Wednesday, September 09, 2015


This is Daisy's latest rainbow. Lately, she is obsessed with drawing rainbows. She gathers the colors she wants. Sometimes a rainbow has only one color in different shades. Sometimes it has every color she can find. Sometimes she uses markers, or crayons or paint or dot art, and sometimes it's a mixture of all different types of drawing materials. She picks paper - usually construction paper, but junk mail envelopes and pages from her journal and blank white drawing paper are also fair game. Then she draws her rainbow. Sometimes it's a perfect half-circle rainbow, sometimes it's little lines in little blocks of color. Sometimes it starts in the cornor of the paper and covers the entire paper. And when she is finished she decorates her rainbow and puts her name somewhere on the page. She always ask me to hang up her masterpiece. I never want to forget what our wall looks like bursting at the seams with drawings of rainbows.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A new beginning: Kinder

"Momma," Daisy said last night while we were having dinner, "Momma, could you please pack a big snack for me tomorrow. Not like at Lego camp. I need a big snack. I will be hungry." 

"Okay, love. What would you like? A applesauce muffin? A granola bar? A piece of fruit? Carrot sticks?" 

"A cheese and tomato sandwich, apple slices, chips and a small piece of chocolate." 

"Darling, you'll have lunch when you get home. We can have that for lunch. We only need something small for a snack" 

She looked at me for a moment.  Then slowly, carefully, speaking to me as I was the biggest idiot she'd ever met, she responded, "No, Mom. I need that for my snack. All of my success in kindergarten depends on my snack. I need it to be good."

And so, as we walked to school this morning she carried her backpack with her cheese and tomato sandwich, apple slices and small piece of chocolate. She hung her pack up on the hooks, she lined up and marched right on in when her teacher opened up the door.

I only hope her dreams of Stanford are not crushed because I forgot to also give her  chips.

We walked home from school, part of the way with our neighbors, part of the way just the three of us. We found a stick to cast spells. We talked about what we needed to do today (laundry, piano lessons this afternoon, Costco, maybe we would have time to make an apple cake). Violet on my back in the ergo, Lily asking questions about when sister was coming home (we are going to walk to get her in three hours), how long was she gone for (3.5 hours total), when does she start school (in two weeks). We walked in the house, and took off our shoes. I unloaded Violet from the ergo, and Lily began dancing around the family room, "I get to be the only one to play with the toys. I am the only one. I'm so happy sister is gone. I can do whatever I want. I'm the boss. I'm in charge." 

Clearly, Lily is not heartbroken school has started.

This afternoon while we were having lunch, I asked a few questions:

What is your favorite memory from this summer? Starting piano lessons, playing on the beach at Lake Tahoe, and Lego camp

What are you most looking forward to this school year? Learning about math and doing science projects. And going skiing in a snowy place during the winter

What is your teacher's name? Mrs. Erikson 

What is your favorite part of the day? Recess because I got to play with Callie and Sadie (a new friend from swimming lessons this summer and her BFF neighbor friend, neither are in her class) 

What was your least favorite part of the day? Working on paper faces

What is one new thing you learned today at school? What to do with an everyday folder and a new days of the week song. 

Momma, Mrs. Erikson also has a lot of rules. Maybe even more than you. 

And that was that. Our first day of kindergarten.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Lucky Penny is ONE


Last week you turned ONE year old. At twelve months of age you are sizing up to 28 inches long, and 18 pounds, 9 ounces. You have white blonde hair, a beautiful golden eye color, your two bottom teeth and the most perfect mischievous smile.
It is hard to believe that you are the same little peanut that squired about inside of me for so many months. You will always be our baby course, but we are beginning to catch glimpses of the toddler you are becoming. Watching you grow is, I admit, a tiny bit heartbreaking. But, Violet, my sweet, you know what? There is nothing else I’d rather do.

The last three months with you have been amazing. You have graduated from an army crawl to a wicked fast traditional crawl, with the most precise hip swagger. You have learned to master the stairs with such ease and grace that I am still in awe. You have learned a few new signs, but you are practicing new sounds all the time. In fact, your most recent favorite word: sisters. You LOVE music. You point your fingers to the sky and wiggle your body at the first sound of music and you clap your hands in delight anytime you see your sisters dancing. You love to help me empty the grocery bags, handing me the oranges and the boxes of pasta at my command. Your favorite evening activity is to empty the silverware caddy in the dishwasher and you love to destroy any and all block castles built by your big sisters. 
In a nutshell, you love to climb and crawl and cruise and explore and get into EVERYTHING. Your rule of thumb pretty much seems to be this: If you can use it to give your parents a heart attack, YOU ARE TOTALLY GAME. For example, last weekend your sisters got new loft beds for their room. The other day, I left the three of you playing quietly in your room for a few minutes. When I turned back around, you were in their room, on the second rung, halfway up the ladder, of Lily’s bed, calling out sisters, sisters.

While I love that you were looking for your favorite playmates, it scares the living daylights out of me to see you perched like that kiddo. At the same time, however, we want you to learn your limits and explore your world on your terms. Better you fall than never climb at all. So we remind you to be careful and we stand so as to catch you should you need help, and then we let you climb on.
Oh, and also, you are turning into a total cuddlier. IT IS THE BEST THING EVER. But what’s really cute about this is you act sort of sneaky. Sometimes, you pretend you want me to read you a book or to nurse, but you really don’t want either of those things. You just want a little sugar. Violet, honey, you can have hugs and kisses and cuddles and love from me anytime. No fake book reading required.

Violet, the thing is, some days are really hard. Some days I count down the seconds until your father comes home. Some days, I wonder if I’m parenting you guys all wrong. I worry about the future, and fret about the past. And some days, I cannot wait until I am not constantly spit-up stained and exhausted. But, each morning the days start fresh and new and bright. I see your beautiful smile and hear your happy babble as I lift you up for a morning snuggle and all I can think is that you and your sisters are the only thing I have ever wanted.
I love you more than all the stars in the sky and the water in the ocean. 

Love, Momma 

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Letter to my wild bird: 42 months

Dear sweet Lily-girl,
Last week, we took a family day trip into the city where we rode cable cars and ate giant cups of ice cream and slowly wandered through our favorite parts of our favorite city. At the end of the day, as we walked back to the car, you spotted an art gallery and asked to go in. All five of us were on the brink of meltdown but I couldn’t say no. You slowly walked through, studying each piece, first up close and then from a distance. I see you come around the corner calling for me, “Momma, come. Come here. I want to show you something.” You pulled me over to sit next to you on the floor, and snuggled into my lap. “Momma, This. IS. An. AWESOME. Picture. Really look Momma. Look at the blue waves that touch the orange sky. See that tiny bird with the very, very, long tail. See him flying through the sky? See. He makes you feel that we can do anything. Anything we want. This is just so awesome.”

As I’m sitting there, in the middle of a San Francisco fine art gallery, you snuggled on my lap, your voice a whisper, your hair a tangled mess plastered across your face, examining this piece of art that speaks to you I was reminded of a poem by Saul Williams: 

i have faith
in who you are becoming
in who you are
you are the wolf
having run through a stream
to stand on a mountain peak
dripping wet

At three and a half years I marvel at your confidence. I admire your independence. I delight in your creativity. You are so amazingly colorful, determined and absolute. Watching your personality develop feels a little bit magic to me, like watching a wizard banish a dragon or seeing a fairy fly by in the woods. I’m not sure I have ever enjoyed anything as much as I have enjoyed watching your personality develop.
However, many days I consider mothering you to be exhausting. The first reason is the inexplicable obsession with negotiating with me. I tell you, three more minutes at the park, you say. “SIX.” I offer ten chocolate chips for dessert tonight, and you shout “SIX.” It is driving me crazy, child, CRAZY. Someday when you are seventeen and you’re wondering why I only give you six potato chips in your lunch or I end all your curfews on a six, like 11:56 pm, it is, my darling girl, because of this. 

Besides training to be a littly lawyer, you are insanely creative. You love to tell us stories that are blends of your life and the fluff (elves, griffins and pirates, oh my!) that we generally fill your head with. A couple of weeks ago on our family vacation to North Lake Tahoe we went on a four-mile hike. A few minutes on the trail and you were in the zone. You had your wand (the perfect stick you found). We were following the rainbown path, hunting for the diamond snowflakes. You were the princess pirate on a mission to save the Emerald Treasure (Violet, asleep on my back). You and Daisy created characters, backstories and powers for each of us feeding off each other and the story unfolding as you told it. Working together to trick the bad guys trying to steal our treasure, and cheering on and encouraging one another in the story, on the hike and in life.  
I marvel at you my sweet Lily girl, at how you can be at once a big kid, imagining sword fighting and pirate treasures, and a little girl, snuggled up in her momma’s arms. I know I say this constantly, but ever time you reach a new phase, I am convinced that this age is my very favorite.

I love you more than all the stars in the sky and all the water in the ocean.

Love, Momma

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer.

We are one week into summer vacation and it's already off to a glorious start. We visited the zoo in the rain. We jumped off the diving board in triple digit heat. We have read stories in bed and ate dinner outside. Violet learned to clap and we all have sung nursery rhyme after nursery rhyme after nursery rhyme. We've read fairy tales and acted out our favorite books with stuffed animals. We've painted pictures and cut up the junk mail. We made bubble solution and had swimming lessons. We've listened to audiobooks while laying on top of the AC vents. We went to the market in our PJs and ate donuts for breakfast. We checked out a massive stack of books from the library and ran barefoot in the (totally dead and brown) grass. We've eaten big leafy green salads, made beet hummus with produce from our CSA and baked Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with blueberry buttercream frosting. We've ridden bikes to the park and had impromptu afternoon playdates.
And we've made approximately a hundred dandelion wishes that summer would never ever end.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

The kindness of strangers

J has been traveling for work a bit more these days. It's usually for a couple of nights, two or three, long enough for us to notice, short enough to not be a big deal. Our days are usually fine - with ballet and preschool, errands and park playdates. It's the nights that can seem a bit hard. Dinner and clean-up. Stories and nursing. The transition from afternoon to evening to bed. So, I thought maybe we'd try to go out to dinner. I've never taken all three girls out alone to a sit-down restaurant, but I thought I should try.

The hostess welcomed us in and told us to choose a seat, I found a table in a somewhat empty corner of the restuaruant, near a sweet elderly couple. I smiled as we all sat down and they commented on how beautiful my girls were. I thanked them and Daisy launched into her entire life history, informing of the fact that Daddy's out of town, her favorite color is now red, and she wished she could wear her long skirts every day. They sat and listened to Violet's adorable baby babble. They laughed at Daisy's (terrible) knock-knock jokes. They told me a sweet story about their eighteen month old great-granddaughter, and we all laughed as Violet kept squawking for more bread.  They smiled at me when Lily announced (to the entire restaurant) that she needed to poop (the minute my food arrived).

When we eventually sat back down we took our time eating, Violet shoveled fistfuls of pasta into her tiny mouth. Lily dipping her bread into her mustard bowl and Daisy telling me how delicious the apple slices were. "Momma, you should get the recipe for these apples, she said, They are the best apples I've ever had." The couple soon left, waving goodbye to us as they walked away. The girls told them good bye and wished them goodnight.

After we finished our meal (and I ordered a delicious slice of lemon pie with a bluberry sauce in a to-go box) our server infomed me that our billed had already been paid, complements of the couple sitting next to us.

This incrediably thoughtful, wonderful, kind gift arrived after a a long couple of days. Violet is cutting another tooth, making her a bit more fussy. Lily always struggles more than her sisters when Daddy is gone, throwing several monster temper trantrums over the past few days. I was humbled and blown away by their generousity. To be given such an amazing gift by someone whom I've never met, at a time when I was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, made the universe seem to right itself again.

So, to the couple sitting next to us at Chow last night. Thank you. Thank you for loving on us. Thank you for humoring my children by laughing at their jokes and stories. Thank you for not complaining to the server about the noisy kids and the three-year-old who wouldn't sit still. But, mostly, thank you for reminding me that kindness in strangers is indeed alive and well.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Letter to my lucky penny: 9 months

You are a very pensive, observant baby, but you are a very happy baby. Sometimes you talk to me in long strings of babble "ra dada da dada mmmm ga ba da", and then you pause and bust out a huge belly laugh, like you just finished telling me a joke. It is one of my favorite sounds. 

Dear Violet, 

You are nine months old and you are a whirlwind of learning and doing right now. You crawl and and scoot and roll and chomp and giggle and laugh and explore. Your three greatest milestones of late are these: you army crawl everywhere, you have perfected the wave, and you love food.

This latter interest has really taken off in the past month or two. You gum down whole chunks of food and wave your arms and pound your tray expecting more. You lunge at food, mouth agape like a starving animal and you frequently smack your mouth and make contented sounds as you suck and gum your food down. If I am eating ANYTHING in your presence, you expect a bite too, thank you very much. While you love just about anything, your absolute favorite foods include cheerios, pasta, toast, avocado and bananas.  What an enthusiastic little eater you are, my little penguin. I love it!
Sharing (or stealing) your sister's green smoothie.  

Additionally, your army crawling has completely taken off in the past three months. You have not quite mastered the traditional crawl just yet, but you can move and scoot wicked fast exploring all manner of things: towers that your sisters have built for you to knock down, balls you for you to roll and throw, and any piece of dirt or flint that you can find to shove in your mouth.

However, my favorite love is your newfound ability to wave on command and say "bye-bye." You turn your wrist just so and wave to anybody and everyone. The mailman coming to deliver the mail, a friend stopping by for a visit, or people you see walking past us on the street. It's so cute and endearing that most everyone stops and waves back.
Don't worry, your father is ducking behind the fence holding on to you. But, you want to be included in EVERYTHING your big sisters are doing. Including sitting up on the fence. 

To see you now, I have a hard time believing that you are the same baby I brought home from the hospital. You are so active, so playful, so LIVELY and its hard to understand how that helpless little newborn could have possibly grown so much in so little time. It feels like somebody flipped a switch in your brain. Every day you seem to learn something new.

One of the things I love about having a third baby, is that I finally realize just how fast time is going by. It seems like just yesterday I was writing a nine month letter to your older sisters. Your babyhood is so fleeting. So, when we have days where you just want to be held and cuddled and nursed and time seems to stand still, I sit and I memorize the way your brow get furrowed when you sleep, or the weight of your hand when you give me a high-five or your perfect baby smell. I feel so lucky that I get to mother you my sweet little Violet; that I get to teach you and love you and watch you grow.

Happy nine months my love. I look forward to seeing where the next nine take us!
I love you more than all the stars in the sky and all the water in the ocean.