Monday, December 30, 2013


What it is:
Today marks ten years since my Mom died. I remember thinking in the weeks after her accident, will it hurt this much in 5 years? 10? Will I ever get to the point when I'm not so angry, so sad? When will this not be so painful? Will it ever just be normal to not have my Mom down the street, a phone call away? Her absence still hurts, but not every moment of every day. I am no longer angry, but the sadness is always there. The pain is eased by my Littles, by being the mama I know she would be proud of. It is normal now to be without my Mom, I haven't picked up the phone to call her in years. She is just down the street but instead of curating her beautiful home, she is resting in an old cemetery's grove.
Lessons I've learned:
I've lost so much in her death but I dare say I've gained much as well. Because of my Mom's death I look at life differently: I am aware of it's fragility, it's delicate nature. This reality creates an alternative perspective on living, one I surely did not have before I experienced deep grief. As a survivor, I am more empathetic (maybe too empathetic at times) to other people experiencing emotional pain. As a survivor, I am strong: I know where I've been, how far I've come.
What I miss:
Her pride in me.
Her hands.
Her soft, soft skin.
The beauty she created in all aspects of her life.
Her calligraphy and handwriting.
Her hugs.
Her neck.
Her smile.
Her vast knowledge about everything.
Her cooking.
The place she went when she played the guitar, and where it took me.
Her tenderness. 
Her listening and advice.
Her cheer leading in my life
I miss our arguments, her sicknesses, her sadness, her hurt.
I miss her love.
Patricia Ann Pingel Sattler
April  3, 1952 - December 30, 2003

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Craze.

Tonight is The Book N Hookers Christmas Party. I am so excited. The best part? Kristina is hosting, she lives two doors down! To live rurally and yet be able to walk to book club is kind of a big deal. Each of us brings a side dish and gifts for everyone. The gifting tradition freaks me out partly because the gifts are typically handmade and we have very little leeway, I only found out the final count 2 days ago. So here is what I came up with: Lemon Sugar Hand Scrub and mittens made out of my old cashmere sweaters. There are 16 of us in book club. Luckily for my sweater collection, only 8 of us
can make it. I can't wait to see what the other ladies have come up with! It's minutes away...can't wait.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Christmas Pagent.

Savannah and Ivy were in a Christmas Pageant tonight our town's community church. Savannah was a Magi and Ivy sang in the children's choir. What I love most about this pageant, was the commitment and responsibility they assumed to be in it. I didn't do a thing except show up.
The children's choir.
The Magi on their long trip to see baby Jesus. Savannah had one line which she executed beautifully: "Here is Frankincense, a perfume fit for a priest."
Thank you to Margaret and Gordon, Jared, Jenny and Jackson, Krista and Wrenna for coming to support The Little Girls.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Winter Slumber Land.

Jenny and Jared went to so much work creating a magical cousin sleepover. My Littles are still buzzing about their overnight trip, they will never forget this treat. A few months back Jenny and I decided to switch up our regular gifting to the cousins by involving The Littles in choosing the gifts and saving money. We met these goals by shopping at the dollar store. Each Little picked out a toy or game for each cousin knowing us moms wouldn't say "No" to the price tag. My Littles were so proud of the gifts they gave, and I could tell Jack and Hank were as well.
While Tim and I slipped away to finish our Christmas shopping, Goo and The Little Girls played and crafted giant paper Christmas trees. Goo stayed for bath, said goodbye to Hank and watched a little of a holiday movie then came home with us while his sisters stayed for the sleepover.
The next morning when we arrived to pick up The Little Girls, Jared told us Jack, Savannah and Ivy woke up at 3:30 am ready to play. They watched shows and played pirate ship to pass away the early morning hours.

Thank you Jenny and Jared for giving Tim and I a little break and for creating fun memories for the cousins to share.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Plans And Pets.

What are you up to this weekend Hutters? Have you finished your Christmas shopping or seen a holiday play? The Littles are having a Winter "Slumber land" sleepover with Jack and Hank, Tim and I will finish our shopping and while The Little Girls make gifts for their girlfriends, I will be working up an idea of what to gift all the ladies of Book Club.
 The Littles received new holiday outfits from Grandma Margaret, so special.
This beast is pretty much an inside pet lately. Izzie-pug isn't a fan of the snow/ice still covering the garden and sadly she is terrified of My Lovelies, who gang up and attack her whenever she goes outside.
Whatever it is you are up to this weekend, I hope it's happy and restful.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


(Goo, waiting for The Little Girls at the bus stop.)
Listen: I've wanted to write about this for a while now I just haven't been able to find the words (I still can't so hang in there while I try). In a few days this country will mark the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings. I can't imagine the hell this last year has been for the families who lost their Littles and loved ones that tragic day. With the exception of victims follow up stories and the most recent debate about the public release of the 911 tapes, the nation has moved on (likely wondering what a Kardashian ate for dinner or wore pumping gas). For the families of the children and adults who died that day, the pain, despair and horror wasn't limited to that specific day: it deepened with every benchmark, every "1st" they were without their precious person, every empty day that passed. I know a fraction of what that first year without your person feels like, and every day after that too. It is a knife-in-your-stomach-every-time-you-wake-up-and-reality-sets-in, a scrape-yourself-off-the-bathroom-floor, a force-yourself-to-carry-on-with-life, a question-any-filament-of-faith-you-have-left kind of life you find yourself living. And people outside of that immediate pain remember the anniversary but I tell you, it is not the anniversary that is the stab in the heart [sure the anniversary reminds you of how life changes so quickly and the initial pain (which is different from the agony afterwards) of your discovery], the stab in the heart is every minute your person isn't there to share life with.
I didn't know about the shootings at Sandy Hook until much later that day. I didn't watch any news coverage or actively seek any further details. That is not to say I wasn't informed as it was impossible to not hear something about what happened. Like most people, I was deeply affected. Moments after I learned what happened I put Ivy and Goo in the car and drove directly to Savannah's school, sat in the back of her classroom and cried. I wasn't the only one, two other parents had come to do the exact same thing.
Up until now I've only shared this with Angela, but for months I had anxiety about leaving Savannah at school. There were days I would pick her up early just to hold her and keep her close. It felt dangerous and scary to send my precious Little to school and out of my care. The thing is, her school was safe and the administration beefed up the drills, any trespassers were taken away by police escort, all visitors had to sign in the office, round the clock surveillance, etc. But still the worry and anxiety were constant companions.
One day while waiting on my car at the mechanic's, I picked up a magazine on a nearby table. I read a follow-up article interviewing victim's of Sandy Hook families. These photos... they just, well, they speak volumes about life after loss. I left as soon as able, drove to the school and signed Savannah out for the day.
Today this anxiety crept in. Perhaps tragically loosing my mom has kept me scared and vigilant about the unlikely (yet possible) event of it happening again and knowing what a nightmare despair is. My greatest fear, like all parents, is loosing a child. Knowing that would be infinitely worse than loosing a parent is unfathomable and dark. The fear haunts me. I forced myself not to pick up The Little Girls early from school today, but I'll tell you what: I didn't breath easy until they stepped off that bus.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Healing Power Of Sugar.

We are working our way through our advent calendar. I was saving "Make and decorate sugar cookies!" for a snowing weekend day. This activity was the perfect distraction to some cabin fever symptoms. The 2 hours on Saturday we spent prepping/making and the 2 hours on Sunday The Little Girls delighted in frosting/decorating, were the only hours they didn't argue or disagree about something. Note to self: Making sugar cookies is the best remedy: healing all wounds of disgruntled siblings.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

This And That.

Pug is a bit wary of the Christmas tree...she can't quite figure out why I brought that tree in and put all that stuff on it. She spends minutes on end sniffing and sniffing (OH THE SNIFFING!) the branches and poking the ball-looking ornaments with her nose. I fear a stroke will overcome her when I put the train underneath.
Taking a break from the sniffing.
We are experiencing an icy cold snap, I can't remember the last time it was this cold. We expect high teens tonight, I worry about My Lovelies (I keep checking on them). Really wish I had installed a Chicken Cam about now. Yup I said it. I've taken the chicken-crazy to a whole new level. Luckily I'm in good company because I spoke to two other girlfriends today who raise chickens and we shared tips/reassured each other about what to do with young chickens in cold temperatures.
My Littles have the stomach flu. All of them. It is not fun. And I'm happy their school is so close to home because I've been called twice in the last two days to come get them. Poor darlings. So sad to see them under the weather.
This guy is dead. Hallelujah. I was out of ideas on how to get rid of him so I just decided fine, let him sleep with the Lovelies (that's him above, sleeping directly under the Lovelies). Big deal. But I was a bit annoyed with the keeping of a skunk; the mess he made, the filling in his hole under the gate every morning, his eating mass quantities of chicken food, not being able to go on the deck/back lawn after 9pm for fear of being sprayed, etc. He was a stinker. The great part is I didn't have to kill him myself. Two days ago his horrid perfume wafted  throughout the neighborhood in the early afternoon. No sign of him since. 

Monday, December 2, 2013


I trust you Hutters had a fine Thanksgiving, we truly did. It has been too long since we spent holidays with Tim's sister Angela and her family. We had been counting down the days until we would all meet up for Thanksgiving. The Littles were in heaven spending 3 nights at Grandma's all the while knowing Addie and Lucas were just in the room next door. I took very few photos and instead indulged in the happiness of all us Botting's spending time together; catching up with Angela, cooking with Margaret in her kitchen and watching our Littles play. And you know what? It all went by too fast. Here are a few moments I did manage to capture:
Goo and his "POP" taking a snooze.
Celebrating Addie's fifth birthday.
Four of the five cousies, Lucas was sleeping.
A short visit at The Honey Hut so Addie could meet My Lovelies.
And a family photo of us all.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Holiday Break.

The Little Girls are on Thanksgiving break and life around The Hut is as it should be (though with a lot more boundary pushing than I'm used to and arguing and asking what we are doing schedules are great and all, but I'm ready for The Little Girls to play without instruction or parameters like they do during summer break). 
Goo climbed up on the couch next to me tonight and studied closely this Glamour magazine for at least 10 minutes. Pug sniffed the perfume ads obsessively (making me agitated). Goo just kept on turning the pages one by one, patient and content. 
Six of My lovelies are now laying and as a reward get some well deserved garden exploring time, that is until Littles catch them and give them a turn in the baby swing. I guess The Little Girls are playing without instruction, I certainly would never have imagined giving chickens a wee push on a swing.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Keep Close.

I was able to spend some quality one-on-one time with Miss Savannah today. The 2nd grade class walked to the Fire Station in town for a field trip, a fun adventure on a very crisp and windy autumn day. Savannah has been very excited these last couple of days to be making new friends with a very quiet little girl in her class (more quiet than Savannah). It was sweet to see these two shy girls navigate a new friendship on our outing. Today they sat on the bus home together and on the short walk home from the bus stop, Savannah confided in me some information this little girl shared with her about her difficult home life. My heart aches for this precious, beautiful child. I kept My Littles close to me tonight and let them stay up as late as they could handle, squeezing out as much comfort as I could get from their closeness.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Eggs And Other Things.

Look Hutters! I am now getting 3 eggs a day, this new bluish-green beaut on the right is from one of my Americanas, either Almond Cake or Alma. I am so proud of my Lovelies, they lay beautiful and delicious eggs. This photo below does not do the yoke's vibrant orange color any justice, you'd have to see it to believe it. I scrambled these up with cream cheese and herbs. Unreal.
Ivy was such a darling while doing her homework tonight. Kinder homework is fun and she is delighted to show me what she has learned and how well she can do her packet.
So focused on her words.
I've been busy around the house and garden, getting ready for this rain we were supposed to get earlier today. Just as I was tidying up after dinner I heard the tapping on the gutters outside. But I should have just looked at my thumb to know if the rain had yet started. My fingers always crack whenever the weather changes. Two fingers on my right hand are festering and cracked meaning it's going to be a cold, damp couple of days.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Date With Peter Pan.

Kieran (Ivy's girlfriend in Kinder) invited Ivy to celebrate her 6th birthday by seeing Peter Pan, a production by El Dorado Music Theater. I was lucky enough to be invited along by Jen, Kieran's mom and a friend of mine through book club. It was a special date between Ivy and I, so lovely to spend one-on-one time with her. The production was fantastic and incredibly well done, these young performers have a bright future ahead.
Ivy was desperate to meet Tigerlily, an amazing dancer.
Hook stole the show, he was brilliant.
With Wendy and another friend of Kieran's.
Peter Pan! This actress was incredible and so brave with those wires and the acrobatics.
Thank you Jen and Kieran, Ivy and I will never forget this experience.