there you were
delighted by the best
the world had to offer
and there i was
so complete
in my delight of you

{xo, moi}

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"If the only prayer you said

in your whole life was 'thank you',

that would suffice."

{meister eckhart}
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when's the last time you hugged a donkey's neck
i mean really nuzzled it up close
because i don't remember when it was or
if it ever happened in this long life of mine
but when she didn't know i was watching
i saw her lean in close and i noticed the softening
that spread across the landscape of her face and
seeped into her very bones and
i began to wonder if i had just missed out on
one of those experiences of a lifetime

{xo, moi}

p.s. No donkeys were harmed in the making of these pictures.
p.p.s. The donkey's name is Ted.
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{look how proud we were of your beautiful self! taken just moments after your birth on 6.23.97}

To my sweet Caroline,

Thirteen years ago, to this very day, you came into the world like one of the Wild Things, 'roaring your terrible roar & gnashing your terrible teeth' (even though you had none). Tonight, I spent a good part of your birthday evening poring over photos of your first year, remembering all the little tantrums you threw and the way you had your dad and I wrapped around your dimpled little pinky finger. We were so eager to please you, like any good new parents are. You would holler and we would be at the ready to meet your every need. The problem was that we were so enamored with you and it caused us to overlook all sorts of rascally behaviors. When I look at these pictures now, all of these remembrances wash over me like a wave and I feel a bit foolish for all the missteps I made in that first year as your mum. So many things I would change, if given the chance. But, you know, it's a good thing that's not possible because it's in the mistakes that we find the learning, and, oh boy, did I do a lot of learning that year. And the next year. And the next ...

There's something inexplicable about the magic of your firstborn babe. She brings you to a place you've never been, a place you didn't even know existed. She will be the first to crack open your heart, splitting it so wide that you struggle to accommodate the enormity of this newfound love. At times, it will feel like too much. And, at times, not enough. All in the same breath. It's confusing, exhilarating and undeniably the wildest ride of your life. The poet Mary Oliver said it best when she wrote that "to live in this world, you must be able to do three things; to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it: and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go."

So, that's where I find myself on the eve of the thirteenth anniversary of your birth: feeling a bit lost, trying to figure out how to 'let it go, let it go'. With admittedly more than a little trepidation, I've noticed your increasing need to stretch your wings, to grow into a new definition of yourself. Of course, noticing and accepting are two very different capabilities in my skill set. With that said, I'm beginning to understand that my work with you now is to negotiate that intricate balance between creating a space for you to explore and simultaneously guiding you to notice all that is goodness, truth, and light.

The curious thing about that whole notion is that it's also the very same thing I'm trying to do for myself. Maybe we could just teach other? Because, if you really think about it, we've already been doing it for the past thirteen years. I mean, really ... why mess with a good thing?

With a great big love for your beautiful thirteen year-old self,
your ever-so-grateful mum

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{advance apologies for embarrassing you, Tim, BUT this pic
is one of my all-time favs and has hottie alert written all over it}
{p.s. image taken by the uber-talented Mr. Jonathan Canlas}

This is a man and a father who can weave a tale like no other.
He is a born storyteller, much to the delight of many a child.
This gift of his provides humor, distraction and comfort
in almost any sticky parenting situation.

One of the girls gets stung by a bee?
Tim tells a humorous story about one of his previous bee stings
and she's quickly forgotten the acuity of the insult.
One of the girls is scared of a lightning storm?
Tim spins a yarn that gives the lightning storm a fascinating
and heroic role in the story which quickly calms her worried heart.
One of the girls is having difficulty sleeping?
Tim shares a story about his own sleeping struggles
and she no longer feels alone in her difficulty.

And it works every time.

{Tim sharing a story with Ava in an effort
to comfort her after she got her finger caught in the door}

A poem for you, my sweet Tim

How is it that
you know the words that
ease the tender heart
the ones that cradle the ache
with such delicate precision

Did you know them always
or did you quiet your breathing and listen for them
when they were in the distance
hope rising in you
until they appeared
in your line of sight then
deftly landed on your doorstep?


{p.p.s. so grateful for the gem of a father that you are}

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"But what I would like to say is that the spiritual life is a life in which

you gradually learn to listen to a voice that says something else, that says,

"You are the beloved and on you my favour rests."

I want you to hear that voice.

It is not a very loud voice because it is an intimate voice.

It comes from a very deep place. It is soft and gentle.

I want you to gradually hear that voice. We both have to hear that voice and to claim

for ourselves that that voice speaks the truth, our truth. It tells us who we are.

That is where the spiritual life starts -

by claiming the voice that calls us the beloved."

{Henri Nouwen}

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Dear Sunshine-girl,
I *love* that you love animals.
Any animal that is lucky enough
to be loved by you is a lucky animal,indeed.
Looking at these pics,
I'm not sure who was in heaven more ...
you or the bunny??
Hugs & kisses,

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Good times in the Fort ...

And more good times ...


Promise us you'll come back again soon, k??
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i have a great big love for questions of this sort.
questions that lead to more questions.
questions that hurt your brain after a bit.
questions that unsettle your particular view of things.
here's another such question found in one of Mary Oliver's poems:

Watching a Documentary about
Polar Bears Trying to Survive on the Melting Ice Floes
That God had a plan, I do not doubt.
But what if His plan was, that we would do better?

Been thinking that maybe I love questions because
I have very few answers? After all, I suppose it's a wise idea to love the things you have in abundance.

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This is the only green-eyed girl in our trio
who also happens to be the owner of the cutest pair of dimples ...
{again, the only one with those, too}

She is the author of such sweet and charming notes ...
this particular one she left on my bedside table for me to discover
after I awoke from an accidental afternoon nap.
{I still can't get over the fact that she didn't wake me up to tell me this information!}

translation of note below:
Dear Mom,
There was NO salsa!! So I used taco sauce.
It is now my favorite food.
Yours Truly,

This little chica is also a tricky trickster ...
she will practice a physical maneuver relentlessly until she figures it out.
She taught herself both of these moves by
practicing day and night for weeks on end.
{Can you say persistent with a capital P??}

Sure do love this
dimple-having, note-writing, trick-performing,
giggly little girl.

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"Time stands still best in moments that
look suspiciously like ordinary life."

{Brian Andreas}

This is my sweet munchkin of a nephew whose family came for a visit this week {BIG fun!}. We were munching on picnic sandwiches and feeding the geese at City Park when he decided in the middle of his sandwich-munching that these spent dandelions needed some attention. You can see that he didn't even take the time to put his sandwich down. The task was THAT IMPORTANT.

Dear Carter,

Thank you for reminding me to love
the big things and the small.
Sometimes I forget the importance of this
even though I'm often sure I never will.
That's why it's a good thing for me
that I get to hang out with you now and then
and that I get to start over
in each new perfect moment.

Auntie H

p.s. love your guts!

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Happened upon these roadside lovelies downtown today and they made me so very happy.
Wishing I knew what they were so I could plant some lavender and creme yummies
for my very own self.
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