Tuesday, January 26, 2016


"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, for one year"

martha: poor thing was sick all weekend and has those rosy cheeks to show for it.  at least she's smiling.
dot: i am pretty sure a very dramatic reading of this book is happening in her head.
finn: lego building forever and ever.
lucy: making her favorite snack of the moment... a smoothie bowl.  yum.
jack: i have the feeling this project is going to get more difficult as my kids get older...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, for one year"

martha: fascinated with the tile on our bathroom floor. sadly, not long enough for me to take a shower...
dot: obsessed with her inside out bandaids.  she puts a new one on her "hurt" finger every morning.
finn: working hard at learning how to do pull ups.
lucy: will still tell you that basketball is the best sport around.
jack: discovered the far side and we haven't heard from him much since.  except to read us particularly funny far side comics.    

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, for one year"

martha: scooching all around these days.
dot: full of vinegar and sass, this one.  she certainly keeps us on our toes :)
finn: the way he holds his pencil
lucy: rarely can she be found without a book in hand.
jack: working on his drawings for his art class.   

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, for one year"

martha: we all wanted to eat this sweet baby up in her hilarious snow suit :)
dot: loved having "snow fights" (aka throwing hard, icy chunks of snow at my legs).
finn: this sweet boy rarely stops smiling.
lucy: was quite pleased to put her hogwarts scarf to good use in flagstaff 
jack: not sure when this guy got so old... let me know any time freezing secrets you might have ;)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

my favorite and my best.

i know these are way late.  it's almost halloween, but for posterity purposes, here are some pictures of our glorious summer at the guest house.  our house is now done and we have recently moved back in.  it's a little bittersweet leaving the guest house.....although it is nice to have our own place again, you can't really complain about waking up to the view of that huge grass yard and the afternoon swims in the pool.  i didn't actually ask my kids for a list, but here is my best guess of their top things they will miss from the guest house:
  • the yard.  and more importantly, the sport options in the yard.  football, soccer, home run derby, etc.  finn will also miss "wandering the yard".  but we won't miss the random sticks and rocks that end up in the house as treasures he wants to keep forever
  • the view.  nice work jon martens.  the view from the great room of the guest house into the yard is amazing.  we rearranged the furniture when we moved in to allow room for some of our stuff, and so we placed a couch under the big window.  it was definitely a favorite spot for everyone to read, do homework, etc.
  • gg and grandad.  dot routinely would watch for granddad on the back patio and then request to go hang out with him.  she loves hanging out on the back patio.  i also didn't mind the easy access to one of my favorite sport watching venues....
  • irrigation.  such a novelty every time.  especially when you find fish and can "save them" by running with them on a shovel to throw them into the pond
  • walks.  emily and i loved walking through the neighborhood and to the biltmore for happy hour tacos.  or to pizzeria bianco with friend for dinner.  we love places that are walkable.  we have been fortunate at our house to have places to walk to, so it was fun to find new places to walk to from the guest house
  • the kids room.  although it seemed cramped as a family, the kids never complained about living with 4 in one room.  they actually loved it.  i think (or at least i hope) it helped them bond.
  • the tree house.  everyone loves a tree house.  especially going to mass upstairs in the tree house with fr. jack and altar server finn.  except when the lector starts laughing.....so disrespectful.....but seriously, how do you not laugh when one of the prayers of the faithful is, "so that the new avengers movie is not rated R....we pray to the Lord".  i am pretty sure the Lord has other more pressing things on his agenda.
  • i am sure i am missing other memories, but at least i jotted down a few.  
i am pretty sure finn could swim all day if we let him

grandma dot never liked going under or getting her hair wet.
but she did enjoy playing in her own little world on the steps.

hours were spent coming up with different basketball trick shots...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"rites and ceremonies" & "discoveries and revelations"

for the past five or six summers, i have read "dandelion wine" by ray bradbury.  it is one of BAABEEe's favorite books, and since i read it for the first time in balboa, i have loved it.....especially reading it at the beach.  it is a story of summer....or stories of summer.....stories of being a young boy without a care in the world other than what the hell to do that day.  it is based on multiple summers of ray bradbury's life and all the little stories he remembers.  some are sad, some are funny, and some crazy, but they all are things that clearly impacted ray bradbury's life and he will never forget.

instead of thinking of what those same stories have been in my life, i like to think of what they may be for my kids.  which is why i like reading it in balboa, because my kids LOVE going to balboa.  they love the beach - but who doesn't....actually, i bet the old lady in goonies didn't like the beach - she just seemed so grumpy, and nobody that looks like that could like the beach.  but then again, she probably didn't like anything.  seriously, what do you think her two sons (and sloth) would get her for her birthday?  i bet they got her a few boxes of kraft macaroni and cheese, cause i don't care how grumpy you are, you still probably like kraft macaroni and cheese.  unless you are lactose intolerant.  in which case, maybe that is why she was so grumpy.....but i bet not.  anyway, back to the beach and balboa.  my kids love it.  and one of the main reasons they love it is because they love summer, just like bradbury.  they love swimming and no school and freedom.  they love the nothingness that summer brings.  and even while loving nothingness, they love the prospect of what summer might bring.  the anticipation of "what will we do today".  who knows, and who cares, cause we are going to love it whatever it is.

this leads me to one of my favorite parts of dandelion wine.  bradbury's character douglas spaulding starts his summer by recording on a tablet two categories - "rites and ceremonies" and "discoveries and revelations".  the rites and ceremonies are things that he does every summer.  things he HAS to do every summer.  things that define summer for him as a boy.  and then his discoveries and revelations are things he does for the first time....or things he thinks about for the first time while pondering of rites and ceremonies.  my kids definitely have their rites and ceremonies - almost obnoxiously so:

if i were to do as douglas spaulding does, i could say "RITE - every summer my kids read harry potter - starting with book 1 and reading up to the point you are allowed to read to per mom's rules.  which means by the time you have read book 7, you have read book 1 seven times....REVELATION - by the time they finish the 7th book, they will have read 14,752 pages of harry potter books".  or another example would be, "CEREMONY - donuts at night....mmmm, they are so good at night....DISCOVERY - sliding on a board in irrigation is really fun".

certainly i could come up with more, but i want my kids to think it through.  but every summer i think i am going to make them create a discoveries and revelations list as well as their ceremonial "summer list", but every summer i forget.  and here we are again - school has just started and not only did we not complete our summer list, but we most definitely did not remember to document our discoveries and revelations.  and it is not something you can do after the fact.  it has to be done during summer.  so....hopefully next summer i can remember.

and this brings me to my final thought in this rambling post that probably won't make sense to even me in a few years.....i love my kids rites and ceremonies.  i think this is why i love dandelion wine so much too.  although some of his rites are so different and/or dated, like gathering fox grapes, they can be easily transformed into our time and place (phoenix or balboa), like gathering citrus or seashells.  and they make my kids appreciate and love the simple things....because the simple things are often the most enjoyable....and they allow for even more appreciation of the non-simple things ("what will we do today").  i may make fun of the "summer list", but i love it.

and in case anyone was wondering, our "summer list" this year was mostly created by finn.  he took it very seriously.  so if you looked closely at it and noticed "make a joke book" - it is still in production by finn.  and although it may not be appropriate for all ages (thanks johnny), it will be ready for distribution by christmas in case anyone wants to place a pre-order now.