14 July 2016

what i'm looking for.

on perhaps the most perfect day of spring, we had a small ceremony to bless finley's journey through life.  there was good music and pastries and champagne and good family and close friends and so many smiles my cheeks were sore the next day.  it was the best of the best.

it was on a day much like this one almost two years ago that we did the same thing for julian.  we chose two of the most fantastic people we know to be fin's godparents and help him on his path, and they were included in this ceremony.  the whole day was filled with so much love and warmth and just made me feel so incredibly lucky.

the song we chose for finley was U2's 'i still haven't found what i'm looking for,' which is one of our absolute favorites and really suited finley well.

finley felt so at ease he fell asleep during his ceremony.  typical easygoing fins. :)

look at this village, these people.  who have said they willl do this with us.  that they will support us and love us, and they will help to show my children their way.  these people are not just saying it with words.  i have learned, again and again since finley was born, that they are really here for us.  they come over with food, or call to check in when philip is traveling.  they come by for dinner and bedtime to give me a hand.  they are there when i call and say please come hold my baby so i can take a shower, and then they show up with cold beer.  they are there when i say i can't be alone with these kids any more, can we come over? and they open up their homes with a smile.  they plan trips out here to see me when they know i need it most.  they know julian's favorite colors and have learned some signs.

i couldn't do this whole parenting thing without them, and i'm so grateful i don't have to.

finley joe, we are all so happy you are in our lives.  you made us a family, and i could not be happier about that.  you are the cherry on top of my sundae, the extra bit of sweetness in my life i always needed.  i'll forever love you.

[all photos by corinna lander -- she totally captured our essence and light. love it.]

08 July 2016


we are so, so, broken.

it feels, to me, like we've reached this certain breaking point.  a place that i'm not sure we can move back from.  people killing each other in the streets out of anger.  everyone is at each other's throats, and it's all become terribly un-civil.  black and white. men and women. muslims and christians. gun rights and gun control. there is no intelligent, respectful debate.

it all became too much for me yesterday. as a news alert popped up on my phone and i read about the horrors of the shooting in dallas, the tears started flowing.  i rolled over and clutched onto my husband, sobbing into his shirt, until all my tears were gone.  i cried for them all.  for the babies sitting in the backs of cars, watching their fathers get shot.  for the boys crying for their daddies on national TV.  for the families of police officers who now have to be more terrified than they normally are as they send their loved ones off into the line of duty.  for all of us, who are heartbroken and disgusted by what is happening here.

and as a mother, as my instinct is to do in times like this, i went in to see my babies, sleeping soundly in their rooms.  i tucked my big boy under the covers and started at him.  smoothed his hair.  kissed his cheeks.  watched his breathing slow and steady, watched him roll over and look for his blankie.  as i closed his door, i felt thankful that he's two and i don't have to explain all this to him right now.  in my baby's room, he's still easy to lift out of his crib and rock.  as i held him close and rocked him, i thought of how much lighter his skin is than his brother's.  he's a pale, white, baby.  he's inherited his father's skin color, german and dutch.

my boys are white. i have given the world two more white boys of privilege. it is one of my greatest fears as a mother that they will use that privilege against others -- people of color, women.  they will never know life without their whiteness.  and there is a certain level of guilt i feel because of that.  it i sounds silly, but it's true.  i want to make sure they know that their whiteness isn't a privilege, it's a burden. it comes with responsibility.  as white men, it will be their responsibility to help lift others up, help their voices be heard.  to value each life equally.  they're so little right now and i haven't figured out how to start teaching them this, but i feel that talking about it is a good place to begin.

you can cry against police brutality without hating all police.  you can be wary of criminals of any color without criminalizing all people of color.  you can be fearful of extremists without hating all muslims.  evil does not know one profession, one color, one religion.

i'll end this with the words that always come to me at times like these:

one love
one blood
one life
you got to do what you should
one life
with each other
sisters, brothers
one life
but we're not the same
we get to carry each other
carry each other

29 June 2016

dear finley: six months.

hi little chunker.

it's playtime here, our nice, quiet time together.  your brother is napping.  some days you nap when he does.  other days the stars just don't align, so you and i have some nice one-on-one time.  we rarely get that anymore, and i kind of love it when we do.  i stretch out a big blanket on the living room floor, and we roll around together.  or we get some toys out on my bed and just play.  you are playing so much these days.  anything your brother has, you want to play with.  anything

you've gotten so big in the last month.  so many changes.  you're sleeping in your own crib now, in your room.  and i have to say, you're loving it.  you can roll as much as you want, talk to yourself when you wake up in the mornings (still the happiest i've ever seen!), and play with your pacis.  you are still waking up at night to eat, but it's so much better than it was last month.  if you roll onto your belly, you'll sleep anywhere from six to eight hours at a time.  on your back you do a little less, but still not too bad.  sometimes i'm up twice a night, but when i'm lucky it's only once.  your naps are starting to break into a solid three a day -- one morning and two afternoon.  sometimes it's two mornings if you get up too early.

it's so funny to see you and your brother sync up your schedules.  you almost always wake up within half an hour of each other, as if you know the other is up and you can't wait to play.  three times now julian has woken up and gone right into your bedroom to see you -- i've had to stop him from waking you up in the mornings.  but sometimes i let him 'get you' from your nap, and he runs up the stairs, calling 'baby! baby! up! up!' and climbs right into your crib.  i'll watch you on the monitor, and a big grin stretches over your face as he swings his legs up and plops down next to you on your crib mattress.  you two are bonding, and it's the most amazing thing to watch.  the other day i was struggling to put groceries away and entertain you.  julian grabbed one of his animal books and brought it over to you on the floor, pointing out the different animals and colors to you.  you both laid on your bellies, looking at the page for a solid five minutes.  it was a small miracle to me.

you can roll over in both directions now.  it was a welcome development, because now you don't just scream on your belly, like you did last month.  you can push all your weight up (no easy feat) and kick that leg back over, landing you on your back.  you've learned that this new front-to-back-to-front roll can get you just about anywhere you want to go.  no more leaving you on the bed for a minute while i wash my hands.  if i lie you down on the floor in the living room to play for a minute, it's only moments before you roll over onto the hardwood floor where you can see me.  it's hilariously adorable.

another new feat is sitting up.  you've got a bit of a tripod sit going on, but your balance still needs a little work.  you can balance for a minute or so before topping over, and looking at me confused as to what just happened to you.  and, of course, you have continued to pack on the rolls of fat.  this is just so fantastic to me.  your rolls are one of the cutest things about you -- we're still calling you fat & happy.  but as big as you are, you haven't made the jump to solid food yet.  you're interested in things we eat, but just as you are interested in anything else we have in our hands that you could possibly fit into your mouth.  i gave you a small spoon full of mushed avocado last week when your brother and i were having avocado toast, and you were unimpressed.  you pushed it out of your mouth and turned your rubbery spoon around, chewing on the handle instead.  you seem to growing just fine, though -- so we're not really worried about it.

at six months, your eyes are still blue.  your hair is still brown peach fuzz.  you are still the easiest boy to make laugh, and your laugh is just like mine -- i'm sorry about that.  fins, you are still the happiest little guy i've ever met.  you smile constantly.  you've become *slightly* less of a velcro baby now that you can roll around and play, but the only whining you do is when you want to be held.  pick you up and you're the happiest fatty on the block.  keep it up, please.  your joy is contagious.  you bring us all so much happiness, and we are all so much better off with you around to make us smile.

i love you so much, little monkey.  SO much.

your mama.