One Rack

I decided one rack would be all I needed to inspire this cupboard.


This was the type of cupboard I opened quickly because of how precariously I shoved it all in. Over half of the stuff I don’t need, once I took it all out and laid it across the kitchen floor.


The entire time I asked “Do I love it?” which is much more helpful than asking “Is it useful?” because what I have found is that in my kitchen, it ALL can be useful for something. That’s how I end up with cupboards that have so many bowls and cups.


In the end, only what I love is nestled inside. And the rack, did just the trick. What I had been doing before was justifying the clutter to help keep my cutting boards in place. No careful leaning to one side if they are shoved in.

Expect more spring cleaning shots as break approaches. I can’t do it all in one swoop, but I can have mini-bursts of inspiration.

And the bonus for this round was to hear Paul say “Wow Mom, you could actually see what is in there and it’s not all crazy looking.”

Yes Paul, I promise your momma doesn’t love crazy. It’s just what happens when I am not paying attention.

Keeping in Touch

Friends from Minnesota visited yesterday. This time bringing along the exciting news of a new baby. Expected arrival: sometime in August and a possible road trip back this way, six months later.
DSC_9452 We had an afternoon of catching up
DSC_9470 walking to Lola’s (a serious stroll with so many little legs)
DSC_9484 many stories shared
DSC_9486even a little time for drawing and picture making.
A wonderful way to spend a Sunday.

Small & Mighty

These two words keep popping in my mind when I behold this baby girl.


This was the dress she wore over her clothes several days in a row last week. Along with the dress came random outbursts of singing. Did she care she had a heat rash on her shoulder from wearing this constantly?


She had her three year old check up last week (a little late). The pediatrician has a formula for her age, height, and parents height to let us know that of our three kids she will be the shortest. To make up for it, she is determined to be the loudest.


She is still carrying around her blanket. We don’t let her take it to the child development center for nap and she is managing. It is unraveling and she pays no mind. But we have begun asking: “when will you not need your yum-yum?” So far, we are getting the clear answer of “When I am five.” This is reasonable.


I cut her bangs in the tub again. Not one of her favorite past times but she is increasing in patience. Some days she even lets me pull it back in a ponytail.


Some staples in her wardrobe are boots (she has two pairs: rain and cowgirl) and just like the boys. She realizes that boots are the easiest shoes for a toddler to put on herself. And she loves a good hat. This is baseball hat given to her by George. In the photo above she is insisting on being the leader and is about to get distracted by the amazing window display of the roller derby shop. They have hello kitty skates and girls who smile and wave from inside.


Henry rested between breathing treatments and doses of medicine for the fever that is still high. Paul made him a fort last night that he wanted to keep up. Only his head would peek out, not much talking, a little smiling, and it aches a little to see this boy who is usually so full of life lay there zapped by sickness.


I kept myself busy on the rug nearby. More dumping, purging, and cleaning. It is spring time.


I love just quick organizing tidbits. My eyes are pleased by the sight of order. Instant gratification.


We took a stroll over to the Farmer’s Market for afternoon sunshine. On my list: kale, onion, garlic, and ginger for our tofu bowls with peanut sauce. Like any good browse, we picked up extras:


Red is still my favorite color.


I am praying for a recovery. But if it is slow, and I get to spend days on end with this little boy, I won’t complain. I actually noticed thoughts today, deep in my gut, about staying home. This is a new dilemma in our lives: who stays home? It’s always been Joe. No question. But now, I am going to admit, I like waking up to find out Joe is busy with a formal observation for student teaching and so I get to step in. A new role for each of us.

Healthy Henry

A first glance gage for Henry’s health is happiness. He has been a little under the weather all weekend. Every night he has battled a fever of 104 along with his barking cough that has miserable during the day due to lack of sleep. I called in a sub today, mostly because last time I took Olivine in, my pediatrician made me promise I won’t wait until day five of a high fever, but come in on day three.

While there, I had his blister checked on his hand. It has popped but looks very tender. I even remembered that Henry recently failed the hearing screening at school. So they did one in the office. The appointment felt productive, even if the flu and strep test came back negative.

He spent most of the afternoon in his bed. But he didn’t like the idea of me leaving the room for too long. I was able to clean the kitchen in spurts as he napped in spurts. I eventually resigned to just staying in the room.


I dumped out the dresser drawers one by one.

I practiced my Marie Kondo folding (yes, I have recently read, loved, and converted to The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up) and although I have yet to perfect the magic. I will testify that the horizontal folding for my children (particularly the one who likes dressing herself) makes for less of a mess, because she can see all the clothes in one glance.


At one point Henry really wanted to take a bath, so he sat in slightly chilly bubbles and the fever subsided enough to get in the car and go pick up siblings.


We had an early, easy, “make your own taco” dinner and man- it’s only Monday. On the one hand I am wondering how my weekend slipped by so quickly and on the other hand, I am wondering how I will survive the rest of the week.



Although I have no idea how it will happen, I am sure it will happen. As the song from the late 70’s goes, “I will survive!”

Natural History Museum

My class had a field trip on Friday to this great place. We don’t get to go every year, but have been many times. Each year it is bigger and better. We teach a dinosaur unit and this is the culmination. They have a new whale on exhibit that feels magical to look up at, surrounded by second graders. It is an age where the questions flow as easy as the answers about who the whale was, where it lived, and how small it makes us feel:


We had an appointment at the insect lab. Some of my students couldn’t get enough of the rats.


After a morning indoors and lunch on the grass, we went to the gardens out back. The kids just ran around like they never get to do at school. This makes me smile big, just to have them run and laugh and act silly.


This area is called the “get dirty zone” where the students looked in compost bins for worms. The weather was amazing and I felt lucky to be there.

Peace of Mind

As a working parent I struggle with all types of parenting guilt. The list ranges from as simple as feeding them breakfast for dinner when I lack energy at the mid-week mark. It is my step up from fast food, but really not that much healthier. To the bigger concerns about spending enough time with them, supporting their interests, helping curb their desires, and modeling strong character. I know: even as I type the unfinished list it sounds too lofty to attain. I am not writing this to bare all, but to say that as much as these ideas assault me I am able to combat them with knowing that my family is in a good place.

My kids love their school and teachers. For Olivine, the baby girl who has spent the least amount of time at home and the most amount of time at the Child Development Center- I am endlessly thankful for people who love their jobs. She gets so much time to explore, develop, and grow in an environment I trust and believe in. This type of peace is priceless.


Then there are friends.


The kind of friends who love my kids like their own. The kind of friends I can laugh with, stay up late with, and leave mid-sentence to intervene in sibling rivalries.


And will take the older boy, while I keep the younger boy, and feed him lunch, treat him to a Dirtbags game and I don’t feel any guilt or favors owed. I know that this is how folks care for one another. Particularly busy moms.

And no I am not perfect, invincible to fears, or able to avoid all the subtle messages about how I “should” parent. There are plenty of comparisons being made in all variety of conversations now that my children are in elementary school. The conversations over breastfeeding, cloth diapers, and homemade baby food have now evolved into scouts, sports, and any number of ways in which parents can be made to feel like they don’t measure up. However, I am learning that with a little self-reflection, some journaling, a quiet evening, long talks before bed with Joe, an engaging new cookbook to read (thank you Jenny), and the fast approach of Spring Break- it is very possible to find a peace of mind in the modern world.

Beatles Bash

Russ loves the Beatles and we weren’t going to pass up a chance to celebrate his birthday.


The weather was perfect for a backyard hang out.


Paul even played a little musical chairs


sitting beside his pen pal Micah.


We ate quesadillas, strawberries,


and of course cake!


Fashion Girl

Olivine was in all sparkles. Joe lets her dress herself most mornings. Less fighting, more humor.
DSC_9360Do you see what she has on? Tights (she thought they were pants) with no shorts or skirt. Joe sincerely thought, by just looking, the black part was shorts. Although when I saw her later, I knew right away that she wasn’t wearing shorts. She found her sparkly sweater to match.


She always looks cute. Even with this bruise from the child care center (no worries on our end, lots of play means someone is bound to get hurt). She was happy to report she was given ice.

Lucky Me

After the fever I had this past weekend and finishing another ten parent conferences today, I had been feeling worn down. Until I arrived home and found these:


The best part is, I didn’t order either. They are both subscription beauty boxes from my mom and Joe. Different companies and products, but similar concepts. My mom got the idea of the Glossy Box from Oprah. So double points.


Joe heard about the Birch Box from a woman. He filled out my profile and was so spot on. Triple points for him!


Those who know me, know I don’t wear make up but I like a nice lotion, hand cream, nail polish, and most of all I like MAIL. These packages were the icing on the cake for me today. A day full of good news. Earlier I found out that I did get into the Ed.D. Leadership program at CSULB and will be starting (deep breath) this June. As Joe finishes, I will go back and we have decided we have been living with less this long, might as well go for it now. The program won’t get cheaper. If all the cards line up, I will work less and Joe will work more. We will swap places for a little while. Ahhhh…never a dull moment. When these little ones go to sleep and Joe is at class looks like I have the perfect excuse for some self care, “me” time.