We went camping, and had lots of fun.


Camping is always more expensive and more work than I remember it being last time. I think to myself that we surely must have purchased all the gear we needed last time, but it turns out we need to upgrade this or replace that. And then we had the extra turkey, who not only took up a car seat that we had previously used to pack stuff, but also required her own life’s comforts. It was baby Junia’s first time camping, and she spent her time covered in a film of dirt.


The weather was great—we got a few warm days and we went to the beach. The water was too cold for really swimming, but the kids got a dip in, even baby Junia. We ate smoky hot dogs and oatmeal and ramen, on the cold mornings we all huddled around the campfire.


It is always more work, but also it gets easier each time we go, and I suppose I’ve also learned to just hum along with the chaos. Yes, someone’s shoe started smoking too close to the campfire, but no one’s foot actually caught fire. No one ate any vegetables for four days straight, but there are tomato fumes, the essence of tomato, really, in ketchup.


Upon scrolling through my photos, I’ve discovered that most of them are of Junia, perhaps because that’s my station in life now: tending to the little Ewok while everyone else goes to fetch water, to pick up firewood, to play Bonanza during naptime.  



Can’t wait to do it again (after a six-month recovery period).




One of the most daunting challenges I’ve had as a parent is contemplating the journey to turning your kid into a reader. Despite being a teacher, I did not really anticipate this before having Caleb, and certainly was not focused on it during the late nights/early mornings of infant hood, in the self-flagellating tracking of milestones, with the psychological burden of keeping another human alive. When it finally occurred to me as yet something else to be worried about, I realized how little I knew about teaching a child to read. Caleb is now 8, Naomi 5, and we have library cards and we have books as booby traps on the stairs and every once in a while there’s silence in the house and it turns out they’ve got their noses in some adventure and I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that things are moving in the right direction and it’s not a book about setting things on fire.


Starting all over with Junia—with the diapers, with the nursing, with the endless laundry—was already a big enough mountain, but contemplating the mystical/supernatural feat of convincing a child that things on paper, those funny little black marks, could be interesting? I had put off contemplating. However, it turns out that this, among other things, is a bit easier with the third. Junia has been feeding herself with food off the ground, stealing bags of marshmallows in an effort to roast her own, and beelining for Caleb and Naomi’s treasures left laying around, one shoe on, one shoe off.


It is true enough, what they say: the things that they see you interested in will be the things that interest them. She wants what Caleb and Naomi have, and thank goodness every once in a while they’re holding a book.


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May 21, 2023 — Liz Chan



Johanna said:

Seriously, is that level of cuteness even legal? Beyond adorable; love your posts, many thanks for the laughs they bring.

Helen Hsu

Helen Hsu said:

Oh my word, how adorable is the little one and your beautiful photos and memories. Thank you for sharing, Liz.


Anu said:

This is utterly delightful!


Nina said:

I was so charmed and even goose pimpled by the intensity of Junia “reading” and her tiny perfect foot. Thank you so much for taking me along. Looks like fun was had by all.


Vic said:

Don’t you sometimes feel that you’re living inside some strip of BABY BLUES, CALVIN AND HOBBES, or even ZITS? Cheers! Vic (from Portugal)


Diane said:

Oh Liz, I adore your blog posts. Tickled to see Junia walking, and that Ewok suit is just the best! Thank you for sharing this slice of your life with us. Xoxo

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