November 28, 2015


Phil and Hunter went to visit family, so Phoenix and I are on our own this weekend. The house is so tidy (I cleaned up yesterday, and it's still clean!) but it's also very, very quiet. The Christmas decorations are up in record time, and I can pretty much nap whenever I want. Still, I can't quite decide if I like it or not. I think I might miss my messy boys.

November 12, 2015


Sometimes being a mom of two kids under two years old means you eat a chocolate chip cookie for breakfast because the morning is almost gone already and it's the only thing within reach and you can eat it with one hand which is good because the baby wakes up as soon as you try to put her down no matter how soundly she seems to be sleeping, tiny trickster, and sometimes you drop a piece of your cookie breakfast on the floor, and almost feel like crying (just a little, just on the inside) because it was a really delicious cookie breakfast, but you can't possibly pick it up right now because you're too, too tired, so sometimes you look the other way, just this once, when your toddler picks it up and eats it
-- even though you spend a good portion of every day telling him not to eat things he finds on the floor -- because like I said, it was a really delicious, and it seems a shame to waste it.

November 9, 2015

things we call our baby

Bright Eyes
Little Miss
Peanut Pie
Poop Machine
Shnookie #2

Mostly we call her Tiny.

October 30, 2015

wave of light

I couldn't bring myself to participate on the 15th, not with a new baby in my belly, so close to being born. Too sad to let it all the way in. But yesterday I remembered, and I sat and felt, for a little while, and I lit my pine tree candle and watched it burn and listened to that song that still makes me almost-cry. They are only a little bit here now, those two, and mostly Somewhere Else. But I remember. How imposssibly small they were. The fear and the beauty and the violence and the love. The abruptness of their start and stop. The metallic tang of blood. The pain that threatened to tear me apart but instead began to show me I am whole.

Life is a reckless, passionate lover, and death is a quiet and patient old friend, and I'm not sorry. I'm not sorry anymore.

October 29, 2015

Phoenix Rowan

My fierce little beauty, born 10/20/2015. Labored pretty slowly for most of the day but after my water finally broke I went from 5-10 centimeters in about 40 minutes, pushed for 11 minutes, and she was here. We are in love.

October 1, 2015


Oh gosh, I haven't posted since July??! Sorry, anyone who still shows up here!!

So, updates: We moved a couple of weeks ago, and we're almost settled in. I don't know for how long exactly, but at least I know we have a place to bring the baby home to. The kids' room turned out pretty cute, I like to sit in there sometimes even though it's tiny. Phil is working again and he really likes his new school. I am having early labor symptoms, but I'm far enough along that it's not worrisome and she can come whenever she wants to now. Hunter has become very protective of me and is also noticing babies everywhere we go--so maybe he has figured out what's up after all! We do tell him often that baby sister will be here soon, and that certain things in the house are for her. The other morning I found him cuddling his baby doll on his shoulder with no prompting; I think he's going to be an excellent big brother. :)

I'm so happy it's finally October... I am more than ready to meet this sweet little baby and settle into our new routine. I can't wait for us all to get to know each other, and I'm really looking forward to our first Christmas as a family of four. I feel like as soon as she's here, we'll be complete.

July 20, 2015


Things have been pretty stressful for the last month or so. Phil's school was shut down and it turns out the board was very corrupt; he has not been paid and likely will not be paid his last two paychecks for the year. We had to move out of our apartment this past weekend, but it's a temporary situation so most of our stuff is in storage and we will have to move again in a few weeks. I'm six months pregnant and exhausted. Oh, and Hunter has not slept through the night in weeks. So that's fun.

A few more days of summer classes left and then I'll have a couple of weeks off and hopefully can get some rest. We need to look for a new apartment but it seems a little pointless right now since we don't have the money for rent or deposits. Anyways. That's what's up with us. Thankfully Phil did finally find a new job, so that's a relief. I know things will work out, they always do, but I wish life was not so hard sometimes.

May 28, 2015

ready or not she comes! Our (sweet surprise) baby girl, EDD 10/25/2015

May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

To all the mamas holding their babies close today, and all the ones who only wish they could. My heart is with you. xoxo -- vera

April 28, 2015

a poem

by Hunter Atlas



N ooooo8 ,.

, k
Jh jkU k<, .’llt[hl[jlt[hjklw kkkd;smbg0u0DS>pd[a

; b k m i

My kid is a genius ;)

April 15, 2015

there's simply no accounting for taste

The other day we were getting ready to go to the store, so I asked Hunter to find his shoes and pick out some socks. I wasn't sure if he would actually listen, but he went right to it. After much deliberation (throwing many pairs of clearly inadequate socks on the floor) he brought me his too-big turquoise Christmas socks with little penguins wearing Santa hats on them. Smiling hugely, he backed into my lap so I could help him put them on, and I did. I let him wear them even though they didn't match his outfit and even though it is April and nowhere near Christmas.

And maybe it seems silly to you, like a non-story basically, but I felt so good about it, like I had won at something, because my mom would NEVER have let me wear those socks in April or maybe at all. But he had done exactly what I asked him to do, and there was absolutely no good reason to make him think he was wrong. Just because I wouldn't wear Santa penguin socks in April doesn't mean he shouldn't wear them if he feels like it.

Autonomy is so precious, you guys. I can't even tell you. For your own sake I hope you don't quite understand what I'm talking about. I'm confident that Hunter won't, and I'm glad.

April 3, 2015

repercussions II

Perhaps you simply have made us
a creature that reaches
always just a little higher
and always
just a little too far
you know we want more, and better
and we want to be more, and better
and it is our weakness
and our strength
and I think you know.

I think you know.

March 16, 2015

I am your quiet place,
you are my wild.

I am your water wings,
you are my deep.
I am your open arms,
you are my running leap.

from You Are My I Love You, by Maryann Cusimano Love

March 14, 2015


I went to Seattle (alone!!) for my birthday last weekend and stayed with by best friend for three glorious days. We did nothing at all worth mentioning or photographing, too lazy even to leave the house in time to get the pedicures we had sort-of talked about. I loved every minute. I think it's going to be a good year.

February 6, 2015

happy birthday, gorgeous boy

To think, the wrinkly red bundle who couldn't even hold his own head up and was always poking himself in the eye can now stand up and run around the house, grinning like crazy and waving his arms in the air. I'm not often sentimental, but that gets me. I am really tired but having a great time being his mama. He is smart and funny and charming, and I love watching him grow and change.

Favorite Foods
-frozen gogurts
-frozen raspberries
-organic cheese doodles
-peach/pineapple/orange cups

Favorite Activities
-listening to music/dancing/twerking
-going for walks/hikes with mama and daddy
-staring at/stalking bigger kids at the park
-reading books
-stealing cell phones

Favorite Places
-Lake Elizabeth
-grandma's house
-anywhere with french fries
-anywhere with lots of people to stare at

January 18, 2015


I believe that it is possible to be happy and fulfilled without children, and I absolutely believe that a woman can live a meaningful life without ever being a mother. But for me, having my son is what changed my mind about living. It made me not just want to live, for the first time ever, but to live the best possible life. To set goals and pursue them, for real, not just say something that sounded nice and then dwell on all the reasons why it was impossible. The goals I have for my life now still seem big and far away, but I know that I can reach them, and I am determined to show my son that adversity does not guarantee failure and delays do not equal defeat.

I won't ever say, "If I can do it, you can do it." I don't know what you can do; only you know that. But I have room in my heart for you, and for your struggles, because of how I chose to deal with mine.

January 6, 2015

freedom of/in/from religion

"What's God?"

"You know when you want something real bad, and you close your eyes and wish for it? God's the guy that ignores you."

The Island (2005)

I have been pretty torn over the question of whether I want my son to grow up with or without a religion. Phil was raised Catholic but has not quite settled into anything as an adult. I grew up in a non-denominational church; Sunday School and bible stories, starring roles in Christmas and Easter choirs. I was a youth leader for several years, only ever listened to Christian music, went away to Australia to attend an evengelical school for six months when I was twenty. I know the bible fairly well, can have a conversation/heated argument with just about anyone about it if necessary, and I think it's good and useful knowledge to have. Knowledge I want my son to have as well, should similar conversations/arguments arise for him.

In my life now I've thrown out every religious rule that I used to try to follow so carefully, save the only one I believe really matters: love one another. In my deepest heart I believe that there is a god, that Jesus loves us and that his love drove him here, to do something exquisite and unlikely and compelling. But when I needed it most, when my heart broke open and my mind flooded with dark memories long shut away, and the carefully crafted facade of my pretty life crumbled around me, the Church failed me--and with second and third and fourth chances, never improved--so I am done with church. I went to a service for the first time in years, during our Christmas trip to WA, to please Phil and for Hunter to have a new experience. I did not enjoy it, but thankfully it was pretty innocuous since they sang Christmas carols instead of worship songs and the message was direct contemplation of scripture, not just some guy telling us what's what and propping up his opinions with a bible verse here and there. I handled it, but I was glad to leave.

I want Hunter to be educated so that he can make his own decisions. If he decides that God and Jesus and all the rules are legit, or that Buddha or Muhammad and Allah know better what they're about, or that the Universe is one and life is inherently beautiful and meaningful, or that the Universe is one and we are all in entropy, or any combination of any of the above, I will love him exactly the same.