Gunning for the Nobel

April 29, 2015 by

The boys have a certain fascination with infectious diseases.  (I guess these apples don’t fall far from their tree.)  Last night we were discussing the finer points of herd immunity when Emmett said something about Ebola, which prompted me to tell the boys about the apparently promising Ebola vaccine that is in development.

Oscar’s very swift reaction:  “Aw!  But I wanted to invent that!”

I’ll admit to being more than a little bit proud.

Ecology Oscar: Inch worm field work

Or maybe an ecologist: Inch worm field work.

It’s beginning to look a lot like go time

March 12, 2015 by

As their sister’s birth draws nearer, the boys have been showering her with handmade gifts, impassioned pleas (“Sisterbaby, KICK ME!”), and kisses.

Rosen-Powers Round Salad

Rosen-Powers Round Salad

One of these things is not like the others

February 15, 2015 by

dolphin love

test pattern

February 8, 2015 by

Emmett and the magnatiles

unsurprisingly, there is a considerable contrast in sibling demeanor. emmett appears to be on trajectory to be everybody’s favorite beer-crushing college buddy who comes back home to live in our basement. and, undoubtedly, we will love him for that.

Oscar (quizzing Emmett from his K-1 flashcards): “Emmett, what’s the opposite of YES?”

Emmett: “Saturday!”


Racking up the years

January 18, 2015 by

We have now been parents for six — count ’em: six — years.  I suppose (and hope) we still have many more years and much to learn as parents of dependent children (thank you, sisterbaby), but man, it sure does feel like we are already hardened veterans.  I say that mostly to pat myself on the back for the survival skills we’ve developed, not to complain that I feel old and tired (though I do!).  I would be lying if I said the journey has never been arduous, but I am so grateful for the joy that these little hellions have brought us.  And while it saddens me that Oscar is not really a little boy any longer (sniff), I’m pretty proud of the big kid he’s becoming —  what with the reading and bike-riding and lego-building skills and all.  He’s even nice to his brother sometimes!

Birthday morning balloons

Birthday morning balloons

Adding his own touch

Adding his own touch

To celebrate the six-year mark of his existence, we fêted Oscar ninja-style at a local gymnastics studio.  It was an all-around success.

Ninja style

Ninja style

A motley crew

A motley crew

gold medal potential

gold medal potential

the next shannon miller

the next shannon miller

rapt attention

rapt attention



ninja candle-blowing skills

ninja candle-blowing skills

Happy birthday, big boy.



Lest there be any doubt that we are crazy

December 8, 2014 by
Say hello to "sisterbaby"

Say hello to “sisterbaby”

Yes, we did this on purpose, and YES, it’s a girl!  She is due to join our family in late April / early May.

The boys have been very busy preparing for her arrival:

Reading sisterbaby's moon rover

Readying sisterbaby’s moon rover


America’s Next Top Model

September 6, 2014 by
Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful

Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful

it makes sense, really

September 4, 2014 by

babytongshot days of summer can really get you feeling a little stir crazy. so, of course you get your tongs and your baby and your salad spinner. when it was time for school to start,  everyone felt like tickling the ivories a la james booker.


Upward Bound

August 26, 2014 by

Big day in the R-P household:  the boys are starting a new school (Oscar in kindergarten!) and I have the house to myself again.

First day of kindergarten (w/ tattoo sleeve)

First day of kindergarten (w/ tattoo sleeve)

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize


Adventure sports

August 17, 2014 by

We have recently achieved diaper-free-household status, y’all.

Extreme potty-training:  Safety first.

Extreme potty-training: Safety first.

Getting ripe

July 24, 2014 by

This wild child recently turned three.  Here he is at one of his four birthday parties.


Emmett, in a nutshell.


Summer Days

July 24, 2014 by

My sister and I decided that we would re-create our own lakeside childhood for our kids this summer.  So we packed our respective families up, drove them north, and lay claim to a lovely little lake house on Little Duck Pond in Windham, Maine.   It was mostly idyllic, like this:

Uncle Keith & Emmett (rocking the Dora life jacket)

Uncle Keith & Emmett (rocking the Dora life jacket)

Stomp rockets!

Stomp rockets extreme action shot!

4th of July glowstick dance party

4th of July glowstick dance party

family reunion -> lobster + whoopie pies

Powers family reunion -> lobster + whoopie pies


But then there were moments of such intense conflict among the young cousins that I found myself googling things like “lack of empathy in child” and “signs of psychopath 5-year-old.”

Then, on our drive home, Oscar wrote a book.  It was his first attempt at writing things phonetically, without grown-up assistance.  It’s titled “Ol Ibaowt love [sic],”  and it gives me great hope that he is not a psychopath after all.


Title page:  All about love

Title page: All about love

I love to love

I love to love

Love bugs

Love bugs

Love is awesome

Love is awesome

Hugs and kisses so awesome

Hugs and kisses so awesome

Love rocks

Love rocks


Several years ago, when Oscar was 11 months old and waking up every 45 minutes (good lord), my father-in-law said something along the lines of “just when you think you can’t take any more, things tend to improve.”  He also said something along the lines of “parenting isn’t for sissies.”  I take solace in these pearls of wisdom often, most recently this morning when the boys locked us all out of the master bedroom, where (wouldn’t you know) the only key to bedroom doors resides.


multicolor love




July 16, 2014 by

lakehousetwo posts in two days obviously means that i have a manuscript that i’m supposed to be writing and i am procrastinating. here’s a pic from our recent trip to maine over july 4th. we rented a camp on a lake. a “camp” is what the mainers like to call their vacation houses.  as in:

“hey bob, whatchoo up to this weekend?”

“oh you know, upta camp with the missus. catch some fish.”

“uhyuh. i bet she will!”


emmett co-opted a book from his cousin about a young girl who imagines herself to be famously strong and inspiring women in history. kim spent the week wrapping this birthday present. just kidding. but that is her handiwork.

updated: to her credit, in spite of that last joke, she was still kind enough to point out that i had originally spelled handiwork incorrectly.



locked and loaded

July 14, 2014 by

waterwayswe are paddling by america’s waterways like william least heat moon from east coast to west. erm, ahem. flying. but, i will be thinking of river life like the water rat as i scrounge for the snacks (“nooooo, the other ones!”) on the flight. fortunately, whatever thirst we develop gnoshing salty treats will be slaked as we skirt the mountains of ignorance to touch down on the rolling seas of knowledge.


approximate flight path.

approximate flight path.

there, we will cast off the shackles of suburban blandness, don our waterwings, and drift the tides with the jellyfish. apparently, emmett will be bringing his strawberry gun to shoot them.

we hunt the Discomedusae, courtesy of Ernst Haeckel

we hunt the Discomedusae, courtesy of Ernst Haeckel



Feng shui

June 13, 2014 by

I found a turkey baster under a living room chair the other day. Not terribly remarkable — the kids have an astonishing ability to destroy things and throw shit all over the place, and they preferentially select the least appropriate place to put any given object.

For example:

handy bedroom eggbeater

handy bedroom eggbeater

toothpaste koozie

toothpaste koozie (yes, they decorated the toilet paper with markers)

impenetrable barricade

doorway reading nook

I climbed over that red chair at least a dozen times today.  It didn’t even really occur to me to move it…which I suppose means that I have lost.

Family Portraits

June 2, 2014 by


On the left, you will see Oscar’s view of the world: the sky is really only one layer, Eli is exceedingly tall, and Emmett’s hair is yellow.  On the right, we have Emmett’s view: our family has two mommies (those would be the first two figures on the left), and they are both roughly the same height as Eli (figure #3) and Oscar (figure #4). That little figure at our feet is Emmett (see his wild hair?). Your guess is as good as mine about the “DIME” at the bottom, which he somehow randomly assembled all by himself. Our fridge has never been better dressed.


Feelin’ the love

May 8, 2014 by

Someday he’ll be too big for snuggles. Until then, I’ll gladly take every single one I can get.

sleeping_tt2 cropped

Young minds

March 27, 2014 by

It’s dark. It’s bedtime. We’re in the final phase: songs. I open with “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.”

K: “Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun, I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes. Watchin’ the ships roll in…”

O (interrupting): “Mom, mom, mom, how can ships *roll*? They don’t have wheels!”

K (explaining): “Oh, honey, the word ‘roll’ can be used in several ways,” etc., etc.

K (restarting song): “Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun, I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes. Watchin’ the ships roll in…”

O (interrupting again): “Duck boats are the ONLY boats with wheels.”

* a short discussion about amphibious vehicles later *:

K (still laughing): “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”

O (earnestly): “But mom, life isn’t a dream – it’s REAL.”


O: “Or maybe life is all just a *really long* dream!”

The child is always thinking, processing. It is truly something to behold. Other recent examples (to all of which my response was “Ummm….???”):

“Mom, why does spilled gasoline have rainbows in it?”

“Mom, how do antibodies and white blood cells work together?”

“Mom, how do construction workers decide what to do each day? Do all of the workers have the same idea, or do they vote?”

“Mom, how many pages are in this notebook? Infinity? A googleplex? How does it stay together with JUST ONE staple?”

Also, while I’m in child-awesomeness-documentation mode, let me add to the official Rosen-Powers record that today Oscar wrote a book entitled “I love Mom.” (True story!) Also, Emmett made up songs called “Banana Joe,” “Santa Joe,” and “Cheese” (the last of which he sang passionately, with his head back and eyes closed). Then he gave himself ink tattoos on both hands, ate a paper towel, and threw up.

yes, those are socks on his hands

yes, those are socks on his hands

helping mom with class prep:  epidemic simulations with poker chips (clearly taken very seriously)

helping mom with class prep: epidemic simulations with poker chips (clearly taken very seriously)

Comic relief

March 26, 2014 by

We’ve been doing the whole “responsible/dual-career/grown-up” thing for a spell. It has advantages and disadvantages. Top advantages: stimulating work and decent paychecks. Key disadvantage: work/life imbalance.

Fortunately, in the midst of the grind, we have these two little boys with an impressive ability to keep things light:



oh, y'know: argyle, wagons

oh, y’know: argyle, wagons





bathtub alien

bathtub alien

In spite of their endless demands and high mess quotient, it’s damn near impossible to overstate the joy that these untidy little creatures bring.

My funny valentine

February 17, 2014 by

What is love?
By Oscar R-to-the-P

Love is like when you hug.
Love means a really happy feeling.
It means you like someone a gazillion times.
Love is a strong word.
Just like hate but they’re opposite.

Starting to like each other, by golly.

Starting to like each other, by golly.

There’s a party goin’ on right here

January 20, 2014 by

You’re turning five years old. First you think you want to have a pirate party. Then, after looking through the birthday party catalogs, you decide that a fire truck party would be more fun. Or maybe a jungle party. No. Not a jungle party. A purple dragon party.

Then your parents offer to take you on an adventure (I use that term loosely) instead of throwing you a party. What activities would you like to include in this birthday adventure?

1. You want to stay in a hotel. This is a must.
2. You want to eat ribs and hush puppies for dinner. This is also a must.
3. You want to watch cartoons at the hotel. Not really negotiable.
4. You insist on lunch at Panera! No, make that Moe’s.
5. You want to play basketball, hit the climbing wall, swim at a cool aquatic center, and go to an overcrowded, overstimulating museum for kids.

We had a good time.








photojournal by young master oscar

January 3, 2014 by

one of the trove of gifts bestowed upon oscar this holiday season was a first digital camera. here is his documentation of our holidays (clearly the camera is not optimized for low light conditions):

the rain in maine lies mainly in the main. also, it's cold.

the rain in maine lies mainly in the main. also, it’s cold.

fortunately, stoves keep us warm. also, FIRE!

fortunately, stoves keep us warm. also, FIRE!

all this christmas has made me a bit woozy

all this christmas has made me a bit woozy.

this is how imagine i look when i use my "voice of authority"

what dad imagines he looks like when using his “voice of authority”.

mom's charming mug.

mom’s charming face. still figuring out this whole cropping thing.

my first selfie.

my first selfie.


swimming in confections

November 1, 2013 by
i scoff at your laughter.

i scoff at your laughter.

the dynamic duo took our neighborhood by storm last night for some candy collection. oscar was in the guise of electricity man (his own creation), and he took his work very seriously. emmett was ever-happy to be there, as a friendly neighborhood garden gnome.

mmm, gnomes like candy.

mmm, gnomes like candy.

what goes on (in your mind)?

October 27, 2013 by

what goes on in your mind

i’ve got the inimitable, and now late, Lou Reed (dapper gentleman on the far right) singing those words in my ears right now con subtitulo espanol, and i am redirecting that sentiment at my eldest whackadoodle. there are all matter of bafflements to dredge up here, but today he delivered a perfectly average example of the sometimes bizarre, sometimes dark, and generally hilarious crap that issues forth on the regular. we were having a very enjoyable brunch with friends. their 18 month old son was off to take his nap upstairs and saying his farewells. he had apparently unwittingly earned oscar’s ire either by giving emmett a little nibble, or patting oscar too hard, or who knows really. anyway, when it was oscar’s turn to say his goodbyes this is what we heard:

“Bye, Reuben! I hope you have nightmares!”


this from the kid who would work “poop” or “penis” or “damnit” (ugh, yes, he learned that one from me) into every sentence if only he could. anyway, i think i know what to get him for hannukah. this throwback rossoneri jersey:

Soccer - Italian Serie A - AC Milan Photocall

new and improved. now with extra north carolina, y’all!

September 20, 2013 by
crash bumper

crash bumper


hi ho! we are still awash in boxes, and open to wagers about how long it will take us to finally empty the last one. i might hazard a guess that it will happen within the next 18 months, just in time for us to ponder home ownership (i just threw up in my mouth). i’ll just put up my $20 over here.

mahalo, y’all!


standards are slipping

August 20, 2013 by
why hello, beautiful.

hello, beautiful. you look like the quiet type.  (photo credit KAP)

kim and i find ourselves awfully distracted these days by moving logistics, and the kids are getting short shrift. this is not at all to their liking. to get our attention, they have to come up with new and more outlandish ways to throw things and each other around. which only makes us throw up our hands and wonder loudly just how the hell we’re going to get all this stuff done with these maniacs running around underfoot. cycle, rinse, repeat.

this weekend, while we were occupied with something or other, emmett cooked up a real doozy. he managed to put a handful of pipe cleaners in the microwave, shut the door, and, wouldn’t you know, turn that bitch on.

a short fire later, everything’s fine. i think we may have to start keeping an eye on these two again.

one kid’s trash . . .

August 15, 2013 by

wastebasket brother

Wastebasket Brother

Someone put their baby brother
Under this basket –
The question is exactly why,
But I’m not going to ask it.
But someone, I ain’t sayin’ who,
Has got a guilty face,
Ashamed for lettin’ such a lovely brother
Go to waste.

                          –Shel Silverstein

in the noise

August 10, 2013 by

in the noiseit seems that any measurement process worth more than its component parts has to be able to preferentially detect signal (that being the thing you are concerned about) from noise (that being the thing you couldn’t care a whit about, but which also happens to be collected through your process). and there is something alluring, maybe even quest-like, about the search for signal. something that even inspires art. the image above, for example, which happens to be a strip chart recording from a radio telescope of the first discovered pulsar, got re-appropriated into one of the most iconic album covers of the past few decades. but, if your signal is lost in the noise? you, my friend, are hosed.

we rely completely on a 3lb processor of neural tissue perched atop our flailing bodies to filter out all matter of unwanted noise that bombards us on a daily basis. on the plus side, this puppy is open source and totally programmable. on the minus side? most of us are kind of lousy programmers, and our code is a snarled mess not to mention poorly documented. the fact of the matter is that until you can even differentiate what it is you want to treat as signal, you’re going to have a lousy noise filter and can easily find yourself adrift. here be dragons.

i guess it takes a certain degree of consciousness and awareness to be able to recognize when you find yourself in the noise, but it can be an awfully hard vantage point to reflect on the journey’s beauty. and fully aware, but adrift with the dragons nonetheless, have we been, lo, these past few months.

on a typical day, we rarely have bandwidth reserved for processing any more than what is required to get kids where they need to be, prevent them from maiming themselves or each other, and maybe get a little work done. if exercise happens, it feels like a small miracle. if kids are asleep, lunches are packed, and anything we can stand to clean up is swept aside quickly enough to allow us to mumble a few intelligible words to one another before crashing into bed, it feels like discovering 20 bucks in your pants.

the field of view can sometimes feel suffocatingly small. and yet, somewhere along the way we became acutely attuned to the fact that the future laying before us here in Santa Fe couldn’t include all of the things that we felt we needed and that the situation was becoming untenable. we love this place, and i love my job. but, for a variety of reasons we knew that it was time to go. kim has been performing her duties as a post-doc 1700 miles from her colleagues, holed up in the back of our house. the public school system in new mexico was just ranked dead last in the country, and you gotta know they faced some stiff competition. kim and i are both products of public school education and the prospect of having to send our kids to private school or roll the dice on admission to charters was enough to make the stomach turn.

so, ok. awareness. but going from that point to actually defining what it is we want or truly need from a place we live/jobs we have has been arduous. i’ll omit most of the hand-wringing for brevity. in the end, kim was offered a truly amazing position that seemed too good to refuse and we have been trying to put pieces into place around it. rationally, we know the move makes sense. it maximizes the likelihood that both of us will have gainful employment, puts our kids in good schools, puts us a hell of a lot closer to family, etc. emotionally, we remain ambivalent.

we want to put roots down somewhere. we want this to be the last time we move for a good long time. we want to have a community of friends at least something like we had in college and high school and that we haven’t had in what feels like a really long time. all of those things seem to point us back toward, gulp, chapel hill, nc.

this all feels a bit scary. or a lot scary depending on the day. for whatever its shortcomings, we love santa fe and fear that life in a place that is incredibly convenient but a good bit less spectacular may feel a bit hollow. kim is understandably scared out of her gourd at hopping on the tenure track after having been incognito for a few years. i am intermittently petrified about moving somewhere without a full-time job waiting for me at the other end. processing all of these pieces of information, trying to make some sense out of them, trying to know what is best for all of us as a collective feels daunting. it is confusing. but we’re taking a leap of faith that something better awaits us. and if it doesn’t, we formulate a new plan.

i just read a profile the other day in the nytimes of the author george saunders. i hadn’t known him by name, but it turns out he wrote one of the scariest, most hilarious stories that i have read. anyway, the piece ends with a quote from him that i have been holding onto tightly. “Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.”


July 31, 2013 by

in spite of the torrid sunshine that has our reservoirs at a paltry 3% of their 1990s levels, a bit of a gloom has set in over the rosen/powers these past couple of months. though brought on by the increasing certainty of our permanent departure from santa fe, escaping the mental fug and stress of sorting out what happens next in our lives required us to decamp from the city temporarily for the pacific northwest.  kim was due to spend a week in seattle for a workshop, and there were a list of irresistible novelties we could take in by all joining her: things that are green, things that are wet, friends we love. the prospect of the trip made me giddy.

kim may not have gotten the quietest, most productive week at her workshop with us in tow, but it was a real treat for all of us. we spent a couple of days on orcas island at the invitation of the adamses, whose kiddos became thick as thieves with oscar and emmett.


the official walk of orcas is the gambol.

the official walk of orcas is the gambol.


then the boys and i spent a week running around seattle and its environs, taking ferries, hitting museums, and seeing friends.



fickle fans

fickle fans

ballard locks with the o'connor/eaton crew (minus a very important eaton)

ballard locks with the o’connor/eaton crew (minus a very important eaton)

high in the olympics with dave, adi, and anna (not pictured because i am simply the worst photodocumentarian)

high in the cascades with dave, adi, and anna (not pictured because i am simply the worst photodocumentarian)

love you, ranier.

love you, ranier.

Fool me twice

July 2, 2013 by

Typically, the boys can play unsupervised for, oh, maybe 2.5 minutes before someone starts crying. So imagine our delight when we heard nothing but giggles from down the hall for 10 solid minutes tonight. I should know by now that when it seems too good to be true, it probably is, but the allure of actually accomplishing something while the boys played proved too much to resist, and I allowed their merry-making to continue. When I finally checked on them, I found them in the bathroom. Eating toothpaste.

After correcting their behavior in a slightly less measured tone than my pre-children vision of a good mother would have used, I went back to cleaning up the kitchen, assuming that surely the boys would stick only to safe, sanitary activities for the rest of their lives. 

We can all see where this is going.

The next time I checked on them — mere minutes after the toothpaste incident — I found them dropping toys into the toilet. 

Calgon, etc.


Swim-diaper chapeaux



And we shall call him “Manimal”

July 1, 2013 by

Our sweet little force of nature turned two on Friday. We celebrated with pizza, cake, presents, GRANDMA, neighbors, and RAIN. Happy birthday, my crazy dynamo.
















search and destroy

June 25, 2013 by


the world can seem a big, scary place. after wrestling with that reality for a few decades, i wouldn’t say i’m closer to coming to peace with it, but i’m at least willing to acknowledge that i have to live alongside it. but now let’s say that you are four. let’s say that you are beginning to flex your powers of logic, but that the concept of reason is still flitting about overhead like the aurora australis.

then, perhaps, you imagine yourself as powerful, or even all-powerful. are you strong? yes. do you want guns that can shoot? YES. you use them on bad guys, for sure, and maybe even on your brother.

it’s a complicated thing that oscar now wrestles with, and it’s not always easy to watch. when he’s behaving like a petulant teenager, it can be downright difficult. i’m not sure that he’s not skulking off to his room and slamming the door just so he can crank up some iggy and the stooges:

I’m a street walking cheetah
With a heart full of napalm
I’m a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb
I am a world’s forgotten boy
The one who searches and destroys.

-Iggy Pop

which, of course, is a brilliant anthem. but, it can give me pause and make me wonder where this little guy wanders off to sometimes:

oscar dwarf

or, the guy who can be an awfully sweet big brother to the kid who turned his whole life upside down almost two years ago:



Where on earth have we been?

June 20, 2013 by

Mostly, we’ve been very busy uttering things like this:

“Just a minute, Emmett. Dad is still cleaning the hummus off your shoe.”

Friday night rituals

Friday night ritual

raising the roof

raising the roof

Tour de cuisine

Tour de cuisine

Do you want some brain soup?

Do you want some brain soup?

Pretty, pretty princesses

May 7, 2013 by

Say hello to Pink Princess:


And his/her brother/inspiration, Purple Princess:



April 9, 2013 by

So this is what households with little boys are like.

Tortilla face masks

Tortilla face masks

Working together

Temporary cooperation

No more monkeys

No more monkeys

Emmett, eat this balloon.

Emmett, eat this balloon.



march madness

April 1, 2013 by

I KEEP six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views;
I know a person small—
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!

She sends’em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes—
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!



“Oscar, do you want a snack? Would you like challah or pita?”
“Dad,  . . . ,  I want challah on pita.”

merry-go-round chalkboard

“Dad. Dad. DAD! I have a groundhog in my shorts.


among the thugs 2: easter

among the thugs 2: arroyo easter egg hunt. (it’s about to go off).

when it goes off

when it goes off.

it is quite possible that chocolate will be rationed for the next several months unless we can surreptitiously feed it to the compost.

sounding a barbaric yawp

March 12, 2013 by


White Sands Yawp

White Sands Yawp


Very Large Array Yawp

Very Large Array Yawp

Tent Rocks Yawp

Tent Rocks Yawp


still, life

March 3, 2013 by

it gives us great pleasure to know that there are people we love out there, most of whom we see all too rarely, who care enough to sporadically frequent this page to check in on all things rosen-powers. this blog serves just as much, if not more, as our own repository of thoughts that we return to in order to remember just what it was like back when we were ________. in part, looking back reminds me of how much more frequently i applied myself to documenting things here, and how hard it can be now to set aside that time. i guess life with two wyld stallyns is just like that.

here it is, march. ground thaws, stems bud. spring winds stir. as seasons change, a time lapse:

wistful muppets

muppets, pondering on windowsill

docent love

docent love (playing accordion door)

job fair

job fair


classical conditioning

February 5, 2013 by

conditioned stimulus elicits conditioned response.

for emmett, the response is breathtaking (you may have to listen closely for the stimulus, which is the microwave’s ding):


kim rejects the classical pavlovian construct. she has a conditioned response to a lack of stimulus, which is to try to add something else to the assortment of things she’s trying to juggle. so, now that the kids are willing to entertain themselves for a few minutes at a time without going at one another’s throats? seems like it’s time to have another one! which, of course, is insane. but, while i remain wholly unconvinced, she does seem to have convinced oscar. he is all ready to have another sibling to boss, and even has a name picked out. so, world, prepare yourselves for the remote possibility of welcoming the soon-to-be legendary JAPANDA rosen-powers. i have pinkie-sweared him that if there is another kid, it will absofreakinlutely be named japanda. no question.

don’t even think about taking it, any of you other fools.

of course, this stroke of genius is the product of someone who is a fool in his own right:


Toddler Style Guide: Eyewear

January 23, 2013 by
Fashionable Fruit

Fun & Fruity

Geek Chic

Geek Chic

Pride Specs

Rainbow Brite Retro

Another trip ’round the sun

January 15, 2013 by

Oscar turned 4 years old yesterday.  We celebrated this very special occasion with ceremonies, presents, donut holes, scones, somersaults, and chocolate cake.

Those in attendance at Oscar’s preschool “birthday circle” were invited to describe things they love about him.  Common themes were his inquisitiveness, his listening skills, and his expertise in activities such as “robots,” “Batman,” and “bad guys.”  Prior to this sweet little lovefest, Oscar was invited to walk four times around a candle, and then to blow out the candle while making a wish.  (His wish?  A baby sister.)

Eli will need some convincing for that particular birthday wish to come true, but hopefully last night’s tumbling class was at least some consolation for our birthday boy.

Birthday scone, anyone?

Birthday scone, anyone?

Getting the wiggles out

Working off the birthday treats

boys club

December 18, 2012 by

boys being boys

it’s been a fever dream of a week doing all sorts boys-only stuff. (and staying away from the news, words for which i am not yet prepared to commit to page).

bellies have been scratched, oh yes. see-saws have been totally owned. havoc has been wreaked. presently, we wreak.

fever-dream rosen/powers men channeling the clash (photo by the great bob gruen)

fever-dream rosen/powers men channeling the clash (photo: bob gruen)

and now we welcome home the matriarch.

next up, the full complement of rosen-powerses takes our punk rock on the road. look out, maine.




December 15, 2012 by

A facebook friend posted the following quote today:

“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”  

– Elizabeth Stone

I gasped when I read it.  Actually, to be honest, my reaction was so visceral and so raw that I almost gagged.  I may be especially sensitive to such sentiments at the moment, what with the indescribably heinous events in Connecticut and the current transatlantic distance between me and my own kids, but damn, Elizabeth Stone, I don’t think I’ve read a single more apt description of a single thing ever in my life.

I have to admit, before I became a mother, I really didn’t understand (at all) colleagues who would lament being away from their young kids for a few days.  I get it now.  It is brutal.

Three more days until I get my adorable little munchkins back.

Beach and Caldera 025

Working Mum

December 13, 2012 by

My work as an infectious disease epidemiologist has taken me to some pretty cool places.  This week, I am visiting some majorly brainy colleagues at Imperial College London, wringing them dry of their mathematical modeling knowledge so that I might have some hope of finishing a ghastly project I have been fighting for awhile now.

I hate (hate!) being away from my kids for half a day, much less *nine* days (the total duration of my current trip).  As I was leaving Santa Fe on Sunday, a fellow passenger on the airport shuttle asked me where I was going and for how long, and I immediately broke into tears.  Yesterday, in my absence, Emmett fell into a cactus (oh, Santa Fe!) and Oscar’s brand-new boots went missing at school.  How can I be missing these crises?  What kind of mother am I?

On the plus side, today I am going to the Imperial College holiday party, which is sure to be a wild event.  (Seriously.)  And yesterday, the building where I work was evacuated and the LFD came because some of those silly Brits were partaking in a little Christmas cheer with some of their traditionally British crackers in one of the Imperial College conference rooms.  Apparently, they set off the fire alarm with the tiny bit of gunpowder that gives those crackers their ‘POP’ (oh, London!).

And, well, here is the plaque on the Imperial College building adjoining the one where I work:


How cool is that?  Being surrounded by so much infectious disease-y, English awesomeness almost (almost) makes up for the intense suffering I inflict upon myself when I leave my kids for work travel.  (But I will still be glad when it is over.)

Oil of Olay

December 6, 2012 by

Life has been running us a bit ragged these days.  So ragged, in fact, that a stranger just five minutes ago referred to me as Oscar’s grandmom.  Time for a new skincare regimen, it would seem.  Or maybe just a little sleep sometime.

We’re looking forward to a 10-day respite in New England over Christmas.  Maybe while we’re there we’ll manage to post some photos of our TOTALLY AWESOME Thanksgiving road trip to Utah.  In the meantime, we’ll just be here, aging.

Mom, are we keeping you guys busy enough?

Mom, are we keeping you guys busy enough?

dia de los muertos

November 1, 2012 by

i’m all for pagan rituals as, it would seem, are a lot of others. kim chaperoned oscar’s school party and then we hit the neighborhood streets.  after years spent living in neighborhoods that didn’t receive a lot of halloween foot traffic, we are now smack dab in a mecca for kids from all over town. we carved pumpkins and roasted the seeds, but i see that there is a gulf between our enthusiasm and that of some of our neighbors. lawns were decorated with giant inflatable things. houses were haunted. it was pretty fun.

Because I could not stop for Death (712)

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed us –
The Dews drew quivering and chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – ’tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity –

Emily Dickinson

spambots disperse

October 26, 2012 by

this is a place of omphaloskepsis, not weird spammy links. apologies to those few of you who encountered a couple of odd posts above the usual quality of this domain. rest assured that these offensive things have been removed. their rotting spammy corpses have been affixed on poles to send a message.

now we can resume the sporadically updated travails of four real, cohabiting humans.

adobe emmett


The birds and the bees

October 12, 2012 by

A few months ago, Oscar asked me if Emmett was in my belly at the same time he was.  The way he imagined it, they were both just always in there, waiting for their own special time to emerge.  When I explained that no, Emmett wasn’t yet in there when he was occupying that space, Oscar conceived (see what I did there?) of a place called “Madea” (MADE-ee-ah), where all babies wait until they go to their moms’ bellies.

Since then, Oscar has referred to Madea several times in passing, and I think it’s just the cutest thing that 1) he came up with this place, and 2) he has this unwavering, unquestioning certainty that it exists.  Last night, as we chatted in his rocking chair before bed, he asked me if I knew I wanted a kid back when he was still in Madea, and was I happy when I found out that he was in my belly.  I told him that yes, I had always known I wanted a little boy, and that I was so happy when I found out I was going to have him.  And then there it was:  “Mom, how do babies get in their mothers’ bellies?”

D’oh.  I had always assumed that I would have no problem answering this question when he finally put it to me, but lo and behold, the best I could do on the spot was, “Wow, that is a really great question and I promise we will talk about it very soon.  It’s a really long story, so let’s save it for this weekend, ok?”

I study STDs and the behaviors that transmit them, for chrissakes.  I talk about this stuff every day at work, so what’s the big deal?  Fortunately, Oscar was happy to let it go for the time being, but I owe the kid an explanation the next time he asks. And with that explanation will come a whole new set of material for his “inappropriate for school” vocabulary.  Move over, kitty poop (his lunchtime chant at school a few weeks back):  you’re about to be replaced with some even more cringe-worthy stuff.

Soon after emerging. So innocent.

catch and release

October 2, 2012 by

Fall is upon us and the smell of pinon smoke mixed with roasting chiles is back in the air. It is that absolutely majestic time of year when the aspens turn golden and a chill in the morning still gives way to warmth by midday. These are busy days. Swim classes, impending work travel, work hard, play hard. Family coming, halloween, fear of nightmares. Packing school lunches, corralling boys, cleaning the house(?).

Letting things go. Like butterflies.

That pesky work-life balance

September 13, 2012 by

A facebook friend just posted an excerpt from Anne-Marie Slaughter’s recent Atlantic piece entitled “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All.”  Somehow I missed this passage when I read the article originally, but I had an immediate reaction when reading it on facebook earlier this week:

“Louise Richardson, now the vice chancellor of the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, combined an assistant professorship in government at Harvard with mothering three young children. She organized her time so ruthlessly that she always keyed in 1:11 or 2:22 or 3:33 on the microwave rather than 1:00, 2:00, or 3:00, because hitting the same number three times took less time.”

Me (to myself):  Ohmigod, that is brilliant!

Me (to myself, about 5 minutes later):  It is seriously fucked up that I just got so excited about shaving fractions of a second off the time I spend microwaving.

Note to self:  if you ever find yourself resorting to such tactics out of a feeling of necessity, it is time to slow down.


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