Monday, September 29, 2008


You have one thumb in your mouth,
the other hand pressed firm upon my face.
I talk about your day,
and in the nite lite watch,
as your eye lids get heavy,
and then drop.
The world gets smaller,
and I feel your breath
in and out on my neck.
And as I whisper my love letter into your ear,
the lullabye rolls in
like a deep wave onto the sand of sleep.
In the small world of your room,
on the sandy shore of your sleep,
You drift off.
And as you drift off
it is as if
all of your tantrums and outbursts
and frenzied nonstop movement
it is as if
all of your questions and answers
and full-hearted laughing and crying
it is as if
all of your pushing and shoving
and four-year-old brawn
And tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Meera Grace 4 Months Old

Our baby girl is 4 months old today. These are some photos from the past month. She is the most precious thing imaginable. Her personality and temperament are off the charts awesome. She sleeps 13 hours a night consistently (with only one bottle at around 3:30am, after which she promptly falls right back to sleep). She wakes up cheery and chatty and smiley and squealing. She goes to sleep on her own most of the time. She adores her brothers. She smiles all the time. She goes with the flow. She only cries when she's overtired, which is rarely. She loves her little baby toys. She loves baths, getting her face washed, and getting her diaper changed. She loves the car, the stroller, the bjorn carrier, her playmat, and still loves her black bjorn chair. She laughs and giggles. She's ticklish on her feet and neck. She loves to be cuddled. She lets anybody hold her. She is happy anywhere as long as she's got her peeps with her... and we're (K, O, Mama, Papi, or some combination of them) always with her. This baby is a dream baby. We know the other side (K & O were.... um.... let's just say... quite challenging as babies-------- and who are we kidding?!?! they're still challenging us daily!!!!!!!). But this one, this little Meera Grace, this one is a cake walk. A dreamy girly chubby drooly bundle of angel baby. She is sweetness personified. We'll see whatever the future holds. Right now, we're savoring every second.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Half Full, Missing MorMor, Baseball, and Apple Pie

I am aware that our blog often (not always, but often) comes across as presenting our family/life as all glossy and happy-happy and smileys and rainbows. The honest to God truth of it is, I feel that we have an incredibly charmed life. Yes, we work wicked hard (don't know why that 'wicked' thing seems appropriate here, but somehow it does). Yes, we have our tantrums and meltdowns and fussy-phases just like everyone else (or, I guess, I assume everyone else does?!). Yes, it all feels like it just sucks sometimes. We of course have our failures, we have rejections, we have setbacks, we lose, we flop, we feel like total rejects, our kids act up and drive us crazy and make us wonder how on earth we'll get through the next twenty years.... yes, of course. But from my perspective, those things are just to be expected --- part of the complexity of richly layered living. We have not had major catastrophic losses. We have never had devastating health problems. We have not had to deal with life-altering tragedy or crisis. Braydon and I are soulmates who found each other early. And we're very driven people who are determined to make our life wonderful. We have a daily commitment to making it work. We found two twin boys who are the perfectly right match to be our children. We have a baby who is --to us-- like an angel. From our vantage point, it really is just about as good as it can get. We wouldn't want everything to be smooth around every edge. We wouldn't want the road to have no curves. We wouldn't want the dullness of too much peace and quiet. Our days are full (overflowing). Our life is crazy (truly). We feel extraordinarily blessed. We give and give and give, in all sorts of directions. And we receive and receive and receive, in so many many ways. We see our glass as more-than-half-full. And we're unapologetic about that. Because, from where we stand (and we believe we've seen enough of the world to know...), it is. We also know enough about the world to know this: we are privileged. And therefor: we're not whiners, we're not complainers, and we don't have a lot of tolerance for privileged people who are. So, I'm not going to whine here. And I'm not going to complain. But, man, do we miss MorMor. She left on Friday. Our weekend was about as splendid as any weekend could be (we had so much fun having a family weekend with lots of home time and lots of outings just the five of us)... but we miss her when she's gone. Oh, do we miss her. We miss so many things. Just two of them are baseball and apple pie. As cheesy as it sounds, it is for real. She plays baseball with the boys for hours on end in the driveway. She makes apple pie with them/for us. She grounds us with her steady presence. And then, just as quick as she comes, she's gone. And we're back to the five of us again. We're a happy five-some. Our glass is more-than-half-full, even without her. But, oh, how we miss her when she's gone.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Waldorf Lunch Baskets

O.k., so I don't know about other Waldorf schools, but ours is definitely not "mainstream." I'm not going to get into it here, but suffice it to say that it is about as not mainstream as you can get. One of the many things that has come to seem normal to us, but is -- alas -- actually quite bizarre at first glance is the fact that most of the children bring their lunch to school in baskets. From an outsider's perspective it appears very odd-- the sight of all these children, grades pre-K through 8, walking into school each morning carrying baskets. Very few backpacks, very few lunch boxes, very few school bags... but lots and lots and lots of baskets. Anyhoo... K & O have never brought baskets to school. From the start I thought it would be absolutely crazy to give them their lunches in baskets -- because I know my boys and I knew they'd swing them around and lose all their lunch stuff. And they didn't seem to notice (or if they did, they sure didn't care) that most other children were carrying baskets while they weren't. But that was when they were 3. Now they're 4. And kindergarteners. And what a difference a year makes!! By the end of the first week of school Kyle was asking for a "lunch basket." Then, of course, Owen jumped on the bandwagon and started nagging me for a "lunch basket" too. I asked why they wanted this. They said (of course!), "because everyone else has lunch baskets!" I said, "well don't you want to be different from everyone else?" and they looked at me like I was crazy and said (of course!), "NO!!!" Well, coincidentally, my mom is a Shaker Basket Maker. I asked her to bring some basket stuff with her when she came for this visit. So, sure enough, yesterday afternoon, the boys made their very own "lunch baskets" with MorMor. And this morning they could not wait to go to school with their lunches in their baskets. In the car, before pulling out of the garage, they even asked me to "take a picture" of them with their baskets. It was a huge deal to them to have their lunch baskets today. You wouldn't believe how excited these two boys can get over things like this. Kyle, literally, hasn't stopped talking about his basket for the past 24 hours. So, now, K & O have had another wish come true: Waldorf Lunch Baskets. And MorMor can add this to her long list of crazy/interesting/bizarre/or, in her words--"unique"-- things that have gone on around here during this visit. ;)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Peace Valley with MorMor

Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day. We went to Peace Valley with MorMor and Neptune-- MorMor's new 10-week-old Golden Retriever. The boys rode their scooters, the babies (Meera and Neptune) took turns riding in the stroller (!!!!!!!! WHAT A RIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!), and the rest of us walked.

Monday, September 22, 2008

MorMor's Back!

She's back. What a glorious sigh of relief!!! Meera is just beginning to understand the beauty of MorMor. She'll learn. Oh, will she learn! But the rest of us fully know the extent of the joy she brings. The help!!!!! The fun!!!! The steady presence!!!! The laughs!!!!! The talks!!! Did I already say 'the help'??! The help. Seriously, I don't know what we'd do without her. Her visits are like a respite in the chaos of this crazy, crazy household. I love the photo above-- taken this morning, after giving Meera Grace a bath in the kitchen sink. I cannot count the ways that she helps us. We feel spoiled. Really spoiled. It is a good thing. A dang good thing. We've got her here for six sleeps (she arrived Saturday). We're trying to savor every moment.


One of our neighbors gave us their trampoline! This is a perfect addition to our backyard-- not that anything can tire out K & O, but jumping jumping jumping definitely can't hurt. (And although we know it is an impossible task, we'll never stop trying to get all of their energy out). We moved it over to our yard bright and early Saturday morning. The boys (including Braydon) have been jumping on it virtually non-stop ever since.

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Such Cute Shoes"

Today it was finally cool enough outside for Meera to wear her very first pair of shoes for the very first time. K & O were incredibly excited about it. When I went to pick them up at school (school ends each day at 1:00 for them), Meera had the shoes on. It was the first thing each of them said to me: "She's wearing her shoes! They are such cute shoes!" All afternoon they've been talking about it. They've brought it up every few minutes. Complimenting Meera: "Meera! Those are such cute shoes! I love your shoes Meera!" And commenting to me: "Mama, those are such cute shoes! Don't you just think those are such cute shoes??!!" At one point Kyle even went so far as to say, "Mommy, you know why I'm so happy today?! Because my sister has on such cute shoes!" This -- "Meera's such cute shoes" -- was, clearly a major highlight of their day. As for Meera, she could not have cared less about it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Getting to School Early

There are lots of older kids at the boys' school who the boys adore. Kyle's favorite is one 11 year old boy whose name is David. I've posted about David and the older kids before -- for example, click here for a post from last spring. Since school started last week K & O have been talking a lot about the "big kids" and specifically asking for time to play with them. I have figured out that the grade school kids all gather on the back playground playing each morning before school starts (the early education kids all are dropped off by their parents directly at their classrooms inside the school). And I've been secretly hoping to find a day that we could get K & O to school early so they could play for awhile with the big kids on the back playground. This morning Braydon had to leave early for meetings, so I was on my own for the a.m. routine and school drop-off. It was a beautiful morning -- and I managed to get the boys to school 15 minutes early. We had hopes of finding all the kids they adore on the playground, and sure enough -- there they were! K & O were in their glory!!! Meera slept happily in her carseat. I can't imagine a happier start to their day! The kids were having so much fun (even the big kids) that the teacher who chaperone's outside each morning actually came up to me and suggested that we do this more often. She even offered to personally be responsible for bringing K & O into their classrooms if we ever want to just drop them off early on the back playground. I'm sure the boys will now be begging to do it everyday! I snapped these pictures from a long distance, so they aren't great, but they do show the feeling of the early morning heaven.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lookie attta deez cheekies!


K & O this morning before school

For the past two days K & O (mostly initiated by K) have been insisting on wearing their hair in ponytails. My theory is that now that they're back at school they're seeing all these cute girls with cutie hair (ponytails, braids, barretts, ribbons, etc.) and they want all that cutie stuff too. And really, why not? Even though no other boys they know wear their hair like this, they seem to still have no clue whatsoever that this would not be within the range of 'normal' for boys their age in mainstream society. And I, for one, am not going to be the one to alert them to that--- at least not anytime soon. And I'm not going to tell them they shouldn't or can't wear their hair this way. At least not now. We don't go out of our way to encourage this kind of thing, but we don't discourage it either. And luckily (luckily luckily luckily) K & O go to a school where everyone there seems to genuinely accept and embrace their ponytails as if this were within the range of 'normal.' People don't make a huge commotion of it in a positive or a negative way. That's one of the things I love about their school-- as long as you're kind and careful (truly full of care) then you're loved and embraced no matter who you are and nobody is really ever singled out for any reason one way or another. I don't know what K & O will think of these photos when they're 18 years old, 6 feet tall, 250 pounds. But that's not going to stop us from the ponytail up-do's for the time being. We do, however, draw the line at "sparkle shoes" (they'd do just about anything right now for two pair of sparkly glittery pink shoes with sequins all over them). Actually, I should say, we did draw the line at sparkle shoes (when they first were drooling over them in the shoe store when we went to buy school shoes a couple of weeks ago). I thought they'd forget about them once we got home. But they're still bringing it up almost daily and I'm starting to maybe be caving into the pressure. I'm not going to make a special trip to the shoe store, but hypothetically if we just happened to come across two pair of cheap sparkle shoes sometime soon... I think it might be really hard for me to not spring for them. Don't worry... I promise, if it happens, I'll post a photo.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Love 7 Years Young

August 2002, married less than a year

August 2008, married almost 7 years (at the exact spot on the dock where we got engaged)

Braydon -- My love for you would overflow the Grand Canyon, Lake Winnipesaukee, and then some. We've been together for 15 years as of this fall, married 7 years as of today. They talk about the '7 year itch'... all I know is that I'm itchin' to find out what the next 7 years with you will bring!!! ;0 Bring it on baby! There is never a dull moment, but I wouldn't have it any other way! xo hbj

Seven years today!

Heather and I are celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary today - can you believe it?!?!? It's been a wonderful time with lots of amazing changes. I am so thankful that Heather agreed to marry me, I am really the luckiest guy and I have an incredible life with her and our family. She is still my beautiful bride and I love her.

What are we doing to celebrate? Well, we went to Los Sarapes on Friday and it was awesome. But, since we have a three month old and twin four year olds, we're going to have a nice drink together tonight.

Happy 7th anniversary Heather!


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Who knew? Kyle is a power tool kinda guy...

Lately Kyle has been quite critical that we have someone cut our grass. And for the record, I do feel a measure of shame for it. But long ago, we did a little cost/benefit analysis on it, and with buying a riding mower big enough and the amount of time it would take me on a weekly basis to tend to the lawn, we opted for some help. Now, to be quite clear, it was really about the time. We look around and see the men of the world mowing and mowing and mowing all Saturday long and we decided that I'd rather spend the time with my family. And frankly, this basically covers anything outside power tool related (to which Don, my father-in-law can attest - thank goodness for him).

Granted, we are fortunate to be in a place to make that decision...most are not. We're thankful for it everyday. And Dave does an awesome job, so we're double lucky.

However, at the moment, Kyle is not so thrilled with it.

"Papi, why don't you mow the lawn Papi? Why Dave mows the lawn Papi? I want you mow the lawn Papi. With ME Papi!"

Ah ha, the truth comes out. When I explain how it will take me all day Saturday, then I have to weed whack, then rake, then fertilize and I would not be able to go to the swimming pool and I would not be able to go out to lunch with him, he gets a little thoughtful.

"That's ok Papi, I will do it with you!"

So, after additional thought and mulling it over for a few days, Kyle bring this up and dinner tonight:

"Papi, I want 42 boxes from the box truck! I want a box with a lawnmower, a box with a weed whacker, a box with pressure washer, a box with a wagon in it that I can put on the lawn mower and carry you around in. And I want a box with a chainsaw in it too."

When Heather points out that he will then spend all day Saturday doing yard work, he replies:

"No mommy, we will put it next to Papi's lawnmower [the little hand push one I have and never use] and we can play with it whenever we want!"

He must be getting it from somewhere else, since he's definitely not getting it from me....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Meera's First Playdate

Today the Petsch crew came over with Meena, the adorable 4-month old baby that they are caring for. Seeing them with Meena was a reminder to me that foster families are truly a gift to us all. I'm proud to have such good friends who are doing this. And seeing Meera and Meena together was beyond cute! It was, officially, Meera's first playdate. We generally don't post about K & O's playdates because we typically don't take pictures of them (too busy either chatting with the parents or doing damage control with the kids). But today we couldn't resist the temptation to pull out the camera. Meera and Meena had a ton of fun-- especially when Meera shared her playmat. ;) Kyle, especially, was smitten with Meena. He even got to help feed her a bottle, which was an extra special moment for him. And of course K & O had a ton of fun with Zoe too (despite some serious infractions requiring some serious time outs for both boys). And amidst all the mayhem the four "growned ups" (as Owen has been calling us lately) had a good time--- as always.