Well, at least he thinks he is walking

Child Labor

Help a Momma out!
(I hope his other sock is in there.)

For you, Taylor

This is what it normally looks like.  And that jar of beads has been emptied on the dining room floor!
 The baskets get toted around and re-designated.  I just try to breathe slowly.


I said a few days ago that I was going to try to be up to date on the blog by the new year.  I'm almost there, but it is 10:50 on December 31st and I am drinking a glass of wine that is making me sleepier and sleepier, and I am still in September.  That's why I am not a big fan of resolutions.  Just general categories.  Things to be intentional about, think about.  No need to DECLARE anything really.  

So, probably won't be up to date, but I will think about it.

We went to Mammoth in September and it was beeyootiful.  Going in the off season, we got a condo for a decent price.  Actually, we could have slept in the van for the amount of time we actually spent in the condo.  The first day we hiked to Devil's Post Pile.  This amazing post-like formation formed when volcanic rock cooled quickly.

 Becoming Junior Rangers

View from the bottom

View from the top.  It was crazy - like octagonal pavers.

The kids really turned a corner on this outing.  And by "turned a corner," I mean much less whining and a lot more exploring.  

 Top of Rainbow Falls

 Watching the guys from above

 Yes, she is half naked.  At least she has underwear on here - they finally dried out.   You can fill in the blanks...
 He will not be left behind!
 It got chilly the second day when we hiked to several mountain lakes.  This was breath taking.  Coming from TN, where all the lakes are low, it was amazing hiking higher and higher to more water.  And the wind was whipping!

 And there was snow!
We must go here again.

The Baby Whisperer

...and piano teacher, chess master, 3-year-old tamer, fire juggler, egg scrambler and all around dear, dear friend.  Johnny Ciccolella.  We love him.


We've been focusing on life science this year.  We are working our way through the Animal Kingdom. We had one worm experiment go terribly wrong, due in part to an out of town trip that left them untended to.  I thought they knew what to do.  They are worms.  Don't they do their thing on their own all the time?  I do think we will retry it.  It was pretty grody and fun to mess with those night crawlers.

The kids are always putting things in jars and "tending" to them.  This minute I can see an enormous grass hopper in a little aquarium on the porch.  (I finally ordered some legit bug containers.  I was tired of losing my jars and tupperware.)

Symphony lover

She has always been prone to spontaneous dancing whenever she hears music.  But, now especially since we have taken her to the symphony, she loves classical music.  That's all she wants to listen to in the car.


I wanted to title this Your Penis Is Not Your Manhood, but I was afraid no one would be near to pick my mom and Aunt Gail up off the floor when they read it.  This is a reference I over heard from the mom of one of Joe’s soccer mates this season.  After her son was hit squarely between the legs with the ball and hobbled to the side lines, she questioned him, “Did it hit you in your manhood?”  I giggled at first.

But the more I thought about the comment the more despair I felt.  Here it is, already.  We don’t need our over sexed culture to teach them.  It can come right from your own mother.  Your manhood is found in your penis.  What!!??  Not in honesty, integrity, purity?  Not in graciousness, mercy, genuine care, good humor?  Not in the image of God in you? 

At early ages they wrestle to make sense of it all.  Even the other day Greta asked for reassurance, “Joe has one of those things that moves and I don’t, right?”  Indeed. Excellent observation.  But his “thing that moves” does not make him a man.  Obviously I did not move to that level of explanation with Greta.  But I am wondering now if I need to with Joseph.  

We have always parented sensitive issues on a need to know basis.  Answer questions when they are asked.  No need to start a conversation too early.  But our culture does not seem to be concerned with destroying innocence, with starting the conversation...even without the parents permission.  

Case in point - I grew up watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.  Love it.  But the past few years I feel like I can’t leave the room while my kids are watching it.  Kinky Boots?  We turned it off during that one. Two years in a row Victoria’s Secret has the best seat in the house and that woman’s breasts are in my kids’ faces for two hours.  Honestly, I am thankful this year they lost interest and went out to play with friends.  I don’t think that will be a part of our Thanksgiving next year.

So, Dear Joseph and Henry, your manhood is NOT your penis.  Your manhood is defined by the One whose image you bare.  Always and ultimately.  Be wise and self controlled and humble and love Jesus above all else.  Then others will look at you and see men.  Real men.

In it, on it, under it

Now you understand how it happened that I left the room for 60 seconds to use the bathroom and came back to find him standing in the middle of the dining room table.