with friends and family for this past week.
DSC02236 Every day we have piled into the car and gone somewhere to be with people we love.DSC02293 Of course there has been stress involved, only a fool would deny the difficulty in the holiday season. We have hearts that ache for those we can’t be with or who are no longer here. But I don’t like to dwell on that. I would rather focus on those moments of calm or sunshine.DSC02257I would rather notice the way my kids are thrilled to be the bigger kids and help younger cousins along.DSC02248Or sit beside my cousin, grateful for our friendship in a world that sometimes feels difficult to connect.DSC02298We have put our faith in this next generation, to keep the bond strong DSC02250and to keep laughter alive.
DSC02255They make us laugh.
DSC02258But also just crack each other up.
DSC02260The static hair on this “jumpoline” was amazing.DSC02265Plus the swing that is like a skateboardDSC02280or a snowboard for balance practice.DSC02274The trees are in a continual state of change so Paul had plenty of raking to keep busy.DSC02281Before we eventually moved indoors to eat all evening. We will do it all again in three weeks for the beginning of our Christmas celebrating.

Farewell to Five

He is ready to be six. We spent the morning recounting the story aloud about my water breaking and going to work all day (sounds much crazier now, writing it down) not wanting to miss the feast in my classroom. It took me most of the day (teaching second grade from a chair-while the head blocked the majority of the water) to realize my baby was coming a month early and I was in serious denial. He was born that night. This is one of the photos my friend Janet took a week later at our home.DSC02226Henry’s response to hearing the story was wondering why I didn’t wrap him up in a box and wait for Christmas,  since he was early.

My response: it was love at first site. DSC02176We let him be in charge of today (within reason) and decided last night to go to the Natural History Museum today with friends. And yes, we already went to Legoland but it feels like ages ago to a six year old.DSC02172We saw the mummies- who knew they were mummifying people in Peru? I assumed they were only in Egypt. This exhibit had both.DSC02178 We saw the tools and containers used for pulling out the organs.DSC02179 The eight year olds couldn’t get enough.
DSC02180We walked over to see Endeavor as well. This ship has been to space! If I hadn’t become a teacher, I would have become an astronaut. This is my other fascination. At the exhibit, I loved watching the time lapsed video of when it was taken from LAX through the streets of LA. I remember teaching the day it flew in and running out of my classroom, students in tow, to see it go overhead. It was low to the ground. DSC02189We spent some time in the gardens running around
DSC02192 I love that in this outdoor space the children are encouraged to climb and explore.
DSC02196Olivine was more interested in seeds and plant pieces on the ground.DSC02198After lunch  we went back inside to glimpse a few more animals.DSC02201When these five are together there is a balance of lingering and talking and asking questions to each other that I like to overhear.DSC02203The early readers carefully determined where the animals are from and what the animals eat.DSC02213Oh and let’s not forget the fossils.DSC02214I was keenly aware that the museum had fewer people than normal which added to our slow pace and letting Henry take the lead.DSC02218Olivine napped on the way home and we stopped for ice cream as a birthday treat. Sundaes!DSC02215And now we can count today and our birthday boy as part of the many reasons to be thankful.

Hope you have a happy holiday with people you love.



We scheduled in time with friends for lunch. These days I am grateful for a couple hours knowing how busy we all get.DSC02159It’s warmer than usual which means everyone can run around in the sunshine barefoot.DSC02166This is a family my kids beg me to drop them off and leave. They want to just stay for hours, which is a gift- to have friends like family.





Throw it out

This is a phrase I repeated over and over yesterday with my dear friend (I hope we are still friends). We tossed out almost two garbage bags full.
DSC02155We did some minor organizing because we both read the Marie Kondo book and need some practice in cleaning. My living room is almost too overwhelming (secretly wishing Joe would just haul the teaching items away).DSC02158The biggest moment was tossing this box of studying cards made years ago but represents all kinds of hard work and knowledge. DSC02157I used some of that momentum to come home last night and continue to purge in my bedroom. I have some images in my mind (Angela, Pilar, my mother) of real life examples of homes that look like magazines. I am ready to leave all the clutter behind in my own life.

All Week

These two were on countdown for different reasons.
Joe just wanted a break from it all. Dinner with Grandpa Royce is a way to kick off our break, a small birthday for the boys.
DSC02146Meanwhile, this little guy waited for the perfect moment when his brother would still be in school and he could focus uninterrupted.DSC02133Olivine was nappng, I was reading, and he was busy in the kitchen.DSC02134The waiting was worth it. He did it all on his own.

My Little Indian

This boy is so mesmerized by the upcoming holiday and the history involved that he insisted on finding ways to dress up.
DSC02140I was so curious to watch him put together an outfit based on his drawing. He even built a “hut” in his bedroom and pretended his giant bear pillow was “a bear I hunted.”DSC02137Thank you God for the imagination of children, who can make history come alive.


Quote of the Week

At the playground today Olivine did turn to another parent and randomly say “My grammy can take her top on and off.”

The reply was something like “Oh really.”

At this point, she is a toddler and I trust her, but her thoughts can come out midstream of thinking.

She replied “Yeah it is super fun.”

Parent in the park “Okay” and not wanting to ask further.

Olivine continues “Sometimes she wears glasses and goes real fast.”

I finally catch on, relieved, she is talking about Grammy’s convertible.

And sure maybe that gives you bragging rights.. You’ve got a Grammy who drives around with her top down.

Our Time

This week I hit a peak in semester stress with assignments due, tests to give in my own classroom, continuing to volunteer, and celebrating a birthday. I am fortunate to be able to last minute schedule time for Olivine to go to more childcare. This is a life saver but also results in a girl overtired and crying herself to sleep last night after waiting up for me until 8:30. It feels like heartbreak in the moment, and then I recognize this is the give and take of our days. So this morning, we spent the day, just her and I, enjoying each other.DSC02122She practiced balancingDSC02117and offered to push me while running with all her might.DSC02127Kicking off her shoes, DSC02125she climbed all around.DSC02121I snuck up on her, caught her singing to herself (it’s genetic).
DSC02126I even squeezed in time to stare at this design, silent, deep breathing, and slight disbelief that I am on the other side of this week’s storm. Survival is not where I want to remain. Switching that mode into a frame of mind that invites freedom, calm, and a slower pace is my weakness.DSC02124I walked while she rode her scooter. Her new pose is to push hard and then glide along with this one leg kicked up high like a dancer.DSC02132We are about to begin our week off. Maybe we will run into you or already made plans to see you. I hope so, we will be on full relax mode.



Eight Already?

I have to keep asking myself if this many years have already slipped by and like your height, it is slowly creeping in on me that time is moving continuosly. I take out the baby book and am reminded of how much I have grown and changed as a parent because of you.DSC02112

That same toddler who would break into a rendition of a robot is the goofy kid who now acts like a kid. A boy who likes baseball, legos, and inventing languages with strange symbols. I see the ongoing practice of using your words to describe your feelings and those classes we took this summer are showing how much you learned. Along with swimming, bike riding, whistling, telling jokes, using a pocket knife, and all the other skills you have learned.DSC02107

I hope you remember the laughter shared around tables with food and friends. I wish for you-life long friendships with Mario and George. I also hope that big heart you have doesn’t shrink, but continues to expands because you ask thoughtful questions, offer important help, and want to see the good in others.DSC02105

I have a feeling eight is going to be great!


Two for One

With birthdays eight days apart we can’t resist capitalizing on a double birthday celebration. We were originally going to take the boys out of school, but learned Legoland would be closed for two days this upcoming week in preparation for snow (next weekend until the end of the year). So last minute plans changed and we went today.DSC02002 The boys woke up and learned about their surprise at the kitchen table.DSC02006 They definitely freaked out (in a good way).DSC02007 We arrived when the gates opened with sunshine and big puffy clouds.DSC02009 After pinning on birthday buttons and reading the map, we were off to wander.DSC02012 For a weekend, I was grateful it was not crowded, which gave us plenty of time to look around andDSC02011go where we wanted without long lines.DSC02030 We had a one to one ratio of kids and adults (Grammy was as excited as the boys!) that meant many rides were evenly split.DSC02031This pirate ride got us a little wet but it was early enough in the dayDSC02043 that we dried without a problem.
DSC02039The weather could not have been more perfect.DSC02046 I read up a little before going. That way I would know where to find the “granny smith apple fries”- Amazing! No ketchup dipping here, that is whipped cream.DSC02063Grammy planned ahead for the figure trading (works like Disney pins).
DSC02097The boys brought along guys to trade at stations or with workers wearing them.DSC02071We saw all the Star Wars legos and it was seriously impressive.DSC02060We let the boys pan for gold
DSC02068and learned Henry is fearless when it comes to roller coasters.
DSC02069Legoland allows water bottles and snacks so we stayed happy until lunch. Besides rides and legos on display, they had ingeniously designed areas dedicated to just playing with legos. So my boys built boats and we could hang out for a few minutes without any rush or crowds.DSC02056I was honestly worried about going to an amusement park. I wanted to go for them. I knew they would love it. But turns out, not so bad. I expected worse and was pleasantly surprised.DSC02021 Legoland was bigger than I thought and for all three of my kids, the ages were perfect. Olivine couldn’t go on all the rides, but she also wasn’t interested in all the rides. This was my favorite ride to watch them go on together with their expressions of fear and fun combined.
DSC02078Definitely memorable.
DSC02082Spinning ridesDSC02087and the 4-D movie made me feel old. A dizzy head and blurry eyes is a reminder that I am old. I am a mom of a boy who is about to be eight.DSC02089By the time were leaving it was raining and I realized I locked the keys in the car. Grateful for AAA, these ones were oblivious as they played in the Lego Hotel LobbyDSC02101 or laid out on the carpet, exhausted from having missed her nap. She is “zoning out.”DSC02104I have no idea how the years have slipped by so quickly but the older these boys get, the more fun and adventure that awaits, can’t you see it in their eyes?DSC02090Do they know how much I love them? Happy early Birthday!