29 June 2010

tuesday, unwrapped.

today i'm unwrapping the gift of simple joys.

of quiet morning runs, the road snaking out into the sun, a bracing wind, leaves shivering on their branches.

of lilies the color of creamsicles.


of unexpected notes from friends who live entirely too far away.

of calamine lotion. (i am currently sporting twenty-two itchy welts, almost all on my stomach, and i cannot adequately extol the calming properties of that pastel liquid. i'd like to swim laps in the stuff.)


of things that green up and grow all by themselves because The Someones Who Lived Here Before Me were smart enough to plant them just right.

of freshly rinsed cherries.


of offspring who fold their own laundry.


of brown bean chowder and clementines and cornbread.

of festive occasions where one can make pippi dolls for a darling four year old.


of a pool we fill and empty and drag around and fill, so as to kill our backyard grass evenly.

of an uncle who turns out to be a best friend, and of best friends who feel like home.

of relentless, miraculous grace.

more everyday wonder here:

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

21 June 2010

interview with the progeny.

what is something that daddy always says?
em: turn off the light.
zee: you need to clean up your room, guys.

what does daddy look like?
elle: a dad.
what does a dad look like?
elle: he has short hair, and he has blinking eyes.
em: big. tall. old.


what is your favorite thing about daddy?
elle: sometimes he plays with me. cooking cookies or membery.
bee: he plays video games with me.
em: he looks after me. like keeps an eye on me.
zee: he takes me places. sports games.

what do you like to do with dad?
em: i like to play with him, like today we played six rounds of scum.
zee: games. video games and board games.


how has dad influenced the person you’ve become?
bee: i’m a lot better at boxing now, because now when we play i always crush him, although now he’s getting better so i guess i’m influencing him.

what is dad’s favorite vegetable?
elle: cucumber?
why does he like cucumbers?
elle: because they don’t taste like anything?


what is dad especially good at?
bee: kung-fu panda. he’s really good at that.
elle: checkers!
em: being a coach for like soccer and basketball.
zee: chess.

why is daddy the best dad on the planet?
bee: because he’s the only dad i have.
elle: because people like him.
em: because he loves me?


what’s the funniest thing daddy has ever done or said?
elle: um, i know! when [em] ate the last hamburger, and so daddy said, ‘boooooo.’
em: yeah, cause he wanted to eat it and i ate it first.

what would you like to say to dad on father’s day?
elle: hi daddy!
bee: happy father’s day.
em: happy father’s day.
zee: have a good happy father’s day.

18 June 2010



come late june, the evenings stretch long and languid, into gossamer strands of gold, and dusk is but a rumor.

with all this light to fill, we gather heart shaped clover


wend our way through a stack of tales


[pages rendered in every shade of bright]


and inhale the quiet of the kingdom plantae, delicate and bizarre.


we stay up long past bedtime, and still find enough leftover light for
one last fruit salad snack


for touching small toes to a still-bright sky


for one last simple story


and one (or sixty-two) final plunges down the slide.


then we lumber inside on sleepy feet to shower and slumber and gather dreams of doing it all again tomorrow.

15 June 2010

unhinged. but in a good way.


this morning i rose with a sleepiness i can't quite rub away, a groggy half-headache that leaves me a bit frayed around the edges. my most appealing inclination was to climb back in bed and try again later, but there was work to be done and a house to be tidied and littles to nestle close and nourish and chase.

so i got up. and we scrubbed and sang and relished cream roses in water glasses. we read library books and hammered and packaged and piled up in the van for a trip to the five-minutes-from-here park.

it’s thunderstorm season in the midwest, and the park was flooded in places, to the simultaneous delight and horror of my children. we hiked along the walking path until it dipped beneath a newly-formed lake of muddied water. the river hurtled by, swollen, beautiful and perilous.

now it’s home again, and resting time, and caramelizing beans and slicing salads for a dinner with new (ethiopian!) friends tonight. i’d like to say i feel awake now, together, but i don’t. still, that’s maybe the best part, really. that God is present in my groggy in-betweens, that he inhabits every ordinary minute of my day.

* * *

more sweet shots at darcy's.

more ordinary wonder here.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

10 June 2010

just add water.

on blistering summer days, the littles pine for a trip to the beach. seeing as how we reside roughly seven hundred miles from the nearest ocean, however, we mostly have to settle for other arrangements.






pparty1 pparty8

i love how a well-spent jackson buys us a pool party that spans all the sticky summer long.

* * *

visit beth's place for more glorious captures of fun.

08 June 2010


no big summer trips planned for our brood.

but we do sometimes wander to the end of the road past our road, pausing to gather the sparkliest rocks or catch bits of cotton suspended in air honeyed with late evening sun.



quiet things grow there, a field of young green (past the brush) that is not soybeans and is not corn. we'll have to keep checking back to find out what it becomes.


sometimes we journey to far-off places on the pages of our morning work. (to the moon, in this case, where there are laser-wielding aliens to be battled and astronauts to aid.)



at other times, bits of wonder travel to us in the form of thoughtful gifts:


(are you not in love with this packaging? the delicate smattering of stars, the 'hello, shouldn't you wear this now?')

internet, meet my new earrings (14k goldfill + 1950's venetian lampwork beads). these beauties came from the lovely geeta, famous for her leather blooms and delicate metalwork. geeta is a london-transplant and an inspired designer and also my friend.


but truth be told, even when we do voyage to exotic climes, the verybest of our summer adventures inevitably take place here


in the green and the shade of our very own backyard, where dogs scale tricksy heights and ride on tire swings





(and where we build forts and play world cup tournaments and gather worms and dance in the sprinklers).

some would say we are missing out, my children are missing out, but i think not. i'd surmise that cultivating the ability to find wonder in everyday spaces will yield a lifetime of adventure.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

03 June 2010

mom. please.

this week's youcapture assignment was your best shot. we were to sift through the week's photos and pick our single best image. i, however, did not even read the assignment till last night, so what we have here is my favorite shot from five minutes of this morning:

can we be done now?
[my seven year old, wearing peppered freckles and longsuffering, wishing his mother would be done with the pictures so he could get on with summer.]

iso 100, 1/200, f4.0
post-processed with 'pool party' action from tra2 (boutwell studios)


01 June 2010

once upon a sunday afternoon.

animal dominoes, the painted wooden kind from grandma neuenschwander. i totally beat elle in a last second stroke of pure luck genius.


deeply purpled clematis.


the cup game.


okay, so it is probably not actually called the cup game, but it involves sticks and a frisbee and four plastic cups, plus a willingness to launch one's body across the lawn in an effort to catch a toppled cup. 'the cup game' is much catchier, no?

so guess what. i just did five seconds of research, and the authoritative word of google reports the name of this lawn game as 'flimsee.' i was awfully close.


this flower is part pineapple, part anemone, part bird of paradise, one hundred percent weirdly fantastic. oh the wonders that take place in my backyard.


cartwheel lessons. i showed the littles what to do (and also might have pulled a hamstring), and they thought i was all nadia comeneci.**

i am, however, apparently not the greatest coach:





they could maybe use a little practice.

**sidenote: so this is a great reason to have kids around; they are ever so willing to be impressed by their mother's laughable efforts. i love these guys.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

sweet shot tuesday