Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Drum roll please . . . .

Quadruple Life is moving!

Don't be alarmed my dear friends and family, this great blog format I've been using for the last several years, (first with "BabyHautala.blogspot" and now with "QuadrupleLife.blogspot") has simply outgrown its ability to provide the groundwork and format for everything I want to be writing about.

Welcome,please, http://www.lifeontheinside.org

Everything you have enjoyed about QuadrupleLife (and MUCH MORE) can be found at my new site. Even this blog, in the same format, complete with an RSS feed, is there (under MomLife, at the top of the navigation bar).

Please feel free to transision with me as I phase out my use of blogger's template and begin blogging at my new location. Thank you for your faithful readership. I LOVE hearing from you!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I'm suppose to be doing taxes right now.
But I'm not.
I'm not because I hate, HATE numbers. They have absolutely no personality, always say exactly the same thing, and come in only two colors—red and black.

Quickbooks and I have a love/hate relationship and I am currently swinging more towards the hate side of it. Hence this post, which is actually a form of procrastination. Delightful, wordy procrastination.

Ok. *sighs* I feel a little better. I've typed something besides numbers now for the last several minutes. *flexes brain to check for permanent damages related to number processing* Back to Quickbooks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Where toes grow . . .

I'm not a regular visitor to our hometown fleet supply store, mostly because I'm not always in need of the more industrial-natured goods the place carries. But today I was. On the list: chicken feed, numerous light bulbs, and a variety of batteries. As it seemed to make reasonable sense to limit my stops, Fleet Farm was my "one stop shop" for the afternoon.
With Caleb and Ella bundled and buckled in the back seat, I reviewed my list and our destination with my son.

Me: " . . . so we can get all the things we need at Fleet Farm . . ."
Caleb: "Fleet Farm?"
Me: "Yep, Fleet Farm."
Caleb: *Long pause* "Fleet Farm?"
Me: "Adjusting rear-view mirror to look at him* "Yes. Fleet Farm."
Caleb: *In a small uncertain voice* "Are we going to Toes Farm too?"
Me: *Dies laughing.*

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An Owl Moon night

(Illustration Credit)

Caleb could not sleep tonight. 10pm and my three-and-a-half-year-old son was still up bouncing around in his bedroom.

Frustration quickly crept in around my heart.
Ok, I though. Two choices: Let this be one more "bad mommy" moment, or do something cool instead. Deep breath and grace poured in. Something cool.

I took the stairs quietly and flipped on the light in Caleb's room, meeting a wide-eyed, mischievous, red-head's curious gaze.

Caleb: "Hi!"
Me: "Hey."
Caleb: "I'm messing around."
Me: *laughs* "I know." Wanna go for a walk?"
Caleb: "What?"
Me: "Want to go for a walk outside?"
Caleb: "In the dark?"
Me: "Yep."
Caleb: *breathless and flushed* "Yes!"

And so we did. Coats, hats, scarves, mittens, boots pulled over footed pajamas, we bundled up against the February chill and walked out into the darkness. Two kids, eager to see the world in the light of a colder sun.

Growing up, this was pretty common for me. God bless my parents for their broad scope of mind, willingness to let me be a kid, and for allowing me to grow up in the country. I often wandered out under the winter moon. Books like "Owl Moon" by Jane Yolen, which consequently, Caleb and I finished our evening off with, were real-life experiences in my childhood. But for Caleb this was all very new, and just a little scary.

Caleb: "Are we going far?"
Me: "No—just to the park." (Two blocks from our front door).
Caleb. "Ok. Could you carry me? Cuz I'm kinda nervous of the dark."
Me: "Of course."

We tramped across the crusty snow of our neighbors' sidewalks and crossed the street under the warm glow of the streetlights. We paused on the corner and examined the sky for any sign of the moon, which was absent, but found the stars instead.

Me: "Do you see the stars?"
Caleb: "I see them!"
Me: "Guess who made them."
Caleb: "God did."
Me: "Yep! And guess what else."
Caleb: "What?"
Me: "He made all the ones we can see up there shining so bright, and He made the ones that are too far away for us to see, and He gave them all names! Like, your name is Caleb, and my name is Mommy, and God gave all the stars names too!"
Caleb: *Impressed* "He gave them all names." *matter-of-fact* "Bright shining names."

We continued on through the park, talking in whispers ("So we don't wake the animals!") until we arrived in front of the capped and snow-filled fountain, now quiet. There we stood looking at the sky and stars and fountain for quite a while, talking about the what would happen when the snow melted and how fun it was to be out in the snow at night, just the two of us.

Gazing up, Caleb's profile was illuminated by the warm streetlamp, and he caught sight of his breath in the frosty air. So we breathed ice-breath into the sky for awhile, laughing quietly. Before long our eyelashes were frosty and our cheeks were cold. We left the park and headed for home, one big lumpy shadow cast out behind us—me and my boy, piggyback.

After all the winter garb was shed, I tucked Caleb in to bed, his cheeks still rosy. He grabbed my face between his hands and kissed me.

"I love you Mom!" He said emphatically, "And the stars are beautiful."

O, what I almost missed! What I almost missed by a single moment of self-focused frustration because my son would not sleep like clockwork! Instead, God showed me a miracle tonight—the glory of a dark night as seen for the first time through the eyes of my sleepless son. What a precious gift! There may have been no owl, and no moon, yet tonight was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful nights of my life.

O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise. . .
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor." —Psalm 8: 1-5

Special note: My deepest thanks to my sweet and faithful friend Jenn, who dropped everything at 10:30pm and tramped over in the dark to be with my sleeping daughter tonight. You're beautiful.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Leaning In

I've never been oblivious to the fact that parenting can be a trek—an up-hill-hot-day-black-flies-no-water trek at times. These days come and go, and often with a descent nap or an evening out I am able to settle back in, pull my babies close, kiss them tenderly, and keep on hiking.

But lately I've noticed a shift—not in my children—they remain gloriously obvious to the hike, running on ahead—and this is just as it should be! How terrible would it be for them to have any grasp of my parenting frustrations! No, the shift is in me. The walk seems harder, the hill steeper, my pack heavier than usual, and over the course of the last few weeks I've been wrestling with the reasons.

Am I failing at this thing called parenting? Maybe I'm not really cut out to do this. Are my children more difficult than other people's children? Is my own particular climb a little steeper, perhaps?

No. No, I concluded finally. My children are normal human children and my climb is no more difficult than anyone else's—in fact—it's quite a bit less steep than the climb many others have made, and are making. No, I decided. The shift isn't circumstantial. It's internal.

Fabulous. More heart work.

I've always kind of liked the idea of being good at a lot of things—never getting too hung up on being excellent at only one thing. Hey, love diversity, right?

God: "Not this time."
Me: "but—"
God: "These people, these small sparks of humanity are one of my greatest gifts to you. Are you going to waste my gifts?"
Me: "Um—"
God: "Yes. They are challenging at times. Beautifully so. I planned it that way because I want you to look to Me for parenting guidance. I'm a pretty good Dad, you know."
Me: "Oh ya."
God: "I want you to be excellent. I want you to lean in to this."
Me: "But it's hard! It's a lot easier to focus some—ok—a lot of energy on other gifts you've given me. Gifts that don't try my patience, or push my buttons, or puke on me, or . . ."
God: " . . .Or make you realize your need? Make you depend on Me? Make you realize what responsibility and sacrifice mean in real life? Force you to set yourself aside? Allow you to recognize selfishness when it shackles your heart?"
Me: *silence*
God: "Lean into this. Lean into these gifts because I have something beautiful to show you about Myself through them. Let go of the things you think are best because I have something far better in mind. I want to show you what it means to love, and to be loved. Lean in. I have given you these children—My children—for their benefit, and for yours. And I am not in the habit of making mistakes. I never have been."
Me: *wipes tears away* "Ok Abba."

So, as I type this tonight I've quit climbing. Right now I'm just leaning in. Pressing into the the broad, strong back of my Father God as He carries me and my babies up this hill. And it's beautiful.

"He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young."
—Isaiah 40:11

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Caleb: "We don't take things from people, and we don't push our sisters down, and we don't run away from God on our bikes."
—on the expected behavior of himself and toddlers everywhere.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Watch out world.

During the daily getting-ready-process, (coats, mittens, hat, snacks for the road, etc), Caleb decided to mix things up.

Caleb: "Mom, don't help me." *holds up both hands in a firm expression of independent protest.
Me: "But I thought you needed help zipping your coat."
Caleb: *hands still raised* "Don't help me Mom. I'm dangerous. Dangerous."

I believe it.