This is the story of our adventures -- every day and extraordinary; our dreams -- tiny and grand; our gardens -- ornamental and sustaining; this is the story of our journey.  We are a family of four living a mindful, simple life here in Los Angeles County.  We are green, conscious, and forward thinking.  We keep an eye on the past because some of the best things have already been done and bear repeating.  Walk and talk with us, have a glass of wine, taste a peach or a tomato, blow some bubbles and watch them drift up over the canyon ridge.  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

What I didn't realize...

In the Bare Necessities clip below, when Alex starts yelling, "OW!" I thought it was because she hurt herself, or "play hurt" herself while jumping. Nope. She is copycatting Mogli in the video clip of the song. He picks a prickly pear and yells, "Ow!" At the exact point in the song where she starts yelling. Also copycatted is the butt wiggle. See for yourself:

I think she saw it once. Maybe twice.

How did I figure this out? She and I just watched our clip and she said something about "using the claw when you pick the prickly pear!" She told me essentially.

I didn't play with my children at all today

...and I hate it! I DID, however, can 33 quarts of roma tomatoes! Woo Hoo!!!!! And I only did 3/4 of them -- at least 10 more quarts to do...

But those I did took 6 hours! The girls were SO good all day -- I heard a couple arguments between them and Gregg telling them to clean up a few times but by and large they played and played and left me alone. Greggie came in the kitchen maybe once, to ask for an apple. I few times Alex started down the hall, "Mom, can I have..." Pause. "Daddy, can you help with with..." Growing up! Realizing that Mama is busy!

When I was done and the kitchen was cleaned, I took a much needed shower while, Gregg, bless his soul, went to buy me some wine. The girls came in the bathroom. From in the shower stall I heard, "Mom, where's our toothpaste. We wanna brush our teeth." I yelled out that it was in the cupboard over the tub. Alex climbed on the step stool and got it and Gregorie exclaimed, "You found it Poodle! You found it!" Then Alex put paste on both their brushes and they brushed and rinsed. Yup, growing up.

100 pounds of romas:

Mama, this one is squooshed:

Alex helps wash the tomatoes:

The first batch waiting for the hot water bath to peel their skins:

Coming to a hard boil:

The finished product:

And the loaf of bread we had for breakfast:

Saturday, August 30, 2008

the power of her intense fragility

She reminds me of Sarah.

The simple bare necessities of life

Today the girls painted

It's good work if you can find it

This morning, Gregg and Gregorie went to the farmers market and Alex and I went to the U pick farm for the romas to can. We stopped for some breakfast in Woodland Hills and when we went to get on the 101 the ramp was closed. So we headed "west down Ventura Boulevard". We were stopped at a traffic light and Alex said, "Hey! There's Daddy's bike store." Yup, Wheel Works. Then she said, "Mom, this is not where your job is. This is where Daddy's job is. Your job is over there," as she pointed towards Calabasas. "Yes, my job is over there. What does Daddy do at his job?" "He bikes." "Oh, what does Mama do at her job?" "She works. Daddy bikes and Mama works." hmmmmm.....

Friday, August 29, 2008

A missed opportunity

The batteries in the camera were dead and those in the charger apparently don't charge anymore.

Gregg and the girls went to the store while I took a small nap.

Alex was wearing a burgundy "velvet" dress, red cotton socks, and her red patent mary janes. It was in the 90's here today.

Greggie was wearing, what else, a suity. A fluorescent tank suit. And her potpourri pedipeds.

A late night and lots of wine with friends last night -- I didn't argue...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Taking her lumps

Gregorie is pretty fierce and independent and holds her own under most circumstances. But sometimes, it just sucks to be the little one!

Recent Alex-isms

A:  I want some bread, Mom.
M: Okay, I'll cut you a slice.
A:  I want the trunk, Mom.  Not that side, the TRUNK!

(aka, the heel/crust/end)

The other day Alex asked if she could wear one of her new dresses that I bought for the cruise.  I want to keep them pristine so I told her, yes, as long as she stayed inside and didn't eat anything.  Soon after:

A:  Mom, I'm hungry.  I want something to eat.
M:  Take off the dress and I'll get you something.  What do you want?
A:  I want to keep the dress on, Mom. 
M:  You know that I don't want you to get it dirty.
A:  How about an apricot?  That's a good idea, Mom.  I need an apricot.
M:  An apricot???  What???
A:  I can put an apricot on and not get my dress dirty.  
M:  Oh, an apron.  Yes, yes, that is a good idea...

The little one is never to be outdone!

Photography by Gregorie Ann:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Cusp

I have two children born on, sort of, the cusp, of their zodiac sign. For whatever reason, atheist, logical, captain of my ship, that I am, I have always "believed" in the signs. I am a Gemini through and through.

Alex, Dec 22, Sag-Cap cusp, technically Capricorn. I have, being a Gemini, always hoped she'd be a Sagittarius. I assumed that would make us more compatible. Tonight we had this conversation:

A: I want to go to Gam's house.
M: The cabin in the woods or her apartment?
A: The cabin in the woods.
M: Okay. We can.
A: But, I want to come home. To Stella.
G1: Do you want to go on the airplane? To go on the big boat with Gran and Poppy?
A: WE-ell. Yes. But then I want to come home. This is our house?

etc etc etc. Ah, my husband the Cancer. Homebody. Now, another.

And then, what else is there for me???

Gregorie, July 21, CANCER-Leo cusp, technically Cancer. Oh, please please please be a lion!!!!! All signs so far are good (for me!).

Romance Interrupted

Warning, don't read this if you don't have/haven't had toddlers in years or are squeamish about poo!

So, tonight we planned a nice dinner -- some really thick NY strips grilled on mesquite, fresh picked green beans sauteed with slivered almonds, rotini with butter and parm, wilted kale and tomato salad with bacon cider vinaigrette...  While I am finishing up in the kitchen and Gregg is taking the steaks off the grill he says, "How about we eat on the deck?"  Nice.  So he then sets up a table for us and the girls' little table for them.  He puts tea lights around the deck and on the tables.  We serve the girls first.  Ah, but before we can, Alex caomes running in, "Greggie blew out our candle!"  G:  It's my birthday.  I blow out the candle.  M: No, Greggie, it's not your birthday.  Leave the candle alone.  Then we serve them.  Alex comes running in again, "We need salt."  I give her a bowl of salt and send her back out.  Before we can get out with our plates, Alex comes running in again, "Greggie dumped the salt on our candle."  G: It's my birthday....

Soooo, finally, we are all sitting and eating and the candles are burning and there is salt in the bowl and all is good.

A:  I need to go potty.
M:  Go on.  
A: I'm scared.  It's dark inside.
M: Greggie's potty is right there on the porch. [the Safety First potty with the inserted bowl]  I can see you from here. 
A:  WE-ell awright.  
M: Did she pee?
G1: Um, no, um....
M:  Poo?
G1: Well, um, ya, um, sort of, um...
[in other words, completely LIQUID poo.  Ah, nice.]

I get up from the table to clean up my child and the potty.  We get inside and Alex says, urgently, "Mama!  I gotta go potty!  I gotta go more!"

She runs to the toilet.  Soon, a large blast.

A: I farted!
M:  Um, I don't know if I'd call that a fart.
A:  It was a TORNADO!
M:  Yes, yes.  That was a tornado.

I clean her all up and myself and all and go back to try to enjoy my dinner.  She runs ahead yelling, "I said, 'that's a tornado!  don't bang your head on the wall Mom!'"  Yeah, that's what you said.

Ah, you think this is over??????

Now Greggie says, "I need to go potty!"  I run back inside for the insert to the potty and put it on and she sits down.  Major grunt.  Much laughter.  She thinks it's really funny.  She stands up and dumps the insert into the base.  

M:  It's okay.  She didn't go.
G1: NO!  I saw a turd!

He runs over. Yup a turd.  Dumped on DORA who had been previously stuffed into the base.  Gregg washes Dora.  I wash Greggie. 

Is dinner over yet??????

The other day at the playground

Megan, don't let Malik watch -- the part where her foot gets caught in her dress will send him over the edge!

The funny thing is, when Alex was Greggie's age I wouldn't even let her climb that thing without holding on to her.  Second child?  Or do I just think she's more sure footed?  Or maybe I just generally trust "their" abilities more?  Alex was never clumsy and I don't think I'm generally any less protective of Greggie... Hmm....

Sex Ed

I was snacking on a handful of almonds and the girls asked for some. We all went to the kitchen where I filled a small bowl and put it on the counter. Alex took a handful and headed for the living room. Greggie climbed up on the Tripp Trapp and took the bowl.

M: Oh, so you're taking the whole bowl?
G: Ye-ah. I'm going to a birthday party. We need these for the party.
M: Oh. Where DID you come from anyway?
A: In your belly. Greggie and I came from in your belly.

Ye-ah, Al. I guess I'm just wondering how you got in there...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hello Mr. Otter

The garden today

Erin, the giant pumpkin! And it has a bud!

A beautiful melon from a volunteer!

Green beans grow on oak trees!

Scarlet runner beans and grapevines invade the neighbor's yard.

Tomatoes loaded with blossoms:

The hanging plants are smaller and producing less but it's all bonus:

The scarlet runners are using a pepper plant as a trellis.

The peppers are finally fruiting.

The lower beds have come a long way: