on the soccer field.