and the heat goes on


after school

After school the boys grab popsicles from the garage freezer and wander into the woods.
I follow a few minutes behind, flipping through the days' mail.
It's quiet under the canopy, everyone lost in their own wondering, the boys lined up on a log, taking it all in. I make a mental list of things that bring them - and me - smiles, surprised at how little it takes. Surprised at how, when I try to pick out anything by itself, I find it hitched to everything else.
Sidewalk pennies and ladybugs that land on outstretched fingers. Soup for dinner, no spoons but corn chips the preferred delivery mechanism. Clean sheets and redundant days, bedtimes books and stars above.


the presence of her absence

Tollie, in earnest: Which is closer, New Zealand or the moon?

Hank, in rapid fire: I want to see the speaking parts inside Siri. Which is softer, a bear or a raccoon? I've never touched a raccoon, so I don't know. I want to see how tall I am today, but first I need a snack.

Tucker, in response: Hank, you can't open Siri till she breaks. Tolliver, which do you think?
Tolliver: Well, you can't see New Zealand, so, the moon? 

Hank: What if Tolliver had a zipper for a mouth?

Tucker: Except you can't see Celia either...

Speaking of: registration is live for the 2019 Battling Batten Disease 5K Run & Family Walk
Sign up by 9/27 to save $5, or by 10/17 to ensure a shirt. Or, just order a shirt ;)


Dear boys

I don't know if you can tell but this is me just pretending to know.


the beginning of a string

Hank is very three. His personality is like a cross between classical music and cannon fire.
He began preschool recently, and has gone just a handful of times now. Whether by accident or coincidence, he'll be spending two afternoons a week in a classroom full of all boys. Maybe pray for his teachers.
Hank can add small sums and spell short words. He loves to sing and dance and dress up and paint. He does not nap much any more, and has decided not to suck his thumb very often. I look at him, standing at the beginning of a string of endings, and feel altogether proud and grateful and nostalgic and exhausted and optimistic.
I love following him, the way he roams around without an agenda, his mind exploding over rocks and chipmunks and caterpillar poop, over a hundred things I cannot see. I hope that he will always love to play, and to learn. I hope that his only hardships will continue to be small things, like settling for the wrong flavor popsicle or getting his shoes on the exact right feet.
I find myself, suddenly, home alone at times, shocked by the slack created when one person slips out of the rubberband that snugs us sometimes too tight together. I want him to stay small, I want him to grow old, I want him to be mine forever, I want to learn how to let him go.


al fresco

Sometimes food tastes better outside, seasoned in fresh air and sunshine. Always, food tastes better when somebody else cooks. Andy's meals are a straight up gift to our family, and dinner on the patio is my favorite.
chicken drumsticks, salmon, yellow rice and asparagus


this is a day

I have tried, when I feel grateful, to grab a pen. To let myself be glad in it, however big or small.
Our house is generally tidy, but there are small bits of paper, receipts and torn corners and printer scraps, spread about with random words and phrases I don't want to let pass.
If I am not able to write it down, I try to at least give my gratitude breath, a whispered prayer of thanks.

Climbing into bed last night I could not find my pillow. But I did find a paper airplane. Plus two smooth wooden blocks, a tiny metal tape measure, a book about Minecraft, three small plastic army guys and a knotted white skein of earbuds. There are clearly few places I am able to inhabit my life alone.
Gratitude lists aren't the only way to go. Sometimes acknowledgment of good fortune can look like crying or singing or walking or resting. Or clearing the boys' flotsam from my side of the bed. Even the act of finding a soft place to lay down can feel like a reminder of my luck.


so many pictures

And now that the big boys are back in school, they're mostly of Hank...


a bushel and a peck

In the fall, as the sun starts to close up shop on summertime, we head to the apple orchard, hoping to pick our fair share of Honeycrisp. Hank was a good helper this year!