To cap off the year of being seven, Mateo requested a "quiet" (in his words) sleepover, with just three friends. His three best friends. The boys who care about him most, the ones who are happy to hang day after day after day, who will help him build his Lego sets, the ones who would make a birthday a special one to remember. There was some bowling, some sickeningly sweet sundaes, presents ripped open, Edward Scissorhands, an 11 o'clock bedtime, an early rise, some homemade waffles, and of course much Lego building. 

And on the real day of his brith a day later, there was to be some mini golf, laser tag, and a special cake request that took this Mama three days to make. (It was worth it.) 

Since the arrival of his littlest brother, it has become even clearer to me just how ridiculously special this boy is to me and to our family. He teaches all of us, adults included, just how gentle, patient and kind we should be. In the car, his place is in the middle between Jude and Nico, and therefore he's often given the job of making sure Jude is taken care of (binky in place, socks not kicked off, blanket in place, etc.) And each and every time he does it with such care and attention. It has been many a time that he's calmed his baby brother down and put him right to sleep with a soothing voice and a lot of love. 

I can only hope that on this birthday he felt as loved by his family and friends as we feel loved by him.

Happy Birthday Teo.
















Water gun wars : backyard chamomile in bloom : backyard lemon verbena : turned into lemon verbena iced tea : sugar snap pea harvest : Levitated Mass : Metroplis : Some 8-year-old birthday cake planning with a little asistance from Jude : lazy afternoons : mango lemonade popsicle making. 











While I'm not necessarily an Alice Cooper fan, I couldn't resist playing his classic "School's Out" for the boys as they plopped down their backpacks at the close of another school year. Kindergartener and second grader no more. It's the first true summer they will spend together since being at same school, and their excitement was palpable. For weeks there were plans discussed and debated, so on the first real day of break, the first thing they wanted to do was write down a complete list of was going to happen on their weeks off. How were they going to savor it all? Even though the list is "complete" they are still adding more ideas. So far, their days have involved a lot of Lego building, cookie making, bus rides, beach walks, greens picking from our garden for dinner salads, puzzle building, trampoline jumping, and also some much-deserved general lounging. A great beginning to a boy's summer indeed.

And on Mateo's request here's a sweet little Mr Rogers video we found that he wanted to share. 









We know summer is on it’s way each time we get the e-mail from Temecula Berry Company that their blueberries are ripe and ready to be picked. So we all pile into the car far earlier than we normally would on a Saturday morning and make the 90-minute drive to Temecula. It’s a sunny, hot good time. And I’m always the last one pulled away from the bushes. Picking fruit is just addictive to me, and I don’t know why.

Aside from freezing a few pounds for smoothies and making our usual stockpile of jam that will hopefully last until we pick again next year, I try to come up with something different for all those berries. This time I was inspired to make some frozen yogurt. Something tart and cool to get us through these last few weeks of school.

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

{adapted from simplyrecipes.com}

3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (about 1 1lb)

3 Tbsp lemon juice

3/4 cup to 1 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet your blueberries are, and how sweet you want the result to be

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups full fat plain yogurt (full fat yogurt is preferred, if you use low-fat or non-fat yogurt, substitute 1/4 cup of it with heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup whole milk

Place the blueberries, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium heat, stirring, until all of the sugar has dissolved. While the mixture is heating, use a potato masher to mash up the blueberries. When all of the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

If you want a smooth result, you can process the cooled mixture in a food processor, or skip, in which case you’ll have pieces of blueberries which can add flavorful texture to the frozen yogurt.

Stir in the yogurt and milk until completely incorporated. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours (or overnight) until completely cold.

Process the blueberry yogurt mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions (usually about 25 minutes). Serve immediately (it will be soft) or let it firm up a bit by freezing it for several hours.

Make about 1 quart.










I'm still deep in the simple sweet days of nursing, burping, changing, and cuddling little Jude. One of these days I'll take a picture of him with his eyes open. 






DSC_0203 2

I am deeply enjoying the new plants out in the backyard. Excited to be surrounded all that sweet-smelling emerging growth. 


I'm still chuckling over the movie completely dreamed up by Mateo that he wanted to make for his Nana on Mother's Day. I think it came out pretty well. Check it out below if you want…









At last he's here. No more speculation, no more unsolicited predictions from strangers on the street on whether he was a girl or a boy. Now we know, he is a boy. A beautiful boy named Jude. 

His entry into the world came 4 weeks early, and was very sudden and unexpected. Perhaps he was helping his mama out with his early arrival since he was already a hefty 8 pounds and was well on the way to 10 or even 11 pounds had he gone the full 40 weeks. Help me out indeed he did, this little one.

It's been nine months of life lessons, some I thought I knew but apparently needed reminding and others that really caught me by surprise. I knew life often goes in directions you would never expect. I knew it was a very strong, mostly likely possibility that we would have another son. I began to open myself up to the reality of it about half way through the pregnancy after an acupuncturist let slip that my pulse had a lot of yang energy (meaning a boy.)  What I didn't know, was that even though having a different experience with a daughter would have been great, when I smell this baby's skin, watch him sleep, feel his tiny breath on my neck, none of that seems to really matter now. I'm still ripe with excitement at the possibilties his life holds. Plus I figure mothering boys is something I must be really good at…right?

What did catch me off-guard was how much this little boy taught me in the first few days of his life. The moment he was born, all seemed to be okay despite his being slightly early. We finally greeted each other as he lay on my chest. "You're here," I said. "How could I have thought you were anything other than you inside me all this time?" And I felt myself relax in the moment of it all being over. But suddenly he was whisked away from me in my post-labor epidural-induced haze to the NICU where they watched his breathing, stuck him and took his blood, put him under some blue lights and covered his little eyes with a mask. "Too much bilirubin," they said. Billi-what? "Bilirubin, the bi-product of red blood cells. Your son has too many of them. You both have different blood types. It could damage his brain, cause seizures. You are only allowed to hold him and feed him every six hours, and watch him lay helpless in this incubator until his blood levels stabilize. It may take a few days, may take a week, we're not sure." Boom. What kind of curve ball is that, life? 

I can safely say the next few days were some of the hardest I've ever experienced. I know Matt would say the same. Going back and forth to the hospital to feed him every few hours, even in the middle of the night. Trying to hold myself together each time I walked into that NICU, put my hands in his little clear box to feel his skin and whisper to him that I was there and that I loved him. Had to hold myself together when I went to hold him and I could barely get passed the tangled wires and the beeping IV monitors to get to him. "How did we get here?" I asked him. I don't think it mattered to him as long as he had me to eat and get comfort from. I knew that. But watching my little son, just hours old, endure that, gave me the strength to get past each of those moments. And that thankfully, mercifully, they only lasted 4 days.

The fact that he is home now, seemingly oblivious to all that, makes absorbing that experience then moving on from it that much more possible for me. Now we are busy with the serious work of snuggling next to each other in our little spot in the bed, watching him dream and laugh in his sleep, of watching him become another vital force in this growing family of ours. How could I ask for anything other than what I received? 

Welcome welcome dear heart. 











The last quick trip away before we are bound to home with a new babe. I wonder who will be standing in front of the third claw above the next time we visit the dinosaurs in Cabazon? 




loving this "winter" we're having. 80-degree weekends, homemade strawberry popsicles, reaping all the pleasures of having a backyard.


very excited about our landscaping plans for that back (and front) yard, which are really starting to take shape.


obsessed with this smoothie, which I have to have every day, sometimes twice a day. It's almond milk, a frozen banana, a date, some kale and bee pollen. Oh, it's sooo good. Not sure if it's a pregnancy craving or not. The peanut butter cookies I made the other day most certainly were.


so impressed with Matt and this incredible sourdough bread he has perfected. It's a treat to give to friends and watch them receive it like a little blessing. It's also a treat to pull it out of the freezer now and then to savor with dinner. 


tickled by Mateo's first love note that he got just a day or so ago. She stealthily stuffed it into his backpack at the end of school. When he showed it to me at home, I could tell his heart was touched. He smiled, he put it in a special place in his room, and he survived the requisite ribbing his Dad gave him at the dinner table that night. Love notes? Can't believe it. 








This weekend Matt and I were able to steal some time alone (thanks Mom!) It's always a precious commodity, but we're feeling it even more now with just a couple more months to go before we have a new little babe at home. Sneaking off to quiet dinners will have to be forgotten for a little while. So with a little more than 24 hours at our disposal, we made the decision to not fill the time catching up with friends, or work, or home projects still incomplete.  Instead we took a three-hour walk in our neighborhood, grabbing a snack on Main Street in Santa Monica before heading over into Venice. We found interesting plants we want to include in our yard at home, a few new places to eat, some interesting stuff on Abbott Kinney, and our hands kept finding each other pretty often too. 

We came home at dark to an empty house. I was able to read the Sunday Times in its entirety, Matt put on some Dave Brubeck and fixed himself a Martini. All before a very indulgent dinner. It was just our kind of evening.

 Of course we are always happy to see our boys after any sort of separation. It's amazing how fast (minutes I think) that everything falls right back into place, as though the time away from them was merely just a pause. With them life moves as it does. That evening found us eating with friends and all their children, us coaxing the kids to eat, to play just a little quieter so we could hear ourselves talk. A movie put on just to chill them out. We know it well.

All the while I carried with me the peace of my afternoon the day before. Watching my husband smile, feeling him relax, enjoying his life where we live. He works so hard. Remembering how often we used to have those moments before our children were born. But it would not be as sweet, I do know, without them. They are what make all of it worth it, all of it sweet, in whatever form it takes. 











A few moments from our Valentine’s Day. Cards for sharing at school and some chocolates for Matt. Simple and easy, just the way I like this particular holiday to be.

I Have a Husband Who Loves Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

(makes about 20)

10 oz. good-quality chocolate (I used Valrhona’s 55% Equatorial Noire, but any semi-sweet chocolate would work well too)

1/4 cup natural unsweetened peanut butter

1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/4 cup Nutella

Maldon sea salt

If not already in chip form, chop up chocolate and melt in a bowl over a pot of hot and steamy (not boiling) water. Keep the heat low on the stove. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

Place 20 paper candy cups into a mini muffin pan or on a cookie sheet. Pour about 1 teaspoon of chocolate into the bottom of the paper cups, then place in the fridge to set, about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, mix together the peanut butter and sugar in a bowl, stir until combined.

Remove paper cups from the fridge and put a little less than a teaspoon’s worth of peanut butter into half of the cups. This got a little messy at first, so I covered my hands and fingers with a little vegetable oil and that kept the peanut butter from sticking to me.

Cover the peanut butter with a little more melted chocolate, enough to submerge the filling, but not too thick to make it hard to bite through. Top with sea salt.

Repeat the same procedure with the Nutella (minus the salt) for the rest of the cups.

Once the cups have been filled, place back into the fridge for at least 1 hour to set.

That’s it!