something about all guests who present themselves

It's easy to get cynical about Halloween. It rained all day. And then it snowed.
It's commercialized, gory, consumerist.
But it also helps us practice what it means to be a neighbor.
We open the door to strangers, share a smile and something sweet, ask nothing in return.
And the kids love it, so there's that too.


the leaves by hundreds came

turmeric, butterscotch, mahogany, crimson, honey, scarlet, pumpkin, mustard...
collecting, sorting, naming, climbing, crunching, admiring, raking...


the element of surprise

Sometimes I feel like I start a conversation with a ten year and end it talking to Socrates.
Especially as he pushes words up against the wall of bedtime. As much as I want to shut down the conversation, ask him to close his eyes and his mouth, I cannot. He may be telling me about Spanish translations and asking about common equivalencies, but he's also telling me that he's ready for more freedoms and asking me to trust him. And by listening, I am trying to tell him that I care.

Do you think humans are all part of the same family? 
If we drink drinks, why don’t we food food? 
Do your doubts make you more real? 

One of the best things about science or philosophy may be that as you learn, you don’t really get answers, you just get better questions.
Talking to him after he's brushed his teeth and changed into pajamas makes me wonder less about what time I'll get to sleep and to question more my own level of curiosity.


three times lucky


grade two

There are worse things to do when you're in grade two
than to spend your time building a dream.


brotherly lessons

Tucker has a way of finding common ground with his growing brothers.
They are lucky to learn from him, a range of life lessons. 
For example:
Don't ever let a recipe tell you how many chocolate chips to use, some things can only be measured with your heart.
Listen for the sound that rules make when you break them.


the coffee is underflowing

Living with, and listening to, a three year old:

Everybody has hair and eyes, and everybody has nipples and butts. Wait, not everybody does have hair?

Looking in the dishwasher, when asked to help unload: I can't. The dishes are in a crumble.
(They weren't broken. Did he mean jumble, like the bowls were kind of piled up?)

Imagine if one of your legs was another arm.
Imagine if we had two Celias.
Imagine if we could stay outside forever.

Perched on a stool with his face inches from the steeping machine: The coffee is underflowing.

Thinking about Halloween: Can you please look down Godzilla costumes with me on the computer? 

I'm so talented at this. {building magnatiles, writing the alphabet, dancing... pretty much straight up confident doing anything he enjoys}


nothing to lose

Tolliver recently ran in the elementary school move-a-thon.
Last week the boys entered a contest for a district t-shirt design.
This week they each brought home flyers about a Halloween story competition.

We've had a few conversations about winning lately, about learning to stand in our own talent while simultaneously propping up others who are talented too. About the irrelevant conviction that everything we do must turn out well, but rather the certainty that what we do makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.

The question the boys need to ask themselves might be What do you really love? Writing or winning?
If it’s writing then they’re not really going to lose anything.
Look at me over here, typing for tens of people a week, trying to model that for them.


day trip

The boys had a day off school last week, and Andy took the day off work. We packed a picnic and headed south to hike some trials in Hocking Hills. Hank was in charge of the map, and insisted he be the line leader the whole time. We probably spent more time stopped at one spot where Tuck and Tollie caught salamanders than we did walking trails. But we made it to both the Rock House and Conkle's Hollow, and we all agreed that it felt good to be outside.



I feel, at least once a week, weepily out of control. But might that be just the main symptom of being alive?
So happy I could cry, so sad I could cry, so tired I could cry?
Because the sky is pretty colors, because in many states you can get same-sex married on Saturday and fired from your job for being gay on Monday, because the boys will not go to bed.
Because the boys are growing. Because the sheer magnitude of parenting, of being responsible for another human allthetime, feels a little like looking straight up a rock face and trying to see all the handholds, the inscrutable path to the top. Because the planet is on fire.
Sometimes I think it's low grade cultural despair with a side of feeling terrible for feeling terrible.
Other times I can barely count all the good things, and their hugs feel like medicine.


on SaturDAYs