2015 Top 10

January 3, 2016 § 2 Comments

Our Holiday break was so relaxing — Brad and I even had time for our 2015 Top 10 date already!  Here are my top 10 things for the year. Once I got going, I thought of a bunch of “tops” so this list was tough. As usual, they are not in any order.

  1. Hiram’s (non-eventful) first day of First Grade
  2. When Eldyn caught a turtle on his fishing pole (“Daddy, remember when I caught a turtle?”)
  3. Sunday morning walks with B
  4. Seeing Antler A for sale in so many bookstores and gift shops
  5. The Square Foot Garden and my strawberry plant
  6. Perfect weekends at the cabin (one summer and one winter)
  7. Falling asleep with my Nook almost every night
  8. Actually propagating a violet plant
  9. Sleeping in a camping cabin on vacation – especially during the thunderstorms
  10. (Last but not least) Dakota Leigh! And taking care of Asher Dasher for a few days

Runners Up

  1. Family bike rides (with the new Wee-Hoo)
  2. Going to NYC for my birthday
  3. Halloween 2016 – seeing and hearing an owl!

Also (I am burying this announcement because it’s super hard to do!) I am wrapping up this sweet little blog. Mainly because Hiram is one of my main (and favorite) subjects and I think it’s time he has a say in how he’s represented on the internet. I know I have been editing myself for the past several months and that’s just not as much fun.

Thanks for all the years of reading. I will miss this blog and all of you!




2015 – The Year of Hunker Down

December 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

Winter Tree Art by Hiram

Winter Tree Art by Hiram

2015 – The Year of Hunker Down

I’ve been putting off writing our Christmas letter this year. Not because we didn’t have a fantastic year. (We did! A trip to NYC. Another one to Mount Rushmore. A big move for my parents, and becoming a Fairy Godmother to boot!) It’s just that, after a whole year, it sort of feels like the four of us are still where we were.

But then, when I think about it, I realize that’s not at all true. We each spent the year hunkering down in our own ways and now what we have to report on is the slow, steady progress of living.

When Eldyn was one, he taught himself to walk while he was in a room all by himself. Then he sauntered into the kitchen so casually I…wait, he’s walking?! That, my friends, was a taste of things to come. Eldyn has hunkered down to apply this style of learning in so many ways this year. He’s growing up right under our noses. He’s learned to ice skate, ride a bike, get away with everything and most importantly (to him) be hilarious. He turned four last week.

Hiram’s a first grader. When I asked him what he wanted me to say in our letter, he told me to tell you that he’s reading at the H-I level. And, he added, last spring he was only G. Which means he didn’t “go backwards” over the summer. He really is not kidding around with this reading stuff. He can read anything. If that’s not hunkering down, I don’t know what is.

Brad and I love our neighborhood so much, we were finally (finally!) able to decide to hunker down in our house for a while. We immediately began putting down roots.  Literally, in the form of a new raised vegetable bed, which is beautiful, ingenious and built by Brad. And figuratively, in the form of very, very deep post-holes which were the foundation for the boys’ favorite new thing – the “evolving fort” (also built by Brad).

I hunkered down this year to weather three rounds of layoffs at Target. Good.Ness. That uncertainty was trying. I’m still there though (!) and sitting in the strategy area now. I’ve also been working my head off on marketing and selling Antler, A – the children’s book I published with my friend Megan Moore Smith in 2014. It was nice to have that outlet this year. Sometimes when I think about the success we’ve had so far, I can’t believe it.

And so there you go. We’ve been hunkering down. Going to our same ol’ schools. Doing our same ol’ jobs. Sleeping in our same ol’ house. Living our same ‘ol lives. Which, by the way, we wouldn’t trade for the world.

Peace and blessings to each of you this Christmas season, especially those whose lives are (far) more eventful than ours.

Much love.

Hadley, Brad, Hiram (6) and Eldyn (4)


Eldyn: 4 Years!

December 14, 2015 § 1 Comment


Eldyn’s 4 years old and on top of it, he’s grown almost 2 inches since May. He’s running right out of the gate on this growing up thing.

Sticker Shock: Poor Lew. He did this to himself during one of his independent bedtime rituals. Then the next morning those buggers would NOT come off. Oh, the screaming. When we finally got it all resolved, he looked at me with tears streaming down his red, blotchy face (with some sticky stuff still here and there.) “Maybe I shouldn’t have put those stickers on my face.” Maybe not, little man. But it is a cute picture.

$$$: Now that he’s four, Eldyn gets an allowance. I can’t really wait to see what he does with this chance at a bit more control over his destiny but so far, he is not tipping his hand. He only vaguely listened while B explained the difference between spending and savings banks. Then grabbed the quarters, shoved them evenly between the two banks (like a pro) and got right back to the business of playing.

Just Try It: It seems like after months and months of convincing, Lew is finally starting to believe in the power of Try! Twice on Saturday, he willingly used the “try again” strategy for catching onto something new. And, he has success to show for it — a bunch of puzzle pieces in place and a whole skating lesson with no walker! Hopefully, he felt like it was worth it and will try, try again.

3 Years

2 Years

1 Year

Just born

Hiram: 6 Years + 6 Months

December 6, 2015 § Leave a comment


Hiram is halfway to seven! Holy smokes. Here are updates for this month.

Marbles: I was a little worried when Santa told me his plan to give the boys a marble a day in the Advent calendar. Last year, it was M&Ms. Would marbles be a satisfactory substitute? It turns out, yes. Hiram was the first one to discover the marbles and brought his brother along the change curve by promptly finding 5+ games that required only 2 marbles to play. The lack of sweets has never even come up. On the other hand, the marbles have introduced a whole host of other issues including: marbles getting lost, marbles on the stairs and, most traumatically, marbles disappearing (forever!) into the heating vent.

Ice Dancer: Hiram is getting noticed at skating lessons! In fact, the head guy at the organization said Hiram had promise and tried to recruit him to join an ice dancing school. I must admit, I got a little excited about the prospect of Hiram becoming a professional ice dancer and even promised to show him a few videos to pique his interest. We pulled up Charlie and Meryl, hovered around the computer and watched. Hiram was quiet for a pretty long time and then he said,  “Would I have to do that in front of people?”

Sucker for Tradition: It’s fun to see Hiram catching on to tradition this holiday season. One thing we do every year is strap the kids into their car seats and force them to ride around while B drives and I look at Christmas lights. Usually, 15 minutes in, at least one of them starts asking when it’s going to be over. But this year, maybe it will be different? A few weeks ago Hiram said, “When are we going to drive around and look at lights? I like doing that.” I didn’t correct him.

1 Year + 6 Months 

2 Years + 6 Months

3 Years + 6 Months

4 Years + 6 Months 

5 Years + 6 Months


Tree Trip, 2015

November 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

Our usual Christmas tree spot wasn’t open this year but we tried a new one and liked it just as much. Only a slightly longer walk, which isn’t a bad thing. The boys were troopers and the weather was perfect.

Here are a few photos.



Let It Snow – Fort Phase 1C Update

November 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

Last weekend, we nearly finished phase 1C of the Best Brothers fort, which was to add a temporary sledding hill!!


This photo is mid-way through construction and we still need to add snow-catching carpet to the ramp. The boys helped with the hammering, screwing and bolting and Hiram had a suggestion that improved our design for the guard rails! The boys couldn’t wait to test it out so we know it works even without the snow.

Snow will be literal icing on the cake. We are ready!

Eldyn: 3 Years + 11 Months

November 15, 2015 § 2 Comments


I’m getting myself all worked up about the fact that this is the last month any of my kids will be 3 + anything. Yikes. At least 4 is one of my favorite ages ever. Here are a few stories about our favorite Shoeless Lewless.

This One’s Just Right: Eldyn has this completely adorable way of climbing into our bed and sleeping there. It’s adorable (and not exhausting) because he does it right away after we tuck him in and not when we’re already trying to sleep there too. The unspoken deal is that then we go up, find him, and move him into his own spot when we’re ready for bed.

Nesting: Also, whether he’s asleep in our bed or his own, Lew is in a phase where he likes to make little nests to sleep on. One night when we picked him up to move him, we found out that he was sound asleep on a pile of matchbox cars, little (pointy) dinosaur figurines and his Barbie. Another night, it was a pile of 30+ perfectly flattened tissues all in a pile. It’s like a little bedtime surprise for B and me.

Two Wheels: I am not sure Lew wants anyone to know this but HE RODE HIS TWO WHEEL BIKE. Without training wheels! All by himself! He told us he wanted to take the training wheels off and that he knew he could ride without them. So we took them off and off he went! But as soon as he realized B wasn’t holding him up, he stopped. He got off his bike, climbed into my arms and told me he wanted me to carry him home.

You know the story where the mom runs beside the kid on the bike and lets go and cries as she stands there watching him ride off down the sidewalk to adulthood? I thought about that story while I was carrying my big boy back the half-block home. That was a moment just for me. That was the universe, reminding me that no matter how big they get, there’s always a chance they’re gonna need their mama.

2 Years + 11 Months

1 Year + 11 Months

11 Months and 11 Months + 4 Days