...is for Elisabeth. My sweet, silly, passionate, always-on-stage, strong little one. She's such a good sister. She amazes me every day. She is also a force of will. Oh, my. We butt heads much more than I care to admit. But how would I have learned so much about myself and the world and parenting and, oh, everything, without her strong presence?

Elisabeth & James & valves

...is for euphonium. (Or "muphonium," as Elisabeth says.) My husband's first instrument. He also plays trombone and can get around on the trumpet and tuba when he needs to. I have never been really inspired by brass instruments, but over the years of having this man as my life partner, I have learned to appreciate -- and really love -- the mellow, not-quite-as-brassy sound of the euphonium. It is so understated. Like him.