living loud

Tonight after dinner the boys were going crazy.
They are generally rather loud.  I mean, I'm sure our house registers as just regular raising-small-humans loud, but tonight's noise level made it difficult to find any flash of sanity amidst the mayhem.
Tonight the volume was so high I thought I might actually Van Gogh my own ears.

Instead I asked the boys to find a quieter activity while I cleaned up the kitchen -- Andy spent the day making chili, and dinner was delicious, but there were about thirteen pots to wash and the entire stove and butcher block area to scrub.  And I needed to reclaim some peace.

Tucker climbed down from his doorway perch, picked up a book about math and immediately became immersed.  He soon moved to the desk where he could work on making factor trees.
And Tolliver sat on the couch reading out loud, using a pleasant, inside voice.  He ran into the kitchen to ask for help on certain pages, but got through two short stories, mostly on his own, mostly a result of memorization from repetition.  Still, he was clearly feeling very proud of his emerging language skills.

We put the boys to bed a short time later and as I watched their sweet moon faces drift to sleep, I could actually hear the voice in my head, the one that's hard to hear when they are awake and active, whisper something about being the luckiest mom in the world.


random good things

We saw a grown up movie over the weekend.  Like at the theater.

Tollie wore the same shirt four days in a row, a neon green swimming top.  It got washed once during that time.

The boys played nicely together, a game around a wooden block city.  The garbage truck accidentally hit and killed the mayor, who had actually already been shot and killed not long ago, on Presidents Day.  I overheard Tucker tell Tollie that it'd be okay, that the mayor would go to extra heaven.  I interrupted to ask for clarification.  Well, when you die in heaven, you get to go on to the next one.  It’s even better. 

At Andy's birthday lunch with family, Tollie ate the slice on his plate, and then stretched his fork toward the middle of the table and straight into the remaining cake.  I guess everything is fair game when you're four.

Andy texted from work recently about feeling excited to meet this baby, about this time being different.  I hadn't given it much thought, but he's right:  The minute we were discharged with Tucker we drove directly to the lab at Children's hospital, watched them prick his heel, and settled in for a weeklong wait, wondering if he would die.  With Tols it was a different kind of waiting.  Early on we learned he was well, but as he was on his way into this world his sister was on her way out.  Our joy was mixed with tremendous sadness.  Things are good this time, and it feels like they may only get better.

We spent part of one weekend afternoon at the park.  Tollie wore his swim shirt, and none of the boys wore a coat.

The four of us ended up on the couch at one point, watching Superbowl commercials.  Tollie commented about how special it was for all of us to be sitting down together.  He's right, that's definitely a rare occurrence.

That morning Andy and I sat on the same couch and watched three uninterrupted episodes of something mindless on Netflix.  I'm not sure that's ever happened before.

Earlier in the week Tuck had asked for the ingredients to make a treat for Andy, a white chocolate Chex mix he'd discovered at Christmas.  He took some of the mixture to his grandparents, who asked about how he made it.
He said we just mixed a bunch of random good things.
Kind of like the past few days.



I feel like Tolliver may be known, mostly, for two things: the very best shade of red hair there ever was, and waking up way too freaking early every day.  Let’s talk about his hair.


his birthday

His birthday, my wish: to wake up and share wonder and face terror and see growth side by side, to practice parenting and patience and faith as a team, to make out and mess up together for many, many more years.


four year old fashionista

In December Tolliver adopted a wake up and get dressed routine, shorts and a t-shirt, all day every day.  Until we have to leave the house -- and then, invariably, a bit of resistance to putting on pants.

At bedtime earlier this week, ready to wind down after a bath, he was not at all interested in pajamas.  He chose dress pants instead, at least one size too small, with a bow tie and glasses.  I am trying to understand.
Tollie has strong opinions about what he wears, and I am not interested in daily battles over his wardrobe.  I know his preferences are not worthy of a clinical label.  My real objection stems less from things like the shorts themselves, but more from the idea that he might be cold.  Or that other parents are judging me.

He's not cold.
He's also not exactly the heart of fashion.
But he is happy.



Sometimes I stop long enough to remember the days I spent praying for the things I have now.


becoming that person

He is likely less than two decades away from his future as a deep sea diver.  Or a dive bar pianist.
Or an astronaut or an economist or all of the above.

I feel like it's part of our job to help him figure out who he is and to become that person.
I do fear his ideas are like candle flames, and I don't want a pair of careless fingers to come along and pinch them out, I don't want his curious spirit to be crushed one bit.

There are enough things to weigh a person down, gravity and reality and dive weights, if that's the direction he goes.  We are grateful for all of the good people who are helping him find out who he is, and encouraging him to fly or float or just flourish in general.