A Feast Without Leftovers

by Stefani on 12-July-2012

Thanks so much for the warm welcome back, y’all. It’s so good to be here again.

So, let’s get down to the business of catching up, shall we?

You might be wondering how I fell off the old blogging wagon for so long. Well, it all started with the Great Remodel, as we’ve come to call it.

That was two summers ago, and yet it lingers on. Among other eccentricities, we still have no doors (save for the outer ones). I know that might sound a little crazy, but it actually has its upsides. I know exactly what my boys are up to in their rooms and when I’m mean and awful and ruining their lives? They can’t slam their doors.

Somehow slamming your sheet doesn’t have the same effect, now does it?

When the remodeling commenced, I had a forced hiatus, and you know what happened? I grew to enjoy spending my evenings away from the computer. Sometimes I’d think that something or other would make a good blog post and then just as quickly I’d think, “well yes but… maybe a bowl of ice cream and an episode of Gilmore Girls might be more fun.”

And that would be that.

During my blogging hiatus I watched the entire 7 season run of Gilmore Girls, front to back.


Remember when we didn’t do TV? Oh how things have changed.

Still like me?

It wasn’t just the lazy evenings that kept me from blogging though. I grew to enjoy seeing friends or having dinner with my extended family and knowing that they didn’t already know all my stories. I could maybe even surprise them from time to time!

I grew to appreciate our anonymity too – – not ever worrying if some wackadoo somewhere had a wall in his bedroom papered with photos of my family.

I enjoyed not thinking about the business of blogging for a while – stressing over how a post would be received, or festering over a comment that hurt me. Will my readers like what I have to say? Will they feel slighted if I don’t answer every comment or visit every blog? Does this blog compare well to other blogs? How are my stats? Do I sell or not sell on my blog? Do I look like a flake if one year I’m kind of an unschooler and the next we’re classical educators? What will my kids think of all this when they’re grown???

On and on and on.

Blogging started to feel like a job, you know? Another thing to fret over.

And those kids of mine? They’re growing older. Clearly no one told them that older kids are supposed to be EASIER than toddlers. They aren’t. They need even more attention and love, guidance and understanding than ever before. The stakes are higher too. I will be straight with you, having older kids has been, and still is, an adjustment for me. I did NOT see that coming!

It is a wonderful blessing in some ways to have big kids. It’s nice to be able to read a book while they swim at the pool (glory!) and having truly thoughtful conversations with your own son is kind of surreal and amazing. Older children are challenging in other ways though. You have to know how to handle it when “all their friends” are allowed to do something that they aren’t, and how not to come unglued when their choice of entertainment, while not exactly BAD, makes your skin crawl.

You see, my men are becoming honest to goodness people, like with opinions and stuff. I actually have to honor their individuality and thoughts now. The nerve! I’ve got to be a be a bit of a gambler, put on my poker face, know when to hold ’em and… when to ground ’em.

Big kids are busier than toddlers too! They are involved with friends and sports and classes and lessons, all the stuff I kept at bay for as long as I possibly could while they were little. Along the way though, they learned about the world and all its charms and now they keep me running around from sun up to sun down. I am desperately, DESPERATELY, trying to find the balance between enrichment and exhaustion, letting them explore all the wonders within our reach, while protecting what little remains of the slow, sweet, simplicity that once was our family life. By the time night comes, I am DONE.

Blogging takes a back seat to SLEEP!

I missed this though. I missed the friends that I found here. I missed hearing from you, sharing with you, and laughing with other moms like me, caught up in the throws of raising up a bunch of wild ragamuffins.

Also, I don’t like that almost two years have slipped through my fingers. Sure, I have photos of the big stuff – the trips and holidays and recitals, but I feel like I’ve lost some of the special little things that make up our days. I’ve lost some real treasures:

– the way the oldest thought Bon Jovi was singing about “Living on a Prairie,”

– the way it felt to take our first Mama/Daddy only trip in 10 years,

– the way the littlest man sits in his drawers by the fire on winter mornings to warm his back and then runs to me saying “quick, have some toast with your coffee!”,

– the way I was ready to beat the Lego Robotics judges to smithereens for not crowning my amazing middle boy King of the Universe (or at least winner of the competition) and how he and I both learned that the joy is sometimes in the doing, if not the winning,

– the way our Daddy showed the boys that a geezer can still get it done at the skatepark

It just makes me sad to think of those things that I didn’t store up for later.

It’s okay though. In the words of that great troubadour of old (John Mayer), I didn’t have a camera by my side, so “I could see the world with both my eyes.”

It was a phase of life – just being in the moment, just enjoying what was without worrying at all about how to save it for later.

A feast without leftovers.

A bee doesn’t keep track of the number of flowers it’s visited, right? It just flies through all the days it can.

A flower doesn’t journal about the days it spent in bloom, does it? It just spreads its petals for as long as it can.

So while I don’t have the answers – I still don’t know whether it’s better to blog or not to blog- I do know that I am grateful for the friends that I made and the stories that I shared here. I am equally grateful for the time that I was quiet and for the experiences that I just lived without wondering how they would translate to a post.

What does that mean for the future? I don’t know exactly.

I’m going to feast,

and I’m going to buzz

and I’m going to bloom

and when I can?

I’d like to share it all with you.


Angela July 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm

I think that’s a pretty good deal. And you’re not kidding about older kids. Just today I found myself longing for a two year old instead of an eight year old!

Stefani July 12, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Lawsy, I hear that, but just you wait ’til he’s 11! I’m telling you sister, I was really unprepared for it getting HARDER. I guess people told me, but I really was just looking forward to the day when I didn’t have to watch ‘em every second, lest they run into traffic or stick their heads in a toilet. I didn’t consider the whole eye-rolling, “you just don’t understand me” thing that comes with preteens. It’s rough, because you’ve been there. You KNOW what that feels like. You understand that they are incapable of too much beyond self absorption but good Lord it does wear you down! And then, in the flutter of a bee’s wing they go and unload the dishwasher, or say something profound, or exhibit honest gratitude, or smile in that way that gives you a glimpse of the awesome men that they are becoming and you wouldn’t trade it for all the world. This parenting stuff… not for the faint of heart!

Holly C. July 12, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I did a double take when I saw Blue Yonder Ranch on my Google Reader. Welcome back and deal!

Pam July 12, 2012 at 7:16 pm


Jacinda July 12, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I get the whole to blog or not to blog inner conversation..and learning to just keep it in it’s place. I love the writing and documenting and sharing the wee moments that make up a lifetime but I sure would like some earlier nights 🙂

Amy J July 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Welcome back! I have missed you! Of course I’d love to see you more IRL too! I love your blog and live vicariously through your adventure filled days. And I am right there with you on the preteens. It’s getting really, really hard. I’m pretty sure it’s all part of God’s plan. ;oP I’ve hit a sweet spot with my 7yo (almost 8). He’s a squirrel, but he’s compliant, affectionate, funny, interesting, curious…just delicious in all ways. My just turning 12yo girl…not quite so delicious in all her moments. I do find the bright spots though, but there seem to be more hard ones and I am praying DAILY for God to give me a small dose of His grace. The bright spots with her are really great though, so I figure there is hope!

Mary Smith July 12, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Surprised and delighted to see you back! I felt privileged to see and hear little glimpses on facebook. It’s harder to find time to blog when I’m working more too, but can’t seem to give it up all together!

Janelle July 12, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Girl, you have a gift! I will take that deal. I wish you would put less pressure on yourself! Just do what YOU want to do when YOU want to do it. You will find the balance. I am sure of it. 🙂

And Honey…just wait ’til they are true teenagers! Lawd help us all!

Laura Nattinger July 12, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Doing a toddler and a tween at the same time (plus a couple thrown in the middle) is its own special brand of fun 🙂 You get all the homeschool activities and social needs and challenging conversations AND you get to change dirty diapers, clean up food thrown from the high chair, and wake up multiple times a night!

But, seriously, I loved this post. I didn’t read your blog before (since I didn’t know you), so I don’t know of what it used to be like. But I still liked what you had to say here, and how you captured that internal conflict so beautifully.

Will keep reading!

Barb July 13, 2012 at 1:13 am

I had to laugh when I read your post. I just finished my 2nd Gilmore Girls marathon! That show never gets old for me 🙂

Heather July 13, 2012 at 6:09 am

I am amazed at how much stored TV I can watch. I love flying thru seasons in the bat of an eye. Currently watching a little BBC. Love it. May need to check out Gilmore Girls.

You speak the truth about these little ones getting bigger. I inwardly laugh when someone comments on how it must be so much easier. Nope just different issues.

Love that you took this time. Missed you, but so glad you knew to take a moment to really see. I just blog for us. I sometimes think about getting bigger, but I worry too about it becoming a job and taking away.

Glad you are here at times.

Susie M July 13, 2012 at 11:51 am

(Jumping up and down!!) Absolutely!! So glad to see you in my blog roll again. I have truly missed your insights and perspective. I’ve checked back here so many times in those months and worried, actually worried, about you a little, too. Glad to hear it was mostly just life being BIG and blogging getting wearisome.

I have three boys myself…11, 14, and 18. Parenting them, homeschooling them, and finding some time for me just takes a lot of, um, time and energy. But it’s truly full in a good way, even though I feel tired when I wake up every morning!

And, now that you mention it, my blog’s definitely taken a back seat in the past two years to just living in the moment and not thinking about how precious this moment is and how can I capture it (in a photo or some thoughtful essay or both) to share with everyone on my blog! The moments have been lost to the ether, but then I did live them so ultimately they all add up.

Anyhow, glad to see you again and I have never held it against you that you went away from the blogosphere…hope you have a warm and beautiful day!

Pam - captured by our cameras July 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Oh happy day. What a treat to come back from vacation to see two posts from you. I did not give up hope that even after all this time I would one day find you in my reader.

Welcome back. You were missed.

April July 16, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I was just looking through some old photos from about two years ago. I noticed that the “bandana pants” that my son was wearing in the sandbox, are now bandana shorts….I’ve been making them for him for so long all thanks to you! I am so happy that you are back. As the mom to a boy turning 6 in less than a month, I so appreciated this post. While going from 5 to 6 is a bit different than say, 8 to 11 or 12, as it seems you have been experiencing, I teared up none the less. So very easy to relate to. I am so glad you are back and welcome you with open arms (no family pictures plastered on walls here, promise!) whenever you are so moved to blog and share with us!

Cassie July 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm

A very good deal indeed!

a July 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Just so glad to know that you and all your boys are well. Having recently finished an epic renovation (2+ years without a “real” kitchen), I understand all too well (and how is it that these tweens keep me busier than toddlers did?!?). But it would be fun to hear what you are up to once and a while, and I’m super grateful that your silence was not because of sorrows!

kelli July 31, 2012 at 9:51 pm

“A feast without leftovers.”
love that.

welcome back:)

Sarah @ Amongst Lovely Things August 4, 2012 at 12:46 am

Deal, deal, DEAL!

Buzz away. We’re all just happy you’re going to tell us about the buzzing when you can. I have been thinking long and hard about the balance of life and blogging and babies and big kids and all things in between. Your words make so much sense to me.

Welcome back. 🙂 You were missed.

Michelle August 9, 2012 at 8:08 am

I don’t even know how I found out you were blogging again but I am glad I did!

leslie August 10, 2012 at 8:25 am

hello dear friend!! i haven’t been blogging much either these days and for sure haven’t been reading blogs like i used to. i just happened to think of you this morning and what a surprise to read this post! welcome back and YES older kids are a whole new world! we just took a huge family trip to italy and i must say, all that family time was enlightening. my kids are little humans now, ha ha! xo

Eren August 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Hi friend…I love that you say Lawsy…just like my Aunt (Aint) Betty. Love to you. Wine phone date soon? xxooxxoo

Shirley Wall August 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Hello – I have never commented on your blog before but have sure missed reading your posts! Thanks for coming back! Shirley in Washington

Jill August 31, 2012 at 9:15 am

I’m so glad you’re back whenever you’re back for whatever it feels right to say. A record is a record and it is yours. Thank you for sharing it with us. I’ve missed your perspective. Bloom away.

kristin August 31, 2012 at 9:15 am

I completely get everything you’ve written with such a nice style btw. (It’s funny cuz’ I have been into that t.v. show too.) This business of having older kids isn’t as easy as when they were younger. And, blogging is weird and confusing at times. But, I have to say that what you write has content and substance and I like it very much.

Lisa Clarke September 4, 2012 at 6:50 pm

I so get this. My blogging rhythm looks nothing like it did five years ago. My boys at 9 and 12 have far more privacy concerns than they did at 4 and 7. And, let’s face it, they’re just not as cute to blog about when they’re pre-teens, LOL!

So, I still blog, but I lean more on the stories of what *I* am doing, than the stories of what *we* are doing. And I keep the posts shorter and sweeter than I used to. And I give myself permission to post once a week if I feel like it, instead of once a day.

Anyway, I’m glad you’re back, in whatever capacity that ends up being! 🙂

Dana September 7, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Deal 🙂
I don’t know that I spent much time here before, or maybe I did just before you went offline. After reading this post, I’m sure I’d like to visit again.

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