little bit of a backlog

Feeling like I need to get these photos out of the queue in order to get back on track with sharing things closer to as they occur...  
Some of these are blurry and imperfect, and most show messes in the background, but they all depict real days at our house, the kind of small details we might forget.  
Lots of piano and Pokemon and pretend, lots of costumes and construction, lots of thumbs and thighs, lots and lots of love.


enough sorrow to make him human

Tuck is witty and clever and quick to laugh.

He loves reading Shel Silverstein.

He was in stitches this evening as he sat on the kitchen floor putting a variety of tupperware on Hank's head.  Their mutual favorite was a large, black takeout container that looked a bit like Lincoln's top hat.

And over the weekend, although he felt guilty and frustrated with himself for forgetting that Hank was asleep, Tucker quickly named the piano song he'd been composing How to Wake a Baby in Three Easy Chords.

He comes home from school nearly every afternoon all smiles, talking about what he learned in art class and how many points he scored in kickball and sharing the new jokes he learns from friends.

He is generally a very happy guy.
He is also very compassionate and sensitive.

He got a little misty at Hank's baptism a few weeks ago, and cried a bit at Celia's Walk.

Over Thanksgiving, as he helped RoRo put together blessing bags, conversation around the kinds of people who might benefit from things like chapstick and gloves and protein bars brought tears, too.

He fought hard not to show much emotion as he unwrapped a stuffed bear made from pink holiday jammies that he immediately recognized as his sister's.  And although I thought the bear looked nice in our room, I did not argue when he asked to keep it in his bed...
Tuck's great aunt Julia shared this quote, and it resonated with me.  I sure hope the rest of Tucker's life leans rich and full of joy.

“My life, despite my numerous missteps, despite the ache of loss, was rich and full of joy. I had enough hope to make me happy and enough sorrow to make me human. I let myself cry, because... tears are the words the heart can’t say.”
Root, Petal, Thorn by Ella Joy Olsen


these boys are tree-asures


the other two

If you've spent any time around Tucker lately, you know that he carries around a huge book of Mad Libs and a pencil, politely asking anyone who'll listen if they have time to play with him.
Like most seven year old boys, his favorite adjectives are silly words, smelly and naked and stupid.  And he encourages verbs like fart and nouns like zombie.
Vulgarity aside, I see most of it as proof that Tuck has a fairly solid handle on parts of speech, plus a good sense of humor.
Special thanks to friends and family who have played along.
And in addition to games of peek-a-boo and rounds of I take my little hands and go clap, clap, clap, Hank's new show comes on any time anyone eats near him.  He demands to be fed, even if he just had his own meal. The noises he makes are hilarious. And LOUD. He cannot be ignored. Or denied.
A friend pointed out recently that his initials - CHB - almost spell Chub.  It's fitting.  And since she mentioned it, we've called him Chubs kind of a lot.
He is not yet nine months old and weighs 27 pounds.
Grandpa said Hank's thighs are like loaves of bread.  I am pretty sure his size has contributed to my back pain, but I love everything about him, especially his rolls.  And his waves!


Dear Tolliver,

You sat with me for nearly thirty minutes on Thursday, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. At one point I asked if maaaaaybe you’d like to grow up to be on Broadway, so I could come watch you perform. You explained you’d rather build a colony on Mars.

The gift you wanted more than anything this year was a small "tank in a tin" we saw at the Denver Art Museum.  We let you open it early, so you could play with it during the holiday break. As we decorated yesterday, you wondered whether army men got to celebrate Christmas, or if they had to army the whole time? You made a small tree out of Legos and asked me to tie it to the top of the tank.

I walked with you to preschool today, and held your hand in mine.  You keep your years on that same hand, and today you got to add the thumb.  Five.
You are beginning to read, and solving more than simple addition problems.
You require adult-sized, adult-priced meals.
You still wake at too early thirty, but you are on top of the bedtime toothbrush-mouthwash-pee-pajamas routine.
You are so good with your little brother.  Like you could be captain of the doting big brother team.
You are essentially a nose with two legs, coming into the kitchen at the faintest whiff of sautéed garlic or toasted bagel or taco meat.  When Daddy mopped the basement with vinegar last week, you were sure it smelled like mustard.  On Saturday you wore some Christmas undies; you remembered wearing them last Christmas too, and swore they smelled like pine.
You frequently cast serious doubt on my credibility, and often want to A) ask Siri or B) check with Daddy after work.
You lave a LOT of right answers, and launch most opinions like lit grenades.
You might like to be an Army guy when you grow up.
You can be anything you want to be.  We are most proud of you when you are kind.

You asked to celebrate your birthday at the grocery store, where you could get pizza and cake and balloons. You took plastic Pokemon characters to decorate with and lots of cousins and aunts and grandparents came and you got Legos and Star Wars and Hot Wheels stuff, plus your very own bag of cheese balls!  It was perfect.  You are perfect.
When you were born, I found myself feeling like I’d been missing you so badly even though I was just meeting you for the first time.  It's hard to believe we've spent five years together now.
I worry I haven't always paid close enough attention. I barely make time to blow dry my hair, much less notice the way the days stack up.
What I do take note of, fairly regularly, is your extraordinariness.  You are amazing.
We appreciate every ounce of your spirit, Tollie.  And we love you more than words.


top photo from late summer, the rest from the past several days of celebrations