Sunday, December 12, 2010


If you are reading this, you are a loyal, kind, sweet friend. And I'd like to thank you by sending you a Christmas card.

Just to say thanks for sticking with me.

However, chances are good that I don't have your address. So will you please email me with it? That is if you want a Christmas card. No pressure of course.

Send addresses to:

Thank you kindly.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Does this room smell like poop?

It may be worthy of the title "Cruel and Unusual Punishment" to have two babies suddenly crawling at the same time as a certain two year old boy doesn't want to wear a diaper pants of any kind.

All day long, I glance over to see Vanny lying on the floor in just a shirt. I wander the house to find where he left his trousers just to make sure I don't have to search for anything else. Many times I have found him in his crib, after his "nap" (advice on getting him to take a nap without quotation marks welcome!) pants-less, jumping up and down saying, "I just wake up!" (Both of us knowing full well, he never slept... but that's another post.)

The other day (after just such an encounter and some quality time on the potty chair) I kept walking into his room thinking, "I can't tell if this room smells funny." (Why I'm confessing this openly like this, I don't know) But I actually had the thought, "Maybe I should invite one of my friends over and ask them, 'Does this room smell like poop?'"

I didn't. And it doesn't. But man, sometimes I scare myself.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I'm grateful for my life

Please don't dismiss this post as one of those syrupy meaningless "Seriously, so blessed" type of gratitude posts.

I'll be honest. My life has kicked me in the shins a few times over the last couple of weeks. More than once I have had to put my head in my hands and make a conscious decision to just keep moving. I am in over my head much of the time these days and often find myself wishing I could be more___________. You can fill in the blank with just about anything and it has probably run through my head. Twice.

But, all that aside, I am grateful for a life of comfort and safety and warmth and baby drool and potty training. And one day, when all of the challenges of this part of my life have given way to the challenges of the next part of my life, I'm sure I will miss it. A lot.

There is nothing like having small children around you to make you realize how quickly time is passing. There are many things I would like to teach my children and among them is something I'm still trying to learn myself. That is to drink in the moments for what they are. Hard, good, painful, joyful. Each one has a lifetime inside of it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

One Guess

You could have guessed GK. But you would be right to guess Josie Pie. Or as Van calls her "my Josie". (As in his Josie. Not my Josie. He'll make sure you get that distinction. Not in bratty way, just to make sure you've got the right idea.)
This is just moments after the girls were born. Josie put her little hand over Delia's. Maybe she sensed what we didn't know yet.
From the minute my Josie was born, amid turbulence and adjustment, she's been an anchor in our family. She has her fussy moments (often), but she has the most loyal heart and the most willing, generous smile. Watching people play and laugh and smile makes her light up. Even if she's watching from a distance. She's a tender little thing.
And I'm grateful for her.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On another note

Tonight I'm grateful for my boy.
 Last night, I scrolled through pictures of him from the last year. I can't believe how fast he's grown and how much he's changed. It makes me sad. He still looks like such a baby here.

But it also makes me grateful that I've experienced almost every moment of it all. He's been through a lot this last year and he's taken it all in his cool stride. I don't know what I would do without my Van. (I know you don't like that claim Val, but it's true.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

One Among Many

Things I'm grateful for tonight.

That this sweet, tiny thing beat the odds and became (or remained) a determined, vibrant, curious little lady.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Sneaky Peeky

On Monday, my friend eric from grad school days came through town. He is no longer acting and is now a full time (very talented and busy) photographer. He's based in the Northeast, but travels a lot.

He was cool enough to hang out with our crazy group and take some pictures while he was at it. He sent us a couple and I can't stop looking at them. I'm so grateful to have captured this moment in our life. The kids were all very sweet in spite of two colds (the girls) and one nasty diaper rash (Van).

I can't wait to see the rest!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Amid all the excitement of the last couple of months, the girls missed their two month check-ups. But at 4.5 months, they're back on track and enjoying their fingers.

Weight: 11 lbs. 15.5 oz. (10th percentile)
Lenght: 24.25 in. (40th perctentile)
Head Circ.: 42.5 cm. (80th percentile)

She's rolling and can no longer be left in one spot for long. She will suddenly find herself across the room either by rolling or by pushing her face into the carpet and pushing with her feet like a little plow. She is so generous with her drooly smile that it's hard not to love her.

Weight: 11 lbs. 8 oz. (5th percentile)
Length: 26 in. (80th percentile)
Head Circ.: 42.25 cm. (75th percentile)

Also rolling, her movement is a little more mellow. At night she has taken to going to sleep at the same time as Josie and then waking up an hour later for some personal time with Mom and Dad. She comes alive between 9 and 11 at night no matter how hard we try. We love her little night-owl personality.

The are discovering each other and love to kick each other while they nurse and roll over the top of each other while they play and talk. They each seem to like having Mom to themselves, but they're learning to enjoy sharing her too.

After an amazing week, Van went from not being able to quite crawl to walking on his own. He's still slow and has a bit of a limp (the doctor said the limp may stick around for a year or two). But he is back on his feet and has returned to dismantling the house one dishtowel and magnet and cupboard at a time. So far, the mess still feels like a blessing. It's good to have him back!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Usually I let these moments pass

Sometimes when really important things happen in my life, I want to record them with perfection.

I want the words and pictures to match the experience, and so I wait until the moment when I've got the time to create that combination... but it never comes.

I have stories to tell my boy Van about how brave he's been and how proud I am of the hard thing he's been through and what he's taught me about courage and perserverance. But until I have a moment for that, here are a few pictures of my sweet guy.

Because he's back! Today, the cast came off.

Waiting to see what the Dr. would say.
All of us.
Watching. Van was fine as long as he had a fruit snack or two.
The beast.
Good thing they didn't ask if we wanted to keep it.
At each step, Van would tell the nurses " Good job!"

Van was immediately ready to go play.
And scratch his leg.
Once he found his way through the dead skin.

When we got home, he tried it out. It's still a little wobbly, but it's great to be back in the pool!

Maybe another time while Van is sleeping, or on a bike ride with "honey" (his dad), or busy playing with his friends at the park, I'll try to capture these last seven weeks for our memories. But it won't be at the expense of a single moment I can spend with my boy now that he's lost his "big sock".

Thursday, August 19, 2010


In 2006 I was just out of college, working a temp job, climbing or surfing every day, and not planning on doing much else for a while. Then I met a girl whose kindred spirit changed my life so quickly that I didn't even have time to notify all of my friends.

In the last four years we have lived together as true bohemians in Denver, New York, and Northern California, with itinerant layovers in L.A. and Salt Lake. We've been through two graduate programs, given life to three perfect children, spent a modestly estimated 6 months out of 48 on the road (driven tens of thousands of miles just for the sake of driving), developed a new career (two if you count Motherhood, which I do), collected a cadre of beautiful friends, worked through a few dozen plays and films and other creative projects, certified to teach Yoga, slept in the mountains, the desert, the dunes near the sea, and barely stopped to breathe.

Granted, we find ourselves near capacity at the moment, but in our own mellow way we like to stay busy and each year has been a whole new color of life. It's our motto to equally support each other in achieving and exploring the desires and curiosities of our hearts, and it's brought fulfilling fruit so far.

Our latest mantra, straight from the mouth of our little boy, is: "Are we gonna make it? Yes! We are!" It all moves so fast that there isn't even a photo reflecting our current situation. Thank goodness for the recurring date that annually marks the day we married. In the beginning my biggest wrestle with this relationship existed in the thought that Susanna cannot possibly be everything that I think she is, but she is. And more.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

two dresses

Well, Susanna has allowed me to break into her blog again.  This time because I promised pictures of her beautiful babies in their blessing dresses.  Josie and Delia were blessed at the end of July in California and because of a broken back, I unfortunately was unable to go.  However, I did help Grammy sew these beautiful little blessing dresses, although she gets most of the credit.  Especially for the incredible bonnets which she finished on her way to church.  Thanks Grammy!

Josephine Cherryl Risser

Cordelia Ann Risser

Susanna's beautiful girls

Grammy helping with Josie's bonnet

Delia smiling at her Mama

What works of art! (babies and bonnets)

I love you girls!  Love your Aunt Elizabeth

Monday, August 9, 2010

Summered Out

After all our adventures, we're ready to bring this summer to an end.

Just when I was feeling stretched to my limit, Vanny broke his leg and then I thought, "Well, I guess I had it pretty good." But through it all, Van has been such a sweet little guy. Not getting frustrated any more than a typical two year old (and a lot less than most).

Last week, just to tempt fate, we took our two baby girls and our wheelchair bound two year old to Yosemite to camp with GK's family. It was worth every inconvenience (nursing in a tent, cleaning black boogers out of everyones' noses, trying to keep Van's cast dry and clean) for these moments...

And now that we're home, GK's back to work and everyone needs mommy at once, we find ourselves like this...
A foot on each bouncer and laundry and toys everywhere! We've got it pretty good.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blessings and Birthdays

Sunday, GK gave a name and beautiful blessing to Delia and Josie.

Yesterday was Vanny's second birthday.

Celebrations for both have been affected somewhat by our recent hospital stay.

Last week while camping at Refugio (north of Santa Barbara, CA), Vanny tripped over his own cute toes while showing off his gatorade bottle to one of his new friends.

Since he reacted a little differently than the other 75 times he tripped that day, we rushed him into the Goleta ER and had his leg X-rayed. He had spiral fractured his left femur and had to be transferred by ambulance to the nearest Hospital with a Pediatric unit.

After getting a little rest, the doctor put a Spica Cast on Vanny and put an end to our summer swimming, running, and ... tripping. He'll see the summer out in his wheelchair and new bike trailer. GK and I are still figuring out the way to juggle two infants and a newly entrapped toddler. It would be impossible without all the help from grandparents and friends. We've been very blessed.

Pictures to come.

Monday, May 17, 2010

two sisters

 two sisters

two sisters, with two sisters

You may be like me and be checking Susanna and GK's blog every day to see new pictures of their little ones.  Well, at least I was until I got to meet Josie and Delia last week.  I decided at the end of my week there that I wanted to include some of my thoughts and images--to try and share a little of my heavenly experience in Davis.  Plus, let's be honest.  Who knows how many posts the Rissers will have the time or energy to write. I took hundreds of pictures while I was there...I will just include a fraction of them.

I planned since the day I found out the twins were coming that I wanted to go out and help Susanna.  Now, looking back on it, I realize it was more selfish than anything.  There are very few times in life when one gets to spend hours sitting with their sister.  Quality time.  And not feel guilty about it or think about what else you should be doing.  Then, to be cuddling a beautiful, sleeping baby at the same time.  Well, that's heaven. For years I have imagined Susanna and I doing this.  However, I didn't realize they would both be her babies.

Sweet Delia

Lovely Josie

When I got home, I told my husband Brady that I would put this experience in the top five of my entire life.  It was so sweet.  I was needed, I could make Van smile and laugh, load the dishwasher, change diapers, hand something to Susanna as she nursed two babies, do laundry.  And to my joy, these beautiful babies loved to be held.  And so that's what I did. 

couldn't you watch them for hours?

Although Van did try a couple times to step on the girls while I was there, I think he just had to assert himself and remind everyone not to forget him.  And how could we.  He couldn't be sweeter.  Delia and Josie couldn't be luckier.  This energetic singer will protect them forever.  And give them hugs anytime they need one.


 There is a spirit and peace that rests on a home of a new baby.  If you have ever brought a baby home, or spent time with a new mother, you know what I am talking about.  When there are two babies and a sweet boy who periodically breaks into song, it's indescribable.  

I am so grateful for my sister and our friendship.  As I studied Josie and Delia, I sensed some of the same closeness.  At one point Susanna said, "What if one looks like me and one looks like you."  I like that idea.  It was so hard to say goodbye to these two.  They will change so fast.  Susanna and GK, you are wonderful parents and I will forever cherish my time in your home with these new babies and making Van laugh his head off. It was such a gift to spend such precious time with you, Susanna.  You are a lovely mother.  I hope to have another experience like this with you someday.  Love, Aunt Zaza (elizabeth ashdown)

A few more pictures...