Thursday, December 11, 2014

Do you believe in magic?

K Bear. The steady friend who's continued to provide, love, comfort, and so much magic throughout the years. In fact, according to Taran, Pompeii was saved thanks to said trusty bear who dove underground, turned the flow of lava and sent it out to sea, thereby creating a new island and saving many lives in the process.

Thanks little bear for looking after my kid. And so many others. ;)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Good Eats

I'm always re-inventing the wheel with cooking. I'll throw stuff in a pot in a haphazard kind of fashion and if it turns out great I'll think, "I'll really need to write down what I did here" and invariably, I don't. Instead, I find myself standing in front of a fridge every night trying to send some connective thought between the two brain cells I have left to figure out what the heck I'm going to pull together in the next 25 minutes before the kids start to completely malfunction from hunger and end-of-day general fried-ness. In fact, they are usually already in this state by the time I start cooking.
Today, Calliope was sick (or teething?) and would not let me put her down for anything.

I was contemplating cheese and crackers for dinner when I remembered that I had some ground turkey in the freezer and some lacinato kale that needed using and some leftover carrots that I had picked from our garden the day before when I had a sudden hankering for carrot cake. Then I looked out the window and saw our tomato plants dotted with bright yellow, red, and orange lovelies. So I tucked Cally girl in the Beco, grabbed Taran and a basket, and we picked all the almost-too-ripe tomatoes we could find and headed in to whip something up.

While Cally girl rested her head on B dog, I threw together some A-mazing turkey-vegetable-feta burgers. The carrot and feta helped keep the burgers incredibly moist and we all inhaled them. As I was chopping and mixing, I kept staring longingly out the window at our garden, realizing I had forgotten to grab a handful of parsley on our last venture out. I weighed the quality of the finished product against a series of possible scenarios that would make obtaining said parsley feel like mission impossible. If I went back in the hot sun again, I couldn't guarantee that Cally wouldn't just melt, both emotionally or physically and Taran wouldn't get sidetracked by something and run around the yard with delight while I pleaded with him. "Taran I need you to come in now, I need to cook dinner now, Cally's totally done, Please baby please" Luckily, Joe came home just as I was finishing up the prep and so parsley was procured and the burgers were rendered delicious.

Alongside them I made a tomato and sweet corn salad with a red onion-chianti vinaigrette. We have some gorgeous varieties of tomato this year, my favorite being a large slicing tomato called Ananas Noir that looks mostly green on the outside when ripe but reveals mottled gold and rose hues when sliced. It is sweet, juicy, tender and almost tropical in it's flavor. We also have small, kalamata olive-shaped yellow-orange tomatoes with red striations known as Blush tomatoes, Tess's land race currant tomatoes, Costoluto Genovese and some strange hybrid tomato that is a volunteer from last year's varieties. I tossed them with kernels of sweet corn and chopped basil and sluiced on the dressing and it was heaven. Tomatoes and corn are two things I wouldn't even contemplate eating most of the year. But in that little slice of time come mid-August to early September when they have reached their pinnacle of ripeness, there is almost nothing more mouth-pleasing. And together? Kinda close to perfection. This is coming from a woman who will tell you 51 weeks out of the year that she kind of hates corn. Especially in soup. It's kind of like little floating yellow teeth. Yuck. Oh why did I say that?! Now you'll never want to eat this salad and it's something wonderful, not to be missed.

I got the idea from a luncheon I went to last week at the Seasoned Farmhouse to hear one of my favorite [food] bloggers Molly Wizenberg read from her new book Delancey and to share some of it's recipes. I showed up in converse and a t-shirt with un-brushed hair (I had intended to brush it before I left the house but Taran was clinging to my left leg and sobbing hysterically that he was going to miss me and I never got a chance), thinking we were actually going to cook with Molly Wizenberg only to find a lot of ladies in linen drinking gin lemonades in gold-rimmed martini glasses while professionally trained chefs zipped around in bright white chef coats. I suddenly felt nauseous, nervous, and downright shaky and had to down my gin lemonade before I could feel sub-human again. But, as always, I digress. The point being we had this salad (or something very much like it. I haven't looked at her recipe yet so I'm not exactly sure) with tomatoes from the The Seasoned Farmhouse's garden and it was perhaps my favorite part of the whole meal. Or maybe it was the warm, dates sauteed in olive oil and sprinkled with maldon sea salt. Or was it the gin lemonade? Anyway, here is my version of the salad and a recipe for the burgers.

I felt somewhat obligated to include photos, but I have to admit, with a crying baby strapped to my hips and a four year old screaming out Frozen's Let It Go on repeat in the background, photos were the last thing on my mind. I took these shots just now, 8 pm, and the sun has already just about set (thank goodness for low-light camera lenses). These are as good as it gets. I refuse to use a flash. Not only that, but it would take a food photographer far better than I too make a turkey burger look like anything else than a brown hockey puck. Which reminds me. Turkey burgers often look overdone on the outside (is it a caramelization thing?) but can still be wonderfully tender inside. I heated the grill on high and did a quick sear on the outside, but then made sure to turn the heat down to medium-low to give the burgers a chance to come to a safe temp on the inside without also tasting like a hockey puck.

To-die-for Turkey burgers: (is that immodest of me?)
1 lb ground turkey (I way prefer thigh meat. more flavorful, juicy, and according to the NY Times, higher in vitamins and minerals)
1 cup chopped lacinato kale (or whatever kale you have on hand)
1/2 cup finely shredded carrots
1/2 small onion
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta
2 eggs
3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I like Ian's GF panko crumbs)
sea salt and pepper to taste

Use a food processor to finely chop the kale, parsley and onion and then mix it all together.

Chianti-red onion vinaigrette:
1/2 small red onion minced (use the other 1/2 for the burger)
chianti vinegar (any red wine vinegar is fine)
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
I'd love to give you measurements here, but that is just not the way I cook. I kind of could make them up for the burger but I just can't fake it here because I honestly have no idea. I just went by taste. You'll often read that the perfect ratio is 3:1 (oil to vinegar). It's not uncommon that I do something more like 2:1 when I make my standby dressing of lemon and olive oil with dijon and a drop of honey.  Start with 2:1 and taste it. Add more olive oil as needed. I think for Molly's recipe, she said that she let the red onion pickle in the vinegar for 6 hours before finishing her dressing. Who has that kind of time (i.e. forethought.)? Mine sat for about an hour and was still pretty terrific.

Tomato corn salad:
Use a mix of your favorites. Don't worry if some are big slices and some are little round ones. They'll all be delicious in your stomache. If you can't saw some raw fresh corn off the cob, frozen corn is still really sweet and wonderful and you won't be disappointed. But don't bother buying fresh corn in June and hoping it will taste as good. It won't! Don't forget the fresh basil. It's so key.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


When I was a kid, most family vacations were camping trips. Think "cheap, fun, easy to do". Mostly we stayed very local. Growing up in upstate NY, there were many state parks just a stone's throw from our house. Sometimes we'd travel an hour or two away, but usually, it was more like 15 minutes. But the magic of camping is that wherever you go, sleeping out in a tent can feel like a world away. and despite the occasional stone or stick that jabbed me in the side from under the tent, the plethora of mosquitos, the drips from the roof tent when it rained too hard, and in one memorable case the collapsing of the tent during a particularly hard storm, I still found camping absolutely magical.

My favorite part was the after-dinner bedtime read by the fire - my Dad always brought his collection of Sherlock Holmes and Uncle Wiggly (bizarre bedtime combo when I think about it now) and we would snuggle up in our smokie the bear sleeping bags and beg "just one more, just one more". Nostalgia aside, as a parent, I realize that for my parents, it might have been less than idyllic. 5 to a tent for a week and 3 meals a day on a 2 burner Coleman stove, with dishwater hauled from some distant hand pump probably got pretty old, pretty fast. Luckily, I was blissfully ignorant. 

Since T was born, I've thought on a few occasions about attempting a family camping trip. Every time, the idea just gives me shudders. I'm convinced that he would wake up at around 11 pm to pee and, delighted to find us a captive audience (in the worst sense of the word) spend the next 7 hours regaling us with Thomas the Train reenactments or endless questions that would go something like this:

 Taran: How deep is that lake?
Me/Joe: I'm not sure love.
Taran: Do you think it's like a 100 feet?
Me/Joe: Maybe like 10 or 20?
Taran: Or maybe a 100
Me/Joe: Maybe.....
Taran: Or maybe like 30 or 40. Could it be like 30 or 40?
Me/Joe: mmmmmmmm (drifting off to sleep)
Taran: Why is it called a lake?

 And on and on.

 So yeah, camping sounds pretty lousy right now. But that doesn't mean that Taran doesn't still ask us to go. A lot. So the other day, I managed to at least partially appease him by setting up our 2 person tent. In the front yard.

I felt kind of self conscious being right there, especially as we live  in a highly pedestrian-trafficked area. But Taran and Calliope thought it was absolutely the best.

 Taran built the two of them a nest, and dragged out some books and his pink princess microphone - because what is camping without a pink princess microphone.

And harmony reigned for almost ten whole minutes until Taran kept grabbing Cally by the back of her shirt and flinging her down into the nest. They thought this was a fantastic game. But I just kept waiting for her head to miss the pillow stack and go smashing into the hard ground. And as a general rule, I'd like Taran to not be in the habit of flipping his 15-month old sister around like a limp towel. I'm impressed by Cally's puppy-like pleasure in wrestling with Taran, and I'm happy to see them enjoying each others company, but I also get an anxious lump in the back of my throat at this kind of play. It's a very thin line between puppy love and over-aggressive rough-housing on Taran's part and that line is very easily crossed. I'm never sure where to draw the boundary when I know chaos is lurking just around the corner, but they are, in the moment at least, both having an uproariously good time.

 I definitely have this issue at play dates too. I read this article recently, and I see where they are coming from. I am certainly one of those people who only learned boundaries by testing them as a kid. But when I see Taran pinning another child to the ground, releasing them so they can begin to run away - a look of half-amusement, half terror on their face - and then shoving them from behind every few feet before taking a flying leap and tackling them back to the ground.... honestly? I feel positively ill and like an utter failure of a parent. In that moment, he reminds me of my cat on the hunt for a small rodent, taking pleasure in the prolonged kill. Toying with his food before he eats it.

In all fairness, lest you think I've forgotten, he's four, I fully understand that most four year olds are pretty uncivilized rapscallion. But, you know, he's MY uncivilized rapscallion so I'd like to do my best to make sure that playdates at my place don't turn into a terrifying cat-and-mouse game. Luckily for Taran, Calliope just pretty much adores him no matter what. And I guess lucky for her, most of the time he feels the same. It cracks me up when we walk through stores and Taran stops everyone to say, "That's my sister. She's 1. Isn't she cute?!" She sure is!

And just because I'm having fun with my camera lately, I'm throwing in a few extra pictures of other fleeting summer pleasures, watermelon and corn...

Monday, June 23, 2014

What's cooking

Today was a lovely day - 70's, breezy, no plans, and best of all... good food. We took a stroll to the farmer's market this morning and picked up delicious local bacon, garlic scapes, and  a quart of strawberries (our patch seems to have been decimated by some sort of black-spot fungus and ceased production. So sad). While Cally girl slept and Joe took Taran out to practice riding his Thomas the Train bike to the library, I had some quiet time to putter in the kitchen. I picked kale and collards from the garden along with rhubarb, fresh basil and some variety of red leaf lettuce.

For lunch we had Potatoes Anna made with yukon golds and adirondack reds (all crispy on the top with soft, buttery layers of paper-thin potato below), slow-cooked collard greens with sweet onion and bacon, and basil and red leaf lettuce salad with fresh mozzarella, tunisian olive oil, chianti vinegar and sea salt. As Joe, Taran, and I scarfed everything down, I kept thinking, "I should really get up and take some photos", but I was worried that the boys would vacuum up the meal before I had a chance to eat my fill so I stayed put and elbowed them aside as I heaped food into my mouth. Ok, maybe not really elbowed, but it was too good to get up from the table.

Dinner was simple: kale and cheddar quesadillas and matzoh ball soup (yea for gf matzoh ball mix!). But after the kids went down, I whipped up some garlic scape, kale and toasted hazelnut pesto and a strawberry-rhubarb crumble in preparation for a brunch with friends in the morning. I've been alternately messing and cleaning the kitchen all day, but the house smells heavenly.

Once I had removed the last of the debris off the counters and floors, I did something I had been intending to do for weeks: I finally pulled my bike out of the garage and went for a ride along the riverside. In what seemed fitting for our mostly local food day, I listened to Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle on my ipod and dreamed of one day having a little farm with a converted barn that houses a mishmash cooking school-monthly supper club-public space for lectures on food/ spirituality/quality of life. Oh yeah, with gardens where guests could help pick fruits and vegetables for the meals and chickens and goats runafoot in the yard. A girl can dream, can't she?

Garlic Scape Pesto
10-12 garlic scapes
~ 3/4 cup chopped black russian kale (you could use other types. I love the tenderness of black russian)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4-1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts (I threw them on a tray in the toaster oven for about minutes at 350 degrees)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
tsp sea salt
fresh ground pepper

I start with the dry ingredients first and blend them fairly fine before drizzling in the olive oil. You could probably throw it all in at once and it would work just fas well. I served this over brown rice pasta with some sauteed tri-color bell peppers and summer squashes from the farmer's market (ronde de nice and a beautiful small yellowy-orange squash). Extra Yum

On the child front? These days, the babes are lovin' more than fighting



moving lightly towards independence

For the love of donuts

This past winter, my 3-year old son wanted to do two things he’d never done before: ride a city bus and eat a donut (inspired by a Saveur magazine article). So one blustery winter day we hopped on a bus heading South, down to Buckeye donut. I took him to the counter and his eyes became huge as he scanned the wire bins of maple glazed, sugar n’ cinnamon, chocolate on chocolate. He settled on an old fashioned cake, top-dunked in chocolate and adorned in rainbow sprinkles. I salivated while I watched him make quick work of the tasty golden torus of perfection and lived, for just a moment, vicariously through him. 

A recent post by the Gluten-free Girl informed me that now I can have my cake and eat it too. Thanks  Shauna and Dough Buddies! This led me to do a quick search on the Saveur site where I discovered this. Ok, now I'm really salivating. I think Taran's upcoming birthday cake might have to be a plate of donuts.

Friday, May 9, 2014

7 am. Front Stoop Jam

Where do you find moments of small beauty in your life? For me, it’s watching the children make music with Joe. This morning I went to get Cally girl up from her crib and as we walked back down the stairs, the house was eerily quite. I walked through the house calling “Joe?”, “Taran?”, when suddenly,  I caught a glimpse of them out the office window. 

There they were in the honey sunlight of early morning, Papa with the wizzle, Taran with my nylon string guitar, jamming. I was reluctant to walk outside and join them, worried that the moment was tenuous. But as Cally and I slowly opened the door, they simultaneously turned and grinned, welcoming us to join the party, to share a little morning magic.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Let sleepling dogs lie

One of the things I most feared going into a second pregnancy, the thing that prevented me from even considering having a second child for almost 2 years after Taran was born, was the dreaded problem of getting a baby to fall asleep at reasonable times, for reasonable stretches (insert: longer than 25 minute naps). Even more than the fear that my 2nd child would sleep as badly as the first, was the fear that I would be the same wild-eyed, neurotic, sleep-deprived Mama I was the first time around - reading every sleep book on the shelf (all of which contradict each other at every step), and tearing my hair out about whether I was doing "the right thing" if I caved and let him take a nap on me in the Beco carrier. I knew I was perhaps turning into a truly insane person when I found myself waking my son up as he fell asleep in my arms so that I could put him down "drowsy but awake" as the books recommended, only to have him scream bloody murder and either completely skip a nap or take another 45 minutes to relax at which point he'd take his 25 minute nap, wake up exhausted and within an hour be ready to start the whole damn thing over again.

"Close my eyes? Never! I might miss something good."

On one particularly bad, nap-less, windy October day, in desperation I took him for a stroll in the park, determined that he get one decent nap, no matter where. As his eyelids began to droop, I parked the stroller to give him the motionless nap that according to one Dr. Weisbluth is absolutely essential for quality sleep. I threw a blanket over the stroller to protect him from the practically gale force wind that had now started, and sat there, hunkered on the ground, trying to keep the blanket from blowing away. Suddenly, two black dogs, off their leash, came bounding across the open field where I sat, barking madly and making a direct bee line towards Taran's stroller, their barks getting maddeningly louder as they hurtled towards us. I saw the impending doom and there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it. The owners strolled blissfully along, hand in hand, completely oblivious or uncaring to my plight created by their stupid dogs. Oh the anger I felt, when my child woke up hysterically crying two seconds later. For perhaps the first time in my life I truly understood the meaning of blind rage - fueled by fear, exhaustion, frustration, and a fierce motherly need to protect my own. I shot the four of them my best "Wither and die!" look and stormed home where, upon spying my husband raking leaves outside, I burst into uncontrollable, heaving sobs. Taran stared up at me bright eyed from his stroller and gave his first real laugh at the incredibly strange bellows emitting from his Mama's gaping mouth. This made me burst into hysterical laughter which made him laugh, which made me laugh some more (a somewhat stark-raving mad kind of a laugh, but laughter none-the-less).

Sorry. I digress. My point being, this was not the baby bliss I had signed up for and having gone through it once, I was reluctant to repeat the experience again. But I was reminded by many that every child comes into the world with their own personality and I might get a sleeper the second time around. And they were right. When I first started seriously trying to get the girl to sleep in her crib, I read her a short story, sung her a little song, gave her a big smooch on the top of her lovely, fuzzy head and laid her down in her crib, wide-eyed and wriggling. For a few minutes after I closed the door, I hear a few "I object" meh's, the tell-tale sign of a thumb suck, and then, blissfully, radio silence.

It's mind-blowing to me that at 16 weeks, we could put her down to sleep at 6:30 pm and she would sleep until 8 the next morning with one nursing at around 5 am. At one year old, she pretty much sleeps through the night, 12-13 hours straight. Granted, she's not super human. She has an occasional bad phase that might last a few days or a week if she's sick or teething or working out some big developmental leap. Overall though, golden.

But before you hate me too much for having a dream sleeper, let me just qualify something.... Taran is almost four years old and his sleep is consistently bad punctuated by periods of absolute wretchedness.  During a "good phase" he's prone to waking up at 3:45 am in tears because he needs chapstick and a muffin. And a good night sleep means we are able to keep him in bed until 5:30 am. When I mentioned this to a friend last week and wondered whether Taran would EVER be a good sleeper, she paused then said, "I'm afraid to tell you this, but my 10 year old still doesn't sleep through the night". So despite having one absolutely brilliant sleeper, we are still the walking dead around here.

Especially lately. His sleep is absolutely horrific. He'll run into our room every 1.5-2 hours all night long and very often have a two hour period where he's in our room every 10 minutes until I'm ready to either throw him across the room or crumple on the floor in hysterical sobbing fits. In these super bad phases, our start time is closer to 4:45 am. What this does mean though is that occasionally he's so tired, a nap slips back in during the day and this is our saving grace. Not every day. Not even every other day, but just often enough to pull us back from the brink of insanity.

To find a small spark of beauty in all this (because at this point dear reader, you know that is my tendency), I have seen more sunrises in the past three years than I did in the previous decade before his birth. Because, you know, if I don't find the beauty in the small things, I WILL lose my mind.

And another beautiful thing, his mind, his imagination, his intense love. The child is on fire. You can almost see the sparks shooting off of him. No wonder he can't let his body rest. Today, I came to pick him up from pre-school and at a quick glance, he was nowhere in sight. Suddenly I hear this wave of sound, like all of his joy at my arrival was shot like a cannon across the room. I turned around just in time to catch him as he took a flying leap into my arms, laughing maniacally. I could feel the other parents around me looking on in perplexed amusement, but I just held him close and laughed along with him as we rubbed our noses together in eskimo kisses. He makes me feel like a conquering hero returning after months of absence.

This post is very much about Taran, because right now, the sleep deprivation is seeping into every aspect of our lives. But in two days, our Cally girl turns 1. This weekend we had a small gathering of family and friends to celebrate the amazing person she is becoming and I can't wait to share pictures and stories and catch you all up on how she is growing and what our family has become since she has come to join us on this crazy ride called life.

Here is a teaser:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"I'm like 12 or 16 or something"

Taran wants to be any age but the age he's at. I get it. It's frustrating to constantly be told that you are too young or small for the world around you. And for the boy who wants to dive into everything face first and experience it to the hilt, this is even more so. I have a friend who had her second child a year before Cally was born. She talked about a certain sadness she felt with each developmental milestone her second-born reached because she knew this was her last time experiencing these moments. And while I found Taran's babyhood so magical and amazing at times, I didn't relate. I thought about the sleep deprivation, the nursing difficulties, the black box crying jags that I had no idea how to end. 

And then I had Cally girl and I relived the radiant pleasure of the first laugh, lying down to snuggle and nurse at the morning wake-up, and the daily joy and wonder that an infant has as they experience the world and you experience it with them. And now I know on a very visceral level where she is coming from - when every precious, stunning moment of babydom with my last baby is slipping rapidly through my fingers. Suddenly it seems like they are both plummeting towards growing up so much faster than I am ready for. 

Cally will have a restless, fussy, sleepless week and then BAM, she'll wake up one morning and she can do five new things I've never seen her do before. 

And without saying a word, she's so communicative. 

I never cease to be amazed by how expressive a baby can be with not a single word, where I on the other hand find myself hardly saying anything with 500 words. But she really, really wants to talk with us and she absolutely delights when we imitate her sounds. It becomes this awesome almost jam session back and forth. 

And she's wanting so badly to crawl too. She army crawls with crazy determination, dragging her body ponderously (but every day more quickly) across the room. Suddenly, she'll pause for a moment, pop up onto her knees, and rock back and forth like a ship ready to blast into space. Then she'll lose momentum like a deflated balloon, her legs slowly sliding out behind her. Any day though now. Better get those baby gates back up.

Although Taran is far from babyhood, he has not left the developmental leaps behind him. The other day he pulled on a pair of pants in the morning that fit just fine the week before and suddenly they were visibly too small. How does that happen?! When he can hardly keep up with his growing body, or the things he's learning to do, I can understand his rush to grow. But still, I keep telling him that 3.5 is an amazing age, that he should savor every second and be happy with where he is in the moment. He just stares at me blankly. Another boring lecture from Mama.

As for me, I really do mean it, 3 is an amazing age. He is full of imagination and creativity and the boundary between fantasy and reality is [mostly] delightfully fuzzy (when he's convinced at 3 am - and 4 am - and 5 am - that the door is magical, growing bigger by the moment, and sucking him across the room, I'm less than thrilled). But overall, it's wonderful. 

Here, let me highlight...

A family friend recently sent him a little white bunny hand-puppet that we dubbed Kai. It was instant love. Not replace-K Bear love, but close. One day Taran started to make pretend crying sounds and told me that Kai was sad, when I asked why, he said that Kai missed his Mama. So we talked about her maybe being at work and said she would come home soon. After a children's book title, we named her Kira-Kira (which means "sparkly" in Japanese). So a few weeks later at a Christmas craft market when I found a large rabbit hand puppet, I knew it had to be on the Christmas present roster. As Joe led Taran away from the puppet maker's table, I stealthily payed for her and stowed her below the stroller. On the eve of the first day of December, I took a photograph of Kira-Kira.  Over the next few weeks, in a kind of travelogue advent calendar, Joe and I photoshopped her into a series of email "postcards" from around the world where Kira-Kira documented her globe hopping from Japan to the US via numerous countries along the way and described for Taran and Kai all her adventures. At the close of each letter, she let them both know she would see them on Christmas morning. When Christmas morning came, I told Taran that I had received a note from Kira-Kira that she would be arriving sometime around 9 am. As Joe distracted him, I ran out front, placed Kira-Kira on the front stoop, and then flew back in through the open garage, camera in hand. Sadly the first few shots where totally overexposed - the ones where he's walking slowly down the stairs with saucer eyes and both hands covering his o-shaped mouth in wonder. His reaction. Magic.

A few months back he gave up naps, unless he's deeply exhausted. I still do a very short "rest" period, for both of our sanities, but this usually constitutes him snuggling up in bed with some books and music for thirty minutes until I come get him for afternoon snack. Last week, after having woken up three times in the middle of the night crying because it wasn't morning yet and time to play, he was cooked (have I mentioned that Cally is about 10x more likely to sleep through the night than her older brother?!). Fifteen minutes into his rest period, he suddenly got radio silent on the monitor. You'd think I'd be thrilled, but honestly, his wake-ups from naps are so rough they aren't even worth it. He gets very disoriented, starts to sob, and sometimes doesn't really stop for as long as two hours. So after 45 minutes of sleep, I went to check on him. With the sunlight streaming through the window, Pete Seeger singing in the background, and his buddies piled all around him, he was passed out cold. I couldn't resist. I ran downstairs to grab my camera. And despite getting closer, and closer, and closer, with the camera clicking away loudly the whole time, he never woke up. He looked so small and beautiful to me and my whole chest almost siezed with an enormous feeling of tenderness and love. I know I can't stop the clock, but at least with my camera, I can help etch this moment into my brain. 

I know, here I am again, lamenting the rapid passage of time. But before you think I am a Sartre-following existentialist, let me in my defense say that I am also so excited for where they are heading in their growth.

As I watch them grow... wonder where they'll go.... I see the potential for deep friendship, deep connection, deep love. 

I wonder how their mutual affection might push each other to morph into ever more radiant and refined versions of themselves and what they might conquer together. This beautiful "what if "makes me less afraid to hurtle forward with them. To be along for the journey. And I don't know about Cally girl yet, but I hope in Taran's rush to eat life up, he doesn't get to the end of the plate before having relished every mouthful. My son. He has passion enough to pass around to ignite the whole family, and maybe that is a gift he can offer Cally girl as she grows. 

And I bet my little eating machine of a girl will remind him to chew on the fat a little more. And savor the moment at 3, at 12, at 16, at 66. 

And everyday, both my children remind me this most beautiful lesson of all, as so eloquently put by Marshall Davis Jones: "Two hearts were never meant to beat alone, and it is when we are connected that we are most alive". (I couldn't attach the video here, so you'll have to click on his name to view. Grrr)