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JoJo Just Said, So Says Sloppy Joan, Spike Speak

Sisters say what? (Vol. 5)

March 7, 2017

We laughed to our guts! – Spike

I love to drink my tears. – Spike

JoJo, your face looks funn- [turns and runs into wall]. – Spike

It’s like raining snow! – Spike

Is “whore” another word for “seat”? – Spike

Are we cheering for the Steelers or the Takers? – Spike

I wish you were little, and you were my sister and you looked like you, but smaller. – Spike

Did you know grass is Mother Nature’s hair? – Spike

She laughed so hard she cracked herself out! – Spike

I think my eyes were playing tricks on your mouth. – Spike

See … isn’t having kids fun? – JoJo

Uncle Map is a kiddish grownup. – Spike

I’m having a lot of “excuse mes” today – Spike

Love isn’t just a word. It’s a feeling. – Spike

I wanna wear my bathing soup! – Sloppy Joan

Mom, can I tell you a secret? I’m the class helper a lot and I have to hand out markers. And when I hand out the markers, can I tell you the secret part? I give people markers that match their shirts. If they’re wearing blue, I give them blue. But if they’re wearing white, I have to give them a black marker or some other color. – Spike

Mom, you know, some grownups are smaller than teenage kids because they have shrunken. It’s not their fault. They just get smaller sometimes. – Spike

Is that for your things? – Spike,
Yes – Me
Oh. … Like, it holds them down?
Kind of. It holds them still.
Oh. … But I don’t need one yet, right? Because my things are so small.
Right. But you will when you’re bigger.
Right, like when my things are hangy.
Uh huh.

Do all the hookers have head lamps? – Spike

Mom … Mom, I have to tell you something. No, in your ear. [I bend down] I forgot underwear – JoJo, wearing Umbros at her co-ed basketball game

If you were a seahorse, you’d come out of your dad’s tummy. It’s true. – Spike

Does my bathing suit look like a lea-tart? – Spike

A lot of animals are made out of meat. So I say care for the honeybees, care for the birds, care for the everything. Even animals that don’t make food, I’m still saying to care for even all the animals. Even the ones that attack Mother Nature. – Spike

Dad, what’s that sound? – Sloppy Joan
What sound, babe? – Hank
That car sound.
What car sound?
That boom shakka lakka.

Did you pick up upstairs? – Me
I think we can do more. – Spike
How’s it looking’ up there? – Grammy
Ahhh, i don’t know if you heard me say, there’s more we can do. – Spike


It’s simply the Best

December 9, 2016

It was one of those evenings right before the official start of winter when the cut of the cold and premature darkness still surprise you. It had been a long day at work. My brain needed an invigorating, startling freeze to reset. I pushed the door open, stepped into the parking lot and turned my face to the sky, as I always do, in hopes of a masterpiece. My God, the moon is breathtaking, I thought. What magical gifts He gives us sometimes. And then, just as I reached my car, it occurred to me … it came into focus … that solar superstar, that awe-inspiring sphere, was not the moon at all. It was, in fact my friends, a high roadside sign for Burger King.

I wish I was kidding. But alas, this is the burden I bear. My eyes are not like your eyes. My eyes are very special.

See, along with an affinity for chocolate laced with nuts and tendency to burn dinner, my mother also handed off a rare genetic eye disorder called Best Disease the day I was born.

First of all, we can all agree that Best Disease is, hands down, the absolute worst name for a disease ever. Ever! Can you imagine spending your entire life telling people you have the Best Disease? It sounds so narcissistic. Oh, you have diabetes? Well, I have Best Disease, so your second-class excuse for a disease can just have a gay ole’ time being in my disease’s shadow. Sorry bout ya. Crohn’s? Pssh! Why don’t you man up and get a real disease, son? Cuz there ain’t no disease like the Best Disease, cuz the Best Disease don’t stop …

I’ve seen it in pictures and had it explained to me a dozen times, but I’m still not 100 percent sure what this inconvenient little bitch is all about. As I understand it, it’s a form of macular degeneration that manipulates the macula in the retina. The macula is a tiny area that’s vital for seeing detail and color. We use it anytime we look directly at something, like when reading, watching TV and writing. (So, naturally, I decided to be a writer.) Members of our elite little club develop blisters on the macula that look like an egg yolk. There’s more potential for growth and decay after that, but it’s all kind of scary and gross, so we’ll leave at the yolk. It doesn’t hurt and there is no cure. It just is.

It’s like having a cool party trick that only the nerdiest people at the party appreciate. About eight years ago I thought I needed reading glasses. So I did what anyone would do. I went to a popular optometrist in town, known for having the coolest frames. I think the publisher I worked for at the time also got a fat discount through some shady deal, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, I went in, they took their pictures and put me on the end of the table to start playing Name That Curvy Figure That Vaguely Resembles a Letter.

“OK Courtney, if you could just read line 5 for me, please.””
“Sure. K … 7 … J … G?”
“Huh. OK, how about line 4.”
“9 … T … P … is that a horse maybe?”

After I murdered the test, the optometrist threw my eyeball pictures up on the screen. What happened next should have been embarrassing, both for the professional administering the exam and myself, but somehow it just happened and neither of us acknowledged the absolute absurdity of the exchange. The dude actually sat his pen down, excused himself and left the room. Only, he forgot to close the door.

“Tim! You have got to come see this lady’s pictures! I mean … you’re gonna shit.” he said to, I’m assuming, the other nerd at the party who would appreciate my trick.

Then, as casually as if he’d just dropped off a roll of toilet paper to a buddy stranded in a gas station bathroom, he strolled back in and resumed his routine. I let him have the moment.

My college roommates called them my special eyes. (Do you remember that commercial? “Look … Look with your special eyes!”) Hank still affectionately refers to them by this name whenever I think I see a cat in the yard and it turns out to be a plastic bag, and other such misunderstandings. I can see most things, but color can be tricky. I get headaches after too much reading. I crinkle my whole face and bring things about a centimeter from my eyeballs to put it all together. Sad? Not really. I don’t know what I don’t know. I don’t know if my red isn’t your red. If it’s duller or distorted or muddy. I have no clue. Are the clouds closer than they appear? I mean … maybe. If you say so. I don’t know. Perception is reality, right? It’s like when someone describes The Revenant and how visually stunning the cinematography is. I’m never gonna watch that graphic shit, so I take their word for it, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m never going to actually see The Revenant, so what difference does it make, really? OK, that example was a stretch … But the point is, I can see some form of red and some clouds and so, I guess, don’t cry for me Argentina.

1-800 Contacts – Special Eyes from The Perlorian Brothers on Vimeo.

The poetic karmic justice of it all is that I spent years watching my mom magnify large print and smash magazines to the tip of her nose, always giggling right up to the threshold where good fun met mean-spirited, only to realize that I blinked and became the object of my own jollies. My brother sent me an email on my first day at a new job: “I can see you now,” he wrote. “Sitting in your new office, hands folded in your lap, leaning into your monitor, face smashed to the screen, granny panties halfway up your back.” I looked down and smirked. If he had a spy in the room he couldn’t have gotten any closer. It was exact. I am my mother’s daughter in many ways, but perhaps none as strongly as my blind lady posture.

And I can laugh at it. All of it.

Except then someone took Spike’s picture.

Hank and his mom both noticed it first. In several pictures where someone used the flash, one of Spike’s pupils was red and one was yellow or white. It was the strangest thing. Googling commenced. Discussions were had. It could be nothing … or it could be cancer. It could be a sign that the blood vessels in her eyes are not receiving blood. It could be a handful of devastating, gut-punching problems. But I suspected the Best.

An ophthalmologist in town was kind enough to squeeze her in at the urging of Hank’s dad. Hank took her. When he came home he did this thing that he always does when he delivers bad news. He sat down next to me on the bed, put his hand on my leg and started rubbing his thumb back and forth. “Well, it’s Best Disease.”

First I cried.

Then, I called my mom. And she cried.

“Oh honey. I know exactly how you feel. I felt the same way when they told me your sister had it. And I felt the same way when they told me you had it. And my mom felt the same way when she found out I had it. But you know we really are so lucky.”

When my mom was in her 30s she went to see a specialist at the University of Michigan. After a full day of tests, questions and observations, the puzzle still had quite a few missing pieces.

“Let me ask you this, can you read the paper?” the doctor asked her.
“Yes. I have to use a magnifying glass, but yes.” she’d answered.
“But, the point is, you can read the paper. A lot of people can’t.”

And the older I’ve gotten, and the more I’ve morphed into Marilyn and her mega-magnified dreamworld, the more I’ve come to terms with the hand I’m holding. And it ain’t so bad. You learn to laugh at things like grabbing the wrong child’s hand at daycare and walking right up to the projection screen to read your notes during a presentation and having your husband read an entire movie’s worth of subtitles to you so you can watch what all the sophisticated folks are watching. It’s all part of the deal. You learn to just ask for a paper menu at restaurants where the food is listed on boards above the register. You squint. And you get by.

And, above all, you learn that very special “p” word. Who remembers our life skill here? You learn perseverance. Because things won’t be as black and white (they might seem more dark gray and cream, depending on the light) for her as they will be for others, my second daughter’s skin will get a little thicker. She’ll learn adaptability and how important it is to let humor hold your hand when confronting adversity. And she’ll learn the truth, which is that it can’t all be easy. If it were all easy no one would know how to fight for the good stuff or fix anything.

When the shit hits the fan, I want my kid to persevere. When the menu is listed in light blue print on a dark blue board high up on the wall, I want her to kindly ask for a printed copy and get on with her face stuffing. Because nothing – and I mean nothing – should stand in the way of a girl and her chicken soft tacos with pico and extra guac. Certainly not a decor choice. And certainly not egg yolk eyes. Sometimes you gotta just put on your big girl granny panties and promptly bitch slap the hurdle at hand.

Every parent gives their kids something terrible; Whether it’s a weird big toe or pointy ears or debilitating genetic disorder. (Note: If you don’t know what this terrible thing is, you don’t know there’s something weird about you, too. Look into that.) In the long run, having something not great happen to you is a blessing, not the curse it presents as first. It’s the stuff of character and grit and the female equivalent of balls (we really need to figure that one out).

Plus, she looks so cute in her little sparkly pink glasses. I mean, you guys, so cute.

My sunsets might be made of Burger King signs and distorted shades, but at least I get them. And I know that Spike will learn to see the beauty in sunsets, too. Whatever colors they come in through her special eyes.


Sisters say what? (Vol. 3)

July 8, 2016

I peed my pants! No, wait, just some rain snuck in there. – Spike

It smells bad in Sloppy Joan’s room. She pooped so hard! – JoJo

Pretty much anyone who wears a wedding dress looks like Queen Jelly. – Spike

But if I tell on him for hitting, I’m gonna get a tattle tail. – Spike

I had to go to the nurse because my feet hurt and all I had for lunch was an apple. – JoJo

I drank it up in a jippy! – Spike

Girls Suits

Ya know, they make Huggies so much easier now. At least that’s what the commercial said. – JoJo

Oh my gosh, Mama, today Johnny fell and I laughed to my death! – Spike

It’s actually good to toot or fart because it warns you that you need to go to the bathroom. – JoJo

What’s the story with this peanut butter jar in the sink? – Me
Oh, I know! Once there was a jar and it fell and cracked its nut. – JoJo

I can’t wait to get cold knees. – Spike

I want to be an art teacher when I grow up. – JoJo
Ask God if you can. – Spike
I might forget cuz it’s awhile until you have a job. – JoJo
Well, God will remember. You are a really good artist. – Spike

Dad, you know that’s called a wee wee … what you have. What kind of plant is this? So, anyway, yeah, you have a wee wee. – Spike

I know how to spot buzzards … pterodactyls … and robins. Oh, and eagles! – Spike


How’s your pull-up? – Me
Good. There’s just a gallon of pee in it. – Spike

If anyone breaks these I will cry to my death! They’re my pets. – Spike, holding a jar of seashells

This lake is full of allergy! – JoJo

That’s my role model! – Spike, seeing a picture of her from a marketing photo shoot

I love you. – Me
I love you. – Spike
I love you more. – Me
That’s great. – Spike

Michael had a hooley hoop today. And he watched on me while I hooley hooped, too! – Spike

Peter Pan is so handsome. I love everything he has going on. – JoJo

Those are chocolate cows! – Spike

I’m going to fall in love and marry Travis. He likes me, I like him. He’s really silly and would be a good dad cause he’s handsome and funny and would make the kids laugh. I know everything about him. He’s six and a half, he’s lost six teeth, and sometimes he gets hurt. – JoJo

My fingers taste funny. They’ve tasted funny since I showered at Kay’s. – JoJo

Mom, my dream taught me how to do a bun! And I was so excited that I peed.” – Spike

Sadie is my lover dog. She just loves me so much she wants to hold my hand. – Spike

Mom, nothing is impossible if you believe. [man belch] – Spike

If your heart beeps stop, you could be dead. Because, you know, the beeps make the blood go around. – Spike


Hattie Choke

Spike Speak

I’m sorry, Spike, what did you say?

March 30, 2016

“Dad my shorties underwear is like yours, except mine has sweet little cuties on it and yours is just gray.”

“Dad, do you know why he’s called Jesus Cross? It’s because he died on a cross. Jesus died for our bad. Lots of people died on crosses. Like California. California had lots of people on crosses. They died for our bad in California.”


“Meetings are when two people talk to each other in peace.”

“This is not fun! [blech] I am not laughing!” [shouted while vomiting]

“My tummy hurts like a tornado went through it for 100 thousand days. I frowed up an olive even.”

“Do you care if I play my music? I care about whatever you do.”

“I made balance!” 

“Footie pajamas fill your feet with happiness.”

156H (2)

“Dad, I know you like to snuggle, but … just … no, thank you.” 

“I felt a bump in my tummy so … I just frewed up.” 

“Is that the disky d with the movie on it?” 

Uncle Map: “Spike, how was your day?”
Spike: “Not good. It was amiliating.”

“Sometimes grownups smell like a stunk when it raises its tail.”

 “Mama, you know, that skirt is beautiful. Can you try not to spill anything on it?”

JoJo Just Said, Spike Speak

Sisters say what?

November 18, 2015

“Dad, I have a lot to say, can you come back?” – Spike getting tucked in for the night.

“Look at his cute little belly button!” – Spike discovering an unfamiliar body part on her sittermate after he went potty.

“I got my badges!” – Spike after she put two Kroger smiley face stickers on her chest in two very precise places.

“Before you say anything, I just need some privacy for a moment.” – JoJo acting like a 28 year old.

“I lilerally didn’t even know what to do.” – JoJo, who now uses “lilerally” to set up every verb.

“This shrimp is bomb.” – JoJo

“Mil, I love you with my whole heart.” – Spike rebounding from a brutal timeout for being mean.

“Mama, I thought about you today. All day. About how you love me and you sing songs and you give me kisses and you have a computer.” – Spike on the drive back from the sitter.

“Papa’s truck smells. It smells like a Grammy issue.” – Spike

Me: “Is this what you want to wear tomorrow?”
Spike: “Well it is something fancy, isn’t it?”

“I can’t see that, Mama, because I am blonde.” – Spike

“Wait! I’d look ridiculous with a beard!” – JoJo reconsidering a facial hair call.

“Mom you want me to watch on you? I can watch on you. It’s fine.” – Spike, genuinely concerned about me being in the tub alone.

“And they were all blah, blah, blah, you’re so fashion. I was all blah, blah, blah, I just don’t want you to say poopy.” – Spike talking to me while I take a bath.

“I told her I’m being complicated and don’t care right now.” – Spike

“Now THAT’S what I want to be!” – JoJo pointing to a flock of birds

“You know, I’m not impressed.” – Spike’s commentary on getting ready for bed.

Spike Speak

The latest Spike speak

September 23, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 9.40.43 PM
“Mama, when the song comes on, I’m gonna dance for you. I’m gonna do the Nae Naes and everything!”

“There was a geese and she was indorable and she had three little hunnies.”

Hank: “Lots of things on the Spike front this morning:
1.) She didn’t sleep very good. She didn’t have purple dragon or a pillow to sleep on, nothing!
2.) She can’t go to Kay’s today because she has to go to her world for a wedding. Desi’s friend, Adrey (think Audrey w/o the “U”), is a grown up and getting married.
3.) Her world is real.
4.) Kiyango is not actually in her world, He lives in Grammy’s barn.
5.) She has a job for me, I need to sent video games to Desi’s computer.
6.) Every one in the world doesn’t like Desi, only us in our house loves her. And Tria.
7.) For dinner this week, we should have chicken and carrots. And that vegetable with ‘potein’.
8.) She doesn’t have poop on her bottom, but she has poop in her bottom and she needs to get it out. She HAS to get it out.
9.) She was singing this morning about waking up in a strangers bed … I said, ‘Spikey, I hope you never wake up in a stranger’s bed.’ She said, ‘Yeah, cause your hair would get messed up. But what if you had a new pillow?'”

“Aunt Cheri, you know it has no belly, and underwear and … Mom, am I still wearing my zucchini so I can show her?”

“Let it go. Let it go. When I rise like a break a John …”


Spike Speak

The Week of Spike

August 2, 2015


Today, our second-born beauty turns 4. Her eyes light up when we talk about the things 4 year olds do – ride bikes with no training wheels, stay up at nap to play Skip-O, go to summer camp, learn to swim with no bathing suit (she means lifejacket) –  and I feel that familiar pull to put life on pause and make the Earth turn just a tiny bit slower.

In our house, everything relates back to food, so when we decided to have The Week of Spike, it boiled down to 4 days of dinners with “Sp” worked in.


She didn’t have specific requests for gifts like her big sis who repeatedly pleaded for a family trip to Mexico but happily settled on what will forever be known as the camping trip officially sponsored by the plague. In fact one of the things I love most about our sweet Spikey is her genuine joy in life’s surprises.

There is so much to celebrate about this kid. She is a character in the most hilarious, dramatic, imaginative play I’ve ever had the privilege of watching. From the animated inflection in her voice, to the unmistakable sparkle in her big brown eyes, to the style in which she pops her little hip, puts her hand in the bend of her waist, raises her eyebrows and points right at you when she really wants you to engage in her story, this one is special.

Not a day goes by when she doesn’t make me laugh. And not like, oh let’s encourage her to embrace her individuality and fuel her spirit laughs … like legit, from the bottom of my belly laughs.

Most mornings go like this: I wake up at 5:40 and try to get ready as quietly as possible. I go downstairs to gather my goods for the day and feed the dog. As soon as the bowl drops, I hear the shuffle of too-long toenails as Mya makes her way to breakfast. My last order of business is firing up the Ninja to power blend my smoothie. It automatically shuts off and within 5 seconds I hear her. She scoots the tiny pads of her kissable feet across the tile and, before the rest of her, a bird’s nest of beautiful brunette hair breaks the vertical horizon of the kitchen wall. She is always rubbing her eyes. She is always quiet for the first minute or so. She is always my favorite sight. I get her settled with 2 yummy nilla bars (oatmeal raisin granola bars, which I realize aren’t the greatest choice but that conversation goes here) and a show before … and this is my favorite part … she commands me to give a “kiss and huggie”. As I walk to the garage smiling, she yells, at an inappropriate and unnecessary volume, “Have a good day, Mama, OK? I see you at dinner! Bye!” Boom. Day made.

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 11.24.50 PM

We spent the day at the lake, but first, we needed a cake. Her dad whipped up a Cake Without Cake Mix for our Friday night gathering, but we needed something to feed about 25 people for this party, so we stopped into Kroger. Those folks know how to handle their flour and sugar. I grabbed the cutest assortment of cupcakes, arranged to look like an ice cream cone with a cherry on top. It was adorable. I’d post a picture except the only ones I have are from after. After I let Spike opt to do candles outside. After I turned too quickly. After the tray slid off the plastic base. After I dropped 24 cupcakes, frosting side down, onto Great Grandma Marge’s rug. After I made the cutest cupcake ice cream cone into a poop-looking pile of frosting.




But the day was not lost.

IMG_9669 (1)



Happy birthday, dear Spike. I hope this year holds nothing but new discoveries and happy memories for you, ya little Sour Patch Kid. Keep inspiring those around you to dream out loud and never, ever fear that imagination of yours; it will take you far in this world if you embrace it and share it the right way. Thank you for the laugh wrinkles and warm snuggles, and for being a living, laughing example not to take life too seriously. As you would say, “You know … I love you so much. I really, really do.”


In memoriam: Orange, Swimmer, Flower and Crawly the Ant

July 16, 2015

During my decade-long career as a journalist/marketing copywriter/social media manager, I have found myself on the creative end of some pretty interesting projects. Editorial content often requires interviews and photo shoots and behind-the-scenes tours, to really get to the guts of the story. As a result of these endeavors, I have accumulated an impressive array of trinkets and trophies: A bottle of water from a natural spring, green tea-flavored liqueur, leggings with faux leather patches on the insides of the legs, and, the gift that brings us to this post, a quartet of goldfish.

About a year ago, I was in the photo studio interviewing a coworker for a blog feature. Vases of goldfish looked on as I asked her to disclose what she carried in her handbag and what her spirit animal might be. Finally, in spite of my best efforts to avoid eye contact, someone suggested I take a fish home. “The girls will love it!” they urged. You see, these goldfish were orphans; leftover props from a fashion photo shoot, and if no one gave them a tank to call home, their future looked pretty bleak. Against all my better judgement, and just as my mother the animal rescuer taught me, I rolled up my cardigan sleeve and fished two little guys out of a flower vase. I later went back for two more.

Thrilled with their new friends, the chicks settled on the names Orange, [Fish] Swimmer, Flower and Crawly the Ant, respectively. They fed them a pinch of flavorful flakes when asked, and checked in on them from time to time. Everyone was thriving … until Monday night. It was the commentary every parent dreads from the day they transfer that $.25 pet from the bag to the tank. “Mom, that fishy isn’t swimming. I think he’s caught in that plant, Mama! He is! He’s caught and there’s blood on him!” Spike screamed with great concern. I looked over at Hank and he made the universal thumb-across-the-jugular gesture to confirm that we had, in fact, lost a fish. Now, before I go on to this next part, it must be said that my reaction was for my children, more than the free goldfish that had taken up residence in my dining room.

We said it was Orange (because heaven forbid it was Crawly the Ant you guys, seriously. Any fish but Crawly the Ant), and assembled around the potty for a proper burial. Henry played a funeral hymn on his harmonica, as the ladybugs gathered around the petite corpse of their former friend. He leaned down and grabbed the handle of the net, like a solemn pallbearer, and placed Orange in his final resting place. (Well, until he flushed him and then he really went to his final resting place.) The second the handle triggered the whirlpool, the girls lost it. Tears and screams of mourning. And I’ll be damned if I didn’t shed a tear. I really did.


Hank explained it was time for Orange to go back and swim with the big fish in the river. A few minutes later, after this concept had a chance to marinate in her mind, Spike spoke: “Mom, he came from the water, and we shared our home. He came from your work, but, Mom, this is how God made the world. He has to go back to his home so he can be alive again. But, Mom … how is there a river in our potty?” Really, truly, a valid question.


Before bed, she told Hank, “Actually, I think that was my friend Crawly the Ant. My sad face won’t go away.” And the next morning, that she “woke up in the middle of the night and there was a fish tank on the floor and Crawly the Ant came back alive and lived forever.” Grief is a process. This morning, we lost the rest of our school of swimmers. That pesky pH balance can really deliver a blow.


In honor of happier times, let’s look back on our first morning with our dear pets: Orange, Swimmer, Flower and, of course, Crawly the Ant. Thank you, dear finned friends, for swimming on the sidelines of our lives for approximately 375 days. You will be missed.




Oh daddy dear: Surviving and thriving with all daughters

July 12, 2015

Due to our need to get the hell outta dodge, I missed addressing this on Father’s Day. But with the 34th anniversary of his birth upon us, I feel compelled to share why my husband was just the man to raise three little women, and what other men in his situation can gain from his approach.

the look.
I have known this gentleman for 14 years. I know what he’s thinking. I know what he’s going to say before he parts his lips. But I never knew what immeasurable, drunken joy looked like on him until I saw him lock eyes on JoJo the day she was born. I remember lying there, watching him dance between me and her … all pink and screaming and deliciously ours. A light came on in him that only fatherhood could spark. I saw it again when we had Spikey. And again with Sloppy Joan. Every time they do something endearing, I immediately turn to catch that organic moment on his face; that glimmer he gets only for his girls. It’s a certain smile and a sparkle, like his love for them is reflected back and captured in his eyes. As much as I relish these sweet glances, I know the chicks do just as much. They feel adored and accepted and encouraged to keep being themselves. When someone genuinely rejoices in your unbridled spirit, it puts wind in your wings. It makes them feel like they can soar.
Look adoringly upon your daughters.


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owning it. 
Given the choice of a baby blue toothbrush or powder pink, my husband will opt for the blushing brush. Why? Because he has embraced the company he keeps. He often jokes about how he’s taken to calling things, “cute,” the designated adjective in our dwelling. It’s not his fault, really. I used to work with this sweet young thing who said, “Gosh,” at the beginning of every sentence. “Gosh, Kate Middleton is the cutest.” “Gosh, I really want a juice cleanse.” “Gosh, Spike is seriously so funny.” And before you knew it, bing! bang! boom! “Gosh,” was part of my vernacular. It’s subliminal advertising more than a sign of meager manhood. But I appreciate that he’s all-in. He’s unapologetic. He is a grown-ass man who can paint some tiny nails and do a french braid like a boss and who says, “cute” … a lot. And, gosh, it’s so dang endearing.



a pile of patience. 
God love this man and the patient soul he was given. I run at a very different pace and, unfortunately, there are times when I get caught up in the bullet points of my to-do list at the expense of the beautiful little faces behind the bullet points (a post for another time). But Henry takes the extra time. His watch stops for the small things and it’s a blessing to our babies.

high marks in the all-around.
It’s important to Hank that the girls be confident, well-rounded and adventurous. He thinks about what he wants to show them, and he always has their character at the heart of his plans. People have said, “He needs his boy.” But that’s kind of crap. He doesn’t need a boy to have someone to share interests or pass on the lessons his father taught him. JoJo, we’ve learned, likes to garden, fish and hike. Spike, likes mowing the yard and olives (their things right now). He curates theses special experiences based on the knowledge he has to share, the little people he sees in them and the women he hopes they’ll be someday. He respects their individuality, never limits them based on gender and makes them feel like he can teach them anything. It’s empowering and, while they will probably never be avid hunters or throw the winning pass at a Friday night football game, the book is never totally closed on a path they want to explore.




doctor dada.
Every home becomes a machine, with different people maintaining the function and feelings of the people and things that reside within the walls through different roles and reactions. As the sole man of the house, Hank’s roles cover a vast territory. He is the protector and the powerhouse. The mover of all heavy things. But, because his wife is, well, me, he is also by default the cleaner of all vomit and assessor of all wounds. Every crash, every splinter, every [gag] tick, is directly elevated to daddy’s attention. He always picks the right bandage, has the words to calm their hysteria and bears the blood and snot stains to prove his medical savvy. Every house needs a tough guy when the bike brakes fail and skulls collide, and he is certainly ours.

I know quite a few daddies who have been blessed with little women, exclusively. They all have these traits and more, and savor the gift they’ve been given. It takes a special guy to man up to the challenge of raising, not just girls, but strong, confident, capable girls. I tip my hat to my babies’ daddy and to all the fellas doing their part to make the next generation of gals fierce and freaking awesome.




Spike Speak


July 8, 2015

As days go, Monday was a big one for Spike. First, I received the following text from Hank:

Big news!
Desi is going to be an adult today and is getting married.
She’s marrying John Smith Lou.
And she’s going to wear a marry-er.

Desi, you might recall, is one of the key players in a little place we like to call Spike’s World. This was followed by a photo of Spike modeling said marry-er.


[Sidenote, but also worth mentioning: For over a year this curly haired child has been telling us tales of Kiyango, her noble steed. How her horse goes on the big boy potty, and sleeps on her floor. She even got a Christmas ornament with him on it. Well, our local Children’s Zoo welcomed a baby giraffe a few weeks back and sure as I’m craving a cupcake, do you know what they named that thing? Ki-freaking-ango. Can’t make this stuff up.]

At some point in the afternoon, things shifted from bridal to bicycle and Spike decided to get padded up and give her pedals a push without training wheels.

Safety first …


After just four practice passes with her dad, I came home to this:


The gang was pretty stoked.

IMG_9318 (2)


I know, I know … JoJo is sportin’ some sweet winter jams and a woolly glove. Don’t be jelly.