There are lots of people you don't know well enough to not understand.


I need some time off from being in the air.

- Explaining why he combed his hair down that day.

Silas defending his vocabulary

If you don't make up words, you're wasting your time.


Feels like I have a transformer in my mouth, trying to get out.


Herding Efrems would be like herding cats.

May talking about the quantity of food she eats

My fair share is smaller than everybody else's.


I wonder, what do atheists do on Sunday morning?


My head goes so much faster than reality.


I didn't think I would be old fashioned this early.


I can't eat litchis. I don't understand this fruit.

Efrem to Silas on his 18th birthday

Are you Democrat or Republican?


Grown-ups are basically just teenagers with more money

Efrem in the department store La Samaritaine

All this shininess is wearing me out.

May trying to talk to Silas, age 17

Silas: Why are you talking to me about this? I want to listen to Beethoven.

Dan teaching Silas how to park a car

It's all about getting your rear end in the right spot.

A conversation with our sons, the conservatory students...

May: All Classical music is Christmas music

Efrem: No it's not, like Beethoven's 5th or Dvorjak?

May: What about Tchaikovsky, the Nutcracker?

Efrem: Silas, isn't Tchaikovsky Romantic, not Classical?

Silas: Efrem, when regular people say 'classical music' they mean all the music composed before the 1900's when jazz emerged...


"Wouldn't it be great if sugar were good for you?"

I totally agree.

Efrem, who thinks his dad's grey hair must be the norm

"It's weird, Uncle Jason doesn't have any white hair, and he's over 40..."

Silas, yes one of those life lessons.

"You have to wax the WHOLE car?"


"How could someone live without cookies and butter?!"


"I can see how some people can get addicted to olives."


"If God is brighter than the sun, it must be really hot in heaven."

Efrem, after eating a pile of nachos for dinner.

"Oh man. I am certainly weighing way more!"


"Silas, you're driving me up the road!"


"Why isn't there a brother's day?"

Dan and Efrem working on homeschool together. 

Dan: This week you have to write a poem

Efrem: Great, does it have to rhyme?

Efrem, for whom "Etats Unis" truly means vacation. Though it quite literally means United States.

"Why do the French say 'Etats Unis' when they talk about the United States. Doesn't that mean, like vacation or somethin'?"

Silas, a chip off the old block

"Mom, can I have brownies for breakfast?"

Silas, talking to Efrem just after Dad told him he couldn't take a baseball bat downstairs while taking out the garbage. 

"You come with me. You'll be my baseball bat."

Efrem, after his mom said she was tired of having noodles at lunch

"How could you lose the miracle of noodles?"


"Dad, do you comb your hair?"

Silas, who must really like to whistle

"Don't make me smile! I can't whistle when I'm smiling."

Efrem, the great philosopher

"Being homesick is better than being carsick because if you're carsick you're sick to your stomach but if you're homesick you're just sad."

It was inevitable

Efrem: Daddy, does the tooth fairy really exist?

Dan: Do you really want to know?

Efrem: Yeah.

Dan: No, he doesn't exist.

Efrem: What?! Then who puts the money under my pillow, Santa? 

Efrem (he learned this from his daddy, but it's cool that he too recognizes it)

"May rocks!"

Silas to May

"You need another girl that can understand you."

May, concluding her rant

"Josh Groban should be in musicals, the kind I wouldn't watch."

One day in December

Dan: What are you doing?

Silas: I'm writing my Christmas list.

Dan: Are you going to include 'peace on earth' and 'good will toward men'?

Silas: Maybe, if I have room. 

When neither of us knows what we're talking about.

Dan: I have too much chalant to do nonchalent.

May: Whatever, you don't have any chalant. 

Efrem, who is really into Dr. Seuss

"The Cat in the Hat is a rock star, man!"

Efrem, it's a different generation...

"There's no pause on television?"

Silas, while watching a bird search the cracks between our porch stones.

"I'll bet it would be difficult to tell between a real bird and a robot bird."

Efrem, while eating a cup of soup 

"Is it hot in the deep end?  Where is the deep end?" 

Silas, while watching the USA playing Switzerland in olympic hockey 

"Swiss means cheese."

May venting about the word "hebdomadaire"

"I bet the Belgians don't use that word anymore!"

Silas, who really didn't like our pumpkin soup with curry.

"This soup is not gracious!"

May, who plays violin and lives in the melody of the moment.

"Bass guitar is like salt.  You can't really taste it, but you can tell when it's not there." 

Efrem, following his sharp five year old logic.

 "When that guy had food coming out of his ears, did he go see the doctor?"

Efrem, going to look at our weather station, even though the sun was shining in our window. 

"I knew it, it's sunny!"

Efrem (4 years old)

"When I'm a man am I gonna get whiskers?  Whiskers make you talk like a man."

Efrem to Silas (4 years old)

"What are you makin' in this world?"

Yes, it's true

Dan: Mommy and Daddy haven't shown you guys our superpowers yet.

Efrem: You guys' super powers is spanking.

Efrem (4 years old) as Dan was generously frosting a birthday cake.

"That's enough! I don't want to get a chocolate mustache!" 

Efrem, the flower lover (4 years old).

"Forgetmenots are soo pretty because God made forgetmenots." 

Efrem (3 years old) as we drove up the mountain to a ski area and finally saw some snow.

"It looks like merry Christmas!" 

Silas (almost 7 years old) as we took down Christmas decorations.

"It feels lonely now." 

Efrem, after he had plugged the vacuum cleaner into the telephone outlet.

"I think we need new batteries." 

Silas (6 years old)

Silas: I'm serious!

May: Hello serious, I'm May

Silas: Don't start that again, or else I'm leavin' (pause) with the car! Dan. No explanation needed.

"Don't dance...please." 

Efrem (3 years old) to Silas, who sometimes acts like a parent, or grandparent...

"You are NOT my grandparent!" 

Silas (6 years old)

"Cool, look at those cloud formations!" 

Did you ever say "cloud formations" when you were in first grade?

While May was combing Silas' hair

May: See, Efrem, I'm making Silas handsome. 

Efrem to Silas: I'll save you!


"I'm not very grammarish."

Dan to Silas, before his stomach was awake in the morning.

"Eat now and your stomach will get used to it later." 

Efrem (3 years old) as he stretched his curly bangs down past his eyes.

"My hair is falling" 

Silas (6 years old) after seeing the Mariners and Orioles play.

"Do you know who won the [baseball] game we saw? The Oreos!" 

Efrem (3 years old)

"I need to sun scream!" 

Silas (6 years old) having lamb roast for dinner.

"It doesn't seem edible, but I'll try it." 

May, at a loss to respond to one of Silas' vague questions. 

"That's like throwing a question out of an airplane. You need a parachute on it." 

May on French kitchens.

"It was the most sensible of the nonsense." 

Efrem (3 years old) holding his favorite toy  for that day. 

"This is my treasure." 

Just a father and son talking about life.

Dan talking to Silas: Life is quick. 

Silas: It's not as quick as you think. Life is as slow as the world turns. 

Silas (6 years old), commenting on his dad eating cabbage.

"Who's being jurassic around here?" 

Silas (6 years old), as the smell of May's homemade bread filled the apartment. 

"This morning I want Rice Krispies and newborn bread!" 


"Drinking coffee stunts your imagination." 

It's a theory, but probably true.

Silas (5 years old) after a little disciplinary talking to. 

"I think that when you turn 33 you will have already forgotten this day." 

Silas (5 years old)

"I have an internet in my brain" 

Something I never said when I was 5! 

Silas (5 years old) after Efrem accidentally broke Silas' clay boat.

"Efrem doesn't appreciate my art!" 


"Having kids ages you about 20 years in 15 minutes." 

But I think she still looks pretty young, don't you?

Silas (5 years old) to May during an allergy sneezing fit. 

"Are you just about to blow up?" 

Silas (5 years old) commenting on Easter Peeps. 

"It's very ingenious and I love it!" 

Silas (5 years old) on a snowy day in April.

"I guess winter came to say a little bye-bye." 

Silas (5 years old) 

"My tongue is sticky!" 

Silas (5 years old), we're on the middle of three floors. 

"This house is a Workman sandwich." 

Living in Kandern Germany, Hauptstrasse 5

Silas (5 years old), as the moon slid behind a hill while we were driving home.

"It (the moon) misses us to smithereens" 

Silas (almost 5) 

"Let's separate into one group." 

About cheese

May talking to Efrem: Silas loves that kind of cheese (mozzarella). 

Silas: I ate it SO many times and it did not kill me! 

May, referring to the sores and peeling skin on her palms and fingers.

"Won't it be amazing when my hands work?" 

Hanging out one day

Dan talking to Efrem: Ouch! don't bite. 

Silas: What happened? 

May: Efrem bit daddy. 

Silas (with a frightened gasp): Is he poisonous? 

Silas (4 years old)

"If you drink too much coffee it will turn you into cement" 

We have no idea where that came from. 

Silas (4 years old) 

"Do you think I'm as loose as a monkey?" 

Silas (4 years old) 

"Do dinosaurs have souls?" 

Silas (4 years old), commenting on his dad's "Blue Man Group" album. 

"This music is obnoxious!" 

Silas (4 years old) 

"Careful not to get coffee in your nose." 

May, about to go on her German language learning route 

"I get to go be silly. Have fun, guys, being normal" 

Silas (4 years old) 

"Hey momma, have you ever got your face inside out?" 

Silas (4 years old) 

"I lost my tastebuds at France." 

Silas (4 years old) 

"I don't know where my eyebrows are." 


"You have shoe sprawl."

This was most likely directed at all three of her boys.

Silas (4 years old) to his mom

"What's for dinner tomorrow, babe?"

He knows that's not appropriate now!

A conversation between Silas (4 years old) and Dan:

Silas - What if this whole place (our apartment) was filled up with pajamas, up to the ceiling, and we couldn't hear the buzzer? What then?

Dan - What if there were no hypothetical questions?