emma’s 6th birthday!

a brief history of emma’s birthdays:

                                            2005

                                                          2006

2007

                                                                              2008

                                   2009

                                                   2010

                                   2011

eleven things to do in twenty-eleven.

1) be intentional with my thoughts, words and actions. love folks, always

2) sing, dance and make merry – every day

3) fill up my house with flowers and other pretties 

4) be silly with my family and friends

5) read 52 books + study the Bible intensely 

6) bake something delicious once a week 

7) take lots & lots of pictures

8 ) invite someone new to shabbat once a month

9) write. write in my journal every day, write poems and short stories, write ideas and inventions. write mundane details and summarize my grandest adventures. write!

10) get messy                     

11) spend a lot more time doting on and spoiling my lovey

profile: violette anne.

violette the pilot, today she is 4 years and 2 months old. she likes to play with her pet shop animals, dollhouse and toy kitchen. she is intrigued with the idea of baking, and will jump at the chance to cook with mama. she is a cuddle bug, but only when she wants to. asking for a hug when she’s involved in a game will only result in a) being ignored, or b) “NO!, i’m playing by myself!”, followed by a sneer that words cannot accurately describe.

vi adores order and organization, wanting everything in it’s place and lined up just so. she loves reading and learning, always asking questions and then replying with “weeeeell, huh.” she is very creative, you can find her with the art box nestled in her closet or at the dining room table drawing pictures of “persons” and animals. she is a perfectionist to the extreme, and if her picture is not 100% accurate in her mind, she will grunt, ball up the paper and emphatically throw it on the floor. she is also a fantastic story-teller, and will make up tales of grand proportions, with little to no conflict.

vi is terrifically sensitive, and once wound up for a fit, it’s nearly impossible to placate her. it’s always the most ordinary responses that can untangle her from her crying, though. for instance, a few days ago she wanted a particular cup for her water, and i couldn’t find it. i had given her several cups to choose from, and she was inconsolable that we could not find her cup. so we rocked and rocked and i sang, while silently begging the divine to impart some kind of wisdom to help this poor girl. i pointed out that water will taste the same in whichever cup it’s in, so perhaps she could try to drink out the green cup instead of the pink. she perked right up and said “oh, yea!” and was fine the rest of the day.

violette is a comedienne, in the grandest sense of the word. her jokes are truly funny, and she just gets it. she understands people, their motives and intentions, and has a hard time with any kind of injustice. she sees right through any kind of slick business, and will reject anyone who she feels is false or insincere. she is however, the most loyal of friends, and once she has decided to let you in, you are in for good.

vi likes rules and has the sweetest heart to listen and obey, even when she’s the only one acting right. she will admonish her siblings for not listening to daddy or mama, and then point out that she is acting so very sweet.

violette is such a joy and delight and i am enjoying this particular phase immensely.

my parents

(mom and dad, 1985)

on the subject of my parents, where to begin? it is difficult to articulate one’s feelings and attitudes towards the beings from which one came.

my parents have been married for almost 25 years, their anniversary is about a week after brady and i celebrate ours. my mom is, save for brady, my closest friend and confidant. my dad rarely fails to make me laugh and/or rile me up, usually both.

it is so interesting, and at times even awkward, to know that most of my thoughts, attitudes, ideas and opinions come directly from thoughts, attitudes, ideas and opinions passed down from them via genetics and years of learning from their triumphs and mistakes.

it is comforting to know that they will always love me and welcome me, i will never have to knock on the door at the house on n.w. 24th street. even after our darkest period: months of not speaking, after hateful words, anger and extreme hurt on both sides, my brand new husband and i were asked to stay for dinner and to sit on the couch talking for hours about what had transpired in the meantime.

my parents have taught me that love and grace are key, and they’ve shown me that laughing and being together can get you through nearly any situation. they are not perfect, and i am not perfect. sure, we disagree on some points, but all of that melts away when we’re sitting around the living room, talking and laughing and sharing stories over a cup of coffee or a box of granola bars.

i am indebted to my parents for raising me to think for myself, to buck the norm, and to act on my feelings. i am thankful that my mom shared her immense love of reading and learning, and that my dad passed on his clever, yet subtle, way with wordplay and punnery. i know without a doubt my, at times, too sensitive and big heart came from a perfect marriage of their sensitivities, kindness, and willingness to help anyone, anywhere.

i love seeing my parents as grandparents, and watching them interact with my little ones with wonder and awe. their compliments on our parenting mean so much to me. it’s so sweet that my kids know bumpy always has time for a willy the worm story, and mammy will usually have some form of treat.

sometimes i wish i could express my gratitude towards them, but i know there are no words. my parents gave me life, shaped me into the person i am today and while the road was not a smooth one to the place we are now, we have a lot of great stories and memories to share.

my siblings

a friend posted some blog prompts, and i snatched a few for myself as i am in need of a few new ideas!

my siblings, oh, this subject is tucked away in my heart. sometimes i feel like my siblings are such a part of me that it’s hard to separate us. we are a strong and deeply connected collective, our unique individuality making the corporate strand of “siblings” that much tighter knit.

i am the oldest of five. i have always loved being the oldest, and being the self-appointed troupe leader. i have a memory of when we lived in arcadia, a 30 minute drive from civilization and 5 acres that stretched for miles and miles in my child’s mind. we were on a “nature walk”, and i was in the lead, with each kid behind me, save for jacob as he was still a baby. i remember so vividly making up completely asinine “facts” about trees, butterflies, quail and sincerely passing on my knowledge to my siblings, who were listening with rapt attention. we fancied ourselves the boxcar children, and spent hours playing outside in our various forts and treehouses.  in fact, there is not a memory i have before the age of 10 without one of my siblings involved.

jonathan, or jonnie is the next in line. he is 16 months younger than me, and was my best friend from the time his life began. i honestly cannot remember living without him being around. we have made horrific fashion choices together, made beautiful music and some really awful junk in the pop-punk phase, we’ve had several “bands”, and share an immense appreciation for harry potter. jonnie makes me laugh so hard that i snort, and double over, slapping my leg. jonnie is 6’7, and hugging him makes me feel really small, in a good way.

and then there is whitney, my only sister. she is about 3 years younger than me and has been at once, the closest to understanding me completely yet the one person i’ve fought with most in my life. we are almost the same in some regards, and polar opposites in others. we have learned many things together, and from each other. as we age and mature, we are coming closer each day. whitney is a strong and determined woman, the hardest worker. i admire her desire and efforts to create change in our city, and the world. she cares deeply about many issues and acts on her feelings, instead of sitting back and wishing and praying for good things to happen.

jedidiah samuel is 5 years behind me. i recall his birth (at home!),  and one particular instance of not getting to help give him his first bath as my cousin from california was visiting, and mom let her help instead of me! i remember running and curling up on my bed, crying my heart out. didn’t they understand he was ours?! looking back, i laugh at my child-self and how much i wanted to help, and how deeply it hurt not to feel a part. (and no matter how much we change, some things stay the same.) jed is a quiet guy, very wise and insightful. he has just started his first year of college, he’s playing basketball and going to classes and it’s so amazing to see him as an adult. i’ve spent so much of my life viewing him as a child, that it’s a new and exciting adventure to have conversations and share ideas and interact on a new level.

jacob is the baby, i was nearly 8 when he was born, and what a joy he was and is! he was our little “doll”, from day one. we would dress him up, carry him everywhere (well past when he should have been walking) and try to teach him to say words quite early. jacob is the sweetest little guy, though calling him a little guy is a bit ridiculous and he grew larger than me several years back. i still think of him as 10 from time to time, and have to shake my brain into realizing that he is 16, and about to start driving a vehicle!

it’s such a joy and wonder to witness all of us, standing on our own yet still as close as ever. i am so grateful to have such a close bond with my siblings, and i know that there is nothing any one of us could do to lessen our love for each other. i only hope my children have the same bond with one another, that grows and strengthens each day.

profile: theodore welcome.

a few days ago, the littlest was 15 months old. as such, i felt compelled to write up a little profile on what he’s been learning and doing.

his favorite food is, well, anything. to be honest, i can’t recall a food he hasn’t liked. just last nite, he was walking around with half an onion he’d pilfered from the fridge, and was licking it and taking small bites. he loves pickles and condiments. if he gets quiet for more than a few seconds, i know to head towards the refrigerator and there i will find him, stacking mustard, ketchup, pancake syrup, wheat germ and soy sauce.

most of the time, theodore is dancing. his favorite song right now is “hey, soul sister”, and when it comes on, he stops, drops everything and runs to the center of the living room to dance. he has quite a few moves in his arsenal, and i would say he’s got the skills to pay the bills.

he is quite ornery, loves to pick on his sisters and make people laugh. he has a range of facial expressions, more than i’ve ever seen on a little guy. his curiosity is intense, the phrase of the moment: “what IS it?”, emphasis on “is”, going up to a higher pitch and raising one eyebrow. or in the same vein “what’s-at”, said deeper and more excitedly. he loves a good, enthusiastic “good-bye”, waving and blowing kisses and giving hugs. speaking of hugs, he kisses now. it’s more of a “face hug”, or a lick on one’s cheek, but it’s very sweet nonetheless.

playing outside is his idea of paradise, and we have been spending many afternoons out in the yard as the weather is cooling off.

he is in a bit of a difficult phase as far as keeping him occupied. he also finds any kind of stick a hilarious weapon to be used on unsuspecting family members, which is embarrassing, shocking and kind of funny. he attempts climbing on any thing he thinks he can. i admire his bravery, yet i am ready for some kind of impulse control to kick in, but i know i’ve a ways to wait.

he’s still nursing away and growing, growing, growing. it’s a joy to watch him and play with him. he reads! no, in all seriousness, it is so darling how he “reads”: he gets a book, lays down on the floor on his stomach, kicks his legs up and points at the pages, saying “ooh!” or “what IS it?”. just adorable.

his smile is contagious and his love for his sisters, dada, and mama is overwhelmingly sweet. so glad to be his mama ❤

beautiful people, volume 1.

i’ve wanted to start this project for a while now, and today i received the pictures i needed! i want to introduce the world to folks that i find beautiful and inspiring and i hope you all find them to be as wonderful as i do.

the first couple i’ve chosen are folks i’ve known for a long time, and they are the embodiment of hospitality and generosity. they also know how to have a very good time.

meet rex & sara:



rex is a postman and can keep one entertained for quite awhile with hilarious stories and his quick wit. sara is one of the most thoughtful and kind ladies i’ve ever met, and is always willing to help out where she sees help is needed.

they have 2 sons, travis and parker, and i hope to have the kind of relationship that they have with their boys when my kids are grown.

rex and sara lead quite a creative life, even if they might not claim it. their home is full of beauty and little treasures in every nook and cranny. (i think rex might be a hoarder, honestly…) sara is a musician and writes songs that will get stuck in your head for days on end. and you haven’t experienced life to the fullest until you hear a phone message from sara. there really is no describing it, it’s simply an experience.

they are the meaning of good people and the salt of the earth. and i hope to have many dinners and evenings spent in their back yard in the future.