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On Friday we went to the coast. It was a harebrained idea, loading my back seat with people whose combined years number fewer than the hours they’d have to spend there. (You may wish to incorporate this newly formulated Law of Logic into your own vacation planning.) But the bit where we were actually in/on Cannon Beach was brilliant. The sea was cold but good for splashing. Ada taught everyone how to make sand angels. (You execute them tummy-down, then scuff your feet backwards to make the tails — sand angels have tails — when you stand up again.) Jolly shrieked and flapped at the kites other beachgoers were flying. Tufted puffins abounded. Seagulls ate part of our lunch, but left us the string cheese and the vegetable-fruit paste pouches we call num-nums. And we supplemented with muffins from the Sleepy Monk Café.

Ada’s nap went awry on the way home and we got mired in traffic, but we were saved from the ensuing ugliness by eight cement mixers and The Highwaymen. No one can stay surly in the face of heavy construction equipment and ’60s folk music. By the time we finally reached I-84, Ada was cheerful enough to sing along and replace lyrics with “slice of cheese!” at random, to everyone’s amusement.

All in all, a good day. And I’ll be even more thankful to have a co-pilot along when we all head north to Friday Harbor for family vacation.

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My life seems to be orbiting an ever-growing cluster of babies and their needs at present. This is basically always true, given the two I’ve got at home (especially when they’re sick, as they are this evening, poor mites), but two very special new ones have joined our solar system in the last couple of weeks. One is a nephew by blood and the other is a nephew by knitting sisterhood. Each sweet fellow’s little project came off the needles the day he went home from the hospital; photographic evidence is shoddy. But this will keep Mateo warm this autumn:

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The oft-knit Pebble vest by Nikol Lohr was a favorite for my own babies and I hope it will serve this new family as well as it did mine. I even got the buttons on the correct shoulder this time! This edition is knit from the delectable Swans Island Merino Alpaca, which has to be among the most luscious yarns I’ve ever handled. It’s like homemade bread still warm from the oven. I can’t tell you how it wears yet so I’m not ready to take the expensive plunge for a sweater for myself, but I’ve plenty left over to knit a swatch and beat it up. The color is Oatmeal and it looks good with absolutely everything.

Stephen, when he grows quite a bit larger, will be sporting this:

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This one is my own design and I’m planning to grade it for larger sizes and send it around to testers later this summer. It’s a scholarly little raglan cardi (you’re looking at the back here) knit — uncharacteristically for me, but with good reason — in pieces and I’ll have more details to share soon, I hope.

Dear Stephen and Mateo, grow well. Nurse like champions, sleep like logs, charm the socks off your families. I love you, little scrumptious boys.

One

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A whole year. My beautiful boy. Even-keeled, high-hearted, generous, bold, affectionate, deft, keenly attentive. He has some words: Ada, ‘bye, ball, this, that. On his birthday he closed a drawer: “Sssut.” He put his face in a rose: “F’ow’.” There’s language ready to boil over. He doesn’t walk quite yet, but he’s quick enough as it is, scampering to the stairs if I’ve been forgetful with the door, waiting for me to race after him, then shrieking and chortling in madcap glee as he begins a rapid ascent. It’s the game he enjoys as much as the I can. He’s feeling his oats and his muscles; his lavish kisses now have teeth in them sometimes. My face looks like I’ve lost a fight with a house cat or a blackberry patch where he’s been too exuberant with a set of strong hands and those fingernails he hates to have trimmed.

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The twenty-first: he opened some presents. In this box, once we helped him look beyond the ribbon, were a pair of blue shoes. They are a little too big to wear right now, but he was very interested in stuffing them with pieces of bread.

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This photo was not staged, I swear.

There was beautiful weather, so we went to the Japanese Garden to see the Noguchi sculptures. Jolyon exhibited fine sensibilities, pointing at the art and exclaiming, “Dis! Dis! Dat! Dat! Dat!” (His favorites seemed to be some simple black ink paintings that accompanied the show.) Down at the koi pond, the irises and waterlilies were blooming. The fat fish were entrancing, of course, and so were the waterfalls. But Jolly was the only one among us to notice something else. He jabbered and pointed across the pond until I followed his finger and saw the refracted light from the waterfall dancing across a rock face and glimmering like myriad fairy lamps in the azalea branches. I’m afraid the tranquility of the garden was somewhat punctured, but I hope the other visitors at least appreciated the pure enthusiasm in the squeals.

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All photos in this post are courtesy of my dad. Thanks, Dad!

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Our Jolly. He’s an armful. But we’re all pretty crazy about him. It’s been a good year. A challenging year, to be sure, but quite possibly my favorite one yet. So glad you’re here, little man.