Sunday, December 28, 2008

two easy answers

Eric: "Do you know what dollar bills are made of?"

Evan: "Cloth."

Eric: "That's right! I didn't know you knew that, Evan. How did you know that?"

Evan: "Smart brain."

Friday, December 26, 2008

please do not disturb the explosion

I've barricaded myself in a guest bedroom in the hope of getting some work done. Evan just helped my cause by putting two signs on the door: "Please Do Not Disturb" and "Danger! Warning! Explosion!" That ought to do the trick.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sage observations

Looking out a window with a good view: "I can see as far as the eye can see."

Watching a TV program with some catchy music: "My bottom is wiggly."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

nom de guerre

The cousins playing together on Christmas Eve:

Aidan: "Dr. Booboo-head-face?"

Evan: "Yes? What is it? I hate my name, by the way."

Monday, December 22, 2008

raisin expectations

Sage (eating raisins): "Raisins will save the day."

the people you least suspect

Evan and Dashiell, two little sweethearts undoubtedly plotting their parents' surprise birthday parties:

Saturday, December 20, 2008

watching "A Christmas Carol"

Sage (traumatized by all the ghosts): "When's Santa going to come?"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

eat your trees

I've been working on some funny poems for and about the kids. The blog has been a great source of material. Enjoy!

"Don't bite your knee," I said to Sage.
"You're almost two. Please act your age."
"I won't be two for two more months,"
she said, "and I'll be one just once.
If I don't bite this knee right now,
when will I?" Then she bit it. "Ow!
My knee!" she said, and rubbed her knee.
I shook my head. "Don't look at me."


"Evan, don't fill up on bread.
Eat your broccoli," I said.
He pointed to the florets. "These
aren't broccoli," he said. "They're trees.
And they provide a shady spot
for this hot dog, who's very hot."
"I see," I said. "In that case, please
eat your dog and then your trees."


"Evan, what's the magic word?"
I asked. I guess he hadn't heard
that it was "Please," because he said
"Alakazam-kazoo" instead,
which I suspect — I can't be certain —
is why I'm now a shower curtain.


"You think I'm going to stop at knees?
I can bite anything I please."
"All right," I told Sage. "Bite your nose."
"All right," she said. "I will. Here goes."


"Eat your trees," I said to Evan.
"There's one, two, three, four, five, six, seven
trees on your plate, and you should eat 'em.
This table's not an arboretum."
Then Evan pointed to the eight
uneaten trees on my own plate.
"Daddy, eat your broccoli,
and don't eat it so talk-ily."


Sage-y had a little lamb.
She named it "Alligator."
That made Aunt Lucy laugh and laugh.
Then Alligator ate her.


"Rats!" said Sage, whose magic marker
refused to color any darker.
"Uh-oh. I think I hear them comin',"
I said. "Be careful what you summon.
Rats are responsive. If you call
too loudly you might get them all.
Are you prepared to deal with that?"
She scratched her head. "I guess not. Rat."


"The n is missing from the end
of my first name! I've been de-n'd!"
said Eva. "And don't call me that!
Eva's a girl's name," he spat.
"Calm down. You'll get it back again.
Nobody steals the letter n,"
I said. He stomped off in a rage.
"What's he so mad about?" said Snage.


I thought for sure I'd found a winner
in my long search for Sage's dinner.
The perfect combination: knees
and elbows, and some cheddar cheese.
And best of all, her biting it
wouldn't hurt anyone one bit.
But Sage said she preferred her own knee
to my elbow macaro-knee.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

all politics is local

Evan is semi-obsessed with Sasha Obama. He talks constantly about things like sending her a letter, inviting her over for a play date, and saving her life. He likes to describe himself rescuing her from a burning building. It's a pretty predictable crush, when you consider that she's his age, she's cute, and she has her own Secret Service detail.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

you do the math

Evan: "It kind of annoys me when you raise your voice."

Sonja: "Well it kind of annoys me when I ask you to do something five million times and you don't do it."

Evan: "I don't believe that calculation is correct."

Sunday, December 7, 2008


collage we can believe in

One of Evan's self-initiated art projects:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

at the dinner table...

Evan: "Has anyone here ever fought a Mongolian person without weapons?"

Sonja: "Where did that question come from?"

Evan: "It came from the top of my head."

I welcome advice on how to manage these conversations more effectively

Evan: "What does retartive mean?

Eric: "Evan, where did you hear that word?"

Evan: "What word?"

Eric: "Retarded."

Evan: "It's retartive. Zach was singing a song at school. And then he said he was just being retartive."

Eric: "It's retarded, and it's kind of a mean word. People use it to mean that something or someone isn't very smart. If someone's using it to describe himself, he's just joking and that's not as bad. But you shouldn't really ever use it because it's a mean word that could hurt someone's feelings."

Evan: "Oh."

Eric: "And I'm telling you what the word is and what it means because I don't want you to hurt anyone's feelings. It's good to know what words mean, so that you know which ones to use and which ones not to use."

Evan: "Yeah. Which is why Elias needs to know what the a-word is. Which is why I told him."

Friday, November 28, 2008

You must be careful not to laugh...

when informing your 6-year-old son that the "ON STRIKE" sign he's spent half an hour making actually says "NO STRIKE."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Halloween II

For a moment I thought the Village People had reunited...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

When Sage swiped Evan's water pistol...

Evan: "Sage! Sage Elizabeth McHenry, come back here! Do you want a time-out? Daddy, do I have enough power to give Sage a time-out?"

getting dressed

Sage has 1,374 socks. And no two are alike.

Evan, buttoning up his shirt, just said: "I'm going to look so sharp, everybody's going to be flabbergasted."

Friday, November 21, 2008

the cradle will rock

Evan: "Daddy, are you going to sing me a lullaby tonight or not? It's your choice."

Eric: "Do you want me to sing you one?"

Evan: "Sure."

Eric: "Okay. Let's see..... (singing) Mommy was a pretty little girl....."

Evan: "No, not that one."

Eric: "Well, what lullaby would you like to hear?"

Evan: "How about something with beatboxing?"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Daddy once again blames the victim

Tonight Evan grudgingly brushed his teeth, then reached for the glass of water I'd set out for him on the sink and knocked it to the floor. This made him laugh.

Eric (annoyed): "Can you say, 'I'm sorry'?"

Evan: "Why? It's your fault."

Eric: "What? You knocked the water over and I'm about to clean it up! How is that my fault?"

Evan: "You put it in a precarious place."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

lost classic

A friend reminded me of the time Evan, age 4 or thereabouts, saw a police car rolling by with its windows down. And he shouted to the officers, "Don't worry! I'm good!"

You can imagine the look of relief on their faces.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

infinite regression

Evan: "You're a pretty careful driver, Daddy. You don't run into many things."

Eric: "Thanks."

Evan: "If Sage drove, she'd probably go a little ways and then crash into a stop sign."

Eric: "Yep. She wouldn't get very far."

Evan: "And if I drove..."

Eric: "You might get a little farther than Sage before you crashed."

Evan: "Yeah."

Eric: "And Sage would get farther than Franklin."

Evan: "Yeah. And Franklin would get farther than a mosquito."

Eric: "I don't think a mosquito would have enough weight to depress the gas pedal and move the car."

Evan: "And a mosquito would get farther than a germ."

Eric: "I suppose so."

Evan: "And a germ would get farther than........... hmm....... A microscopic mechanism? A germ's baby?"

Sunday, November 9, 2008

our relationship in a nutshell

Eric: "Do you want your privacy?"

Sage (smiling): "No. I want your privacy."

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I'm a bit worried that Sage may have a future in talk radio. She has very strong opinions that are based on very little information.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

watching Chris Matthews on MSNBC

Evan: "He's staring at me."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween one-liners

Evan (dressed as a Secret Service agent, shining a flashlight in the face of an approaching trick-or-treater): "I need to know your identity."


Candy-dispensing homeowner: "Let's see what we have here. A pirate, Indiana Jones, and a Secret Service agent."

Evan: "Yeah. The jaguar went home."


Evan: "Did you hear what I said to the Angel of Death? I said, 'I'm not afraid of you. I'm from the Secret Service.'"

small carbon footprint

Evan: "Sometimes I take the kid taxi. Kids have their own taxi service, you know."

Eric: "I didn't know that. ... So, who drives the taxis?"

Evan: "Kids do. But the cars are smaller than regular cars."

Eric: "Oh. Do they drive on the sidewalks?"

Evan: "No, they drive in the streets. But they have flashing lights and sirens, and signs that say, "LOOK OUT. I'M DOWN HERE."

Friday, October 31, 2008

costume drama

So Indiana Jones, a Secret Service agent, a jaguar, a pirate and a penguin walk into a bar...

Left to right: Evan, Joseph, Lukas, Benjamin, Sage.

The world's least-terrifying jaguar.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

thank goodness

Sage: "Can you do this, Daddy?" (folds her tongue down behind her bottom teeth) "Vvvvvffffffffflllllllllnnnnnnn."

Eric: "Thhhhhhhhnnnnnnnnnnnn."

Sage: "No Daddy. Like this: Sssssssnnnnnnnllllllllllfffffff."

Eric: "Zzzzzzzzzzzllllllllllnnnnnnnnn."

Sage: "No Daddy. Like this: Zzzzzzzzvvvvvvvvssssssssnnnnnn."

Eric: "I guess I can't do it, Sage."

Sage: "That's okay Daddy. I can do it for you."

Monday, October 27, 2008


Evan: "Why's it always cold and frosty during the week and warm and sunny on the weekends?"

Eric: "It's not. It's just cold and frosty at night and in the early morning. And you don't see that on weekends because you sleep in and don't go outside until the sun's been up for a while."

Evan: "Well, sometimes I go out in the middle of the night and meet up with William Cunningham. We're developing an ejector-seat car."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

it's gotta be the shoes

Evan (trying to put on a pair of shoes he likes but has outgrown): "These shoes are weak. They can't handle the human foot."

couch potatoes

That's no throw pillow, that's Franklin.

Sage: "We're watching TV together."

international man of misterree

yard sail 2

Monday, October 20, 2008

isn't it obvious?

Sonja: "Evan, what are you doing?"

Evan: "I'm trying to make this sesame bagel into a necklace."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

ya-ya parenthood

Sage (in the car): "Ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya. Ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya."

Eric: "Are you getting your ya-yas out?"

Sage: "Ya."

after reading Evan a book about spies

Evan: "Do you think our phone has ever been bugged?"

Eric: "I really doubt it. Because what kind of secrets could anyone learn by bugging our phone?"

Evan: "Yeah. All they'd hear is, 'Hey, can I have a play date with Lukas?'"

when Sonja's out of town...

The question is not, "Why is Sage wearing her raincoat at the breakfast table?" The question is, "Why doesn't Sage wear her raincoat at every meal?"

Saturday, October 18, 2008

animals that Sage feared might bite her today at the zoo

a jaguar
a Komodo dragon
a duck

She was especially concerned about one of the gorillas: "He going to eat my head."

Monday, October 13, 2008

is this thing on?

Evan: "What's truancy?"

Eric: "I think it's like delinquency — like when young people break the law."

Evan: "How?"

Eric: "Oh, you know. Breaking the law."

Evan: "I thought it was when kids don't go to school."

Eric: "You're right, it is. Evan, you knew the answer to that question better than I did. Why did you ask me?"

Evan: "I wanted to see if you knew."

Eric: "Oh. You were testing me."

Evan: "Yeah. I test you a lot."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sage: portrait photographer




Evan: portrait photographer

Aunt Lexi and Michael Zaugg

Sage and Lily


Ed, Andrew and Eric — the North Seattle Poetry Mafia does not like to be photographed.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

right as usual

Eric: "I wish I'd remembered to get coffee at the store."

Evan: "That's okay. I'll keep you awake, because I'm pretty loud."

Monday, October 6, 2008

three things Evan said today

Walking to school:

Evan: "These are nice houses. Can we move into one of them?"

Eric: "I don't think we can afford any of these houses."

Evan: "That's okay. We'll be able to when I grow up and invent the solar-powered lawnmower."


Gathering up his toys:

"Time to pick up the Evan-o-rama."


From the bathtub:

"There's a puffer fish in my lunch box. Can you bring it to me please?"

Sunday, October 5, 2008

fast company

Today Evan, Sage and I went down to Magnuson Park to cheer on Sonja in a run/walk for breast cancer. She finished strong, although she got a serious challenge from Evan in the final 50 yards.

Everyone medaled but me.

Friday, October 3, 2008

the audacity of hope

Evan: "If Obama doesn't win, I'll die."

Sonja: "No you won't. Don't say that."

Evan: "Well I'll faint, at least."

Monday, September 29, 2008

all that glitters

Poor Evan. Last night he fell asleep with a glittery Christmas-tree star in his bed, and this morning he had flecks of gold glitter on his face—just a few, but enough that some of his playmates noticed. At recess one of them called him a girl, "which kind of hurt my feelings," Evan said. But he seems to have it in perspective. "I know that people who make fun of other people are wrong," he said. "And I know I'm not a girl, because I've seen my penis."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

could you be more specific, please?

Evan: "It smells like dead daddy longlegses in here."

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Spectacled Owl

Having seen one yesterday at the Woodland Park Zoo, I'd have to say that Sage's name for it, the "Mad Owl," is more apt.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

bedside manner

Eric: "Good night, Evan."

Evan: "I guess you're not going to sing a lullaby tonight."

Eric: "Oh, I'll sing you a lullaby. Or you can just snuggle in and go to sleep. Whichever you like."

Evan: "I'll just snuggle in and go to sleep."

Eric: "Okay."

Evan: "Unless that would hurt your feelings."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

lost classic

Just remembering the first time Evan threw up. He was, maybe, three and a half, and he came into the living room looking very confused and said, "Umm... I had a bad burp that made my room kind of messy."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

descent of man

Sage: "Granddad not your GG."

Eric: "That's right. Granddad is my daddy."

Sage: "And GG my daddy!"

Eric: "No. GG is your great-granddad. Your great-grandfather. I'm your daddy."

Sage: "No. GG not my grandfather."

Eric: "No, he's not. He's your great-grandfather. Granddad is your grandfather."

Sage: "And GG his grandfather."

Eric: "No. GG is his father.

Evan: "Can we discuss this later?"

Saturday, September 13, 2008


recent photo roundup


Sage and Daddy, photographed by Evan:

Evan, photographed by Sage:

Evan, waiting for the ice cream truck:

Friday, September 12, 2008


Evan: "Where are the Pacellis?"

Eric: "They still live in New Hampshire."

Evan: "What would they say if they saw me now?"

Eric: "They'd say, 'Oh my gosh! Evan! I can't believe how big you are! The last time I saw you, you were just a baby! You're so big! And so handsome! Look how handsome you are!' That's how the Pacellis are. Very warm, very kind people."

Evan: "What would their kids say if they saw me now?"

Eric: "They'd probably say the same thing."


Evan: "Act out what their kids would say."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008


Evan is really into wearing the black three-piece suit we bought him for this summer's weddings. Tonight, as bedtime approached, I came into the living room and found him lying on the floor in his suit with a quarter over one of his eyes. Needless to say, I found this a rather unsettling sight, and told Evan so, and then I had to explain why:

Evan: "Why did they put coins over their eyes?"

Eric: "I think it was to weigh down their eyelids. Dead people's eyes tend to slide open, I think. So they'd weigh them down with coins."

Evan: "Where did they get the coins?"

Eric: "They just had them around."

Evan: "Why didn't they want their eyes to slide open?"

Eric: "Because that would look sort of strange and creepy."

Evan: "Why does it matter how dead people look? They're underground."

Eric: "They did it when the person had just passed away and hadn't been buried yet."

Evan: "Why do dead people's eyes tend to slide open?"

Eric: "I don't know."

Evan: "Why does it look sort of strange and creepy?"

Eric: "It looks like the person is still alive."

Evan: "But that's a good thing."

The whole conversation had me feeling somewhat self-conscious about my parenting skills. But then I remembered Miriam, the extremely down-to-earth child psychologist and parent of two from down the street, who once said that if you're ever stuck at home with the kids and desperately in need of some rest, you should "play funeral."

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I see

Eric: "You're the sweetest guy."

Evan: "I know."

Eric: "Did you just say, 'I know'?"

Evan: "Yeah. Because you always say that."

if I seem scattered, it's because my day consists of conversations like this

From today's walk around the block:

Eric: "Seems like there's always one or two crows patrolling our neighborhood."

Evan: "Yeah. They're like the police. Maybe they are the police. Like, they're undercover, and they turn into policemen when we're not around."

Eric: "Hmm. Maybe so."

Sage: "Daddy, could you be a cabbage?"

Friday, September 5, 2008

not even remotely

Eric: "Go into the bathroom and brush your teeth, Evan. I even put the Finding Nemo grape toothpaste on your toothbrush."

Evan: "Is that the best thing that's ever happened?"

Eric: "Yes."

Evan: "No it's not. The best thing would be a remote-control army jeep with remote-control guys and remote-control guns, and also a remote-control helicopter with remote-control guns that can really shoot."

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Evan: "Daddy, when can I start calling you Dad?"

Eric: "You know what, Evan? This is your first day of first grade. You're such a big guy now. And I can't think of a more appropriate day for you to start calling me Dad. So if you want, you can start calling me Dad today."


Evan: "Maybe I'll call you Daddy for a few more days."

the first day of first grade

Brother, it ain't easy.

those missing weapons stockpiles

Evan's favorite jacket is a black one with lots of pockets. The other night I asked him to give it to me so I could wash it. He said, "But it's got a thousand things in it." I thought he was exaggerating.

well, it is

Sage, looking at a photo of herself: "Oh, that's so cute!"

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

no gender stereotypes will be shattered in this post

Evan: "Did you like the movie?"

Eric: "Yes."

Evan: "Could I see it?"

Sonja: "You probably wouldn't like it. It was a lot of kissing and a lot of talking."

Evan: "So it was kind of foofy and woman-like? Like, 'Oh, I love you so much!'" (smothers his sister with kisses)

Eric: "Yeah, kind of like that."

Evan: "I like movies with a lot of action. Like, 'Oh yeah? Wanna bet?' Pow!" (punches the air)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Evan 2.0

Tonight, as we were cleaning up the house:

Evan (holding up a life-size paper likeness of himself that he made at school): "I need to get rid of myself."

Eric: "Can you put yourself in the recycling, please?"

Evan: "Definitely not." (goes and puts the paper Evan in my closet) "Now you'll meet me whenever you go get a shirt."

Saturday, August 30, 2008

a joke for Labor Day weekend

Evan: "I have to tell you a funny joke: What's a parent's bad dream?"

Eric: "What?"

Evan: "They're alone at the bus stop at night. The lights have burnt out. They sense something creeping up behind them. They turn around. And it's their BOSS! And their boss says, 'You're fired!'"

Eric: "That's great! Did you just make that up?"

Evan: "Yeah. You should tell it to your boss."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

and the reception...

Here are Evan and Sage with second cousins Ella and Charlotte Brown:

And Evan, pondering the institution of marriage and its importance to our society:

the wedding...