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!


Because Monday.

I thought about saving this for a Good Words Wednesday, because “Hey. You wanna dance with me?” might be my new catch phrase. But today is Monday, and who doesn’t need to be perked up by a super enthusiastic, doesn’t-care-if-there’s-no-music-he’s-just-gotta-dance two year old?

You’re welcome.


Good Words Wednesday: Turn The Heat On

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Spokane has been hit by another cold snap. Compared to the rest of the country, we’ve gotten off pretty lucky this winter so I don’t really want to complain about it. But it’s pretty darn cold. This morning it was -12ºF with the windchill. Maybe the coldest the boys have felt in their happy little lives.

We were loading into the car in the garage as Little M complained rather loudly about how cold it was. I pointed out that if he got into the car faster, I could buckle him up, close the doors, and then I’d turn on the heat and we’d all be warmer. He sped up and the heater did a fine job of thawing us back out.

Too soon, we arrived at school. As we walked/shivered to the front door Little M said with great disgust, “Mom! You forgot to turn the heat on!” Turns out Little M thinks I’m super powerful and have control over the weather. Oh, how I wish that were true!


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The second the flakes begin to fall, the boys start asking to make a snowman. It’s an obsession. The snow we currently have is that powdery, non-packing kind that blows all around and will not make a snowman no matter how much your sons beg and plead and demand and wish and hope and dream. It hurts their wee hearts so hard that the snow will not cooperate.

There’s a house a mile from ours on the way to school that has a big ol’ snowman out front. I don’t know if the snow is wetter and packier (now a legit word) or maybe they have super powers to make snowmen that I don’t. Either way, I’m stuck driving past that darn snowman and the boys could not be more jealous. After three days of this, Little M announced that on Saturday we’re just going to go to that house and make another snowman in their yard with them. Mommy’s snow has failed him, and those strangers have the right kind, so what’s the problem? Gosh Mom.

Five is a fun age.


Good Words Wednesday: Born To Have This

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Earlier this week Grrr grabbed one of our library books (New Socks by Bob Shea) for Brian to read to him on the couch while I cooked dinner. He crawled up into Brian’s lap, looked at him with his big blue eyes, and said with a smile, “I was born to have this book.” My heart explodes into a million little pieces every time I think about it. What two-year-old says something like that? Mine, mine, all mine.


Last week Little M and I were curled up in bed reading. I was working my way through a paperback, so he’d grabbed a hand-me down chapter book from the neighbors. He’d check-in on which page I was on and turn to the same in his book. He’d ask me what certain words were, pick out those he recognized, and showed me how good he’s getting at sounding out the short ones. Then he had me teach him how to hold a paperback with one hand just like Mommy. I really, really like him.


I’m back to working from home, so the boys have switched back to just a few days at school a week. We’ve started a new tradition of riding the bus to downtown, walking to the public library to pick out a couple books, and then riding the bus back home. The boys look forward to it all week and talk about it all the time. Their favorite thing about riding the bus is not having to use carseats and that they get to sit next to me instead of behind me. It’s a great adventure and Grrr finds it tremendously difficult to get off when our stop arrives.

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Visiting the downtown library with the boys is especially fun for me. I worked there for a couple months right before I started my position with the company where I’d meet Brian and fall in love and get married and have babies and then take them on the bus to the library where I used to work.

Anyway, our new weekly adventure. One $1.50 bus ride and as many books as I can carry. It’s easy and fun and totally doable in the winter what with the nice and warm downtown skywalk system to escape into if needed.

Once we get home, we curl up on the couch and admire the treasures we collected. I’m raising readers and it makes my heart so darn happy. I was born to have this.