30 August 2008

missives from the other side of normal

at this very moment, my progeny have constructed tents in the living room, which is to say they've gathered every blanket within a two mile radius that wasn't nailed down and have draped them over the back and sides of the couch.

then the four of them crouch in their tents waiting for the signal GO! upon which they dart out from the "escape hatches," barrel around the couch, and zip back under cover.

bee is making them all laugh with his false alarms: ready, set, GOAT! ready, set, GORILLA!

and occasionally elle gets distracted mid-race and strikes her best surfing-stance on a pillow, chanting "how low can you go? how low can you go?" no one is quite sure why.

besides the high entertainment value, it's also quite nice to see how much these children enjoy each other's company in spite of the sharing of some DNA.

and now for an old(ish) photo, which has nothing to do with the rest of this post, but what else is new?

happy weekend, folks.

28 August 2008

more on sandwiches by the river

“Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.” aa milne

26 August 2008

at the end of the day

i've been having the sort of days where i need to prop my eyelids open just to stay awake at 10pm, but the funny thing is that when i think back over the day, it was full of doing without actually getting much done.

i need results, people.

where exactly is the evidence of what i've been pouring myself into? well, mostly i concede that the house is a whole lot cleaner than it would be if i hadn't cleaned it, but you still wouldn't want to lick the kitchen floor. if, you know, you were the sort of person who goes around licking kitchen floors.

and i've been learning loads more about foreign countries and photography and other sorts of things i'm hoping my life will soon involve.

plus, my customers receive their orders on time. my family eats every day. i read and i run and i sit at the dinner-turned-homework table each afternoon with my kids. we play card games and color robots pictures and bake brownies so fudgy your teeth almost fall out.

so perhaps my life's work won't ever be quantified by sales reports or promotions or progress charts. perhaps the mere sight of four sleeping children, happy and whole, at the end the day is evidence enough of ambition well-placed.

because really? it's hard to imagine anything more satisfying than eating sandwiches with my kid by the river.

it's enough.

23 August 2008

a finding walk

yesterday elle and i went on a finding walk, which is the kind of walk where you wander about your neighborhood and find things in other people's yards.

our anthology of treasures:

a stripey feather

a belated dandelion

tiny fuzzy berries that maybe drop from our trees?

rocks coated with a fine, white dust


and their little yellow flowers (incidentally, we used to chew these clover flowers as kids--they have a pleasant tangy flavor, although PLEASE do not try this at home in case they wind up being horribly toxic or something)

african marigolds

and a walking stick to aid us on the trek home

here's the whole shebang sitting in what elle dubbed our "collecting spot"

{for the record, i solemnly swear that we did *not* pick the marigold; we found it wilting on the grass next to a driveway planter. please do not report me to the neighborhood crime watch.}

may your weekend contain a treasure hunt or two (or seventeen). :) happy saturday.

21 August 2008


our littlest guy is currently being retrieved early from school and ferried across town so he can then be (unwillingly) stuck with those odious 4-6 year old immunization shots.

i, however, am cringing with a moderate case of guilt at home, having pawned off the job on the hubby in one of my classic wimpy-yet-sadistic moves. in an alternate universe, the parallel version of me is the fascist despot of a small nation.

elle and i have been enjoying quiet mornings together. mornings where i sew and she rearranges the contents of my button compartments, where we paint watercolors on computer paper that curls beneath the moisture, where we lie feet-to-feet reading ann brashares and mo willems on the velvety family room couch.

she is growing up, this kid. her eyes change with the light: sometimes a grey sort of blue, sometimes ringed with aquamarine. (it's an odd sort of hope i have for her, that those who love her will find her beautiful, and those who don't will think her plain, will leave her in peace.)

i love that she still says the middle part of the alphabet as "l a little p." i love the way she calls her heeled sandals "the up shoes that i have." i love that much of life is a musical for her, where she sings self-composed tunes of cheese sandwiches and where is my mommy.

bee has been diagnosed with asthma, both activity-induced and the regular kind. it's a specific kind of horror watching your child struggle for breath in the darkest pockets of night. i'm glad to be armed with inhalers and nebulizers, to put those nights firmly behind us.

sometimes zee's fragility startles me, the way he effloresces in the warmth of my praise. the way he wilts beneath my disapproval. quite often i pray these days: please God, remind me to be so careful with this child.

and i find myself thinking: this. this is what it is to be blessed.

20 August 2008

baked goodness

we tested a new cookie recipe last week that yielded such delectable results, it rocketed up to snag a coveted spot in our family favorites list. just wanted to pass along the joy...

thick chocolate chip oatmeal cookies
(makes 1 1/2 dozen 3-inch cookies)

2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup oatmeal
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons water
1 cup milk chocolate chips

1. heat oven to 325 degrees. mix flour, salt, baking soda, and oatmeal together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. mix in water, egg, yolk, and vanilla. add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. stir in chips.

3. form scant 1/4 cup dough into ball and space 2" apart on cookie sheet. (dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month.)

4. bake on middle rack until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes). (frozen dough requires an extra 1 to 2 minutes baking time.) cool cookies on cookie sheets to keep them soft and chewy. serve or store in airtight container.


19 August 2008

happy thoughts

1. my older brother flew in for a weekend visit, and i was reminded of how very much i like him. we've spent much of the past ten years on opposite faces of the globe, moving through distinctly separate lives, but we were close once, in those awkward, intense junior high and high school years. that twined sharing of childhood and growing-up anchors us, i think.

it's so good to have family, these people i never quite grow away from.

2. there's something to said for any type of working arrangement that allows one to spend mornings dressing paper dolls with one's three-year-old.

3. two of my favorite people have birthdays today. to the illustrious ununcle and sweet, gifted kim, here's hoping today is nothing short of grand.

happy tuesday, dear friends.

13 August 2008

off to school

and the house is mighty quiet again.

zee insisted upon a shot of his nifty skater shoes. (okay, so it's likely that nifty and skater have never cohabitated in a sentence before, but thus is the incongruous beauty of my blog. welcome aboard.)

bee grudgingly granted me a grimace-free photo (little does he know that i will still be inflicting this particular form of torture upon him well up to his senior year)...

and then we have the newest edition to the schoolyard ruck. in this mum's opinion, he looks awfully little to be trekking off to school, but he does wear that backpack with aplomb.

so now it's just us girls at home; expect lots of photos of elle. which, now that i mention it, is mostly what this blog ends up being anyway. so um, yeah. business as usual.

12 August 2008

a study of morning light on the first day of kindergarten

more schoolish photos to come (because yes, nine doesn't begin to cover it)

06 August 2008

birthday wishes

my littlest guy just made six.

he's a sensitive soul, this one. he still craves cuddles and kisses, and he's got this infectious giggle that starts in his belly and bubbles up like the trevi fountain.

in less than a week, he'll trek off to kindergarten, and my prayers for him generally play out in this order:

1. please, God, keep him safe
2. remind him to heed his teacher
3. preserve his innocence, this little-boy-ness i so cherish

ps: also, this thing we have going, where he doesn't think twice about clasping my hand as we cross a noisy street? please keep it alive just a bit longer.

happy birthday, my sweet boy.

05 August 2008

self-portrait challenge: shine.1

there are days when sorrow fogs the joy.
and i have to hope that tears shine brighter than a smile ever could.

learn more about self portrait tuesdays.

02 August 2008


i apologize for my brief absence; i was single-parenting-it again this week, and having sole responsibility for the welfare and general alive-ness of our children always ends up a wee bit emotionally taxing. those of you who do this on a regular basis have been elevated to legendary status in my book.

thankfully, hubby is back, but today has still been crazy-busy, so this shall just be a brief pop-in post.

thursday brought the happy chance to photograph these two dapper fellows.

thanks, guys--you two are naturals in front of the camera.

and also, i owe y'all july's booklist...
SPECIALS (Scott Westerfield)
EXTRAS (Scott Westerfield)
KIRA-KIRA (Cynthia Kadohata)
OUTSIDE BEAUTY (Cynthia Kadohata)
CRISS CROSS (Lynne Rae Perkins)

rennison's books are always dear to my heart with their unexpected, irreverent humor, but anderson's OCTAVIAN NOTHING took the trophy this time 'round. poetic, honest, disquieting...a must read.

and now back to my regularly scheduled psychosis...