is what I think of Chuck E. CheeseJoey1978 Rulezeven when there are no people there because we went early in the morning, the day after Christmas.
Joey1978 RulezAgain, this was a gift from my Ji’chan last Christmas and it has afforded us two trips. So on a whim we went and there is a new one really close to our house (so maybe more clean- and it was).
Joey1978 RulezMy family loved it!Joey1978 RulezSomeone was even unwilling to leave when all the tokens disappeared.
DSC02379That is a big lower lip paired with head shaking while mumbling “nuh-uh.”


The holidays were wonderful and these are just a few of the highlights:

Christmas Eve included time with GrammyDSC02355and an all around toast to a year that has changed us.
We feel the absence of one special personDSC02358but still we gather to ease the pain and focus on the family we do have.Joey1978 RulezPaul learned how to play Hangman.
DSC02360Then we spent some time walking through Naples to admire the lights and the little ones wore their new jammies.
Joey1978 RulezWe woke up to a Christmas morning filled with surprises.
DSC02374We are going with two traditions around here:
new jammies on Christmas Eve and stockings full of love.Joey1978 RulezOlivine loved her chapstick and lotion
DSC02375Paul was requesting a watch, a clock, and a calculator which cracks me up. Although Olivine insisted the calculator was a “baby iPod.”Joey1978 RulezHenry is good with anything. He likes unwrapping more than anything else.
Joey1978 RulezI was given an array of nail polish
DSC02366along with an opportunity to visit the papa salon with my boys in the living room.
It was deluxe!
Then we headed outdoors to climb on rocks near the water, met a fisherman who showed up the clams he uses for bait,
Joey1978 Rulez
came home for naps and went back out during the sunset at the park. Just being mellow and grateful for California sunshine.Joey1978 RulezIt really felt like a summer day.Joey1978 RulezSometimes there are moments where I glimpse heaven, and this season has been one of those. Really Beautiful.

Ta Da!

After four hours at the dealership I bought a 2012 Toyota Yaris.Joey1978 RulezFeatures that helped narrow it down: reliable, gas mileage, and price. I owe (my almost big brother) Sun the real thanks because he was the one doing all the negotiating.Joey1978 RulezThis also means an end to the era of Joe hauling around little ones on a bike cart. It’s been five years and almost two years with all three on a daily commute. It is bittersweet for sure. But we are all excited for this next chapter in 2014.

The Eve

We are hanging out (and the stockings are hung)DSC02343about to enjoy some finger foods this afternoon with Grammy
DSC02346and a bit of holiday cheer.DSC02348After a weekend jam packed.
Starting with the dentist (every winter break and summer break- right away-we go!)Joey1978 RulezI love all the cards in the mailDSC02347The boys have been enjoying extended lego play. I overheard them playing “Santa” and leaving presents at the nativity scene. DSC02339Saturday night was catching up with friends.
DSC02313My friend Cara is a lovely host
DSC02308who has fabulous taste and fun decor in every corner.DSC02323I snapped dozens of photos of her house (I swear I am not being creepy).
DSC02317Sunday was pancakesJoey1978 Rulezthen church in the a.m. and a ton of car dealerships in the p.m.  I have yet to get a car. And for anyone wondering: I have been convinced I won’t be buying the Fiat even though I love it (mint green please). I also won’t be leasing any cars. I did test drive and I do promise to have a car within the next week. Suggestions? I came home with a headache and so glad my family was spared all the hassle of the dealerships.
DSC02340I woke up early Monday to run (Finally!) and take the kids out to the playground. Someone loves to pretend sleep in the swings. I know that exact feeling. Eyes closed. Hair blowing, Safety of Swing. Winter sunshine. Cool breeze on cheeks.DSC02324In the evening I went out with two ladies I love and we ate at Avanti Cafe (new to me and now I love-go vegetarian!)DSC02341I am in need of some serious slowing down, which is the plan for the next twenty-four hours, as we count down to the birth of our Savior.

Blessings to you today.

‘Tis the Season

We are all about the little twinkley lightsDSC02289that glow bright

DSC02284and make us all feel festive. Plus she is singing and dancing up a storm these days.DSC02285Then there are the classroom craftsDSC02291that come home and need to be passed around and tried on.DSC02293


Yum!DSC02301A friend surprised me with a ticket to their first ever Christmas Party.
DSC02295We ate our hearts out and talked and laughed and people watched at the party.
DSC02303This is the all vegan food truck that has stolen my heart with their gravy fries, avocado tacos, cauliflower taquitos, and ice cream sandwiches.
I’ll be back next year for sure.
DSC02304What a fabulous way to celebrate the beginning of winter break.

{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


I am generally the teacher who doesn’t adore field trips. They take a lot of work and can be exhausting. The bus ride is noisy and the continual counting of children makes me feel like a camp counselor. But yesterday’s trip to the Natural History Museum went better than expected.DSC02211When I came home I found Paul ready to just look at books and zone out. While the others were having their own adventureDSC02227“Momma…Daddy”DSC02233 and she points, adding “water”DSC02235I look out to see he is cleaning his bike and bike cart.

She has this pitch to her voice that is different when she says “daddy” to when she calls “daddy.”
DSC02229He is smitten for this baby girl in all her fickle and feisty ways. She calls to him like she needs attention and he drops everything.DSC02230She is spoiled I tell you.

She then calls “Kitty” and “Out” and “Come”DSC02236I snap this before she climbs off her chair and insists on going outDSC02238It is wet out back from all the dirty water and she is not happy to realize I don’t want to go out back with her. She yells “momma, hand!”DSC02239But I know that is mostly because of the steps. So I set her down. She sees Henry and papa.DSC02247She finds a tiny brush and gets to work.

Continue the Countdown

I like this artwork Paul brought home from school. He is supposed to tear off a ring before bed each night so he can countdown to Christmas.
DSC02207This is a great way for him to show off his one to one correspondence counting skills. Which in turn has Henry and Olivine stepping up to the bell to practice their counting. They think their brother is the coolest because of all the learning he does at school. I love how it trickles down in this family.

Hard Work

Before dinner I asked Paul if he wanted to help clean up the kitchen (no pressure)
DSC02202and he obliged .
DSC02205By the look on his face afterwards I know that he felt pride about the rack full of clean dishes.DSC02206While watching him, I am reminded that God made children have hearts that want to help in earnest and serve with their best effort. Like any parent, it’s comforting to think that God is pleased with my effort as long as I try my best. Thanks Paul for a fresh perspective to take with me this week in chores, teaching, driving, and praying.