Little M vs The Tree






The old maple in our back yard has a stray limb hanging down. It’s too low for even the boys to walk under without crouching and makes mowing the lawn inconvenient. I really should trim it, but Little M has grown so found of turning it into monsters and dragons and ninjas and pirates — I just can’t bring myself to ruin the fun. All our lessons on kindness to nature and land stewardship have taken a back burner with this one tree limb. Hopefully his grandfather the forest ranger can forgive and understand the importance of a little outdoor imagination. What’s childhood without a broken stick or two?


Summer Solstice 2014












Our annual Summer Solstice BBQ is one of my most favorite nights of the year.

Every year I think about it a bunch but forget to officially invite anyone until the last minute. We clean house and shop for food at the last minute. I forget to take out my camera for photos until the last minute. But it’s all okay, because summer solstice is nice and the last minute last longer than any other day of the year.

The days might start getting shorter, but they’re only going to get warmer and summery-er (a new word). This annual BBQ reminds us that summer has arrived and gets us back in the groove of lazy meals in our green, leafy backyard. Sharing relaxed evenings in the golden sun with friends is my favorite part of the season. I’m so glad the time has come.


2013 (When I made TWO cakes. Probably the last time I baked a yummy treat.)

2012 (OMG Grrr’s hair. I forgot he used to look like a little friar.)


Good Words Wednesday: We Make Something We Like

Jack Joyce, co-founder of Rogue Ales & Spirits, passed away yesterday. Beyond being a pioneer in the craft brewing world and powerful business mind, he was a supporter of our magazine from the very beginning.  Before we’d published our very first issue, Jack was offering advice and much needed kicks in the butt. He was honest and encouraging. He listened to our goals and told us to go for it. He was a man who didn’t have to give us the time of day, but gave us hours of guidance instead.

Every ounce of fuck-the-man, do-it-youself, make-something-you’re-proud-of, and do-what-you-can-with-what-you-have attitude we’re infusing into our magazine and business was noticed and nurtured by Jack’s words. He was our mentor, our magazine’s first sponsor, and a badass of the highest order.

Artisan Spirit Magazine article on Jack and Rogue.


Happy Valentine’s Day



Once again I’ve stayed up waaaaaaaaaaaay too late on Valentine’s Eve to make the boys’ Valentine’s cards. But who cares, because they are way too cute.


I love knowing that without a doubt three things:

1. The boys will love them. They have their own faces on them and that’s always exciting in their books.

2. Nobody else will have them. No sad faces because they’re handing out the same Captain America, Lightening McQueen, or Buzz Lightyear cards.

3. I’ll do the same thing next year. I’ll plan for a month in advance, ask the boys which photo to use, what the want to say, and then procrastinate until the very last minute to get ‘em done. Welcome to our new family tradition.


So, happy Valentine’s Day! I hope your day is full of smiles and just the right amount of pink.




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Tonight Little M watched me eating with chopsticks and ordered me to hand them over. I told him they were hard and I didn’t think he was ready for them yet. He insisted he could do it, and he was right. I didn’t have to provide one bit of assistance other than serving more stir fry each time he cleared his plate. He’s a natural.


The desire to shield my children from disappointment, frustration, and failure is so utterly natural and important. It’s my job to keep them safe but there’s a line that must be walked if I want to raise self-sufficient and resilient children. It’s not easy.

I wrote a post nearly four years ago about how not easy it is. Standing back and watching my boys struggle is hard. Watching baby Little M attempt to walk down a hill, fall down, and struggle to get back up over and over and over again didn’t make it any easier, but it was good training.

But then Little M asked me for the chopsticks and I told him “No, they’re too hard for you.” Clearly it’s going to take practice.


The chopsticks tonight were a good reminder that I can’t let my guard down on this whole giving-them-room-to-fail-and-grow part of parenting. I can’t believe I almost made him miss out on the sweet taste of success. Tonight it tasted like chicken.

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Alice and Steve Say YES!

Grrr asked “Hey. You wanna dance with me?” Then Alice and Steve said “Yes!” and sent this over. And I died from the sweetness of it all.

They win the Aunt and Uncle of the Year award.


This is even better than that time a photo of Little M went viral in Brazil.


UPDATE: Grrr’s third birthday is coming up in April. A video of friends and family from near and far dancing with him would make his special day even BETTER. If you would like to contribute to the video, Auntie Alice has very generously offered to make an extended cut! Put a link to a video of you dancing in the comments below, or email it to willfuljoyful at gmail dot com and you can be a part of this fun, fun surprise for out sweet little man. I can’t wait to see your moves!