Grammy had surgery last Wednesday and we had reserved yesterday for a low-key visit.DSC02701 Luckily she was feeling up to it and these ones volunteered to sit on the couch and watch shows with her.DSC02703We had snacks, brought flowers, and were excited to see she is doing so well.DSC02702Keep up the physical therapy, elevate and ice, and soon enough retirement will be here. We still can’t really believe Grammy won’t be working in a couple months. I guess that means plenty of time to play and run around, which is why the knee needs healing.

Loosing Count

The parties continue and I have lost track. But she is soaking it up.DSC02690The Nakajima Family went overboard for her.DSC02694We can spend the whole day together eating and playing, which is exactly what she wanted.DSC02692She is convinced she had a party.

I am saving all my strength for next year when she turns five..the one year she gets a full blown party.


I had a sweet smelling surprise.DSC02697We don’t typically celebrate the day and his card made my heart swell.

It’s what we all want…is to be loved!


Joe and I have been trying hard to budget better. This looks like writing down spending, using more cash rather than our card (after two issues of fraud-in two months), and talking regularly about our money. It makes sense that a result of this money talk means I am thinking more about where my money goes. I have found some pretty cool local places.

DSC02664This is a donut shop run by a husband and wife. It’s not Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks. One dollar coffee with so many choices. I love this! There are just too many flavors to sample in one visit.

DSC02669Laurie is the woman behind the pies. They taste amazing and knowing I am tasting food from her kitchen is awesome. She just had her kickstarter funded and is in the stages of looking for her kitchen and a store front. In the meantime her pies can be found inside the Made store downtown. Another local shop full of fun artistic finds.

DSC02688Another new to me, down the street shop that has amazing balloons and pinatas. Owned by a mom, who lives in the neighborhood and is finding her passion can be a business model.

This week my friend Julie bragged about her Supercuts lady leaving and striking out on her own. She is opening a salon in her garage. Sign me up!

My friend Kat is her own boss. She is a personal trainer with clients like…. the entire staff at the Aquarium. How cool is that?

I am in no position or desire to be my own boss. But I love the idea. Even more, I love the inspiration behind stories about people doing what they want on their own terms. If we are lucky enough to do what we love and find that skill can also provide an income, it’s like a win-win!

My motto…shop local and learn the names of the folks who are behind the business.


Round Two

Grammy came over today for an extra dose of celebrating.DSC02684
She brought a fancy, perfect for twirling, western print dress to go with her boots.DSC02666
And then there was picking out a cake pop.DSC02672
We had a pie on order for more wishes.
And a card arrived with more treats (thanks Aunt Kathy & Uncle Chris). She is feeling the love.



Olivine woke up a little bit in shock. There was such a build up with the daily count down and endless confusion over how time works. She has been talking about her birthday since November, when her brothers had their birthdays so close. She made it all the way through Jesus’ birthday and really just wanted it to be hers already.

I made sure last night (after skyping into class-for the first time) that I set out all the ingredients and decorations, to be  awake before her. I was making pancakes at 6 am since it is a school day.

She had a bonus card that was left on the mailbox (thank you Rollogs). I am telling you this girl loves mail as much as me. Especially if it includes a candybar!


So it was an early morning pancake party with singing

DSC02652and candles and wishes

DSC02653She was loving the attention. She even changed her mind about it being a party. Previously she didn’t want to call it a pancake party since I wasn’t inviting all her friends. But when she saw her brothers clapping and cheering, she announced it was in fact a party.DSC02654The balloons were a hit.

DSC02657She spent some time in the morning laying on her bed, with sunshine cheeks, enamored by the golden stars inside.

DSC02661I might have been extra generous in politely asking the birthday girl to kindly remove the stickers her brother gave her. She argued a bit about how she was trying to make the house pretty and share the stickers. Both valid points. But when I presented her with a blank paper she willingly transferred them to a safer place.DSC02659Before school I pinned a button on her dress, after insisting balloons were not permitted to go with her. Compromise is key these days. DSC02663This girl is quickly acquiring her own personality. She has recently been riding her balance bike, even though she learned to ride her scooter first.

She likes hanging upside down, playing with her two dolls (sleepy baby and chubby baby), keeping up with her brothers, being spoiled and wrestled by her father, listening to stories, reading stories (No David! is the current favorite), writing her name, talking on the phone, and dancing.

She doesn’t like being forced to say hello, having me pick out her clothes, hearing the word “no,” shoes (unless they are boots), bedtime, reminders to finish her water bottle, wearing pajamas, and dogs (one recently jumped on her so she is much more nervous these days).

And this is the age where she looks more like a kid. Where did my baby go? She’s still there I just have to look a little harder.



Yes I watched this film finally and cried my eyes out. I had heard about the casting of the boy and his growth on screen as it was shot over multiple years. I was curious.

So Saturday night I watched the movie and on Sunday found myself noticing all the ways my boy is growing into his own personality. We rode bikes at Cabrillo Beach. Henry would charge up ahead forcing me to call out his name or run faster to keep up. Meanwhile Paul lingered and never went too far ahead. When we stopped to rest he grabbed my hand and sat at my side, expressing his appreciation for our afternoon spent outdoors.

My heart tugs, wanting so bad to hang onto this eight year old boy.

DSC_3429Then on Monday he came down with a fever of 104 and seeing how quickly his smile fades, he is lethargic, and uninterested in food. He lets me hold him and asks to sleep near my bed.

I remember how scared and nervous I was when he was a newborn baby. The weight of responsibility to be a parent. It comes flooding back. I realize my parenting isn’t ever done. I will watch him battle sickness, heart break, disappointment, and all I want is to protect him from it all.
Meanwhile, he is thankfully unaware and mostly enjoying the attention. He is home while others are at school. He has my undivided attention. He is living in the moment, finding the silver lining, and I have to come back to the present. The future can overwhelm me.


Cultivating Patience

Getting lots of practice with this girl who is chatty, demanding, funny, and impatient. If I do not keep my eyes fixed, I might miss her hanging upside down. No worries, she will call my name over and over, until I come to see.DSC02635I watched her tiny hands curl up in fear at the dentist. I am the exact same way. My dentist doesn’t have many three year old patients. He was impressed.DSC02634Oh and those boots. She won’t take them off. They were Henry’s. One of the last gifts my ji’chan bought for my boys. Henry was wearing them at two, when Olivine was born. I stuffed them in a closet and when they fell out recently, I cried.  I love that she loves them. They fit her perfect.DSC02641And here is a typical range of items brought home from the child development center. Plates turned into frisbees, paintings, and folded up with tape instruments. The egg carton contains “cupcakes” she made me at school. What do I do with all these treasures?
DSC02639Let’s not forget-the birthday. We are in countdown mode..seven days away..one week. She made these invitations with balloons, her phone number, and is insisting on a party. She called a friend last night to talk about a sleep over. This girl is three. Who does this? Oh wait, me- the kid who loved talking on the phone.

In the midst of a hectic week, I am finding I am patient. I didn’t yell about the melted buttons on my jacket at the cleaners. Mistakes happen, right? I read a book as a I waited at the utility company and bank, because someone stole and cashed my check. I kept Henry hydrated and rested today after a fever and throwing up. Just stories and juice and hugs around here. I was polite and flexible about the canceling of my college class and then the reinstatement. I tried hard not to panic or let the fears take over. Now, I am trying to pass a little of this on to my husband who just found out he won’t be returning to his site next years due to restructuring. My heart aches, he is a man who has put his whole heart into these kids and families. But we will be patient and faithful because these are the many situations beyond our control.