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Thursday, December 09, 2010


...for sun kissed skin and knees with band-aids. 
And for this girl who adopted us 4 years ago today. Happy Gotcha Day, Princess Peanut Butter Cup!

...for polyester bell bottoms from Good Will.
And kids who are brave enough to wear them on stage for Airband and rock Stayin' Alive.
(Check out the YouTube video HERE. They won first place. We're so proud. )

...for a fall sport other than football and soccer.
And this second son; so much like his dad.

...for wigs.
And the kid with the mullet who's as tall as me.

...for hair scrunchies that match their soccer uniforms.
And this girl; my very best soccer player.

...for this Stewart Marine shirt that used to be Dave's.
And these grandparents who drop everything to come play with us.

...for waterpolo.
And this hotty who, at 41, still rocks the Speedo.

...for neighbors who take great pics of my kids.
And toothless grins. 

...for this awesome catch. (Click to make bigger.)
And a football season with no broken bones. 

...for roadside Taquerias.
And a lunch date with this Grandpa.

...for a strawberry, an Alice, an Earp, and a bling. 
And for these kids; still excited to dress up on Halloween.  

...for da Bulls and da Broncos. 
Can't we all just get along? 

...for six weeks in Mexico. 
And coronas with lime.
(We'll be home for Christmas.)

...for kid sized waves at Lancha.
And this surfer girl.

...for the sweet silence of the sea.
And this boy; he makes my heart smile.

...for the splendor of our Earth. 
And sharing it with magnificent creatures like this. 

...for sting rays whose stings hurt like a mother but don't do any permanent damage. 
And this boy who taught us that; the hard way. 

...for the Christmas picture; done for another year.
And for another year with this amazing family of mine.

Feliz Navidad,
Dave & Heather
Cole, Emerson, Eve & Soleil

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Arizona Vs. The Stupid Smelly Bus*

First, let me say, I love the fall!! I love it! I love sweaters, and golden leaves, and tree ripened apples, and pumpkins and dressing up! I love to dress up! Maybe more than my kids do.

But this is a post about our doggie Arizona and how she hates that stupid smelly school bus. (*Evie and I just read Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus.)

You may remember that Arizona (we call her Zona for short) came to us two summers ago when we were on vacation in Arizona. She just showed up in the yard of the house we rented. She wouldn't let anyone approach her and she was obviously exhausted (like she'd been wandering for days). She just slept in the shade of the mesquite bushes getting up and moving to another shady patch whenever anyone tried to bring her water (it was like 118 degrees - do you remember that heat wave and that crazy monsoon that blew through Scottsdale in late July 2009, Karen and Steph?). Anyway, long after everyone else had given up on her, Cole finally won over her affections with a combination of undying patience and a package of hot dogs. From then on she has been his shadow. It's quite possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen. She does not leave his side. She sleeps next to his bed, she follows him everywhere (including the bathroom) and pretty much only tends to her own needs (ie; eating, pottying, etc.) when he is asleep or at school. And she's extremely protective of him. When he and Dave play "rowdy" she prances about them barking and complaining as she moults under the stress of it all. It's reminds me of Lassie - a boy and his dog. And he eats it up. He loves her undying loyalty and adoration. She's his favorite thing in the world. Of course, that will all change once girlfriends show up on the scene, but until then...

With back to school entirely upon us I am reminded of a story that I thought worthy of sharing. It actually happened late last spring when we first got back from Mexico and the kids went back to school.

Cole rides the bus to the middle school every day. The bus stops almost directly across the street from our house which is very convenient... usually. This one particular day started out normally. The bus putted to a stop across the street, and we all sounded the usual alarm, "BUS!" Cole bounded from the bathroom smelling of Hollister cologne, grabbed his backpack and planted a kiss on my cheek as I opened the front door for him to run out. Being that I was a little rusty on my back to school routine, I was half a second too late in shutting the door, allowing a small window of opportunity for Zona to scamper out the door after him. He was nearly to the bus when she caught up to him. He turned around to bring her back to the house, but the bus driver was waiting so I said, "Go get on the bus. I'll get her." (In hind sight, a critical mistake on my part.) So he turned and ran to get on the bus as I called for Zona to "COME!" in my best "Imeanbusiness" voice.  Only she doesn't listen to me because I'm not her boy. She looked at me for a second but then turned to follow Cole. Finding the door to the bus already closed (I swear she would have jumped on that bus after him) she circled around the front trying to find another way in. Panicked that the bus driver didn't see her and would run her over I ran out into the street screaming and hollering to the bus driver not to drive away. I was a sight to behold, let me tell you: still in my pj's, with monster bed head flapping behind me as I ran across the street in my bare feet, waving my right arm over my head while holding my boobs with my left so they didn't bounce right out of my top, and screaming, "Stop! Stop! Don't go!" (note to self: buy pj's with built in boob support).  Did I mention this was the bus to the middle school? Filled with middle schoolers? Oh, the horror. Zona took one look at me and decided there must be one heck of an emergency and that it was up to her to take drastic measures to ensure that the stupid smelly bus did not take her beloved boy away. She circled around the front of the bus once more and then tummy crawled right underneath the beast and lay down with a look in her eye that clearly said to me, "Over my dead body!" By now I had reached the bus and, still holding my boobs, I stretched up with my free hand and knocked loudly on the driver's window, screaming "Don't go! Don't go! There's a dog under your bus!!" Ok, let's take a break here to discuss those stop signs that pop out from the side of the bus to stop traffic so kids can cross the street safely. You know the ones? Yeah, well during this entire fiasco the stop sign was out.  There was now traffic stopped in both directions bearing witness to, what quite possible amounts to, the most embarrassing moments of my life. Did I mention how cute I looked? I looked even cuter crawling halfway under the bus on my knees and one free hand (remember the other was busy consoling the twins) trying to reach Zona's collar, to no avail. I finally gave up, crawled out, and hollered for Cole to get off the bus and come get his dog. He did just that and as I waddled awkwardly back to the house, boobs in one hand, dog collar in the other, I just hoped that my bedhead would hide the crimson shade of my cheeks.

Recently, I met a gal whose child is in Emerson's class, and as I introduced myself she said, "Oh! We've never met, but I know you! Yeah, I was stuck in traffic one morning on the way to school, and you were crawling under the bus to get your dog!"

Awesome. That was me. Nice to meet you.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Random Back to School News

*The kids went back to school last week. Bittersweet.

*Dave is going to Sayulita for a guys only surf trip to celebrate his birthday. And missing all the back to school F.U.N. Povrecito.

*Evie got a soft a-line haircut...and bangs. And she recently informed me that she is "totally over" all things pink, including her room.

*We adopted a new cat from the shelter. He's four. His name is Jasper. He's all black. We picked him up on Friday the 13th. We think that means he's extra lucky. Although he pooped under my bed tonight.
Now we think he's an extra lucky "outside" cat.

*Soleil visited our school district's speech therapist today. She doesn't need speech therapy. That's good -- like we need one more activity on the calender. She'll be starting preschool next week.

*Cole got the "star" jersey for most improved at football practice yesterday. And, as I type this, he's "chatting on line with babes all day". (Name that movie).

*I splurged on, not one, but two Yankee candles the other day to try and fill the void created by sending the kids back to school. And you know something? It nearly did the job. And now I'm feeling the urge to paint something. You know, like a wall.

*Emerson is single handedly bringing the "mullet" back into style.* I'm so proud. And his STAR test results were smashing even though we spent most of the school year in Mexico.

*Hope your back to school is as delightful as mine. Salud.

*Emerson's mullet was a temporary fashion statement as you can see from the above pic of the first day of school. Stinkin' funny while it lasted, though. He kept cruisin' around the house saying, "I'm all jacked up on Mountain Dew!" (Bonus points if you can name THAT movie.) 

Friday, August 06, 2010

You Owe Me Santa

Dave and I agreed early in our parenting journey that we would not lie to our kids regarding Santa. Since our kids were small we've approached the topic of Santa in the same manner that we've approached the topic of sex. Honestly. Without spoiling the fun. For example:

Q: Where do babies come from?
A: Well, when Mommies and Daddies make love sometimes they make a baby.

I love this answer. It's completely honest without giving out too many details. And it spans the ages, growing in relevance as the kids grow in age. The four year old is usually completely satisfied, having no idea what making love means but pleased with the "adultness" of the answer. The seven year old is mostly satisfied (although she suspects there is more to the story) knowing that "making love" involves lots of kissing. The ten year old blushes as he has recently learned some of the gory details. And the thirteen year old....well: "Mom, do you have to call it 'making love'"?

But this post is not about talking to kids about sex; it's about Santa. And how my darling, precocious, seven year old daughter finally busted my Santa "clause".

I never had to tell my boys there was no Santa. Eventually, they just understood. And it all happened in a beautiful, natural process that allowed them to enjoy the magic of Santa without feeling like they were lied to about the whole thing.  Here is how it went down.

Q: Is Santa real?
A: Santa is real in the magical story of St. Nicholas and the generous giving that people do at Christmas time.

Again, this answer is truthful without spoiling the fun. In our family, as long as the kids don't understand all of those big words they are allowed to live in the blissful ignorance that is required to believe that Santa could be real. The younger kids are usually satisfied with this answer because all they hear is, "Santa is real blah, blah, blah...". As they get older and can more completely understand the meaning of my words, they get the idea. It all happens very naturally and timely based on their own ability (and willingness) to fully understand the answer. Not to say that they sometimes didn't push the topic:

Q: But how does he fit down the chimney?
A: Well, remember, it's a magical story. And just like all magical stories things happen that don't always happen in real life.
Q: Like Aladdin's magic carpet?
Q: Do you believe in Santa?
A: I believe that the magic of St. Nicholas comes to life every time we give a gift at Christmas time.

Do you see where I'm going with this?  I like to think this is an honest answer without being Scroogelike and spoiling the magic. If the kids are young enough or if they still want to "believe" they can. If they are old enough or they are looking for the "truth" they can find it. But I'm not throwin' Santa under the bus. Now, I know my in-laws wish I would quit with the word games and just say it like it is. So they'll be glad to hear that their granddaughter, through stubborn determination and a concerning willingness to see me squirm in my seat, forced me to do just that.


Evie has been asking me about the validity of Santa for about a year and a half now. Maybe more. At least two Christmases. She's seven. She was born on Christmas Eve. So for the past year and a half I have done my very best to side step her questions, knowing that eventually she would get old enough to answer her own questions or at least read between the lines of mine. Alas, this was not to be, and poor old Santa -- he's under the bus.

The other day in the car:

Eve: Mom, it's just the two of us. You have to tell me the truth about Santa.
Me: Well....
Eve: And don't say that thing you always say about people giving gifts or whatever. I want the truth!
Me: Santa exists in the magical story of St. Ni....
Eve: No, Mom! I want a yes or a no. Is Santa real? Yes or no.
Me: Well, I believe Santa is real whenever we give generously...
Eve: Mom! That's not a yes or a no! I mean it doesn't make sense! There's no way one man could deliver toys to every kid in the whole world in one night. It's impossible!
Me: Well, it sounds like you've got it figured out then. You can answer your own questions.
Eve: And reindeer can't fly!
Me: You're right. They can't.
Eve: So then he's not real.
Me: You tell me.
Eve: No, mom. You tell me. Is Santa real? Yes or no. That's all. Just yes or no.
Me: (Silence) I'll make you a deal. I'll tell you about Santa if you promise to always tell me about what's going on with you. Like about boys or friends or what's going on at school. Okay?
Eve: Okay, fine. I have a crush on Aidan and I already told you about Carver. (She had recently told us that a little boy had kissed her when we were in Mexico). Okay, Mom. I gave you Carver now you owe me Santa. You OWE me! Is Santa real? Yes or no.
Me:  No.
Eve: I knew it! Why do adults lie like that? I mean, it's impossible. No one could eat that many cookies.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Letter for Emerson on his Birthday

*Warning: The following is Emerson's Birth Story. Although it's not terribly gory, it is detailed. So, if you're a birth junky, like me, read on. If not, read this one instead.

I wrote this for Emerson just before his first birthday...9 years ago.

May 12, 2001

My sweet baby Emerson,

You were due on June 18, 2000 ~ Father’s Day. That day came and went without you…then the next, and the next, and the next three until Saturday, June 24. I woke from a sound sleep at 4:45 AM, and I remember my first thought was, “Huh, why am I suddenly wide awake? It's still dark out.” About 30 seconds later I had my first contraction. I remember thinking, “Oh my goodness. This is it. Here we go.” I had a sudden rush of anxiety as I realized there was no turning back and there was no slowing down. The contractions started strong and were coming about every 4-5 minutes. Within 10-15 minutes I was quite uncomfortable lying down in bed. That’s when I woke up Daddy and got into the bathtub. While in the tub I realized that the most comfortable position for me was on my hands and knees. I suspected that you were posterior as you had been on and off throughout my pregnancy. I was experiencing the painful back labor that is common with a posterior baby. On my hands and knees gravity helped to keep the back of your head from pressing against my lower back. My contractions continued to come pretty close together (about 3-4 minutes), and they were quite strong. At about 5:15 Daddy called Grammy and Leslie, our midwife. I felt a little silly calling them when I’d only been in labor for 30 minutes, but labor was progressing quickly. I was already to the point where I had to moan with contractions. I promptly threw up when I got out of the tub. They say that helps with dilation.

Once I got out of the bathtub, I had a really hard time finding a comfortable position to labor in. My back was aching, but I felt too heavy to hold myself up on my hands and knees with no where to rest my head. With Daddy's prompting, I waddled out into the pre-dawn air and got into the Jacuzzi in our backyard. In the Jacuzzi I was able to kneel on the bench and lean on the edge. This took the pressure off my lower back while giving me a place to rest my arms and head. And the warm water felt heavenly.

It was about 5:30, and it was so lovely and relaxing to be outside. The sun was just starting to lighten the foggy summer sky. Birds were singing their beautiful morning song.  It seemed as though they were singing just for me, offering praise and encouragement and blessings for the new baby. (I have since learned that the bird I associate with Emerson's birth day is the red breasted robin singing his summer song. He sings it during the month of June in our area and only at dawn.) The scent of orange blossoms and jasmine floated in the damp morning air, and still the contractions grew stronger.

By 6AM my labor was quite strong, and I remember feeling like I wanted the reinforcements to arrive. I said to Daddy, “Where is everybody?” At that point I actually felt the vague and distant urge to push, “I think I’m going to be pushing soon.” I saw the look of panic on Daddy's face as he said, “Are you serious?” Cole woke up right about then and came out to partake in the festivities. We had talked with him a lot about the birth, and when when we asked him if he knew what was happening he said,  “Mommy’s having ‘tractions.” Of course. He wasn't phased at all.

I think it was about 6:30-6:45 when Grammy and the gang arrived. I was glad to see them and I think Daddy was more than a little relieved. Leslie and Iris arrived about 7:00, and we were glad to see them, too. Over the next hour I continued to labor in the warm water with my head resting on my arms. Cole got into the tub with me at least once and drove his cars on the Jacuzzi edge. I threw up in the planter a couple of times. Daddy kept himself busy videotaping and bringing me water with a straw. My mom, sister and the midwives took turns holding my hands and stroking my hair.

At one point someone asked me if I wanted to birth inside or if I wanted to stay in the Jacuzzi. We hadn’t planned a water birth, and I was concerned about the chemicals in the tub. After a short discussion, we decided that a lightly chlorinated hot tub was probably a relatively sterile environment, and it was decided. We would have a water birth. Ahhh, one of the many joys of a home birth: spontaneous decisions on delivery locale. I was especially excited not to have to walk anywhere at 10 centimeters dilated.

By about 8AM the contractions were quite intense, and I remember saying to Daddy, “I forgot how painful this is. Is it too late for drugs?” I was genuinely disappointed when he whispered, Yes. The urge to push was still vague, but I was fully dilated so I spent the next 15-20 minutes trying to find a comfortable position in which to push. I finally settled on the same position that I’d labored in. I had a little break from contractions during transition (they call that the calm before the storm), and I was able to dose in Daddy’s arms for a few minutes. (He’d gotten in the tub with me.)

While I pushed, Auntie held my hands, and Daddy stayed in the tub with me. It was really sweet to have him right there, experiencing everything as closely as he could with me. He rubbed and caressed my back and from time to time felt your head to see how much progress we were making. Leslie stayed at the edge of the tub and let us have our baby together. It was lovely. As you were crowning, Daddy felt your amniotic sac bulging in front of your head. It didn’t break until your head was nearly all the way out. They say that's good luck. At one point I remember saying to my sister, “I gotta get it out!” and that’s when your head was born. Leslie leaned over the edge of the tub to help your shoulders emerge, and then the rest of your body was born into Daddy’s waiting arms. It’s hard to describe the physical sensation of the moment when your baby makes an exit from your body. It’s like a cork popping or a dam bursting. It’s so intense, and for a second you feel as if you’re falling. I remember yelling out, “Oh, God!” as you went shooting out of my body, and the intensity was startling as you catapulted into the world. I was so glad, for both you and Daddy, that his loving hands were the ones to catch you and bring you up out of the water and into the morning air. It was 8:58 when you took your first breath. At some point Cole had taken off his clothes and was in the Jacuzzi with us. There we were ~ a new family of four. It was lovely.

During your birth, it seemed like life in our charming little town had paused in sweet anticipation of your arrival. A few minutes after you were born a big truck pulled into the alley behind our fence, loaded up some stuff, and drove off. In the distance someone started a lawn mower. You were born on June 24, 2000 at 8:58 AM on a foggy Saturday morning on the Central Coast of California and life continued on around us. It was the most beautiful birth day.

My summer birthday boy just turned 10, and is he ever the most delightful 10 year old around. He's playing water polo and trying out a little tweenage attitude. Dave and I keep impressing upon him that it won't serve him...this isn't our first rodeo. But it's all fun. 

We love you, Em! Happy Summer Birthday! 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Surf's Up Monterey Bay - Who Knew?

Inspired by our dear friend Justin, who recently wrote this article, we took our kids surfing in the (gulp) Monterey Bay. And, I daresay, it was pretty darn fun.  Our friends in Sayulita will be glad to hear,

Dave recently bought this:

and, of course, we wore these:

 Soli wore this over her bathing suit:

Evie made one of these:

Emerson and his pal enjoyed this:

Cole borrowed one of these:

The beach looked like this:

Dave pushed me into a few of these:

Behind Dave, the Monterey Bay Aquarium looks like this:

I was pretty excited to see this: (Oh, the glorious tax dollars.)

And we didn't even see any of these:

That's lucky.

I think we'll go again.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Our nephew:
Ryder Owen
May 26, 2010
8 lbs, 6 oz

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dear Earth Mother,

Blessed of All Mothers,
     Please watch over my baby sister and give her strength and peace as she brings forth new life on this day, her Birth Day. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

On Turning Four

Birthdays are a big deal in our house. And our little Miss Soli Mae turned four on "May Pebbin" (May 7, of course.) When I had asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday she said, "Go Chwismas popping, bus you and me." (Go Christmas shopping, just you and me.) Darling fourth child. Gotta love 'em. And, yes, she probably needs speech therapy. So on her birthday, we dressed up in our fancy best, just the two of us, and hit the high road straight to Thinker Toys in Carmel-By-The-Sea, where she spent her birthday money on a car. She loves cars. She sleeps with them. They're metal. And their little doors and hoods open. Those are her favorite. She has quite the collection. Darling fourth child, indeed.

Here are the pics of our day.

I love my birthday!!!

A new big girl bike! (This bike was "hidden" in the back of my car for a week before Soli's birthday. I caught her looking back there once or twice, but it was pretty well disguised in Toys-R-Us bags. One night at dinner we were doing "high-low" and she said, "My high is dat you bought a bite for my birtday. It in yo car." We all cracked up at the table. She's too smart for me.)

The most beautiful four year old in the whole world.

We even put make-up on.

Just you and me, in our fancy best.
 Happy Birthday, Peanut Butter!!
I love you so much! Thanks for taking me Christmas "popping".

Monday, May 03, 2010

Evie's New 'Do

After months of fun in the sun Evie's hair needed a trim. She's been asking to cut it short for about a year and, finally, I acquiesced. How adorable is it? Of course, her "best friends" made fun of her at school and told her she looked like a boy. Now she's traumatized. I didn't miss that nonsense.

But, I did miss this darling sense of style. White pedal pushers under a yellow paisley skirt with a Red Mexican tunic, a size too small. Love. It. Truly. And her haircut is so Junie B. Jones.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Christmas in April

Home again. Home again. What can I say? It's mostly good to be here. It's raining and freezing as promised. It feels like December. We have socks on and a fire going and we just opened all of our Christmas cards. (Thanks to those of you who kept us on your Christmas list. As for the rest of'll be receiving an email.) The kids wasted no time getting back to school and were over the moon to see their friends and teachers. Soli was so excited to wear her favorite footie pajamas and play with her long lost toys. Dave and I are, well...I think we're a little homesick. We just spent the last hour watching Sayulita videos on youtube. Is that a bad sign? And we both have indigestion. How ironic is that? Six months in Mexico and no problems. One greasy In-N-Out burger on the way home from SFO and we're hatin' it. Anyway, we're glad to be home safe and sound and we're so happy that our "Sayulita Experiment" was such a smashing success. Now back to real life... you know, where you have to wear undergarments.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Zippity - Do - Da

Well, it's 2:30 in the morning, and I think I've been packing for about...a year. Anyway, it's our last night (day?) in Sayulita. Sigh. So sad. But, we've had a great weekend and here are the pictures to prove it.

Cupcakes to school on the kids' last day. Cole opted out pleading "too cool". Whatever.
*disclaimer - I didn't make the cupcakes. And, I only feel a little guilty about that. 

Evie and pals - Jimena, Samuel, and Lupita.

Me and my girls.

Evie with her first grade class and Maestra Tania.

Emerson getting "caked" by pals David, Victor, Yoel and Manuel.

And after school, to celebrate a job well done, I took the kids ziplining. They deserved it.
P.S. Is Cole almost as tall as me? What the @#$%? I was on a hill...

 "Look, Mom! No hands!" Indeed.

Emerson in the treetops above the Sayulita jungle.

Cole coming in for a landing.

How cute are we? And, I'll have you notice my burly neck muscles which are directly related to the head stands that I can now do in yoga without falling on my arse. Ahem.

Soli, Em, Evie with Jade and Astrid

We have such delightful friends here in Sayulita (which makes it extra hard to leave). And a few of these delightful friends "strongly encouraged" us to leave our packing for just a brief while and join them on the beach for a farewell and a mai tai. Thanks you guys. You made us feel loved! See you in November. 

Donna, Treva, and Me

Justin, Dave and Nick. Dave forgot his fidora...

Uh-oh....roosters just started crowing...good night.

P.S. I'll meet you north of the border.