Sunday, January 21, 2018


* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017*

Matteo and Lilah: An elf joined our family this year.  At first, his name was "Washing Machine," but it eventually changed to "Elfie."  Elfie loves to have fun and he occasionally gets into mischief.  He can usually be spotted in the early morning and then again after school.  At night he flies back to the North Pole to hang out with Santa.  I thought this would be a fun year to introduce an elf to you guys, because your belief in magic and all its wonderful possibilities is so strong right now.  Matteo, you were particularly excited by Elfie's antics.  The first thing you did every morning and afternoon when you got home from school was to look for him.  We would all know when you found him, because loud yells of delight and surprise would reach our ears from any room in the house.  "Oh my gosh!  Come look at what Elfie's doing!!"  You had lots of questions, too, this year about Santa and how he delivers presents (what if there's no chimney?  why can't I call Santa?  how does Elfie get in the house?).  You asked me if I believed in Santa.  I told you I choose to believe in magic.  It makes the world a nicer place.  The fact that you have already thought of this question reminds me just how few precious years we have left for you to believe in the wonder and beauty of magic.  I hope a little bit of that wonder will stay in your heart for a long time.  

Lilah, you loved Elfie, too.  I was relieved, because you were not a fan of Santa.  You refused to sit on his lap.  I don't blame you.  He is a weird stranger at the mall.  Elfie was much more inviting, like a part of our family.  "Look, Mama, Elfie!  Elfie right there, Mama!"  During the day, while Matteo was at school, you liked to hang out near him and point him out to me over and over.  Matteo's excitement every time Elfie moved to a new spot was something you picked up on quickly.  It made you excited, too.  I could see that excitement taking root in your little heart.  This was you learning about magic for the first time.  After Christmas, we had to say goodbye to Elfie, which made you both pretty sad.  Every so often, you still ask about him.  "Where's Elfie, Mama?" and I tell you he went back to the North Pole.  "Awwww, I miss Elfie."  Don't worry.  I'm sure he'll be back next year. 


* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017*

Matteo and Lilah:  Making each other laugh in your own little world.  It's a moment I'd like to live in for a while.


* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017*

Matteo and Lilah: An accurate portrait of you kids this week: Matteo is always making art installations (a rock car and a plant store); Lilah is always trying to get out of her hat.


* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017*

Matteo and Lilah: Halloween is over but the scary witch cat monster lives on!


* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017*

Matteo and Lilah: Steam cleaning in the new house.  Matteo, waiting longingly for a turn, fidget spinner in hand.  Lilah, two years old and not so good at waiting, wants to be the one to push it now.


* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017*

Matteo and Lilah: The rainbow and the bubblegum machine, ready to get all the candy.


* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017*

Matteo and Lilah: We officially sold our home today.  These photos were from our last few hours in the house.  They were difficult hours for all of us.  Daddy had to leave for work and Mama was still trying to get everything in the car or unscrewed from the wall.  There was nothing to play with except a box of tools, a pumpkin bucket and Matteo's Halloween costume, which I'd left out for an event that night.  There was boredom.  There were tears.  I think there was excitement, too.  Running around an empty house isn't something you get to do everyday.  I hadn't seen it empty like this since our first few hours there, when Daddy carried me through the door almost ten years ago.  I remember the excitement of the promises that those walls held for us.  The two of you were just dreams then, of course, the hope to fill our new home with a family in the future.  Seeing the house empty was much different than that first time.  The walls and floors were empty of our things now, but still full of the memories we made there.  Little feet learning to walk, voices learning to talk, hugs and kisses, goodnight stories, bubble baths, messes (oh so many messes!), clothes outgrown, ideas learned and shared, plenty of tears shed, both happy and sad.  This is the place where we first learned to be a family.  Luckily, like all the things that you both helped pack away in so many boxes, we can take these memories with us, even if we have to leave the walls and floors that supported them behind.  We can unpack those memories from our hearts anytime we like.

Saturday, January 6, 2018


  * A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017*

Matteo:  The seller of our home gave us possession a little early so that we could begin moving our things this week.  Between playing in a giant moving van and jumping in leaf piles in your own yard for the first time, this has been a pretty awesome day, in your opinion.

Lilah:  We may not know where anything is at the moment, but at least you managed to locate the lollipops.

Matteo and Lilah:  First meal in the new home: cookies.


* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017*

Matteo and Lilah:  I grew up in Oregon, so the pumpkin patch was always foggy and gray and felt like Halloween.  Here, October is usually sunny with blue skies, so it still seems like summer whenever we pick pumpkins.  It always feels a little strange to me.  This weekend, we actually had a drizzly day, so you got to tromp through a muddy pumpkin patch for once.  It felt right.  Matteo ran ahead to scout out the best pumpkins, while Lilah played in the corn, jumping out to shoot "Booo!  Booo, Mama!" over and over again, giggling then and running ahead a bit, before repeating the delightful game all over again.  When we finally caught up to Matteo, you two hugged happily and ran around the patch, clambering over thick vines and pointing out the "giantest" pumpkins.  A day like this makes it feel like Halloween is almost here!


* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017*

Matteo and Lilah:  This week was a special one for Matteo at school.  It was his Star Student week, which meant something different every day, including a presentation about his family, show and tell of his favorite toy (a washing machine), a special breakfast with his teacher and drawings from his classmates about what makes him special (he is nice, funny and he shares).  He also got to bring Super Dog home for the entire week to share in our family adventures.  This was probably the best part of the experience for Matteo, who really loved having him at his side.  Lilah was pretty excited about our new friend, too.  She called him "Soop-a Dog!"  At the end of the week, we made a book.  Below are the captions for the images.

Saturday was a sunny day, so Super Dog did a little flying and some tree climbing.

Matteo and Super Dog crossed the finish line together at the 2.5K race!

Later, they went to the grocery store.  Super Dog is a crazy driver!

 On Sunday, they went to the corn maze and picked out pumpkins in the pumpkin patch.

  They also shopped for peppers.  Super Dog loves spicy food!

On Monday, Matteo and Super Dog ran into a little trouble with some witches.  They had to use their super powers to escape!

On Tuesday, they went to the library and read books about Dia de los Muertos.

Wednesday was laundry day!  Super Dog did some reading while he waited.

On Thursday, Super Dog jumped in some leaf piles...and some pumpkin piles, too!

Later, he went to the book fair at school...and did a little rock climbing in the gym.

After school, Matteo and Super Dog did some swinging at the park.  They went as high as the clouds!

The End.

Lilah:  "Soop-a Dog" was very cuddly at nap time, too!