Penny’s Party

Penny turned one and we were delighted to celebrate this milestone.DSC00681This is Joe’s genuine pleasure at such a laid back event.
DSC00624It was the ultimate summer party
DSC00621with water play
DSC00629 and a hammockDSC00605turned soccer goal.DSC00685I envy the wrap around yard of this corner house in Corona. The yard feels like a small park with grass and fruit trees, squash, tomatoes, garden sheds, a wooden deck to hang out on, flowers, and a picket fence.
The sunshine is abundant and so staying hydrated becomes my mantra. I love when they listen.DSC00630Henry made sure to take care of his sister in the throngs of children.DSC00676Then we drove home and the fog rolling in over our neighborhood makes me grateful that only so close to the ocean, in the middle of summer, do you find such strange weather. Luckily, we know enough people with fantastic yards to visit that I am content to be where we are.


My children have now seen this movie three times and I have officially seen the entire film once (last night). I will say Olivine was singing (very loudly) “Let it Go” in her room yesterday. So it seemed like an easy, free, summer tradition to walk over to our park and go see a movie last night. DSC00603Our friend Julia joined us with her mom. Who was right in saying it felt almost like we were chaperoning a baby date between these two. They hardly talked to us, as they giggled and shared popcorn under one blanket.

This is another great feature of Long Beach: almost every week night the parks feature kid’s movies for free. They can bring blankets and pillows, wear pajamas, because when it ends after 10 pm, they are wiped out.

{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.DSC00596

Eating Outdoors

This is a Sullivan family pastime, enjoyed most parts of the year, living in Southern California. I might say that back in SF we had plenty of practice as a couple living in community and needing space to be alone (head to the beach or park with food). Or the fond meals spent in our outdoor patio as newlyweds, inviting others to make good use of our space.

These days it usually involves sandwiches and other items thrown into bowls. Last night’s dinner was tossed together in under ten minutes as we decided Farmer’s Market would be lovely. DSC00586

Long Beach has a Farmer’s Market almost every day of the week. Each one with it’s own vibe: Sunday is gigantic, Wednesday has a wonderful breeze, Friday is the hussle and bussle of downtown, but we are biased to Tuesdays: one block away is the best.DSC00584

We camp out on the grass, boys bring bikes, and baby likes to sample the fruits. Last night she was dancing a ton, and random singing. She and Henry will give the farmer’s a thumbs up if they like the fruit. DSC00587

Paul likes to people watch. This kid could look at people all day (me too). My favorite is multiple generations in a family and seeing the resemblances across the years. Or Joe and I like to play a game where we talk for people, who are far away out of ear shot, Paul will listen in and sometimes he will even pitch in a line.DSC00585Joe likes me to scout out breads and sauces and dips to try. Summer gives us the time and courage to try out new flavors and live less predictably.DSC00589Lots more play in our spirit these days.DSC00590If you are free on a Tuesday afternoon or evening you are welcome to join us at the Farmer’s Market. Nothing fancy but lots of fun.




Swim Lessons

A word of mouth, local instructor is what we signed up for. She is affordable, not too far, and the one on one lessons are what my boys need at this age.DSC00582We are doing three weeks total, spread out over the next two months. The lessons are daily and I am hoping to see progress. My only real expectation is more confidence in the water and of course; swimming.
DSC00581Paul loves wearing his goggles. They each get to wait in the hot tub while the other one takes their lesson. We are off to a strong start.
DSC00580Thanks for the recommendation Julie.

Henry’s Friend

Henry is just getting to the age (four) where he has his own friends. Julia is a younger sibling of Paul’s friend Thomas, but Henry sometimes calls her his girlfriend.
I hear that sometimes they stand at the fence talking (at the child development center) or his teachers will take him over to her age group where he can play with her. On those days he would come home talking up a storm about “playing princesses” and listening to Julia talk about the kitty in her backyard.
In fact last Wednesday they greeted each other at the Farmer’s Market by running full speed and then hugging for the longest time. He likes to lift her up a little as he bear hugs her. She will giggle and squeeze back.
Honestly Henry adores her, so when she turned five and had a Frozen party we were all in. DSC00557Especially when we heard Princess Anna would be there.
DSC00556When the bounce house was empty, somebody snuck inDSC00564and eventually worked up the courage to hold hands with the life size pinata.DSC00570Henry doesn’t always like to sit still. I was surprised at how attentive he was to the story and joined in on the crafts. He made an Olaf sculptureDSC00574and an Olaf necklace. He even wanted his picture with Princess Anna.
DSC00565I know he is also mentally taking notes about the details of a birthday party. He is incredibly eager to turn five (like Julia) and have his first party. That has been our promise; at five you can invite all your friends and have a cake and pinata and we will sing to you.DSC00567This kind of afternoon has little boys talking and playing out back, while on the couch DSC00572the youngest and oldest were taking a rest.

Summer Scenes

When my kids think back to summer I hope they will remember these daysDSC00488of playing outdoors with friendsDSC00494in the sunshine,DSC00482or going indoors for pizza parties followed by ice cream sandwich partiesDSC00519and then staying up late with friends to watch a movie.DSC00526The times we said yes to play dates
DSC00475and went swimming instead of being dragged on boring old errands or house cleaning.DSC00477Our undivided attention to read multiple stories (that we can’t always muster during the school year, after homework and dinner and bath).
DSC00457My own memories as a child are filled with summer days that were carefree, spent at my grandparents. I could play for hours in their backyard with my sister. In my imagination their backyard overflowed with fruit like loquats and plums. They had an old bathtub that grew strawberries at just the right height for finding and eating. There were sprinklers and then later, a hot tub for playing in as well. DSC00479These pictures are my way of recording those moments, even for myself, because admittedly it takes a couple weeks for my brain to fully process that I don’t have work.

{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.DSC00283

Malibu Creek State Park

The campsite was clean and spacious.DSC00337On the drive in the mountains, we spotted this Hindu temple nestled in the mountains. Note to self: I need to go to India someday.DSC00445The kids had plenty of room to find big sticks,
DSC00334look at lizards,
DSC00297draw with markers,DSC00291spend time together,
DSC00301read books,DSC00370experiment with the camera filter,
DSC00311play with glow sticks,DSC00374make scary faces,DSC00380use our sleeping bags, side by side, squeezed into one tent
DSC00384gather rocks,
DSC00292and go on a hike.DSC00410We agreed that the shady parts of the path were best, and the sun made us sweat a ton.
DSC00432The lake was a one mile climb
DSC00411and the boys made it,DSC00419there and back.
DSC00408I think I might really enjoy a whole season with these people,
DSC00397who are actually My People. DSC00371The folks I want to have endless adventures with and who make me smile. I get to spend a life time with this group and I am so excited.

El Matador Beach

in MalibuDSC00235down the stairs
DSC00236a picnic on the sandDSC00238then jumping in the wavesDSC00248and a little cliff diving.DSC00271I was keeping the sunburn covered while still soaking up sunshine
DSC00254and the littlest one eager for a swimsuit but not yet ready for the water.DSC00267My boys have such smiley eyes to match their smiley faces.
DSC00249An unbelievable view.DSC00276I can’t believe this is part of the California coast that we get to call home.DSC00278And yes the cliff edge that had me unable to fall asleep without being a little nervous about how close to the edge we were.DSC00277As Dr. Seuss would say: “Oh the places we’ll go!”