We spent Thanksgiving at Aunt Kathy and Uncle Chris’ house. A true feast. We spent time playing out back.IMG_1829The kids have free rangeIMG_1854with so much to do.
IMG_1845I love this backyard.DSC_7209Plus there was a baby cousin to cuddle.DSC_7227An intimate Thanksgiving missing those far away and no longer here. We are grateful for a house full of love.


:: to regard with admiration and devotion, to be very fond ofDSC_7203is the perfect word for Paul’s sentiment toward Olivine. He went to run errands with me and insisted we buy her a sparkly, blue, “Frozen” nightgown. He recognized that all month had been an unending stream of celebration for him and Henry’s birthday. I willingly indulged his adoration for his little sister. She was over the moon and not entirely convinced it was just for bed.

Busy Ones

The routine away from school throws us all off. The kids ask “when do you have to leave?” I get to proudly exclaim that I am home and free.
Everyday they found ways to entertain themselves and I didn’t hear any “I am bored” complaints.

They made notes for friends
DSC_7061played with legos
DSC_7131together or by themselves.
I found a template for cards. So we painted
DSC_7139 and colored “thank you” cards.DSC_7136We took in a sunset from Signal Hill
DSC_7253and looked across Los Angeles.
DSC_7238We had a movie night, painted our nails, played football outside and volleyball (with balloons) inside. They slept in on some days and woke up early other days. We started reading “By the Shores of Silver Lake” by Laura Ingalls Wilder and we cried to learn that Mary is blind and that their dog Jack has died. We are grateful that for the first time we had a week off for Thanksgiving. What a gift.


Morning Prayers

Someone has been watching her father. I heard mumbling, singing, and I peeked in her room. She was facing the wall, with her mini bible, and she was giving thanks.DSC_7110She really didn’t want me to take a picture, but I couldn’t resist. I could hear her naming her toys, her books, and people by name. Giving thanks is a part of praying that this little one is already beginning to understand.

Free Time

This is another marker of my age or frame of mind. If I am given some free time, where children are busy playing and I am left to my own devices. I find myself organizing.
DSC_7091I am all smiles to open a messy shelf,
DSC_7093pull it all out, make a give away pile, wipe it down,
DSC_7094and then happily put it back.
DSC_7095I have not gone so far as to intentionally create clutter. I swear. It happens so fast around here. I look up and suddenly I can’t handle the mess. These kitchen shelves then inspired a fridge clean and drawers being cleaned out. It helps that our apartment is small. Not a lot of space, means not a lot of stuff.


We love the lights that are out, twinkling and bright.
DSC01223 Grammy treated us to ice cream
DSC01227 at the new shop on Second Street,
DSC01229 a liquid nitrogen ice cream.


Happy Holiday

DSC_7105I love these type of random art projects he does at school. It is a life size, self portrait pilgrim.

Making Space

Dump it all out. They are excited and overwhelmed all at the same time. I wipe it all down and we toss and sort and load up bags for donation. We decide together what stays and what goes.
DSC_7107We put it all back in an organized way. They love to see it all go back in with a little more space and knowing which tubs hold what.
DSC_7108We have agreed that it all must fit in this Ikea shelf. Top two shelves for games, a tub for trains, a tub for balls, and white boxes hold all others. Three kids in one room make this organization a must.DSC_7112An hour later they are jumping around the rug
DSC_7120pulling out the toys they insisted on keeping and enjoying them with all the free space. There were no tears, it was painless. But we are learning together to live with less.

Officially Five

Henry was given a birthday party two weeks ago because his birthday falls so close to the holidays. However, we made sure to leave up the birthday banner and celebrate today.
DSC_7129 He had a small gift waiting for him
DSC_7151 and his cousin came over to go to the aquarium. I really think these boys could have stayed at this one tank watching the giant lobsters and eels all day. They had sound effects and stories galore about these creatures.
DSC_7166 Henry has grown leaps and bounds this last year. He learned how to ride a bike, joined a soccer team, and outgrew his naps on most days. Usually at night he falls asleep fast and hard, with snoring because he is so active. Jich’s nickname “Putter” still fits him. He has that restless energy of my Jich and the wandering attention of his father. My latest passion is to watch his eyes light up when he makes connections between books and real life. In the book we are reading there is a girl named Charlotte, just like in his class, but he calls her Charlie. He is currently growing his back molars in and you would never guess. He is as happy as a clam most days. He is also an adoring big brother to Olivine and an admiring younger brother to Paul. Last night he turned his bottom bunk into a castle for his princess Olivine and tonight he dragged all the blankets out to cover the floor for an imaginary picnic. I can’t get enough of his big hugs, sweet smile, and silly laugh.
DSC_7183Happy Birthday, Happy Henry!



My grandma’s idea of heaven consists of a big surprise party with all your loved ones greeting you.DSC01209She was an amazing woman who served in the Navy and is leaving behind a legacy of 3 children, 3 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren. All through my years in college and SF, she sent type written (yes with a type writer) cards with 5 dollars included for ice cream. Talk about making me feel loved and bringing a smile to my face. She gave Joe and I our first car when she stopped driving. DSC01219She had a memory made strong with crossword puzzles and mystery novel reading. Her piles of books were part of her environment. She loved astrology and had a real “sixth sense.” Joey1978 RulezThis past Thursday she quietly slipped off to her party. It’s why I refuse to be too sad in my remembering because she is not in pain. She is celebrating after a full life of 86 years. We shared wine on this side of heaven, in her honor, confident she is having a blast. DSC00852 But she will be missed.