Friday, May 11, 2018


* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2018*

Matteo: You have started doing "the potty dance" to celebrate Sister's victories in potty training.  What an awesome big brother!

Lilah: Your friends all wanted to wear "unders" today, too.


* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2018*

Matteo and Lilah: When you're all bundled up for the cold weather, but Mom and Dad are taking forever to get out of the house: pour yourself a glass of water in a wine glass, grab a straw and share!


* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2018*

Matteo: I resisted these types of toys as long as I could, but realized the complete ban was making them even more exciting.  So, now we're using this little dart shooter to practice sight words.

Lilah: Always dancing, twirling, jumping and spinning.

Saturday, March 3, 2018


* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2018*

Matteo: "Mama, do you think you could glue rubber balls all over me so I could bounce over the fence?"

Lilah: You sure are.


 * A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2018*

Matteo and Lilah: Matteo wrote "rook sDror" (rock star) on his shirt with a highlighter and then incited a rock concert in the living room.  Lilah picked the music: an Ace of Base single of "The Sign," played on repeat.

Thursday, March 1, 2018


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

A Recent Conversation:

You: "Mama, who invented quicksand?  And how did they get the quick in there?"

Me: "Well, Nature."

You: "Nature invented quicksand?  But leaves can't move!  They can't, like, just get up and dance, like this (frenetic waving of arms)."

Me: "No, you're right, they can't.  It wasn't a person or anything that moves around.  It just happened over time.  It's like asking who invented the ocean."

You: (Thinks for a minute) "Who invented the ocean?"

Me: "Mother Nature.  But she's not a real person.  It's more like an idea for something that happened naturally.  Nobody knows for sure who invented the world.  Some people believe God invented the world.  Some people think that the whole world started with an explosion in space."

You: "What did it look like?"

Me: "I'm not sure, but I'll bet it was bright!"

You: "Could you hear the esplosion from down here?"

Me: "Probably."

You: "Maybe the stars inside were really bright and then they just clumped together and made the planets."

Me: "That's a very good idea.  Do you think that's possible?"

You: "Yeah."

Me: "So, then, how do you think quicksand might have been invented?"

You: "Maybe some leaves rode their bike really fast so that the bike chain went like this...(rubs hands together very quickly)"

Me: "To make friction?"

You: "Yeah.  And then the leaves put the friction in the sand to make it really quick."

Me: "It's funny to picture leaves riding their bike really fast!"

You: (laughs)

Me: "So, who do you think invented the stars?"

You: "Mother Nature?  Are stars hot?  Would they melt stuff?"

Me: "Yes, if you could get close enough to put something in front of them."

You: "Can you grab them?"

Me: "No, they're made out of gasses."

You: "So, could you put a star on a spoon?"

Me: "No, they're way too big."

You: "Are they as big as the star lights on my ceiling?"

Me: "Much bigger!  Maybe we should get a book on astronomy so we can learn more about them."

You: "Nah, I'll just google it."

Me: "What will you google?"

You: "I'll google: 'What do stars look like up close'?"

Me: "What do you think they look like?"

You: "Like big hot blobs!  Blobs as big as the moon and as big as this house!"

Me: "You've got a lot of creative ideas, you know that?"

You: "Yeah."

Lilah:  The end of the year is a time of reflection, so I have been thinking a lot about all that has happened since we said goodnight to 2016 a year ago.  Brother started school and you started wanting to go to school.  You learned how to say “snuggle” and “I love you” and “watch me, Mama.”  You also learned how to say “I don’t like it” and “I don’t want to wear that one” and to scream like a banshee.  You learned how to move furniture and to help yourself to that bag of marshmallows hidden on the top shelf of the tallest cabinet.  You figured out how to sit on the counter and turn the water on just to leave it running indefinitely.  You started to have real opinions, both big and small, and real emotions, also big and small.  We said goodbye to our first home.  The one where you and brother were born, where you learned to eat and laugh and run.  We timidly said hello to a new home, one where you will learn to ride a bike and play dress up and sing more than the same few words of your favorite songs.  You have changed more than I could have thought possible this year.  We all have.  As I relive the individual moments that made up the past 365 days, I am aware that they are distinct in my memory, but that they also reflect a larger picture.  These moments tell the story of your childhood.  And they tell the story of our family.  These are our ups and downs, our joys and sorrows, the beauty and chaos of us.  When I observe them at too close a distance, I start to pick them apart, to worry about what you might have missed out on, what we could have done differently, how our laundry wasn’t always folded and our bathroom mirrors weren’t always clean.  But when I step back and view these moments from a distance, I see that there is a polish of love across the surface of every memory we made in 2017.  That love makes everything shine.


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

Matteo and Lilah: The art of opening Christmas presents in under five minutes.


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

Recently Overheard Things:

"Tomorrow I'm going to dig a BIG hole and fill it with water.  Then I'm going to sit in it."

"Mama, how does the ocean work?  Is there like a big faucet that you turn on to get the water in there?"

"Mama, when I grow up, you can come to my shop and I'll fix your ironing machine board.  For everyone else, it will be $100, but for you it will be [lowers voice to a whisper, conspiratorially] $3!  And then if you come in again and it's not a big deal--like, it's just your computer or laptop, it'll be free.  But if it's your car--I also take cars--it will be 99 cents.  For other people, it will be $188.  It'll be the Matteo Fixer-Ba-Bill Shop!  Then I'll close it down at 6:39."

"I want a secret bed."

"Can I have some of the whooped cream on top of my cake?"

"Mama, can we buy some rockets?  I want to make a rocket-powered hot wheel."

"This is NOT a nice day to go to the beach!" (On a rainy day, in Colorado.)

Me: "Matteo, how many kids are in your class?"
You: "Like a hundred million.  Maybe."

You: (About someone at school) "She used to have cats in her house and they pooped all over the rug."
Me: "What?!  How do you know?  Did she tell you that?"
You: "No, she didn't.  I can read minds."

"Mama, I know a secret way to make your hair sparkly and clean.  You have to mix a little shampoo and a little conditioner together in your palm and then rub them in your hair.  Then you won't have to wash you hair for ten weeks!  Not ten weeks.  Just kidding.  Three weeks."

"Mama, we're going on a little vacation.  Just a little one.  First you go to Geronimo Street, then 6th, then 8th.  There's a little pond there, but it's kiiiiiiiiiiiind of dirty, so you can't swim in it.  You can have a picnic, though!  It's just a little vacation.  It's six miles away."

You: "Mama, I want to make a rocket bike!  You put two rockets on your bike, light it on fire--well, Daddy does that--then run on the deck and watch what happens!"
Me: "That sounds extremely dangerous."
You: "Awww, c'mon, MOM!"

"Did you know diamonds are made out of carrots?  The more carrots are on the ring, the more you have to spend."

Recently Overheard Things:

"Where's mine shoes?  Mine pink ones!  I can't find it!  Got feet.  Find mine shoes!"
Me: "Lilah, do you want to get dressed now?"
You: "No, I'm hopping."

"I'm magic, Mama!  Matteo's magic, too.  We do magic."

"Papa, I got a boo boo!  Kiss me it!"

"I'm a horse, Mama.  I'm a cool horse."

"I'm a cutie PIE!"

Me: "Time to go, Lilah."
You: "Babies wanna come, Mama.  Bring mine corn (unicorn).  Bring mine piggy.  Where's mine turta (turtle)?  Bring mine dolly.  Bring mine doggie.  Where's mine udder (other) baby?  Here.  You hold these, Mom."

(While stomping around the house.)  "Stonce!  Stonce!  Stonce! (Stomp!  Stomp!  Stomp!)"

"Wanna go pool, Mom.  Wanna splash mine feet."

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!