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!

Tuesday, August 18

So Long, Summertime

Wow--my last entry was June. Again, not surprising I suppose. Despite the best of intentions I am still a mother of two boys under 5, and that means I don't often have a chance to sit down for the quiet reflection of journaling. It has been a fun summer, and some of the last days I'll have weekday freedom to take the boys on outings to West LA or downtown. Beginning later this month I'll be tied to Redondo in order to make Liam's pick-up and drop-off times to and from Transitional Kindergarten. 

While that may be the case, we've made the most of our time this summer. With pool parties and lots of visits to museums, the LA Zoo, and Knott's Berry Farm, it's been a summer full of family fun. 

Liam and I also started working through reading lessons. What a struggle that has been! The material challenges him, but I've worked with him enough to know it is not beyond him. His squirminess, defiance, and goofy behavior are honed to push my buttons and--he hopes--convince me to just give it up. My son is stubborn, but where does he think he gets it from? Lessons continue, and we've had victories along the way. The last story he read for his lesson he legitimately read. He is learning reading skills and the time we've invested is going to help him in the classroom. And, by the time we finish Lesson 100 sometime this fall, he will be reading at a second grade level. 


It's been a fun and productive summer, but I welcome the coming routine of the school year. Liam is ready for it and will benefit from it. It's time he had another big boy upgrade. Of course it will be bittersweet for me--especially the early mornings--but it's exciting too. Liam's world is going to expand a little bit more this school year, and he's going to begin to find out more about his world. 

Monday, August 10

Power and Pathos

A week ago I finally had the opportunity to see the new Getty Museum exhibition Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World. I was eager to see the exhibition in part because I was assigned to write a blog post for Art Muse LA on it, but also because Hellenistic bronzes are some of the most expressive and interesting works of art surviving from the ancient world. So I packed up the boys for the hour-long drive to the Getty Center, loaded them up in their double stroller, and trekked up the hill to see this once-in-a-lifetime gathering of Hellenistic bronzes. The boys were amazingly well behaved for most of my time in the galleries, allowing me to jot notes for my article in a palm-sized notebook, but by the last gallery I was juggling Connor on one hip and trying to take some final notes. A trip to the Getty Center is always worthwhile and it was a gorgeous day. Once my business with the bronzes was concluded, I took the boys out to the gardens where they walked around, finding snails and in general being little boys.

In a way, the field trip to the museum and taking notes on the exhibition was the easy part. The hard part was synthesizing all of the information in my head and that I had collected into a coherent, written form for my Art Muse LA article--all while a toddler whined and/or hung on me as I typed and someone was constantly yelling, "Mooommmyyyy!" Let's just say it was a challenge. Despite the typical motherhood obstacles--or perhaps because of them--I am particularly proud and pleased with the resulting article. You can read it here.

Thursday, June 18

Preschool Graduation

Yesterday was Liam's preschool "graduation" from Ms. Gina's preschool class. It was a fun, beautiful beach day at Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach. His teachers, Ms. Gina and Ms. Jessica, organized a beach-side graduation ceremony complete with a sound system for (mostly Disney) music, BBQ fixings, drinks, and desserts. Liam and Connor loved their play time at the beach. I admit I was surprised at how emotional, sad, and bittersweet I began to feel as the afternoon progressed. It started with Ms. Gina's speech, when she said, "Most of these kids I will never see again after today. They will forever be young in my heart." KILLED me. Of course she was choking up as she said it, and as a mother I completely understand what she felt. And it made me realize that not only will Liam be going into a very different learning environment with Transitional Kindergarten, but there will never be another time when I can drop him off at school and know he will be treated with such loving care. I feel grateful he had that experience and saddened by the thought that he will be less sheltered and less protected as he moves on in school.  Ms. Gina's class was the first time I left Liam in the care of someone other than family, and I did so every day feeling completely confident in Ms. Gina and Ms. Jessica's care. I'm sad for both of us for what we are losing. But, as it is so often in life, it's time to let go. Again. 

Saturday, January 24

Favorite 10 Books of All Time

The Mummy Case (Elizabeth Peters)

Really, anything every written by EP--her books, which feature all sorts of topics, were a gateway to my learning all sorts of things on all sorts of obscure topics. This book, however, is special. If I'd never picked up "The Mummy Case," I'd never have caught the Egyptology bug and everything would have turned out very differently for for me. Very, very different.

Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)

Really, the whole series. Who doesn't love Anne Shirley?

Trojan Gold (Elizabeth Peters)

I brought this book to a high school basketball camp one summer at Eastern Illinois University. A lot of my teammates were the popular kids and I wasn't and a couple of them weren't very nice to me. This book was my escape at the end of each day.

The Last Camel Died at Noon (Elizabeth Peters)

My favorite book from my all-time favorite series.

The Lord of the Rings series (J.R.R. Tolkien)


Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)

Sacrificial love defeats ultimate evil--an all time favorite series for sure.

A String in the Harp (Nancy Bond)

I read this book as a kid and never forgot it. Time-travel is a theme I find endlessly fascinating. (Really, the history geek likes time travel stories? Shocker, I know.) This was the first time-travel story I read.

Ramona the Brave (Beverly Cleary)

As an elementary school kid, I could definitely relate to this book.

Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing (Judy Blume)


The Moonstone (Wilkie Collins)

A wonderful adventure novel and the book that introduced me to Victorian literature.

Thursday, January 8

The Promise of Change

A new year opens with the promise of many changes to come in the months ahead. Connor is mobile, unceasingly active, curious, and a sweet little soul. By the end of the year, he'll pretty much be unstoppable. Liam started a two-day-a-week preschool class last fall, and this summer will see him graduate from preschool and begin a Transitional Kindergarten program in August. He adjusted well to preschool and feels quite at home there now. It probably helps that I volunteer in the classroom roughly every other week, but his teachers are great and tell me he does just fine when I'm not there. I hope this experience prepares him for the upcoming classroom experiences of TK. Even if the transition to a school classroom turns out to be rocky, his preschool experience thus far demonstrates he adjusts well to change. This is good, because there will be a lot of changes this year. By the time we say goodbye to 2015 it will be a whole new world.