Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Jack swam. Swam. Like: face underwater (NOT holding his nose), kicking his feet, moving through the water, swimming.


He had a breakthrough at swim class last night. He went underwater (all on his own) and I held my breath with him from the side as his teacher guided him towards the edge.

And when he came up out of the water, I don’t know  who had a bigger smile on their face: me or him. We both looked like deliriously happy 4 year olds…I guess we both were at that moment.

I’ve always been proud of Jack. Always. The way he takes care of his sister, or helps someone, or listens to a grown-up, or says his prayers, or sings in the Christmas program…hell, even if he does something as seemingly miniscule as picking out his clothes. But this…this was different.

I watched, as week after week, Jack came closer to overcoming his apprehension about the water. I actually saw him learn. I watched as he let go of his fears. He decided to put his face in the water all on his own, and he realized that he was okay...that he could do this on his own. 

It was unbelievable to see. All night I kept saying, “I can’t believe he did that! I can’t believe YOU did that, Jack!”…the excitement just kept coming back to me again.

He’s graduating from a tadpole to a goldfish (even though I’m pretty sure that genetically, the next step up from a tadpole is a tadpole with a tail, according to a Curious George book, but whatever). He’s excited that he “beat the level!”. I’m excited to see what he’ll learn next.

It’s was one of the best things in the world to watch him discover, learn, overcome, and experience. And to think: there’s SO many more challenges in life waiting for him. I can’t wait!

Monday, June 4, 2012

jack, naps are good for you…i promise.


Jack doesn’t take naps on the weekends. We’d prefer he did…but he’d prefer he didn’t and apparently he has stronger will than we do.

The one and ONLY plus side to Jack’s refusal to nap is that he is sound asleep by 6:30 pm (and there’s no back-and-forth “…but I need one more drink…but I need you to cover me up…but I’m not tiiiired.”). Other than that: he is crabby, tired, irritable…everything you’d expect from someone who has been going full throttle for 12+ hours straight.

But yesterday, as if by some miracle, Jack napped. A good, quiet, 2 hour nap that left us to spend a rare weekend evening with the happy, playful little guy we know.

In the car, Jack insisted on making 500 funny faces and having me take his picture each time. He makes me laugh.

Photo Jun 04, 8 24 17 AM

Photo Jun 04, 8 24 31 AM

Photo Jun 04, 8 25 12 AM

Photo Jun 04, 8 25 29 AM

Photo Jun 04, 8 25 49 AM

Photo Jun 04, 8 28 09 AM

Moral or the story: life is better when people take naps.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

first best friends

Jack is rough with Lila…rough with her like she’s one of his buddies on the playground. This is equally frustrating and endearing.
We tell him repeatedly that “she’s a girl”, “she’s smaller”, “she’s not as strong as he is”…but it doesn’t resonate with him because he doesn’t see her as smaller, weaker, different…he sees his best friend who he wants to wrestle with because to him, that’s about the most fun thing to do and he wants to do that with her.
Frustrating. Endearing.
I see her run up to him with open arms, begging to be picked up and hugged…Jack obliges, only to release her to fall down into the grass. And before I can yell, she bounces up and continues to chase him around and around. I’ve never met a little girl tougher: she’s had her fair share of bumps and bruises (see: glass stuck in her hand!), and she rarely complains.
I know their relationship will teach Jack to treat girls kindly and equally (like he would his sister, once he realizes that you can’t wrestle with her so hard).
I know their relationship will teach Lila to hold her own with the boys, and to push back and be strong, and to know that she can always call on him and he will be there to protect her.
I know their relationship will remind me that they are one another’s first best friends. That at the end of the day, it’s them against the world. I LOVE that they will have each other to rely on for the rest of their lives. That bond they share is so important to me… Be good to each other, Jack and Lila…

Friday, May 11, 2012

teacher appreciation…


I was feeling overwhelmed with ideas (thanks pinterest) and short on time…this worked out well and the gifts came out pretty cute.


Galvanized buckets with ribbon handles (from the Target dollar spot), a potted vinca, and a “thank you” pennant”. I bought all of the buckets I could find and only with there had been more: they’d be great little catch-all's around the house.


“your voice is small, but don’t ever stop singing”


My girlfriend sent me this video, and I loved it. It’s good advice for mother’s of daughters (or sons)…things to remember and teach them about the world and themselves.


“If I should have a daughter, instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B,” because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. I’m going to paint solar systems on the backs of her hands so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say, “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.” And she’s going to learn that this life will hit you hard in the face, wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you in the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.

…I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boots nearby, because there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks that chocolate can’t fix, but that’s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything, if you let it…

There’ll be days…when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises; when you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you want to save are the ones standing on your cape; when you when our boots fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment. And those are the very days you have all the more reason to say thank you. Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.

You will put the wind in winsome, lose some. You will put the star in starting over, and over. And no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute, be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.

And yes, on a scale of one to over-trusting, I am pretty darn naïve. But I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily, but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.

“Baby,” I’ll tell her, “remember your mommy is a worrier and your daddy is a warrior, and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.” Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things. And always apologize when you’ve done something wrong, but don’t ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining. Your voice is small, but don’t ever stop singing. And when they finally hand you heartache, when they slip war and hatred under your door and offer you handouts on street-corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.”

(taken from a speech given by by Sarah Kay)


Lila, let’s read this to each other every so often…(once you start to read, that is). I think it will be good for both of us…

Thursday, May 10, 2012

jack is my hero


Yesterday, I had a bad day. That’s a relative statement, because everyone I know and love is happy and healthy and safe…but it was a no good day, nonetheless.

It started with some not so hopeful news about our on-the-market house. And from there, it just went down. Between meetings from hell and miscommunication about picking up the kids, I was ready for the day to be over. But when I got home, the bad mood and crappy day seemed to fade.

I took pictures of the kids. Lots, actually. For Mother’s Day, I want to make myself updated silhouettes of the kids so I was set on getting good profile shots. Lila’s were a challenge. I must have taken 30, but I knew I had a keeper in that bunch! Then I took pictures of the kids goofing around, making funny faces and laughing so hard that they were falling onto one another with full-on belly laughs that brought a smile to my face. I knew my bad day was over. I knew things were only going uphill from here.

Then I took Jack’s pictures. And reviewed. Reviewed. Revi…my pictures were gone. The pictures of Lila’s profile and the kids laughing together and from spirit week at school, and those from the previous week, and the week before that. Gone. And I lost it. I cried. A big, red-faced cry. I was mad and angry and frustrated and tired.


Then Jack patted my back. He said, “It’s okay Mommy, you can just take more pictures.” He was there for me: when everything came crashing down, he became my knight. And although I know I’ll never get those pictures back, it wasn’t really about the pictures anyway. I think I just needed a moment of release. The memories in those lost pictures, of the kids’ unconditional love for one another, reminded me that my crappy day isn’t something that I will remember in the long run. Lucky for me though, there will be thousands of belly-laughing, sibling-loving moments to come, capture, and relive.

I wiped my eyes, and we read our nightly books, and I told him how thankful I was that he was my big guy and how much he helped me…how lucky I am. Then he requested I sing “The Lucky” song, for which he had to resituate himself to sit properly in my lap like a baby, which I will allow as long as he wishes. It was an off key rendition, but I sang and rocked him.

It was the least I could do after he became my personal hero for the night…for my ever, actually.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

things papa learned about Jack

Herb sent me a very sweet note about the things he and Nani learned about Jack from their adventure at the City Museum...I agree:
  1. He’s got drive-----[redacted to protect xxxx from future embarassment :)]--- I like drive-------you can learn most anything------except drive. 
  2. He’s a leader------when he and Mom got lost in the labyrinth Jack said, “It will be OK Nani, just follow me.”
  3.  He’s compassionate-----see the note above.
  4.  He’s adventuresome-----he was always searching for “new ways” to crawl around.
  5.  He’s determined-----he wanted to climb a wall and he worked until he did it-------------I have a video to prove it.
  6. He knows how to have fun
  7. He’s athletic-------he was SO GOOD at climbing.
  8.  He’s artistic-------he painted and made interesting things from clay.
I can't say that any of these qualities and traits are something we didn't know...but it's nice to hear great things about him from people other than us: his parents (even though his grandparents might be just as biased as we are!).

Either way, I hope Jack always keeps these traits about him...esp 1-3...I think those will one day help Jack become a really good man...(the others would just be little bonuses)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Jack is good.

Yesterday Nani and Papa played hooky, sprang Jack from daycare, and took him to the City Museum…something we probably should have done a long time ago.

He/they had THE.BEST.TIME…so much so, that someone in the group sharted. Not saying who in an effort to protect someone’s feelings. You’re welcome, xxxx.

They ran themselves ragged for 4+ hours, taking turns running around with Jack and having “resting” breaks. Jack didn’t need any resting breaks: those are for grown-ups!

They came home smelling of sweat, with a bruise here and there, and loads of craft projects, and videos of all the exciting adventures they had.

Jack is lucky to have those special days with Nani and Papa. How fun to be rescued from preschool to play all day with his two favorite people?! Who wouldn’t love that opportunity? It makes me very proud to have such amazing parents who adore my children. Also, it makes me jealous that fun stuff like that never happens to me. Can someone please rescue me from the everyday work doldrums?!
Jim and I had Jack’s parent/teacher conference yesterday. And, while it was no “shart-inducing” experience, it was a great one. His teacher couldn’t say enough good things about him: how he’s so happy and pleasant, such a good listener and rule follower, so sweet and eager, smart and athletic. I smiled for two reasons: because I was so damn proud, and also I was pretty sure she was confusing us with parents of another child.

People keep telling us that “We’re doing such a good job” and “How wonderful Jack and Lila are” and I think I’ve unknowingly fooled everyone into thinking we have our shit together. We don’t, and Jack disobeys us and stomps and throws massive fits and wakes his sister up. He’s testing us and some days I think he’s winning the battle…that I’m being outsmarted by a 4 year old. I go to bed thinking “Where did I go wrong?”. But then he cuddles up to me to tell me his bad dreams and somehow just by being there, I make them go away, and I realize he is so sweet underneath his rough, star wars obsessed façade.

And in the end…it will get easier. At least that’s what people tell me…even though they are the same people who tell me that we’re doing something right with Jack, so I think they might be really good liars.

This weekend I have big plans to stay in my pjs and organize/clean. And maybe even watch a movie…but more likely than not, I will spend the days cleaning, and the nights wondering why Jack thinks its funny when I tell him “No.” and why he is so skilled at tuning out my voice...I'll likely fall asleep before SNL even starts. And I will consider it all a success if no one sharts…starting now. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

a few things about this little girl...

Last night, when Lila decided she didn't want to sit/snuggle to relax before bed, I said, "Fine Lila: go in timeout," and she proceeded to walk over to Jack's usual t.o. spot and sit happily, like the privilege of a time out had finally been bestowed on her! She's too smart for her own good...or as CC/my mom pointed out, maybe Jack goes in timeout way to often...?? 

She loves her cousin Will to pieces. "Wheel!" she exclaims when she sees his picture. She wants to hug him, and squeeze him, and name him George. As you can see from the pic below, he's a little unsure about her right now...it's only a matter of time before she's dressing him and convincing him to join her in ring-around-the-rosy!

And for some reason, I'm five hundred percent obsessed with Lila's hair in the picture below: so straight and perfectly windswept (even though there was no wind, because she's in the bath and all)...I want to marry her hair to pieces!

Also, she's got most of this family wrapped around her finger. Jim cannot say no to her...literally: he let her take a bath with a piece of pizza in her hand because she didn't want to give it up and he didn't want to say no to her! I was like, "Seriously, Jim?" and he shrugged as if to say, "I'm powerless to her forces." So Lila played with the pizza turned sponge in the tub until everyone was grossed out enough to call the bath over. (And when I went to shower later, I definitely found some tomato in the tub...)

Monday, January 9, 2012

He doesn't get it from me...

Jack spent the day with Nani (feverish! I'm over the sickness in our house!). As my mom was changing laundry, Jack picked up towels and began to fold them...correctly! He told her "Daddy taught me that." Later in the night, Jack, uninterested in Dora, walked to him room. It was quiet. Too quiet. When I went to check on him he proudly held his hands out displayed a cleaned-up room! "Look: I cleaned up a little bit!" It made me so proud! My son: a laundry-folding, room cleaner.

Suffice to say, he gets none of that from me...but maybe I'll get some of that from him: I think sometimes, my kids teach me more than I can ever teach them.