Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Warm Weather Fun

We're out enjoying the nice weather! I hope you're getting some fresh air too, wherever you are.

Monday, April 29, 2013

New Life

It finally feels like spring, and there is new life everywhere. This season has been long awaited after an especially sickly winter. New life is just what we need.

Late last week, I had the honor of attending the birth of a brand new baby boy. My dear, beautiful friend delivered a 9 pound, 5 ounce boy at a local birth center, surrounded by her husband and five sympathetic women. It was such a privilege to be counted among those women.

Then yesterday, we found this nest in a tree flanking our front porch. I was reminded why spring is my favorite time of the year, full of beauty and new beginnings.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Little Sculptor

Ellis takes great pride in these block sculptures he creates. He spends most of his day working on them, creates elaborate stories around them, and, most importantly, no one else is to touch them. The other day he said, "I want to be a sculptor when I grow up." We were quick to point out that he's a sculptor now. No need to wait until we grow up to be what we want to be. 

Here's the artist himself among his creations:

I love this photo because Oliver is singing "Happy Birthday" to himself in the mirror

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Kites 2013

I'm a sucker for rituals and traditions. I love the feeling that I get when I say, "We do this every year." I love that we are creating memories and traditions for the kids that will add up to be their childhood. Last weekend was our family's annual trip to our local kite festival (last year's festival photos). Unlike last year, when we could plunk Oliver down on a blanket and Ellis was content to play with friends, they were both exploring all over the place--and most of the time in two different directions! It was definitely a team effort to keep track of them. Thankfully, we brought Yia Yia along for an extra set of eyes and hands.

This year was definitely colder, but we did have more wind, so we actually got to see some pretty cool kites get off the ground. The boys' favorite was a giant squid, and my mom liked the ones that whipped around in loopty-loops. All in all, it was a fun day, and I'm glad to have another year of this tradition.

Ellis was excited for a legitimate excuse to use the binoculars!

Lemonade break with Yia Yia

Ellis got his face painted as Spiderman earlier in the day. And yes, both my kids eat lemons.

The sun was super-bright; forgive our squinting.

Friday, April 19, 2013

One Year Ago Today...

Two precious babies working in the garden...

...and toothless smiles. 

Boy, how things have changed. One day at a time, one tooth at a time, one phase at a time, these boys are growing up right in front of us. 

Please let us remember to take it all in, as much as we can. 


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Mother's Response to Violence

I went to bed last night feeling a combination of heartsickness, anxiety, numbness, and hope. 

Probably like many of you, my initial response to yesterday's violence at the Boston Marathon was, "Are we not safe anywhere, doing anything?" After a moment of processing how unsafe the world is, then I thought, "All right, that settles it: a hermit's life it is. I'm never going anywhere again. At least I'm safe at home." Then my panicked mind turned to the craziness last fall in which someone stole my neighbor's truck, crashed it into our garage, and then fled on foot from the police. And then to my parents' fire last year. Consequently (logically, right?), I worry that I'm not even safe at home. Then the big guns come out: "What have I done? I've brought these innocent children into a world that is ugly, painful, and unsafe!" And it's all downhill from there.

Until I stop myself. Until I remind myself (or a friend reminds me) that these things are random. Until I remember that I already do my best to take the logical, rational steps to protect my children, and that is the best I can do.

Right? We do our best. We hope for the best. We have a little faith.

Well, that's a great start. Maybe that's Step 1. My perspective is that there's an important Step 2, which is the important work we do as parents to raise healthy, secure, and sturdy human beings. For me, that means that I continue to spread the word that birth matters, bonding matters, communication matters, education matters, empathy matters. How we treat our children matters. As the saying goes, hurt people hurt people. It stands to reason, then, that the fewer hurt people we have running around, the safer we are.

A step beyond that is the work we do as citizens of our country and world, to ensure that we heal those who are hurt and prevent future incidents like this. For me, this means turning off the news, which inadvertently (I hope) gives power to sick people who seek to go out in a blaze of glory. For me, doing my part as a citizen means to continue to look people in the eye, smile, give compliments, engage with people. It means buying coffee for the person behind me in line, so that they know--and my children know--that there are also random acts of kindness and goodness in the world. It means supporting other parents who have similar values, and creating a safe "village" for my children.

These things aren't earth-shattering, and they're certainly not my original ideas, but they are something. They're things we all can do.

What are you doing today to give love more power than fear in your life?

Ellis and Oliver "visiting" a baby in a restaurant over the weekend. We intentionally allow them to mingle sometimes in restaurants. Our dinners are sometimes less convenient, but it gives them permission to engage in the world.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me

I love birthdays. I love my birthday. I love a day that is all about me, and how everyone is so thankful I was born. My friends and family call me, text me, Facebook me to insist  that I have a blissful day. I love a day to pause and reflect on how I'm growing and changing each year.

There's a lot of pressure to bemoan birthdays, especially as women in our society. To call this the "second anniversary of my 29th birthday," or something like that. But actually, I don't mind being 31. I like it, actually. I've had a lot of times in my life when I struggled immensely, felt unworthy of anything good, felt like I didn't belong, or felt like I was just waiting to get to another place in my life. But this time in my life? It's really wonderful. Truly. You couldn't pay me to be 21 again.

Here's my thinking: this is as young as I'll ever be. I can look at myself in a big, magnifying mirror and point out how this or that doesn't look like it used to. Or I can look in the mirror and see how strong my body is, that it has grown and nourished two healthy boys. Admire how beautiful the smiles lines are around my eyes, because it means that I've been smiling for 31 years. I can hope that I live to see my black hair turn white, and my pale skin turn to crepe, because that will mean that I have more time to wake up next to my husband and children. These are the choices we have to make.

I love being 31. I love being alive. I love being Eric's wife and the boys' mother. I love being my parents' daughter and my brother's sister.

So hello, year number 31. Welcome. Sit and have a cup of tea...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Workin' at the Car Wash

Totally genius idea that kept my boys content during dinner prep: making a car wash for their toy cars. Thank God for the Internet; I never would've come up with that on my own!

PS--It's my birthday weekend! We'll be celebrating, so watch for birthday photos next week!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Show and Tell

A friend took this photo of the boys and me at Ellis' preschool. Ellis is sharing an animal, Mr. Lizard, in "circle time," and Oliver is just along for the ride.

Monday, April 8, 2013


The theme of our weekend, as we called it, was "springification." We spruced things up, cleaned things out, planted, beautified, and reconnected. My hands were in dirt a good portion of the time, so I didn't take many photos. Here are some cell phone pics, though.

We enjoyed a lot of beautiful weather!

Mama-Ellis date to see "The Croods"

High and dry, just like he likes to be

No trip to Home Depot is complete without "riding" the lawnmowers

Friday, April 5, 2013


Our Easter weekend was all about projects. Ellis and I had fun one morning making chocolate bird's nests with chow mein noodles.

(quality control)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Homemade Doughnuts

Have you ever had fresh, homemade doughnuts? I hadn't...until last weekend. And now I'm obsessed.

Ellis had been asking to make our own doughnuts, and I told him it would be the perfect project for our Easter visit to my mom and stepdad's house. So we set out on Saturday to make doughnuts for breakfast...then had them for a late afternoon snack. Turns out it takes a while to make doughnuts from scratch. Note: start way earlier next time. Like the night before.

Anywho, they are so delicious. I'm usually not even a doughnut person, but now I'm converted. Ellis said, "I always have great ideas!" I wouldn't go that far, but I definitely approve of this one.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Best

We dressed in our finest for church on Easter. The boys looked quite dapper, if I do say so myself. We went to a little one-room country church where my grandma attends (across the road from the one-room schoolhouse where my father and his siblings were educated). Only problem with a one-room church is that there's no second room for the kids to go to...which leaves the car as the only option when the children have eaten all their pretzels and are crying, "Water!" during the silent prayer time. I stayed long enough to sing some old hymns and hear a husband and wife duet accompanied by the 80-year-old husband on his banjo. Then it was off to the car to listen to "Wooly Bully" and relieve those poor, parched boys.

We promptly went back to my mom's house, took some photos while the boys were still clean, and went on with the less formal portion of our day. 
In the car at church, getting some much-needed refreshments

Daddy and Ellis, Easter 2013

Daddy and Oliver, Easter 2013
Here's lookin' at you, Kid.

Mama and Oliver, Eater 2013 (Ellis declined a photo with me)

Our sweet little family, Easter 2013