Category Archives: Family

California’s a Big State! (Part 1)

So now I’m back-blogging (as in- still behind where we are right now…).  Right now we’re in northern California but we started down at the ‘bottom.’  As you can imagine, there’s a lot to catch up on.  But I would feel remiss if I didn’t try.  There has already been so much that I didn’t record here of our east cost travels that I’ve got to catch up on these last few months since Tucson.

We’ve been in California since March 16th (my birthday).  The stars (or logistics) aligned for us to travel on my birthday.  Ah, well.  The night before we left I made a coconut flour, double-decker death by chocolate paleo cake.  It was freakin’ fabulous.  We made our way to Jamul, CA – just outside of San Diego.  Our drive took us from sunny, dry, hot Tucson where the vegetation makes every attempt to spear you to the rainy, lush, green countryside of southern California and let me tell you how great it is to end a rainy travel day with a huge chocolate cake topped with fresh strawberries (and candles)…

Elijah (and more recently Sadie) had been waiting for this stop for a long time.  Legoland!  We were situated in a rainy, woodsy campground.  The lush green, mountainous area made for beautiful driving to and from our temporary home.  We spent two days in Legoland.  It was- eh.  My theme park bar is set high by Disney World.  Say what you will, Disney is a plugged in, full on enjoyable experience.  I thought Legoland was seriously overpriced.  Disney ticket prices for a Lego Six Flagesque experience.  We were delighted to get the hook-up with information about homeschool day prices.  We ended up saving more than half and that made it all better for me.  The kids LOVED it.  It’s a theme park.  And there are Legos.  Elijah participated in the Lego Mindstorms (robotics) class and (despite not being overly thrilled about taking time away from his theme park experience) thought it was awesome and was glad he went.  It entailed programming robots to navigate a course and perform varied functions to complete an assignment.  The best part of Legoland for everyone was the gift shop.  Holy moly, that is a seriously comprehensive gift shop.


My oldest brother lives in California.  We stopped through for a delicious dinner and renewed connection and ended up spending the night and making another date for our families to spend more time together.  We are 7 years apart and were always in very different parts of our lives.  It seems we’ve found common ground now as adults with young children pursuing our personal and familial passions with vigor.  Man, that was fun.  It warms my heart to hear my kids talk about their cool aunt and uncle and their super-fun ‘new’ cousins.  My favorite memory?  Hiking in the Cleveland (not in Ohio) National Forest with my brother in his family.  I feel closer to him now than ever.  I’ve committed myself to giving more attention to family connections.  I’ve made this (private) commitment before but this time feels different- it’s out of excitement rather than obligation.  But it’s tricky with poor cell signals and sketchy internet so the blog is my love letter to y’all until we hear each other’s voices again.

Speaking of brothers, Chris has one in California, too!  Jeesh – for east coast kids, we’ve got a lot of family on the west coast.  Back to one of my favorite RV park/campgrounds situated on a horse ranch in the Padre National Park mountains to the east of Santa Barbara (with the Pacific Ocean to the west).  Here we spent two weeks with Chris’ brother and 4 year-old niece.  There’s just something about cousins.  I’m so happy that our kids get to see theirs more regularly than they would if we were living in a stationary home.  The cost of four plane tickets, west and east coast family, and time off from a facetime job made it very difficult.  One of the biggest reasons our kids like to travel is that they get to see family much more frequently.  Park play, delicious restaurants that could accomodate our paleo nutritional choices, an afternoon at the Ty Warner Sea Center with Emma, a hike with spectacular views of Santa Barbara, a hike to another waterfall right from the door of our RV, a horseback trail ride for Sadie and I, and precious time just ‘being’ with family.  Well, we didn’t spend much time in the RV park but we did love our time in Santa Barbara.

OK- well that gets us to central California.  I’m out of breath and will catch up on the rest soon!  One of my toughest parts of blogging is calling a post ‘done’ and pressing ‘publish’ so I must type and publish all in one hit!

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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in California, Family, Travel log


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Sadie’s Fashion Show

Sadie decided to stage a fashion show last week as a surprise for Daddy.  She painstakingly chose four outfits (off to France, evening wear, sleep wear, and beach wear) for each of us, choreographed our moves, and helped to edit the video clips to music.  What a fun project!


Posted by on September 17, 2011 in Family


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Putting up the holiday tree is a very special part of our winter holiday celebrations.  We collect ornaments to commemorate special times, people, animals, occasions and, as each ornament is pulled from the bin, the story is told.  The children now remember many of the stories and participate in the story telling.  Every year, I get teary as our stories grow and are told in new ways.

This year we carried our eco-conscious mindset over to our holiday preparations/decorations.  Our old tree lights were replaced with LED strands which use substantially less electricity, are safer (b/c they don’t put off as much heat), and last much longer.  The kids are very excited about this new change.  Though the picture doesn’t really do the tree justice, I thought it was sweet the way Sadie and Chris were both looking at the tree.

We also didn’t put up lights outside.  We enjoyed the lights of others as we drove home from the town rec. center after evenings of basketball and swimming.

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Posted by on February 17, 2010 in Family


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Giving Thanks

I wracked my brain trying to think of a way for our family to spend Thanksgiving in a way that would be meaningful and fun for everyone.  We settled on a family hike- something we hadn’t done since the previous spring but all really enjoy.  It felt so special to spend a day meant for gratitude out in Mother Nature- enjoying the peace, fun, and beauty of our surroundings.

We found some trails around Grapevine Lake and set off- no trail map; just flying by the seat of our pants.  It was a gorgeous day and the recent rain made for a plethora of animal tracks to analyze along the way.

Being conservation land maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers for hiking and horse back riding, there was also plenty of horse manure to investigate along the way.  This led to discussions of the contents of the fecal matter of herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores; how they degrade and are broken down by insects, impact water cleanliness, etc.; why some can be used directly for enhancing the soil for gardens and farms and some should not. 

Elijah saw this huge branch and decided we should bring it with us on our hike. “You never know.  We might need this!” he said.

Ah yes.  And, of course, he was right.  A mile or so down the path (yes, he and Chris carried it that far), the branch was used along with other found materials to create a bridge across a flooded area of the path.  We are both adventurous and industrious.

We love to have fun with signage.  What does this mean?  No biking.  Hiking and horse back riding allowed.  There is a castle this way?  We got incredibly lost and walked for hours but, alas, found no castle.

This was a tremendously fun and muddy morning.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a beautiful Thanksgiving day.

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Posted by on February 17, 2010 in Family


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The Parents

June 20  2009 036Here we are- Mama and Daddy!

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Posted by on August 15, 2009 in Family


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Grammy’s Here!

Chris’ mom came to visit all the way from New Hampshire! We were all very excited to spend time with her!

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Here the kids greet her at the airport with a million things to say.

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We stopped at Christina’s for some yummy Mexican on the way back to the house from the airport. Such a good restaurant and everyone must have a little (or a lot) of Mexican in Texas.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the pool and relaxing in the hot tub. The kids were super-psyched to show Grammy their extensive self-taught swimming skills. Margaritas were poured, water fights ensued, frisbees were tossed, and snuggles were had.

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Chris had a league basketball game that night and was thrilled to have his mom present like the ‘old’ days. While he was warming up, the kids took Grammy on a short tour around a beautiful portion of Bear Creek Park. They rode their bikes and we hustled to keep up. June 7  2009 067

Chris’ team burned it up. It’s inspiring to see grown men doing something they love to do and putting all of their critical thinking and critical mass into it.

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Sadie snuggles up with Grammy for part of the game.

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Friday was a trip into Ft. Worth! We wandered around the Ft. Worth Water Gardens and Sadie, Grammy, and Chris went down into The Active Pool. It’s amazing everytime. Elijah prefers to watch from above.

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The kids and I climbed The Mountain and looked out over the city.

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This picture’s just cute. Two hot kids sporting their Boston-wear that Grammy brought.

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From the Water Gardens, we were off to the Ft. Worth Historic Stockyards. We wandered around appreciating the ambience and had some BBQ at Riscky’s (another must when one travels to Texas). Elijah saw the flying clock above outside a storefront and said, “I’ve heard time flies, but that’s ridiculous!” That boy is a crackerjack.June 7  2009 099

Yes, then back to the pool for more swimming/play!

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Saturday was the 2nd tennis clinic that Sadie and Elijah were burning to attend. Unfortunately, there were just too many kids and the location was shifted last minute to a parking lot for the little kids rather than a court. It was clearly not as organized or fun as the first that we had attended. These instructors also had a heavy focus on doing it ‘right’ versus doing it ‘wrong’ which made a big difference in the energy. That didn’t squelch the kids desire to play, though- just affirmed that the country club with the instructors that focused on fun, games, and engagement is the place for us! The kids were really happy that Grammy got to see them wield their racquets a bit.

Thank you so much for coming to visit us, Grammy! We really enjoyed our time with you and look forward to doing it again soon.

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Posted by on July 18, 2009 in Classes, Family


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Happy Spring!

We celebrated spring on a rainy morning with the thrill of a certain bunny’s pre-dawn surreptitious delivery of plastic eggs filled with candy, random toy treats, and (best of all) quarters! They loved hunting so much that the eggs were re-hidden by parents as children pretended to be sleeping on the tile in the hallway.



Treasures were emptied into a community bowl from which candy was periodically consumed for a few days and then left to taunt Mama. The quarters were immediately divided up evenly by the kids and taken to the coin bank upstairs. Why do they divide it then put it in the same bank?

Mema came over a little while later and we had a nice little family brunch. Then we all went out to the cheap movies ($1.25 per person!) to see Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler. It was a great family movie- loved by all.


Along with some snorkels, diving masks, and water shoes, the bunny left a Star Wars themed egg decorating kit. The kids dove in the next day and have discovered the yumminess of a hard-boiled egg. They taste even better when dyed neon colors and covered in Star Wars stickers.

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Posted by on April 17, 2009 in Family


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