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



We have gone from one festivity to the next -- Thanksgiving to Buckeye game to birthdays galore. 
So much culturally sanctioned gorging, so much for which to be grateful...


He may never be satisfied.


young, scrappy and hungry


vulnerability, and grace

My love muscles have endured some strenuous workouts over the past few weeks, witnessing people I hold dear express opinions I find shocking.
And I don't mean when one of the boys got angry and called me a bad mom.
Lessons in grace, every single day.
Reasons to look for reminders that the left wing and the right wing belong to the same bird.

I am hardly ever certain of my own rightness, so mostly remain quiet.
Sometimes I wish I were brave enough to give voice to more of my opinions, but I don't want to let politics bring out parts of my personality I'm not proud of.

Nor do I want to look back with regret that even a small part of what feels like a fiasco is my fault, for being complacent or passive or silent, for being complicit in some gradual hijacking of good.
Also, I do not want to rearrange any prejudices. I just want to get rid of them.  Mostly my own.
I'm not sure I need to be loud about any of it though. Our boys will grow up with books on the shelves and food in the fridge and love in their hearts. They will see us celebrate a new baby, and not mind one bit that it's being raised by two moms. They will come with us to church and help us promote choice. Together we will go to gay weddings, and to bat for friends from different backgrounds. We will do yoga and take deep breaths and sing songs and support scientific advances. We will see Broadway shows and football games, bake bread and rake leaves and write letters and make calls. We will defend victims and visit the library and try to refrain from correcting grammar, but resist less the chance to remedy misconceptions.

Our boys will learn that character matters far more than party or platform.
They will find out that we do not always have to concede to a person's point to like their brain.
They will discover that agreeing with someone is secondary to time spent considering a different perspective, and that sometimes listening to another belief may help solidify their own.
They will understand that issues are important, but humans are more.
They will realize that often, if they feel like their opinion is a matter of life and death, they are overlooking life and death.
And they will show us, over and over again, that it's possible to compost yesterday’s heartache into tomorrow’s hope.
Lessons in grace, every single day.


a timely word, from Tolliver

Trying to keep Hank both engaged and confined, we push his highchair up to the piano:
Put him down here. Hank likes to do the deep end.

Because, winter:
Sometimes I cough and my voice starts to sound crumbly.

To Tucker:
Stop, please.  You’re just tagonizing him. Hank does not like to be tangonized. 

After preschool recently:
Mom, do you know the story of Johnny Applesauce? My teachers told me.

After I said NO to something:
If how I feel were a monster, it would be SO BIG AND MEAN. 

Apropos of nothing:
I’m the only one in my class who can lift sixteen pounds. And I can do it with one hand. 

Trying a bite of Andy's lentil noodles:
Those are good in an “actually” kind of way. 

Near Halloween:
The goodie ghost came twice last week. When is she coming to BOO us again? 

Prepping paperwhites in mason jars:
So, when will these bulbs hatch? 

When I needed to move laundry through and asked him to keep an eye on Hank for a minute:
Sure mom, but I can keep both eyes on him for you.


hope and peace and love and trust

After a particularly rough week, it was such a relief to feel so much love and support from a generous, caring crowd at the Battling Batten 5K Run & Family Walk. 
People gathered in real life and in spirit, surpassing previous race registration records.  The morning was brisk, the sun bright, the kind of day that feels warm and wide all at once.
We heard from so many folks, some who could be there and some who could not, about how they were remembering Celia on Sunday.
We are ever appreciative of all the small moments that help us feel somehow connected to a much larger shared experience.
We also found ourselves once again fascinated by the give and take between comfort and wonder, by the way the world can feel cozy and spacious in one fell swoop.
Hope and peace and love and trust, all the world is all of us.
For our boys, "all the world" is simply who they know and what they see and where they've been.
This event - these people - the combined hope?  Exactly the kind of world we want Celia's brothers to be alive in.
Thank you for being part of it.  We are grateful.
SPECIAL THANKS to Laura Hull for organizing this year's event.  An unbelievable force for good, she is.
None of these pictures are our own.  Apologies for not crediting them properly.
All the World is a wonderful children's book by Liz Garton Scanlon