Essays on the myriad pleasing details of family life by the author of Daddy's Home! (1990), an English professor (Sarah Lawrence) with an eye for the magic in the mundane. ``What is this thing called love, I wonder, lying beside my wife on a narrow sofa in the middle of a Sunday afternoon....How have we managed to navigate the sandy shoals of marriage and parenthood...? And what, God forbid, would we ever do without each other, entwined as we are, body and soul?'' So go Schnur's unabashedly sentimental ruminations on the birth of love and the complex family life that can result--as perfectly pitched for Valentine's Day as a Hallmark card. Having married his high-school sweetheart, a graphic artist, Schnur went on to buy a small house in the country, work as a magazine editor, and, eventually, hope for kids. It took a number of years--the Schnurs had their bout with fertility clinics--but they finally hit the jackpot with a first child and then, shortly thereafter, twins. Along the way, Schnur found he adored being the neighborhood ``dad''--more available than most of his neighbors for horsey-riding, swing- pushing, hair-mussing, and baseball-tossing. It's in these little moments that he finds material for his essays: in ``Love Letters,'' wherein the sight of a mother walking with her children inspires him to write a note to his wife; in ``The Universe Over Breakfast,'' in which Schnur attempts to discuss metaphysics with his family at eight in the morning; in ``Four Generations,'' in which Schnur's grandmother plays with her great-granddaughter and wishes she could see the child when she is grown. Offering few true literary insights, and at times smacking of a deliberate intent to manipulate and charm. Nevertheless, a pleasant diversion for those with no time to smell the flowers in their own backyards.