Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why babies have pockets, 10

To keep their teeny tiny hands warm! (Leigh had to help her out.)

Monday, February 16, 2015

A snow day

Because all is right with the world, we had a snow day today. Last year, if school was closed, I was home alone in the quiet. I napped. Cleaned up. Got things done. It was amazing. Now, Mia is home, too. So is Wren. And by a stroke of good luck, Leigh was here, too. It has a been a loud, loud day. But Leigh took Mia outside to play. Wren and I stayed inside and watched.

If I was in charge of playing outside, it would have been short-lived because the ground was really covered mostly ice with a little snow on top. But Leigh was running the show, so the four-wheeler and sled were involved. And then Leigh had a brilliant idea.

He took Skye outside on a leash. Mia sat on the blue plastic sled and held on to one end, shouting "Hee-yah!" as Skye dragged her around the yard. I would have taken a picture, but I was too busy trying not to wet my pants from laughing.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Valentine's castle box

Mia's teacher sent home a little note last week about the class Valentine's Day party. Students were tasked with creating their own Valentine's mailboxes. But Mia's teacher didn't want them to just decorate a box. They were supposed to "think like engineers" - come up with a design first and then figure out how to make it. This is Mia's design: 

She decided to make a castle using three boxes, Christmas wrapping paper, duct tape, stickers and markers. She said her box was tied with a classmate's for the biggest mailbox in the room. I'm just glad she was able to carry it into school unassisted.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Our neighbor Matthew

I couldn't wait for Matthew to come home from the hospital.

The week our second daughter was born, our neighbor went to the hospital for a host of unusual symptoms. He was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that affected his duodenum, a part of the intestines. The prognosis was horrific: a month at best. Get hospice care. Go home. Wait.

Nothing could be done.

But Matt wouldn't accept that. The diagnosis? Fine. Hospice? No. He was transferred from an Indian hospital back to an excellent hospital in Oklahoma City. His second doctor proposed a treatment plan that included surgery, which was successful. As soon as Matt could keep down liquids, he could come home.

His home is right next to ours.

Matt has been living in his house longer than I've been here. A few months after I moved in, he spotted me outside one day. He asked if I worked at the newspaper. He worked there, too, but over in the press room. Usually we missed each other because I worked the first shift, and he worked the second shift.

Both of us were single when I arrived, but we both have since married. His wife, Pam, is a delight. They dote on Mia, and Mia absolutely adores them. If we pull out of the driveway when they're outside, we must - without exception - roll down the back window so she can shout. "Bye, Mr. Maffew! Bye, Miss Payum!"

They always give her little gifts they pick up here and there. Once they even brought back a hula skirt from one of their many trips to Hawaii. The gifts aren't even the great part; it just touches me so much that they think of her and of us when they're out and about. They let us put a bounce house in his yard for Mia's birthday party. The last one was a giant, pink castle. He just laughed. It was huge. Kids were rolling around all over the place in his yard.

Matt and Pam have been so sweet to Mia ever since she was born, and they have dubbed her Princess. So when we brought Wren home from the hospital, I was disappointed that Matthew was still in a different hospital himself. Even though he hadn't met her, Pam said he had already decided she would be called Little Princess.

Matt had surgery, and we debated whether to go visit him in the hospital. Wren had been sick and had a hospital stay of her own. Mia came down with the flu. We didn't want to visit a hospital and either make him sick while his was in poor shape, and we always didn't want the girls to catch something from other patients.

So we have been waiting for him to reach that all-important milestone of keeping down fluids.

That didn't happen.

Matt would have been 56 next month.

Death rarely seems fair. It is especially unfair now. I just read a story this morning about how two-thirds of cancer cases are probably caused by nothing more than bad luck. I thought of Matthew. A few hours later, he died, most likely of bad luck.

It feels unfair for someone who was such a survivor. Before I moved to the neighborhood, his wife died after a long illness. His mother died recently. Two years ago, he lost his job in the press room at the newspaper after 37 years.

But Matt was resilient; he cobbled things back together quickly. He secured two part-time jobs: one as a concierge at a downtown hotel and the other as an event photographer. Both were excellent fits for a talented photographer who loved talking to everybody and loved Oklahoma City.

He was a prolific runner - marathons and half-marathons left and right. He did a bunch of those timed runs, too; runners set off a block of time, usually 6 or 12 hours, and see how far they can get. He encouraged me with my running and often checked to see what I was training for next. It was so nice considering he had done a million races and I am ridiculously slow and new to running. He was proud of me, and that made me feel proud of myself.

Matt always did a long race at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. But his real payoff was the Honolulu Marathon. He ran that race every December, and he spent the other 11 months of the year thinking about Hawaii. He ran the marathon for the last time in 2012. Last year, finances kept him home after the layoff. This year, he was sick.

Now I feel crushed that he never met Wren. I'm second-guessing our decision to wait for him to come home. I presumed things would work out. How could they not? How could someone so tough, so kind and so healthy be mortal?

Sometimes I take comfort in statistics and logic. It's my go-to place when I'm scared or nervous. Life expectancy in the United States in 79 years. Matt was supposed to have 24 more years, so cancer felt irrelevant. I was scared of how sick he was and how the sickness swept in like a storm. It never crossed my mind he wouldn't come home.

Pam came to our house tonight and told us Matt had died just a few hours before. All we could do was hug.

I'm sad to lose my neighbor and my friend. For him, I know heaven looks like Hawaii.

Monday, June 16, 2014


All right. I'm pretty proud of myself. Please admire this American flag snack tray. It's cheese, strawberries and chocolates. I, too, am impressed.

We hosted a watch party for the U.S.-Ghana soccer game. Aside from a super-exciting game and array of American-themed snacks, the most notable thing was the plethora of babies. There were seven children. SEVEN! We lamented about our past parties, when BYOB meant bring your own beer. Now it means bring your own baby.

Speaking of babies, here is ours. We let her wear the traditional Coppernoll international sporting events hat: a Hog hat with the American flag draped down in the back.

 Then Mia stole Leigh's camera and snapped a few selfies.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

10,000 miles

So when we first bought our car, it only had 3,000 miles on it. In my mind, I would take a picture of us at every 1,000 miles, to show where we go and how we change over time. Of course, I immediately forgot about this plan until yesterday, when the car hit 10,000 miles today on our street. 

I was by myself, which doesn't make for the most exciting photo, unless you're a Millennial. A selfie will have to do. (I think this might be my first selfie ever. It felt creepy taking it.) So hooray for 10,000 miles!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Go Greece!

Obviously, our family is a tad excited about the World Cup. Well, imagine our joy when we remembered that Mia has a Greece soccer jersey! My dad and stepmom brought her back a whole kit from their last trip to Greece. It's still a little big for her, so she's only worn it a few times here and there. But today - today! - was the perfect occasion! Things didn't turn out so well for Greece. They lost 3-0 to Colombia. But Mia has at least two more times to sport the white and blue. Opa!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Well then

A lot of change is on the horizon for Mia. She's only got another week of daycare. Then she'll spend the summer at home with me. Then she'll start a new school. And then a few months later, Socks will arrive. Long story short, she's still processing quite a bit of this. Then this happened. 

In a fit of rage, she pulled out every single toy and every single piece of clothing and threw it all on the floor. It was the worst fit of her life. Really. This photo doesn't even really do justice to the craziness. We have started cleaning a bit, but it's a slow, slow process. We are helping her, but she has to do this herself. Maybe she'll be done by the time she goes to college. Let's just hope we can all survive all the change that's ahead.

Friday, June 6, 2014


I go to make toast; I come back to Leigh and Mia reenacting the opening of "The Lion King." It was much easier when she was a baby. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The world's loudest sleepover

Mia and her pal Scout have been having sleepovers for quite a while. They. Love. It. So when Scout's moms went to a concert in Tulsa, it was sleepover time at our house. Here is a video of them during dinner. I thought they were screaming at random. Turns out, they were singing. Sort of.

Lovely, ladies. Lovely.

They acted crazy, played a bunch and stayed up late. I took this photo of them the next morning. So much party. So much happiness. So much passing out.