Category Archives: Siblings

Bat Boy and his Biggies

Summer time is a good time around here. We have a lot of fun. These days, the fun is really in the hands of Blueberry and his biggies. While Songbird is Ecuador (and she’s doing great, btw!) and we miss her A TON, we are making our own fun here. Case in point, Waffles is a heckuva great big brother. He’s kind, gentle, and fun loving. Tonight I turned around when I heard, “Hey Mommy, look, I have a bat brother!”  I turned around to find Blueberry hanging perfectly still while shouting out, “Mommy, bats hang upside down and only come out at night!” Waffles himself is hangin’ around this summer until he leaves for Colorado State University – Ft. Collins in mid-August. We’re soaking up every precious minute. And, Blueberry believes that Waffles and his posse plus (plus = girls) are his pals.  The thing is, they are. They slow down, play cars, kick soccer balls, walk through the woods, and offer up a few snuggles. Yesterday Creme de Brule was here for most of the day and Blueberry knew just what to do …. she was a great early morning snuggler (Waffles and Creme de Brule  had been to deliver a friend to the airport for an early morning CA nanny send 0ff – they’re like that).  Sesame Street always plays better in a lap, right?

Twinkletoes is here all summer working at a lab. She was awarded a prestigious summer research scholarship. We are so proud of her. She gets on the bus at 7:30 every morning and returns at the dinner hour (how nice that Mom has dinner ready all.summer.long).  But really, she and her sweetie, Clementine, are favored evening playmates.  Twinkletoes is our routine/regular/rhythm where everyone else comes and goes on a more chaotic summer schedule. Blueberry needs her constant and dependable presence. Clementine, working a really intense summer roofing schedule, is typically a evening visitor – just in time for a few pre-bed tickles and rough housing. Clem has been our ‘goto’ helper for as long as Blue has been entrusted to our family, and Blue treats him like a biggie brother. And visa-versa. We love to witness their friendship, even if it means Blue knows who Perry the Platypus is ….. Phinneus and Ferb – really? (Is that how you spell it?)   Mr. Silly Pants and I look to these two biggies to help us squeeze in some evening minutes of tennis, too. We have to work on bits of balance too, and Clem and Twinkletoes sometimes meet that need for us.

We miss our sweet Songbird a ton. She’s in Ecuador – working for Amigos. She writes from Ecuador during her first week: “My week started out with a community visit. Last year as supervisor I traveled every week to the same four communities, this time I got to visit a new community. Because I had no idea where it was I had to ask a few people in the bus terminal which bus to take to get me there – eventually I figured it out and some school-kids on the bus helped me out by telling me the actual bus fare and where to get off the bus. From there it was a 10 minute ride in the back of a pick-up truck with the wind blowing (and rainclouds hovering around that opened up mid-travel) through a series of flower plantations. We arrived at the centro or center of town, which consisted of a small store, a school, and a small medical facility. There I hopped off the truck, paid my 35 cents and started looking for the house I was supposed to visit. I found it eventually (after accidentally wandering into the clinic). Unfortunately the young woman who wanted to apply as a volunteer was not home so I talked a bit with her mom, left the application and a guide for her family and headed back to Latacunga in  a hot sweaty bus playing a strange French film.”  She tells us that during her second week the program supervisors arrived. She showed them around town and then says about her budget keeping skills (which is her job this year) “I am now more informed about what kinds of things we are doing and my responsibilities as budget keeper. My budget balanced out perfectly this week – to the penny (I hope its like that every week!). I also delivered a HUGE deposit to a local hotel reserving rooms and space for AMIGOS training directors, who will visit our project mid-July. I have never carried so much cash on my person and I was quite relived to hand it over to the hotel.”  We seriously cannot WAIT for pictures. 

Blueberry thinks Songbird is at college. He tells me she’s at “Bewoit. In cowege.” It makes sense since this is where she usually is when she isn’t here. One thing I learned is that because he didn’t see her leave the airport (it was a 6 a.m. departure and I didn’t take him), then he doesn’t really believe she’s anywhere other than “Bewoit.”  Imagine if your life was one of two possibilities – home or Beloit. Yeah….scary.

Our summer has started off with damn good fun. I’m posting a picture a day on my facebook page to sort of sum up our days and remind me to stay focused and present. The biggies help this along – they keep me in full swing of family life. I can’t say that I’d wish the loads of dishes and constantly emptied refrigerator on any of you, but I think every 3 year old kiddo should have a bevy of biggies.

I love bat boy and his biggies.


Wordless Wednesday – Big and Little boys

Songbird Graduates


Holiday Hams

Fun. Potty Training. Gifts. Silliness. Dogs that cling. Dishes. Food. Cookies compliments of Twinkletoe’s and Clementine’s kitchen marathon. More dishes. Pine needles everywhere. Snow shovels. Egg nog. Laundry. Did I mention dishes? Sleds. Cuddling. Ice skates. I think some of my pictures are blurry because my eyesight is blurry – either age or thyroid or both. Oh, and dishes.

A Merry Multitude

It’s Christmas eve and it was bound to happen – my smiles turned to tears, an outburst, emotional meltdown, a few self pitying words, an understanding audience (oh thank goodness), and then a return to normal. No. Better than normal.

It is sometimes a tough time of year. Ask your friendly ‘clinician’ about holiday meltdowns….I’m no exception. This week (this VERY week) holds two deep losses for me. It seems these two losses have really become more than two – s0mehow multiplying over time.  Somehow deepening. I won’t detail the ‘why’ and ‘who’ and ‘what’s up’ here. It’s enough to say I’m holding the loss, holding the love, heeding the gentle and loving support of my family. And really, I think it’s ok to give 1/2 hour of my day over to a little mourning in exchange for the catharsis of being a family – for being the parts of family that are deep and abiding and constant. I’ve worked hard to shape what I have here in my home, and for the depths of home. Today, the depths were necessary for some grieving. And, for the purpose of moving into fuller merriment.

In the spirit of “the spirit” , this is what moving forward looks like today for our merry multitude:

Twinkletoes, Clementine and Blueberry have been busy all day making holiday cookies. Cookies include my fondly (re)named”Mexican Wedding Balls” – they always make me think of my mom since they were part of her cookie tradition. In typical family style, Twinkletoes is our baker. Her sous chef is Clementine. And the junior sous is certainly Blueberry. Snickerdoodles, sugar cookies, and chocolate brittle are on the cooking menu too. Blueberry is totally enjoying wearing his apron and cooking alongside the cooking duo…now trio.   


Mr. SillyPants, who worked this morning, is now home and is preparing to play the organ at church tonight. In anticipation, he’s practicing on the piano (his lovely Steinway) and pulling music left and right out of his music files. I imagine there is some wrapping to be done, too. Plenty of time 🙂 We’ll all be at church at 10:30, save 1. 1 will have to stay home with the wee one, and we’ve agreed the dog isn’t up to the task.

Speaking of wrapping…. in the tradition of my family, all of the gifts from Santa arrive wrapped in red and green tissue. Nothing fancy – just names written by the ‘elves’ in a variety of styles.  On the other hand, the biggies have been busy, excitedly wrapping their contributions to tomorrow’s gift giving. It turns out Waffle’s is a particularly fine gift wrapper. I, on the other hand, am a lame wrapper. My mom was the best wrapper EVER – she made the gift wrap a true part of the gift. Sorry to disappoint – hard as I try, I turn out wrapped gifts that make wrapping look like a necessary evil. The kids tell me that I’ve turned out a few birthday cakes that have that look, too. They’re right.

Speaking of Waffles, he and Clementine were sent on an errand to collect our Eve dinner. We opted to do something new this year and ordered sushi rolls for dinner from our favorite downtown restaurant. Twinkletoes and I are wondering how in the world a little food pick-up has lasted nearly 2 hours (OK, they did get a ‘tip’ in the form of coffee money – Clementine’s favorite fair trade coffeehouse is near the sushi restaurant).  We all complimented Waffle’s ‘murse’ as he walked out the door. Style 101. In about 1/2 hour we’re going to be digging in and enjoying our favorite food! It’s a GREAT break from the tradition of making our holiday eve dinner – and judging from this morning’s meltdown, it was a wise plan.

I haven’t seen hide nor hair of Songbird and her sidekick, Futball. They ran some ‘craft shop’ errands earlier today and then hustled downstairs with glue guns, art supplies, sharpies, gift wrap, and tape. I think there is a production going on in the hinterlands of our home. I said production! Not REproduction! (I am a mom to young adults – this is not a taboo subject around here!).

Finally, I have spent the afternoon reading my mind numbing, mind pleasing novel. I’m nearly done and I have to say that I’ve enjoyed it very much. It’s been entertaining and relaxing – and that’s TOPS on my holiday wish list. I can say that I’m most excited about having a whole week of R&R with my family over the next week. We plan on doing some ice-skating, some XC skiing, and a whole lot of reading and game playing. We are all in need of spoiling and indulging, so I hope that we are successful in giving each other a good bit of TLC this week.

P.S. It’s past our dinner plan hour and the dynamic duo are still MIA. We think they might have absconded with the sushi and headed to Central America. Go figure. (And if you read the last post about the Beast, they might have slipped from the car seats right into the road on their way home).

P.S.S. Did I mention that Blueberry has been in DRY underwear ALL day long? We might be there – we just might.

And this is why HE probably won’t be very good at it either….

Gender socializing, that is. Let me explain. When frolicking in the firs, the kids play a lot of games and engage in quite a few shenanigans. This year there was a fair amount of leaping and catching and carrying. Most of it fun, some of it – well, have a look.

Twinkletoes and Clementine

Twinkletoes and Songbird

Ms. Plum and Mr. SillyPants….this one didn’t end well between me and my man of slighter stature. We thought it might not end well, but the playfulness of the biggies was inspiring and apparently a little mind-numbing. What were we thinking?

Songbird and Futball (introducing Futball – he’s a fan of Songbird and the feeling is mutual).

And Waffles and Flower

Futball and Mr. SillyPants.

Wait, what? This is a CLEAR violation of machismo – I don’t care if you are a Latino man or an organ playing physician. 

Yeah, Mr. SillyPants probably won’t be much good at gender socializing either…considering he’s leaping into another man’s arms. Note the ‘what the heck am I supposed to do?’ stance of Futball.  Not easy. Poor guy, that’s a helluva initiation into the family.

Our Clan’s Canaan

Our tree is fun. Down home rockin’ fun. We have a silly tradition we started when we moved into this house; the kids find the biggest, roundest, most over-the-top tree they can find and then hope we say yes. And, they spend the HOURS we search for a tree playing, rough housing, snapping pictures, tumbling on the ground, and quite literally frolicking in the snow. It’s holiday cheer wrapped up in family lovin’….amazeballs fun. (And there aren’t many of these deliberate expressions of headin’ out for this kind of ritual fun – so I totally dig this tradition). Cathedral ceilings help with the mission of impossibly huge trees.

It’s a sweet tradition, and it’s one that started when Mr. SillyPants and I bought this house together for our family.   This year’s tree came early – because this year’s tree needs Flower to enjoy her for as long as she can.  Flower leaves us just before Christmas – so we’re doing it all a little early this year. We’ve never gotten a tree on Thanksgiving weekend – but this year we took advantage of the clan’s presence and picked a big ‘ole Canaan at our favorite tree farm. We missed the snow play, but we made up for it with extra doses of silly running around and picture taking. I think it might have been a bonus for Blueberry to be able to run around – snow will probably still be a challenge for his under 3 legs this year. So – total thumbs up on this timing! And, double thumbs up on the tree.

A word about the tree farm: I always cry as we arrive. We are very loyal to this farm because they were so good to my mom. Our family retells the story of Mom’s last Christmas every year as we pull in the driveway. We repeat the details:  mom always came with us – she asked for a tree topper that last (unknown to us) holiday – they took her name and number and said they’d call if they had one – we all thought they were being polite – the surprise we felt when they called Mom – Mom’s call to me because the snow was pouring from the sky and she wanted some help getting to the farm and hauling the tree topper –  Waffles (who was a mere boy, but also Grandma’s sweetie) volunteered to help Grandma and did all the hauling and lifting of the tree topper for his beloved Grandma – Grandma loved her tree and was so proud to host a CA family and WI family holiday, the very one where Mr. SillyPants met her, my sister’s family, and my kids – a year later when we arrived without Mom we shared our story of loss and Ms. Tree Farm cried along, having just lost her best friend to cancer as well.  I cry at this place, and my kids and Mr. SillyPants feel it with me with tears and memories. It’s always good. It’s always rich. We bring Mom along in our hearts.

Speaking of Moms….this picture is for our Hungarian family (Flower’s family). Flower’s mommy made this ornament for our family in 1997. It is handmade. Mr. SillyPants and the kids pulled it out and handed it to Flower. Caught off guard, I wept huge unanticipated tears. Flower and I embraced. We remember. Love remembers.

Frolicking next – promise.