three boys full



I spend a fair amount of time lifting. Kids, weights, glasses of wine.

I took Hank to an activity this morning that engaged very young children with local seniors with developmental disabilities. They danced along with guitar music and batted balloons around with pool noodles and oh my word I wish I could've bottled up the joy floating around in that room.
The boys spend a fair amount of time watching. Cartoons, out the windows, me.

Last week we took a potted arborvitae over to a neighbor who has been nothing but nasty to our family since well before we moved in to our new home.
Sometimes, kindness comes easily. When it doesn't? That's when it might be the very best response.

The boys are watching. And we have more lifting to do.



The boys eat raw cookie dough and wander into the woods alone, and I do my best to manage the terror. It’s what you do when you have a child, isn’t it, open yourself up to unimaginable pain and then try to pretend away the possibilities?
I did not fully realize that half of parenting would be making decisions and the other half would be panicking that whatever decision I made was wrong.
Also a considerable part of parenting, the third half? It might be pretending engagement I do not entirely feel. Like participating as little plush penguins fly airplanes and enact battlefield scenes all day.
Seriously though, a big part of me, the part that is not making decisions or panicking or pretending, is mostly just grateful for all of it.


penguin companion

I've lived with Tolliver enough to know that he falls in love hard and fast. 
I'm not sure how long this little guy will be his favorite, but I imagine it will be spectacularly fleeting, and I do not want to forget. This plush penguin has not left Tollie's side lately. I've enjoyed watching his imagination and creativity bloom around ideas for his buddy, and I'm grateful for grandmothers who cater to his whims.


what goes up

We keep finding Hank on the kitchen counter. Right benext to the knives.
Turns out our new drawer pulls line up to make a good ladder.
Actually, that probably doesn't matter, as Hank has discovered his own rolling stool.
He pushes the wheeled crane from room to room, climbing, and we keep finding him on top of dressers and tables too, calling for us:
Mama! Mama, pick Hank DOWN!


Dear Diary

Play more.
Play harder.
Pass out.
Repeat tomorrow.


anything good in the world

I've been working on a guest blog post for a palliative care website for about a month now. I'm not even kidding, I can't manage one essay in one month.
I can barely catch the tail of inspiration before duty calls.
I try hard to jot notes in the cracks, but my writing needs concentrated time to gain momentum.

I feel like I used to write more, to write better.
But I also only had two children, one dying, one supremely well-behaved. Both immobile.

These days, I could write about crushed crackers in couch cushions, about Target tantrums, about the good and the bad and the Legos. I could write about what it’s like to learn as I go. I could write about how hard it all is. I could say that it’s beautiful. I could say that I'm grateful and that I'm tired. But mostly grateful.

I remember, in the beginning here, writing was a way to wrest meaning from the meaningless, to rediscover that there was anything good in the world.

There is so much good in the world.


breaking spring

At the end of an eleven day spring break spent mostly at home, we faced three happy boys and an impressive mess. Mostly candy wrappers and nerf darts, mostly well-rested and completely satisfied.
We didn't go anywhere warm last week, but Tuck devoured an enormous stack of library books, traveling through storied treehouses and around whiz mobs.
Tolliver studied battlefield medicine and dreamed of a penguin empire. He built with wooden blocks and hot wheels tracks a neighborhood that lasted nearly a week next to his bed.
Hank polished his manners and practiced his favorite songs, swam indoors and played in the woods.
At dinner this evening, after their first day back at school, the boys talked about friends who visited Cuba and Cabo, who snorkeled and saw ship wrecks, who hiked through canyons and played in the sand. And Tolliver said but none of them got to stay at all three of their grandparents' houses.


love and eggs and chocolate



There are plush bunnies and plastic easter eggs all over the floor. Plus several matchbox cars, a handful of small green army guys, puzzle pieces and a bunch of balls, all left where they were being played with before he climbed up on his chair.
He has eaten several slices of corned beef, a dozen cubes of colby cheese, a pile of corn chips with fresh mock moly.
He shakes his head in a slightly canine way, as if he were clearing thoughts. Or clearing crumbs?
He still has his eye on a leftover cupcake. He does say please.
I sometimes liken him to a small puppy, frolicking excitedly, leaving small messes for other people to clean up in his wake.
A wet rag, a quick vacuum, a change of clothes. I can handle it.


At Poppy's

Where the boys play, and love, and eat with ferocity.