Board Game

The imagination of my eight-year-old seems unstoppable these days.DSC02632For fun (or maybe for the upcoming Super Bowl) he designed a board game.DSC02633Complete with a football field, flags, team logos (playing pieces), and four pages worth of instructions. Oh, how I love his heart!


I love quilts.

Did you know on the underground railroad people hid messages in quilts? Subversive crafting!

They are handmade and I have always admired this talent. My family was given three yesterday!


Our good friends (with three kids) have a mother who makes quilts. I have no idea how she knew I was secretly coveting quilts, but unwilling to spend the money. I also couldn’t decide on a pattern or print.

sm_DSC02627These quilts are gorgeous. The boys both have Star Wars themed quilts. They are in love with the size.

sm_DSC02630We are feeling loved. Thank you Garcia-Robb Family!

Bit by Bit

I am endlessly searching for smaller ways to improve our environment. I am good at hoarding and still beginning to learn how to let go (a little at a time). I would guess some of this latest organizational craze is mixed into a frustration with an ongoing stack of boxes in my living room. It is shrinking, but has not disappeared. And yet, the work to go through each box is draining. These small projects help motivate me… (or are these excuses??)
sm_DSC02618Hello small cupboard that I open weekly to access the coin bowl (for laundry). You are in my kitchen and make me sad. You are full of recipe books.
sm_DSC02619When spread out, there are over 25 cookbooks. What?! Most of them are nostalgic from our days of living as vegans. I even found some baby food cookbooks. I won’t lie, more recently I have taken to finding recipes on line. After a trip to Target and $10 later…I am feeling so much better! I donated a ton, tossed a few recipes, and made myself organized!sm_DSC02620Then there has been my desk. Mostly a dumping ground, where I could only ever sift through the top. I finally dumped the inside out.
sm_DSC02621Found homes for everything and kept the items I need inside my desk…within reach now.sm_DSC02625And the top is cleared so I can use the space for studying or grading papers. Bonus: the two gift cards lost in the shuffle, from months ago.

Heart Shaped Crafts

Valentine’s comes early around here. Mostly because it is so close to Olivine’s birthday.
sm_DSC02599It helps that she has a magazine subscription to Highlights (thank you Auntie Lily) that serves as inspiration and instructions.
sm_DSC02600We let her take over the kitchen table with paints and scissors and glue. And I won’t lie about how much this scene makes me think one day her and I will share a craft room. She even set up her teddy bear and doll to be the audience for her “cardboard cookies.”


She met us for donuts
sm_DSC02603at Sidecar Donuts (Pilar-we loved it!). We tried flavors like huckleberry and banana cream pie. Grammy might have ordered one with bacon on top.
sm_DSC02605Followed by a train ride and some wandering around the swapmeet.
sm_DSC02606 We have started counting down for her official retirement. She will be done in just a few months. I am so excited for her.


I am a huge fan of free. I did work in a recycling center that gave me plenty of access to trash. I also spent some time dumpster diving and dragging free items from the sidewalk to my home.

So…thank you Mimi for the bag of oranges. They are fresh in flavor.sm_DSC02583I know a chain bookstore that emails cookie coupons for birthdays. Olivine cashed hers in this week.
sm_DSC02578I even stumbled upon a Pat Mora haiku that sums this girl up.sm_DSC02580I guess the aquarium isn’t technically free. But having a membership feels pretty darn close. We bypass the line, wander in and out in two hours, stopping to notice new animals in the exhibit. These are starfish.sm_DSC02591And wave at some of our old, familiar friends.
sm_DSC02587Then there are also the free random teddy bears that come to a girl who likes to smile. On a visit to a friend in the hospital this past week she found herself being presented with toys to help pass the time.
sm_DSC02595Yeah we have been busy. Can you tell?

Strong Start

I love when a weekend has been restful and we make the most of our Monday.smDSC02576I won’t deny that this may also be attributed to overcast skies and recent rains. I love a good storm. It makes me smile.smDSC02559 While Olivine napped, Henry cracked eggs and helped mix a strawberry crumble (George watched). And yes we ate this with a scoop of Cool Whip (don’t judge).smDSC02567 I had a meeting for the upcoming conference I am helping plan at CSULB on urban leadership. My dear friend who works at the university is helping with hiring in her department. Needless to say, this afternoon involved some kid swapping. I took them all, then she took them all, so we could get our work done. smDSC02573The only things these little ones notice is when it is time to say good-bye. She or I can be there, and they hardly notice. They ran around, even if one is on crutches and complained (after an hour) of needing more time to play.
The night ended with community group. Did I mention this group meets four blocks from my house? (I walk!) After dinner and baths, I sneak out for a couple hours to pray and read the bible. So much to be thanking God for is what I am learning to sit with and let it gradually sink in. Sometimes the Spirit connects this for me in such a deep truth that all I can do is cry. Tears of joy for the life I have been given; the family, the friends, the education, and the cup that overflows with blessings.


My youngest is “spunky” (as described by her teachers) and we are finding our rhythm after the holiday season. We do laundry, but usually make up songs as we go. We drop off and pick up boys, but make time for playing “I spy” or spot a rainbow in the sky and pull over just to marvel at the beauty. DSC02558Today she insisted on wearing her rainbow fake ponytail and riding her scooter-always in front of me. If I stood at her side she would remind me she was the leader. We went through an empty playground, chased pigeons, and then eventually made our way to the beach. We took off our shoes, dug our toes in the sand and let it fall through our finger tips. I notice she makes me smile more and I find myself answering random questions all day long.

Tuesday :: Around Here

Olivine and I think alike..we woke up so happy to find rain. Especially when a girl’s got Hello Kitty boots and a matching umbrella to spin around in.DSC02557After dropping the boys off at school, we came home to a cozy house and had a dance party inside.DSC02555At some point I sat down in the kitchen to admire the drawing Paul had left behind at breakfast.DSC02556We are slowly getting back into our routines, but I have a couple weeks to ease back in and I plan on going at a slower pace.

I even made it to yoga tonight and found myself letting all those crazy lists run through my mind. I kept returning to my breath and at some point my mind was emptied.



I don’t know if it was seeing the action packed Star Wars (on New Year’s Eve) or the desire to have more pockets, but someone was very happy with his purchase today.DSC02552I knew that the army surplus store would have just the kind of vest he wanted. He had a little bit of Christmas money to spend. As long as he’s happy right? Luckily he associates this more with camping and wilderness, rather than hunting or the military.