Russia, Jerusalem, a baby duckling, Legos and 2048

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Yes, I’m sure many of you gave and received some fabulous Mother’s Day gifts last weekend, but really, can anything compete with a baby duckling?

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If you talk to anyone in our family, prepare to hear the saga of Mary finding the tiny duckling under our trampoline Saturday afternoon. And don’t be surprised when we shift into gooey baby talk– because, seriously, have you ever seen a baby duckling race across the kitchen floor? The way they half run, half fly and peep louder and louder as they pick up speed? Erik’s more enamored than anyone else and races to our bathtub (where we are now housing four chicks and a duckling) to coo and chirp and ask, “How was your day, Clementine? Are you happy? Did you get enough to eat? Want to go for a run?”

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Despite Clementine’s obvious charms, the highlights of Mother’s Day were early morning phone calls from Jerusalem and Skyping with Stefan in Kurgan, Russia. It wasn’t a great connection– as you can see by the screen shot– but hearing his voice, watching his face break into a smile and laughing together is a rare pleasure. One of my favorite moments was his Russian companion pushing has face in front of the screen to say, “You have the best son in the whole world! We all love him.”

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Stefan’s first question for us was, “Is Mary still a little girl?”

I answered, “She’s sitting in my lap wearing a princess nightgown and holding a duckling; she’s still a little girl.” A little girl who rollerblades through our kitchen.

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And from Ben and his friends in Jerusalem. But I get to talk to Ben all the time (or send him random texts or emails)– and I must say it’s much better than Skyping twice a year. At midnight “Mom, what’s the name of that book you really love by the Jewish author with the really lame cover?”

The Ladies Auxiliary by Tova Mirvis. Don’t be fooled by the lame title. You’ll love it.”

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After years of feeling disappointed that my family doesn’t buy Mother’s Day gifts I’ve stumbled upon the secret– be slightly demanding. I’ve always said, “Oh no, you don’t need to get me anything.” while secretly hoping their love for me would override my protestations. And you know.. all that insecurity…. I’m not really worth it…

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but I realized, I’m not simply asking for gifts and attention for myself, I’m training five future husbands to make an effort for their wives. I don’t want the mothers of my grandchildren to feel unappreciated or unloved. I told them I didn’t care what they bought or made or wrote… just do something.

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The spoils. I really do love my new Lego set, just as much as the chocolates.

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But I did need LOTS of help putting the Legos together (while I don’t need any help with the chocolate, thanks).

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a post-church photo (note baby Clementine in Xander’s hand)

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This feels like a good time for a chick update. They’re going through their awkward stage. Don’t make fun. Well, you can if you want. We’re counting the days until we can move them out of our tub and into the yard.

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almost done…

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Finally, after bacon cheeseburgers for dinner (I told them to cook anything they wanted), the boys settled down for chess while I tackled 2048 on my phone.
For the past six weeks I’ve scoffed at their 2048 addiction, declaring I couldn’t possibly find it interesting because I don’t like wasting my time…..  and then I tried it. And it’s fabulous.
Sometimes, the boys really do know best.
p.s. but the minute I hit 2048 I’m never playing it again. Pinky promise.



  1. Lizzie

    May 16, 2014

    My baby is named Clementine 🙂 love it!

  2. chococatania

    May 16, 2014

    I downloaded, played, deleted, then redownloaded, played, and deleted 2048!!! AHHHH!

    Our most recent addiction is a game called lava run. Of course, this is a game that my husband developed…
    If you decide to download and play, make sure that you rate it and unlock the secret Dino Big Hair Pack! Fun!

  3. annie

    May 16, 2014

    Love the Lego set!

  4. Anita Wells

    May 16, 2014

    My Mother’s Day gift from a teenage daughter was a personalized ancestral version of 2048–she combined both of our hobbies 🙂

  5. tracy

    May 16, 2014

    SOOOO addicted to 2048. Eloise has gotten much higher. I’m still cursing and stuck on 1024 DANG IT! xo

  6. Selwyn

    May 18, 2014

    Lovely duckie, and family shots (of course!)

    Hatro got me stuck on 2014, and I’m yet to beat it.. he’s on some crazy high number!

  7. Anne Marie

    May 21, 2014

    Happy mother’s day to a radiant, love and truth filled woman who continues to inspire through word and picture! Thank you again and again for sharing your life’s work with us

  8. Linda

    May 26, 2014

    Beautiful series of photos!

  9. Claudia Nielson

    June 3, 2014

    I love your beautiful pictures and your sentiments, as always. Now I just noticed that one of my kids downloaded 2048 on my phone. Do I dare open it? Hmmm. Miss you dear friend <3

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