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!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gotta love 'er

I put the girls to bed a little while ago. Alex laid down and was asleep within minutes. Greggie, as usual played orangutan for a while and then laid down. I went to the bathroom and when I came out Greggie was sleeping soundly but Alex sat up. "I had a dream, Mother," she said. "Tell me about it, honey." So she did. Then she said, "I want to lie on my tummy and see if I can see more of that dream." I told her, "Okay," and started to leave. Before I could she popped up and said, "We need to clean this house! In the morning, when we wake up. We need to clean." I said, "Okay, we can clean. But why???" "JUST LOOK at that spider web! We NEED to clean!" I turned to see, perfectly illuminated by the porch light that had been left on coming through the bedroom window, a strand of web extending from the nightstand lamp right up to the ceiling. Yup, we need to clean. Not that it matters when you live with 114 spiders.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Baby Charlie Rose

The newest member of our clan with her Mama and then with her second cousin once removed, my Alex:

Monday, January 26, 2009


All eight of them! From left: Nicky, 7 (and a half), Danny, 6 (almost 7), Greggie, 2 (and a half, and out of order), Ari, 5 (and a half), Nathan, 1 (almost 2, also out of order -- he and Greggie are the Terrible Two's I guess!), Sara, 4 (and a half), Alex, 4, and Charlotte, 3 months. For about 2 months from late October until late December, 2009 (from Charlotte's birthday until Alex's) they will be 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1! They will also all start school one year apart through Nathan. Then it will likely be two years until Charlotte can start. So far we have Nicky in second grade, Danny in first, and Ari in kindergarten.

While that is the best picture of them all in a row, there is something about this one I really like:

One step closer!


The oil finish is on and almost all the pulls have been installed. I have to order a few more shorter pulls to finish the cabinets. Then, the tile back splashes have to go (suggestions???? we are considering: marble to match the countertops, slate to match the floors, one by one mosaic glass tiles, stainless steel or aluminum -- other ideas???) and the range hood needs to be vented. The golden mustard paint color needs to be changed slightly to go better with the color of the new cabinets. And the white "fancy" window trim has to go in favor of a simpler design in plain wood.

Renuka, yes, floors are gray slate with lots of red, brown, green, blue, and yellow mixed in. The "green" you reference on the tiles and paint is actually yellow -- I think it looks green in the pictures because of the blue tarp that is over one of the skylights! LOL The light is leaking and the roofing company is having a hard time finding the one we want to replace it with.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


[Apologies to Thembi -- I stole her "format" for this post.]

A: I can't sleep Mama. I'm too scared.
G: Okay, baby. I will lie with you. Come on.

[Greggie runs to living room to sleeping bag on the floor, folds down top layer.]

G: C'mere baby. Hop in. I will lie with you baby.

[Alex comes crawling across the floor.]

A: Okay, Mama. Thank you, Mother.
G: Wah, wah. I can't sleep.
A: Well, I can, Mama. Just sleep, Mama. I won't make any sound.
G: I just can't sleep Baby.
A: Oh well, Mother. I guess you will just have to deal with yourself.

[Long pause.]

A: Mama, I love you.
G: Awww, Baby. I love you too.
A: Mama, you wanna sleep on my princess pillow?
G: No Baby, that's your pillow. Look, that's Daphne on the pillow.
A: No, that's Sleeping Beauty, Mama.
G: I know, Baby. I'm pretending it's Daphne.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Playdate with Zara Rose

The frogs will keep you safe, I guess

I was sitting at the computer just now, uploading some pictures, when Greggie came in, wearing a backpack and carrying a blanket.

G: I want to go out to the playhouse.
M: It's dark outside now, honey. I don't think you want to go down there.
G: I do. I want to go outside.
M: Gregorie, you'll be scared. It's too dark out there.
[she opens the door and we could hear lots of croaking from the creek below]
G: No, Mama. I won't be scared. There are FROGS out there. It's not scary!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

M: Greggie, your shoes don't match.
G: Yes they do, Mama. One is pink and one is aqua. Pink and aqua. Pink and aqua match, Mama.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Girls in the winter sun

The redwood trees are doing fine!

You Ol' Silly Goose

Greggie has this rubber duck like frog that she got in her stocking. It is her new favorite toy. It is her "Froggy Baby". She loves it, carries it everywhere. Sleeps with it. Tonight at dinner it was sitting across from the table on the counter, with a Bitty Baby towel nearby. Alex wrapped the towel around the frog's "shoulders" and announced:

A: Look Mama and Daddy! Froggy looks like he is getting a haircut! [he did exactly look like that]
G: [indignant!] OH! You ol' silly goose! Poodle! He looks like he is taking a bath! He is not getting his hair cut! He's taking him's bath!

Happy Birthday Alex!

At zero:





Saturday, January 3, 2009

A butter dream

Taking a break from the cabin catch up to tell you a story about tonight. I took the girls to bed at 9:30, as is our new "routine". Alex always immediately lies down and is still and falls asleep easily. Gregorie and I have to sing. She is always super wound up and we sing and we sing until she comes dow from the rafters. Once she stops jumping on her sister's head, I leave. But it can take many songs. Or many repetitions of one song. In fact, the first night we tried The Routine she sang "You Are My Sunshine" until I fell asleep. So tonight we sang YAMS, Clementine, Alloutte, etc. Finally I started Row Row Your Boat -- thinking the sheer repetition of it would bore her down. So, she lied down and starting singing with me:

Row row row your boat gently down the street
Mary Mary Mary your life is a butter dream

Getting the Xmas Tree

Funny pictures

Girls dancing -- Greggie in Mama's sweater:

Alex's noodle arrangement:

Gregorie's photo of Mama:

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hiking in the "back yard"

Cabin Home Improvements -- the living room refurnishing

Old furniture:

And new:

And then it further evolved to this (you can also see the change to the dining area -- I think we'll keep a picnic-style table there but not this one, which will go back out on the deck):

Cabin Home Improvements -- The bathroom floor done but I don't have an after photo! The new vanity is in and I've cut and stained the trim but need to paint the walls still.

Happy New Year!

We just returned from almost 6 weeks at the cabin in Blairsden. We had Thanksgiving, Alex's birthday, and Christmas there. And got about 2 feet of snow over the duration! Gam came up twice so we had some nice family time too. The girls had a blast -- we cut our own Christmas tree off the property, sledded and snowboarded our hills, visited a local playground and made friends, did some home renovations, took out about 3 dozen trees that were too close to the house, and, believe it not, mostly relaxed together. I think the girls came home happier, and EASIER, than they were before left -- I think the benefit of not having internet or telephone to distract mama and daddy in addition to no television!

Many, many photos to tell the tale! Here is a start:

Thanksgiving (and some good "before shots" of the cabin). You can see Greggie dressed for the occasion appropriately, as usual.

At the playground: