1. cousins
2.  more cousins
3. by the mums
4. by the lake

 5.  girl scouts supporting batten research
6.   three boys admiring big rocks
7.  slow day, fast cars
8.  long day, car nap (via rht3627)

9.  flushing hydrants = 3yo heaven
10.  quiet meal = parental heaven
11.   catching leaves
12.  "watching" marching bands

13.  tollipop
14.  mighty, my T
15. war bird
16.  #snowinoctober

17.  #friendlyreminder
The 2012 Neurobiology of Disease in Children Symposium is tomorrow in California, and this year they're focusing on Batten Disease.  They're also using Celia's photograph in the conference literature.


You are swagger

And I am swoon.
You walked across the narthex this morning, proud as punch, your steps attracting attention from around the room.  You are swagger, and pretty much everyone at church was swoon.
You are strong.  You tug on hair and resist diaper changes and win at keep-away.
You are sad.  You cry when we cut off your cottage cheese consumption and shed tears over a gate shut to the stairs.  
You are happy.  You laugh when you peek from behind the curtains and when we tickle the folds beneath your chin. 
You are smart.  You put puzzle pieces in their places and you point to animals on our phones. 
You are a good brother.  You are brave.  You are stubborn.  You are silly.

You are eleven months old and you are all of these things, yet I can’t find an adjective to hang on to.  You are everything, our everything.

You spent part of this afternoon surrounded by family celebrating an aunt's 94th birthday.  You sat on her lap while she predicted you may become the president.  You are capable.

I'm not sure what you'll become, James Tolliver, but what I do know is how much you are loved.  All that you will be and everything you are, loved.



There are round blue snowflake stickers making a "path” up the wooden stairs.  I know, Mama, stickers are only for paper please. Next time I need to put stickers on the floor I will ask for permission.  But I was counting the steps!

There is a tiny orange baby bottle in the refrigerator, right beside his blue milk cup. It’s for my baby. It’s her bedtime juice. She likes to drink it cold. 

There is, suddenly, a naked doll under my feet. That's my Bonnie. She's on the other side of the ocean and I am swimming to get her! 

There is a wood block "town building" five stories tall right in front of the dresser, laundry piled nearby because there's not room for the drawers to open.  Daddy will want to see that when he gets home from work.  He likes to see my constructions. Then and only then we will knock it down.

There are clothes everywhere.  Socks by the door because they’re too slippery and pants next to the chair that whys they were making me too hot.

There is blue painter's tape on the dining room floor, a row of small decorative geese lined up along one section, blocking traffic.  The cars have to stop for the animals.  That whys we can't put them away right now.  They have to wait for the geese to cross.

There is company coming for dinner.  I can't bring myself to undo most of Tuck's efforts and, fortunately, I'm pretty sure they won't mind.


High Gear


Ash Cave

I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.
~N. Hawthorne

We decided to drive south and spend a fall day adventuring at Ash Cave.  We also decided to leave the camera in its case.  We were determined to capture the memories without missing the moments. 

Autumn had cloaked nearly everything around us in metallic tones.  We saw trees so tall it seemed their tops were holding up the sky.  Leaves fell in unison and created enough noise that it sounded like the tail end of a standing ovation.  The same breezes that stirred foliage blew at Tollie's open palm, a catch-me-if-you-can proposition he could not resist.  Bars of sunlight angled through branches, illuminating centuries old stone and inviting spectacular views of recessed rocks.

Tucker reports that his favorite part of the day was finding a caterpillar.  He was convinced that bears lived in the caves, and that sharks dwelled in the shallow ponds, surrounded by sand, at the base of the falls.  Near the end of our three hour hike, with his head heavy on my shoulder and his mouth close to my ear, Tuck whispered a story while I carried him piggy back through the forest, with fairies in his hands.  The fairies live in all that green moss, but their wings are wet, that whys they need a ride.  In a minute they'll be all dry and they will help you carry me!

 We did snap a few photos with our phones:


Walk Toll(ie)

He's been doing this for a couple weeks, each step and each day more confident than the last. Grandparents (who have seen him walk!) have requested video, but Tols has refused to oblige until recently. These 15ish steps will have to do for now, until he is ready to walk tall.



Hay Patch

We went to the pumpkin patch today, and later as Tuck recounted our visit to his grandparents, he called it the hay patch.  Which, in retrospect, makes perfect sense.  There was a lot of hay.  And although pumpkins (and let's be honest, pumpkin donuts) were the primary purpose, we climbed over and under and through bales, rode a wagon and "drove" a tractor, discovered smiling sunflowers and fuzzy caterpillars, and we came home tired and dirty.  Really, the hay patch had all the makings of what ought to be good memories.