1.22.2017

whoa. it's been awhile {from the phone}

1. baby, hold my beer #battlingbatten
2. three boys in the backyard 
3. tailgate ready
4. our breaks together are delicious
5. cocktails of pragmatism and positivity #grayfoundation dinner
6. lawn boy
7.  escaping the bath
8.  Bobcats against Batten
9.  laundry help
10. preschool pumpkin patch
11. sciencing the hell out of cereal
12. never met a sandbox he didn't like
13. let it last (naptime + babyhood)
14. storm trooper, little pumpkin, geode 
15. Betz boys on the treat beat #northmarket
16. tree climbers at tailgating
17. find him by following books like breadcrumbs
18. bringing home a baby bumblebee
19. #sobig
20. one of the only places the US government makes cents #denvermint
21. mile high
22. why limit happy to an hour?
23. the Betz family does Denver
24. #fallelujah
25. may they forever look around with love in their eyes, Amen.  #betzboys at a mosque
26. sharing Shel
27. Tolliver turns 5
28. so many reasons to be thankful, three of them right here
29. pretty much a feast for the eyes
30. a little piece of their sister
31. two dates for dinner, and only one of them was waving at other ladies.  #spagio
32. introduction to Bill Nye
33. #betzboys do Southside
34. tell me what you want, what you really really want
35. oh what fun! #inglisprogrodinner
36. love him more than Ohio loves football
37. there was nap in the other room with my name on it, too
38. we loved her.  to death, as it turns out. #fiveyearsgone
39. slow mornings are my favorite
40. sometimes people pay me to talk #pinchme
41. Chinese lantern festival
42. noon years eve #ghpl

1.19.2017

stretchmarks

There are thousands of ways to be stretched thin.
Most of the time I feel like I'm two minutes into ten different things, and none of them may ever see completion.  Most of the time that's okay.
I know I'm not the only mother whose heart extends in more directions than it can reach.
The entire trajectory of my life bent with their births, in the most surprising and satisfying ways.
I want to read and write and do yoga, run and bake and volunteer and sleep.  But mostly I want to throw my whole heart into raising these boys, mostly I want them to know, no matter what, how much they're loved.

1.17.2017

we go about days

We go about most days making cookies and scheduling appliance repairs, sitting in traffic and supervising science experiments and settling squabbles and adding toilet locks to the Target list. We go about days folding laundry and kissing faces and keeping promises to play the game, to read the book, to not wait any one more seconds.  We go about nights administering essential oils and rubbing backs and sipping bourbon.

And I am extremely grateful for all of it, especially the smallest bits because they are so spectacularly fleeting.

But sometimes it feels like we're riding an elevator with an unsupervised toddler pushing buttons -- going down -- no, wait, going up -- nope, back down -- here we are again on the fourth floor  -- up, up!

There are new toys to play with and second grade bullies suddenly leading the country. There are birthdays to celebrate and sleep regression to deal with and brothers who are best friends. There are babies learning to walk and walls to climb and ceilings to smash and bad guys with guns. There are people who love each other but are afraid to show it and there are schools full of fabulous teachers and sometimes there are no green beans for dinner.

We aren’t lucky because things go smoothly, because life is easy.  We aren’t lucky because it all makes sense or because it goes our way. We are lucky because life is fragile and almost entirely out of our control, and because here we are again today.

* also we appear to go about days without getting dressed... whatever.

1.15.2017

to the ones who dream

Perhaps a permanent side effect of loss, after shock and anger, beyond sadness and heartache, is left wonder.  Who might she have been?

We should have an almost ten year old. We should have attitude and ear buds. We should be negotiating new clothes and considering pierced ears and building a bridge between childhood and teen.

She might have dreams to be a marine biologist or a pastry chef or any number of those jobs we used to read about in Richard Scarry's Busytown. She might play ball or wear flip flops in the snow, she might walk the neighbors' dogs or join the origami club after school or be inclined to study engineering with her brother.  She might want go to sleepaway camp or excel at computer coding or be eager to learn to ski.

The what ifs wash over me, suddenly but never surprisingly. I am never stunned to find myself wondering about her, only at how much that hasn’t changed.

I dreamed of sitting tall beside her, two sure hands on the wheel while we drove down sunny streets discussing crushes and the beginnings of political convictions. I dreamed of squinting from my striped beach chair over to hers, evaluating whether she needed to apply more sunscreen, telling her so over the sound of crashing waves. I dreamed of her spinning on the stool at the counter while I prepared dinner, homework and snacks that would ruin her appetite in hand, curly red hair in sharp contrast to the white walls of the kitchen.  I dreamed of prayers at bedtime, her night-gowned frame silhouetted by the glow of the hall light.
I dreamed of raising a daughter.
I still dream.

For five years now, longer than she was alive, we've flipped open a new calendar only to be snagged by a couple of dates that stick out like rusty nails, anniversaries of diagnosis and death. For the record, five years is more than enough time for worn out neural pathways to get stuck traveling the same old routes of if only.

1.12.2017

Tollie talks. A lot. (Where would he have learned that?)

You know, we wouldn’t have to take out the compost if we had a pet raccoon. 

Using a magnifying glass: Lemme just zoom in on this.

Let’s have hugging time, every single hour.  {Sign me up.}

Yuck. My sneeze took the wrong hole out. 

What if there was a taco-dile?!  Like a crocodile, but with a taco shell body and avocados for legs and sour cream toes...

Hank just did a booger check on me. 
Me: Where would he have learned that?
Booger school.

Describing "four bad things about being a baby" :: can’t chew gum, no new lego sets, have to take naps, dirty diapers
"Good things too" :: yogurt bites, get to try new things all the time, everyone thinks you're cute, can knock things over without getting in trouble

Lamenting the trials of being five: It's not fair that Tucker went through six and seven already. 

Every single cat in the whole universe loves bacon.  I know because at Poppy's house, Pawley eats it. 

Discussing a smashed bug on the van window:
It’s a tiger beetle. I can tell because it’s green and yellow. Emerald green. But it’s dead. 
Tuck: They only live in Australia. Or Africa. Not here, anyway. They could migrate though. I bet it’s a dung beetle.
Tollie: Dung is poop.  There's not poop on the van.

Knocking down structures or coloring on brother's homework or forgetting to be quiet, and at least eighteen times a day:  Well, I didn’t meant to.

1.10.2017

ten months, and green beans in the toilet

Last week I woke to find a can of green beans in the toilet.
He must've put it there while we were busy unpacking groceries into the pantry the night before.
He wakes to find new things everyday - his tongue, another step, coffee grounds at the top of the trash.

There is so much I love about this stage.

I love it most, I think, because his future childhood is less an abstraction than the others were. I know that, no matter how much it feels possible, it will not take twenty years for the afternoon to pass. I know, if we are lucky, he will grow out of these early stages, grow out of putting cans in the commode and grow out of wearing diapers and grow through getting teeth and grow into so many good things.  And I know I will miss this baby.

I love this stage, though not ambivalently. The middle of the night is not my favorite, but I understand how alarming it can feel to be wide awake in the long, lonely night.  Plus, there is the sweet milky groping and the moonlit face, the soft, clean jammies and the fragrant scalp.

I love this stage and this season of too little sleep and not enough supervision, and I love him.

1.08.2017

some kind of magic

A smile that melts hearts, and some kind of magic in his soul.