Lately I have spent some time considering the true unique and individual interests of each of my children. I definitely see birth order being a factor. Especially with the trio of oldest, middle, and youngest being right before my eyes. This is the nurture part for sure. And then there is the nature. How they each feel, react, learn, communicate, and behave.


This in turn means they don’t all have the same needs. I hug all my kids but Henry is the one who needs more physical affection. He loves to snuggle and cuddle. While Paul is at an age where the increased responsibility and even certain privileges of being older really matter. And Ollie girl is my talker. She loves the undivided attention of telling a whole story or asking a series of questions. Like me, she just wants to be heard.


They also span this magnificent range of development. Just yesterday I listened to Paul read me fact after fact from the Guinness Book of World Records and power through vocabulary that was unfamiliar, but still he managed to comprehend the gist of the information. While Henry could read the post-it note I left on his bed with such excitement. And Olivine can see letters in signs or recognize billboards.


The more I ponder the true diversity of this family I am excited at the challenge to support the child, while also truly enjoying the ways these qualities overlap and strengths benefit our entire family. I am learning constantly from my children and having opportunities to see the world through their eyes.


Plus, we have found some common ground. We all love to laugh. Sometimes until our sides hurt or eyes water. They make up the craziest jokes. We love to eat dinner together. The highchair, baby food, or even feeding someone phase has passed. So we are learning to sit and talk and be a family around the table. While also starting to prepare food and clean up together.


I feel blessed to have this many people on the Home Team.


to health around here. A quick recap of the month: all three little ones had ear infections and fevers, Olivine also had a respiratory infection, I had a stomach virus, and Joe got strep throat. We went through a ton of medication, many doctor visits, used thermometers and breathing treatments daily, but we are back! And wow- does good health feel amazing.
The fog has lifted. We have joined the living again.


Well timed for visiting family back in the United States after being in Italy for weeks. This meant a necessary get together and catch up. A little play, some food, and of course – just some time to zone out.


I am not nearly as eager as Joe to hold a baby. But holding one that is happy and not keeping me up in the middle of the night feels sweet. They are tiny. They remind me that mine were tiny.


These two are still all about the bath time together. This is about as close as Olivine will get to experiencing a sister at this age. They will giggle and squirt water and gibber gabber to one another.


They all crash in the car ride, we carry them in, and today we all slept in. Score!

That’s All Folks!

Did you watch cartoons as a kid? I remember this slightly disappointing phrase at the end of the episode. It has been running through my mind as Spring Break ends. I had ten days off and guess how many of those days I was sick? three, five, seven nope: ten! And still counting. My fever is back today.

I am convinced it is related to declaring that my word for this year is to “Listen” and I really haven’t practiced it that well. A girl like me loves to talk and how else can I quiet myself?


I have been to the doctor’s twice, spent close to ten hours in the ER, had an IV, was definitely dehydrated, and misdiagnosed as having colon issues. I had a CT scan with iodine warming my insides, and all I could think of was the radiation. I had a fever every day and the most terrible pains inside. They are fairly certain I had a virus but the first round of medication worsened the situation. I am sparing you even more details of this illness. Let’s just say I have been wrecked.


This means facing true heart ache. I struggled with disappointment while laying around, doing nothing, as every single day of spring break slipped by. This meant canceled plans over and over. And wow, did my kids shine!

They were just happy to be. I did a lot of listening to my family.  I heard Paul teaching Henry the ins and outs of chess. I was impressed because I don’t have all the pieces memorized. DSC_9664 I listened to the details of the camp out. Paul’s first sleep over ever and I missed it. Joe picked Henry up because he wasn’t entirely ready.


I listened to Henry write and draw a book about a cat, that evolved into tigers, and the drawings are the sweetest. DSC_9650 I oversaw projects from the couch and listened to them really help one another.


Meanwhile Joe was the hero: cooking, cleaning, going to class, shuttling children, and wrapping up paperwork to substitute in Long Beach. He doesn’t favor multi-tasking or having to lead the whole show at home, but he does pretty darn well. So it was hard not to feel like I was sucking the life out of the week for everyone. DSC_9686 But man, is it humbling. To not be able to feed, bathe, or care for my children and to depend on others. To stay positive in my prayers rather than bitter and frustrated. Believe me, tears were shed about deserving a spring break and wanting to go outdoors and needing this time with my family. I guess I really needed some time with myself. I have so much to wrestle and work out.

Olivine also wound up with another respiratory infection. Her and I were sick together for the first five days. But by now, she knows the medicine and procedures. Sure she pushes it away, but for the most part, she handles it. Luckily, we have a pediatrician who takes extra steps and is very helpful with running tests on Olivine.

And that is a wrap up of this household’s spring break.

Permission & Promise

Permission is being granted to myself to practice over break and in my life, the art of being present. To drink sparkling water as much as I want (are there side effects?), wear shoes without socks, sit on blankets in yards or parks, leave my wrist watch at home (sometimes on purpose), and to not have “plan.”

Joe really hates when I ask about the “plan for the day.” His usual answer is “whatever we want” or “eat, sleep, …I don’t know.”


The promise is to my family to try harder to say “yes” instead of “no.”

That means when Olivine asks if she can wear a bathing suit I don’t give her the list of why that isn’t the best idea. Instead I realize we live in Southern CA, I want to encourage positive body images, and note to self: she asked, rather than told me. I have to look at the bright side(s).


That means when the boys ask if we can go to the park and I have a running list in my mind, instead of sending them to their rooms- I drop what I am doing and go with them.

Once in a while, I promise to live as spontaneous as I feel. Otherwise you- my dear children will never know that your momma has a bit of a free spirit inside. Or you, Joseph, will forget that your wife fell in love with a boy in SF who would jump on a bus and make up the adventures as we went, winding up in all sorts of places. I was (am) just happy to be at your side.

The Hunt

Paul was wide awake, like I used to be as a kid, waiting for everyone else to wake up.


We had a small hunt indoors, like a practice before the game.


Then friends joined us to make the early trek up to Signal Hill.


Only requirement was pajamas.


I love watching and listening to the expression of children find anything hidden. It’s a mixture of wonder, surprise, and pride wrapped up in a single moment.


Joe did all the work (he hid 95 eggs) before we arrived.

DSC_9617 It is one of these parental moments when I am aware that my joy is a contagious effect caused by their joy. I never fully understood this before having kids. It’s how I imagine the delight of God is with us.


The kids were looking high and low, until buckets were full and we ready for breakfast.


There is always a count to round up any last eggs.


We came home and seriously enjoyed two full documentaries (Jiro Dreams of Sushi & Bill Cunningham New York) in the living room, with the projector.

The Easter Egg

For the first time in thirty-five years, I have been able to make the connection: I look around and see a symbol of life and hope. This year I spent the last few weeks hiding and moving these sparkle eggs around the house. A game for the kids and an active form of prayer as I think about the many ways the resurrection of Jesus has saved my life.

DSC_9682Even as Joe and I sat stuffing eggs last night, my heart said prayers. For those who are far and abroad, those we have lost touch with, those we miss who have passed on, those who are here, those who we wish we saw more, and I know God remembers even those I have forgotten.

Christ is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed!

Spring Break Plans

The boys sat down this morning and drafted their “Bucket List” after watching me make a “to-do list.”
There ideas are full of adventure and amazingly affordable. This will guide us over the next ten days.


Joe and I squeezed in a sushi lunch date today, while the kids went to say farewell this afternoon because we won’t send them to childcare next week. Oh also, we all slept in until 9 am. This feels like such an amazing luxury.


This is the reaction to hearing the vacuum cleaner.


Like a bunny: she just hops up!

Shared Space

Sometimes I have to say thanks for this small, cozy apartment. I know that if we had a bigger place, they would each have their own room. Although I sometimes wish that was true for bedtimes, timeouts, or a little peace. Although truly- I am glad they are in a room together.


Paul has enough room to spread out his Play mobile figures and make believe all sorts of adventures. While Henry can play legos and maybe interact with him or just play nearby.


 And Olivine is happy to carry a baby doll and pretend to talk on the phone.


Is her expression making you believe that she is talking to someone? Because I do plenty of double takes wondering what in the world she is laughing at.

I look up and I see this


But my heart feels like this:


They don’t really need the same supervision and I’m the only one who notices.