t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.


Today it Made Me Smile...

I have to admit, a lot of weeks I go to church and don't feel like I come away with much.  I think this is a result of several things.  The major factor:  Honey Fat.  Church ends up more like a silent wrestling match, or at least me trying to be silent as I silence her, during the services.  Then I usually spend 90 minutes trying to sneak out of nursery without her wailing.  A consequence of being the baby of 4, she is very contented surrounded by family.  Or I end up home with sick kids, or a napping child.  If I am being 100% honest, church isn't really when I seem to be able to fill my spiritual tank.

That said...sometimes I catch a snippet.  A little gem that lifts or inspires me.  Today was such a day.  The last few years "Gratitude Journals"  have been all the rage.  It is a wonderful practice.  But today, a woman spoke of a different kind of daily log. "Today it Made Me Smile."  It made me smile.  I love thinking about all the things that make me smile.  Here are a just a few from the last two days...

  • I won my first race ever.  I've had plenty of age group wins but never an overall 1st place.  It wasn't a fabulous time by any stretch of the imagination.  But it was a cool feeling not a having a single woman in front of me.  And the prizes were amazing!  What was the difference in this race? The women from my fabulous running group were all there.  But not running.  Instead...they trailed in front and behind me in a minivan coaching and cheering all 6.2 miles.  

A very unflattering picture.
  • The minivan of middle-aged women coaching me like I was going for an olympic win.  I don't know why, but this just has made me feel like a million dollars for 2 days straight.   Brent is always asking me, "Are you sure you want to live here?"  My response,  "I'm not leaving my running crew."  You just can't replace... 
    • Amanda in her tight jeans (which she looks really hot in) running in front of me yelling, "Refocus.  Start a new race.  Close your eyes!" 
    • Marie, "Keep your eyes up, focus on the guy in the white.  Catch him."  
    • Josie, toddler in arms, "She's 200 yards behind you.  Stay strong."  
    • Jen, holding all three of her tiny kids, in her sweet soft-spoken way "Come on.  You got it.  Just up this hill." 
    • Desi, in the minivan picked up after just finishing her 5k whispering in a throaty voice, "Thank you so much.  Come on!"  (We switched 5K and 10K  spots at the last minute because she got sick.)
I just don't know how many people are as lucky as I am to have these women who are such good friends to me.  There is something about doing hard things which really brings you together.
  • A Snuggle from Ellery.  Not atypical, but the circumstance brought a big inner smile.  Our piano teacher asks her students to play their sacred music each Sunday to keep up their repertoire.  Ellery was playing through her list of hymns and a Medley she is currently learning.  She got stuck.  I wouldn't let her stop until she figured it out.  She was furious and refused help.  "Sweet is the Work" was being pounded as loudly as possible at one point.  It wasn't sweet work, believe me.  Finally, I got her through.  She was still pounding.  As she finished the song, Brent asked her to come sit down.  In the sweetest little voice she said, "No Daddy, I want to snuggle with Mommy."  She nestled right in and spooned with me for 15 minutes, holding my hand.   Not a morsel of angst lingering.  There is something about doing hard things which really brings you together.
  • Callista beating the socks off the big boys in a impromptu foot race home from church.  In her Sunday shoes.  Believe me they were trying.
  • Brent coming home a day early from his trip.  Life just isn't the same without him.  I had a wonderful long conversation with his mom.  She mentioned the only one of the 10 commandments associated with a direct promise is, "Honor thy Father and thy Mother, that thy days may be long upon the land."   Brent never wavered in his obedience and respect to his mom and dad.  I know many obedient people whose lives seemed to be far too short, but I am banking on the literal fulfillment of that promise.
  • Emmett moaning through his fever, in his high little voice, "Mommy...I love you so much."  Not atypical, but how could that not elicit a smile.  And...Emmett sitting as peaceful and serene as ever while getting blood drawn, for a vitamin D check.  It is so torturous when a doctor asks you to choose one of your children to have a blood draw.  Ugghhh.  I tell you though, those nurses had never seen anything like it as Emmett watched every moment carefully and trustingly, just giving a little moan at the poke.  Angel.  I take zero credit for him.
  • Singing "Come Thou Fount" with the church choir today, and remembering when I sang the same song at my Grandma's funeral.  Thinking of her.  And of my uncle telling me it was the most beautiful thing he had heard (his emotions speaking).

Hopefully I'll take the time to record more of these moments that make me smile, because they come fast and furious.  Something I hope I never forget.


 Finally Snow!!!


"Still No Snow" by Ellery

Still No Snow

by:  Ellery

The trees are Bare
the grass is out grown
its the first of winter
no snow

The flowers are dying
the leaves are crumbling
Its the middle of winter
Still no snow

The trees are scraped
the bark is almost gone
the last of winter
Still no snow


Cute as a Button

Honey is grand thief when it comes to stealing her brother and sister's hearts.  After making a pillow case and pajama pants, in her "Cute as a Button" sewing school, Ellery decided Honey needed her own pair of matching pants.  I've loved watching Ellery gain confidence in this class.  It is only 1 hour a week, but well worth it, and it seems enough for her to be learning some real skills on the sewing machine.

On any given night you will find Honey Fat strutting around, belly out, in her pajama pants, certain she is as old as her siblings, all the while Ellery is glowing in pure pride and joy.

This is the stuff life is made of.


The Man Club: President and Side Kick

Meet the president of The Man Club.   Sometimes we refer to him as El Presidente.

...and his trusty side kick Honey, whom he admitted into the club.

Today you had to remove your shirt to be in the man club.  Typical man behavior.  I need to clarify to Emmett no more girls into his club.  It was supposed to be he and his dad.  But he said Honey really wanted to be a part.

(Yes.  You may have noticed, the president's nails are painted. Real men stuff.)


34 Years Young

 I spent the first 6 hours of my birthday in a serious funk (excluding the first hour during which I ran 6 miles in fairy wings and a feathery headband). There is just something about a birthday that brings out all the wrinkles, pounds, personality flaws, and motherly and wifely failures...

Mostly I just wanted to lay in bed and feel sorry for myself (which really only happens to me on my birthday).  Poor Brent was patient and thoughtful.   He even decorated the house with "ticket" streamers.  (I think we were out of crepe paper.)    You may remember the girls "blown up balloons" from last year.  It is always interesting to see what surfaces when it is mom's birthday.

Around 1 pm I finally got a grip and finished the day full of cheer.  The day after we celebrated and took the family out to breakfast, got a babysitter and Brent and I went to Park City.  It was a great birthday.


"Baca Baca!" Larisa

We had a call over Christmas which made us so sad.  Our sweet Larisa is done.  It is a good move forward for her as she is beginning nursing school.  She has been a wonderful part of our life for the last year and a half and we will miss her so much!

I don't know that the children can speak any Russian, but she was integral to our family functioning.  
Just 2 weeks ago my heart was so full as I watched Berkeley and Emmett just run and jump in her arms when she arrived.  Sighhh.  

Thank you Larisa!  We love you.