Pasta Party

Friends came back from New Mexico and my kids couldn’t wait to see them.
Joey1978 RulezTheir teeth are missing in reverse. They both look like pumpkins.
Joey1978 RulezA love of noodles made dinner easy, followed by a movie.Joey1978 RulezWe know the school year will get busy so hopefully we will cram in as much late night, extended play time, food for many, and low budget gatherings as possible. I hope you will call, come by, or meet us somewhere because we still have a few more weeks of summer vacation.


Joe and I recognize the need for “a place for eveyrthing” and easily start shoving or piling which leads to chaos quickly.

My friend Jenny gave me a website (iheartorganizing) and of all the ideas I really liked her cord organizer. So we dumped the cordsJoey1978 Rulezand with an empty box (6 dollars at Target) we made cardboard dividers and covered them in paper. By the end we had sorted and used our label maker to help:Joey1978 RulezI am looking forward to the saved headaches and avoided arguments by this simple idea. We did this in one night, together, and are ready for more.

Mermaid Party

Fiona turned two and had a mermaid party. Olivine wore a special dress up outfit:
Joey1978 RulezI made some snacks
Joey1978 Rulezthe Jello had a strange consistency. I never made it before, but I thought it would be easy. Guess, I should practice more.Joey1978 RulezJessica had plenty of sea themed snacksJoey1978 Rulezand treats (white chocolate on top-yum!)Joey1978 RulezThe best piece on the table had to be this amazing fruit bowl Uncle Chris carved:
Joey1978 RulezJessica had a treasure hunt for the kids.
Joey1978 Rulez She had big kids hide eggs and little kids go hunt. There was a giant egg that Henry found.

Joey1978 Rulez
Mustaches were one of the prizes inside:Joey1978 RulezHuge hit! More than enough food (I took some extras), a slip-n-slide (that I didn’t snap photos of), a ton of mermaid presents, and did I mention that Jessica is having a baby next month. So she should have been pooped. I also feel lucky that I can call them family.
p.s. This means there will be a baby to cuddle soon enough and I can’t wait.

Big Girl

Olivine likes to point out how long her legs are or remind you that she is not so heavy when wanting to be carried. We hardly take her stroller anywhere, she is wearing underwear all day, and not wanting to sit in a booster or highchair ever (because her brothers don’t). There are many times a day I hear “me- big girl!” Today it was because she wanted to go to swim class (for threes and up), kick the soccer ball (couldn’t keep up with Henry), ride with Joe on his bike (he couldn’t find her helmet),  take a shower rather than a bath (I gave her a bath), and climbing out of her crib three times without help. We can hardly keep up is what I am trying to say.

Honest confession: I don’t want to keep up. This last of my babes has sprouted much faster than the others. I want a baby to hold and cuddle and carry in a sling. I am having difficult recognizing the family with three kids. Didn’t I always have a baby, either around or growing inside?

Joey1978 Rulez

I can’t hold time back or reverse it. I can only find moments where I give in. Tonight was that moment. I hate the idea of her being able to climb out and run around and maybe get hurt. So rather than sleep lightly to listen for an escape, Joe quickly took the bars off and converted her crib into a bed.Joey1978 RulezThe boys love the “couch” and she is within reach of the floor. As I tucked her in she smiled. I told her she was a big girl with a bed just like her brothers. The need to be flexible and open to change is a challenge, but a necessary quality in parenting.


The most recent realization of being older than I feel has come as a result of blood tests and an organ ultra sound. The results of which were emailed to me during my road trip. I learned I have liver disease and a gall stone.

What?? Who me?

No need to panic. I am vowing to currently hold off on the internet searches of webmd until my next appointment, later this week. I definitely don’t feel a youthful invincibility that I might have felt just five years ago. I am much more quick to ask “what should I do?” and “can this reverse?”Joey1978 RulezThe most immediate response from my doctor is to say farewell to alcohol (not the cause of my liver problems, but also not helping). I am not a drinker by many standards. But in the heat, and a work free summer, a cold beer or cider sounds lovely. The date works out well enough, my birthday has passed and the month is coming to a close.

Other changes: consistency in exercising (might need a pedometer) and less desserts/bread. This is way scarier than the alcohol. My vegetarian diet contains a decent portion of carbohydrates, that I am going to start moving away from. Don’t worry family: I will still serve you pizza, sandwiches, and pasta but I might be adding in a bit more greens with an extra helping for momma.

Road Trip :: Bay Area

Before we drove directly into our old neighborhood for a burrito and some leg stretching, we wandered around Lover’s Cove (in Monterey):Joey1978 RulezWe let the kids get out of some of their energyJoey1978 Rulezand I sucked in as much of that sunshine combined with ocean and reflected sky that I could.Joey1978 RulezI held hands with my little one and dug my toes in the sand.Joey1978 RulezMeanwhile Paul was simultaneously elated to have found this net and heartbroken to learn we would not let him bring it in the car with us.Joey1978 RulezBefore crossing the bridge to our hostel in Marin
Joey1978 Rulezwe made sure to stop in the Marina and take note of the difference between the bay and the ocean. We looked out at Angel Island and Alcatraz, as I made mental notes that these were places to visit when our kids were a tad bit older.
Joey1978 Rulez Happily, we saw friends.
Joey1978 RulezPeople usually make a place much more special feeling. In the city there are memories everywhere I look but those don’t matter as much as the chance to catch up with or just tag along like we did, and feel like we are in a home away from home. Not tourists or people passing through, but we are hanging out.Joey1978 RulezWe made it just in time to celebrate Dallis’ birthday
Joey1978 Rulezwith pizza, balloon, lotto tickets, and ice cream.Joey1978 RulezWe stayed up late and laughed a ton.Joey1978 RulezThese are friends we wished would move to Los Angeles (you better at least visit more, now that you bought a Prius).Joey1978 RulezIn the morning, we laid under open windows exposing the crispy air of the forest.
Joey1978 RulezWe last minute decided the best souvenirs of the city might come from Chinatown.
Joey1978 RulezA special place in Joe’s heart after working there with youth in Americorps.
Joey1978 RulezSo we splurged on wooden swords and a red umbrella.
Joey1978 RulezWe bought poppers for the walking and sesame balls for snacking.
Joey1978 RulezWe played in multiple parks.Joey1978 RulezWe tried to catch a sunset
Joey1978 Rulezand even asked strangers to take a family photo of the five of us.Joey1978 RulezWe saw Daren (which my kids voted for over my offers to take them on the trolley or the Farmer’s Market in the Ferry Building).
Joey1978 RulezWe drove across the new Bay Bridge while reading zines
Joey1978 Rulezand catching glimpses of the tearing down of the old bridge.
Joey1978 RulezWe visited the Exploratorium

Joey1978 Rulezand found an echoing tube that sounded like it came from Goggles! by Ezra Jack KeatsJoey1978 RulezHey, this room looked like the Mystery Spot in Santa CruzJoey1978 RulezThere was plenty to see and hear and touch, like any well made kid’s museum.Joey1978 RulezMy favorite pieces were these chairs and the “potty fountain”(Olivine’s name for it) which none of my kids would drink out of. It was a water fountain made from a toilet. I saw lots of funny sibling posed photos.Joey1978 RulezA close runner up was this outdoor installation that was modeled after the tides and kids could climb around in itDSC01079 This museum is located on Pier 15, which ten years ago, looked so different. The city is endlessly changing with construction in almost every corner, and at the same time rich with history and world famous landmarks. It is familiar and yet strangely new, all at the same time.Joey1978 RulezPaul wanted to see Giants stadium
Joey1978 Rulez(He adores sports these days).
Joey1978 RulezI think these little ones saw more of the city than we thought possible.
Joey1978 RulezWe walked a bunch (with no stroller and no baby sack). This scene is from Lands End (out near Sutro Baths with new trails)
Joey1978 RulezOf course we had burritos and falafels in the Mission,
Joey1978 Rulezpacked up the car at the end of the week,
Joey1978 Rulezand headed home under the big sky of highway 5. I read aloud the last fifty pages of the Cycle of Lies book I borrowed from the library (fascinating-about Lance Armstrong).Joey1978 RulezI come home from trips like this:
a. so happy to see my bed
b. fired up to plan our next adventure
c. sad we didn’t have more time (john, serena, nicole, phillip, sojourner’s’) to visit with all the people we miss
d. thankful that we have a family rhythm that includes summers and family vacations

Road Trip :: Central Coast

The whole push for this road trip that transpired in less than week, was visiting my Auntie Lily. She is the younger sister (the Olivine) to my Ji’chan. She is the sibling (besides my Aunt Dorothy who has since passed away) that I am closest to.
Joey1978 Rulez She lives in Salinas, down the street from the high school my grandfather attended before World War II.Joey1978 RulezI have been here  often enough that I  can instinctually find my way from the freeway, pass the downtown, and out among the shrinking small farm fields my Aunt’s house sits.
Joey1978 RulezWe had dinner together and played in her backyard.
Joey1978 RulezWe brought flowers and jam, picked up at a farm stand and a coffee shop. She asked about the boy’s enjoying their magazine subscription (for the last year I had no idea who was paying for it- so sneaky). She told me about her falling a couple times in the last year, I gave her my apologies for not showing up at my grandfather’s memorial (she would never ask, but definitely seemed confused). In the conversation, more than once she called him my dad, which is how I feel.
Joey1978 RulezI thought for sure, procrastinating this visit, that I would burst into tears when seeing her. I regret not having seen her when she came down for the memorial from last year. She reminds me of my grandfather in a multitude of ways. However, the tears followed the visit, driving back to the hotel. While visiting, I was immensely thankful.Joey1978 RulezI read books with Olivine on a blanket my grandfather’s mother made from scraps of fabric. A fifty year old blanket that looked incredible.
Joey1978 RulezAnd to look up and see my children bonding with my aunt,
Joey1978 Rulez was priceless.
Joey1978 RulezWe promise to return, to write more letters and make more phone calls,
Joey1978 Rulezmaybe bring tents to sleep in the backyard.
Joey1978 RulezThen headed back to the hotel. We stayed in Monterey so we could also visit the aquarium,
Joey1978 Rulezwhich is always worth the cost and the crowds and the parking.
Joey1978 RulezThe two special exhibits featuring  jellies and tentacles left us in awe.Joey1978 RulezPlus the boys asked a dozen times to promise to let them return when they were eight and sign them up for the dive class.Joey1978 RulezOh how we love aquariums!Joey1978 RulezThen we hit the road again:Joey1978 RulezJust a bit further north.

Road Trip :: Solvang

I decided it was high time we stopped into this town that in Dutch is called “sunny fields.” This was one place Joe remembers visiting with his parents. His mother loved it. When I looked around, I could see her love of walking the European styled streets filled with shopping and food. It was the perfect stop in our drive.
Joey1978 Rulez The kids loved the horse drawn trolley and I loved the windmills.
Joey1978 Rulez This was our spot for lunch
Joey1978 Rulezand play
Joey1978 Rulezas a family,Joey1978 Rulez
which was followed closely by napping and enjoying of the scenic Highway One drive. Joey1978 Rulez Stopping occassionally to take in the view of the beautifully diverse coastJoey1978 RulezThe boys loved jumping out, taking a peek over a cliff, and jumping back in.Joey1978 RulezWe braked for the Elephant Seals. Paul called them “ugly, gross, and fascinating.” Henry guessed their burp like talking was because they had water stuck in their throats. We agreed their body movements looked similar to mermaids.
Joey1978 RulezI will also take a quick moment to say my boys impressed me. They sat in the car for hours and just enjoyed the view. Joey1978 RulezEven my baby girl. By the end of the first day, we opened the door to hotel room, she jumped on the bedJoey1978 Rulezand looked like this (no joke).

{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.DSC01075


Slice of Heaven

This is my new favorite:DSC01055chai latte out back, at the “new to me” table and chairs (thank you, Pilar).
I am debating about painting the set red and possibly investing in an umbrella.