My heart swells these days when I watch Paul help his siblings. It could be his age (almost seven-What!) or my noticing more.DSC_5767Without asking, usually just glancing over, he has become this kid who willingly plays with his brother and sister. He is unafraid to be silly and sweet with them. This morning, he was pushing her on a swing and laughing. Later, he was helping with helmets, buckling seat belts, and passing out water bottles. He is this guy that Joe and I find ourselves talking about late at night because of  the changes have come about so quickly. He calls his friend Mario on the phone and invites him to the park. He loves to climb into his bunk bed and put on a cd to dance to or lay quietly listening to a baseball game. He makes eye contact and orders his own food when we are out. I overhear phrases like “excuse me” and “thank you” fall from his lips without prompting. It is the reassurance that  although life is not perfect he is turning out to be a great kid.

Only Olivine

Sometimes I think we are all adoring this little girl so much that she couldn’t possibly want anything more. Then I realize she is very attentive to the individual attention paid to her brothers. They both started school, Henry is in soccer, and she is only two. Happily, that is why she has a Grammy who can indulge her with just a little one on one time. Which I know every kid needs, even this baby girl who is seemingly spoiled.

DSC_5810This ended up being a shoe shopping trip. With not just one but two pairs of shoes being purchased.DSC_5775I guess my mom couldn’t resist her big brown eyes. Or maybe it is all the choices shopping for a girl brings. Which I denied before having a girl, but now will fully admit. There are tons more choices and colors and styles and it can by mind boggling.

But this momma heart feels thanks. These days, any extra time, that one of my babes gets with the folks they love, warms my heart. I know I can’t be in more than one place at a time. I am fortunate to have a job. I am ecstatic Joe is in his LAST year of school. But it doesn’t take away the ache to make sure my kids have their needs met. She doesn’t need shoes. Not at all. But a little time with no brothers interrupting her, no parents pushing her little legs to walk faster, and a seemingly endless amount of time with just her Grammy is seriously priceless.

Play Dough

I consciously fight against the guilt of not being able to volunteer in the kid’s classrooms or push the multiple fundraisers sent home (don’t really want to hit up all my other friends who have kids). So when opportunities arise- like at the Child Development Center- to sign up to be the “play dough parents” for a few months I know there is grace for working parents.
DSC_5782 Our first batch is due by October first (fast approaching) and we decided to double the recipe.
DSC_5780 Just a few ingredients and some tips on-line about food coloring to use.
DSC_5785 Easy to make and intentionally mixed while our youngest slept.
DSC_5797 This gave us the rare chance to be with the boys and make a mess in the kitchen. Two things I need more of in my life (truly).
DSC_5783Henry handled the oven stirring and measuring of ingredients.
DSC_5786We all made our own color balls. We experimented with color mixing.DSC_5796By the time she woke up, there were plenty of colors to choose from.
DSC_5798She was more than happy to just play with each color.
DSC_5799 Henry joined in.
DSC_5802Honestly after this I found myself wondering why we hadn’t made any of this sooner. We will definitely be doing this again.

Back to School Night

Thanks for Grammy for watching little ones.

What can I say? I love the teachers the boys have. These are seasoned ladies who are experts in their field.I am taking notes for my own classroom (estimation jars, centers using plastic bottles, locks with numbers matching keys with equations). Tonight is the overview for the year and a preview of work done so far.


I am proud of Paul’s penmanship. Joe and I are strong believers in handwriting. Yes, he should type but he should also know how to form letters nicely.DSC01158His classroom will have pen pals (so fun), a monthly author study, multiple field trips (some via city bus), and the grand finale will be a performance in a play. They have already started Reader’s Theater scripts.

Then there is our Henry.

DSC01157His little smiley face thrilled to be at school with a backpack and a desk.DSC01156There is a ton of exploring, manipulating, and general fun in his room.DSC01154I am impressed with all that is being done in these classrooms. High five for public school.


It’s been so hot that we dragged the mattress into the kid’s room and had a family room with our one tiny swamp cooler. One week of that is about all I can handle but it is sort of fun.
DSC_5710When it is this hot, dinner becomes a challenge because I don’t want to stand at the stove or oven. Our little apartment holds all that heat when the air is still. Happily, Paul suggested making veggie sandwiches. He made them for us and pretended to be the guy working at Subway. Strange part is, that was Joe’s first job in high school and Paul is probably the only person who thinks that is awesome!DSC_5709the laundry is easy with boys in uniforms. It’s the smallest one who wants to wear crazy outfits (this is one of the last outfits my grandfather bought her that still fits-it’s Easter themed with a baby chick) and I love it.
DSC_5719We visited our favorite free train ride at Goat Hill Junction.DSC_5724These three are the perfect age to enjoy this train ride together. An overcast morning is perfect for a breeze and enjoying the open air.DSC_5725The days are full and the nights are short. But we are having fun as we go in different directions some days and meet back up at the dinner table to share what we have learned.



Books Come Alive

My kids are super into the Rosemary Wells series starring Max and Ruby. So when they picked up these vampire teeth in the dollar bin at Target I thought they were just getting into the Halloween spirit early.DSC_5733But then I saw the book and I knew right away they were imitating Max with all those colorful teeth. Although his were candy that gushed out jelly.
DSC_5737I love that they are make those connections.

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!”


on SundayDSC01151when it’s 7:30 pm and 94 degrees out.

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