Little Owl

This girl is watching our every move. She has these big eyes that just take in all info. for later use.

Joey1978 RulezHere she is (rockin’ new pants I bought from Japan) showing off her openingJoey1978 Rulezand closing the drawer skills. That’s the napkin drawer. “Look momma, no hands!”

Little Tokyo

I am also fond of the name “Japangeles” for the area- is where we spent our Saturday afternoon into the evening.
DSC01144Starting with the Japanese American Museum
Joey1978 Rulezfeaturing an exhibit on the Dodgers was the main reason we went.
DSC01141As this exhibit closes, there is anticipation building over the upcoming celebration of Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary. We will surely be headed out there again, next month.
DSC01140I actually (like any good field trip) learned new information
DSC01136 about the history of this local baseball team in regards to race and equality.
DSC01138 Then we snacked on mochi ice cream

Joey1978 Rulezlistened to the street performer
Joey1978 Rulezand meandered our way into a restaurant for sushi and ramen.
Joey1978 RulezAlthough I didn’t capture it on film (no regrets for living in the moment instead of behind the lens). I will make it a point to acknowledge my children tried eel and squid at the shared table. I am proud of their risk taking and willingness to try something new. We have proudly fed them vegetarian meals but realize this is our choice. We want them to eventually decide for themselves if they want to eat meat. I strongly believe their choice should follow after learning or experiencing otherwise for themselves. What was their reaction? They loved the eel and Henry said the fried squid tasted like a worm. But there you have it, all three ate seafood last night.
Plus, Mimi can translate signs in Little Tokyo. We did get asked if we were sisters and started day dreaming again about a giant trip (nine of us in two families) to Japan. She goes almost every year and I have always wanted to go. But this is the kind of trip you plan, save, dream, plan some more, research, and who knows….I am hopeful. This is a place Joe and I would both love to take for so many reasons: speed train, hello kitty, crazy fashion, fresh noodles, and family history.

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Joey1978 Rulez

Meal Planning

This is one area I am seeking advice, tips, and any other clues from my friends who have big families. Who manages the grocery shopping and meal planning? Around here it is a typical team effort, but it is still a challenge. Even after owning several cookbooks, joining a CSA box, having a farmer’s market a block away, and being a vegetarian since I was thirteen.

As I get older I have found I love a good taco, add a little cilantro and I am set. In this image I cooked black bean with zucchini, topped with a little cole slaw type salad (thanks to my friend Tina’s mom for the recipe) on a corn tortilla. This is my go-to meal for gluten free friends. My kids love when I set out the ingredients and make it family style. They will each eat two tacos (Henry had three).DSC01128Any vegetarian house has to eat its share of pasta as well. We do wheat pasta with sauce or cheese. I love when I can fill a plate with salad and fruit and my kids are happy to eat up.DSC01132We also have nights where the kids get to pick the meal. Paul loves a good tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. He wants this in his lunch but he doesn’t understand that a lunch box is better suited for non-heated items.
DSC01134Other nights we have make your own pizza or a stir fry. My kids will eat veggies over noodles or rice most nights. Then there are nights where I go to Subway and am so grateful for the grace of the young girl making our sandwiches, as my children shout over me “peppers, spinach, avocado, and jalapenos.” I was in shock at the volume of their voices, while she was in shock that my kids would eat sandwiches with all those veggies. This week I had a 101 fever and my meal planning fell to the way side. But I am determined to get better. When the weather cools down I plan on busting out my crock pot and I have yet to make one “salad in a jar” for work (a recipe I found this summer). I wish Joe didn’t have class four nights a week, but I truly treasure sitting down with my family and eating food while talking.

Open Air

The shade and breeze at El Dorado Park was all I needed today.
Joey1978 Rulez An excellent way to beat the heat and wrap up our week.

Soccer Season

We are taking the plunge this year to keep our boys active by joining team sports. I registered on-line and this past week, we took Henry out to get his ball, shoes, and shin guards.Joey1978 RulezWe agreed that Henry could play soccer and Paul could play baseball (luckily the seasons are opposite).
Joey1978 RulezToday (while I taught at the college), everyone else went to the first practice and game. Paul and Olivine were the champs who hung out in our new, five dollar, folding chairs.
Joey1978 RulezThey stayed hydrated and gave me plenty of scoop on how much fun Henry had.Joey1978 RulezThe team colors are red, he has a uniform, and loves that he is number 14.Joey1978 RulezWe gave the boys a choice and are capitalizing on their strengths and interest. One thing I know about Henry: he likes to run and kick, so soccer is his game.

Framed & Reframed

In order to help the many brains in my family I decided to color code and frame our schedule. This is an outline of our schedules for this fall:DSC01130In order to fight back the anxiety that it will never work, I am using my favorite psychological technique to convince my brain otherwise: reframing. I am actually surprised at how quickly I can improve in reframing a situation.

Joe is really good at this, when he practices it. He will replace his assumption that people are jerks when pulling out in front of him or driving terrible, with images of people balancing hot coffee in their car. He is suddenly sympathetic and laughing to himself.

I am learning that my perspective (after my Wed. melt down following the kids return to school) makes the biggest difference in the world. My friend Pilar has often echoed in my head as I am making school lunches. She has shared how rather than see the task as mundane and terrible, I can be grateful I have little ones to make a lunch for. I can cherish their dependence on me for this season. They delight in a sandwich and some fruit, which I can delight in as well.

I am reframing my job as gift and a calling, rather than a chore. A chore would be any of those jobs I had before being a teacher: working fast food, waitressing, or a cashier at the natural food store. I am reframing my dirty dishes as the opportunity to practice silence and to scrub out any frustrations on the food chunks. Rather than the seeing the dishes as an obstacle that I have to overcome.

I am reframing my days and routine as the seasons change. It is not a permanent schedule or a “rat race.” Life is the moments we decide to focus on.

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Joey1978 Rulez

First Day

Joe and I both had our moments this morning.Joey1978 RulezWe remembered when Paul started TK (Transitional Kinder) and we had a toddler and a baby in our arms. I fought back tears all morning.Joey1978 RulezI could tell from these photos they were nervous and excited and just wanting to be there already.Joey1978 RulezI am grateful for a job and an administrator who supports my choice to miss work today. It was a last minute decision but I have a reliable sub contact and I didn’t want to miss this milestone.Joey1978 RulezI love that side by side, their backpacks are such a reflection of their personalities. Paul’s is a bit more stylish (even the inside is striped) and Henry’s says “happy camper.” If my investment pays off, these should last longer than this year (fingers crossed). Plus, I really don’t like cartoon backpacks, shoes, or clothes. These were a summer search, because naturally my kids gravitate to those unmentionables.Joey1978 RulezPaul hardly needed a hug. He just wanted to be with his friends. While Henry became suddenly very shy.Joey1978 RulezHis eyes watered up, we reminded him we would be back. Joe had to nudge me out the door. It was hard but so good. He was all smiles when we picked him up. He even has a friend Charlie (a girl, whose name I love) that he has known since he was three in his same class (a pleasant surprise). I am anticipating an awesome year, he has teacher whose name is Mrs. Love. She even called on Monday to welcome Henry to class. We are all back in school. It’s official, we are busy!