giant space

Sometimes everything feels just a fine hair from catastrophe.
Sometimes I have to remind myself, especially when it comes to parenting, that there is a giant space between simple mistake and complete failure.

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down home

We left Poppy's on old 35, headed north along the Kanawha River, crossing back into Ohio. Hank slept and the boys watched a Disney movie and while Andy drove I noticed the scenery, the cows and the uncrowded lanes, the sleepy service stations and the above ground pools and the crosses and the ice cream parlors.
When we're in West Virginia, the idea of wild and wonderful feels almost redundant -- not enough soap and too much sugar, skinks and toads, fishing poles and four wheel drive. Plus, fresh peach pie and homemade french fries and the best half-baked pizza around.
When the boys were not eating like kings, they were outside. The landscape feels alluring, almost exotic - to me and to Andy, but also to our city born sons. Studded with lakes and shrouded by conifers there is unclaimed dirt from which to dig treasure, flowers you're allowed to pick, free to anyone with a pair of scissors or a pocket knife, plenty of fresh air and freedom. And grandparents with loose rules about critters in the kitchen and tight hugs when it's time to leave.


He is full of wonder and opinions and plans.

Downstairs, bright and early, with an ink pen tattoo on his arm: I must’ve sleep drawed on myself.

Regarding a new party favor kazoo, from the backseat: How do you tune this thing?

The best thing about a whoopee cushion is when you make a fart it doesn’t stink! 

Helping in the kitchen, considering things like the pineapple corer and applesauce strainer, etc.: Roro has a lot of fruit tools.

Studying my french braid: Mom, you don’t usually have so many knots in your hair.

In response to Andy picking up a bunch of overtime shifts: Dad is the gone-iest. 

I know how to make an animal umbrella. You just need a snake and a turtle. Lemme draw one for ya. 


dreams, and during

There is always the danger of becoming consumed by a dream as it begins to come true.

I mean, not that I really dreamed about mudrooms.  I dreamed about growing up to takeover Katie Couric's job.  I dreamed about marrying Andy and having babies. And then I dreamed about babies who would be born healthy and live happily.
One of the things we've been able to do in the process of turning what used to be a carport into a closed garage is add an entrance from the garage into the house.  (see part of Andy, standing there in the door frame?)  The new door will lead right into what used to be the master bedroom, but will now serve as a mudroom slash laundry room.  (The new master bedroom will be on the second floor, above the new garage space.)
Recently, Andy took Tolliver in the truck with him to answer a Craigslist ad for an old double basin sink taken from a home economics classroom.  It is white porcelain enamel with a washboard on one side, and I can almost picture myself standing in that room, scrubbing grass stains from pants while I catch the tail end of the boys as they run into the woods to play.

So far, my favorite thing about the new house is who I get to live there with. Well, them and the idea of a room where we can keep their shoes and coats and backpacks...  Still, I'm trying to spend way more time with the people I love than thinking about the house where we'll live.
^carport/garage area before^
old master/new mudroom, below
 ^Andy's face when he found more original hardwood laid in a parquet pattern #bringingitback
 And ^^ the family that moved in before us --
they've hatched, and the builder left one new window out until they're fully fledged


absorbing it all

We walked to the library, noting the passing of seasons in a new place. We don't really know what will bloom here or how long it will stay. This spring and summer have felt like a slow moving play that we won tickets to attend but have not heard much about.
The boys had root beer floats out front while we looked at the new books. Hank took a spill down the concrete steps, skinning his knees and scuffing his face, screaming.
Tucker, three books in and barely lifting his eyes from the page, reached over to pat him, his face simultaneously whispered something like Well, this is kind of annoying - twinned impulses to which I can absolutely relate.
Tolliver said I wish that happened to me so I could be the one who hurt, the universal parental wish, to absorb the hurt on behalf of them.


Speaking of independence

Hank is funny and feisty and daring and the very definition of IDGAF.
He is all emotion and not much reason.
Sometimes I'm afraid he is destined to end up either in the ER or in an anger management program?

He has heavy tastes and strong opinions.  He is enthusiastic about what he likes.  Mainly other people's food.  He is equally if not more enthusiastic about what he does not like.  Mainly the noise the printer makes, and the scary reclining chair at his grandparents' house.  And also : WAITING.  He hates to wait.

He gets frustrated when he isn't given something he wants the moment he wants it.
He wants to hold the spoon, to hold the toothbrush, to hold the sunglasses and the cell phone and the LIPSTICK.  To hold the fragile-est thing he can find.
He sees Tolliver's water bottle as a possession which they share; he likes to carry it under the crook of his arm, fingering the spout so that water drips and leaves a trail in his wake.
He wants to be allowed to climb on the table and pinch Cheerios out of Tucker's bowl, milk running down his forearm.  Or to climb on the table and touch the chandelier.
He pulls cutting boards out of kitchen cupboards, empties bottles of shampoo in the tub, pours animal cracker across the floor.
At the pool, he is ALL IN.  Like, other people stop to watch him. He stands right in the middle of the fountains, crawls out in water until it's too deep and then keeps going, jumps off the side all by himself.
Turns out he is ALL IN at the creek, too.

There are a number of tasks he cannot quite handle, yet our participation is not usually very welcome.
He wants to be independent, and yet he seems to want one of us around ALL. THE. TIME.

Late at night, when I have a moment to regain my personal space, I am reminded that we've survived these toddlerhood declarations before.


my favorite firecrackers