Between the apples and the Christmas Tree, pumpkins were next on the picking list. 


Hope you had a happy Halloween. Jack Sparrow and MJ sure did. It was our first year calling on the "Switch Witch" to come at midnight to exchange all the trick or treat candy into a small gift (after the boys picked out their 10 favorite pieces of candy to save). We'll keep using her for as many years as we can get away with…. 

















With our seasons being as mild as they are without leaves coloring or any real discernible weather change, we’ve come to discover other ways of marking the transition from one to the next. One way we do it is fruit picking. Strawberries in Spring, blueberries in Summer, and apples in Fall. Winter is celebrated in other ways. On the first day of the apple harvest in the tiny town of Oak Glen in the San Bernardino Mountains, we found the Willowbrook Farm where we picked Stayman Winesaps from their hundred-year-old trees. The boys favorite part was pressing the cider which they did happily despite the many, many bees that buzzed right near their legs.

Of course the next question is always what do we do with all those apples? Well, they’ve turned out to be a perfect baking and cooking variety, so I’ve made apple crumbles with vanilla ice cream, and apple crostada with puff pastry, and these little fritters that came right on time from Mark Bittman in yesterday’s New York Times. They were crazy good! And what to do with a gallon of cider? Make some iced tea, of course, and freeze the rest. We made some with dried hibiscus flowers and one with Tazo’s Wild Orange Tea, which was totally refreshing.

Apple Fritters

by Mark Bittman

Grate 4 medium-sized apples. Beat 1 egg and add 1/2 cup of grated Fontina cheese. Stir in apples and 1/2 cup flour. Shape into walnut-size balls.

Heat 2 inches of neutral oil (grapeseed or corn) in a deep pan to 350 degrees.

Fry fritters until golden brown.

Mark used lemon wedges, which were good, but we also tried sprinkling a some cinnamon sugar on them and that was even better.


Wild Orange-Apple Cider Iced Tea

6 bags of Tazo Wild Orange Tea

4 cups filtered water

3 cups apple cider (as fresh as possible)

Juice of one orange

1/4 sugar

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan, then take pan off heat. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Place tea bags into the water and let them steep for about 5-7 minutes.  Remove the tea bags. Pour tea into a glass container or pitcher, pour in apple cider and fresh orange juice, then shake. Let tea cool then put in the refrigerator until cold.





















It feels so good to be back!

After two years, dozens of meeting with architects, engineers, inspectors, making hundreds (although it seemed like thousands) of decisions, gritting our teeth through many, many mistakes (often not by us), laying up nights worrying about how it was all going to get done, enduring setback after setback, we kept pushing the grand vision of our family's future home to the fore. To have done otherwise would have meant insanity. Yes, it was hard.

But we did it. And like childbirth, I can barely remember the pain. I think. I never would have imagined that such a small house would have required so much, but I suppose when you are watching every penny, it just has to. 

And now that were here, what I love most is living with all of those details and feeling the care behind them. Everything from the door knobs to the lightbulbs, the color of the lightswtiches to the pulls on the cabinets, gives our house the feeling that it's uniquely ours, that it's a true reflection of who we are and how we live.

It's a treat to see just how much the boys needed more space and to be able to play outdoors, even without a real backyard, yet. 

We've already celebrated two birthdays and the new kindergartener in the house. Our neighbors have brought us homemade lemonade, brought the kids toys, given us the neighborhood lowdown. And there are lots of kids to play with and invite over. It's the first time I've ever really felt part of the community where I live. I'm even helping to get speed bumps put on our street. I mean come on! 

It's taken me a while to emerge and feel the rhythm of my life return. But I'm glad to be back in this space, and hoping to reconnect with all of you too. 




I've got so much to share, but right in the middle of all our major transitions, my computer decided to off itself without the possibility of repair. Another is hopefully on the way soon! xo









We're still in transition as we await all of the final details on our house to be done. Every day, the our move-in date seems to push itself back and back and back as we sort through the mountain of details yet to be completed. So in the meantime, we are still in a state of suspension in our little apartment, making a home out of something that is not our home. It's been tight, given we are living with what is the bare minimum for us. But this state of suspension, during these summer months, has made it all seem like a little break, even though our everyday lives still continue at full speed. Hope that makes sense….

All of that has allowed us to open up our daily routine a bit. Almost every night after dinner, with the sun still hanging low in the sky, we take a walk. Most nights, in fact every night, we've been pulled to the ocean. Sometimes we head north to the pier, sometimes we head south to Venice. But each time, it is an opportunity to release the day, pull in some fresh air, and it allows us to keep exploring our new neighborhood. In just these past few weeks we've become more connected to our neighborhood in ways we never did in all the years we spent in our last home. Funny how a simple change in environment can do that.

I have a feeling this will now be a sacred evening tradition for us, especially during the warm and light spring and summer months. It's something so simple, holding my children's hands, watching them chase each other around trees and jump barefoot into the beach sand, reconnecting with my husband, running into friends and neighbors. So simple, yet so lovely.






It is said that seven is a very powerful number. According to some, it is a symbol of completeness and perfection and is marked all over the place in nature: seven colors in the rainbow, seven states of matter in the Universe, seven wonders of the world, etc. I really like the idea of completeness as it relates to my dearest oldest boy who just happened to turn…seven.

I can already see it as though a light switch was just turned on–that suddenly my boy seems more mature, more ready to take risks, able to ask a waiter in a restaurant for a napkin on his own, able to make his own sandwiches, and help and mentor kids who are younger than him. It's a completeness of babyhood, of needing every little physical aspect done for him. It's a completeness in how he has formed, in essence, of who he will be for the rest of his life. All I can do now is simply guide him in the right direction and keep a loving watch over him, although I'll have to learn to disguise it more and more. 

For his birthday what he wanted most was a skateboard. We do live in Dogtown after all, so it made sense. So he picked out what he wanted, an Element board with a Rastafarian lion and some orange wheels, and his very first stop was the park. There, overlooking the ocean, I watched Mateo bend his knees, and slowly glide down all the hills. Each time he reached the bottom he would spring up with a smile, looking for my very enthusiastic thumbs up. He was very excited indeed. 

And since that day, it has come alive for him. He stops in his tracks to watch a skateboarder race down the street, and all he wants to do is go to the skate park. 

As far as perfection as it relates to seven, Mateo has reached to perfect point to begin this leg of his journey.








Last weekend Mateo needed a haircut. Now that it's summer I asked him if he wanted to shave his head like he did last year. "I do, mom," he said. "But I also love my curls." So I suggested he do both. "What about a mohawk?" I asked. At first he was very into the idea, until of course, he got in the chair. I could see in his face that the reality of having his head half shaved and half long was too hard to face for a six (almost seven) year old. 

Once it was over, he begged me to let him cut it all off. "Please, Mom. Please, everyone's going to laugh at me!" I told him, they wouldn't and that in fact, people were going to think it was the coolest thing ever. "Trust me," I said. "Trust me," his dad said. "Yeah Mateo, trust them!" said his brother. After a tear or two, he climbed down off the chair, brushed the last few strands off his shoulders and decided to trust us and go bravely out onto the sidewalk to face the crowds who would surely make him the laughing stock of Santa Monica.

But of course that didn't happen. Everyone from his friends, to his camp counselors, to the guy bagging our groceries tells him how cool his haircut is. And with just those small words of validation, a little boy's confidence can rest just a little easier. 











The past nine days have been like a rush of fresh air, not a breath. Despite the moving, the discombobulation, the new summer camps, the graduating of preschool, a last-minute trial that pulled my husband into a working cave for two weeks, the very late bedtimes and too-early rises, and the lack of being able to cook a really good meal, I have to say I am loving this little bubble of transition we are in. As we wait for our house to be finished in just a few weeks, yes I said it–weeks, we have been dwelling in a furnished little apartment just three blocks from the beach. It's as though we are now truly a part of what it is to live in this lovely little city of ours. And it's helped us to remember just why we decided to move here all those years ago. 

It's one thing to live within a mile or two of the ocean, as we have been for the past few years. It's a whole other thing to be within sight and walking distance of it. Just this evening, the four of us walked down to the ocean and soaked in the late-day salty air right after dinner because we could. And it didn't have to involve a car or a precious hour of the pre-bedtime routine.

That this all comes in the middle of summer is just the cherry on top really. The true essence of summer now feels woven in. We're amongst those who revel in it like we are. Riding their bikes with the sun on their shoulders, having supper and cocktails outdoors, taking part in a sunset drum circle on the beach, watching movies on the pier, watching the skateboarders do their thing. A little further down on the boardwalk in Venice, I even happened upon the headquarters of Juice, a magazine I used to work for in New York way back in the 90s. That was a surprise. 

I think the boys also feel invigorated and freed up just a bit. Sometimes I think we can under estimate just how much children can flourish even during times of intense transition. It's made me that much prouder of them. 



First the meals became less and less elaborate…


Then the toys and the beds disappeared…


To be replaced with sleeping bags and little boys who just can't wake up…


There was one last bowl of cereal, one last cup of vanilla yogurt in the kitchen…


Before it all was taken away.


I absorbed the morning light through the windows, 


Then washed the cupboards bare. 

Moving for me is indeed a bittersweet experience. Moving on, leaving behind, starting anew. All good things. I have been anticipating the day when I could say goodbye to this little condo so I could say hello to a house that we have been painstakingly building for the past two years. 

But its hard to not to feel somewhat attached to these walls. That all of it is actually a living, breathing thing that has been protecting us with its arms around like a halo. And now we are just leaving it like an abandoned pet. I don't know, it's hard to describe. 

I feel grateful and wistful for all that has happened to us during our five years here. There was a baby brought home, there was a baby lost to miscarriage, there were many birthday cakes made and decorated, each with just one more candle than the last. There were hundreds of fingerprints left from all the little friends who played here, a recycling bag that held many, many bottles of wine. There were some meals cooked to perfection, some not so much. There were four individuals who uncovered a little more of themselves each morning they awoke to the white wooden beams above their bed.

I will miss this place.

But I also look forward with great anticipation of what is to come. For the reward of many days spent in the unknown, in worry, and in fear. That it will all soon be worth it. Indeed.














We made our way to our extended family base in Detroit a couple of weeks ago for my cousin's high school graduation. The city itself still appears to be falling apart, but it did provide us the perfect setting (especially for Mateo and Nico) to get away for a few days and reconnect with family we don't often see. What I love most about gatherings like this is that no matter how much time has passed, there's just a comfortability, an ease that just blankets everything. The boys were beside themselves to spend time with their older second cousins who adore them. At my uncle's Canadian cottage in Colchester, my boys couldn't sit still for a second between skipping rocks in Lake Erie, blowing bubbles, kicking soccer balls, playing hide and seek, getting piggyback rides, and helping their great-grandfather blow out his birthday candles. None of us even really minded the mosquitos. At least in the moment. 

It made me long for a time when extended families were a part of your everyday community. Where you know your children are among those who love them unconditionally, embrace them no matter who they are, and are always game for something. While Mateo and Nico's own generation of cousins are indeed across the country, I know they will still feel that same comfort of family in small doses just when they need it most.