That’s All Folks!

Did you watch cartoons as a kid? I remember this slightly disappointing phrase at the end of the episode. It has been running through my mind as Spring Break ends. I had ten days off and guess how many of those days I was sick? three, five, seven nope: ten! And still counting. My fever is back today.

I am convinced it is related to declaring that my word for this year is to “Listen” and I really haven’t practiced it that well. A girl like me loves to talk and how else can I quiet myself?


I have been to the doctor’s twice, spent close to ten hours in the ER, had an IV, was definitely dehydrated, and misdiagnosed as having colon issues. I had a CT scan with iodine warming my insides, and all I could think of was the radiation. I had a fever every day and the most terrible pains inside. They are fairly certain I had a virus but the first round of medication worsened the situation. I am sparing you even more details of this illness. Let’s just say I have been wrecked.


This means facing true heart ache. I struggled with disappointment while laying around, doing nothing, as every single day of spring break slipped by. This meant canceled plans over and over. And wow, did my kids shine!

They were just happy to be. I did a lot of listening to my family.  I heard Paul teaching Henry the ins and outs of chess. I was impressed because I don’t have all the pieces memorized. DSC_9664 I listened to the details of the camp out. Paul’s first sleep over ever and I missed it. Joe picked Henry up because he wasn’t entirely ready.


I listened to Henry write and draw a book about a cat, that evolved into tigers, and the drawings are the sweetest. DSC_9650 I oversaw projects from the couch and listened to them really help one another.


Meanwhile Joe was the hero: cooking, cleaning, going to class, shuttling children, and wrapping up paperwork to substitute in Long Beach. He doesn’t favor multi-tasking or having to lead the whole show at home, but he does pretty darn well. So it was hard not to feel like I was sucking the life out of the week for everyone. DSC_9686 But man, is it humbling. To not be able to feed, bathe, or care for my children and to depend on others. To stay positive in my prayers rather than bitter and frustrated. Believe me, tears were shed about deserving a spring break and wanting to go outdoors and needing this time with my family. I guess I really needed some time with myself. I have so much to wrestle and work out.

Olivine also wound up with another respiratory infection. Her and I were sick together for the first five days. But by now, she knows the medicine and procedures. Sure she pushes it away, but for the most part, she handles it. Luckily, we have a pediatrician who takes extra steps and is very helpful with running tests on Olivine.

And that is a wrap up of this household’s spring break.

Permission & Promise

Permission is being granted to myself to practice over break and in my life, the art of being present. To drink sparkling water as much as I want (are there side effects?), wear shoes without socks, sit on blankets in yards or parks, leave my wrist watch at home (sometimes on purpose), and to not have “plan.”

Joe really hates when I ask about the “plan for the day.” His usual answer is “whatever we want” or “eat, sleep, …I don’t know.”


The promise is to my family to try harder to say “yes” instead of “no.”

That means when Olivine asks if she can wear a bathing suit I don’t give her the list of why that isn’t the best idea. Instead I realize we live in Southern CA, I want to encourage positive body images, and note to self: she asked, rather than told me. I have to look at the bright side(s).


That means when the boys ask if we can go to the park and I have a running list in my mind, instead of sending them to their rooms- I drop what I am doing and go with them.

Once in a while, I promise to live as spontaneous as I feel. Otherwise you- my dear children will never know that your momma has a bit of a free spirit inside. Or you, Joseph, will forget that your wife fell in love with a boy in SF who would jump on a bus and make up the adventures as we went, winding up in all sorts of places. I was (am) just happy to be at your side.

The Hunt

Paul was wide awake, like I used to be as a kid, waiting for everyone else to wake up.


We had a small hunt indoors, like a practice before the game.


Then friends joined us to make the early trek up to Signal Hill.


Only requirement was pajamas.


I love watching and listening to the expression of children find anything hidden. It’s a mixture of wonder, surprise, and pride wrapped up in a single moment.


Joe did all the work (he hid 95 eggs) before we arrived.

DSC_9617 It is one of these parental moments when I am aware that my joy is a contagious effect caused by their joy. I never fully understood this before having kids. It’s how I imagine the delight of God is with us.


The kids were looking high and low, until buckets were full and we ready for breakfast.


There is always a count to round up any last eggs.


We came home and seriously enjoyed two full documentaries (Jiro Dreams of Sushi & Bill Cunningham New York) in the living room, with the projector.

The Easter Egg

For the first time in thirty-five years, I have been able to make the connection: I look around and see a symbol of life and hope. This year I spent the last few weeks hiding and moving these sparkle eggs around the house. A game for the kids and an active form of prayer as I think about the many ways the resurrection of Jesus has saved my life.

DSC_9682Even as Joe and I sat stuffing eggs last night, my heart said prayers. For those who are far and abroad, those we have lost touch with, those we miss who have passed on, those who are here, those who we wish we saw more, and I know God remembers even those I have forgotten.

Christ is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed!

Spring Break Plans

The boys sat down this morning and drafted their “Bucket List” after watching me make a “to-do list.”
There ideas are full of adventure and amazingly affordable. This will guide us over the next ten days.


Joe and I squeezed in a sushi lunch date today, while the kids went to say farewell this afternoon because we won’t send them to childcare next week. Oh also, we all slept in until 9 am. This feels like such an amazing luxury.


This is the reaction to hearing the vacuum cleaner.


Like a bunny: she just hops up!

Shared Space

Sometimes I have to say thanks for this small, cozy apartment. I know that if we had a bigger place, they would each have their own room. Although I sometimes wish that was true for bedtimes, timeouts, or a little peace. Although truly- I am glad they are in a room together.


Paul has enough room to spread out his Play mobile figures and make believe all sorts of adventures. While Henry can play legos and maybe interact with him or just play nearby.


 And Olivine is happy to carry a baby doll and pretend to talk on the phone.


Is her expression making you believe that she is talking to someone? Because I do plenty of double takes wondering what in the world she is laughing at.

I look up and I see this


But my heart feels like this:


They don’t really need the same supervision and I’m the only one who notices.

One Rack

I decided one rack would be all I needed to inspire this cupboard.


This was the type of cupboard I opened quickly because of how precariously I shoved it all in. Over half of the stuff I don’t need, once I took it all out and laid it across the kitchen floor.


The entire time I asked “Do I love it?” which is much more helpful than asking “Is it useful?” because what I have found is that in my kitchen, it ALL can be useful for something. That’s how I end up with cupboards that have so many bowls and cups.


In the end, only what I love is nestled inside. And the rack, did just the trick. What I had been doing before was justifying the clutter to help keep my cutting boards in place. No careful leaning to one side if they are shoved in.

Expect more spring cleaning shots as break approaches. I can’t do it all in one swoop, but I can have mini-bursts of inspiration.

And the bonus for this round was to hear Paul say “Wow Mom, you could actually see what is in there and it’s not all crazy looking.”

Yes Paul, I promise your momma doesn’t love crazy. It’s just what happens when I am not paying attention.

Keeping in Touch

Friends from Minnesota visited yesterday. This time bringing along the exciting news of a new baby. Expected arrival: sometime in August and a possible road trip back this way, six months later.
DSC_9452 We had an afternoon of catching up
DSC_9470 walking to Lola’s (a serious stroll with so many little legs)
DSC_9484 many stories shared
DSC_9486even a little time for drawing and picture making.
A wonderful way to spend a Sunday.

Small & Mighty

These two words keep popping in my mind when I behold this baby girl.


This was the dress she wore over her clothes several days in a row last week. Along with the dress came random outbursts of singing. Did she care she had a heat rash on her shoulder from wearing this constantly?


She had her three year old check up last week (a little late). The pediatrician has a formula for her age, height, and parents height to let us know that of our three kids she will be the shortest. To make up for it, she is determined to be the loudest.


She is still carrying around her blanket. We don’t let her take it to the child development center for nap and she is managing. It is unraveling and she pays no mind. But we have begun asking: “when will you not need your yum-yum?” So far, we are getting the clear answer of “When I am five.” This is reasonable.


I cut her bangs in the tub again. Not one of her favorite past times but she is increasing in patience. Some days she even lets me pull it back in a ponytail.


Some staples in her wardrobe are boots (she has two pairs: rain and cowgirl) and just like the boys. She realizes that boots are the easiest shoes for a toddler to put on herself. And she loves a good hat. This is baseball hat given to her by George. In the photo above she is insisting on being the leader and is about to get distracted by the amazing window display of the roller derby shop. They have hello kitty skates and girls who smile and wave from inside.


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