Tuesday, September 27, 2011


“I won’t put up Halloween decorations until it’s October.  Before that is just too early!”

I think I have said that to my kids about 100 times in the past month.  I mean it, too.  This pushing forward of every holiday to have a seamless retail flow becomes a bit nuts when it’s early September and the stores are all orange and black—but then it becomes even more desperate when, before it’s even Halloween, those Christmas lights start replacing the candy in the seasonal section, making it kind of frustrating for those of us who can’t buy candy until right before Halloween, lest the goblins they live with—and their father—cherry-pick all the best candies by about October 25.  (This appears to be an annual tradition in our home: there is always a point right around that date when Paul and the kids descend upon me insisting I have a horde of candy that they need to nibble on.  Of course, they’re right… and then there I am buying even more because I like to be overly generous on Halloween and give kids like 6 pieces each because, hey, it makes them so happy!)

But, this morning I woke with a hankering to decorate and change over to fall.  I tided myself over by putting a more fall-colored cloth on the table, but it’s in the air… the desire to say farewell to summer and hello to fall, my second favorite season.  Soon I will be enjoying the stained glass covered bridges of red and yellow leaves near the kids’ school, and pretending it’s not in the upper 80s outside, making pumpkin scented foods and wishing to put on sweaters and boots.  Soon Carter and Bunny will be campaigning to add more “scary” decorations to our collection, while Cole and I will be agreeing that we like the cuter/folksier side of the spectrum.  Paul knows not to engage in this debate.  He just wants candy and then to complain to me that he ate too much of it.  :)

If I’m able to score enough apples, I want to make some votive holders like this.


Sadly, the very elderly gentleman behind us has passed away and his apple trees are nearly breaking up under the weight of the fruit… I may need to offer to pick them if I run across his (my age) grandchildren who also live in the neighborhood.  A pot of apples turning into sauce sounds like a great autumn welcome, too.  Plus, the rate Cole goes through the squeezy apple/other fruit sauce packets is making me feel bad about the trash.  I saw THESE reusable versions and wonder if they’d clean up well enough to be practical as an alternative.  Big boy needs sauce!

Thinking about these things will help stave off the need to deck the halls with orange and black for a few more days, right?  ‘Cuz I have cute new and awesome older stuff that I am itching to put out.  Itching, I tell you.

Monday, September 26, 2011


::little bits and pieces::


our little Bubo is growing up!  she’s adapted so well to life here in this busy house and now barely flinches when the boys act crazy near her cage.  she even dozed on my lap the other day during quiet time when I was reading in the time out chair.


we love her.  she loves apples.  no really, she will cut a bitch for some apples.  I saw her do it.



I have not written much about it, but we’ve been enjoying the CSA this year, and have also grown a few tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and herbs of our own.  Something has been off about the tomatoes this year, and a wily raccoon has been eating tomatoes right off the plant, leaving really rude teases about the tomato we might have enjoyed, but the dry-farmed tomatoes from the CSA have been awesome for soups.  THIS is our family favorite, and I make it exactly like the recipe, if you can believe it.  I keep meaning to freeze a batch, but we keep gobbling it down because it is that good.


While I will never be into as savory a breakfast as my husband who has ordered fish and eggs for breakfast (woof), I do like this simple way to get a leg up on the daily vegetable intake.  I quickly sauteed some leeks and bok choy then topped with a very runny egg—it’s best if you let the yolk coat the greens.  As much bok choy as we’re getting, it’s good to have it in something other than a stir fry!  (We have shrimp or chicken stir fried with tons of veggies every week, too.)



A rare sighting of brother-sister quiet play, post homework.



You know what is hard?  Taking a photo of someone toasting marshmallows, is what. 


Yesterday afternoon was the afternoon of our discontent, at least if you ask the boys.  Big sister was playing at a buddy’s house, and it was funky weather outside, so they seemed inclined to amuse themselves mainly by punching each other.


So I took them and fed them to a hungry hippopotamus after making them play for a couple of hours at an indoor play place. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

To the Yurt!

It’s hard to believe it, but our family had not ever been camping until this past weekend.  I know people are either campers or not, and that those in the ‘not’ camp… uh, camp do not see the allure.  That’s fine.  I don’t really see the allure of spending a vacation inside a hotel, honestly.  Growing up, my mother was very restrictive about what she considered an appropriate accomodations and preferred to never leave the comforts of a hotel with massage, room service, etc.  So, I’d never even been camping until I was 20, maybe 21!  I’d been raised to think if it as dubious at best.  However, I loved it, and have camped around the country for weeks on end.  So much for prejudice.  I’d trade a campsite inches from a deserted beach on a whole Key that is a state park or with javelinas snuffling around our tent as we sleep for a mini kitchen any day.

What I’m saying is if you’re on the ‘not camp’ side of the coin, I hope you’ve done it at least once or twice—with adequate gear (who wouldn’t hate not having what they need??) to have a reason for your opinion.  If so, then, well, hey – it’s not for everyone.  :)

Anyway, this weekend we fixed the not been camping as a family problem.  Though Paul and I were strictly tent campers prekids, I decided we’d pad the numbers a bit by ensuring a little comfort in the sleeping and security departments.  Enter the yurt.

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Inside there were 2 bunk beds and a futon to make for sleeping room for 6, and the real door had a lock and deadbolt, plus a fun screen door to go thwap! every time we went in and out.

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Trust me, they went in and out of that yurt about 250 times in the first half hour.  There is a wrap-around deck, and running wildly in circles was mandatory for the under-10 crowd.

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Even inside… run, run, run.  No clue why.  Oh yeah, they’re kids, that’s why!

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It’s kind of like, why would Carter kick this log by the picnic table for five minutes?  Oh yeah… kids.

Once we set up inside and out, and had kicked all the logs in the vicinity, we were off to explore.  Mt. Madonna was once the summer home of cattle baron Henry Miller, and we wanted to see the ruins and have a little hike.

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It took a lot longer to walk a mile uphill with little legs coming along, but we know to slow down, take breaks, and offer a lot of praise and encouragement about what might be around the next bend.

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Especially for the one with the littlest legs.  He was a real trooper.

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Bunny took this photo of the rest of us as we rested in a shady spot on a pretty steep stretch.

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Once we got ‘there’, the kids were rewarded with the white fallow deer.  Sometime about 100 years ago they were gifted to Miller by none other than WRHearst, and had become invasive.  So, the herd is segregated by gender to prevent breeding.  I’m not sure there is not a better way to deal with this—can’t bucks be neutered??—but the kids really did love ‘em.

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Do not put your finger through the fence.  Do not put your finger through the fence.  Repeat.  Repeat.

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The fence is high because anyone who read The Yearling knows deer can jump.  It’s barbed and electrified on top because deers is good eats for mountain lions.

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Then we continued on to the estate ruins.

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The kids loved scrambling around and on the walls.  Funny how even those who declared themselves too tired of walking a whole mile had reserves…

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It’s also funny how quick the walk ‘home’ was.  Of course, it was all downhill, and everyone knew it was not in fact going to be endless.

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By the time we were back at the yurt it was time to make dinner, even though it was only 5:30.  Gotta make hay—or dinner, as it were—while the sun shines!

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Dinner was simply burgers, hot dogs, salad, chips, and these veggies which included our first two homegrown eggplants.  I cut and seasoned them at home, so cooking them was easy.  Compared to the extended Indian family near us who made very complicated meals, we were practically eating Lunchables.  :)

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After filling our bellies and cleaning up after dinner it was campfire time.  Carter decided to see how dirty feet could get, and insisted on going shoeless.

I wish I could report the kids all slept like logs, but in reality, since there are 3 of them, someone was up every hour or two to pee, report his belief that a pair of shoes was a raccoon (reminding him about the locked door helped), or just seek out a maternal snuggle.  I was up a few times and Paul played musical mattresses, sleeping in 3 beds before finally crashing in the bunk Cole deserted in his usual nightly migration to my side.

The next morning, though, the woods were majestic.

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This was right by our picnic table, looking back up at our ‘home.’

We had breakfast, played a while, and decided to declare victory and head home by about lunch time.  I’m so glad I rallied.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rally, Rally, Make it So

I don’t think I can do this.

Most mornings I rise without trouble.  Sometime in the year or so after being thrust from the cocoon of college into real life where waking early every morning whether I felt like it or not, I realized I preferred to also wake reasonably early on days off, else I’d waste that precious time dozing because I’d stayed up to watch Letterman.  Ultimately, the reward of time to truly live the hours I had a choice about trumped the indulgence of sleeping in.  As a result, I morphed into a woman for whom 7:45 is late to be getting out of bed on a weekend, and 8:30 was truly decadent.

That was prekids.  As a mom, I realized I usually have only control over when I go to bed, so I ensure that I’ll get at least a good 6.5-7 hours before waking before the kids to have that alone time.  And I don’t mind it—I like it.  I may not be chirpy, but I’m pretty content padding around the kitchen setting up the coffee maker and checking all the online things one checks while the coffee pot gurgles and hisses its way to caffeinated bliss.

So, what I’m saying is this: I don’t usually wake up wanting to stay in bed.  Saturday, however, I woke before 6:00 and my first thought was, “I don’t think I can do this.” 

This was not just to wake and make a weekend breakfast of bacon and eggs or homemade waffles—and waffles were what I had promise-promise-pinky-swore I’d make because Carter loves them so—but to get us all ready for and away to an adventure we’d been eagerly anticipating for a month: camping.  Yet, there I was, throat burning, the cough Cole had been developing without much complaint over the past week clearly coming into its own in my head and chest, deciding this morning it’d be nice to sleep until at least 7:00 or so.

It’s time to wake up!  Up!  We want to get up and have breakfast!

My littlest friend has other plans, and no amount of me wishing it were not so will change the fact that, one way or another, my butt is getting up.  I slug down 2 ibuprofen while making the coffee and a quick snack to tide Cole over until I’m ready to get out the waffle iron and start beating egg whites for the batter and start to make mental lists of everything we will all need, all the while hearing The Brat who resides in all our heads whine to me about the inherent unfairness of life and other whiny bunk that really has no bearing on anything except that The Brat knows I am sick and more susceptible to believing the whines today than most days.


In my idealized mental vision of our camping trip, I’d have had everything ready—or at least located—the day before setting out nice and early, us all singing Kumbaya no doubt.

In reality, I was stressed and grumpy.

I will be calm and happy when we’re there.  I have to slog through some edgy places to get there, though.

I told that to myself and anyone who’d listen all morning.

I hate being disorganized and not having ready the things I need in spite of my apparent lack of ability to do otherwise at this point!

I told my husband that a few times over the morning.  He helped me with fetching items from high places, ticked me off by insisting I pack that ‘godawful’ (my description) instant coffee—how dare he mess up my tenuous grasp on how I’d get us all to our goal!!—and surely bit his tongue many times as I made those dang waffles and played Tetris with our belongings to arrange them just so they’d all fit.  Oh, I was a peach that morning.  It’s incredible anyone wanted to go anyplace with me.


All that being said, we got ourselves out, and I was right:  once we were there, we were all happy.  Sometimes you have to RALLY.

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To be continued…

Friday, September 16, 2011

{this moment}


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Left Brain Boy


Carter brought home a book of nursery rhymes they made and illustrated in Kindergarten last week.  I’ve mentioned before that drawing is not a passion of his—not even remotely.  But, he’s stretching himself and trying his best, and that is what matters.  In a year or two he just might be drawing for fun.  Or, maybe he’ll be checking his sister’s math homework.  Who knows with this guy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011



It’s been a while since I have felt like sitting and blogging anything, preferring to spend my down time, um, more down.  :)  But I laughed at my little, very warmly dressed guy as we went to pick big brother up from school.  It is in the low 80s today and Cole demanded a cardigan and rain boots.  At least he has these practical sunglasses on to complete his look.  He kept asking to swing by the post office to mail off some important, mysterious packages and has been working all day and night on his manifesto.  Busy boy!


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