Rewind the Week

Starting with George turning Five on Tuesday. I was at the college while they all celebrated at the baseball party:DSC_0388At my school, we celebrated Career Day and Multicultural Day in the same week. DSC_0399Lots of busy activities with country reports, dancing, and an assembly.DSC_0421Joe came out with Olivine to watch the show. My class always does a dance. DSC_0414Thursday night was Open House for the boys. Henry’s class did some singingDSC_0547and Paul’s class had amazing displays (that Joe helped hang this week with his free time) of art and writing. DSC_0542We found his Flat Stanley in the hall along with all the others. So much variety and fun information. DSC_0536Afterwards we celebrated with gelato scoops from Lazy Acres.DSC_0558A preview of summer with sunshine and friends. Today ends a long week, with my first Saturday class but I would rather brag about how next Friday it will all be over.DSC_0577This is how we feel as our family approaches countdown to ten weeks of family time.


The year you can officially call me Dr. Sullivan.

As a kid I thought it would be Dr. Kamisha. And no joke, the first time I understood in elementary school (probably learned this at a career day event) that a doctorate degree was one of the highest degrees a person could earn and it didn’t have to be in medicine- I thought…yeah that will be me. As a kid I was much more quick to shrug off difficulty and could imagine a fearless life.

In growing up I have become less outspoken with my dreams. Held them in more. Shared them less. Become more private. Mostly out of fear that I won’t actually follow my dreams, that they will be deferred, or that I will fail (all of which have happened).


This past Wednesday I met my doctorate cohort and attended my first class (5 to 10 pm the rest of the summer and the next three years!!). I love how diverse this group of folks is. Look for yourself, we represent many cultures, places, and experiences. Go Beach!

Before going to class I sat outside watching the shadows on the grass trying to calm myself down. I know that I get anxious. It is this very specific fear mixed with excitement. I have learned to focus on my breathing to keep the tears back. It hasn’t always worked. But my legs get shakey and palms get sweaty. You know those moments,

I can count mine on my fingers:

The first time I drove my car, alone, and experienced freedom on the road. I didn’t have a curfew in high school, but that left me in charge to decide when to go home and that was intimidating.

The minutes following the door to my dorm room closing, as my family drove away, it hit me that I had moved out and was starting college in San Francisco.

The pause before the airplane took off and the reality of spending a year abroad made me light headed and a little sick.

The moment I linked arms with my grandfather before walking out to the hundred or so guests waiting at our wedding. I was making a public commitment for life.

The drive out of SF, into Los Angeles with no job and no apartment but the knowledge that we were moving away from our city to be with our families.

The night before school starts, every fall, when I prepare my heart to greet a new group of students.

Each night I quietly rocked a newborn baby to sleep, whispering his or her name, feeling much smaller than I know I am.

The insecurities rise up inside. Those voices of not being able to do it. Along with the heavy heart that knows the challenge, the responsibility, and the risks involved. Each of those life decisions started with a first step. That first step is hard and scary and thrilling and unpredictable and worth it. I feel lucky to have so many memories to remind me that safe and easy is not always the best choice. Sacrifice is where I have discovered personal growth in abundance.


I am still kicking myself for never investing in an audio recorder. I know someday I will want to play back the everyday sounds of my house of these little ones, at this age. Just as much as I love scrolling through this blog to reminisce about moments that aren’t as clear until I see the photographs. For now the recording of these moments in pictures and words will have to do.


This one has been genetically predisposed to singing from my mother and me. So these days when using the restroom and washing her hands she is singing. Mostly made up songs about her life, friends, and what she wants to do. It’s a little bit of self reflecting and wishful thinking wrapped up into a familiar tune.


While from the bedroom I have recently heard a Vin Scully impression of a play by play that is mostly non-sense words to my ears about RBIs and being “on deck” with so many balls and strikes. Whenever I peek in to the room with the closed door they both freeze. So rather than sneak up and snap a similar photo of them I wanted to remember their chalkboard turned scoreboard with the line up of who is at bat.

This is what my life sounds like lately.

Changing Seasons

Visiting Oceanside is forever different for me now that my grandmother is gone. The walls have been painted bright blue and the roses she loved are in bloom.DSC_0282Along with this rainbow pack of chalk, all the color makes me feel hopeful for summer and the new season.

DSC_0210This was a bittersweet visit with my cousin and his son. After moving out here a year ago, they have decided to go back to Texas (of all places). I hate all the practical reasons of it being cheaper and closer to important family members. California is supposed to have a bigger pull and I was sure that family would convince him to stay.DSC_0239We mostly let the kids run wild, eat s’mores, sleep in a tent, and have a lasting memory of this season of time with their cousin.DSC_0215Balls and bubbles and laughter were the highlights.DSC_0225Now we will look forward to postcards and letters for staying in touch.DSC_0300Maybe in a year we will have a reunion. DSC_0302It really isn’t that far. Heck, I would even road trip to Texas, although we might have to meet in Austin rather than San Antonio. What do you say?


Have I mentioned how truly happy I am to wake up and see an overcast sky?DSC_0043It’s how in my bones I know I could happily move to Portland, San Francisco, London, or Paris and not have depression. Maybe when I retire? (Joe are you taking notes here?)

Seriously- putting on a coat, a scarf, and seeing the rosy cheeks of those coming in from the cold makes me smile. This drought, sun soaked city had a few drops this past week and I was thrilled.DSC_0117I don’t know how these little ones would fair in a rainy climate. But they do love wearing raincoats and rainboots.

The only real downside to the rain is teaching on a rainy day. The students get restless by lunchtime. But my classroom survived. That was in part due to us reading the chapter book Matilda and then resorting to showing the film in class (one of my all time favorites). Also, breaking up the time with performance practice to “Jai Ho” for multicultural day this upcoming Friday.

Movie Nights

We are starting some new-ish traditions around movie night. It is ever evolving as our kids grow. But these days it definitely involves popcorn, pajamas, snuggles, and usually a movie from our childhood. As of recent, we have made our way through the original Star Wars and the new. We watched Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Princess Bride, Home Alone, and this past weekend (with friends) we watched Goonies. We are always looking for recommendations. Before the movie there was a front yard baseball game.


Joe versus the boys. While Olivine enjoyed watermelon

DSC_0135 and then looked closely at her seed. DSC_0148 She is getting better at putting on her shoes.


The boys had a canceled game due to rain the night before so this was perfect outlet for all that energy.


I love listening as they navigate scores, innings, batting order, and all the other pieces of a baseball game.


In the end she gets to hitch a ride where she stands on his pockets.


Easy, fun, and definitely in the works for the summer. Come over, meet us at the park, because we plan on having a few more movie nights.


Paul has been working hard on his Jackie Robinson poster and speech. He has the crafty bug inside and once I brought out some stickers and encouraged him to draw parts of his poster, he just took off.DSC_0193 Later we went to Michael’s so he could buy some more supplies. I kid you not, he was so excited he made another poster just for his bedroom. He found stickers he liked and had more ideas in his mind.DSC_0195 This then inspired others to get crafting. Olivine found some of Joe’s tabs for notes and made a little book.DSC_0185 She read her book while Paul worked away on his poster.DSC_0186We are a project making kind of family.


I love that she doesn’t care. She will sit in a dusty pile of chalk and smile wide.


The other day she had some dirt on her side that I noticed when she undressed (probably from childcare) but I loved her response. I pointed and asked how she got dirt under her clothes (sometimes she strips down to undies and plays). She shrugged and said “I dunno maybe a cupcake bit me and made that.”

Note to self: now her imaginary bite marks are from cupcakes and not sharks.???




One of the best parts of waking up to wet sidewalks is all the snails.DSC_9996Big ones, little ones, slowly sliding over leaves and down the stairs. The kids get so excited and up close.

Thumb Sucking

Two of our three suck their thumbs (Paul and Olivine), My sister and I both sucked our thumbs.

The dentist has mentioned before that Paul’s mouth has changed shape as a result. But I see him as sucking his thumb only at night, and even though he is seven, it will stop at some point. Right?

Then with Olivine, I have noticed she does it a lot. During the day, while walking around, and sometimes she even tries to talk to us with her thumb in her mouth. Recently the pediatrician pointed out that this is not helping her with all the infections she has had and health issues. The doctor also suggested a nail polish from Australia to help. The packaging says it is for nail biting but it also helps with thumb sucking.


Last week we started: Paul, as oldest, went first (of course, Joe was the guinea pig and can vouch it tastes gross). The first night was heart ache. He cried and he wanted to know when it would go off his thumb. He complained he wasn’t ready and he needed his thumb to go to sleep. It was hard to hear. I held him and eventually he fell asleep.

This week, I sat Olivine down and explained it. She saw Paul’s reactions and had been asking. As soon as I put it on, she cried. We talked for awhile about the options she has to comfort herself, I gave her hugs, and when she calmed down it was over. Sure, she came out a couple times to show me and tell me how bad it tasted. But it was surprisingly not terrible. I am learning that I fear these sorts of changes more than my own children.

They are flexible, resilient, and strong.