Thursday, October 31, 2013


This post should really be titled "Drawings I Find Around The House While The Little Girls Are Away At School." But obviously that is a ridiculously long title. Mid-morning I found these jewels on the table mixed in with the ugliness of half-eaten breakfast remnants, spilled orange juice and some other goo I assume is Grady's yogurt, dried. This treasured artwork only makes me miss them more and wish they were only in the other room so I could call out my admiration to them.
Ivy's Heart Kitty-cat. (when she got home I told her I liked her very suave, mustached heart. FAIL.) 
Savannah's portrait of our family and her frustration over the cold rainy day illustrated below.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Today Savannah's class had a field trip to Harris Center to see Jack And The Beanstalk. I rarely have one-on-one time with Savannah (I have it everyday with both Grady and Ivy because of school schedules) so I was excited to have uninterrupted conversation with this little lady and see the world from her view for a couple hours. The play was funny and the experience great, but my favorite part was having a treat just she and I before heading home to my other Littles. While we were sitting outside watching the clouds gather for a storm and talking about upcoming plans, I realized how jealous I was of Savannah. She was spending quality time with her mom, the person who adores her most in the world. I wouldn't have changed our time together right then for anything save the utterly impossible--that we switch places for just a second. To feel that nurturing love again: complete adoration from my mom. The way she used to look at me, her eyes lit up. I do sometimes find myself jealous of My Littles and the time they have with their Mom.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Trunk Or Treat.

The Little Girls' Girl Scout troop participated in 'Troop Trunk Or Treat' this year. Their trunk didn't win 1st, 2nd or 3rd place but the party was a delight nonetheless. Savannah dressed as a "Japanese  princess", Ivy a "Bird of Paradise" and Goo, a chicken!
This chicken costume kills me with glee.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Lunch Date

I made a fun discovery today. Nina's is back!! She closed her Courtyard CafĂ© a few years ago, locals knew it as the ONLY place to eat lunch in Hangtown. But now, Nina And Paula: Two Cooks On Main is open and serving all Nina's original recipes including her Friday Special: Clam Chowder. EVERYTHING is tasty on the menu, the Chinese Chicken Salad is my favorite and all the sandwiches are made with homemade bread...hello Squaw Bread!
Goo and I shared the special, chowda.
My handsome date.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Close Call.

The day we returned from the desert, our Alma Americana Chicken was pulled halfway through our wire fence. How a neighbor dog grabbed her by the tail and pulled her backward through a 2x4 inch space is baffling to me but she was naked of her feathers on one side and bleeding badly. By the time Tim scared off the dog, the other lovelies were already pecking her wound, putting her out. I separated her from the others by keeping her in our bathtub, cleaning her sores with hydrogen peroxide and water. She lived there for two days and then I moved her to a dog kennel for a week. It was heart-breaking to see her so hurt and lonely away from the flock. She wanted companionship so badly. When I reintroduced her, the other lovelies put her in her place, she went from being 2nd in pecking order to last. The only lovely pleased to see her again was Almond Cake, the other Americana. Those two are as thick as thieves. They sleep in the same nesting box and have each other's backs. Because Almond Cake is top chick here at The Hut, Alma is back in the good graces of all The Lovelies. Her wound is healing and her feathers are growing back in. She is easier to catch these days, I think thankful we nursed her and saved her life. I hope she repays with beautiful and delicious eggs.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rock On.

We went to the Gem and Rock Show this weekend. I was in a seriously foul mood which made The Littles teeter on eggshells so to speak and Tim really quiet. Outside of the fossils, we weren't interested in the booths and vendors but there were some fun activities for The Littles like gold panning and well, that's all we did really. 
Oh, The Little Girls picked out a geode and a rock guy cut it open for them. I was hoping they would get the surprise of pretty colored crystals inside but
it was sort of a greyish let-down. But to make them feel like it wasn't lame he talked up the "cool, crystal lines" or something and they smiled and felt better. The geode is still in a plastic bag I my trunk.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Talking To Littles.

How open are you with your Littles? Do you answer all their questions straightforwardly and completely or do you use "soft words" as My Littles' dentist does or change the subject to get out of an awkward conversation/explanation? I'm sure some people would disagree with my approach to My Littles' questions but so far there hasn't been a topic of conversation I have shied away from. I answer factually using real adult words without sugar-coating anything. And if they don't ask any follow ups to their follow ups, I feel I've exhausted the topic. On meaning of life questions, I don't give a one-sided answer but instead ask them what they think. Then if they ask what I think, I tell them my opinion or belief then help them see it from another angle. I love their questions and having this type of conversation with the hope they remain open-minded and open-hearted to all people and ideas.
Now that The Little Girls are both in school, we have many discussions about families and what that looks like in their school community. Some kids live with both a mother and father, some are raised by an Aunt or Uncle, some are raised by single parents and some by grandparents. Because of our friendships outside of school, The Little Girls are familiar with the dynamics of a family that is fostering children, adopting children, when grandparents live under the same roof as the child's nuclear family or families with same-gendered parents. But their comfort is in fact rooted in the honesty Tim and I provide in our answers to any previous questions about any of the above family frameworks. And yes, they have explored and continue to explore any picture of a family that is different than their own because that is what littles do in order to make sense of their world.
I bring this all up because I am still tossing around a conversation I had earlier this week with a mom whose son is in Savannah's class. The little boy has been bullied this year and in turn became one himself and so he is currently suspended from school due to being a danger to others and himself. His mom was talking about what a good kid he is and how he has just gotten off track and doesn't understand what's going on with himself. I tuned out a little because she was talking about what they watch on TV and then I focused back in because she was talking about how she likes to watch Modern Family and her boys are always confused/grossed out by the two gay dads in the show. She was telling me that she and her husband always answer their boys questions by saying the dads in the show are teasing or playing a joke that they are married. She doesn't want them to take it seriously. A GIANT RED SPINNING SIREN WENT OFF IN MY HEAD. Then she asked, "What else am I going to say?" not really asking me but sort of ending the conversation. I told her that we have family friends in same-sex relationships, some who have adopted kids and live as a family just like we do. She looked at me blankly then told me how her son doesn't like his new pediatrician because he is brown. I stifled a gasp, tried not to be physically ill and busied myself by helping the teacher while knowing full well that if this Mom's little boy continues down his current path, no person outside of his own understanding of normal is safe from his bullying.
Ignorance like this can be remedied by having open, honest conversations. Whether or not you agree with someone else's lifestyle choice, political persuasion, religious affiliation or understand someone's cultural background, an open conversation with your Littles answering their questions shows them you respect, hear and value them and in turn they feel the same towards you. Maybe you aren't as blatant as I, perhaps you are tactful with "soft words". My hope is you can facilitate a discussion to provide understanding and acceptance for your Littles.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Slide And Other Endearing Palm Desert Favorites.

One of the pools at the Marriott Shadow Ridge has a great water slide. Savannah has been enjoying it the past two times we visited but Ivy only wanted to go with Tim or I, never solo. But this time she saw her brother do it on Tim's lap, Jack on Jenny's, Hank on Jared's and that was it. She was ready to give it a go with her "life jest" and nose pinched.
 Tim and Goo.
 Jenny and Jack.
 Ivy's first time alone. I love Jenny's reaction on the left.
 Jared and Hank.
Family, taking a break and talking about the slide. I was hesitant to ride the slide this time because I broke my big toe dismounting it a year and a half ago. I worked up the nerve and enjoyed it a few times with Goo the last day of our stay.

Here is a list of favorite things about Palm Desert:
The property, Shadow Ridge.
The climate. I love the desert.
Angela and family come to visit on the weekend.
The slower pace of life.
Night walks with our little family.
I get called "dear" instead of "ma'am". I love "dear", hate "ma'am".
The shopping; thrift, outlets, boutiques and discount.
Michelle visits us midweek.
The sunrises and sunsets.
My morning run on the golf course.
The mountains.
Colors seem so vibrant against the brown/sandy backdrop.
Everyone is happy, in vacation mode and there is no agenda except to enjoy the list above.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Quality Cousin Time.

My brother's family came with us to Palm Desert. The oldest three Littles busied themselves with hours of drawing, coloring and painting, playing Cars (Jack's favorite), Lalaloopsy(The Little Girls' favorite) and playing restaurant in the sand bluff/beach. Meanwhile, the youngest two Littles toddled around and when Grady wasn't micromanaging Hank ("Kink" as Goo calls him), he was giving him some Goo(d) love. My favorite moments of our trip were those when we were sitting back and watching the cousins play.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


On the drive home from the desert last May, Tim and I both talked about a future trip and what that time would mean for Ivy. Our hope was she would become an independent swimmer by the end of our week-long stay. Thanks to Tim's encouragement, determination and hours practicing "glides" with her, Ivy surpassed our expectations and was swimming solo mid-week.

Monday, October 14, 2013


For Tim, "The Happiest Place On Earth" is the most miserable place on earth. But when we were planning our next trip to the desert, I felt like we needed to take The Littles back to Disneyland before Savannah realizes the characters aren't real and don't all live in the park (sorry if I just ruined that tidbit for you). There isn't anything Tim won't do for his Littles and so he risked his sanity, threw caution to the wind and got on board. And you know what? There was no bigger "kid" in the park that day than Tim. He took our Little Girls on Splash Mountain, Pirates, the Haunted Mansion (though Goo, Ivy and I had to be taken out the back door on account of the screaming and fear coming from their little faces) and other rides The Little Girls were too little for last time and too afraid to try. We were thrilled that Angela and Addie met us at the entrance when the park opened, it was cousie heaven all day.
Little Girl Cousins on herringbone pavers...oh Disney, you delighted me all day with your fancy brickwork.
First ride of the day: Teacups.
 While Little Girls met Merida,
Tim and Goo reminisced about Small World.
Last ride of the day: Teacups.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Checking In.

Hello Hutters! We are on holiday. Be back soon. Whatever it is you are up to this weekend, I hope it's happy.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2 Tough Mudders.

My brother Jared and Tim made a deal. Tim would do the Tough Mudder with Jared if Jared read 6 books of Tim's choosing. Tim stuck to end of the deal and on Sunday these brothers-in-law completed the hardcore obstacle course.
At the starting line.
On their way to the first challenge.
The lifts to the top of the mountain were closed because of a wind advisory and besides, super sketchy with five littles so Jenny and I waited with our littles at the village below. 
Three hours later we waited for them at the last two obstacles. When they came around the corner earlier than expected, we cheered proudly and with lumps in our throats. That's Jenny, Jack and Hank waving them on.
Promptly after coming across the finish line, their teeth started chattering and their body temperatures plummeted. It was a very cold day with winds at the top of the course at 50 mph. That combined with total submersion into ice water at several obstacles was a dangerous combination. Luckily we rushed them back to the cabin for warm showers and rest. 
Goo shared his "big guy" with his daddy.