Favorite Brother



In the middle of the night
, I was yanked out of sleep by this guy as he grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me as hard as he could in the dark.

“Something happened to the baby,” he said.

We raced down the hall together, and just as I got to the door, I could hear the baby’s raspy breathing. And as I lifted him awake, it rattled him enough to produce that distinctive bark. At some point after his bedtime and now, the croup settled in.

Fabulous. Continue reading

Wynter is Leaving

After more than 13 months working as our family au pair, Wynter is leaving us. Long before the sun rises tomorrow morning, we’re making the trek to the airport to see her off as she returns to her family in Northern Virginia.

We’re not really sure what we’re going to do with ourselves in her absence.  Continue reading

Sweet Life

Quarkinies are life. They are much denser than American doughnut holes because they are made with quark. No filling: just a sweet ball of fried dough sprinkled with sugar, and only made this time of year. Perfect — absolutely perfect — with coffee. Ahhhhhh.

They are so good, I sing three notes as I give them to the kids. Jaz asked why I do that.

“That’s not me. That’s a choir of angels singing their praise.”

My Little Piano Man

I got to sit in on Jaz’s piano lesson this evening. The three older kids all take music lessons in the same music school. This was the first time I was able to attend one of his classes, and meet his piano teacher.

She was so patient and kind with him. He was initially interested in the drum set in the room, and she went with it, explaining to him percussion and its role in music. Once they were  He was so focused and eager to show her what he practiced. Continue reading

Chores and Allowance

The girls and their chores. Photo from December 2012.

Our household has been in disarray since the move last month. Martin and I have been cleaning, repairing, painting, and unpacking while simultaneously working full time, and managing the lives and wellbeing of four children — three of whom have been on school holiday for most of the month — all as I’ve been wrapping up my undergraduate program, too.

If it weren’t for our au pair, Wynter, to help us keep afloat, I am fairly certain Martin and I would have lost our minds a long time ago. A lot of things have slipped — chores, bedtimes, and family meetings — but as it stands now, we’ve reached a point where we can begin etching out a family routine once again, and that includes nailing down routine chores for the kids.

In the past, we used a single chore chart hung up in the kitchen or laundry room, in a place where it was seen on a regular basis near our family calendar. But considering the layout of our new house, there isn’t really an appropriate communal space for a chart of chores for multiple people. Plus, with the kids being older, and taking on additional responsibilities while also going in different directions with school and extracurriculars, I wanted to come up with a new way of managing household duties without creating an enormous chart that would soon become an overlooked piece of scenery and not a part of our daily lives.

So I literally put it all in their hands. Continue reading

Sleep Mates

Getting my heavy-sleeper son to use his inhaler when his asthma flares up is impossible, so last night, I carried him into our room to use the nebulizer after he resisted my attempts to wake up and administer his puffs.

I propped him in my spot on the bed, got the nebulizer set up, turned it on, and watched the mist appear around his nose to ease his breathing. Once that started going, I went to get a glass of water, and returned to this.

My husband and son, holding hands, resting contently while the nebulizer hummed. Completely peaceful and serene. Continue reading