Saturday, December 29, 2012

She's cute and I'm definitely in love

Everly and I were getting some rare daddy-daughter time the other day and, boy, was it fun!

So we cheesed it up...

and goofed around...

and, well, goofed around some more...

what a gorgeous smile!

what a doll!

Not quite done napping

Owen is a complex little boy.  At one moment, headstrong and stubborn, the next - sensitive, sweet and affectionate.  He's also not very fond of being by himself... ever.

So, the other day, Owen comes down after I left him upstairs napping so I could get some work done.  It was a short nap and I could tell he wasn't quite ready to be awake.  But I also wasn't quite done with what I needed to get done.

So what did we do?  Compromise!

The angle from my computer...
(notice the couch fort in the background)

And one from Emily...

We got another 45 mins out of him... and I didn't mind the extra quality time myself.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

A perfect day to send our love
To our family near and far
And our friends around the globe

J, E, O, & E

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mac and cheese

Does this look gross? I think that because I've eaten it (and love it) my perspective is a little skewed. The photos also confirm that I'm not a food photographer. But...maybe if I just Instagram those shots...?


I cooked up a pumpkin recently and was locked in a staring match with the leftovers when I remembered how much I love putting a couple tablespoons of the purée (or any squash purée actually) into store bought macaroni and cheese (we're partial to the white cheddar Trader Joe's box, fyi).

The pumpkin gives the sauce that slightly neon orange glow that feels so familiar and the taste is so subtle that no one notices. I think it actually gives it a nice rich flavor. plan is to freeze up some ice cube trays full of leftover pumpkin so that I can just throw a few cubes in whenever I make pasta. Sneaky and delicious.

Actually not so sneaky since the kids help me cook and I also put in three pounds of frozen vegetables...but they're too young to know any better so I'm taking advantage of this window of time by defining 'normal' for them.

And normal is pumpkin purée. :)


Helping each other choose pet rocks in the woods.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Not the easiest way to walk
But certainly the cutest.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


After a balmy weekend the weather snapped back to chilly 
and I spent two days working up the courage to brave being cold.  

And it's not even that cold 
but somehow 40 degrees seemed intimidating.  
The only logical thing to do with such temperatures is stay inside and bake cookies.  And drink tea and read books.  

Unfortunately too much indoors plus too much pumpkin-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookie dough isn't a good combination for our clan.  And drinking tea and reading books (quietly to yourself) doesn't appeal to the dominent demographic.  And, honestly, I can only read "Llama Llama Learns to Share" patiently so many times.  

So today, in a fit of desperation (too dramatic?), Jon loaded us all in the car, drove up the road, dropped us off, and left for work.  

We had one of the best hikes ever.  I'm so thankful to live near long, meandering trails that can leave you feeling miles from neighborhoods, cars, piles of toys, unwashed dishes, bad attitudes.  It was what we needed.

How silly of me then, to reach a natural pausing point, a playground of logs and mini bridges and feel...rushed.  

Where   else   did   I   have   to   be?  

I had to fight the urge to hurry my little companions along.  The urge to say, "ok...only one more jump.  only one more restaurant hot-dog order.  only one more race across the bridge." 

Why? Was I trying to bring the grumpy back?  Did the four off-white walls of home seem suddenly super appealing?  

This is when I rely on the Holy Spirit to illuminate sanity.  To whisper "chill out for five minutes and let those children play forcryingoutloud." 

So we played.  And the longer we stayed the easier it was to   stay.


Our two breakfasts.

Having breakfast with Jon is a treat. Usually our sleeping schedules aren't synchronized or one of us isn't hungry. But when we both sit down together with our tea/coffee and eggs/jelly toast my whole day feels brighter and more purposefully.

He is definitely the sweet to my savory.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thirteen Twelve

 Twelve hours.  Thirteen photos.  Normal Life (filtered). 

9:12 am.  Each of us in our corner.  Quiet morning wake-up.

10:12 am.  Quick snack before pre-school hour at the library.

11:12 am.  The Discovery Room at the library.  Our first time.

12:12 pm.  Just checked out our books!

1:12 pm.  Kids napping, candles freshly lit, chai tea on, pumpkin roasting in the oven.

2:12 pm.  Typing a little about Owen and Ever in my journal.  

 3:12 pm.  Ever is just up.  Looking through some photos on daddy phone while she snuggles.

4:12 pm.  Making pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

5:12 pm.  Reading books together.

6:12 pm.  Dinner time.

7:12 pm.  Out for a walk to see the Christmas lights.

8:12 pm.  Starting the last book with Owen.  

9:12 pm.  Dishes.

sneaking in a little second breakfast.

Sunday, December 2, 2012



Honestly...I don't know if time is actually legitimate.  It seems far to fluid to be a concrete, measurable entity.  Everly has been in my life for ever.  There is no way that this smiling, mischievous, excitable, funny, cuddly bundle of human honey hasn't been here, just as she is now, for much longer than 730 days.  

But apparently it's only been two years.  (Calling your bluff, time.

It was a very low key birthday for our low key girl.  Plenty of big squeezes and sappy mama eyes following her around all day.  More than required repetitions of Happy Birthday (which she insisted on singing to everyone except for herself).

A cheesecake (she doesn't like regular cake?  or chocolate??) from daddy with strawberries (her choice).  A few plastic animals are now her favorite toys.  She takes her (small) private zoo everywhere now.  A new coloring book.  Just a few simple things that I knew would make her smile without overwhelming.  That smiles means everything to me.  

Oh, and balloons, of course.  The best present.

Speaking of best presents...Everly got a special skype call with her best birthday buddy.  

Nana and Ever blew out their candles together and we all sang to two of the most important, and loved, ladies in our lives.  

It's so wonderful that these two have such a unique birthday bond.  

Oh, Ever.  You are loved beyond measure.  

And even if you've only been here two years 
there was never a time 
when my heart didn't hold you close.  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Life Keeps on Moving

The sofa forts are in constant rotation - up and down and up again.  Nap time is from 1 to 3 followed by a walk.  Some days we paint and some days we just read but outside of simple variation the days look and act very much the same.  

Sometimes my progress feels slow.  The push to see more correctly, act more responsibly, mature more quickly.  The constancy of each day is comforting in these times.  Tomorrow will bring the same challenges...each one familiar but still a fresh chance to try again from a different angle.

So I remind myself that there is aways movement beneath the surface.  The complex buried in the simplicity of routine.

I, like many others, tend to romanticize dramatic changes: the new job, the move across the globe, marriage, childbirth.  Those result in complete personal upheavals, clear and concise before and after pictures.  Or so I seem to think.

This season, though, has shown me depth of value in slow, steady growth.  A softer response to the same whining request.  A greater commitment to the work I've been given.  Less weariness when, at the end of the day I walk over to take down the fort and put the cushions back on the sofa.  The cushions that will find their way back up in the morning.

Every day that I see a little more love, patience, kindness, faith, obedience, respect, dedication, industriousness...those days are victories.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

First Baseball Game

A few weeks back now, my sister Leslie was in town with Jeff and we all decided to head down to catch a baseball game in DC. It was Owen's first professional game and, most likely, his first game ever, but he was excited nonetheless.

Here we are walking into Nationals Park.  It was hot and I'm not even sure I remember who the Nats were playing (I think the Brewers?).  

We were up in the nosebleed section but it really didn't matter.  We had some shade from the sun and a great view of the park.  We couldn't see much that was going on and definitely couldn't see the ball, but O seemed to remember best how the pitcher would kick his leg up in the air before throwing the ball.

Actually, I may have just lied a little bit.  I think what he remembered most what the gallon of soda that dad shared with him... and maybe the hot dog and ice cream (courtesy of auntie Leslie). 

We surprisingly made it to the 5th inning when Owen looked at me and said, "Daddy, can we go home now?"

I'm proud of that boy!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Sometime after we had decided that taking a road-trip would be the best way to attend a wedding near Detroit we decided to take a few days afterwards to have our first family vacation.

Sometime after deciding to take a mini family vacation we decided to camp.

I think it was one of those late night brainstorming sessions, after the kids were asleep.  
semi-accurate reenactment:
E: "Hey, we should think of what to do on our family vacation."
J: "Yeah.  How about visiting Chicago?"
E: "!  Or maybe going to Niagara Falls!"
J: "Yes!  I've never been."
E: "Wow...yes.  It's beautiful.  We camped there when I was little."
J: "Or camping...that could be fun."
E: "Gosh, so many great ideas.  Let's sleep on it."
And somehow, when we woke up I started planning for camping.  It wasn't until I was halfway packed (weeks later) that I sat back to consider how we had - or hadn't - (really ever) made a final decision.  I guess camping picked us?

We like to fly by the seat of our pants around here.  This trip was certainly no exception.   We picked a campground from my phone, in the car, on the way there and an hour later had the tent set up.

But it worked out perfectly.

Jon's requirements:  a secluded setting without crowds or Elvis impersonators (which is basically the opposite of what we experienced last time we went camping).

My requirements: bathroom, water, an air mattress and no bear infestation.

We got:  Raccoon Creek State Park  

Out of 150 camping spots there were 12 taken.  We could see bits of two other tents from our spot but couldn't hear them (and hopefully, maybe vice versa?).  Next to a field and close to the really nice bathrooms.  AND free firewood left behind by the last campers!

We set up our tent around 6:30 pm in between rain showers, ate quick pbj sandwiches huddled on the air mattress (YES!) and went to bed...kind of damp and cold but feeling very authentic and campy.

The next day Jon battled the wet wood to get us some boiling water for oatmeal.  After running some errands we took a hike through the huge wildflower reserve adjacent to the park.  (It was definitely not very stroller friendly.  Everly was portaged on a number of occasions.  Thank goodness it was just us and the wildlife.)

Camp food.  PBJ, Chip, Donuts.  I'm feeling a little sick looking at this (except for the donuts - they were homemade and super good).  Let's assume the food was not awesome.  Poor Jon ate his weight in hot dogs and baked beans.  Belch.

But these two didn't care.  And now I know what to bring next time (my own instant oatmeal).

Owen learns fire skills.  Waving some extra oxygen on the poor sputtering flames.

Drying clothes from the rain and from general Everly-ness.

There was a nice beach area close by the campground.  A muddy sand beach and pretty views of the hills.  The kids could have stayed there for a few hours but our day was short and we needed to get ready for bed before dark.

We had to pack up and leave the next morning - so essentially we had one full day with two nights.  But it was a good first experience.  
Minus the trying to shower with a naked screaming monkey baby, in the dark, with a giant centipede.  

I should probably write myself a letter with all the do's and don'ts I learned from it, in case we decide to do this again.  But wouldn't that take away from the fun for next time?