I had the chance to see RR in action today. It was her Sun Celebration which, at our school, means the children circle around a flat sun to watch and listen as RR walks around one time for each of her years on earth. For each circle, Debra and I had the chance to tell the kids about each year of RR’s life. Then we stayed for lunch and playground time.

Not only was it our first Sun Celebration, but it was my first chance to be a part of her school day. Eating lunch with 22 nearly silent children was a wonder. I’m amazed at how many of them I know – not just their names but who their parents are, how they come to school, where they live, who their friends are, and the clothes they like to wear. I’m also amazed that Debra knows even more of their names and faces.

We watched the kids scatter to play on the playground, falling into small groups. These two are wrestling. Those boys are building a sandcastle. Six girls are gathered together pretending something small and precise, all in similar flowered dresses. A pack of kids are tossing balls at a basket. Someone is tangled around my legs. RR is running, chasing, jumping, climbing, leaping, and whooping in a small group of other leaper-whoopers who are launching themselves up into the playset-pirate ship, flying over benches, and discovering mulch-treasure to take back to the ship.

I don’t know if was a glimpse of her future or a simple snapshot – likely a bit of both. She was the sole girl in a group of older boys, a 3-yr-old with tangled curls running laps with lanky 4 and 5-yr-olds. Her skirt not slowing her down for an instant as she slid down the slide in a pile of pirates and tumbled out on the ground to begin again. I wish I hadn’t been quite so glad that she wasn’t playing with the quiet, serious girls because she might someday and that’s not a terrible thing. On the other hand, she can be a pirate forever and that’s okay with me, too.

She’s such a big girl. A strong girl. A wonder. A pirate (for the moment). And a lot of fun.


Behold! The End!

The end is nigh.

I think, maybe, don’t want to jinx it, probably, that my parents just moved out. Can you imagine what it must be like to have lived half of a year in the turmoil of packing your things, moving, and then staying in someone else’s house temporarily? I have done this (thanks, Department of State, for the lesson in resiliency!) and I know firsthand the physical and emotional toll it eventually takes. I imagine my parents are exhausted.

Debra brought them back safe and sound from Wyoming with their belongings and they spent the weekend with us before getting down to the serious business of unpacking it all. They are at the house today, TODAY!, and may stay there tonight. You guys. You have no idea.

We are still the proud keepers of five cats and two dogs but even their departure is in sight. The cats will go first to acclimate and then the dog will follow and then there will be quiet. Amazing, unbelievable, quiet. I can’t even imagine what that will feel like.

Nope, I just tried. Can’t even imagine.

Three More Days

Three more days until my wife comes back home. You guys, these are the things we are going through:

–We ate tacos with our fingers as I had forgotten forks, was too exhausted to get up, and RR broke the one shell we had between us.

–She wants to watch Yeap Fwog. NO the one with the FWOG and the GWEEN PUPPY and NOT THAT ONE. They all say Leap Frog. I have no idea what I’m doing wrong.

–The dog licked her and she has milk on her sock. That’s why she is jumping from the ottoman to the couch.


–It’s okay, Mama, Mama will be home and put it back.

–What day is it? It’s Tuesday. What day is it? It’s Wednesday. What day is it? It’s Thursday. I’ll bet I can guess what she’ll ask tomorrow.

–We have listened to Elton John’s Crocodile Rock at least 50 times. Funny how in three years I’ve never gotten sick of her children’s music but in 3.5 seconds I wish old Elton had got crushed under the tire. Accidentally.

–I hit my head three times on the roof of the car today. I nearly passed out the second time. Oh that’s right, RR had hold of my boob when I jerked backward. A) why is she tugging on it in the first place? and B) and boys think they have the corner market on pain…

–She misses Grannie and Pop Pop and talks about them coming home constantly. When I told her they were moving to their house she looked me right in the face and wailed, NO THEY AREN’T! THEY ARE COMING HOME TO ME and then she threw her milk at my head.

–We spend a lot of time scolding my parents’ dog, Donx. Where “a lot of time” means constantly and “scolding” means practically yelling.

I came into her room to get her pants and found her not in the living room where I thought she was but standing on her rocking chair in the middle of the room balancing on one leg. Naked. I’m on the BEANS BALANCE, mama! I am so strong!

And despite the extremely helpful volunteering from our friends (hi starrhillgirl!), I’m too tired to even conceive of how they could be helpful. It’s just us, doing what we do (naked, apparently), with five cats and 2 dogs – 3 if you count my parents’ as double the work. Having anyone over would be a disaster (see: Donx) and I don’t have the energy to leave the house or to cook for anyone but myself. Also, we’re apparently cave people who can’t use silverware.

The lovely person at Love Invents Us was ruminating over being more gentle with oneself and that is definitely something I’m not able to do alone. Sure, with my wife, I’m a superhero at eating ice cream for dinner and letting the socks lay on the floor where RR threw them. But alone I can’t rest until the chores are done, the kitchen is sparkling (even after the horrible Donx splattered mud on the ceiling…AGAIN), the animals are taken care of, the laundry is put away, and our bags are packed for the upcoming day. I also can’t order pizza like I assume would be normal because I suddenly realize that I’m in control of everything and so, I, too, will be sparkling clean and healthy, just like the kitchen.

What’s wrong with me? I need my wife to come home so RR and I can get back to our slovenly ways.

PS – Excellent recipes:

Avocado Cilantro Chicken Salad
Pistachio Pesto Chicken Pasta




RR is having an amazing moment. ZOO, she pointed out in a book. In another, BOO she said, pleased as punch to have noticed it. GO, she said, reading the newspaper. And it actually said go. It wasn’t a memorized book. There wasn’t a picture she guessed at. It said go, she read go, and oh my god, SHE’S READING. I find words all over the house and I’m never sure if she knows she put them there or if it’s a coincidence.


During a rare bath (she might be reading but she is filthy, I admit it), I stuck a foam G and O on the door and she shrieked with glee. I added a F and a R for kicks and when I told her it was frog she nearly fell over she laughed so hard. And then she took the PH that had been hanging out in the vicinity and smacked them in front. LOOK MAMA, she said, STILL FROG!

photo 2

You guys. HOLY SHIT.

I’d like to say this has kicked off a week alone in fine fashion (Debra has gone off to move my parents’ belongings into their house here) but the glory of last night’s bath was dampened by this morning’s argument about whether or not I had paused Curious George or turned it off altogether. This on the heels of being told that she would be hungry forever because I wouldn’t let her have a cookie before supper. She’ll be hungry forever, but she is starting to READ.

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Trying to Get to Spring with a Clear Heart

Not being pregnant is something I can’t complain about to the people around me. Not only would it be a surprise:

I’m so sad I couldn’t get pregnant…
Oh! You were trying?

But I’m not sure what I’d expect to happen. There’s nothing to be sorry about and I don’t want to talk about how amazing it would have felt to carry a child. I don’t want to have to list all the reasons why RR being the only is the best thing ever, just to make myself feel better. I don’t want to feel selfish, which I absolutely do, ever time I’m jealous of someone else who, on the surface, appears to have come up pregnant just by thinking about it.

photo 1

I wish I wasn’t though. Jealous. I also wish I didn’t have so many (or any) pregnant coworkers. I wish the next season wasn’t summer, when there are no more coats and sweaters to keep coming attractions under wraps. That’s a lot of wishing about things I can’t change.

photo 4

I’d like to know when I’ll stop feeling that pang – parts frustration, loss, disappointment, even a little bit of wondering why we didn’t do more or try harder. I’d like to know when I’ll stop noting where my cycle is and having the second of mourning on the 15th of the month. So perfect. But not. Obviously not. I’d like to know when the balance will tip permanently in favor of not being pregnant.

photo 3

This sounds sad. but I’m mostly just noticing it. I wish I wasn’t, but there it is. Lots of other things are going on and I’m excited to talk about those instead, but I just had to get those words out first.

photo 5



Nine Years Worth

While celebrating our ninth anniversary over lunch today, my wife and I were talking about our favorite trips and vacations.

There was the midnight run to Virginia Beach early in our relationship. A lazy evening on the couch turned into late night pizza on a pier.

Visiting the Grand Canyon and Wupatki Ruins in the Painted Desert, one of my most favorite places in the world. That evening in the hotel wasn’t too shabby either.


Every trip to the Outer Banks: honeymoon, pre-baby, post-cancer, thanksgivings. Every last one.

The less-than-24 hours in San Francisco before my grandmother’s funeral, sleeping baby strapped on as we hung off the side of a cable car. I packed as much of the two years I lived there into the time we had, but there are still plenty of hidden staircases and tiny restaurants for next time.


This time last year, Baltimore’s dolphins and Philadelphia’s cannolis (and a desperation St. Pat’s dinner at Hooters with our two-year-old).

Driving to Wyoming through Wisconsin and South Dakota and back through Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, featuring the Grand Old Opry, the badlands, Mount Rushmore, Wall Drug, cheese curds, the Roanoke Star, a highway porn shop, a bloody hotel room, and cases of Fat Tire.


Freshest on our minds was last month’s trip to an isolated cabin in the Blue Ridge. While I wouldn’t have sought a location without internet access or cell reception, the fact that we didn’t have the former and could only occasionally get the latter probably made the hot tub steamier, the strawberries sweeter, and the sex spicier. I know, you have innocent ears. You’ll recover. We didn’t just romp though, we hiked, jumped streams, explored, and meditated by the river. We returned absolutely refreshed. For my part, it was exactly what was needed.

Traveling with my wife is one of the things I love best about being married to her. She’s wonderful and amazing and I’m incredibly lucky. And incredibly in love. Another nine years to come? I hope it’s far more than that.



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