Dear Ben

Phew, the littlies are off to school. Between combing hair and lunches and spilt milk, I always feel like I deserve a gold star for getting them out the door on time.

You haven’t been here for the “Mary factor” in the mornings. Oh it’s fun. Up until this year she just mewed underfoot or slept in during the a.m. chaos, but now it’s pure drama as she and Xander (who are WAY too much alike) find something to quarrel over. Sneaky little Gabe silently eats his breakfast, then curls up like a potato bug on the couch, praying that I won’t notice that he’s neither practiced, showered nor changed his shirt since last week.

Sniffling and frowning, little Pinkywink put two fingers on her face this morning and complained. “I hate these ugly things.” Someone had suggested to her that moles only belong on witches faces; I had no choice but to interrupt piano practice to Google photos of Marilyn Monroe and her famous beauty marks.

I heart moles.

A fair amount of the morning is spent on homework (and signing those ridiculous reading charts) and since there’s never enough math work for Dad’s taste he’s been supplementing with his famous workbooks.



His new favorite saying (stolen from Segullah)– “The world expects you to be able to read and write. You get paid to do math.” I think he wants me to calligraph it over the kitchen table.

By far, Dad’s favorite calculation these days is “five thousand dollars, five thousand dollars.” That’s his estimated savings for staining the house ourselves and what he chants while hanging out of windows, teetering on ladders and masking off beams. Every neighbor who passes by inquires if his life insurance is up to date– let’s hope that doesn’t become part of the equation.


Stefan both survived and thrived at his first formal dance on Saturday. Doesn’t he look lovely? Apparently, he didn’t proffer enough details afterward because one little brother strolled up to Stefan’s cute date the next day and asked, “Did you have fun? Did he kiss you?”

Ah, don’t you miss having younger siblings around?

I’d better go clear the wreckage in the kitchen. Sadly (as you well know), my hours of work are undone in five minutes once the wild ones come home. Think! If I could just let it go I’d have time to write novels and play guitar and conquer the world!

Even with my best efforts we have a swarm of fruit flies hovering over the sink. I’ve turned half my vases into homemade fly traps (I’ll spare you photos) but they are still everywhere– boldly perching on my waterbottle, clinging to the bathroom mirror as they admire their evil beady red eyes. I’ll welcome the frost just to kill off these invaders.

Be safe and happy; don’t leave ripe fruit on the counter.

Much love,


September 9, 2010
September 17, 2010



  1. Rachelle

    September 14, 2010

    Sigh… I just love your updates on the fam. And, good job for googling Marilyn Monroe. Smart! :o) The photo of Stefan & his date is adorable. Thanks for sharing your life. You already ARE conquering the world, Michelle. In SO many ways.

  2. Ben

    September 14, 2010

    marilyn monroe isn’t the only famously beautiful person with moles.

  3. Sue

    September 15, 2010

    Your son and his date are adorable. And I like the moles!


  4. Sara Jane

    September 15, 2010

    I’m so glad that someone else has fruit fly problems. I thought I was the only one!

    Love your pictures.

  5. Tracy

    September 15, 2010

    I love these letters to Ben. What a treasure. Like you are.

  6. Jan Russell

    September 15, 2010

    Oh Stefan and his date look BEAUTIFUL! And I totally hear you on the reading logs…thank goodness no one audits those things, because if I forget for a couple days I have to just guesstimate what H. has been reading and for how long.

  7. annie

    September 15, 2010

    Reading Records are the WORST! Especially when you have lots of kids….I am seriously considering telling the teachers we thank them for their efforts but we will skip the reading records this year!

  8. martha corinna

    September 15, 2010

    I have fruit flies too.

    I want a Ben someday.

  9. jenjamin

    September 15, 2010

    you are just too cute! I don’t even know you… really… but I feel like i do. Thanks for your sweet words. So cute.

    Also… fruit flies are my nemesis! Here is Austin where temps are mild we have them bad if you are not careful. They lay their larva in your pipes and once you have them they are very difficult to rid, as I am sure you already know. I will tell you a trick that has worked great! Believe me we have tried everything!!! I make a little dish out of foil and place their favorite ripe foods on it. Strawberries, cantaloupe, banana with a drop of apple cider vinegar and place it in the oven. I shut the oven door just so I can slide a pencil in to jar it open. Then I forget about it for a few hours, go run errands whatever. When I come home I hurry and pull the pencil and push broil. They have no chance. It is cruel but it works. Then of course I have be to careful with the fruit lying around. Good luck, I feel your pain.

    Did I already say I love you. You are such a sweet person and am inspired every time I check in.

    Good Day!

  10. Selwyn

    September 16, 2010

    You are amazing.

    [Repeat loop x 1110 billion squared]

  11. Cath

    September 17, 2010

    I love your letters. Can I join your family?

    I just harvested our lone peach branch. Two bowls of peaches are sitting on the counter – ripe. Looks like I should make cobbler tomorrow, yes?

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