Quailday: Bird Growth…

In addition to the growth of her vocabulary our bird; who earlier this fall lept into her 2T pants, 3T fall shirts (with a slightly rolled sleeve cuff remaining) and size 6  shoes (which I swear had just been a 4 weeks earlier), started sporting size 7 shoes and 3T Christmas Jammies!!!! I had poured over the choices at the store wishing I could mix and match tops and bottoms just knowing that she needed a 3T top to cover her bowl full of jelly, but knowing that the long pant size would certainly cause more than a couple of bumps and bruises. Well she donned them this weekend and proudly ran off with the cuffs at her ankles. I’m certain it has to just be the style of the pant and a slight irregularity in the making of the pant that it fits, but regardless our bird has grown and bares very little resemblance to her her previous 2 year old toddling self of this summer. I remember the striking difference when Zuzu turned 3  and marveling at how much she had changed since she was 2. It seemed like a change that should have been heralded in the parenting books as worthy of proclamation as the change from fetus to newborn, newborn to one year old and one to two. She was no longer a baby. I think with the Quail’s growth pattern being more like watching a rose slowly unfold I had told myself not to expect the same level of change between 2-3.

That 2 year old, she was still my sweet baby. This almost 3 year old, is stunningly and heart-warmingly little kiddish, and now with the swift size to match.

Mommaday: Keep the Yule log burning…

Rest assured dear friends, that all is well in our little nest. I’ve mentioned before that my daily blogger status was pure illusion. I write, edit and schedule my posts while The Sistred sleep. Currently, with one of them residing within me, my mind has harkened back to that other-worldly voice of mothers past reminding me to sleep when the littles do, and I feel the need to practice before the littlest of the littles arrives during my usual weekend bloggy reflection time. You can understand the need to be rested up for resting right?

Merriment is currently underway in the forms of lemon & peppermint sprinkled spritz cookies, warm roasted chickens, steamed milk with chocolate sauce, apricot brioche, a trip for our traditional tree hunt, that happily involved a lot less tears this year, the Sistred in residence all helping to dress the tree (and subsequently and routinely undress it), daily movement from our resident Elf on the Shelf- TJ, a marching 5 year old joining the Twinkle Brigade, an almost 3 year old learning to shout Santa and whisper sweet nothings to her now vocally referenced Momma and a closet full of giftees needing some wrapped attention.  I’m hoping for some quiet AND awake time in the weeks ahead. Until then Season’s Greetings to all and to all some peace and rest!


Zuzuday: Math, Kisses & Paris

I love seeing the slow unfolding of my children’s minds. I love when I see the process of a new connection forming. I’m blown out of the water though, when I couldn’t see it coming and it’s suddenly presented to me out of seemingly nowhere. This happened earlier this year when Zuzu sat down one day and wrote “hat” in clear legible lettering with no prompting or cueing. Earlier in the week of December 19, she stunned me again when on the ride home from school she bubbled out a request for a trip to Paris. “Paris?” I questioned?

“Yes, Momma- I want to see the tower for myself!” she quipped.

“The Eiffel Tower in Paris?” Yes she confirmed as I went on to explain that it would take an entire day to get to Paris and that would be quite difficult for the littlest of the littles to hold still and quiet for such a voyage.

Zuzu nodded thoughtfully and declared, “ Then we will go when I’m 10! The Quail will be 7 and Sugarplum will be 4!”

Math. This ridiculously articulate little girl had done math on her own! Brilliant! So mature! Clearly the next Einstein! As I was quietly preening in the front seat over my prodigious progeny, she then announced she kissed two boys earlier that day. You could have heard a pin drop while I struggled for the right response to my 5 year old. I mentally reminded myself to not make a huge deal out of this, that while I could hear the glee in her voice, she does not have the sophistication to have it mean to her what it means in my mind. That said, I did ask what happened, who was involved and issued a reminder of the rules in place in Ms. Jan’s class that involves “No boyfriends/girlfriends allowed.” All the while kicking myself for my earlier laughing off of this rule from 2 years ago when I first heard of it and deemed it silly. It also was not lost on me that this event of 2 separate boys asking her to kiss them coincided with the mixing of her class with a full day of the after-schoolers  presence who in light of the 2 week holiday break from their cosmopolitan elementary world had rejoined the 4 year olds that very day.

As I regaled this news to Lovey during the girl’s bathtime that evening I couched it in Fred Eaglesmith terms, “Time to get your gun.” Sigh…

Zuzuday: The Twinkle Brigade

Zuzu was in her first parade. Anyone that knew me in childhood knows that I do not love a parade. Growing up they were in summer and winter- harsh weather, itchy band uniforms coupled with a slightly anxious disposition created much turmoil in my young head and bladder. Zuzu’s been taking dance classes for the last 3 years. Each year we get a notice home about the local Christmas Parade and an invitation to participate with her class. Each year, I mentally mark it off my calendar and file the invitation away. This year though, Zuzu was quite aware of what she was missing. She knew there was a special holiday dance class sweatshirt, an opportunity to don a Santa hat and strut her stuff. I knew that I had to be out of town for work that day and that it would be too much to march with her in the parade and keep the Quail comfortable on what was likely to be a cold, blustery day. So we explained why we were unable to participate and promised to look into it next year if she remained in dance.

Then the weather fairies collaborated to create enough rain to cancel the parade and reschedule it to a night where there were no obvious problems. AND, Zuzu came home from dance class with a note from her teacher with a phone number and additional invitation to call and get the last extra small holiday sweatshirt so she could participate. So I got down a Santa hat, rounded up some red pants and a turtleneck, bundled up the Quail and Lovey and I headed down to the parade. At first I was delighted. The girls were all smiles and it was nice to be out and see friends that we hadn’t in quite some time.  Then the sun started to set. The dance mother in charge of Zuzu’s age group started handing out candy cane batons and calling the girls over to practice. Zuzu started to hedge. She started announcing she was hungry, then thirsty, then cold, then just gave in to her urge to cling to me.

It was obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to leave her with her group and join Lovey & the Quail at the end of the parade to cheer for her. And that is how I came out of my 20 year plus parade hiatus to march my 20+ week pregnant belly down the main street of our fair town waving to friends that I haven’t seen in months. I learned a couple things in this: the importance of keeping a calm façade in the face of our children who fortunately didn’t genetically inherit my hang-ups and that a lot of the whining I hear from Zuzu seems to stem from anxiety. We went back and forth with the instructions to get in line to the point where the dance mother asked the instructor if we could put Zuzu on the float if she didn’t come around.

I’m happy to report she did come around and proudly led the group of her classmates with her candy cane held high and hollered out her happy holiday messages for all to hear. She was so convincing that it appeared most others than the dance mother didn’t realize the struggle it was to get her to stay there. I even found a small piece of myself that rallied as a proud dance mother encouraging the girls to keep their candy canes up with the group. I’m happy to report that we left with a clear uncertainty as to whether we would do it again.

The Quail’s highlight of that evening was in our hurried walk to get back to the beginning of the parade in time to see Santa waving from the top of the firetruck. Our girl who had shoved away from a previous Santa interaction just days earlier waved fanatically and even was able to work out a fairly loud greeting of “SANTAAAAAA!!!!!!” A sweet end to a festive night.

Zuzuday: Tuck, Tuck, Tuck- STAY AWAY MONSTERS! -Tug, Tug, Tug

There has been a surge of need for nighttime comfort in the last month from Zuzu. I thought she was headed towards more nighttime independence and was feeling a little bittersweet about it and then next thing you know I realize she is headed straight back towards more comfort. Lovey and I share bedtime duties with the girls and on one of my nights I covered her with a little blanket and went, “Tuck, Tuck, Tuck!” as I pushed the blanket under her. She loved it and reveled in the coziness and this has become a new routine. Shortly after that she started alerting us to the “monsters” that had moved in to our house in the evenings. I know it’s not uncommon for little kids to think there are monsters, but I’m a little surprised at the late onset of this new fear. Since we had been looking for it for a good year now though I was already prepared with my response (which probably didn’t help instill confidence that monsters are make-believe) of the antidote of “Monster Spray”! You have some too right, air freshener that you spray that keeps all monsters at bay? Unfortunately the first one I grabbed was seasonal. So it appears we may be smelling the holiday season’s baking long after the cookies have gone stale.

I know that it all depends on my energy level and perspective how I see her need for comfort at night and how I respond to her. It’s something that I’m going to focus on in this next year- expanding my patience consciously. With the little one brewing in me I admit to feeling more than a little impatient in the evenings for the girls to go to sleep so I can collapse as well. And it doesn’t go unnoticed. Zuzu told me the other night after I apologized for snapping at her, “It’s ok Momma, I know pregnant ladies are cranky because of the babies in their belly.” In this though, I find that I am routinely forgetting seemingly small parts of the bedtime minutes that are so important to the little ones. Fortunately, they never fail to get up again to remind me.

“Momma, I need socks.”

“Momma, I need a blanket that smells like you and Sugarplum to cuddle.”

“Momma, you forgot to flossie my teeth.”

“Momma, you forgot to spray monster spray.”

“Momma, you forgot to brush my teeth! Dr. Horton says I have to get the sugars off of them!”

“Momma, I’m too hot in these jammies” (as heard on the nights I don’t manage to forget a single detail)

It’s so hard when I’m tired to get everything in the expressly ordered order. Maybe, really, my impatience is with myself and not this little girl. I’m not sure. Each night of late, though it seems like our routine of late has varied. We have very early mornings in our house and while the Quail is a very good sleeper most nights, there is  the issue of how late she sleeps the next day that still allows us to get in a few therapy activities, ample time for her to meander on the potty and through her breakfast and still get Zuzu enough facetime without anyone feeling rushed. Zuzu has a nose for noticing when her grown-ups have left the bed though and frequently wakes herself to follow us around in the wee morning hours. The Quail on the other hand often sleeps an hour or more into the morning from when the rest of us are up.

Zuzu has returned to coming into our bed nightly now. Often when she does if I’m facing away from her she’ll start tugging on my shoulder to see if she can lure me into a sleepy cuddle. I’m sure when I’m actually asleep it works. Unfortunately if I’ve heard her come in and woken up to it, and had recently turned over due to pregnancy induced hip pains, she gets a less than pleasant reply to her somewhat silent, mostly insistent, carotid artery pressing request. Then in the morning I’m reminded of my rudeness in the innocent sweetness that only a child can offer up to a less than well-trained parent, “Momma, did you end up rolling over and cuddling me after I fell asleep and I just don’t remember?” is the suggestion she so trustingly gives me. At that point, I’m alert enough to be aware of the gift she’s offering up and will respond with hugs and kisses and assurances. I can at least do that much!

Then last night after she had been tucked in by her dad, I was puttering in our room and heard her door squeak open. I have to be careful in my responses to her here- it’s a balance to not encourage the nightly visits but also not make her feel bad in her late night weepy stage. She promptly informed me that she didn’t have socks on, I hadn’t brushed her hair, her teeth or flossied her. Sigh…you can’t really argue with a request for good hygiene as a parent. So we made quick work of all but the flossing and repeated the tuck, tucks.

corner view: where has the time gone?

The last 5 years have gone into these lil darlings. I feel I can measure their growth and time in apples! From those first bites of soft, mushy applesauce, to the carefully and thinly sliced and peeled bits to the full on chomp on it straight from a tree. Thank goodness for the seasonal clocks that Mother Nature provides to help us keep track!

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday date hosted originally hosted by Jane, currently by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it in photographic or poetic in form from around the world: Jane, Dana, Bonny, Joyce, Ian, Francesca, Theresa, Cate, Kasia, Otli, Trinsch, Isabelle, Janis, Kari, jgy, Lise, Dorte, McGillicutty, Sunnymama, Ibb, Kelleyn, Ninja, Sky, RosaMaria, Juniper, Valerie, Sammi, Cole, Don, WanderChow, FlowTops, Tania, Tzivia, Kristin, Laura, Guusje, Susanna, Juana, Elsa, Nadine


This November we have decided to join some of our pals in expressing our gratitude for the blessings we have in our lives. While I do keep a weekly running tab of the bigs and littles, I decided to start the conversation with Zuzu about what gratitude means and how important it is to notice the things in our lives that we already have and are thankful for. This took some explaining to clarify that we weren’t just starting an early letter to Santa and that what we were trying to think about is our blessing of the little babydolls we already have and love, rather than the ones on the shelves in the store we covet. Eventually we got there and now for the last couple of nights this past week she’s reminded me that it was time to talk about what we are thankful for. I thought I would gather this harvest of thoughts here for safekeeping. Or keep-saving as dear Zuzu refers to it, the blessing that her words often are! Below is a combination of her and my thoughts on the blessings in our lives. I’ll leave it to you to decipher who felt what.

1. Gratitude for the many facets of the mighty brain of Lovey, and particularly his mechanical know-how. How lucky am I to have a partner who can bake a pie and fix a car.

2. Gratitude for the myriad of people in our lives who help us function semi-reasonably day to day. We could not do it without you all!

3. Gratitude for when Daddy, Momma, the Quail and Chula cat all cuddle on Zuzu’s bed with her and no one or cat pees on it.

4. Gratitude for the Sistred! (which my girls will hereby be known as- Thank you very much Ms. Lopresti

5. Grateful for the sistred’s expectation of Saturday morning apple pancakes.

6.  Grateful for all the friendships that grace my life- both near and far!

7. Grateful for snuggly, candy scented, giggling baby-girls who are always willing to dance with their Momma in the kitchen to 40’s vocalists

8. Grateful for a little girls reminders to talk about what we are grateful for each day

9. Grateful for the curiosity that each member of my family expresses

10. Grateful for peace of mind and the ability to know when it’s best to just let negative thoughts go

11. Grateful for swift moments of youthfulness however fleeting

corner view: home, sweet home

This time of year, what warms my heart is the times when I happen to have a reason to go outside for a moment after the sun’s gone down. The glow inside our home makes me grin ear to ear as I hurry back inside where I belong.

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday date hosted originally hosted by Jane, currently by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it in photographic or poetic in form from around the world: Jane, Dana, Bonny, Joyce, Ian, Francesca, Theresa, Cate, Kasia, Otli, Trinsch, Isabelle, Janis, Kari, jgy, Lise, Dorte, McGillicutty, Sunnymama, Ibb, Kelleyn, Ninja, Sky, RosaMaria, Juniper, Valerie, Sammi, Cole, Don, WanderChow, FlowTops, Tania, Tzivia, Kristin, Laura, Guusje, Susanna, Juana, Elsa, Nadine

Zuzuday: hair today, gone tomorrow

I have a real love/hate relationship with haircuts and the girls. I find myself eyeing their sweet heads for weeks on end before finally asking if anyone is interested in a haircut. I need to be sure I can commit to it before I make the offer. It shouldn’t be this difficult, but emotionally it is. Probably because I only do it once or twice a year and at this age, even without my help they grow so quickly.

When both of the girls were born, their hair came out mirroring mine. Lots of chocolate brown hair wisps covered their tender heads. In the first few months as it came off and new hair grew in, with both of them it changed over to Lovey’s strawberry blonde locks. Everyone thinks they look like him- I’m the odd man out in family pictures. Truth be told, when Lovey was their age he was a towhead. White, white, white. Shortly before Zuzu was born, I was gifted a number of boxes of my childhood things from my mom and in the depths of those I found a little envelope that carried the locks from my first haircut. My hair- was strawberry blonde! I have absolutely no memory of this and was so surprised to see the different color. It made me realize that the days of having these sweet little strawberry heads is most likely numbered.

Thus begins the love/hate relationship with haircuts as I age them with every snip. About a year ago I took the girls in to a joint doctor appointment a few weeks after their fall haircut and the doctor looked at them and asked if Zuzu’s hair used to be the same color as the Quail. I was shocked- I hadn’t noticed how much darker it had already turned.  That time I had given the Quail bangs and I think the heartshock of seeing my baby vanish into a toddler had caused me to stop eyeing them so closely. Sure enough though, I can see it, it’s just a shade darker. Everytime we cut it, I feel like I’m cutting off part of their babyhood.

Yet, I can’t quite help myself, as I eye it for weeks preceding the haircut I notice how straggly or thin it has become and feel the need to thicken and even it up. I always love the final result after I cry about it few a few days though. This fall Zuzu had been the one asking for a cut after I came home from work with one.  It’s not a quick process for us. I do cut the hair myself, but I usually have to trail after them over the course of the weekend making little amends. Since Zuzu had asked, I started with her this time and noticed that her bangs were almost at the length I had hoped so that we could even it all out to one length. In reality, that was shorter than I pictured the cut as a whole. She was tickled.  I was uncertain and Lovey asked why I took his little girl away. It’s a spritely little cut on her, but the bittersweetness of it going one more shade darker as I cut the summer sun out of it was enough to put me in my hair-cutting place before I got to the Quail. Needless to say, I only took a couple of inches off of her in order to keep the rest of my heart intact.

sunday still life


Sunday Still Life is an evolving photo project started by Erin. It’s an invitation to explore the beauty and depth of life through traditional still life composition and / or photos and words to evoke inner stillness and reflection. If you feel so inspired, join in!

Lately, all I see in my Zuzu is her fast-paced growth. She’s racing towards grown-upland and taking us all along with her. I’m oh-so-grateful for these moments that are fewer and father between where she just wants to be my little girl still holding on.