Sunday, January 31, 2016

Around Here




Curls Trimmed

A Spilt Picnic

Tinfoil Crown

Grandma's Cake

Baby Barrista

Santa Barbara Beach Basket Treasures

Makeshift Wood Frame Pocket

Rainy Day Emails

Sunday Morning: 12:00 / after Bagels & Before Naps





Thursday, January 28, 2016

On The Eve of Six (an unplanned birth story)

It's always on the eve of each next birthday that my heart settles into a low dull ache. Over time. And how fast it falls away. With a decade now watching a string of my cherub faced babies stretch into long limbed versions of the tiny souls I brought home in what feels like yesterday. Unveiling new corners of their being everyday. Getting to know the lessons of the land and the rhythm of their home better and better all the time.

Mine, third born on the night of a big blue moon the papers would note the morning after on the 29th of January, where I had - in this, and only this pregnancy - wholeheartedly been set (and intuitively expecting) our first baby girl. Cravings told me it was so. Intuition helped back it up.

Finding out the sex of our babies was never pressing enough for me to ever really want to budge with any other than my first. So this time, against Mike's wishes, we didn't.

When labor set in after I had just finished cleaning the entire house after getting word from by my Dr. that morning that I was dilated and "significantly" effaced. I waited alone through the morning in familiar anticipation, for the first signs of something big telling me things were in fact moving forward and picking up. Which they did. Quite quickly thereafter so in the last slip of a 5:00 hour I was being admitted, undressed, gowned, and prepped for labor.

And I know it's a popular thing here, in recounting these grand experiences that have come to be known as quintessential "birth stories" - to unwind in long detail the medical steps taken and drugs administered and all the technical aspects of labor that women either come to fully embrace or regret in their post birth recounts on such forums like this, but all I know is that I came in like a flash and fell in love with a handful of kind hearted nurses who calmed me and tended to me like I was their sister or daughter,  in a mediocre hospital where I willingly took a long needle in my spine that made an already easy labor a little "easier" so I smiled and laughed through the peaks of those last remaining contractions. Where I was deliriously happy and in that glee welcomed in a small team of understudy nurses to view the birth, along with my friend on training duty, my mom, my sister, and my mother in law who had all been there for the two previous births.

I pushed when they told me and the baby came just as quick as his brothers before him. Except bigger. And blonder. 8lbs, stocky, white haired and wide eyed. A third boy. Who looked nothing like anyone else. Big nosed and homely. With a face that looked too old for a person so new, but equipped with he kind of features I knew instinctively grow into the best looking men we know. I couldn't help but laugh. At that strange fat little face and news of his sex wrecking all I had imagined in those last few months leading up to this hour. No, there wouldn't be doll houses or tea parties to tend to. Dress-up trunks or silver crowns to count on. But within three minutes of him asleep on my chest none of it even mattered. Miraculous wonder of new love blissfully eclipsing all the rest. A baby born is a baby to love.

Six years later he's what I consider our "live wire." Sharp, stubborn, creative, confident, natural born rebel set to beat against the tide. Whichever way it turns. The wild card that keeps a household on it's toes. Sometimes the bully, sometimes the brat. Many times the best big brother a baby boy could ever have dreamed of. Blessed with the gift of song so that even in his most shameful circumstances he comes forth with a way to sing his way out. Where you can't help but think, in the midst of dissolving frustrations, man am I glad he's mine.





Farewell to five, my sweet son.
May all the rest be just as swell.

Monday, January 25, 2016

On The Road With First Aid Kit

Sometimes when I get sad about not having a daughter I browse through teenage girls on Instagram and feel instantly better.

Watching these two though offers me the exact opposite effect.
Aren't they the best?


Scenes From a Weekend

Where most of our time was spent with Hayes while his brothers were at their grandparents.

Strange how odd it feels to have just one when you're so use to them as a "unit." And not particularly any easier for me either. In fact I think I realize when it's just the two of us how much I depend on his brothers to entertain and care for him throughout the day. From the time he wakes till the time he goes down they are there to keep him company. Only in their absence am I reminded of how hard it is to keep up with a 19 month old. All on my own.

But we did. Spent a slow morning in his room showing him the toys he sometimes forgets he owns. And took him out for a late afternoon coffee run in the bus then over to the field by our house to let him run his tonka truck through the dirt before nap-time.

I'm not sure we were as much fun as he's use to, but I think he knows we tried.







Saturday, January 23, 2016

Stuck ON

Hutte Hut 
Deemed "a modernist retreat." Inspired by boat and coach building techniques.

"Hütte Hut evolves the teardrop silhouette through architectural details that embrace both artisanal craftsmanship and computerized precision."


All I know is the fantasy it evokes over Saturday morning coffee + early morning Pintrest delves. You know, If 64k (and four kids) wasn't such an issue. 

In the meantime, guess we'll stick to those beat up old buses. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Currently






Obsessing over Mark Cohen's street life photography. Raw and intrusive, finely described as "fragmented keyhole perspectives depicting the streetlife of his hometown Wilkes Barre, PA. Taken in the 1970s." Here he shares 14 lessons to getting the shots. And Here his Book Retrospective.

Soaking black beans for our soup dinner tonight. The one thing I can be sure everyone in this house loves and devours with equal enthusiasm.

Fantasizing about this robe. And what coffee might feel like in this robe. Because I think by now it's apparent how much a fan I am of "Bathrobe Chic."

Needing THIS big bad planner badly. I never find the small ones practical and I downright refuse to use a digital calendar on my phone because I need handwritten notes. And I need to see them, big as possible. Every day.

Waiting on the delivery of this little salt rock nightlight. But I haven't decided if it's for me or the boys yet.

Considering a get away trip away for our ten year anniversary next September. Thinking Tulum Mexico? Because it's affordable. And gorgeous. But am open and appreciative of any suggestions!

Deciding on a new show (for myself, because mine and Mike's tastes vary so much when it comes to television) to watch during the late night closet decluttering I've got going on this week while the kids are all in bed. Netflix / Amazon friendly suggestions welcome.

Worrying about how many car projects Mike's taken on already in this, the first start of a new year. Especially considering how much he's been working at his real job. These "side jobs" demand such a fine balance. Otherwise he could spend every extra waking hour working, fixing, refinishing, or trading something for something else. We tried the other day to count how many automobiles we currently have and I swear to you the boys and I really aren't sure anymore. All I know is we need some of them to move along. The new pop-up bus though he scored last weekend for a killer deal, that can stay awhile. At least what I'm hoping will be a couple spring-time camping romps.

Reading up on the benefits of bone broth as part of a regular diet. An intrigue that was sparked when I was taking photos of my friend the other day who just became certified in Holistic healing and offered up all kinds of wild bone broth based concoctions she includes as part of her daily intake that I'm now enthralled with.

Working on what I hope to be a few new in shop staples. Including three new pieces I've been wanting to add for a couple years and finally got Mike on board. Plus, a new print I'm working on designed with my  my own home (and style) in mind that I hope a few others might appreciate as well.

Preparing our house for a full home tour on another blog in a few weeks. Which is great motivation because otherwise I tend to put things off another day, which we know turns into another week, and then before I know it months later I'm still walking around swearing on all these stupid "need to's" with a list that only grows longer in the meantime.

Scheming up a day trip to visit Arcosanti one weekend next month. What a dream, right? I didn't realize how much closer it is than I thought. And, I really want a bell from their shop.

Looking forward to a birthday dinner in the desert under the stars Saturday night with friends.


What are you up to this weekend?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Difference Between First & Fourth

Is how much less you care about proposed milestones.

I remember the weekly updates with my first pregnancy, following along so intently the emails that came through matching the growth of my baby to variously size fruit. He was lime, then apple, a melon, then a watermelon, and then a little before I was ready, fast asleep in a baby blue thermal tucked in the hallow crook of my arm.

I followed along afterwards too, reading about what regular advances you could expect to arrive with each new passing month. Arlo not only met them all he surpassed them so fast I started reading ahead to see what to expect from an 24 month old, on my 15 month old who could hold feasible conversations, wack a baseball with a vengence, and knew the names and sounds of just about every domestic animal in the books upon his shelf. To this day he's the same way. He sits for his first lesson in guitar and pulls of a new rift without a fumble. He bowls with strikes and can carve wood with the same skills it took his father a couple of years to perfect.





Then came Leon. Who showed me what it felt like stranded on the other end. Where suddenly I felt myself dreading the updates because they only helped highlight the fact of his weight and height hung around off the charts, as well as underlining proof of his considerable delay. Gross motor being of most concern. They ran tests, they tossed around diagnosis and hired a nice woman to visit our house once a week hoping to motivate him into moving. So that when he did finally roll over at 7 and a half months, and not 8 weeks like "most," my joy came shadowed by a slight sense of defeat. Never realizing how much all the worry would steal from me and my overall experience as a mother those first two years.  Even with all the help and therapy, Leon wouldn't walk until 23 months. Not 10 Like Arlo, or 14 like Rex. Or 12 like the books and updates deemed typical.

Fast forward seven years down the road and he stands at the top of his class, reading and writing like a champ, with friends around every corner and I can hardly recall those days when it felt like every move he made came measured by the light of such silly statistics, and pointless comparisons. There was no "reason" they ever uncovered for his delays. Except that he's was Leon then just as he is Leon now. Overly cautious, underly competitive. With the type of innate kindness that can't be charted or compared.

Fourth time around I didn't sign up for the emails because I knew by heart the size of the produce I could compare the growing child in my womb to. And because I knew no matter what 96 percent of the other infant population was doing, babies blossom on their own time. Of their own ability and accord. "Don't worry, don't compare. They're all so different" an old women in the Toy's R Us parking lot would say to me on a particularly low week, having sensed my lingering discontent in our conversation about him not walking. Of which I think about quite often. Seeing how truly right she was.

Hayes is now 19 months and hardly talking. People comment, asking how come he doesn't speak. When I think back to Arlo at his age I smile to consider how unsettling it was to have such an advanced infant pave the way for all the rest. Hayes doesn't talk much because he doesn't have to. Or maybe he just isn't ready. So he grunts and yells, points and nods and has the great luxury of three willing boys there to cater to all of these ragged tongued, caveman expressions. At times he's a rosey cheeked mime silently acting out requests with good will & humor. Other times livid. Furious over our apparent confusion in his communication efforts, with a short fuse and a sharp temper errupting tantrums that come as a result, proving nothing short of plain catastrophe in public.

And yet we are all there for him when he points high as he can up at at that big black sky every night as I pull him out of the car, showing us a silver slice of the moon he loves so much. One of the few words he can say. A shiny sliver in the sky he wants to share with us. "Moo!" he says over and over looking at each of us in complete awe of that bright spot that he finds every evening. With a smile because he knows he's close. And that we understand and see it's inexlpicalbe beauty, the exact same way.

As for all the animals, we're not there yet. But I know by now they'll all come around in good time.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Remembering Bowie


“A lot of people were at the Ziggy farewell dinner at the Cafe Royal in Piccadilly, after David's gig at the Hammersmith Odeon – Lou Reed, David Bowie and Mick Jagger. Everybody was so young and pretty. And this is the height of the glam season, summer of 73 , so they're all wearing black nail varnish. Ziggy Stardust has said farewell and this was some kind of Roman bacchanalia to celebrate. It was a very cuddly evening and late in the night I found David sitting on Mick Jagger's knee. I didn't hear what they were saying, they were whispering so low, but it looks pretty intimate." – Mick Rock on Café Royal in 1973, AnOther Magazine A/W 04






Loved reading through so many different takes on the man who managed his whole career refusing definitions.  

RIP D.B


Full article here

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Prepped

In keeping up with food themed New Year goals I, like everyone else this time of year, have been trying my hardest to stick to healthier meal selections. The biggest difference being preparing more ahead of time since that seems to be the main reason I tend to slack off and take to eating what I shouldn't be in the first place. Out of sheer convenience. Because in the two hours I have while Hayes is napping, and the boys are at school it's really hard to dedicate any extra time to cooking or fixing myself lunch when I'm rushing against the clock to get through a slew of emails, piles laundry, editing stuff, ect.

What's been most helpful so far though is having these pre made meals to fall back on. So I now devout a portion of my Monday mornings to prepping what I need for the next few days and tossing it all into containers to keep in the fridge for no hassle lunch options on the days I'm more strapped for time.

Not groundbreaking dieting methods by any means, I know. I just can't believe I didn't do this for myself sooner.

Below is one version of a greek salad I'm stuck on with black olives, candied walnuts, feta cheese, cucumbers, cilantro, tomatoes, chicken and onions topped with Trader Joe's champagne vinaigrette. Another current staple is a Mexican rice bowl (meant to heat up) and a teriyaki version with marinated chicken and white rice.



Because the way things are right now the best lunches are the ones I don't have to think about when I'm starving, stressed, and have 10 minutes to spare.

If only I could figure out how to make dinner go as smoothly.

Overheard



"I ran out of room, because there's too many people in our family" - Rex, explaining why his hand drawn family portrait only shows four boys and one tall boy with a skateboard (Dad) and no mom. Because if you're running low on space, cutting the one who gave birth to you makes the most sense. Apparently ... (also, your dad doesn't even skate)


"But what world is coming after this one?" - Leon's second question, post solar system lecture at the science center. Followed by wondering if people who are gluten free on earth, remain GF in space. Because if there are two things Leon is stuck on it's the world ending, and new ways around life without buttermilk pancakes.


"Fixing a broken pipe 30 feet above ground on a sketchy ladder. I bought four powerball tickets. If I win and fall they are on my dashboard." - last night's text from Mike, who I am happy made it safely off the ladder. (But sad to report no need for either of us to claim the billion dollar lotto)


"Who DID this?" - Rex, furious & seeking revenge over finding a bad quality 8 by 12 photo of himself as a baby in the trash. Again.


"I'm telling everyone!" - Leon, overhearing Arlo singing along to a Taylor Swift song.


"We ARE taking turns! It goes: me, arlo, me, arlo, me, arlo, Leon. - Rex, answering my questioning how they were keeping things balanced during indoor basketball hoop shots.


"I'm not telling you her name because I know you'll embarrass me." - Arlo, on his newest crush


"FIONA" - Leon, spilling the beans soon as Arlo got out of the car.


"Turn it back, that's my song" -Arlo, referring to Drake's "cell phone."


"That's just the code for my Twitter account." - Arlo, hearing my cell phone chime, mistakenly under the impression that he was somehow now old enough to tweet.


"Yah, it's from a far away place you never heard of called "SWEEE - DEN." - Leon, in reference to his candle lined paper Christmas hat he made at school when he learned about exotic foreign places that his poor uncultured mother could have never possibly heard of.


I think I'm addicted to Christmas. - Leon, getting real about his festive tendencies.


"You BETTER pay him back." - Rex, seeing me pull cash from Mike's wallet.


"Puta, Puta!" - One of four phrases Hayes repeats regularly. Surely it means something else but sounds exactly, very clearly, just like it's spelled. Unfortunately.
Woof Woof, Ho Ho Ho, and Moon are much more my favorite, especially in public.


"Well, I lost a LOT of friends today." - Rex, on a Monday when I dare ask how his school day went.


"Rich and famous." - Rex, this month, on what he wants to be when he grows up. (Cringe)


"Mother! Tell your children not to come or walk or talk this way!" - New (semi original) song written and performed by Rex and Arlo on the stairs, with remaining lyrics I didn't quite catch.


"Doing his sit ups." - Leon, on what Arlo was doing when I asked. Referring to his brother's long term dedication to the same quest he's been on since he was about four, to have and sport a "six pack."


"YAS QUEEN." - How Leon has been responding to Rex all week after seeing a meme three days ago, which, as you can imagine, does not go over very well with him. *


"You better not eat anything here. My mom says you eat all our food and drink all her wine." - Rex, to Denise (who doesn't even like wine) when she was watching them at my house this week. Which I never said. And makes terrified to stop and consider all the things he must tell people that I'll never know about. And guarding my wine? (Cringe)


"Rex." - Leon, genuinely worried after telling me that Rex informed him that he actually got "Kicked out" of the family. When I said "That's silly Leon. Who kicked you out?"


"I told her you take pictures of pillows, and um, food, and stuff." - Leon, recounting an explanation he gave to a teacher wondering what his mother did for a living.


"No you're not. You're going to sit here and play with me." - Rex to Leon when he said he was going to go outside for a minute.


"I don't want to go to school today because my hair feels too long!" - Leon, being Leon.


"Oh yah, I remember that. Sitting on the carpet. And signing those songs." Leon, reminsing fond memories as a kindergartener, one whole year ago, to Rex who wasn't listening.


"But everyone knows he loves me the best, right Mom?" - Rex about Hayes. #Truth.


"No, I changed it. For a surf party." - Rex, insistent on changing his Winter birthday date, to a Summer month to allow for more stellar party possibilities. Which I shrugged off until I saw hand drawn invitations showing him on a long board with sunglasses on.


"Cole doesn't even have abs OR muscles. He's just the funniest person in class." - Arlo, this morning on his new nemesis "Cole," who evidently shares the same feelings for "Fiona" (Arlo's secret crush) and has nothing going for him other than "personality."


"Hide it. She'll throw it away." Rex to Leon, finding an old drawing of his in the backyard.


"Just use your imagination!" Rex, consistently annoyed over Leon wanting to follow directions during their joint Lego constructions.


"We are spys! With missions to solve everyday. We get clues and we figure out all the big mysteries." - Celeste, sweet leader of Leon's lunchtime friend group, in response to me stumbling upon them at recess and asking what they play during their lunch hour.


"You're lucky, mom. Because now I actually want to take showers every day AND brush my teeth." - - Arlo, to me referring to the perks of puppy love.


"See, Leon. Evel Knieval lived with all of these dinosaurs." - Rex, in a rare moment of stillness, browsing a book and playing professor to Leon in explaining the chronological history of evolution. With usual, reckless abandon.


"Darth Vader?" - Leon, quick to respond when Mike started with "Do you know who Rex really looks like?" to me about someone from the cast of Star Wars on their return home from the showing.


"It's ok. Just go. I'll watch him. What time does he go to bed? After Spongebob? Actually I'm just going to let him stay up." - Rex, assuring me I could run to the store while he held down the fort and baby sat little Hayes. Which I was tempted to pretend to do, just to watch from the window panes, as I'm sure pure madness would unfold.


"In the beginning we were friends! You came out and said "let's have good times together!" then grew up and said "Rex, you're my worst enemy!" - Rex, is his typical (over dramatized) recounts of their life's beginnings, in which he's somehow along the way managed to convince Leon that he was there to document it all even though he's technically 16 months younger than him.
But who am I to meddle?


*possibly my fault. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

On The Go, A Loose Guide to Traveling With General Unpreparedness

With sweet reminder to be easy on my grammar mistakes & editing oversights when it comes to these lengthy posts. The Luxury of second drafting has not been available to me since, uh, oh ... 2011. Though I was never really all that good at it in the first place. . .



The past three weeks with the boys out of school and long rainy days threatening to keep us all indoors for the majority of their time off, I finally woke up one morning and decided to get up and get out in spite of unfortunate weather. I mean, it's no secret how funny we Californians are when it comes to rain, right? You all know. Racked with rampant warnings and constant news updates detailing the intensity of looming storm clouds, flash flood alerts rattling our nerves via local radio stations, people locked up indoors swooning over cups of hot chocolate they waited all winter long to rightfully enjoy in face of our first of what they promise to be a series of proper rain storms in line for an El Nino winter. No one in their right mind wants to go out in the rain here. It's understandable. We're not accustomed to the rain and truth be told I usually I don't want to either. Unless my sanity is at stake. Which indeed it was about six days into the break where staying home cooped up another day with all four kids seemed far more frightful to me than any slick freeway excursion. Plus, when I started to consider how much the rest of the world continues to life and thrive in the face of far more challenging climates, I started to feel slightly silly about avoiding the possibility of any major outings when all of us we so desperate to have a little fun on break.

Nothing we managed inside of those three weeks was planned or prepared for. And I must say - if this blog could be a proponent for anything it might as well be advocate for the unplanned, ill prepared, unplanned way of spontaneous day tripping. I swear it's all we've ever known and these days I'm come to accept that our adventures out won't ever unroll in a readily planned, or overly organized manner. In that I felt the weight of all those "should haves" that get in the way of exploring with kids too often, be lifted permanently from my poor head space. Getting out at all in any decent shape or matter is HARD. Absolutely. But 99 percent of the time we do it because we know the rewards it reaps are always well worth the exhaustive efforts and countless inconveniences it comes to demand. We get out. Because we need to. Whatever happens in the midst of it we just deal with. 

But let me start first by explaining how the addition of our new (ok, used) Ford Econoline van (boasting 8 individual seating options!) has really helped kick up the notion of getting out no matter what circumstances our day begins with. The van is a beast, but so practical, and at this point in life it feels like a middle class suburban mom's dream come true. A caravan to load up the whole gang. With plenty of walking space (!) and room for all their filthy little trucks, trinkets, and souvenirs. So far what I keep stocked in there on the regular is: water, a decent sized snack bag, diapers & wipes, and a pile of four Mexican blankets because the seats all recline so they come in handy big time on the long drives home (or in the case of soaking clothes in which they then serve as our only means of replacement garments but more on that below)  

One of our week's fist trips* came about when we decided to finally visit Jamie on her super adobe consturction site. A visit a year in the making where I figured what better time to pile in and visit sprawling dirt lots and interview** her about the nature of her inspiration in beginning this quest for alternative housing / living. They boys had a blast. Metal (mobile) tractors a'plenty, swing set banning girls, and one big trampoline, bike tracks and everything else boys generally adore. Even the minor injury (Leon was hit by a pellet from a be be gun Arlo found that ricocheted off of a swing and hit him in the tummy) that I've come to almost expect as result of taking four boys into the wild on any given occasion, didn't dare damper their time there.  

The visit was short but eventful. For all of us. We drove home and through a Del Taco for a quick bite, watching the storm moving in with fresh seeds of homesteading blooming in my head. Desperate to learn more. To gain more knowledge about what I always viewed as a long shot as far as building something our own some day is concerned. Thank you Jaime, for that. 



Another day trip sprung on a whim was our trip to the harbor once the storm was in full effect. I woke up feeling Antsy and motivated. I didn't tell the boys where we were going once I decided we were partly because I wasn't sure myself where we might end up. But more to spare me a string of backseat complaints on the way down. Knowing full and well sometimes it's better to surprise than try and convince them.

So we ended up at the harbor. Swinging by the Crab Cooker for steaming cups of red clam chowder and french bread loafs straight out of the oven. We sat and ate our soup and listened to whatever spooky*** pod casts I found (Brother's Grimm and something about the Demon cat?) And then busted out of the van to run around a cool new play space there on the sand in soaking clothes. The ride home was cozy and slow. Stripped of wet clothes they sat happily in underwear with a heater blasting. A blanket of their own to cover up with, watching flashes of lighting spark from outside those big wide window panels.

Turned out to be one of my favorite vacation days yet. Further convincing me that the less expectations you set forth on these trips, the better the outcome. For everyone involved. And so many times just getting it the car is the bigger battle. Figuring out where you're going even when you begin your destination without a clue, is a heck of a lot less stressful. And fun if you let it be.



Our second trek to the desert we decided on late the night before. Knowing that our friends were in town camped out in the park, and wanting to take the opportunity to let Arlo race around the open sand on his new quad. 

Early on I set the directions on my phone for the website to Camp Ryan inside of Joshua Tree Stae Park, which failed me but led us instead through the most breath taking back road through the park's "Wrong side." Piecing blue skies, new thin snowfall at the foot of smoke singed staggered trees. It was about 20 minutes into the drive where we started to realize it might be the wrong way but with scenery that pretty it's hard to really care. Once we decided to turn back, we let everyone out to play in the snow where they each built their own tiny snowmen (Hayes befriended, kissed, hugged, then ate his) and the older boys chucked snowballs at one another till they were wet, mad, and exhausted. 

We arrived in the park late but with enough time for a little rock climbing (which always makes me nauseous to watch) introduced our boys to the three on site: Howard, Rowan and Dexter who's Tonka truck collection helped forge an instant bond between all 7. And left with promised plans for more play dates in the future since Jesse and his family will be in the area for the next few months shooting the next issue of his magazine, The Collective Quarterly. 

Evening found us another 20 miles down the way to visit W & E. for vegetable soup at dinner and cold quad rides around the property. The boys were given free range with metal shovels and dug what they believed would become impressive launch pads while we sat by the fire dreaming about owning one of the many vacant & neglected structures scattered along the same street as theirs. 

The ride home sweetly rekindled my love affair with Leonard Cohen**** (now that I have an auxiliary cord in my possession once again) A gripping kind of love which wanes through the years only because I like to give up listening to him in long bouts to fully appreciate him and the songs upon my return. It's all they've heard in the van since that night. Because I think we can all agree if this season should be granted one defining voice it would most certainly be Mr. Cohen's. 



Lastly, a phone call from a fellow school friend convinced us to stop by the park for some good old fashioned puddle stomping. Which Leon did. Like any kid might armed with newly thrifted black rubber rain boots made for stomping.



Not pictured: a day trip to the Science Center in L.A where I detoured our initial plans for the zoo, then the Santa Ana site, when I learned entrance was free, I had two extra kids with me, and had in fact forgotten my wallet. And you know what? Turned out to be a pretty fantastic museum experience. Highly recommended for local readers who've yet to make it out there. Hard to beat an earth quake simulator, astronaut photo booth, space shuttle interiors, and 2 dollar tight roped bike ride three stories above the museum. So good I can't wait to go back.

And there you have it. A few examples of us on the go thoughout three weeks of Christmas break for the simple purpose of getting out to preserve sanity day to day. Without structured plans or solid preparations. Stumbling into snow we never expected, friends we've never knew before, songs we still need to learn to love, rainstorms on the road, and wild quad rides at dusk. Things I hope they never forget. Hours and outings that stand above and beyond all the rest. Long after the plights of petty quarrels and traveling mishaps fizzle out and fade away.


Post Footnotes

* Sounds track being: Janis Joplin & Lunch being: an 8 dollar drive lunch via a Del Taco drive through on the way back. 

** Full interview and more photos of Jamie and her home on the Ma Books today, Here 

*** We listened for free via some random site I stumbled upon but I would greatly appreciate any recommendations as far as pod casts or audible book options go. 

**** And while I can't say the boys all fully on board yet with the Man locked in the Tower of Song, I still hold out slim hope that one of them will grow up and write a book titled "All I Ever Learned about Women I Learned From Leonard Cohen in the Back Seat of an Econolpne Van on Those Long Car Rides Home." 
A mother can dream, right?
Leon, Maybe .....