Please pardon our absence the past few weeks. Summer has gotten the best of us in a good way. But onto the post at hand…



Those feet and face above belong to my now 9-year-old boy. With each birthday it seems I write just how less of a little boy my boy seems. How his legs are just a bit longer, how his interests are just a little more grown up. It's something most parents do I suppose.



With three children, there's a comfort in knowing just how it will go for the younger two–when they usually start to walk, talk, sleep through the night. But with the first born, well, you're always blazing the trail so to speak. Trying and sometimes stumbling to understand just how much (or little) to let go. When I asked Mateo what he wanted for his birthday he said Minecraft. A video game that all his friends seem to be obsessed with. And though we don't really have a "screen time" policy in our house because the boys rarely use the computer. And while I know that the time will come when they'll become attached to technology the way most of us are–it's just not now. They need to read a book, put a puzzle together, make pretend airports with their Legos. 



And yet. Because this boy said he wanted nothing else really, I relented. I downloaded the first video game to my computer and with great reluctance let him sit in my chair and start to play. And of course he was hooked. At the end of a week's chores he decided he'd rather play Minecraft for an hour than get his allowance. In an instant all that I'd been trying to instill in them about technology seemed to disappear. I felt like a teenager again succumbing to peer pressure–well if all of his friends are playing…I don't want him to feel left behind…


I don't know if it was the right thing to do. I don't know if I've open the door to more and more allowing of what I said I never would. And yet, how much of it is inevitable and unavoidable living in the times we do? Questions, I ask, questions.  



In the meantime, I try my best to keep a reign on it and make sure Mateo and his brothers are still busy experiencing life away from a screen, which they manage to do just fine. 







As we celebrated this beautiful boy of mine with some of the things he likes to do most–miniature golfing, walking on the beach, eating cupcakes and pizza, having a sleepover with his friends, trying new and sometimes scary things–I know that I will continue to have to bend at times. As often as I want to remain firm in my beliefs in what kind of parent I want to be, I know that sometimes the world will try and intervene. And I know there will probably be more things my eldest child will want and do that I will struggle with. But as long as we stay on this close path together, he and I, for as long as he'll let me, I'll simply continue to do the best I possibly can. And love him with all my heart. Whether he's 9 or 49. 



DSC_0260 2


DSC_0268 2









DSC_0247 2



board games : warm afternoon picnics at the park : hikes just long enough for the newly walking among us : fireworks that never cease to entertain no matter how many times you’ve watched them : a walk through Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard during a recent visit to Berkeley and was envious of the children who get to partake in the mind-blowing variety of fruits and vegetables there : late walks on the beach just as the sun disappears : a simple (very simple) sauce made from the cherry tomatoes that seem to be overflowing from our backyard : realizing that I will have to can this sauce since there will continue to be more, many, many more tomatoes on the way :

Fresh Tomato Sauce with Sauteed Vegetables and Olive Oil

{from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking}

2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, blanched to remove the skins

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup chopped carrot

1/3 cup chopped celery


1 to 1-1/2 pounds pasta

Put the prepared tomatoes in an uncovered saucepan and cook at a very low simmer for about an hour. Stir from time to time, mashing any pieces of tomato against the sides of the pan with the back of a wooden spoon. Transfer to a bowl with all their juices.

Wipe the saucepan dry with paper towels. Put in the olive oil and the chopped onion and turn on the heat to medium. Cook and stir the onion until it becomes very pale gold, add the carrot and celery, and cook at lively heat for another minute, stirring one or twice to coat the vegetables.

Add back the cooked tomatoes, a large pinch of salt, stir thoroughly, and adjust the heat to cook in the uncovered pan at a gentle, but steady simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir from time to time. Before turning off the heat, taste and correct for salt.









First things first. As the parent who is responsible for their curls I know how heavy and hot they can be. So with another school year behind them and an overgrowth of hair on their heads, we made our way to Lincoln Barbers to take care of some important buisness. With a small amount of trepidation, they stepped up to the chair and felt the cool nylon draped like a backward cape around their necks. Showtime. The first touch of the clippers is always a little intimidating as painless as they know it to be. But as soon as those dark brown curls start dropping to the floor, they are instantly transformed, lighter, older. And once they're finished they can't stop their hands from massaging their newly shorn scalps as though something new and foreign had replaced what was there. It may have to become our annual rite of passage into summer. Now after bounding into the ocean for a swim or dripping out of the community pool, there's no need for that dreaded hairbrush. No need for mom to wet their hair and tug at it, just trying to make it behave. It's a welcome break for all of us at least until they insist on growing it all back again. 








DSC_0442 2




A new ritual has emerged now that our littlest one has begun walking on his own. (Walking. Already. Wow.) Once this boy of mine was able to stand on his own and put one foot in front of the other, he made it pretty clear to us that he was ready to go. If the front door opens, he's ready, shoes or not, to keep on going. For Jude, who spends so much of his time following others, being led and taken by us everywhere, the power of walking must seem like a revelation. Even though I've witnessed this stage two other times, I had kind of forgotten just how much it changes everything. 

To help him usher in this new phase of his life, I've begun to set aside 30 minutes in the morning, once the older boys are off for the day, where I set aside my own agenda so I can follow him for a change. Other than letting him walk right into the street which he often wants to do, I try not to put any limits on where he goes. Somedays he turns left out of our door and heads straight up the street to an empty covered parking space so he can hear his voice echo off its walls over and over again. Other times, he runs his fingers up and down the bumpy trunks of all the trees on our side of the steet, or he'll be busy finding all the delicate flower petals so he can feel their silkiness between his fingers. Touching car door handles, though, seem to be on his daily must list. 

When others ask me what life is like with three young children, I often find myself replying that because we're all so busy, Jude simply goes along for the ride, missing afternoon naps because of music lessons, being toted on countless errands, watching his mother sit at her computer much longer than he would ever like. So I gladly let him lead me on our walks. Momentarily I'm freed from my obligations, and from the thoughts and plans and ideas that are swirling around in my brain. Instead I'm reminded of one of the eternal lessons of parenthood: simply, simply living in the moment. 

Thank you baby Jude.


Who can resist a dad with (very early) morning hair, bad teeth and a lesson to give? 

Happy Friday.



Another Spring, another blueberry season. The trek to our beloved Temecula Berry Co., took a little more effort this time, mainly by having to brave LA rush hour traffic on a Friday afternoon, but once we got out of the car and could almost smell those berries in the air, all was good. And with buckets and empty pitchers in hand, we got to work like we always do.











If you’re going to drive a hundred miles to pick berries, there’s no sense in taking home just a few pints. I think we picked around 22 in all. We heard the record is over 40.



And once all those pints were home, many where frozen, many were cooked down into jam (enough to last until next season.)




And some just have to be baked. We’ve tried other iterations of blueberry desserts over the years. This year, since we’ve been going light on the gluten lately, I found a gluten-free version using King Arthur’s gf muffin mix that turned out perfectly.

Gluten-Free Blueberry Coffee Cake

{adapted from King Arthur Baking Co.}


2 Tbsp. soft unsalted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 Tbsp. King Arthur’s gluten-free muffin mix

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

pinch of sea salt


6 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled

3 large eggs

Remainder of muffin mix

1 cup whole milk

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Grease and flour dust an 8″ round cake pan.

To make the streusel top, combine the softened butter, brown sugar, 6 tablespoons of muffin mix, walnuts and salt, and stir until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside to prepare the cake batter.

Place the rest of the muffin mix into a large bowl with the melted butter and eggs, and combine with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until incorporated.

Next add the milk, 1/4 cup at a time, blending well and scaping the sides of the bowl between additions with a rubber spatula. When all of the milk has been added, mix on medium-high speed for about a minute or until the batter has thickened. Lastly, gently fold in 1/2 cup of the blueberries.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and allow to rest for 10 minutes. This step is important, so don’t skip. The rest allows the baking powder and the xanthan gum in the mix time to thicken before being baked. Top with the rest of the blueberries then the streusel topping.

Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out kind of crumbly. Remove it from the oven and allow to cool until only slightly warm before cutting and serving.


My HipstaPrint 969328581[2]

My HipstaPrint 969328581[17]

My HipstaPrint 969328581[1]

My HipstaPrint 969328581[8]

My HipstaPrint 969328581[5]

My HipstaPrint 969328581[9]

My HipstaPrint 969328581[13]

My HipstaPrint 969328581[16]

My HipstaPrint 969328581[11]

My HipstaPrint 969328581[14]

My HipstaPrint 969328581[7]

My HipstaPrint 969328581[4]

Growing up, downtown LA was mostly a forgotten place. Back then that small, lonely cluster of skyscrapers never signified action or excitement or what the heart of the city was supposed to be. Instead there were mostly images of dilapidated old warehouse buildings, dealers for cheap toys from Mexico, and tent cities for the poor and homeless. I have memories of venturing down there in high school only to go this old bohemian hangout called Gorky's, but even that was shuttered that because people were too afraid to be down there after dark.

Luckily much of that is no longer the case. Ever since the Lakers moved their stadium there in 1999, Downtown has been clawing its way back. Now it's become a place not only to see great underground and established art, to enjoy a night out in any of the bars refurbushed from the early 1900s. It's also a place to eat very well, and be imbued with Chinese culture on one block to Salvadorian on the next. Apparently Whole Foods is opening a store down there, although some would argue that's a bad thing. 

We headed down there to see the Urs Fischer show at MOCA, and ended up staying the whole afternoon. Walking from lunch at Bottega Louie to ride the Angel's Flight rail car, to eating ice cream mochi in Koreatown.

It's a great afternoon in the city.













Friday. The last day of the morning hustle before the weekend. By now, we have it down to a science, as most families likely do. Up at 6:30, the sun on full blast through our windows already, a few moments of hugs and snuggles with everyone in our bed. Jude gets his morning bottle. Another day begun. 

Next it's on to boy breakfast round one. Cereal. Always cereal. There used to be coffee for Matt, but not recently, not in a long while. I do my self-care routine: liquid vitamins, neti pot, a small shot of apple cider vinegar. Jude gets berries, which he adores.

Then there is lunch to be made. It's interesting. I have one boy who insists I never give him enough food despite the large amounts I manage to stuff in his sack, and another who comes home with almost everything uneaten. The latter using it for an after school snack instead. Lunch is usually a sandwich (or bean burrito or bean quesadilla, or pasta salad, or veggie dogs) with some cut up fruit and vegetable, and some kind of crunchy snack. Sometimes there are nuts. Salty macadamias are a favorite.

Boy breakfast round two. Today it was a mango banana yogurt honey smoothie (with some bee pollen. of course.) 

Then the rest of days' preparations begin. Dressing, brushing, straightening, cleaning. Hair brushed, socks, shoes, kisses, and then out the door. Suddenly the house is quiet. Jude and I share a smile. Then it's time for us to eat. He and I each have one slice of toast with avocado, Vegenaise and some sea salt. Then there's yogurt, and we share some peppermint tea. He's quickly become my eating partner, only wanting what I fix for myself. 

The morning ritual is a rhythm that, despite it's sometimes rushed and harried elements, feels healthy like a morning run. It's the way we have to look at it in the face of time that has to be respected and attended to. It's also what allows the weekends to feel so blessedly restful.  


My HipstaPrint 969328581_2

My HipstaPrint 969328581_9

My HipstaPrint 969328581_10

My HipstaPrint 969328581

My HipstaPrint 969328581_4

Every now and then there are opportunities to feel a deeper connection to this huge city we live in. In LA it's especially easy to exist mostly within whatever neighborhood or "side" of town you happen to dwell. The Eastsiders seldom venture to hang with us Westsiders. It can almost sound like we're motorcycle gangs or something. 

But occasionally that shifts. This past weekend we took part in CicLAvia, where long stretches of boulevards that snake through the city are closed off only to bikers, skateboarders, rollerbladers, walkers, or anyone without a motor. It was quite a sight to see. I think it was estimated that over 150,000 people made their way down 15 miles of Venice Blvd. that day, and that certainly seemed to be the case, as there was a sea of heads and glimmering bike wheels as far as you could see. There was an excitement that was palpable not only from being part of something important and unique, but also from seeing our city in a way only possible outside of a car. There were DJ's, food trucks, marching bands, arts-and-crafts booths for when you were ready to get off and take a break. 

It certainly took some bike skills to navigate all the folks who perhaps do not have such great bike skills, but all went well. After our ride, the kids promptly jumped into our friend's pool and soaked up the day. 

My HipstaPrint 969328581_5

Here's a song from a great new artist that could also work well for a bike ride, if you're riding solo.









End of the week, 76 degrees, brilliant blue sky, warm sand, knocking balls around, laying back, smell of salt and seaweed heavy in the air. Letting the season by the sea begin.