Wednesday, December 14, 2011

10 pounds of cheese

I just finished slicing up 10 pounds of cheese into sticks in preparation for my tamales tomorrow. I can almost taste the cheesy, chile yumness that awaits me. Oh and aren't these people just so cute. Please note the missing 2 year old in the picture. That's right, some projects just work better when Cole is napping.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What the Penn State Scandal says about us

I have to admit to my severe neglect of this blog as I have not posted for a whole month. I probably should post pictures of our cute kids on Halloween, or of how Mike and I went dressed as a pinata and little boy to a Halloween party, or at least how thrilled we are to be expecting a baby girl at the end of march. But no, I'm not going to do that tonight because I would rather discuss the Penn State Scandal.
I've read and thought a lot about this case over the past several days. It is horrifying on so many levels. University president and Joe Paterno have both gotten the axe because of the handling of it.
What really intrigues me however, is what this case says about how we as a society feel about sexual abuse. So here are the facts; a graduate student walked into the locker room at Penn State and found a naked Sandusky sodomizing what appeared to be a 10 year old child. He reported the incident to Joe Paterno who then reported it to his boss. The only action that was taken with Sandusky was that he was no longer able to bring boys from his charitable organization to Penn State. (what's the take home message here, that's fine that you molest children just don't do it in our facilities. Really people?)
Let's pretend for a moment that what the graduate student walked into was Sandusky cutting a 10 year old child's face with a knife. You can BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR that the graduate student would have called 911 immediately. In fact he probably would have intervened himself to protect the child from a very sadistic man. So what's the difference here folks???? No one can argue that one is "worse" than the other. The harm from sexual abuse is life altering and terrible. So what is it? What is it about sexual abuse that causes us (generally speaking of course) to be squeamish and not do what we would do in any other harmful circumstance. And if you think this scandal is an aberration and I'm just being crazy I could point out many many more that have been handled in a similar manner. (catholic church anyone?)
It's so easy to point the finger at Joe Paterno, Tim Curley, Penn State officials etc etc. Why didn't anyone call the police, why didn't anyone stop this monster? But instead of pointing the finger, let's look at our own actions instead. Do we fail to bring up the topic of sexual abuse with our children because we are squeamish, or awkward??? Do we think, it can't happen to my child? Do we reason that if we just ignore the subject our children will be immune to it? Do we live in denial that the statistics indicate that 1 in 4 girls (or 3 depending upon what stats you read)and 1 in 7 boys will be sexually abused? Not my child we reason in our heads and then promptly do nothing and hope we don't have to think about it again. Do we see warning signs but brush them off because so and so is such a nice guy, or a good friend, or a respected community figure?
So here is my plea friends and family. Let's do something about this to ensure that our children are protected from this heinous crime. Let's have that ONGOING discussion with them. It might be scary or awkward at first to bring up the subject, but I guarantee that it will be a whole lot better than the alternative. Let's not give people the benefit of doubt when we feel something strange or sketchy about them. Trust your gut if someone gives you the creeps, because our children shouldn't pay the price of our fear of "offending" someone. A child molester isn't that stranger in the dark, instead it's almost always someone you know. Pay attention to your gut feelings about someone. And finally, we must recognize that until we as a society are open and honest about this, sexual abuse will continue to perpetuate its destructive horror upon millions of our children. It thrives in secret. It thrives in our denial. It cannot thrive if we take action.

Please talk to your children.
I have a plethora of books you can borrow to read to them.
ok, the social worker will step off her soapbox now.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Mike had to go to a training for work last week in Chicago so I joined him for a long weekend. The weather was beautiful and the autumn foliage did not disappoint. There is so much to see and do in Chicago. It's been a long time since I've been to the Midwest but that accent gets me every time. I have VERY distinct memories of moving to Michigan and having kids at school asking me to say words such as mom and hat because they thought I talked so funny. hmmmmmm really.

Of course our trip could not be complete without deep dish pizza.

We saw a great fireworks show on Navy Pier.

A true Chicago dog. No ketchup.

Oh the pretty trees. Pretend I am NOT wearing Nike tennis shoes in this picture.

We traveled everywhere on their awesome "L" metro system. I love public transit because it makes for the best people watching. And of course being the curious george that I am I just couldn't resist talking with some new Oktoberfest friends on the bus. Yes they really were German.

This was a huge entourage of bikers and once again I just had to get a picture.

We rented bikes and rode up Lake Michigan.

The Sears tower is awesome. Going out in the glass pod is a really freaky but cool experience.

And that's a wrap. Thanks Chicago for the good memories. And special thanks to my mom and sister for taking care of the peeps so we could stay up late, sleep in , eat at sidewalk cafes without anyone spilling anything and meander about this city to our hearts content.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cheese Glorious Cheese

It's no secret that I love cheese. Havarti, gorgonzola, muenster, provolone, jalapeno jack, fontina, asiago, cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, romano, gouda, goat cheese, cream cheese, blue cheese, queso fresco, warm brie with pears, melted cheese, sliced cheese, shredded cheese.......yum yum yum. What could be better than cheese????? On any given day I have several types of cheese just waiting for me in my fridge. Sorry but I could never be a vegan because I don't think soy cheese would do it for me.

However, there is one type of cheese that I generally avoid, FETA. I've always thought of it as being way too dry, salty and just kind of bitter. Really I could do without it. Now I'll get to my point. A few weeks ago I was at my Mom's and she pulled out a small box of feta cheese to put on top of our salad. I kind of groaned but she promised me that this was GOOD. She had purchased it at her local international market on recommendation from the owner. Ow wow, she was right. This is the best feta I have EVER eaten and has totally changed my mind about feta cheese. It has a very creamy(not dry) consistency, kind of similar to goat cheese that just melts in your mouth.

Today I almost peed my pants with excitement when I saw the same brand at our local produce market. Thank you Valley Produce for making all my cheese dreams come true.

You have to try this cheese.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fazendo Arte

In Brasil when a child is acting out or doing something mischievous the parent often tells the child to stop "fazendo arte" or translated, 'making art'. Well Julia was quite literally "fazendo arte" a few weeks ago. Please refer to the above work of art drawn all over her bedroom carpet. And this was a HUGE picture by the way.

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Grader

Our cute little squinty eyed white haired boy is now a big first grader.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Brain Candy

I recently read a new book called The Warmth of Other Suns. As a mother of 3 small children I spend a lot of time dealing with little people. Needless to say it is quite refreshing to me to read something so intellectually stimulating. Like candy for my brain. Or I guess it would really be more like a good hearty meal for my brain but you get the idea.

If you read The Help and want to know more about life for African Americans in the Jim Crow South and why so many of them left in search of.......well as the title suggests the warmth of other suns, read this book. I really had no idea just HOW horrible conditions were. Definitely eye opening, educational, thought provoking and very inspirational.

Seriously this book hits my top ten list of favorite books.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Family Reunion 2011

We got back last week from a week long reunion with Mike's family. 2 of his brothers live in Spokane, WA so we flew up there and enjoyed a week of lake living in a rental on a lake in northern Idaho. Fun times were had by all. Julia was easily bribed into riding the "tube". I promised her a pink treat. She love the ride.

Thanks to Mike's brother Joe for a fun time on his boat.

No capsizing.

We toured an old silver mine which was very fascinating.

Julia actually consented to getting her hair done by aunt Candis.

But notice her hair (and different outfit) a few hours later. This has got to be one of the all time classic pictures of Julia. Oh Julia how I love you. I can't wait to see what you're like in 10 years.

Cole is probaby saying something like "hey guys" in his usual LOUD voice.

Cousin dog pile.

Jumping into Hayden lake.

Thanks to Mike's parents and brother Joe and wife Candis for making this possible. We had a blast.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Good Bye

"Parting is such sweet sorrow" Romeo and Juliet

It has taken me a few weeks to post about this because I get sad even thinking about it. My oldest sister Carol and her family moved to Peru 2 weeks ago. For the past 25 years they have lived in San Diego and I have always enjoyed spending time down there with them. It was wonderful to live somewhat near them when I returned to LA to attend grad school 12 years ago. I am thankful for their support, example and love then and now. How lucky I feel to have such a wonderful sister.

We had a family dinner and gathering at my brother's place before they left to honor them. It felt like heaven being with all those whom I love and who love me. Although my kids were the youngest cousins there by far they were showered with love and attention by their cool older cousins.

I know they will do wonderful things in Peru and I take comfort that my loss is somebody else's gain......but I will miss them.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Flamingo Girl

I can't think of anything Julia loves more than her little pink flamingo puppet Jeffrey. So you can only imagine her excitement when a package arrived for her last week from her aunt Emily that contained a flamingo dress AND pink flamingo sunglasses. She is in permanent flamingo heaven. Thanks Emily!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

I love this picture

Blake has been doing "Saturday chores" since he started Kindergarten. It usually involves taking out trash, vacuuming and or cleaning windows. But he has kicked it up a notch. Last Saturday Blake learned the very fine art of cleaning the toilet and sink under my professional tutelage. hee hee It was actually kind of fun to teach him because he was so excited to learn. I just had to take a picture because i know that in a few years from now, swishing that brush around the toilet bowl will not be viewed as fun. Then again, in a few years he will certainly be making more than a dollar a week:)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cousins Galore

This past weekend my brother and his family stayed with us for a few nights. It was baby and toddler mania. 3 two year olds, one 7 month old and 3 big kids all had fun. We had a great time down at the Skirball Center touring the Noah's Ark exhibit with lots of family.

And a special shout out to all of you with twins..... I don't know how you do it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kindergarten is for little kids.

When Blake finished his last day of school a few weeks back he very proudly announced that he was no longer a kindergartener. "I'm in first grade now" is what we heard a million times during the first week of summer break.

I really could not have asked for a more amazing, talented, kind and just generally wonderful teacher for Blake. Everytime I volunteered in the classroom I was blown away by how great she was with the kids. Thank you thank thank you Mrs. Walker!!!!!! I wish she could be Blake's 1st grade teacher but alas, I'll just cross my fingers that Julia gets her next year. Wow, I can't believe how quickly the school year flew by. Pretty soon he'll be going off to college.....well not that soon.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

This is one of my most favorite pictures. It was just a candid shot taken by my friend Alyssa at the wild animal park last month but I think it captures so much. The joy of both father and son is so evident. I love this man for so many reasons but on Father's Day I honor him for being the kind of father that will bless his children all through their lives. I hope our sons can follow in his footsteps and be great fathers someday.

Happy Father's Day Mike!!!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

30 hours of freedom

30 hours of kid free fun this weekend with this cute guy. We had a great time. On Firday night we enjoyed going to the temple, eating at one of our oldtime favorite Thai restaurants from our dating days. And then my ultimate dream of riding the ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pierwas finally realized. (hmmm sometimes I wonder if I am a small child) I have wanted to ride that thing FOREVER and I finally got to.

This is us on the ferris wheel. I could hardly contain my excitement. I only wish I had a picture of our view, but alas my camera is really really lame.

Eating my favorite treat in the world, Pinkberry.

Lemon pancakes made with love by Mike.

Mountain biking in beautiful Cheseboro park. I probably exclaimed at least 500 times how beautiful the wild flowers were. It's that time of year.

And finally we topped it off with dinner at the local Indian restaurant. After 30 hours of fun we returned to real life. Thanks Rebecca and Dave for making this possible. I'm sure it wasn't really that fun having children ages 9,8,7,6,5,4,3 and 2 all weekend. :) But most importantly thanks to wonderful Mike for always being my loving partner in every adventure from crazy dates to crazy children!!!!

Friday, May 13, 2011


The other day Julia came out of her room with her swimming suit on. After telling her it was too cool to go swimming she reassured me that she would put on her sweater and leggings, both of which she did at different times. This was just too funny for me to NOT take some pictures.

I think I know where we will be everyday this summer. :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Could there be a better day than Mother's Day?

1) I did not change ONE diaper today. And really, what could be better than that!!

2) I was served a delicious strawberry coffee cake made by my wonderful husband for breakfast.

3) My 2 oldest kids participated in a cute little medley of songs for the mothers at church and I nearly cried watching them because they were so cute.

4) I indulged in a 2 hour nap after church. As a general rule I am not a napper but this was actually really nice.

5) I was served a delicious dinner of grilled fish, roasted potatoes and strawberry shortcake and I didn't have to do any cleanup or prep work.

6) I got to enjoy dinner with my own wonderful mother and my sister who is also an amazing mother.

7) Best of all, Blake said the following to me today. "Mom today you are my queen and I am your servant. What can I do for you?"

Oh yes I love Mother's Day. I am grateful for my mother as well as my husband's mother for all the hard work and sacrifice they put in to raising their families. I am thankful for my grandmothers both of whom are long since gone as well as my husband's grandma who is such a wonderful grandmother to me and my family. I really have been richly blessed. I am thankful for the opportunity I have had to mother many children over the years, both those that I have born and those with whom I have worked.

Happy Mother's Day!!

And yes, tomorrow I go back to being everyone's servant.........Until next Mother's Day. :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

2 and 6

We celebrated 2 birthdays last week. Blake turned 6 and Cole turned 2. What could be more fun than sharing your birthday with family? We celebrated both events at my sister's home in San Diego. Cole's special day fell on Easter this year which I think is highly unusual considering his birthday is April 24th.