I am learning to be less particular about my oldest son's wardrobe as we continue into uncertain economic times. That being said, I still try to find good deals at my favorite places where I feel decent quality might be had.

Today's need was church pants. I tried to look at Gap first because those always tend to last pretty well and take a good beating. Each pair of Gap church pants have lasted Zane, his cousin, and now the little brother without holes or seams coming apart. The trick is finding them at a good price. I found they had a good sale going on at an outlet- to me church pants at $14 that will last through the next size change is worth it.

They did not have his size. Old reliable next stop for me is The Children's Place. There isn't a lot I like at this store when I am being particular because their clothing falls apart quickly and normally follows goofy color schemes or lame graphics. They are always spot-on price for button-up white shirts and khaki church pants. They barely make it through the needed time before the next size is needed. Sometimes you can find them on sale for $12.

A major score at this store was pajamas. Again, I am normally picky about what I think the age 4 boy should wear and prefer the loose pants look. However, I scored some completely ugly, tight-fitting winter pajamas for $2.99. Can't find a better deal where new clothing is concerned.


...and then

I was putting the baby to bed this evening and thought to myself:

Who are the wise guys throwing golf balls at my son's window?

And where are they getting them all from and how are they throwing them so fast and hard?

But then we looked outside and it all made sense.


The last two Sundays were busy, so no camera in hand.

The first one I missed, if I had my camera, I would have shot my fav scene of the weekend:

a) All of us tucked into a giant heavenly bed at The Westin in Bellevue, WA with the covers pulled up to our chins watching cartoons early one morning before the sun had breakfast.

The more recent photo would have been:

b) All of us sitting on top of the piles of laundry that needed to be washed, in addition to the giant pile of Mike's dry cleaning that I kept forgetting to take in before we left.


Yesterday I saw the most fabulous rainbow. Even though it has nothing on the govenator rainbows often seen in his territory, it was rather spectacular. Also, nothing beats the scent of a desert getting a fresh drink of rainwater. Wet dirt in these parts, like the coffee bean and bread aisle at Walmart, make me want to curl up with a cozy blanket on the floor and lick up the aroma for hours.


raise the roof

People always talk about having a baby itch. I never had such a feeling. With every child we just knew it was time for us to begin the, uh [ahem] process of making a baby. There really isn't a way to smoothly transition from the topic of getting freaky bareback to front door mats. Or if there is, I am too lazy to try to find it this fine evening.

I am, however, feeling an itch for decorating my home. Unlike hot sex, I actually do not know how to do this. I don't know where to begin. I suppose people that have more experience decorating their space have good advice for me: start with one room at a time. But which room?!

I enjoy seeing the inside of homes after knowing someone personally or professionally for a while. I find it interesting that often times one's home is decorated and kept the way they keep their personal appearance. It's not always true, but I would love to photo journalize it someday so I am keeping a mental list of all those that follow my theory.

There was a woman I worked with at church on a project that was very careful with her words and I could tell she carefully selected every detail of her outfits each day with specific shoes to coordinate and jewelry to match. Not perfectly match as in color, but the mood or style of her threads. Her hair perfectly manicured without a strand misplaced. Nothing faded, nothing dingy, all things well kept and neat and tidy. I love being around people like this because it inspires me to want to clean up my act and try a little harder to be a tad more presentable.

The project we worked on provided and opportunity or me to drop materials off at her home. I was secretly hoping I would be invited in to test my skills at matching personal presentation to home vibes. I was spot on. I have never seen carpet more white and clean in all my life. I was nervous to walk on it for fear my veins would burst and ruin its perfection. Each room specifically tied to a design theme, many artifacts collected from her world travels and displayed strategically well. Not a speck of dust could be found, perfectly warm light surrounded us in each room we visited in. Her home was an exact replication of her.

And although none of the things she displayed were items I would personally pick or choose for my own home, it made me think about what types of things I would pick. And where in the world can I find them? And what colors make sense to combine? And what is a realistic budget to follow [not that this is any time or season to spend much on decorating walls].

I find this feeling of inspiration in many homes I have visited over the years, but feel uncertain about where to begin. Maybe I start with myself and try an intentional hairdo for once? Nah. How about a new, clean pair of casual shoes less than 5 years old? Maybe making some effort to wear clothing that isn't 3 sizes to big for me just because I hate shopping? How about I just start with my front door. A mat and some potted plants. I think I can handle that.


my plan:

1) measure desired size of mat
2) something that will go with color of the door: dark brown
3) randomly grabbing a cool looking one at Target isn't a great approach- too small (photo above)
4) something that doesn't say welcome or have words at all
5) nothing corporate or boring
6) start looking online and in stores
7) I don't like that rope texture that sheds



So yeah, Facebook huh. I didn't quite get it at first. I mean, there is Linked In where you collect all your professional contacts for networking and the like. That is an excellent tool, but not so useful to me as I took on the new career of chef, I mean janitor, I mean housekeeping, uh, I mean housewife.

So it all started with Blogger for me, a great plan for keeping in touch with distant friends/ family in addition to a creative writing outlet when the mood strikes my fancy. Or a virtual brag book documentation for some- whatever the purpose it's fine and there and available and widely utilized. And read by a mostly unidentified crew so who really knows if you are truly keeping in touch with people you intend to connect with or just hearing yourself *speak*.

Then I found Flickr to post on a sidebar the photos I took both creative or cute ones of my kids that might be less than creative. For the aunties and grandmas in the family that remember to save the bookmark and keep checking.

Next for me was MySpace. I didn't quite understand what to do with it. It seemed like a giant virtual orgy of girls posting their best cleavage and pouty face shots possible left and right. If you aren't single, it begins to feel rather uncomfortable to hang around such space. It felt like little to do with music and a lot to do with mate-hunting. Although I admit I did enjoy free access to some samples of bands I might not have otherwise made time to give a listen to. It is not all for not.

Now it's Facebook. I am also unaware of what to do with it, it's purpose in my life. My initial thoughts are as follows:

1) Wow, I was pretty late to the party. EVERYONE is on Facebook.

2) It's like the acceptable version of blogging for guys.

3) It's less boobs than MySpace and more professional portraits.

4) It sort of feels like Pokémon trading cards, like who can have the largest collection of friends listed at the end of every week should get 5 pretend bonus friends and look even MORE awesome!

5) I am not really sure what to do when someone I am not friends with by choice invites me to be their Facebook friend. What is the etiquette? It's not like I would call that person back if they left me a message on the phone or an email in my inbox. And most people in that category know that, so it's really me being a number on their friendship headcount and that makes me like that person even less.

6) It really is a blast from the past and like my sister said- it's like a high school reunion you don't have to go to. Only you get to be more selective about who you want to associate with and catch up with.

7) I linked my blog to my profile. Oh CRAP! Did I blog about any of them by name? Time to comb the archives.

8) I still don't really get what the purpose is. It feels like an ongoing life-long yearbook people sign sometimes. And maybe it's a good place for photo uploads now instead of Flickr? It feels strange to place faces together from different spaces of my life in different places. NY, CA, AZ adult life and now I am finding adolescent friends more recently. Perhaps it will be a great tool for me when I plan that whimsical 50th birthday party. Maybe one day I will get to track down Niya.


Silent Auction

Hilari and her adorable family won the silent auction photo shoot I held for the Neilson family.
I knew it was going to be a cool family to spend an hour with when the dad and the three boys rolled out of the car in their black converse. Mom did a good job art directing their outfits! They were a lot of fun and I hope they enjoy their photos. These are just a few of my favorites.


garlic naan

So I have so many things going on in my head right now I can't decide what to write about. I need to get them out so I can think straight and stop having these conversations with myself. Is that normal? Does normal even exist? I am pretty sure it doesn't. I suppose I will keep the heavy stuff tucked in for now and go with the lighter side.....

I lost some links with the crash of the hard drive and found some again. It was nice to only have 10 instead of 40 blogs to check, or so I thought. But then I was able to see Jessica had her baby! A beautiful boy that gave us all a big scare early in her pregnancy. And Tyler had another surgery, a little brave baby the same age as Evan, and he is looking great! And The Langfords are still teaching people about God in Guyana and they are so inspiring. And another Liz stood in the rain with Max for an important cause. And I got to see Laurel's front yard full of California leaves that I really miss along with all my friends. Alysha dressing cute as always, sharing her fashion skills with the world, as if they can handle it. And Kelly doing her orchestra thing and getting filled up the way we mothers need to. And Kathryn's cute party for her little girl!
I didn't miss out on earth shattering information, but I did miss checking in on my friends.

If done in moderation, checking in on the spaces they maintain makes me feel like I am still part of their lives and it makes me happy to read updates. It makes getting settled in a new place a lot less lonely while I continue to make and strengthen friendships and continue to find my place.

This week I found a park I finally like! We went in the middle of the morning spontaneously the way I used to in my former life. Like a dog running its course in the back yard, I miss my rhythm and routine that seems to not have fallen into place yet here.

When I lived in The Beautiful State I would turn left on Ygnacio (ig-nay-she-o) to get to Safeway, Dry Cleaner's, Bakery, Tara's house, Wendy's, Jamba Juice, my doctor's office, Christina's house, church, Cindy's, the women I would visit teach, Maria's house. All within 5 minutes. If I turned right I would find Target, Bally's, the pediatrician, downtown shopping area, Sargam Indian Food, gas station, Erewan Thai Food, the train to SF and The 24 within about 5 minutes. I took Marchbanks to get to preschool, the park, the skate park, the pool within about 2 minutes.

The only tricky place was Taco Bell. That took about 10 minutes and 3 turns.

Here every single place I need to go seems to be in a different direction. And 20+ minutes away. Which is a freaking hassle when you suck at managing your time and following any sort of schedule. How do you coordinate play dates on the fly when you all live so far from the park?! I would have to plan my whole day around making sure I am there on time and then it's pressure and stress so what's the use. And then there is that whole 'I am a late person what if they are not' factor that takes a few play dates to work out on top of the compatibility factor for both mom and kids. I have names and numbers and friends but I am not aware enough of all of our schedules. And when I think of the effort I get lazy and just imagine everyone else has their own routine and rhythm going on already.

I just want to get my routine back, but it's like fitting a circle into a square. At least I saw a beautiful skate park this week and it's my very first favorite place! It's a beauty. I got to roam around in it with the boys one morning and I was excited to turn to Zane and tell him THIS is where he will learn to skate as a big boy, Evan too! I want to take him there early Saturday mornings.

I dunno about this place. Sometimes I just really miss California.



This year's halloween brought with it some newness. A new 'hood with a handful of houses to trick-or-treat at, thus exploring a neighboring 'hood with houses aplenty. A new costume for Zane, but a repeat for the second one in line. A pre-halloween tailgate BBQ with new neighbor friends. A Halloween Miracle at Target, while racing against the clock to get a few items (buns, lighter fluid, candy buckets) I realized my wallet was not with me. A perfect STRANGER offer to buy my goods. I declined, but then realized how much I needed that lighter fluid for this BBQ for the party waiting at my home. Then he insisted the children need their candy buckets and plucked it all from my cart, which brought his meager bill of twenty-something dollars to something in the forties. I vowed to do the same for someone else another day and he said that sounded good. Good thing I was shopping in my slutty French Maid costume. Just kidding, I only wear that one at night for Mike. But my most favorite thing about Halloween this year was that we got to buy one additional pumpkin for the little pumpkin growing in my tummy! At the end of May (hoping all goes well) our family will become a party of five.