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Most days, the kids begin stirring between 6:15 and 7:00. I love those days because I get to see them before I leave for work. While Jennifer prepares their breakfast, I go downstairs to get their diapers changed, get them dressed, and upstairs to eat.

Which means I’m usually sweating before I even leave for the office.

Here in the days of this sixteenth month, with favorite words abounding, I am witness to some cute and tender moments in our morning routine and finally took the camera down to record them.

Were it not for our six year refusal to patronage Wal-Mart, and were it not for those pesky child-labor laws, what with Mateo’s new favorite word of “Helll-OOOOOO!!!” we might have put him to work as a greeter.


Our dining table is a sore subject, primarily because things get stacked on it that shouldn’t be. Like the camera, mail, kid swimsuits. And ASL flashcards that we purchased for ourselves so we could learn and then teach the kids. One day, one of the kids saw the boxes and asked for “more”. And now, we can’t serve them a meal without doing sign language flashcards at the table. BUT HOW CUTE ARE THEY SIGNING?

Double Trouble


Awe and Wonder

with such awe and wonder you see and feel things, here with a smooth cool rock in one hand and a tiny prickly pine cone in the other, amazed at the black birds ahead frolicking and chirping in a rare puddle of water on a hot summer day.

all “oooooooohhhhh!” and “whoooooooaaaaaa!” and we see things not seen before because of it. thank you.

The summer is winding down and you’ve managed to get through it despite more hundred degree days than ones in the nineties. And we dare not say “outside” unless there is a near immediate expectation that that is where we are heading because OH MY GOD! Sure, it means we’re out early in the morning, after breakfast, and you are usually in your pajamas. Or it might mean early evening dips in the tiny plastic pool while we water dehydrated plants outside. Or we spray the hose water onto the slide while you chase the streams down it into a puddle of mud. That’s some days. Other days are lots of reading and rearranging plasticware and Beyonce.


Suddenly, here you are sixteen months old, more interest in doing things yourself, more steady on your feet, more frustration because we don’t understand you, and, gasp!, less morning naps.

You share more. More than before, which was a little more than Never. You will hand each other toys and books and pass out hugs like they are cheddar bunnies. You laugh at each other and play together and we only have to say “soft touches” about nine hundred times in a day instead of one thousand. Progress! And for every time that you do something in sync, there are a hundred ways that you express your uniqueness.

Mateo, you now know that you should never ever ever ever never grab Harper’s pink puppy unless it is for the express purpose of taking it to her directly and immediately. Because she will Hunt. You. Down. You are go go go and as soon as we say “let’s go to the car”, we can see your thinker tinking, and you’ll head off and grab some keys or a cell phone and head for the garage and then wait by the car door. You are constantly a mess of sweat and rosy cheeks. Even indoors.


You play alone very well, sitting in your chair and working on whatever it is you are working on, sometimes a puzzle, sometimes stacking toys, sometimes blocks. Sometimes moving the chair itself. You’re such a big boy you want to sit in our regular dining chairs and will climb up one one all by yourself. But when you are hungry LORD HELP US because you want something and you want it now, usually approaching us, your head to between our knees, hands wrapped around the back of them, in Dire. Need. Of. Food. saying “mama, mama, MOOOOOORE!” You’ll sign “more” and “eat” or say “milk”, and recently sign “Plane”. And that’s when we stopped to listen…sure enough, they do fly over our house every once in a while.

Peek A Boo

When you are tired, you grab a cloth diaper (how lucky/cheaply did we get on that one?!), Raffy, and a book and go to your room, waiting for one of us to follow. “You’ve been shaking your head “no” for a while now, and now sometimes you’ll nod your head “yes”. With intention. But it’s a bit like rubbing your belly and patting your head because sometimes your no means yes and your yes means no. And if you can figure out the difference, you’ll go a long way towards living with women.

Harper, you are a tempestuous princess, all needing every ounce of your sleep and then dancing away Hop, Hop, Hop, Little Harper! If we say “night night” you will grab your pink puppy and a penguin and lay them down on the floor and lay your head on them. And if we wait too long, you will say “nah nah” and do it anyway. At bedtime, we lay you down with two fleece woobies, one across your shoulder and one crowning your head and you’ll fall asleep stroking them. And when we check on you a few hours later, they’ve disappeared from sight, a mound of fleece and blankets beneath you, tush all up in the air. You are the cutest rolly polly sleeper ever. You love to look at flash cards, the sign language ones we bought for ourselves that fell on the floor one day. Because of them, you now say “happy” and “sun” and “star” and could sit in our laps going through cards and practicing signs just as much as you like reading I Love You This Much or The Big Red Barn.


You are a keen observer and a hater of toothbrushes. And you like to eat your meals with one knee up. One of your favorite activities is putting rocks into a plastic container, moving and sorting things. If we bounce a ball to you just right, you can catch it and will throw it back. You love to leap off the soft blocks into our arms and everything is “whoooooooaaaaaaaaa!”

At night, we love how you both will crawl up or back yourself into our laps with a book, especially after bath time, all leaned up against our chest, warm and fuzzy headed. And before bed, goodnight kisses for everyone. EVEN EACH OTHER. And we’re just so excited that you’re doing something together that doesn’t result in a meltdown. You enjoy watching bigger kids do bigger kid things. With each passing day, you make us into kids again, soaking in the simplest bits of God’s creation.

We love you,

Mommy and Matou


In the little-kids bouncer at her cousin’s first birthday party.

In any event, does this photo not make you want to go out and buy her one thousand watermelons JUST SO YOU CAN WATCH HER EAT THEM? I learned from experience, however, that more than a cup of watermelon will produce liquidy pink-tinged poo poo diapers.


For six months after their birth, I referred to Mateo and Harper by names other than their own.

Though we knew their names within days of confirming that I would soon give birth to a boy and a girl, in late pregnancy, we called them Eagle and Birdie, upon their birth, Bruiser and Birdie, and later, Tato and Carpet. It wasn’t until their six month birthday that I revealed their actual names on this blog.

In her early days, Harper was also Itty Bitty, Baby Girl, and Squeaker. In addition to Harper, we also call her Cita, Harpercita, Charlie, and Idgy. Mateo was Mr. Big due to his 7lb 2 oz frame (and that was two weeks early!). He also still goes by Tato Bear, Tato, Tater Tot, Mater, BoBo, Bozie, Bozie Bear, Shizz, and BoShizzle. They both go by Huevitos (“little eggs” in Spanish).

In June 2009, I received an email from a man who was researching the history of his children’s names. Apparently he’d seen a tweet from George Stephanopoulos that he had a daughter named Harper and the former drummer of Nirvana had a daughter named Harper, too. Political pundit, musical genius, YOU SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING, DON’T YOU? Because next thing you know he ran into my blog.

Not only is his daughter’s name Harper, but his son’s name is Mateo, too. For them, he tells me, Mateo exploded as a boy’s name and he and his wife agreed on it right away. As for Harper, it was a name his wife pushed for and he only got on board towards the end of her pregnancy.

Over the course of a couple emails, he wrote that he had been searching for a post about how we chose the names we did and never found one. That would be because until today there wasn’t one.

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Mateo’s head-butt moves reminds me of that guy at dances who would start breakdancing or doing some crazy move so as to deflect attention from the fact that he had no rhythm making him the cool and funny guy instead.

More Photos!

The Aforementioned