for each other

If I have learned anything by being the everyday mother of two boys, other than a wealth of toilet humor, it’s that brothers have a built in fan club in one another.
These two are just genuinely for each other.


some of the best

Trying to snatch some of the best moments and stuff them into the camera.


perpetual winter

I may have said I'm cold about eight thousand times already this winter.  I mean, we live in Ohio, and during the months that end in -er and -ary, it tends to be cold here.

There are things I like about winter, the way the whole world seems quieter when it snows, for example.  The boys and I enjoy examining icicles that hang from rooflines and watching the wind rearranges snow drifts.  And seriously, they are practically irresistible in toboggan caps.

It's just that lately it seems like millions and millions of  tiny, soft flakes have been falling ever so gently to the ground and CRUSHING all of my hopes for spring.
In the evening, Andy sits with an ice pack between his shoulders because being cold burns calories.  He reminds me of that almost every time I say I'm cold, which makes me feel like another bowl of ice cream might almost be justifiable.

We've all been on spring's case about showing up already.  And I'm afraid that soon enough raindrops will fall (and fall and fall) on places snowflakes have once been.  I may be even less of a fan of that "season," the way the ground becomes goulash, the thick, thawing mess.

There's this thing Tollie says when we step inside the back door, about how lucky we are to have a warm house to live in.  And I know he's right, we are ever so lucky to have a house full of candles and dirt and music.  I know, also, that mine is a very transitory distress, the kind born when my every wish for a life filled with convenience is not granted, the kind banished when my attention is distracted.  For that, there are daffodils on the way.  And until then, there is always more ice cream.


hashtag elbow patches



Sometimes I put stuff here and think I may be the only one who cares.
I feel like I’m making notes in a baby album, squeezing text into small spaces next to photographs.
Indulge me.
Years from now I want to recall the way, when we asked him something -- like what he wanted for lunch or which toy was his favorite -- he'd put his hand on his chin and say
Hmmm, lemme think about that.


I can't do this, but I'm doing it anyway

Tucker had a break from school on Monday in observance of Presidents Day.
It became clear to me that the kindergartners discussed the significance of the holiday as Tuck rattled off facts that, had they ever been in my brain, no longer camped there.  He was recounting information about each of the presidents on Mount Rushmore, and I mentioned that Abe Lincoln is credited with one of my favorite quotes: Whatever you are, be a good one.
He cocked his head and said with quick confidence, "Or, if you're bad, you can keep trying."

Falling short is part of life, the possibility of failure is part of what makes things matter even more.
Tuck's five, and he's already got that figured out.

He woke up sick this morning, and I wavered about how sick.  Suck it up sick or legit sick?  I kept him home.  I know what really sick is, but I don't have a lot of experience with plain sick.  And I have a little anxiety about making the wrong decision.
I’m not good at this, I thought.  And then I remembered that sentence is a damaging lie to staple to myself.  My mom used to say that adding the word yet could make it better.  I'm not good at this yet.
I wonder if I will ever feel entirely competent.  I'm not sure parenting will ever get easier.  It might get better, but only because I might get better at it.  Maybe.  There’s still an awful lot of wtfamidoing.

Most days my brain moves at the speed of dial-up internet, only slower.  Wipe the counter, wipe the bum, unload the dishwasher, load the car.  There is art in what I’m doing, I know, raising kids and navigating faith and fueling romance and succeeding sometimes and failing a lot and trying to write some of it down.  I do have certain things figured out, like I know to be a little less concerned with the meals I feed my kids than with the truths I’m feeding them.
Tuck's got a good handle on the gospel of never give up, and when my tentacles are unable to take care of all the boys' needs, I know I can always keep trying.


Brain Blast

Most mornings he eats his breakfast, hugs his brother and begins interrogating the world.
Every once in awhile, his queries startle us with their unanswerableness.

For the district science fair, Tuck chose a project using the iPhone microscope from Aunt Sally.  He borrows our phones often and attaches it to magnify bugs he's caught or to examine rocks he finds.
He took close up pictures of everyday objects, things like pepperoni, paper money and his toothbrush, and hoped that people would engage in guessing what the images depicted.  He did a little research to learn how scientists use microscopes, and was able to articulate the way the work of geologists and doctors and police officers benefits from magnification.  Fellow kindergarteners and teachers and even the principal admired his effort and he enjoyed looking at his friends' exhibits.  He left Brain Blast saying the event was way more fun than he expected.


all the heart emoticons


but bumble bees are not nocturnal

Tolliver has decided that when he gets bigger he'd like to have a pollen job.  And he'd like to work the night shift.  Other than giving him a yellow striped shirt to wear and listening to him buzz around pretend gardens, I'm not really sure how to help him realize his dreams.


roller coasters and zip lines

You may not know what winter is, what snowed in means, unless you have an energetic, ambitious three year old who cannot go to the park every day.  He rushes from one work station to the next (you know, from scribbling on the bills-to-pay pile to jumping over the first stack of folded clothes only to land on and topple the next).  Or unless you have an enthusiastic, inquisitive five year old.  He meanders from one experiment to the next (you know, things like building a "lost toy locator" with ballpoint pens and flashlight parts, leaving a trail of tiny things to be stepped over and, ironically, located in order for the flashlights to actually work again when we need them).

We do our very best to keep both boys active and engaged (you know, when we're not letting them play the iPad or watch another episode of Popular Mechanics).  The K'nex roller coaster filled hours over the course of several days, and the Lego guy zipline continues to lead to a lot of problem solving and improvement strategies.