He is still one of the people I love best in the world.

Tolliver is fairly obstinate.  The fountains are too cold, the berry patch is too hot, the museum is too boring, the bathwater is too wet. 
About thirty seconds after I handed him his smoothie this afternoon I heard that sound the straw makes in the cup when you know it's empty.  He handed it back and, licking his lips, said That was yucky.

I just sent my mom a text to apologize for all the times I was outrageously ungrateful.


A Dozen

Andy tweeted this photo today, a picture of a picture taken a dozen years ago.  Twelve years, two houses, three children, one dog.  Thousands of photos, a few fights about nothing, hundreds of text messages, a million adventures.  Too many pots of coffee to count, and maybe not enough bottles of wine.  Tons of inside jokes and one really shitty funeral.  Some successes and some disappointments, lots of logisticizing and loads of laundry.  Plenty of front porch sitting sessions and falling asleep during movie scenarios, late night ice cream runs and rock-paper-scissors we're out of milk situations.  At least a dozen long lunches at Lindey's.  And lots and lots of love.


Today we veered toward the doing versus the getting done.

Peaches, pretzels, pieces of paper, the boys have been turning everything into hearts for me lately.  Tuck says, Hey Mom, look what I made for ya, while he shoves whatever new artifact he's shaped within inches of my eyes.  And Tolliver forms a heart with his fingers, the way Tucker taught him, and then makes it explode.  I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean, but I do know I love them both way past crazy.


may his heart never sit down

His mouth is full of strawberries but his eyes tell me to come here.  We're at the farm for the third time this month, he's grown tired of filling a quart basket and he's wearing the berry bucket on his head.
What is it? I ask, wanting to add baby, but the word is too shy to come out.  We're in public, after all, and he's five now, he'll remind me.  That, or his little brother will correct me.  I know he's not a baby, but it's habit, and he is still my darling boy, so I just think it instead.

He's found a fuzzy white caterpillar, and after he swallows he calls to his friends, announcing his discovery as if insects are universally beloved, like ice cream and rainbows.  Or like Aunt Kate.
The younger children gather round and they begin brainstorming names.  He gives each child a chance to hold the tiny new friend, pointing out features and reminding them to be gentle.

He wants to know what kind of caterpillar it is, what it likes to eat and what it will look like when it becomes a butterfly.  He is as full of wonder as he is wonderful.  When we get home he determines that he has "homework to do," sits down at his desk and gets on it.  Without any sort of formal invitation he has fallen in love with the world, with bugs and books, with worms and words.

There are so many things I love about him, but tonight it's the way he is never not learning.


June afternoon


beat it

Tolliver's been practicing the drums like he has a test coming up.

A few weeks ago, at the local library's music on the lawn series, the drummer performing with that Tuesday night's band noticed Tollie's interest and, in between sets, handed him an extra pair of sticks. Day made, right there.

The next day Tollie asked to find some drum sticks on the computer and buy them.  We did.

He pulls pots out of the bottom cabinet, props the biggest lid on top of an upside down mixing bowl to make a "high hat."  Gets to work.  He repeats a song he calls Salsa Beat.  It is very loud.  It is also, using a fairly loose definition, a legit song.  It sounds mostly the same each time he plays it, a consistent rhythm with alternating hands and impressive technique.

He would play from the moment he woke till bedtime, except that other people in our house like to sleep, and quiet is complicated by night shift rotation.  Evening is good for percussion practice, but even after a lengthy post-dinner jam session, it's hard to quit.  Eventually Tollie resigns himself to the end of his day, climbs the stairs and crawls in bed.  He leans back against the pillow and locks hands behind his head to relax, the same way humans have done for ages.  Except his fists are holding tight to his new blue drum sticks.


some summer instants

1.  Pizza on the egg
2.  delivering dessert and daisies, with a side of dirt
3.  handsomest berry picking boys in the patch
4.  trough bath
5. "Celia pendant" (thanks @jnferris) 
6.  preK graduation

7.  making mowers #homedepot
8.  watching ducks
9.  on repeat #whatif
10.  on repeat (yogurt with blueberries, poppy seeds, slivered almonds, drizzled honey, dash of lemon juice)
11. Andy called them #free-onies
12.  popsicles in the shade

13.  park of roses with Grandpa Rod via @rht3627
14.  #almostfamous
15.  awareness weekend via @angieallion
16.  heart of Africa, with half of Ohio
17.  pool with cousins
18.  back at the berry patch

19.  hard working in here
20.  father's day
21.  #nmusaf #namesake
22.  checking out the distinguished service cross
23.  arnold room ceremony
24.  dinner and a show
25.  dinner with a digger
26.  music on the lawn, boys in my lap #thesearethedays



Over the weekend we visited the National Museum for the United States Air Force in Dayton.  There was a short ceremony on Saturday morning as the museum curator accepted my grandfather's uniform (issued in 1927)* followed by guided tours of the facility for Herbert family.  We were treated to a tour specifically well-suited for young children and the boys observed their way through the buildings with inquisitive enthusiasm.  Both have already shown interest in all things aviation, but this exploration made it come alive, their fingers pointing and their eyes wide the whole time.  It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday, and a neat way to help the boys feel connected to family and to history.
Uncle John, Tom's son
the plane Tom flew in France, an RAF S.E.5
Tolliver was with us.  He is not in this picture, but he was on a table or under a table or somewhere near by, yelling something about not wanting to say cheese.

*Distinguished Service Cross citation for Thomas Herbert
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to First Lieutenant (Air Service) Thomas Herbert, United States Army Air Service, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 56th Squadron, Royal Air Force (Attached), U.S. Army Air Service, A.E.F., near Chaulnes, France, August 1 - 8, 1918 while attached to the 56th Squadron, Royal Air Forces, British Expeditionary Forces. When with a formation of six machines, Lieutenant Herbert attacked eighteen enemy Fokker biplanes, shooting one down in flames. During the fighting Lieutenant Herbert was shot in the leg and his plane was struck in the petrol tank, necessitating skillful maneuvering to regain his own lines. As he was landing he became unconscious from loss of blood. On 4 August 1918, at Cappy, France, he destroyed an enemy Pfalz scout plane at an altitude of 9,000 feet, thus saving his patrol leader, who was at the mercy of the enemy plane. On 1 August he joined in the attack of the enemy aerodrome at Epinoy, the altitude at time of attack being but 200 feet; he killed two enemy mechanics by machine-gun fire and shot up hangers and billets. The bravery, skill, and determination of this officer were an inspiration to other members of his squadron.