Roaring Twenties

Baba pointed out that we’re once more in the roaring twenties! Today he reported on an earlier adventure from Tuesday with Lake and Nana (Lynn). The three of them went for a day trip on the train from Olympia to Centralia and back. That was the plan.

We had a blast alright!  First,  freight trains came blasting by our station.  And I mean blasting!  Three engines on front, two on the back, and 100+ cars, and they never slowed down.  Must be going 60!  When we caught our mild passenger train we found that it was going all the way to Los Angeles.  Towards the end of our run,  Lynn and Lake take off to explore the other cars.  We start slowing for Centralia, and pull to a stop at the station.  No sign of the kids.  I get off.  Still no sign.  Turns out, they didn’t know we were stopped.  Clueless.  

Meanwhile on the station platform the conductor is waiting for three passengers to disembark.  He looks at his clipboard.   He looks at me.  “Are you Duane?”    “Yes”      “So……..(looks back at his clipboard)…….we need Lynn and Lake.”  His assistant speaks into his radio [loudspeaker], “Lynn and Lake,  this is your stop.   You need to get off the train!”  

The ending, which you could pretty much guess:  the kids both heard their names on the overhead speakers and came blasting back through the cars to their seats and their backpacks, and then scurried down the narrow stairway and suddenly appeared, Lake fairly leaping off the train onto the platform.   As in “Safe”… problem here.      

PS     On the ride back to the Olympia Lacey Station,  both travelers stayed close to their bags and their seats during the 20 minute ride, and paid good attention to their stop when the train began to slow down.

Too much fun in the roaring 20’s with NanaBaba! All’s well that ends well, as the saying goes. A perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you.

Das Kind kommt bald

We’re getting good and ready! NanaBaba generously have Lake this week while Vivien is enjoying the island life on Maui, rocking her new bikinis and enjoying a babymoon of her own. This leaves Michael and me to settle in to the coming of the babbette, and to savor each other’s company with fewer competing demands on our attention.

They say each child is different and each pregnancy is different. In my experience so far this is true to some extent. There are common elements to the pregnancy, and a few different challenges. Common elements have been the joy, glow and increased propensity for naps and need to retire early to sleep. The main difference is that my belly is huge and something or someone is pressing on my sciatic nerve making walking excruciatingly painful. The late stages’ debilitating sciatica of this pregnancy have been very challenging since this Mama is someone who so loves to walk and be active!

The silver lining I suppose is that it forced me (through tears!) to slow down and take a break. Now I’m on temporary disability for the last few days/weeks until Lakelette is born. I’m able to rest and nest and channel the cats: lying fireside, eating, sleeping, resting, stretching, meditating and going outside intermittently for some fresh air.

The feline energy is a very good teacher for getting into parasympathetic mode. Baby Sister and I are doing what we can to prepare for the next big evolution in our relationship. Overall we are feeling incredibly blessed. These are perfect days to spend so intentionally together with you.


Primarily Bridget and Rachel (my core support through pharmacy school and beyond), together with the love of Family (Nana, Jamma Julie, cousin Naomi, and “uncle” Clarence) hosted the most elegant and fun baby shower for Baby Sister and me. We were truly honored and feeling fully blessed. The festivities were enjoyed by all! Delicious gluten-free vegan cake from Flying Apron custom compliments of and hand decorated by Jamma Julie; Crumble and Flake croissants compliments of Clarence; custom catering by Nana; mimosas, tea, gorgeous flowers and gorgeous gracious hosting by Bridget (the generosity! The chairs! the views! the weather!); invitations, games and luxe glassybaby prizes by Rachel. It was a truly lovely occasion.

A full belly and a full heart!

Many Many thanks for the friends and family both present and otherwise engaged that shower our family and our coming bundle of baby Sister joy on an ongoing basis. This event felt like an a encapsulation of a whole culture of love. It takes a village, as the saying goes! A perfect shower, a perfect day; I’m glad I spent it with you!

Tolle with co-hosts Bridget, Nina, and Rachel

Unconditional Love

“Lake, I love you all the time. I love you even when I’m not with you. I love you even when you’re sleeping. I love you even when I’m frustrated. I love you always. You’re living in my heart.”

This statement I felt moved to make the other day. He and I have had a special three and a half years together so far, and he’s getting so big and wise and talkative these days. A glimpse back for perspective when he was 2 and a half months:

Historical photo from 8/16/16

Then after I made my recent proclamation of love he asked me, “Mama, do you love me even when I’m breaking glass?” He asked me while eyeing our large antique glass cabinet with heavy with heirloom glassware. “Yes of course I do! I quickly retorted. “So, there’s absolutely no need to go testing it out!”

“Mama, I love you even when you’re breaking my things.” Wow, this little guy. I’m not the perfect mama, but I cannot recall any instances where I broke some of Lake’s things. Anyhow, he’s seemingly got the concept of unconditional love.

Mama is now nearly 38 weeks pregnant, and debilitating sciatica has intruded on our sweet domestic bliss. Emergency reinforcements have been called in and Jamma Julie is now comfortably and aptly installed in the mother-in-law apartment.

Last night Jamma Julie made us a delicious baked chicken dinner. Lake pulled out his endearing “I love you so much Jamma Julie. I can’t even stop loving you,” trick. She quips back: “you love me because I baked you a chicken!”

“No, that’s not right,” Lake argued back. “I don’t love you because of that.”

“So you’d love me even if I couldn’t bake you a chicken?” she asks, seeking clarification.

Lake confirmed that is the case. He really grasps and owns the unconditional love concept. He invented it.

And, here he is, the charmer, posing for a selfie with Vivien. We all love you too, Lake. No strings attached. A perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you!

Icefest 2020

Icefest is our great tradition for our family to visit our friends in Leavenworth for the holiday weekend in January. Fun to play in the fluffy snow! And to sled down the big hill in town, down the street, on the sidewalk, or anywhere really was so fun! Michael was pulling Lake in the “sleigh,” and Lake was laughing so much as he was sledded over hill and dale. Vivien came with us and gave her nod of approval to the Bavarian village in the mountains. “A good idea,” she endorsed.

It was also very nice for Tolle+1 to have relaxing social reading time in their home for the weekend. Thank you Jacquie and Glen for hosting us for a cozy weekend in the snow! We look forward to coming back next year and Baby Sister will be wearing her beautifully hand knit sweater!

John Reindeer

Lake: Can I hug baby Sister?

Mama: Yes, first let me put these sharp objects away (seam ripper and scissors). Okay there we go.

We’re all excitedly anticipating Baby Sister’s arrival. There’s so much delight in preparing the wardrobe for our new Dear. I’m a proponent of dressing children with dignity. So I have the seam ripper and the scissors handy with no qualms to remove writing and kitch and other extraneous flair. That’s right, Lake! The deconstruction has resumed.

Lake: You’re going to love these boots baby Sister! They don’t need to say John Reindeer!

The results here:

A nice classic boot! Featuring the gorgeous weaving in bamboo of Nana’s cousin Susan Thomson! Baby Sister, you are truly loved!

Vivien asked if she could alternate days with me for dressing her. I think she was wondering if she’d get a chance! Nana’s showing her excitement too… she’s been buying so many new clothes. So much pink!

I had fun making these outfits! No need to worry Baby Sister, you’ll be able to go seamlessly from birthday suit to adorable elegant outfits. A perfect day. I’m so glad I spent it with you, Lake and Baby Sister!

Birthday Blessings

I am feeling so extremely blessed to share this particular birthday with my family, such as it is. It’s not a guarantee to be able to be happily pregnant at 42 and to be able to share that happiness with my toddler parents and family. Our German au pair Vivien came with us to Nanababa’s and we had a wonderfully relaxing weekend of birthday celebration.

My annual pilgrimage to the place of my birth, Westport, however was met with 96 km/hour winds, hail and humongous waves crashing over the breakwater. Needless to say, those conditions made for a brief visit to the beach, but, oh, so, exhilarating! There’s nothing like so much fresh air and direct contact with the elements to affirm being alive! Happy Birthday, Mama!

And then to wrap it up with a gorgeous sweet treat: such a beautiful cake baked with love by Nana. Our friend Shirley joined us for the party and brought her usual fun and festive attitude! A perfect (birth)day, I’m so glad I spent it with you all!

O, Tannenbaum

Let’s take it down on Summer. Is that when it’s called when you have to have sandals on?



Let’s take it down on Summer.

Well it isn’t quite summer, in fact it’s mid-snowstorm, but it is mid-January and so we finally took our tree down last night. It was the most beautiful tree we ever did see. Whenever I would make a mention of taking it down, Lake would plead to leave it up. Preferably until summertime. I had to agree it’s so festive and pretty. Nearly brushing the ceiling it was truly handsome and stately. The best part was the feeling it emanated and therefore it was more of a symbol of the richness created by the fabric of family. Admiring each ornament as we hung them with care and reminiscing the fond memories associated with their origins (miniature wooden clogs from my visit to Holland in 1989! Tiny reindeer skin boots from the Laplanders! A Nutcracker from the ballet! Saint Nick hauling a Christmas tree from the Newfoundland carting event! My aunt Karen’s hand crocheted lace snowflakes! Lake’s hand print! A little Christmas pillow I sewed in Girl Scouts!) as well as their continued annual enjoyment. (I remember this one from last year!)

The tree symbolizes the tradition we’re creating with Lake and our whole new (growing) family. We’re extremely blessed to have as part of the tradition Nana finding the tree at a tree farm and setting it up in situ. This year Lake helped her select the tree from the farm too! A perfect day, a perfect season, a perfect tree, I’m glad to be creating and sharing these rituals with you!

50 drops of Snow

On Monday Lake woke up wide with excitement for the white world he found outside his window. He went into Vivien’s room and opened up her blind, too.

Vivien, Look! There’s 50 drops of snow!

Today he and George went sledding with his new sled Nana and Vivien got on Sunday. Just in time to enjoy the snow… all 50 drops and then some!

A Huggy Evening

“Symbi is so escited for marshmallows and hot chocolate. He thinks it’s a birthday party”

Yes we’re having a nice evening.

“We’re not having a bad evening because I’m not yelling.”

T: yes, we’re having a nice evening.

“We’re having a huggy evening! Love you“

Practicing the Scandinavian art of hygge (“hooga” cozying around together) with a huggy evening!

He’s got some very cute expressions now:

To Baba at Christmas: “I just so much love you! I can’t even stop loving you!”

Then again after Christmas to Clarence: “I just so much love you! I can’t even stop loving you!”

Then regarding some chocolate nut protein food bars: “they’re so yummy. I can’t even stop loving them!”

We watched some of The Crown in our pajamas for New Years Eve (Michael very sick with something approximating the flu).

Lake: “we’re not [going to be] watching a movie with guns and stuff right?

Mama: No, we’re watching The Crown.

Lake: Because my technique is: if it’s a scary movie- I turn my head…like an owl. That’s what my technique is. If you’re scared you just turn your head away like an owl. Then you can’t see the scary part. “

A perfect evening, I’m glad I spent it with you! Happy New Year, all! Hopefully we’re all able to look this year straight on… Happy 2020… it’s going to be memorable!