Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hammock Hooligans.

PS-We love our new hammock. Best anniversary gift ever. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Camping Kick-Off!

Camping season has begun! 

We survived the long drive, the heat, mosquitos, and a large spider which was NOT a welcome sight for those brave ones sleeping under the stars. 

Minna made it through her first night in a tent. Needless to say us girls weren't in the brave group of campers. Tent all the way baby! I will never forget her big eyes lit by the moon trying to focus on SOMETHING in the dark. Poor girl would try to turn her head 360 degrees then I would quietly say her name and she would pounce in the direction of my voice. She seemed to like it though and she didn't keep our neighbors awake. I call that a success!

The next day was about 10 hours in the lake and the boys still were not ready to go home. The engines on those guys...

Next month we have 3 whole nights to look forward to. I got some new camera gadgets so I can take more pictures during the glare of the day. I'm ready, I'm ready...

Hope everyone had a great Monday.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Day Down South...

...with a couple of bathing beauties and four fleet-footed kids dancin' the night away as only kids can do.

'Til next time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Weekly Beach Adventures.

We are trying to make a trip to the beach once a week this summer. It is so darn close and we all love it so much, why the heck not? Pack a lunch and off we go...

One of our favorite spots OVERLOOKS the beach so the boys agreed that it counts as the beach. Therefore, it qualifies as a weekly beach trip. 

The spot is a big tree that gently bends to the side, touching the ground after years and years of standing up against the sea winds. It has grown and gnarled into a big cozy den. Patches of sun shine through the leafy roof and there are tunnels and twisted bridges winding their way to hidden rooms. A kid's dream.

The terrain was a little rough for Minna, our novice walker, but she loved it. Next summer she too will be getting stuck up high making her un-coordinated mom climb to the rescue and her arms will be full of sandy twigs and treasures. 

Can't wait for next week.

Sunflower Update.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Happy Fathers Day with a special shout out to my dad, my kid's dad and my kid's dad's dad!

Love ya.

First Taste.

What a great celebration we had yesterday! 

Our wonderful close friends and family braved traffic, flies, wind, coastal chill and scratching their legs on hay bales just to wish our girl a happy birthday.

Some other notable firsts for Minna;

Football (What would we do without you Uncle Scott?)
Cupcake/Sugar (What have I done?)
Falling asleep while eating watermelon
Bonk on the head with a rattle (Emma's payback.)
Rocking horse (Awe Grandpa, nuff said.)
Purse, complete with lipstick
Fire truck (Thanks to Chief Lori Anello, love it:)

I'd say she had a great first birthday. 

Thanks everybody!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Getting There Is Half The Fun.

Even the truck is bursting with excitement over our BBQ and Cupcake Extravaganza!

I love planning, and scurrying around, and planning.

For you Trader Joe's groupies out there, two things;

1. They have a new re-usable shopping bag, tote style, bigger, with hefty handles. You can see it above tucked in with the flowers. (I don't know how earth friendly it is to buy EVERY single cute re-usable shopping bag there is, but I justify it with the fact that I actually use them all the time and everywhere.)

2. Those cute (sometimes dangerous) kid-sized shopping carts hold exactly 30 ears of corn. Just an FYI for the next time you may need that many. If your kids are as cool as mine, I am sure they too will revel in the attention they get while proudly pushing around a pile of corn, husks and all. 

Off to do some more scurrying.

Or, maybe some sleeping instead...

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mandatory Birthday Photos.

Every year on the kids actual birthdays I make them "sit" for a portrait. 

Sully wears a leather "Crocodile Dundee" sort of hat his Dad got in Australia. Colyer wears one of his Dad's white "covers" from his Navy days. I wanted Minna to wear something of mine but I don't really have any neat hats. The only sentimental piece of clothing I own is my wedding dress. It is not your typical fluffy gown, just a knee length, embroidered, wisp of a thing. 

There ya go Minna, in a wedding dress already!

The idea is to be able to see all the pictures side by side when the kids are all grown up and see them grow into their Dad's hats or their Mom's dress.

Of course kids don't sit long if at all, so I get a million shots of the camera chasing them or of them holding something to distract them. All that funny business is part of the charm and as I say each year, "Someday you will really appreciate seeing these pictures and how you have changed from year to year."

For once, my babbling has turned to truth because already Sully and Colyer love to look at their birthday pictures! Nothing could make me happier.

I hope Minna likes hers too. She just had her first session yesterday. Man, one year olds are fun and wiggly!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy One Year To My Little-Big Girl.

Minna Dawn is ONE today. This sweet little, bald-headed, 10 pound girl came very quickly into our lives last year and just as quickly her first year has gone by.

A little over a year ago, I found out that we were going to have a girl. She was Minna from that point on and I couldn't believe that we weren't having another boy. We are so good at making boys after all. 

I have noticed over the past seven years the connection Jeff has had with his boys. Just as my wonderful boys and I are connected because we are different, they are connected not only because they are father-son, but because they are the same. It radiates through them when they hold hands and walk together and I had a small spot in my heart that longed for that.
I have had to have stearn talks with myself about the daydreaming and planning of mine and Minna's Mommy-daughter future though. Well of course we will be giggling about boys, cooking, shopping for bras and a prom dress and she will call me on the phone every night after she goes to college. You know the stuff.

But what if she doesn't want to talk to me about boys and what if she she could care less about prom? 

I need to be prepared and never-ever disappointed because I was expecting Minna and our relationship to be a certain way. Being her Mom is about seeing who she is, not who I hope she will be. I can't wait to see how she grows and how our relationship develops. 

The daydreaming still manifests itself quite often though. Like last night when making tea with my 11 year old friend Ashley, I couldn't help imagining Minna and I doing the same in our jammies someday, sipping and talking over the counter our warm cups in hand, content. 

But the real feeling of content comes from that small spot in my heart so full it's bursting because I have my girl and I have the honor of holding her hand. I will hold her hand because we are the same and because she is amazing. I will hold her hand if she is a tom-boy, or prom-queen or if she is like her mom, somewhere in between. 

Whoever she becomes I will be the same, her mama.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So Much To Learn and Stuff.

All I wanted was a family portrait up on the hill with evening sun golden upon our casual, smiling, happy faces. 

Sure Nat, no prob.

My lack of technical photography knowledge is always clear to me but I know some day, with practice and classes I will learn all I need to know. Tonight while trying to get a portrait of the fam, I re-learned things I already knew but forgot since the last time I tried to take a picture of my 2 boys, my baby, my good-sport-of-a-husband and my nemesis, Roo the dog.

Lesson One/Photo One- Animals that are reluctant to be photographed or moody are harder to corral than kids because you can't bribe them with a toy from Hobby Town valued at no more than $10.00. 

Lesson Two/Photo Two- You can't slap an effect on a picture that isn't great in the first place and expect it to become great.

Lesson Three/Photo Three- It truly is impossible to be photographer, stylist, subject and animal wrangler, all at the same time. Note- wild hair flying in the wind and Roo's profile.

Lesson Four/All Photos- Even the real-life, educated, professional photographers out there hire professional photographers.

With all lessons aside, they are still portraits of my beautiful family and one of the 40 shots will end up in our living room and be loved just the same. That's the reason I love portraiture, it's the faces (or dog's rear-ends) in the photo that make them matter.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Thank You Very Mulch.

We have had an unsightly planter box surrounding the house for almost two years.   

Who would have known that $18.00 worth of chopped up used deck lumber from Sonoma Compost Company and a little elbow-grease would spruce it up so much that I am actually giddy. Now there will be no more weeds choking my roses or the poor spearmint. No more mud all over the darn garden hose. The geraniums stand out and everything looks so tidy! 

We will see how long it takes for the boys to start throwing the bark around and for Roo to start digging in it. For now though, all is right.

Best $18.00 I have thrown down in a long time. 

PS-Stay tuned for another one of my recycling projects. It involves my pictures, color and pulp. What could it be?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gimme More...

I can not emphasize how wonderful baby-signs are. 

Minna told me she wanted another bite of broccoli (yes!), and cookie (no, sorry). She asked me where her Daddy was and told me she wanted out of the tub with no crying or fit-throwing. With a little flourish of her tiny hands she can communicate and I can understand what is going on in her busy brain. It's priceless, plus unbelievably adorable when those chubby fingers form "more", "all done" or "dog". 

We are working on "thank-you" and "bird" so we will see what she has to say. If only I could get good shots of them all. 

Those hands are lightning-quick!

Frogs, Fossils and Friends

We had a great first week of summer!

We found a frog. That's big news. He was hiding in C's helmet. He didn't get squished.

The kids along with their Pleasant Hill counterparts, went digging for fossils, dinosaur bones and gold in our very own back yard. They acquired approximately 100 pounds of dirt, sun kissed cheeks and one bee-sting story for the history books. 

Not bad.

Thanks to the W's for another wonderful visit. Til next week guys...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys.

That is a very true old-time saying. 

Colyer, one of my boys, will slice off a big bunch of roses with his splintery sword that he promised not to use on my rose bushes. 

Boys will be boys.

Said boy, will then on a whim put that bunch of roses through a hole in the fence for me to see when I turn the corner causing me to smile uncontrollably. 

Killed roses forgotten. 

Boys will be boys and mine are kinda terrific, splintery swords and all.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Something Just Came Up...

Where is the marching band and baton twirlers? 

Sound the horns and raise the flags for the SUNFLOWERS have peeked over the fence!

Why am I the only one who is so excited over here?

Maybe you have to see it in person for the true effect? Yeah, that's it. 

Or maybe I really am just too easily amused.  Nuthin' wrong with that right?

Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Solstice.

Yesterday was officially the first day of summer. 

On our calendar, summer starts the very first Monday after the last day of school. No alarm clocks, no packing lunches and no apparent bedtimes. Only swimming at friend's houses, picnic lunches and spontaneous trips to the beach allowed.

Our trip to North Salmon Creek today was the best kick-off ever. We saw surfers, found cool drift wood, got numb toes from the Northern California water, and Minna only ate a little bit of sand. 

The season has begun.

What are you gonna do on your first day of summer this year?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tale Of Two Sleeves

So Minna's dress is gonna be sleeveless. 

Earlier tonight-

The kids and husband are sleeping. I am busily sewing. The iron is warm and the machine is buzzing away. I am feeling darn good as I turn my very first dress right-side out (that part is so fun!) to admire my very first adorable little sleeve and there it is; a jumbled mess of gathers in the wrong places, excess thread and a forgotten pin sewn in so tight I couldn't pull it out.  Grrr.

I was so proud of the sleeves too. They looked perfect alone, nice seams and a cute little arm hole. I even had fun lacing the elastic through. Oh well, the disaster sleeve was promptly cut off and along with it's mate, thrown away after some photo documentation. Check out the first photo, the top right bundle of fabric is the sleeve-ball that was surgically removed. 

After some arm hole trimming and stitching and with a bit of ribbon I may end up with something resembling a dress. We shall see...

At least Minna has the arms to get away with going sleeveless.  :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Shower Under The Redwoods

My best friend and her belly, the soon-to-be big sis, 11 more lovely guests, lunch, presents, Sift Cupcakes (uh-huh), chocolaty sweet favors tied with ribbon, flowers, pretty pictures and a grove of old redwood trees.

It was pretty chilly and the bathroom was a 5 minute walk up-hill.

Everybody was a good sport though. Next time we will have to set up a port-a-potty and an outdoor heater. 

Til the next baby Jules!   :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Oh, and it's my favorite color.

So Sully tied on his YELLOW BELT in Judo! 

Of course I was proud but I was especially happy to see the pride in my very modest boy's face. He is a serious kid and even though he wasn't sure about this Judo-thing, he took it very seriously and worked hard. 

During the promotion ceremony each instructor said a little something about each student. Sully stood up there solemnly with hands on his hips until it came to his turn. Then he could not stop the smiles and the giggles, very endearing.

Even with all the excitement surrounding the new belt we have to mention that Colyer tested as well. He didn't pass this time but is very close. You gotta be 5 to officially get the belt anyway. That wasn't much of a consolation for a kid who wants so much to be just like his big brother. I did see glimmer of pride in Cauley's face too when he demonstrated a mean O Soto Gari (see the first photo), very impressive. 

I sure love a kid in a gi, especially when they are mine.

PS-When you earn a new belt, your old belt which should have never been washed, is tied in a knot to keep all of the knowledge in it. Then you can pass that belt and all it's knowledge on to someone else. Neat huh?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sweet Charlie.

The boys and I were so lucky to have known Charlie the lamb. 

As we have come to learn living on a ranch, sad things happen. Poor Charlie was killed by coyotes the other night. We are all going to miss him and are thankful to have been able to pat his woolly little back and let him lick our boots. I am glad my boys got to help save a life and see a baby animal grow before their eyes. 

Charlie was a "bummer" lamb which means his Mama couldn't feed him. (Poor lady had mastitis, ouch!) So our wonderful neighbors became wet-nurses and fed the lil' guy with a bottle, 2-3 times a day. Then he developed a twice a day 2 liter soda-bottle habit. We all got to help feed him too. He and his Mom would see us coming and she would nudge him over to us for his meal. Amazing. 

He grew up, weaned and joined his grazing friends. He would come when his name was called and tolerated hugs and patting til he got too big to pick up. What a great experience for my little guys and for me.

We will never forget you Charlie and we'll say hi to your Mama and your cousins every day. To us you were most definitely NOT a bummer.

All Engines Go!

We have a proper swing all! 

There is always a bum on it and one waiting to be. My Mom-senses are tingling more than usual these days because one or both boys are trying to sneak out at all hours for a ride. 

So far I have seen a Power Ranger, complete with muscles, pumping up a storm. Just today, a boy in cowboy print jamma bottoms holding the string of a homemade kite was spotted floating amongst the clouds. I know the day will come when bed-head and underwear only will be all the rage.

I tell ya, there's nothing better than a swing in your own backyard. Especially when your brother who is patiently waiting for a turn, gives ya a good push.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sew It Seams...

I was up until 2:30am sewing my first pillowcase, only to cut it up 10 minutes later to sew my first little dress. I am making it for Minna to wear on her first birthday. It is all so appropriate. Plus, Minna isn't choosy yet and hopefully won't mind if the seams are a tad crooked or if the sleeves aren't quite symmetrical. 

I will probably be up late again tonight wrestling with yards of elastic. 

Wish me luck.