let the games begin!


I want to write

I also want to sleep.



Dear Hank,
As you grow, you might encounter hundreds of reasons why you’re alive. I hope that, if the reasons make you feel strong and purposeful, you'll gather them up. You might stumble upon clues in science or faith or in the family tree. But please know that you are here because your dad and I wanted to love you. And I’ll tell you what big guy, you are way better than we ever imagined.


glory be

I can hardly think of them without breathing a prayer of gratitude.


struggle bus

This one misses his brothers SO MUCH.


summer's end

Suddenly it's mid August and weeks have passed and school has started.

I’m not entirely sure what the goal of summer was. Like if Tuck spent half the day in a dark corner of the living room reading graphic novels, only to emerge to check the ant farm and squabble with this brother and eat another breakfast, and if Tolliver bounced around between Legos in the basement and the sprinkler in the backyard, stopping frequently to ask for food, and if Hank was climbing the stairs and emptying the pantry and collecting trash in one hand and new words in the other, and if I mostly tried to select light fixtures and read board books and provide toad habitats and fold laundry and fetch snacks every five minutes, did we cover all the bases?  Did we do summer right?
Our program was loose, sponsored by invitations from kind friends, unfolding primarily in real time. There were days early on when the boys seemed like prisoners just released, days in June when I found myself searching for a cruise director with a list of scheduled activities, only to find out that we could come up with our own, the magnitude of freedom a real gift.

Some days summer moved like syrup, a heavy blanket of boredom fell across the house and motes of snark sunk directly into the children’s eyes. A nerf bullet was accidentally launched at a lunch plate. One boy became gravely concerned with every questionable action the other had ever taken, making an actual list. Tolliver sang an unflattering song about someone whose name rhymes with Tuck.  Tucker decided that Tollie was playing too rough with Hank, the baby who was dying for someone to tumble with him.
I'd send them outside for fresh air and more space. They'd inevitably end up two feet from each other, sharing the same chair or the same tree branch or the same square of sidewalk.
And I'd remember that this is part of summer -- the way most inventiveness starts with a little boredom, boredom like a hot, sticky pit the boys had to crawl out of before they found refreshment - or a cooperative endeavor - that could save us all.

At times, our summer felt pretty full. We spent weekends at lakehouses and evenings at vacation Bible school. We took countless trips to the pool and the zoo and the library, walks out the back door to the adjacent preserve, popsicles and cookouts and sprinklers, COSI and cousin playdates, tennis lessons and wrestling clinics, Safety town and Science camp, matchbox car marathons and scavenger hunts and movies under quilts.

The boys were mostly either playing and laughing, or bickering and melting down.
The grown ups were simultaneously relaxed and exhausted.
Suddenly summer is over and school has started and we're already looking forward to next year.

* please register soon for the Battling Batten 5K & Family Walk -- check the current fundraisers tab at the top for a link to the registration site.


Third grade and Kindergarten

Oh, these boys are brave and wonderful.


Oh, Canada

The boys had so much fun swimming in Lake Huron, and on the beach, rolling around breading themselves in sand.
And I had so much fun following their lead, feeling far away enough from any to do list that I could appreciate their still-little bodies, wrinkly toes and summer brown skin, blue-lipped and shivering by the end of the day, sand in every single crevice. 

There were lots of things other than the lake to enjoy in Grand Bend too.
Skipping shoes and skipping bedtime, the scent of campfire whispering in the evening breeze, the smell of bacon rising with the sun. 

We had water balloon fights and tossed tennis balls and discovered treasure with the metal detector. We put together puzzles and Lego sets and played board games and read books and took walks and took naps. We enjoyed local fresh fish for dinner and ice cream sundaes that led to pancake sundaes the next morning. We tried hobo pies and beavertails, but did not try parasailing. Or ax throwing. We all loved blowing bubbles and playing soccer and shoveling sand and watching sunsets from the lakeside backyard. 
We came home refreshed and inspired, as much a gift to the children as it is to the grown ups.



We just returned from a week at Lake Huron.