The Quickening: From Baby to High School Graduate in Sixty Seconds

time moves in one direction memory quote

The quickening.

It’s what the pregnancy books call the moment when a soon-to-be mom is physically aware of the movements of her baby.




I remember a bubbly effervescence, a tiny tapping, a feeling akin to little butterflies launching.

From that first motion on, parenthood became a quickening too. A series of moments accelerating. Too. Fast.

My daughter is moving at warp speed. One minute she’s appearing on an ultrasound screen, a bouncy, blurry greyness that I hardly could believe was real.

The next minute she’s graduating from high school. This week. Now. (Pass me the tissues.)

We tried to slow her down, if only for a minute, capturing memories on our front porch that first day of Kindergarten–and every first day of school since.

c kindergarten_opt

c first grade_opt

c second grade_optfirst day school third grade_opt

first day school fourth grade_opt

first day of school fifth grade_opt

first day of school sixth grade_opt

first day of school seventh grade_opt

first day of school eighth grade_opt

first day of school ninth grade_opt

first day of school tenth grade_opt

first day of school eleventh grade_opt

senior high school graduation_opt

 Taking her own photo on the porch.


It all seems just a little too soon.


What’s flying by too fast for you? And does anyone have access to a time machine?


Have a SWEET week,

Coleen xo

Habit is What Keeps You Going

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
~Jim Rohn


A couple of days ago I stood next to the kitchen counter peeling a banana. I dropped the peel–and the stringy banana “hairs”– into our compost container.

Then, without thinking, I broke off the end–a.k.a. the butt of the banana– and added it to the pile.

I have no problem with the banana butt. But my son always has. When he was younger he wouldn’t eat a banana unless I broke off the ends. The ends grossed him out.

My kids are teenagers now, still under my care, but it’s different. For the most part, there’s less micro-managing (I say for the most part, because somehow I can still hear my echo of have you emptied the dishwasher yet?)

But it’s not uncommon to see me filling their glasses half full at the dinner table, a nod to the days when my kids were too old for sippee cups, but not so old that they weren’t prone to spilling.

Leftover habits, lingering. Happily. Because every time I catch myself in one of these random mommy flashbacks, I smile.


It’s definitely the kind of habit that can keep me going.

Kind of like a dangling banana butt.

What are your happy habits? 

Have an awesome week,


Up for fun posts and cool pictures? Check out author, Patricia aka Jansen Schmidt. You may learn what a Xebec is, if you don’t already know. 🙂


**If you enjoyed this post, you can subscribe to receive my new posts straight to your inbox. Just add your email in the space at the top of the right sidebar under my photo.

Happily Wrinkled in Time

This week my daughter and I hit the road for another college visit, but this time around we went to my (and my husband’s) alma mater.

So surreal.

We walked the campus and I pointed out the sights, each turn awakening old memories as if Zeus had bellowed, Release the Kracken!

Because I relayed my ancient stories as we roamed the student center and shopped in the bookstore.  I showed her the places her dad lived, where I lived and even the chinese restaurant that we loved.

I was surprised to see it.  So much had changed, renovations, new buildings, me.

Seeing it anchored me back in reality, and I thought:

How is it possible that 20 years have passed since I graduated from college?

coleen happy college graduate_opt

So happy to graduate.  So clueless about my smooth skin.


The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.

~Madeleine L’Engle


Okay so I have some wrinkles, but according to Madeleine L’Engle they are evidence–evidence of not only titan clashes, but of ages that I am happy to carry with me.

coleen happy big sister _opt

Like becoming a big sister for the first time.

coleen happy big sister again _opt

And again.

coleen happy big sister yet again _opt

And again. 🙂

Even if I don’t remember it all, I can see I was happy.

It’s with me.

coleen happy siblings opt

What ages are you happy to keep with you?


The Power to Go Back

Happy Groundhog Day!

Let’s put aside for a moment Punxsutawney Phil and the science of shadow forecasting.

Instead, picture Bill Murray, an alarm clock and the sounds of “I got you babe.”

Because I’m rewinding time and starting over–all the way back to penny candy and sun bonnets.  Well, sort of.

Let’s go back to the beginning of my blog and see.




I loved Little House on the Prairie when I was a kid, so reading Wendy McClure’s book, The Wilder LifeMy Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie was like catching up with dear friends.

In fact I was reminded how much LHOP played a role in my own life as I remembered along with Wendy about bonnets,  Plum Creek, the sod house, and above all the spunky, carefree, adventurous spirit that was Laura.



I did too.  I admired Laura’s pluck, her spunk, her spirit.

Once when someone commented that I looked like the Mary from the television show, I actually felt insulted.  Okay so my hair was blonde and I was the oldest of four siblings, but I did not want to be the bossy, know-it-all (although that characteristic probably fit too).  I just wanted to be carefree and adventurous, like Laura.

But I felt a kinship with both girls for many reasons.  After all, I knew what it was like to share a bed with your sister, and to move a lot (my dad was in the Coast Guard).  Plus, I think we were the last family to buy a color TV (1984!!).    We were practically a frontier family.

prairie family coleen patrick


Don’t let my parents fool you–they may have dressed the part, but they did not appreciate my attempt to clear out our backyard shed to make my very own prairie house (not even after I dressed my youngest sister in prairie garb to complete the effect).

 And twelve years later, my mom would bring this hat as a gift for my first child, so I wonder if maybe that gift was less my LHOP sensibility and more of my mother’s, as evidenced in the following baby picture of me :

baby Coleen Patrick bonnet_opt




I think the best thing I learned from LHOP was that the simplest things make us happy, like those jars of penny candy in the Olson’s store, or a retweet or a yummy grilled cheese sandwich (even if nowadays it has to be gluten and dairy free).

Even seeing a pile of freshly picked cucumbers from our tiny garden gives me some sort of odd, geeky, perhaps prairie thrill.  But it’s the stressful times that really bring out “my bad, prairie self”, because that’s when I find myself longing to burrow deep into some mythical cabin in the woods.  My sister E and I call this my Grizzly Woman status (she even gifted me a grizzly bear keychain).

The good thing is you don’t have to go all the way to Walnut Grove to experience LHOP nostalgia.  All you need is a little connection, like reading Wendy’s book or re-reading the LHOP series.  Because of course we always carry the power to go home within ourselves, right?  Like Glinda the Good Witch said (to another girl from a Midwestern prairie), “You’ve always had the power to go back . . .”

It’s as simple as clicking your (bare foot) heels.

What simple things make you happy?

I’d love to know!