I’m the mom. That’s why.


This is parenting – take heed, ye childless hordes, and plan accordingly.
My kids have been driving me batty, the last few days, by having “shoe-making contests.” They cut and tape plastic grocery bags into these little slippers. I keep responding with impassioned grumbling, and reminding them it’s time to leave, or clean, or study, but I don’t really want to die on this hill, because there are a hundred other hills with my marker already on them, and so I haven’t outright forbade it.
Yesterday, as we were getting ready for the park, I realize we are completely out of plastic grocery bags. Out. I have 7 high energy, high metabolism kids. We buy a lot of groceries. I have never, ever run out of grocery bags before yesterday.
I grumble and flounce, and we get out the door with the wagon and the roller blades and our snacks in a library bag.
We’re heading east on 12th, and guess who is having a chat with her friend on the sidewalk? Yep, it’s the apartment manager who doesn’t know how many kids we’re hiding in our 2 bedroom loft. Her eyes bug out, and her lips start moving in silent enumeration. I try to avoid eye contact, hoping she doesn’t recognize me out of context, but then she smiles at me and coos to the baby. I try to look relaxed and busy at the same time and get the heck out of there, praying that the flowers we gave our downstairs neighbor worked, and making a mental note to bring her cookies ASAP.
5 yards later, I see that one of my beauties has run ahead of us, and used the extra time to sit down on the sidewalk to change out of shoes and into rollerblades. As she points her toe into the rollerblade, I see a target symbol on the bottom of her foot. Freaking kids. She’s wearing grocery bag slippers instead of socks. My blood pressure spikes into the stroke zone. And the apartment manager is still in sight. I hurriedly catch up and do the furious whisper, Crazy Mom Eyes routine and get her to put her tennis shoes back on. The best part of this is that she not only has no shame about the slippers, or about trying to use roller blades in the middle of the busiest part of the city, she demands that I give her a thorough and reasoned explanation why cotton socks are superior to grocery bag socks.
I do my best to avoid Because I Said So, but I went ahead and treated myself to a large helping of it, this time.

Sunday Music


I was so excited to come to the library and enjoy all the kids being occupied in a safe place with no neighbors to bother.  What a great opportunity to write!  Of course, I forgot to bring the SD card, which is my brain’s external hard drive.

And, in case you were wondering, telling my kids to hurry up and gather the library books is like telling them to hurry up and shower themselves dry.  I spent hours chasing them out of corners and closets, where they would hole up to read each others’ books.  10 minutes later, I’d be unable to find any of them, or the books.  Again

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks, but I’ll save the specific updates for pictures.

One event that didn’t involve a camera was our visit to a local Episcopalian church we’ve been enjoying seeing as we pass by it on our travels.  We had planned to check out the local LDS ward, but they must have had stake conference, or something, because the building and parking lot were abandoned.

What an experience All Saints was!  It was very reminiscent of a Catholic mass – lots of familiar wording, music, art, and architecture, but dialed up to 11.  Here’s the interior, courtesy of google.


What really knocked my socks off (and most of the kids’), was the music.  See those shining pipes to the right and left of the altar?  They’re at the back of the church, too.  This was the first time I actually understood why anyone plays the organ.  We didn’t so much hear the music as feel it.  The 2 organists looked like they were playing a sport, not an instrument.

And then the choir!  I’ve never had the privilege to hear a choir of that caliber in person.  And we were in the second pew.  And the 3 soloists were highschool kids.  I am so in love with the city.  So in love.

While I was dripping tears on the kids’ heads, Ben was in the back, walking Matilda, and he happened to meet the children’s choir director.  We’re going to check out a practice on Wednesday afternoon.  The kids are half skeptical, half excited.  I’m hoping it will at least introduce us to someone who can give us the scoop on local musical happenings for kids.

The kids are anxious to go see more churches on more Sundays.  It seems that there’s a gorgeous, old church every couple blocks.  We have our work cut out for us.

Piedmont After Dark


On Wednesday night, I was up with Harriet pretty much nonstop from 2 until the other kids woke up.  I figured it would be wise to stay home, rest up, and push herbs and healthy food the next day.  We did go out for a short walk in the afternoon, but by evening, everybody was pretty tightly wound.  We waited for Paterfamilias to get home, then we went on a longer walk to see the lights on the buildings around Woodruff Art Center.



This one always has something to ask about or comment on – always.

We ended our walk at Mayor’s Grove.  As soon as we got through the gates of the park, onto the walking path, the kids just bolted, running like colts.



That’s the MOON behind the swinging girls.  First time we’ve seen it since we left Wyoming.

They found the play equipment in short order and climbed everything in sight.  They told me they were so glad we went at night, when no one else was there to get nervous and tell them to follow the rules.  I think we’ll keep choosing school nights for park time.




We found the Real Library, on Friday.  It has seven floors, and every single one is full of books.  It was so great.  The librarians were so happy to see us.  When I asked where the nonfiction kids’ books were, they got all excited and told me that the more nonfiction I check out, the more they get to keep.  I guess there’s a thinning process happening, based on what’s getting checked out and what’s moldering on the shelves.  The rejects are already contracted to be sold to a nonprofit.  I asked.  If we didn’t have to walk 2 miles home with all our books, we would have filled our 50 book quota with ease.

As we were planning this trip, my 10yo said, “Do you think the librarians will be black people?  I hope they are.  Black people are way nicer.”  This is something the kids and I picked up on almost immediately about African-American culture in Atlanta.  It seems to place a high value on family.  Every single time we’ve felt in someone’s way or I’ve been reminded to keep my kids out of perceived danger, it was with a white person.  African-Americans don’t see a problem when we walk by, they see a reminder of their kids, their cousins, their siblings, etc., and they generally want to talk about it, or just offer congratulations and support.  It makes all of us feel so good!  This was the longest walk that we’ve taken, here, but it was much more pleasant, because half the city thought we were celebrities.  Lots of people talked to the kids to tell them how great they are, people would ask us if we needed help when I would stop and look at my phone to figure out if we were still on the right path.  The people working at the library were so incredibly helpful and anxious to get us all the materials we could dream of, that it was a full hour from when I walked in the door, until I had time to respond to a text from my husband.


Next week, when we take the walk again, I’ll get some pictures of the city.  It’s crazy huge and busy.  We walked right past (or through) the America Mart, which feels like another planet, with all the sky bridges connecting these massive buildings.  The kids weren’t fazed at all.  They asked if we can walk those bridges sometime, but I was the one oohing and ahhing at all the sky scrapers.  They were more interested in the dolphin statues on the sidewalks.  Is that a sports team, or something?


We also passed by some gorgeous churches that the kids are anxious to see inside, as well as the Historic Academy of Medicine, and the Biltmore.  There’s an endless supply of things to see and visit, here.  Even if we’re visiting sites 4 days a week, I doubt we’ll see them all in 6 months.


Wednesday at the High


We made it to the High!  What a great experience.  On Weds. morning, we got dressed, ate, and ran out the door to go see the art museum.  It was significantly warmer than Tuesday, but everyone was still glad to have hooded jackets.

The symphony is on our way there, so we stopped to take a look at this cool statue in the plaza.  There were no signs, or fences, or any other indications that this was a Don’t Touch display, so the kids ran up to get a better look.  As soon as I finished getting some pictures, a security guard came scowling towards us and shooed us away.  She was not pleased that we had gotten up close and personal with the Guy Made of Guys, as we dubbed him.


When we got to the Sifly Plaza, and the kids could run on the grass and play on the Tio Vivo exhibit without interruption or danger, they took off like wild beasts were after them.  We spent about an hour letting off steam and exploring the exhibit, then headed inside to find out about passes.


Let me just say, if you live close enough to the High to visit often and you aren’t taking advantage of the family pass, you’re wasting a great opportunity.  It would cost my family $87 for one time tickets to visit the museum.  The Family Pass Plus (which has reciprocity with hundreds of other museums around the country), is $125.


The art was amazing, and the kids’ interest in it was delightful.  We had a really good time walking around, taking notes, deciding what we want to learn more about before we return.  But the really great part about being there was that we weren’t just wanted, we were celebrated.  It was wearing on everybody a little that we’re constantly in everybody’s way.  On the sidewalks, at the library, in the apartment, we’re trying to be quiet and leave room for people to get around us.  At the library, the patrons and the librarians acted put out that we were in their space, and some expressed concern that all the children weren’t physically attached to my body at all times.  We had to go to a busy hallway to stop and have a drink and a snack, and there were concerned and irritated looks there, too.


At the High, people were happy to see a crowd of matching kids.  We were encouraged to check everything out, ask questions, touch the things that were made for touching, there was plenty of space and tables and chairs for a lunch break or just a break.  There was a children’s section with chairs, tables, toys, and a cool exhibit.  It was restful to be there, and we can’t wait to go back!


And on the way home, we even met some cardinals hanging out in the bushes.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a real cardinal, before, or if I did, I didn’t notice him.



I have so many delicious things to tell you about Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s exploits, but those posts will have to wait for another day.  Right now, I’m going to tell you about the humidity.

My 4yo’s hair has become animate.  Check this sucker out –

And she got croup, last night, and I discovered another side to humidity.  Every single one of my kids has dealt with toddler croup, from time to time, and I felt like I was an expert at handling it.  But you can’t add steam to a fog bank.  My rule of thumb was “Cold is better than hot; wet is better than dry, and a change in the air generally helps.”  The only thing I could do for her last night was to hold her in a somewhat upright position, until my husband had the bright idea to turn on the heat and dry it out a bit.  I think it did help.  I’ll try that for night two.

Monday in the City


After we all crashed for 24 hours or so, it was Monday morning, and everyone was dying to get out of the apartment.  We hastily got ourselves dressed in our warmest clothes (really not warm enough, because we were expecting Georgia weather, not Wyoming weather, for some silly reason), and got ourselves out the door to go check out the library.


Once were were all outside, we realized that the library didn’t open until 10, and it was still only 9.  It might sound strange to get 7 kids outside before you know what time it is, but if you had been there, you would sympathize, I bet.  Our little peanut there in the stroller, wearing the pink hood, does not like small spaces, and since we have the metal spiral staircase to the loft blocked off, she considers the apartment a small space.  And she has a very healthy set of lungs.  You can do the math.  We got outside without any delay.

So, to kill time, we walked over to Dad’s office and said hello.  The kids were thrilled with the revolving door that leads into the lobby.  The front desk was less than thrilled with their enthusiastic use of it.  We had a Conversation about the use of revolving doors that are not our property.  I did not pause to take a picture.

After that, we scurried over to the Peachtree Branch Library.  I have to say, it was a big disappointment.  The kids had a lot to say about how much better our little rural library is.  As my 13yo daughter put it, “They don’t want you to stay at the Peachtree.  It’s get your books, and get out.”  There were a few tables, but no chairs.  I saw 3 puzzles, and no other toys.  The books the kids wanted weren’t available.  Everybody was a little sad, especially when we found out that until I bring in a bill, we can only check out a grand total of 10 books.  My silver lining is that the collection of kids’ and young books is ancient, which means there are some fun things there that you don’t usually find anymore.

The walk home was a lot more entertaining.  We took a different route home than we did out, and walked through a long alley where the kids found all kinds of experiential treasure, the first of which was the joy of actually being on a real, live, alleyway, a creature that heretofore only existed in books.  Then they found a, “Beautiful house!  Look, Mommy!  It has actual vines growing on it!  Isn’t it gorgeous?”


And everybody spent some time checking out the vines growing on the tree.  You have to understand that for the last 5 years, green, living things did not exist in the outdoors world in January.  Ok, there are some pine trees, but they’re generally snow covered, so they don’t look very green, either.  They also found a caterpillar.


By now, we were getting close to our building, and I was getting tired of trying to keep kids on the sidewalk and out of passerbys’ ways, and in general tired of managing strangers’ emotions about a crowd of children, and I just wanted to be inside where people couldn’t look at us, anymore, so when a couple of the kids started Mommylooking, I sort of hurried them along, and kept pushing that humongous, heavy stroller with three kids on it, up the humongous hill.  But then I wasn’t sure of my turn, so I went back, and happened to see what had got them going –



THIS DOES NOT BELONG IN GEORGIA.  But it’s a good illustration of how tough my little chickadees are, that they were willing to go walk a couple miles in frozen fountain weather.

You would think that would be enough excitement, for one day.  But we’re gluttons for punishment, and for good, healthy meals, so after eating our collective weight in granola bars, applesauce, and yogurt, we jumped into the van and boogied over to Walmart, where we needed two carts and a kid carrying a sterilite-type tiny chest of drawers to get out of the store.  We got back to the apartment and basically collapsed wherever we landed.  But by the next morning, everybody was ready for adventure, again.

(Also, these pictures are terrible.  Time to start carrying my camera, instead of relying on my phone.)


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