Category Archives: Abby June

My children do not listen.

Put your seatbelt on, grab your shoes, you’ll lose that trinket if you yell out again. Brush your teeth, stop itching, you cannot draw on the furniture- again.

My children do not listen.

It is warm out side, wear shorts. It is cold outside, grab  your coat. You are going too fast, you are going to slow, you’re going to get hurt. Where is your helmet?

My children do not listen.

Dinner is in an hour, your dad is at work, your cousins are camping. We’ve gone over this a thousand times- today.

My children do not listen.

It has become my silent mantra: my children do not listen. When I’m making dinner, when I’m re-finding shoes, when I’m driving and solving the world’s problems: MY CHILDREN DO NOT LISTEN. A marching beat. A rhythm. An excuse and explanation.

I’m not saying it’s beautiful. I’m just… saying.

They could not hear me saying it, but no doubt they could feel it. Kids feel exasperation. It is perhaps the emotion they are most in-tune with, amen? Somewhere deep inside I thought, “I am bigger than this. I can change this.” My thoughts and self-talk and episodes have always run on their own power… but what if, for once, I could turn it around? What if I could actually change my mind? And so the next time those words ran across my inner screen, I molded them into a different story.

My children, do not listen. 

Do not listen to those who will tell you’re too little, too small, too young. You are exactly the right size, age, and character to do AMAZING THINGS.

My children, do not listen.

Do not listen to the silence of fear begging you to stay behind. Seek out the lonely, wear the striped stockings, hug your family. Grow. Laugh loudly. Cry earnestly. Love fiercely. It is not safe, but that is not reason to stand still. Wear a helmet.

My children, do not listen.

Ignore the hesitation that comes with change. Push onward, push out. The view up ahead is fantastic, and it will not come to you. You have to run, skip, and jump to it!

My children, do not listen.

Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you? That is a lie. Bones heal. Words seep into the cracks and grow into insecurity, chronic bruises. Words stick. So, you choose your words carefully. You make them beautiful and big and heart-felt. Strong and true and soft. You will never regret being kind, and you will never hurt irreparably by speaking love.

My children, do not listen.

The world will shower you with comparison and doubt. But you ARE enough. You are exactly enough.

I can do this.

I can change the words.


Thursday’s vacation postcard

The Mulders are making their way through Maine with a mini-van, a trailer, and a tent. Let us pray for the Northeast, amen? There’ll be a postcard here each day this week.


It is becoming increasingly clear that, of the three children in our family, it is Abby (the youngest) who we need to keep an eye on.

She’s crazy.

If you know anything about the other two children, this should make you hit your knees now.


Wednesday’s vacation postcard

The Mulders are making their way through Maine with a mini-van, a trailer, and a tent. Let us pray for the Northeast, amen? There’ll be a postcard here each day this week.


My children.

Not a sane one in the bunch.

kids collage

I’m not kidding.

In the year of our Lord, 2013, on the 10th day of the 6th month,

(Monday, People. This past Monday.)

I loaded my children in the van and headed West.

After 35 minutes of bliss tempered by Babe on the DVD, we stopped at Meijer to buy a gift. Our friends, you see, had just returned from a land far, far away with a new babe and were in need of a highchair. I offered our own, but an evening of Abby throwing spaghetti quickly solidified her need of meal-time restraint for a few months more.

A NEW high chair, we all squealed! It will be a surprise!

Now, you are aware that Meijer is frequently the setting for Mulder miracles-

there was the incident with the fish,

and then the lady in the parking lot,

and who can forget Pam?

This morning would prove no different.


There were 2 choices: a minor choice and a major choice… and I left it up to the eldest. “Which do you pick, Rylie? Which one should we bring?”

She, of course, picked the major choice… because she is of my genes.

At the checkout, the kind teller rang up our purchases: the highchair, 2 bags of m&ms, a box of baby wipes (ABBY JUNE) and some emergency bananas. He sang out my total.

I tilted my head.

“Erm… did you beep the highchair in the cart here? I didn’t put it on the conveyor belt.”

“I did.”

*blank stare*

“Well, can I just see the receipt to make sure?”

He smiled and turned his monitor to face me. “See? Right here. Looks like it’s on sale. For basically nothing.”

“Yes and thank you. We’ll be seeing you in heaven.”

And off we went, with our beautiful brand-new gift for a beautiful, new-to-them baby starting a beautiful, brand-new life with a beautiful, lovely family.

Meijer, sometimes you are magic.

Gus Man

We passed on the gift (and m&ms) with much, MUCH glee and were quickly on our way back to the farm. As a reward for 2 hours of driving plus a trip to the grocery store, I pulled into McDonalds to let my herd frolic on the play land. It was a remarkable day, after all, and the kids were doing so very well.

Until they weren’t.

Until Gideon ripped off his socks and stuffed them down the webbing holes of the tunnel, never to be seen again.

Until Abby grabbed my Coke and poured it on herself.

Until Rylie decided she would take another girl’s shoes home.

Until Gideon told her she couldn’t.

Until Rylie smacked him with the force of an undiscovered fly-weight.

Until Gideon bit her on the arm and bolted through the emergency door in the play land, initiating a piercing BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! and lockdown sequence for all the lucky customers.

People, I did not even flinch. I grabbed all three shoeless children by their collars and marched them out to the van, alarms still flaring in the background.

Ry and Coco

I locked Abby in her seat. I nudged Gideon to GET MOVING, and his little legs began to climb in the van.

Which exposed his superhero undies waistband at eye-level with Rylie.

Who instinctively and with the vengeance of a girl scorned, bit him squarely on the butt.


Oh, we are not finished.

Before I could summon Jesus to return, my eldest pulled away from her brother’s buns in fear… because her mouth was pouring blood.

What is this madness, you ask?

Quite simple, Friends.


Her wiggly tooth that had been tormenting her for days… the tooth came out as she bit her brother. And so, she wailed.

We cannot go back inside to use the restroom because, well, see above. We can only go home. We can only go home- a mother, stoic, with her 3 whimpering children in the backseats.

We can only go home and THINK ABOUT WHAT WE’VE DONE for a good, long time.


Let us mark that establishment as yet another parking lot we shall never grace again.

Happy weekend to you, Dears.

May your socks be dry and your drinks strong.

day 2

Don’t forget: Mamma’s Best recipes are due by this Friday.   

No words this week, just pictures. Simple, sweet pictures of life here on the farm.



Abby June, 16 months

she’s a cereal, she’s a cereal, she’s a cereal girl


mirror, mirror

abby's eyes

She crawls to the hallway mirror every day, every hour… to peek.

It’s stunning, really.  She giggles at that Little looking back at her.  She jabbers away to herself… kissin’ and high-fivin’ and smilin’ at the pretty, toothless, chubby girl looking back. I see you, Sweet Girl, and you are gorgeous.

I don’t know when exactly it all changes. Maybe junior high. Maybe earlier, now. But that sweet joy of seeing your reflection? It disappears somewhere in between high chairs and bus stops. We notice our friend’s clothes, we feel awkward in our skin, we want what others have. It is as certain as the sun rising… we women will struggle.  We will be discontent and disillusioned, and over time the reflection becomes something to fix. Something that is not funny.  Our eyes, they have changed.

Then maybe we make some amazing friends who make us feel normal, awesome, beautiful again.  We remember that everyone’s different for a reason, that the internet and magazines are impossible, that we look like our grandmother… and we like it.  We begin a new journey of acceptance and repair.

Then maybe we have children… you actually grow life within you… and our body changes to make it work- everything from the tips of our hair to the shape of our hips. We grow children and we find ourselves, again, confused with the reflection and the wardrobe and the image staring back. Our eyes, they are fickle.

For now, for such a sweet little time… her reflection is pure joy.

Let me remember this time… this sweet, sweet time… when that reflection was right and perfect and the best part of every day. And let me remind her, when the image fades and feelings get cloudy, that she is beautiful and eyes are tricky.  People are tricky.  Sight is tricky.

Best to look with the heart, as He does, and remember that all is as it should be. And, it is good.

1 Samuel 16:7

The Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

the week the fever came


It started Friday morning with a 5am cough/gag wake-up call from Ry. You mammas know.  That sound right there will wake you from a dead-sleep and send you running for beach towels and Lysol.  The gagging ceased, thankfully, and Ry was parked on the couch with movies and a blanket. She slept most of the morning and was decent by nightfall.


Saturday morning, Ry’s fever was back with a vengeance. We cancelled her ride at the Holiday Horse Show (with many tears) as well as Abby’s family birthday party. By Saturday night, my back was sore and my neck was… weird… and I knew it was coming for me.


By Sunday morning, I was sure I was near death. Every muscle hurt and the heat radiating through my body rivaled a Texas August. Curt took Abby and Gus Man to church and left Ry and I to sleep it off.  My fever broker by noon, but I was left utterly defeated and desperate for my mother.


Bright and early Monday morning, Ry was ready for the bus. I agreed to pick her up at half-day to ease her back in to the real world of the living. Gideon slept through the night and until 11am when we left to pick Ry up. I doubt he remembers the trip. He never left his pjs all day and said only two words: “hold hand.” And so, I did.

Curt came home to frozen subs for dinner and mentioned he wasn’t feeling so hot.  Ry put herself to bed at 6pm.


This is the day Ridiculous moves in.

Tuesday morning greeted us with a re-run fever for Rylie Girl, full-blown fever for Curt, recovery gross-ness for me. When Curt emerged from the bedroom for crackers, I bolted outside to the fresh air and stole 15 minutes to feed the Abe, the cows, and chickens.  My effort was rewarded with puke near Abe’s bowl and a peacefully deceased (I swear, it was the fever) chicken in the coop.

I began to think someone was out to get me.

Ry: spent the day watching movies on my pillow in my bed with her dad

Gus Man: whirling at 75% of regular tornado speed, fell asleep 5pm- for the entire night

Abby: absolutely fine… until she puked at 9am. Then, not so fine. At all.


Ry: really decent. Ready for school Thursday.

Gideon: above average; attitude leaves much to be desired

Abby: puke, fever, puke, then no puke and no fever; successfully feeds herself noodles for lunch, chatting at kitties by dinner

Curt: awesome cough but otherwise ok besides feeling like he’d been hit by a truck

Me? I’m ok.  I’m really ok.  I can’t breathe super great and nothing sounds good to eat, but I’m ok.  I just need all these people to get out of my house.  There is not enough blessed room or couch or bathroom for us all to be sick at the same time. There is not. I will not do it again. 

*runs to room, slams door*


I hope, dear friends, that your family is well in both body and spirit.

May you ever be on the mend.

Abby is 1

[update, for posterity’s sake: doctor’s visit at 1 year = 27.5″ tall (6%) and 17.5 pounds (14%)… you’re still a little bird!]


Oh, Abby June.

If you just aren’t a peach of a thing!  Lawd, Child… who knew kid number 3 would be so normal?  Saturday, you turned 1… which seems impossible, but it’s true. We call you Muppet and Abby-O.  While you’re a happy little girl, you are not easy to impress… possibly because there is a constant 3-ring circus surrounding you. We have to WORK to get you to giggle, and we do- because it’s worth it.  You have some serious hair, hazel eyes, and an extremely kissable mouth. My favorite thing that you do is this “Oooooooo” thing, where you’re half singing, half excited.


See what I mean? Those lips.  I love them.

You are extremely quick. Rylie learns things over time and repetition. Gus Man tries and tries until he succeeds by brute force. You, on the other hand, you study something and then move forward with quiet confidence.  Wanna climb stairs? Sure. How ’bout we just do all 20 the first time and without a problem? Hear us talking at dinner? Why not just repeat what we’re saying? No big deal. Only have 2 teeth? Whatever. Bring on the solid food. I’ve no doubt you’ll be walking soon.  (All three kiddos crawled at 9 months.  Ry walked at 23 months; Gideon walked at 15 months. Care to make a guess for Abby? Pick a date.  Curt said February 2.)

You fill in all our gaps.

I have traveled with you twice alone… just me and you on planes, checking out the world and visiting family.  You can handle skipping naps, altitude changes, multiple time zones, and extremely attentive puppies.  You are not afraid to cry and be heard, though the noise of the rest of the family often drowns you out. It was so fun, both trips, to just BE with you. Only you. You are hilarious and easy.Abby is 1

That last picture… you holding the giraffe?  Makes me laugh so. hard.  You are 100% personality.

You’re still only giving us 6 hours of consecutive sleep overnight, which- what’s up with that? You’re a great morning and afternoon napper.  I think at night you get into some serious routines because you wake at the same time every night and demand an audience.  We’d just let you figure out life, but, Child, you are our angriest crier.  By far.  AND, you’re directly under our bedroom, which makes you impossible to ignore at 4:22 am.  Let’s work on that, ok?

You sleep in the laundry room. Yes in the unfinished half of the basement with Abe and the washer and dryer and boxes of hand-me-down clothing. We’ve pushed this little shoe-box of a house to its very limits of space.  There is just no more room. Anywhere.  And, since all of you kids have completely different sleep schedules, sharing a bedroom with Gideon (mister night owl and world’s lightest sleeper) or Ry (asleep by 7pm, up before God) is just not an option.  The reality is, you couldn’t care less.  The bunk-beds are waiting for you, though… as soon as you’re ready.

You’re the littlest and our last.  I could watch you for hours… just growing and making faces and living life.  I love you, Abby June.



1. iPhones iBreak when they fall out of your pocket and under the blade of a brush hog.

2. Ry’s IEP is this week, and I am nervous.  I want it to be easy. I don’t want to cry. I am so tired of crying in front of people I don’t know.  It’s hard to convince people you’re a stable person when all you do is cry.

3. Last week the Mulders had 3 flat tires in 4 days on 2 different vehicles. Gus and secret pocket full of nails was responsible for 2 of them. He is alive because he is cute.

4. Saturday night, TexasNorth had 80 Young Life kids and leaders camp out under the stars in the back pasture.  They ate on our porch, loved on my kids, and rode the hay wagon like pros.  It is in those fine, fine moments that I know we are in the right place at the right time.

6. This week we have a hayride on Friday and a black-tie gala on Saturday.

7. I would rather just have the hayride.

8. In the 15 minutes I’ve been writing this post, the toilet has flushed 6 times.  Gus and I are the only ones home, and Gus is not potty trained. He is alive because he is cute.

9. Rylie said ‘pizza’ this weekend… and it wasn’t hard.  Thankful for strange and wonderful surprises like that after months of nothing.

10.  Abby rocks a pompom hat like nobody’s business.

the other 2

This week has been a breath of fresh air.  Tuesday’s launch of the special-needs group I’m co-hosting with Kaylee was/is unbelievable.  The response and community already forged is simply, well, simply a God-send.  Thank you for cheering us on!  I consider you here my anchors, and it means the world to me that you yell and scream and cry and laugh… or just sit… when I need it most.  Thank you.

Now that Ry is away from home at Big School every day, I’ve had a little more time to be with the young’ins.  Oh, man… they are cute.   It has been strange to do half-days and full-days without Ry shadowing our every move, but it has been such a blessing to get to know these kids better.  We are still trying to find a rhythm between errands and naps and food, but things are beginning to fall in place.

Here’s Abby at 9.5 months and 17 pounds of sweet.  She likes to dig in Rylie’s kitchen while Big Sister is away.  Abby is crawling like a maniac and singing to beat the band.  This child, she is going to be our heartbreaker.   She is completely different in temperament and personality from the other two.  God is so creative.


And, here’s Gus Gus at 2.5 years, 32 pounds of brute.  Gideon’s life right now is about trucks, B (the bear), AND HARRY the barn cat who is not allowed inside… do you see the guilt on that face? Lawd, I could just eat him. Harry puts up with a lot from Gus, as you can tell.


Sometimes, we even find time to clean off the counter top and make cookies.  This summer, Rylie’s day camp had a cooking class came home with this recipe.  It’s hands-down the best thing I’ve tried in ages… and I’m not even a cookie fan.  It must be the shortening.  I don’t know.  They’re incredible   I can’t tell where the recipe originated, but the nuns use it every year, so I’m calling them Blessed Cookies 🙂 Gideon likes to have them with a side of blocks and trucks.

Bless-ed Cookies

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup nuts

Preheat oven to 375 °.

Cream shortening, sugars, egg, and vanilla.  Sift dry ingredients together and then add to creamed mixture.  Mix well.  Add chocolate chips and nuts.

Baked on a greased cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes.

Have a great weekend, Folks!

We love you here at TexasNorth.