Monday, January 18


As Connor gets older and Liam becomes more independent, I've tried to get back into projects and activities I put aside when I got pregnant with Connor. One of those projects is digital scrapbooking. I used to scrapbook the old fashioned way, but there's no way I have the space--or the cash--to do that nowadays. So, I do the 21st century version and create a digital scrapbook online and order a hard copy when it's finished. 

This month I completed the kids' 2015 yearbook, but I have a lot of catching up to do--2013, 2014, and Connor's baby book. Not to mention I want to keep up with current projects like Liam's TK yearbook and the 2016 yearbook. Working on it as the year progresses is the way to go, of course, but that's easier said than done. It takes a lot of work to document precious memories, but it will be worth it...right?

I also have a stack of books I want to read, I'd like to continue adding to the online version of my Egypt journals, and pursue my personal genealogical research. And write--journal, fiction, poetry. And create art--draw and color and continue my sketchbook. There is so, so much I want to do--things I can do outside of parenting that feed my soul and sooth my mind and make me a better person and parent because of it. There just aren't enough hours in the day...

Tuesday, January 12


Having fun playing at being a colorist with a new set of colored pencils. #art #arttherapy 

"Hapy" New Year

Happy New Year? More like Hapy new year, given the inundation of rain across the country and the expectation of way more to come with this year's monster El NiƱo gathering strength in the Pacific. 

What a different opening to the New Year compared to last year. Rather than a crazy time of packing and moving and cleaning and painting and general upheaval and change, we were able to enjoy a quiet holiday vacation. (Well, except for the noroviruses that seemed to continually plague us.)

As the new year opens, Liam is five and Connor is two, so things are still kind of crazy for me as a mom, but it gets a little better each month as Connor gets older. Meanwhile I'm still getting used to the way Liam now informs me he doesn't need my help now and then. He is also very bossy sometimes and reflects my own tone of voice back at me more than I care to hear. (Kids are a constant reminder of how one needs to self-improve. Constantly.) Connor isn't in preschool yet, but Liam is halfway through transitional kindergarten. (He turned five too late in the fall to make it into kindergarten.)

This year marks my third with Art Muse LA. The tours have been fun--everything from WW1 to Peruvian mummies. There's not much I can't research a prep a two hour lecture on for a tour. I also continue as the digital assets manager, an ideal role since I can do it remotely. And there's a new non-profit arts organization that's expressed interest in hiring me in a similar capacity. They are still getting themselves organized, but I hope it comes through. They quoted me a premium rate for my services. Here's hoping! In two or three years when Connor is older I'll have some more work flexibility, but until then I've found working for Art Muse LA to be an excellent chance to work and still be there for the boys day-to-day. Photography has also become an interest and something of a side job--from time to time I'm hired to take family pictures for friends and acquaintances.

Eric, of course, is always applying for jobs. In fact, he is interviewing today. Between his numerous job applications and involvement in an elite professional development program at the university, I hope 2016 is our sweet '16--the year we finally get our break and he gets a higher paying job. Some jobs he applies for are academic, but others are in the mix as well, such as the job with the academic senate he's interviewing for today. With his position as an academic counselor for transfer and first generation college students at UCLA, he's gotten experience that opens him up to other types of jobs, broadening the field of jobs he applies for. The job market is rough, to say the least, even outside of academia. I'd love it if he found something outside of LA, but that may be too much to ask right now.

Regarding my journal writing, I didn't manage as many entries as I'd like last year, but I did better than the previous two years. As Connor gets older and Liam grows more independent, I'm steadily growing back into habits and activities that fell by the wayside during those years of pregnancy and mothering an infant and toddler. With the 21st century wonder of Audible, I certainly read more books I have in years last year. The past couple of years I managed to read only one or two books, but last year I read twelve! My 2015 reading list was as follows:

2015 Reads

John Adams - David McCullough
1776 - David McCullough
Sex at Dawn - Christopher Ryan
The Martian - Andy Weir
The Ballad of Tom Dooley - Sharyn McCrumb
Outlander - Diana Galbadon
Depraved Heart - Patricia Cornwell
Dragonfly in Amber - Diana Gabaldon
The Halloween Tree - Ray Bradbury
Dust and Shadow - Lyndsay Faye
Star of the East - Tasha Alexander
Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past - Sharyn McCrumb

Saturday, October 31

Halloween 2015

Happy Halloween from Ironman and Captain America! Here are a few moments from this year's trick-or-treating adventure. 

Tuesday, October 20

Autumn Update

Since my last entry we plunged headlong into fall and the new school year. Liam has taken to Transitional Kindergarten well, although he thinks his preschool class was more fun and complains that the playground at his new school has no sand. His teacher says he is chatty, smiley, and fun to have in class. Connor and I walk to pick Liam up from school every day, which is about 2.5 miles round-trip. The hour of walking allows Connor to people watch and wave at planes and helicopters flying overhead and I get some exercise built into my day.

Liam's reading lessons continue, and he is doing very well. With a couple of family visits and the occasional afternoon off because we have something going on, we won't finish the lesson book as soon as I anticipated. However, my goal is quality, not speed, and there we are right on track. Liam is doing excellent work, even if it is still an uphill battle to get him to sit still. (A lesson that is supposed to take 15-20 minutes typically takes 30-45.)

The Getty Center, where I often give tours.
continue my work as digital assets manager and lecturer for Art Muse LA. Right now I give one or two tours a month, but business is relatively brisk right now and sometimes I have the opportunity to do more. I can't always get away, but when I do it's nice to feel like an adult and not a mommy for a few hours. 

Connor has handled Liam's daily school departure well and can't wait until he's the big boy heading off to school. Even though Liam is only gone for a half-day, they miss each other. Every day when Liam runs out of the school gate at dismissal, he runs straight for Connor and gives him a hug and asks, "Did you miss me, Connor?" If Connor is on his feet he does the same thing and runs to meet him. 

For the most part the fall season has been about school and reading lessons, but we have had some fun as well. The boys and I went up into the mountains near Yucaipa and did some apple picking. We also visited a mummies exhibition at the Natural History Museum and had fun at the Western Night Carnival at Liam's elementary school. 

All that, and we still managed to have a short but sweet--and chaotic--visit from my sister and her two boys. Having four boys under five under the same roof for a few days was exhausting, but we loved every bit of it. 

As October begins to wrap up, I'm looking forward to an end to the SoCal heat wave. I'm ready for cozy sweaters and hot cider and November weather!