>>>>rolling down a hill on campus
Plus, there was this brief and useless stop somewhere else to see the Jelly Belly Factory. Take it off your list, so not worth your time. But if you do go anyway, take a lot of pictures during the tour. It makes them really happy when you do.

pedro the lion

this little guy makes me happy


receive the transmission of my middle finger

Dear Graco,

I hate you. In fact, I have almost always hated you. Even when you tried to recreate the whole cool fabric on a stroller version of your crappy strollers, I didn't fall for it. Your junk falls apart, makes kids bleed, and all around looks like crap most of the time. Yes, I have still accepted this fact and wasted more money on your junk. Why I have is BEYOND me. Clearly your goods are designed to not last so we can keep spending more and more money, instead of making decent stuff that might actually last through kid numero dos at the very least.

This week's waste of money was the last straw. I will no longer spend money on your products.

You see, I am knee-deep in empty boxes, filling them little by little as I prepare to move my family and our belongings to another home in another state. My kids have been sick with colds, coughing at night, needing a humidifier and medicine all night between the moonlight packing extravaganza. You could say it's a time of transition, sleep is expected to be minimal and tension high. I am a little busy these days. So when my old baby monitor busted, I knew I could run to a local store that loves to cram every product of yours on every shelf. I had no time to research and hoped to replace what I had before. But it wasn't there. Turns out, you had the only version under the price of $180 so you won the prize of joining my shopping cart. I loved you for the entire time it took me to drive home, put the baby to sleep, push a plug into the wall, and then turn a knob.

Well, Tune In Tokyo. Not only could I hear the humidifier like it had a full blast megaphone attached to it, but I heard the baby breathing in, then out, then in again, and out. It was louder than it would be if I were to hold him in my arms and squeeze the air out of him quickly into a microphone connected to 15,134,968,056,897 amps. And when he would whimper, I heard that too. In waaaaaaay too loud of volume despite the little nobby thing being turned all the way down. And when the baby rolls over in his crib, it sounds like he is hanging sheets of wallpaper on the wall. I might as well have the kid sleeping on my face all night with his mouth pressed into my ear.

You see, the whole idea of a monitor (to me) is to transition the baby out of your room so you can finally sleep. So these little restless movements don't wake you up all night long. I only want to hear the cries that indicate a leg is jammed between the slats or a bear has jumped through the window and is about to chew off his head. Any other noise, I don't really want amplified.

I had about 4 precious hours of sleep alloted into my crazy schedule last night. Instead of sleeping, I lay awake at 2am listening to a grip of blue paisly print being smoothed out behind the crib by chubby baby hands. All the while I was giving you my middle finger, Graco.


good find

I have held this book in my hands a few times at the bookstore, leafed through it and put it back down smiling each time. Not sure what my deal is, but I have a hard time paying for words when they are all over the place for free on my computer. That said, if you are like me and hold out on book buying because you want to spend your cash on 'really great sushi' instead, you will find this site, stuff white people like, hilarious (freshly forwarded to me from Mike). I imagine the entire book is, too. Dare I indulge in both?

I love the recent entry about bangs. According to this guide: When you are introduced to a group of white people, it’s a good idea to befriend the girl with the bangs. She’s probably the most popular.

What!? I tried the bangs, I looked like a freaking P.E. teacher. For some reason it works on everyone else, just not me. I think it's my facial structure. I will just have to accept that it makes me a nerd. Waaaaaaay better than looking like a man in a wig. Although I like the follow up note: these same things are hated by cooler white people. I guess I just have to pretend I hate things I don't participate in to feel good about no bangs.

p.s. don't to forget to read his post on Whole Foods. I am ready to be best friends now. Officially.


Remember in Long Beach when we would look at the adult movie titles and laugh? Remember the title Throbbin Hood? We joked about that one for at least 3 weeks. I miss you.


the fam

Saying goodbye to the golf course behind our CA home.
The one that lovingly provided dozens of free golfballs into our yard every week.
Zane will be so confused when he doesn't have to wear a helmet in the new back yard.
(photos by Beka)


you'll dance to anything

Mike's sister, Beka, is in town. Today just her and I spent time in SF, one of her favorite places. I am still not sold on the head-over-heels love for the S to the F many feel, but I can be persuaded.

We started with time in the SFMOMA, it was enjoyable to peruse the photographs of Lee Miller (self-portrait above). I found it interesting to read details about her history and see how her interest/ life path changed the subjects she shot over the years from people to landscape to death.

I found inspiration in some painters, some items I would love to try to replicate our own version of some of the things we saw for the boys' rooms someday. I think it would be nice to involve them in some drafts and final versions of paint on canvas when they are old enough.

I liked Land's End by Jasper Johns oil on canvas (above), I like the words of colors blended into the work and the lack of perfect order in the way it's put together.

I liked this one, above, too. Frank Stella's Zambezi. It is enamel on canvas.

Portrait de Sarah Stein (Portrait of Sarah Stein) by Henri Mattise oil on canvas (above) -this was the only one I liked by him. I love the way her hair is a crazy circle and how he chose for her collar to turn into the background of her face. Looking close at the eyes it seemed to me he spent a lot of time reworking them, using many layers of many colors. I noticed a perfectly intact thumb print in a sharp blue color on the left near the left bottom half of the painting, it made me wish I had seen it painted back in 1916 so I could ask why what left in its place.


all things suitcase. and more.

Next Stop:

Pasadena. 1 night.

Then The Bay Area. About 2 weeks.

Then back to AZ. For good.

And the next time we live out of suitcases for several days, I hope there is a beach involved. Or mountains with lots of fresh snow on them.

Someday I hope to meet someone who is a ventriloquist.

It always bothered me as a young child to see the puppet get stuffed into a suitcase with no air holes. Probably because every act ends with the puppet not wanting to go back into that stuffy suitcase.

Do you think one could learn to become a ventriloquist, or are you born with that talent? Like those people who can whisper to dogs, or have ESP, or roll their tongue like a taco?

I would end my skit with the ventriloquist begging to get back into the suitcase already. He (I) would talk about how awesome it is in there and how all his friends are waiting for him so they can party in the movie theater section of the east wing.

I want to collect any and all boy dress-ups possible and put them into an old school suitcase that is hard with a combination lock. With letters, the code is letters, not numbers. It will be important for the case to be big enough for a 50's gray felt Fedora hat. No reason. None at all.


say WHAT?

There are only a handful of times in my life that have matched what I could call Feelings Big as a Mountian Moments. Those are important decisions where your life is changing forever in subtle and not so subtle ways. You realize when you make the decision many of the things that are going to change, but also acknowledge there are countless others no one could explain well enough to prepare you for (both in the amazing and hard buckets of life). You know things are going to be different.

Here is a collection of some of those moments:

1) Walking towards that office on a campus while bikes holding older, seemingly smarter, people fly past me in every direction. In one short hour a stranger assists me in choosing those first courses I would officially commit to for what would turn into several years of working towards a long term goal of higher education.

2) Standing above the valley that night, heart beating quickly, while his sweaty hands hold mine. The diamond in his pocket, he begins to bend on one knee. I reply with a magnificent of course.

3) Boarding that plane with our one-way tickets in hand. Taking the leap that we hope will guide us into a success that will make it worth the fear; plus pains of family being so far.

4) Driving home in the rain under the soggy trees on the Bronx River Parkway with our first child nestled and tucked into his infant carseat. Raw vulnerability never meant anything before this 20 minute chunk of time.

5) Peeking over the sterile baby bed as our second newborn is getting his lungs suctioned, my heart begging for the opportunity to take him home safe, healthy, breathing well.

6) Sticking my toes in the grass of what will be the front yard of our very first home (upon the successful conclusion of closing). Watching One checking out what will be his very first back yard. Cinderblock and dirt have never made me smile so brightly. They are the most glorious I have ever seen, because they are on the verge of becoming ours. Seeing The Other crawl on the softest carpet and most delectable tan color my eyes could possibly behold, because it is on the verge of becoming ours.

We are so at that moment in the process where it's like having your first baby. While still in the hospital the nurses are taking care of most of it, so you really don't feel like a parent. People ask you on the phone how it's going, being a parent, but you aren't really doing it yet. You are about to, once you get home, but until then you are waiting to officially push up your sleeves and feel what it's like to be engorged, smiled at, loved, pooped on, nuzzled, etc.

It just feels like a theory right now, but one that's shortly going to become a reality and begin another big section in the Life Changes book.



These are some favorite photos I took a favorite friend and her fam.

I will miss them.


where we make babies matters

I just saw this on happy mundane and it's similar to the idea I have for my master bedroom wall. And all the photos would be of Mike and I from dating to present time. A photo journal, if you will, of our developing love and life together over the years. It would be easy to add to it over the ongoing years and make the rectangle--> square shape expand by adding to either side.
The photo is from Better Homes and Gardens (UK). I think the background wall could use a matte finish in blue or some other calming color, but that's just me. The white wall + white in the photos + white in the framing around the photo doesn't seem to match up right. Could anyone ever really get that much white coordinated perfectly?

thanks, Martha.

I am not a big craft person. In fact, I am not a craft person at all. And I am alright with that. I would prefer a hardware store with nails and wood and gadgets to build things over a store will with paper and stickers and doodlers any day. But on occasion, I brave the craft store and ignore that nagging feeling that there is a bunch of stuff I am probbaly 'supposed' to know how to make and it's teasing me every aisle I turn. Women fill their carts with unidentifiable objects for projects that would leave me in tears if I attempted them myself. I assure myself: It's okay to be out of place here, it's not my thing and it doesn't have to be.
Even still, I do have presents to wrap on occasion and posters to make for church parties, so chin up and forge ahead, Miss Liz.
The last visit I found this awesome Martha Stewart decorative tape. To me, it's just ribbon that sticks, but I guess what she calls it is a little more fancy. I didn't know what I would do with it, I just knew I needed to have it. It could be old news, like the wacky scizzors that cut in a zig zag for all I know. So far I have used it to put a giant A on a gift for a 4 year old (Aidan) and to tape a note to a race car. I wonder if it would be a good bandaid substitute for Mike's nips on a long race. I would make an x on each one. Do you think she makes the tape in black? And maybe she could extend the line to include a complimentary leather mask with a zipper over the mouth? Hooray for the ribbon tape, Martha! I could totally conduct a photo shoot of Mike using it for your magazine.


my name is liz. i am a dork.

Once I showed up to this skatepark when we first moved here in 2006. I was really nervous to try anything because, well, it had been a while and it was packed with kids. After me being a total wuss just sitting on the sidelines for about 20 minutes, a 10 year old boy approached me. He said, "Ma'am, um, I think your helmet is on backwards".

Then he dropped into the bowl quickly, never to make eye contact again.

I felt pretty much not so awesome. But I didn't leave like I wanted to. I fixed my helmet, blushed harshly, then finally tried my wimpy little tricks off to the side.

Only me. It would only happen to me. And how many other times have I done that without knowing?


not to fifty!

I remember my very first best friend, Niya. We were in second grade. She was so awesome. She was the only girl who could beat me at tetherball. I remember she made me laugh a lot and I never got mad when I got rope burn on my arms from stopping the ball (ropesies we called it). She never called rules - we would just play. All the other kids would call rules and make it so boring, then get defeated easily. I remember being impressed with her strength (does tetherball really require strength? or skill?). She had twin brothers, they were younger. She was the first friend I made outside of my neighborhood that invited me over to play.

I remember wondering why she wanted to be my friend, what were the things she liked about me? Not that I thought I was an unlikeable kid- I was just curious what parts of me she thought were interesting enough to tell her parents about me, call me, and have me come over. It made me feel so good to be invited to her house and I hoped she knew that I really liked her. I can't remember exactly what the things were I liked about her, I just knew I enjoyed being around her and hanging out on the playground was never boring when she was around. I wish I had known specifically what was cool about her to me and that I had told her. I was really sad when they moved away. I wonder how she is doing now and where she is.

It's so funny how some people you meet in life you bond with instantly and you don't even know why or how. Some personalities just click right away. I wish I could collect all those people I have met and clicked with and keep them all close by. All the Niya's could get to know one another and we could crack the code. Have a party at least once a month and see what we all have in common, if the whole lot of them get along as well as I think they would. We would take a survey and find out similarities, personality traits, goals, etc. and find the common threads. Or maybe there would be none at all and it would be super awkward.

It's fun to think about why I really like someone. This month I am going to revive my Thoughtful Package idea and spend some time writing emails or letters telling my friends what I like about them.

And someday when I am 50 years old I am going to look up all those favorite childhood friends and have a big party with a lot of red balloons in the deepest of green grass and have rootbeer floats. With twisty straws. And staw hats. Everyone gets to sit in white wicker rocking chairs (with plush padding). And I will include my adulthood favorite friends, too, and gather everyone up I enjoy the most in one big, open space. Rachael will you be my DJ?

a tale of two

I have a love-slash-bugged relationship with my cameras.
I love that the Canon Powershot is so portable. There are so many more photos of my kids outside and at the park because of this camera; in addition to photographs of Mike's runs. I love how quickly I can snap shots without really framing the shot or checking on the point of focus. I can use this camera with one hand and pull it easily in and out of my pocket if need be. I love that it is almost always in my bag. I love that I can take little videos. I love that there is no camera card to insert and remove over and over, making it more possible to be damaged. I am glad we have this camera. I do not love, however, the quality of the images compared to what my Nikon offers. The photos above, for example, would not look so great blown up to a larger size and framed and that is a little bit of a bummer.

This is a video I took with the Canon in June of a California breeze I enjoyed while taking a walk with the boys. This breeze and sound of the tall, yellow grass blowing is something I will remember and miss. I was so glad to have had the Canon handy.

I am head over heels with my Nikon D70. I makes me feel like I have wings and the possibilities are endless when using this beauty. I can print almost any shot I want almost any size I want. I can make a poster if I want to, with the right paper and printing aparatus. I love the choices, experimenting, and taking time to plan and study a subject with this camera. It was a gift to me from Mike when I was struggling with my identity as a new mother, so it holds incredible sentimental value to me. Leaving the house for a quick park trip, I am almost scared to bring it because it is so heavy and valuable to me. You have to use two hands and when two kids are in tow, it's almost impossible to bother taking it with me unless another pair of hands is with me to help with a child. This camera has been along with me in my journey of motherhood and has been an extended eye capturing moments my memory would otherwise forget. It is also more breakable. I have held my breath twice at the camera shop while pins got straightened out. Luckily $12 to fix it was the solution and not a post office visit, shipping it to Nikon for a bill that could end up being hundreds of dollars. P.S. email photos to be printed where possible (Wolf/ Ritz, Costco). Putting the camera card into public readers can easily damage the card (Walgreens, Target for example), thus damaging the pins in the camera when you put the reader back in. Use a USB chord and never remove the camera card at all. A downer with this camera is sometimes you lose a shot because it wasn't programmed the way it needed to be to get exactly what the moment reflected. Kids move too quick sometimes to stop, program where you want the focus to be, and get that desired shot. Getting the camera ready takes a little prep time. But the times you do, it is always worth it.

They are both great cameras I feel lucky to have.


of apples and oranges

I distinctly remember combing through the sand at recess under the monkey bars during the morning break in about fourth grade. A friend invited me to swing, but I declined. I had important work to do. You see, it house key number eight I had lost that school year and my mother told me I needed to bring it home or else...... I didn't know what 'or else' meant, I just knew she meant business. And I found it. And I don't believe I have lost a key since. Granted, I did have to start wearing it around my neck on a shoe string.

I love that my mom knew it was just part of who I was. She didn't get mad about it, she knew I was just absent-minded sometimes. She never said hurtful things to me when these sorts of 'episodes' would occur. She would also let me be me without comparing me to my sister. She never said 'WELL Lisa never lost a key' or 'your sister takes SUCH good care of her things, why can't YOU?' I love that I have had that example in my life to carry on into my own family. I love that she knew us for who we were and never expected me to be good at someone else's strengths. I was not considered the shadow or expected to fill my sister's shoes as she grew into new ones, so to speak.

I feel we were always celebrated as individuals with very different talents, interests, and personalities. For this I am grateful.


I have intentionally not checked Zane's baby book to remember specific milestones. I want to remember Evan will achieve them on his own time, not compare who was faster or taller or quicker in comparison. Some of them might be sooner, some might be later. While it is fun to see their differences (foods they like) and similarities (bottom teeth), I am reminding myself to enjoy them individually. While Zane has an important responsibility as a big brother, I still want Evan to know he is not Zane's shadow. He is not going to be expected to be good at swimming in the event Zane is a superstar at that sport (for example). He is to just be who he is and that will be wonderful (green-beans-eating) Evan.


It is hard work to remember that as a mother sometimes. I was so confused when Evan was born and his head was shaped differently than baby Zane's. My mind was expecting the exact same baby to come out all over again. I don't know why, it's so odd that I had to train my brain to reboot and start fresh.


As for my photo of the car, it's just a color of blue inspiring me for Evan's room.


my frown is upside down

These things make me happy:
1) Banana Republic's new stuff. Although I have been really disppointed in their photography and choice of models lately. It seems this is where they must be cutting costs. The feeling of looking at their goods online versus perusing inside the store doesn't match. This bottom dress, for instance, was a perfectly good dress. Until they threw this dumb hat, dark shoes, and bracelette on the girl. Then made her stand in a hooker pose. Why couldn't they toss her hair into a pony tail, put on some cute flip flops and give her a beach bag? Or a bright clutch? Also, the lipstick needs to go. Who wears RED lipstick in the summer in a WHITE dress? It's all messy, I need to get in there and fix things up. Or find someone who would be qualified to do this for me.

2) These really basic shoes I saw a staffer girl at the pool wearing make me happy.
3) Zane covering his eyes in the ladies locker room as we pass through to get to the pool. This always makes me happy. Only had to ask him once and ever since he has done it on his own. It totally cracks up all the naked ladies getting dressed.