Monday, January 30, 2017

Yearning to Breathe Free

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)
I am an immigrant
I am a stranger in this place
Here both for the grace of God
Go I
I am an immigrant
I have left everything I own
To everything I've known
I say goodbye
She said, “Give me your tired”
Lord, you know I’m weary
When she said “Give me your poor”
She’s talking to me
One of your huddled masses
Yearning to breathe free
And I never have lost sight of
What this journey has been for
See how she lifts her lamp
Beside that golden door
I am an Irishman
The famine put us to the test
Away into the West
Like wild birds flying
We put our backs to the wheel
With a heart that always yearned for home
We made this place our own
And about died trying
I am Chinese
I worked your mills, your yards, your mines
Laid your railroad lines
With my two good hands
I am a Chicano
In your orchards and your fields
I have gathered in the yields
For this hungry land
I am Nigerian
I am Iranian, a Jew
From Laos, Katmandu
I am your story
I am a long, long line
One you have forgotten that is true
I am everything you knew
I am your glory
She said, “Give me your tired”
Lord, you know we're weary
When she said, “Give me your poor”
She’s talking to you and me
We are the huddled masses
Yearning to breathe free
And we never will lose sight of
What this journey has been for
As we lift her lamp
Beside the golden door

©1999 John McCutcheon/Appalsongs (ASCAP)
Stonington, ME, August 1999
Produced by John McCutcheon & Bob Dawson
Engineered by Bob Dawson at Bias Studios, Springfield, VA
Mastered by Charlie Pilzer at Air Show, Springfield, VA

My heart breaks.

Saturday, January 21, 2017


It's true! He's now eleven months old, our sweet baby boy. We are grappling with the fact that he will soon turn one. This little dear is so, so precious to us.
 He knows how to tap right into the mushy, warm and fuzzy places in our heart. Just look at that smile!
 Big brother isn't normally too far away. A few times (okay, really far more than a few) I have sat back in awe of these handsome boys. How could they possibly be ours?
 Owen's cruising on everything! He's stood for a split second on his own before grabbing ahold of the closest thing. He's started cruising from furniture items to other furniture items that aren't quite in reach.

 He still scrunches his nose, which just makes me melt.
 The scrunching of the nose reminds me that I want to remember all of the little details, like the way his hands look.
 And the way he bites his gums when he's trying something new or hard.
 And his many different expressions!

 Owen adores Leif and pets him ever so gently. He treats him so well, stroking his head, nose, and ears. The love is certainly mutual.
 Over the last month or so, he's gotten quite a lot of teeth. EVERYTHING goes into his mouth. Sticks are teethers when we're outside, spatulas and toys and teething necklaces are his go-tos inside.

 Owen has a single crown in the perfect spot. I love the way his hair fans out around it. His hair is getting just love enough that I am starting to think about cutting it. I think we'll wait until after that first birthday.
 His hair seems to be decidedly blonde, but with a touch of strawberry.
 Just another picture of a spot I want to remember. Don't mind me ;)

 Here he shows off his teeth! He has three on the top, with one more coming in. And two on the bottom, with a few more budding under the gums on either side. As the picture shows, drool often clings to the bottom of his lip and chin, these days.
 Sometimes his deep blue eyes bore into me and I know that he has me all figured out. A wise soul, this one.

 There's just so much to love about this eleven month old.

 And he just loves his family members, always keeping tabs on where everyone can be found. Here he is looking toward Ian in the swing in our backyard.

 So far he remains confident in his shuffle crawl, with one leg tucked in front and the other in the crawling position, his arms doing most of the forward movement.

Most of the time you'll find him sitting and observing the people around him. If music comes on, he immediately starts bobbing to the beat. It's absolutely adorable!!

In unfamiliar places he will cling to whoever is nearby from our family. Yesterday, at library story time, he kept a fistful of the back of Ian's shirt in his hand the entire time. Gosh, it was sweet. And Ian would occasionally turn and give him a hug or a smile or a head bonk.
 He's been on a plane for a second trip up to Portsmouth, NH. On the way back, one of the passengers asked him to high five and we taught him how. He LOVES this new skill and will laugh and give you twenty, even one hundred, if you will oblige.
Owen David, you are truly a delight and joy!
Happy 11 Months!

You love: cuddling with Papa, singing, dancing, petting Leif, playing with Ian, being held or worn in the carrier, cruising the furniture, the panda bear Schliech animal (always in your fist!), the teething necklace from Aunt Phoebe, crawling, dancing and bobbing, and just plain being awesome.

Friday, January 20, 2017


My, oh my! It's more than halfway through January and here's the Christmas post. Sigh. Can life just slow down?

This Christmas was really lovely, despite sickness hitting the little boys and me. Owen went down first with a 104 fever for the days leading up to Christmas, then I got it over Christmas, and then Ian went down after we returned home. Jim managed to survive unscathed.

But this holiday season was really sweet. Ian understand so much and really was a joy to observe during the season. He sang Christmas songs, wanted to read Christmas books, talked about and explained the Nativity to us, decorated the tree, turned on the Christmas lights, and looked forward to seeing and spending time with family.

All of the guys worked on setting up & bringing in the tree Ian chose.
 After putting every ornament on the tree, Ian wanted to read and sing through each Christmas book we pulled out of the boxes. It was so much fun.
 Haha... this is what happens when you wait to load your pictures forever... you forget about what photos were even taken!!
 OH MY GOODNESS. Be still my heart. These two are forming a bond that is so sweet.

 Dear Aunt Christine came not once, but twice, to watch Ian for us for two different interview trips. THANK YOU, THANK YOU. We are so very grateful.

 The light and joy of Owen went down his temperature rose. He needed lots of cuddles, sweet boy. We were happy to oblige.

The day before heading to my parents' home I came down with a high fever, but being with family is the right place to be when you are feeling low. Thank you, Mom & Dad, for the wonderful food and the rest you afforded us/me during our visit.

Here we are on Christmas morning! The big kids (Phoebe & Willem) were awoken by an excited three year old and his mama. Santa came and ate the cookies Ian put out for him the night before and even left him a note!
We opened stockings first, as always! Ian needed a snack, too. ;)

Dad and his new apron!
And let's blame my lack of photos on enjoying opening gifts rather than taking photos! And also maybe on my fever. Soon after all of the presents were opened, around 10 or 11, we all dispersed for a bit. Jim and Ian went out for a hike. and then Owen decided that he would do his own hike. UP THE STAIRS! It was his first opportunity to climb stairs and he did the entire staircase, no problem. He even lifted his food all of the way up on the step, planted it firmly, then brought his next food up. This kid.

"Yep, I got this."
Some Grumps cuddles.
You can tell he's still recovering from the nasty virus, poor chap.
But he still had energy for stair-climbing and drumming on an oatmeal container!!
And for singing and song books!
Sometime during the day, while the kiddos napped, we played a new game. And it was a winner! My family is incredibly competitive and this game brought many of us to tears in laughter and it was impossible for be competitive. I think we have a new tradition ;)

It wouldn't be Christmas without a family sing-a-long to carols.
Ian perched on a stool in his usual spot. Totally captivated by my dad's piano-playing.

On Boxing Day we returned home for a night before Gramee and Grandpa would come to join us. Ian wanted to paint the snake he received for Christmas, so we had a chill night of painting while Jim made us some dinner.
Two days later we had our second Christmas with Gramee & Grandpa.
They came bearing gifts from Aunt Erin & Uncle Russ, Aunt Carla & Family, and Aunt Sherri & Uncle Richard, as well as their many that they showered upon the boys!! It was quite a loot.
Thanks for the great book, Aunt Erin & Uncle Russ & Seraphina!
Gramee showed Ian a new game!
This year Ian was really into opening up presents quickly by ripping the paper! Last year I remember him wanting to carefully open each gift, but he wasn't quite as particular this year :) I love his focused face. This kid <3
Fuzzy and busy, this picture captures the movement of these boys.
Still one of the greatest gifts of all time... this boy.
Gramee & Grandpa open the calendar
Ian immediately needs to read the next book he opened. Thank you, Gramee & Grandpa!

Owen was most fascinated by the wrapping, but he got some really great gifts this Christmas, too. ;)
And as long as he's got Mama, he's good ;)
Then we got small snow and Ian begged for a snowman. So, here are the two snowmen he got. The larger one I made with him and he insisted that he needed a carrot for a nose and then came up with the idea for raisin eyes. The miniature one to the left was made by Jim and Ian after most of the snow was gone, but he still insisted on making a second snowman. Ha!
Owen has really grown attached to Jim in the last couple of months. It's a really sweet bond they share. Owen just sinks into his shoulder and loses all cares in the world. He's got a great papa.
These two are active, though. Never stopping... :)
Oh my heart <3

Real life means snotty noses. But check out those teeth!!
This post just covers a whole lot. We left, once more, for an interview up in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Ian stayed with Aunt Christine again. We returned in the middle of the snowstorm and managed to snag the last two seats off of standby and make it home before the airport in Atlanta shut down. Phew.

We were SO happy to be back with this lad. We saw him before he went to bed that night and then, in the morning, Jim made Ian's dreams come true by making him bear pancakes just like they have in the Berenstein bears. Talk about a happy boy!! Family's back together and bear pancakes. What could be better?!
Owen agreed with him :)
And then there are just some pictures of life these days. Sweet baby toes and surprising us with new abilities, like singing, dancing, eating new solids, putting things in containers, dancing. You know, just growing up!
We catch Ian reading books to himself throughout every day. He's such an active lad, but also calms down and focuses intently on books, toys, his own imaginative play, and music.
OH, and talk about growing up!! One day last week a friend came over with her two daughters. Her younger daughter has recently taken an interest in potty training, which is something Ian had shown no interest in pursuing. As my friend talked about her daughter's interest, I saw the wheels turning in Ian's head. It was as if he was saying, "Wait, she's a baby! She goes to the potty? Hmm. Maybe I need to get myself in gear!!" As soon as my friend left, Ian told me that he was a big boy and that he doesn't wear diapers anymore.

Sure enough, he is! Since that day, he's only worn diapers for naps and to sleep at night. He's a big boy! He had a few accidents those first two days, but since then he's gotten to the potty every time! It's incredible!! I am so, SO grateful that we heeded the advice to follow his lead and wait until he took the initiative.

So, sorry Ian, but here's a picture of him in his boxers.... that's the common look around here right now :)
On the day when this picture of Owen was taken, I had just been telling a couple of friends that Owen hardly ever gets a bath because he hardly ever gets dirty. I think he must have heard me and decided to prove me wrong! Ha! He covered himself in our pesto meal that night.
So, into the bath they went. Ian tried to help wash Owen :)
Bathing boys.
It is so sweet to see how much these two love each other.
I mean, c'mon.

And that was the fastest tour of our December through January (so far) that I can five.

Life with them is fast and lovely and ever-changing.

And we love it.