Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lily's Birthday Story

"I turned five yesterday!  And I got to have whatever I wanted for dinner.  I had macaroni and cheese, fruit, and I had chocolate cupcakes, and that's all I had.  I got a new bike that was pink with princesses on it and also I got two cards.  I got one from Aunt Elisabeth, and I got one from Omi.  I learned really quickly in one day how to ride my bike.  I was a very fast learner and I had lots of things to say about my princess bike.  Mine sister Zosia really liked my princess bike.  She wanted to get a double bike and she wanted it to be pink for her birthday.  And also I loved my princess bike and Daddy taught me how to learn riding on my princess bike.  I played with Addison, mine friend, and I had lots of fun, and I goed to my friend Emma's house, and also I had lots of fun playing with my two sister babies, Dorothy and Clara.  There was lots to say about mine birthday.  The end."

There you have it!  Lily's birthday, in her own words.  She is strong, confident, sweet, and the most generous soul you will ever meet.  And a bit of a daddy's girl.  Ben, who usually leaves birthday stuff to me, had strong feelings: Lily needed a new bike.  When I suggested she might like something girly, he found the girliest bike you could imagine, which of course, Lily *loves.*  This weekend we're going bowling with friends, Lily's special birthday wish.  Happy birthday, my sweet girl!  May five be as joyous and wonderful as four.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt 2014, or, How to Eat Too Much Candy

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter, Passover, or just plain old weekend!  We embarked upon our annual Easter Egg hunt, which was developed that Easter morning that we didn't get space in church, I was really pregnant with Hugo, and we went to a local park to kill some time.  There was a group of friends hosting an Easter picnic who had a real live Easter bunny there to deliver candy.  The sweet Easter bunny was kind enough to pay a visit to our family, too, and of course our children have not stopped talking about it since.  This year on the way over to the park Zosia commented, "Remember that Easter bunny we saw?  He looked a lot like someone playing dressup as a bunny."  Hrmph.  I'm glad that the Easter bunny isn't one of those traditions I'm overly attached to, as I have a feeling it is the last year Zosia is buying it.

It was a beautiful morning, and it was wonderful to take a break from Easter prep to spend some time in the fresh air.  Sitting down to look over pictures, I realized that someone is eating candy in each and every one.  We scaled way back on Easter candy this year, as we had an unreasonable amount of leftovers last year which lasted us until last month.  But even so, when we got home, Hugo was gripping his tummy moaning, "My tummy hurts!  Too much candy!"  I spent the better part of the rest of the morning holding him like the sweet little baby he still is in my heart, instead of, you know, preparing dinner for over twenty people, which is what I should have been doing.  In the end, all's well that ends well, Hugo is just fine, and we had one of the most delightful Easter meals I can remember (which I'm sure I'll be sharing more about later in the week!).

And as it so happens, today we are celebrating none other than our sweetest Lily, who turns five!  Oh, we all love her so much.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter, Friends!

Last year our family put on a little Resurrection play with friends: I can't believe how much all these kiddos have grown in the last year  Sending much love to you all on this blessed day!  Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


::He's as sweet and lovey as they come.  He will come right up to you and kiss your nose, your ears, your eyelids while saying, "I wuv you, I wuv you, I wuv you"  over and over again.  He makes my heart melt and I already lament the fact that one day he will likely love another woman more than me.  And yet pure mischief.  Proudly bringing me a large empty bottle of baby oil, which he dumped.  On the carpet.  "Sowy, sowy, sowy.  I not do it again" (and he didn't do that again, although I did just discover that he dumped a cup of water.  On the same carpet).  And then a smile and a twinkle in his mischievous eyes.  Oh my, this boy.
::Growing so quickly, and just like that everything is green inside and out.  This is the week.

::Chocolate chip pancakes which my husband declared were the best he's ever had (while Zosia looked over his shoulder saying, "Not so much brown sugar.  They have chocolate chips,dad!"  I never knew children would be such upholders of virtue and moderation).
:: The sweet potato has sprouted.  It took about two months (!), which we speculate was due to some treatment they give grocery store potatoes to prevent sprouting.  But we waited and waited, and there it is.  Now does anyone know whether we can translate this into sweet potatoes in the garden, and how?

:: Today we had all three meals on the deck.  It makes me happy that the wildlife can clean up the crumbs instead of me, and the fresh air seems to give everyone a better appetite.
:: Bedtime reading and just like that the day is done.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Peak Bloom Stroll

Cherry blossoms have erupted into full bloom.  Soft pink flowers against a backdrop of leafless trees.  Gnarly, twisted, aged trunks covered in light pink popcorn.  Such a stark juxtaposition.

We sometimes go down to the tidal basin to enjoy the flowers, but this year decided to stroll through a beautiful neighborhood lined with cherry trees instead.  Quiet, relaxed, and so incredibly welcoming: we were not the only ones who thought to pay the neighborhood a visit, and some enterprising children had even set up a lemonade and snack stand.  Children were running around, couples were lying in the grass, families were picnicing.  A modern day John Singer Sargent siesta painting.  

We spread out a blanket and let the kids run around while the babies lay down looking up at the beautiful branches.  Once again I was reminded of the fact that people everywhere love twins.  Drivers slowed with windows rolled down to inquire about the babies, many strangers approached us to chat, and I even noticed a few people sneaking up to take a picture.  Maybe we should set up a twin stand next to the lemonade stand next year, what do you think?

I can't think of a better way to welcome a weekend.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Raised from the Dead

It was our Spring 2014 work weekend.  Everyone helped.  Well, not the twins. They either slept inside, or hung out in their little shade tent outside, or let's be honest, were carried by either me or Ben.  A huge pile of mulch, dumped on the driveway, needed to be carried to all of the flower beds and spread.  We are once again trying to plant grass in our backyard, which seems resigned to remain in its perennial state of being a mud pit.  Every year we plant seeds, full of hope, and every year they fail.  Five years and counting.  This weekend we integrated top soil, put down fertilizer, raked it in, even have straw to spread on top.  This is our year for grass, I can feel it in my bones.  Lush, thick grass.  Mark my words.

I took the big kids to church with me on Sunday while Ben stayed home with sleeping babies.  Being at church together is the sweetest thing, because the big kids are just thrilled to snuggle up in my lap without a single baby vying for my attention.  Soaking it in, such sweet kiddos.  Midway through the homily about Lazarus being raised from the dead, there is a shout from the congregation.  "Call 911!"  Everything stops.  A man has collapsed.  Is there a doctor in the congregation?  Yes, a few men rush over to the collapsed man.  Is his heart beating?  Is he breathing?  His adult daughter is shouting and crying.  Many people are crying.  They are performing cpr.  We are three rows away from him, and his body is limp.  The kids and I are huddled together, praying.  A woman raises her hands and starts praying a Hail Mary, and we join.  The moments drag on.  I am thinking of ways to explain to my children that we have just watched a man die. The ambulance arrives, and we are asked to stay in our seats, to make space for the responders.  Hugo, meanwhile, is loudly telling me that he needs to get onto the ambulance because, "I have owie, mama!  I have owie!" (ah, life with little kids!  What would I do without this comic relief?)

There are many people standing around him, and we can't really see what is happening.  We wait to see him lifted from the pew, nervous to look, and yet unable to pull our eyes away.  They are lifting him.  We are about to see him.  We are about to see him.  And there he is.  Only, wait!  He is walking.  Walking himself to the gurney.  Totally, completely alive.  Everyone is stunned.  You would think that the congregation would burst into applause or something, but we just sat there, totally silent (I think this is where you know we are Catholic.  Can you imagine this happening at a Pentecostal church?  I get excited just imagining it).  Our priest, who had been at the back, waits a moment to see that everything is okay, and then walks back to the front.  "Wake up, Lazarus!" he proclaims.  Indeed.  Risen from the dead before our very eyes.  I will never forget it.

And oh, these babies.  Such smiley, good natured little things.  And they talk!  They just love to chatter and I don't think we've ever had babies that talk quite this way.  In whole baby sentences and paragraphs, I would say.  I hold them so close and nibble their chubby dimpled cheeks and say thankyouthankyouthankyou thousands of times every single day.  There is not a moment in their presence that is not awash in gratitude.  I will never forget that miracle, either.