A Little Birthday Rant

So today is my niece’s 1st birthday. A pretty big milestone in ones life and I think an even bigger one with all that my sister had to endure, with her tough pregnancy and scary birth (blood clot in her leg leading to an emergency c-section and baby in another hospital in the NICU). But it’s being shrouded by Covid. My sister cancelled her party because the covid numbers in our area and state are just too high and it was the safest thing to do.

I know it’s trivial to feel mad or sad for her, but I just do. I feel a disappointment that we can’t celebrate her in my sister’s new home. I can count on both hands how many times we’ve had face to face interaction over this year. We had so many plans of being mothers at the same time, my sister and I, and because of covid, our children only see each other every so often, outside, with masks on. A year has gone by and I still can’t wrap my head around it. I know I have so much to be thankful for and I truly am, but I just have to let out some steam before trudging on through these weird times.

It’s strange times indeed. I’m hoping soon, I get to rekindle my relationship with my niece sans mask and that Adin and Ellie get time to develop a relationship with her too.

In the mean time, I’m wishing her and her mama a very happy first birthday and we will celebrate in person soon. (Here are some photos of baby Olivia over the past year)….


I’m back…

It’s been literally years since I’ve written in this space and I’ve missed it so much. It’s like coming home to an old friend but having way to much to tell them and not quite knowing where to start. So much has happened. So much in my life. So much in the world!

It needs documentation though, for my own personal form of therapy. I need to document. So I’m back…

Valentines Day 2019

Well, so much for my New Years resolution to write in this space more often… it’s now the middle of February and I’m finally getting back to this space. I do think of it so often and even come back to look things up, or grab a photo or memory.

In defense, we have all had a myriad of illness’ since Christmas, so there hasn’t been much to write or document anyway.

Today though, was a lovely, perfect day. It was easy and fun and just right for where I am in my life.

Jeff and Ellie made heart pancakes and we had a lovely display of goodies for everyone this morning. Ellie went to her EA class and I got to teach a fun Love Monster art lesson to the class and then Ellie and her friends stomped in puddles with the neighbor kids and I got to end the night cuddled up to my love. Such a nice day.

End of the Year Portraits

This was one tough year of portraits. I didn’t use my real camera at all, just my iPhone, which sometimes makes it hard to take a really nice portrait. Next year, I’m going to really make the effort to take more with my real camera. I almost gave up with these portraits too, since blogging about anything has also been a challenge. I really hoping to come back into this space more frequently in 2019. So, with all my excuses, I still did manage to pull together 52 portraits of 2018. Here are the last 3!

Eloise: More handwork before Christmas. You spent several hours making a potholder and then quickly wanted to make more. I love these rare, quiet, focused practices.

Eloise: We did Christmas with my side of the family before our trip to Boston and Ellie was showered with stuffies! The joy on your face when you got that Bengal Albino Tiger (just like Sheera in Ice Age)!

Eloise: The last photo of the year. After a long trip to Boston to see your Nana and Papa,  you and I got very sick. We almost missed all of Christmas. But we both rallied and felt well enough by Christmas Day to partake in some of the festivities. The last few days we were there, we got some fresh, chilly Massachusetts air. It was certainly a memorable Christmas and quite the year.

* A photo of Ellie, once a week, every week, in 2018*


Ellie: picking out the perfect pumpkin!

Ellie: You are playing soccer like a champ! Your first “sport” and you love it!

Ellie: We took a walk up in the hills of Montecito. The trails were definitely different (from the fires and mudlslides last year) but there was still nature, alive and well. We spent quite some time exploring a creek and its inhabitants.

Ellie: We visited the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum this week to catch the tail end of a lovely celebration of the Chumash Indians of California. You and I have been reading a lot about the Indigenous Peoples of the U.S. and getting to learn more about the local Natives in our part of California was a treat.


Ellie: It’s Autumn here and that means Santa Ana winds and fire season. Gramma and Grandpa had to evacuate their house for a couple days (but my childhood home is safe) and some of my friends from high school ended up losing their homes. It’s been a very solemn couple weeks. We joined some friends for a lantern walk in the park and it really was just what we needed.


Ellie: I love watching you learn new things. You’ve been wanting to craft a lot more and so I’ve tried to find some fun things for you and I to both learn together. This is a basket you are making. Love seeing you so intently working on something new.

Our Trip to Kings Canyon and Sequoia

I’ve been meaning to write about our trip to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park and a couple weeks later, I’m finally getting around to it. I hadn’t been up there since I was around Ellie’s age, so it was like the first time for me too. We drove up with our wonderful Homeschool friends and stayed for a short couple days. It was quick but we managed to pack in quite a lot. We hiked up to the General Grant tree on our first day. The girls were in awe of the giant trees and it was really neat to see how much fun they were having with all of it. We stopped to sketch the trees and birds (I spotted a bright blue Stellar’s Jay while in the park, which I was thrilled about). The girls loved climbing in and out of the big knotholes and exploring the little off path areas they had available.
The next morning, the girls wanted to sketch the sunrise, so we woke up very early (much too early for this mama) and hiked up the hill behind our cabin to try and catch it. I think we were a wee bit too late, but the girls had a nice time exploring the area on the rocks. I was a little worried about mountain lions being too close by, so we made our sketching quick. We decided to head to Sequoia the next day. It was such a beautiful walk through to the General Sherman. The kids enjoyed asking the rangers questions and it was really special being amongst all the giants. We headed home after that and after a very long and queasy trip down…. we all made it home safe and sound, with lots of wonderful memories.




Ellie: we took a mini trip up to Sequoia with our homeschool friends. We had quite an adventure and a wonderful time exploring!


Ellie: I finished this cape a couple days before Halloween! You are all set now with your witch hat and cape and whatever fun and colorful outfit you come up with for the big day (night). I know I’m biased but I just think this is a beautiful photo of my girl looking so grown up!

-A photo of Ellie, once a week, every week in 2018-

Missing this space

Gosh I’ve been missing this space. I return now to look up days past, or to remember when Ellie did something and then I see I haven’t written in months! Four months to be exact. And that just saddens me. I need to try to find time to come here again. To slow down and write the words that end up getting cut to a sentence or two on Instagram. I miss the slower pace of my blog. The photos I took the time to chose and share here. I’m determined to start at it again. Since it’s been many a day since I’ve shared any portraits, I’m going to start back up at week 41/52.


Ellie: Library day with my little witch. We’ve been borrowing Halloween books like mad and soaking up all the Halloween story goodness!! You’re enjoying them all but have a particular fondness for The Witches of Benevento series. We’re on book 3 and you talk about the books often throughout our days. I love that we can share that joy for great books already. ❤️

Portrait Project 11-23


eloise: you are looking so grown up these days. You wanted to bring your money to the zoo today to buy something. So you zipped it up in your nature vest. You picked out a toy, paid for it on your own and put your change away. For some reason it was like watching a big kid do all of that! Where did my little baby go?



Eloise: it’s good to be a kid on a warm spring day.





eloise: spaghetti and strawberry shortcake on a Sunday afternoon. What’s better than that?!





Eloise: we got to raise silkworms this year. I thought I had bought them from an educational website but it turned out these silk worms were feeder worms. So we spent the next week trying to gather mulberry leaves anywhere we could. I even bought two tiny trees to try and grow more. It was an epic failure. But not to you. We hatched one silk moth and you had one glorious day with her before she also succomed to the fate of the other worms. You carried this moth everywhere though and just loved her with all your might for this one day.



Eloise: it’s been all about butterflies this week. We are reading about them and raising them and you are loving to pretend to be a butterfly! Here you are during our morning lessons, sipping nectar (tea) like a butterfly.



Eloise: we went camping this week with all our friends! We almost didn’t make it because you came down with a cold, but you rested at home the first day and we drove up for one fun filled day and night of camping at Jalama Beach. We found fossils, dug in the sand, played games, ate s’mores and enjoyed being with friends! A fantastic camping trip even if you were a bit snotty.



Eloise: it’s Spring and the lupine and yellow mustard are in full bloom! We’ve been trying to get out into nature more often and when we do it warms the soul for both of us!



Eloise: it was May Day this week and we enjoyed making flower cones for neighbors, having a May Day party for Homeschool club with a May pole and singing and dancing and everything. It was lovely!



Eloise: our mornings consist of math (counting, simple addition and subtraction) , reading and writing and all sorts of other wonderful things. I love spending this one on one time with you. Sometimes we butt heads but other times it’s pure joy getting to teach you and be your kindergarten teacher.



Eloise: we took a little weekend trip to San Diego and stopped in your birth town , Irvine for lunch. Your Dada and I showed you around some of our favorite places and then in San Diego, we had a wonderful time with friends.



Eloise: some days we just need to refocus, take a walk and pick wildflowers



Eloise: yoga and cooking class! You love these weekly classes that you take with homeschool friends. You come home and want to show us the latest yoga position or you cook your vegan chocolate sauce for pancake Saturday mornings. I love seeing the joy in your face when I drop you off!



Eloise: look at this cricket I caught Mama!! It’s amazing!!!

Portrait Project 7-10

eloise: We visited Ojai for the farmers market and we parked right in front of an Apothecary! You had to go inside and so we did. We spoke with the man who worked there and he told us about his herbs and rocks and gems and how when he was a kid he used to want to be a wizard and now he’s pretty close. You thought that was so cool. We bought some cornflower petals and sunflower petals for your own “brews” and you left with your heart filled with magic.

Eloise: Every morning I wake up to this sweet face. We’ve tried all sorts of things to get you to sleep in your own room, in your own bed, but it’s just not in the cards just yet. And I get it, who wants to sleep alone… I certainly don’t. So, as for now, we’ve pushed up the twin bed to our queen and made one giant bed.  So we all have a bit of space, but just enough that we’re also all close enough for comfort.

Eloise: A morning at the rock and gem show downtown. You are of course in your very best Ellie garb- your witches hat (which was a big hit with the rock and gem folks), rain boots handed down from your older cousins and a baby strapped to your chest. Because “Leaf” needs to come to the rock show too.

Eloise: I love this photo of you. Since your Grandma has lost her hair to chemo, you’ve been seeing her wear a lot of hats and scarves. We also see lots of images of women in hijabs with the new books that have been wonderfully showing all types of people in all types of dress. So I wasn’t surprised that you wanted to wear the new turmeric dyed scarf we made on your head “just like my peg doll” (who happens to wear a hijab. You wore it all morning in your play and just looked darling. My sweet, sensitive girl.