First Santa Monica Pier arcade. Four of us balanced on a tiny stool in the photobooth. Nico needed to let out some steam with some taxi driving. Next a visit from my dear friend from NYC who brought her two beautiful kids and together we embarked on some hippy dip Topanga Canyon festival action. With such a clear, gentle sun and the ocean breeze swirling, we couldn't have asked for anything more. 


But the rain did wonders for me today. I found myself taking deep inhales, my body instinctively sensing the air was cleaner. Around this part of the world, rain drops are like small gifts. Cleaning the air, washing away the smog, changing our usual static blue sky.  The rain clouds twisted and rolled as they dragged in over the ocean. Even if only for a few minutes, it was a relief. 




So thankful for a husband and a mother who can keep them smiling when I'm a little too sick to try. 




Everyone home sick could equal disaster. Wrote cards, drew cherries, camped in the kitchen. Suddenly there was supper of spinach pizza and corn. 

Mateo's been watching me with a camera glued to my hip for some time now, so I guess it shouldn't have been a surprise when he began to express some interest in wanting taking his own photos. So I handed him our Lomo; it's a small, low-tech, old-school Russian camera that takes very unique photos since its shutter will stay open as long as it needs to get enough light. Which, if you're four years old means most of your pics will be pretty blurry. But no matter. We talked a little about framing–I cut out a paper frame and had him put it over some things he wanted to take a picture of. But he really required very little instruction from me. I would love for him to become my little co-conspirator on the photo front, it would be such sweet company. To be continued….



brother Neek

mama's bedroom

Nico & Claudia

waiting for Wall-E

Neek & Nana






Luckily my children have no real idea of what "time" is. 20 minutes to them could be 20 hours. But they do posses an innate sense of when some things are supposed to happen, things even out of our daily routine. Each month we head to the library and take home a pretty sizable stack and place them on two special shelves in Mateo's room. They don't necessarily notice when the books disappear four weeks later to be returned, but about three weeks after our last trip they both begin to ask, "When are we going back to the library?" So we go, and they tear down the hallway, and I run after them whispering loudly to be quiet.It takes them less than a minute for them to pluck a book out of the stacks and plop down on the floor and begin devouring book after book. They probably look at over 50 before they decide which ones they want to take home. 

We can spend hours there, but usually one is all we need. Some books are hits, some end up duds, but it's the ritual of the trip, I think, that means the most to them. To me, it's always interesting to see what catches their interests, from car and train books to superheroes, monsters, and science. After we've selected our stack, we always talk about what it means to borrow something and treat it with care, and that soon we'll be back to fill our two shelves again. And like clockwork I know they'll be tugging at my clothes again with that same familiar request. 






While we are happy with our city life here in LA, there are many days I fantasize about living somewhere where there are more trees, more green, more land for my children to roam, and I especially dream about having a garden of my own. Someday. I don’t think I’m ready to pack it all up and move to the mountains just yet. At this point I’ll settle for a simple backyard. But I hope to find a balance somewhere that will allow for a little of all of it: the cultural experiences a city has to offer, while also being able to feel slightly removed and to see trees through my kitchen window instead of the backs of my neighbors as they eat their dinner. In the meantime, I (we) take what we can with our trips to various farms and gardens to get our hands a little dirty and for the boys to keep learning where their food comes from. 

This garden we visited in Malibu last weekend has been cultivating chemical-free fruits and vegetables for over 50 years, and is the oldest continuously running organic market stand in California. They describe themselves, “As an intentional vital link between the chemical-free family farms of generations past (before the advent of agri-business) and the development of socially-responsible and issue-aware extended family vital farms of today. We have no equal. We of Vital Zuman consider ourselves to be the most fortunate of the fortunate.” And how fortunate we are to live in a place where there are still people who value the tradition of family, healthy eating, and taking care of the earth.   


I was feeling very rundown yesterday. I rolled out the butcher paper and he came back with colored pencils on his own. Once I joined them, I felt better. 




For Mother's Day this year, we made my mom, or "Nana" to the boys, a terrarium, and we decided to make our own while we were at it. I found this book at the library, but instructions abound all over the internet. All it really takes is some gravel, some charcoal for drainage, and some fresh potting soil. We planted a two fern varieties and an African violet, but there are loads of other options. There are certainly prettier, more elaborate terrariums to be made for sure, but this simple one felt right for our little zebra friend, who now lives inside it happily (I hope). I love and need plants in my house, but I can't always be counted on to water them (hence our abundance of succulents), so I'm hoping that the terrarium instructions are right in that the only way I can kill it is to water it too much. We shall see. 






My Mother's Day couldn't have been much better. I think I've permanently decided against the whole expensive, crowded, noisy brunch/restaurant thing in favor of some outdoor picnicking, good takeout or home-cooked action. So much better for all of us if you know what I mean. This year I got to sleep in until the luxurious hour of 9:30, then we headed slowly down to my mom's in Palos Verdes. After indulging in some food from Huckleberry, we headed out for a long walk on the ocean trails. Just my kind of afternoon. Hope everyone also had a fantastic Mother's Day. 

Have a beautiful day friends!