Thursday, July 31, 2014

a few favorites from texas

Just a handful of favorite images from our time in Texas last month. I'm slowly working on catching up the rest of the way on pictures, while also suddenly deciding that I need to weed through older pictures on my computer.

A few days ago I went back into some folders from 2008 looking for a particular set of old photos, and realized that I have so many pictures saved that I really don't need-- bad pictures, near-duplicates, etc, and I could probably easily get rid of half of them. Yesterday morning I woke up startled, realizing that while I have things figured out within Lightroom and with the couple of catalogs I've set up so far, I am probably the only one who knows how to use my current system. I really want my photos to be useable and accessible by Zach, or my kids, etc, even if I'm not around, so I'm making it a project to go through and simplify things a bit. It's not as daunting as it sounds, I've gotten pretty good at wielding the black flag and deleting, and there's something kinda cool about going through those old photos and remembering trips and people from years ago and also comparing my photography then vs now. It just takes time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

thankful for neighbors with a green thumb

Our upstairs neighbor is a long-term resident and, as it turns out, she and her son enjoy gardening which works to our benefit because they have planted and tend to a number of flowering bushes and plants all around our building. It's a nice perk. 

I have a soft spot for bougainvillea because we had a big bougainvillea vine/tree in our backyard growing up, and I have strong memories of all the pink petals (which I guess are actually a kind of leaf) falling and landing in the water of the little pool we would set up in our yard in the summer months. So it makes me smile to look our our kitchen windows and see it blooming right there.

Nev has had a few supervised forays into the outdoors, and she is also greatly enjoying the beautiful vegetation. It provides for nice hiding spots.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


The boys and I have been in Texas the past week, back here again for an annual family reunion on my mom's side. We've spent time catching up with my uncles, aunts, and cousins, and the boys have had a blast with their own cousins and aunts here. My sisters and I also spent some more time helping our parents sort through my brother's things. It's amazing how much accumulates even in a small one bedroom apartment. There is something special about going through his books and movies and music, his notebooks and handwritten notes, and discovering new things about him in what he has left behind. It's also making me look at all of our things differently, thinking about all the stuff he had in his small place compared to the ginormous amount of crap we have in our own house, and how that looks through the lens of someone having to sort through it all one day and figure out what to do with it.

And then there are all the small and not-so-small details that, again, you don't think about till faced with them directly... like keeping passwords and accounts both secure and private, yet also accessible enough to at least one or 2 other people so that they can access your accounts if/when you die. And like, um, making a will.

We've also been thinking and talking lots about family, and the meaning of family, and the importance of the bonds we form (whether our blood/legal family or the family we choose for ourselves). I feel some guilt over not having been closer to JC before his death, not taking that time to find out these things about him while he was still here and we could have talked about them. It's funny how we all "know" that our time here is finite, but we don't really think about it till we get slapped in the face with that reality.

My thoughts are jumbled, and I'm writing notes down in my journal in the hopes of sorting through them and finding some clear goals. But I'm feeling a push towards being really intentional with my time and energy, to not let opportunities for connection go wasted, not wanting to feel this same regret again with others. While at the same time honoring needs for time alone and privacy, and not falling prey to the trap of scarcity which feels like it leads more to feelings of obligation and guilt rather than anything positive. In other words, I guess, wanting to be mindful of how I spend my time and who I devote time and energy towards, without feeling the panic of ZOMG EVERYTHING HAS TO HAPPEN NOW BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE (...and the guilt that comes from not taking advantage of everysingleopportunitythatcouldbeyourlastetc).

Or something.

We fly back to california today, back to settling in to regular life, or establishing a new one. We've got just over a month of summer left before Q starts preschool and that whole new routine. We have no other trips planned for that time, so hopefully we can fit in a few local adventures while our days are still wide open and free.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

a moo point

A month or two ago Quinn's preschool class went on a field trip to visit a family-owned dairy farm. I tagged along and brought my camera and took pictures of the cows but never posted them... till now. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

grace in small things #11

  • I joined a new local group and today we drove up to San Francisco for our first meetup. We were rewarded with meeting some cool new families, discovering an awesome playground, and getting to enjoy some rare SF summer sunshine (California in general may be sunny, but SF spends most of its summer months covered in cold fogginess).
  • We drove to the city on the 101, but came back on 280...I'd forgotten how much more pleasant of a drive it is, with views of rolling hills and wilderness (vs concrete and billboards). It's been weird adjusting to driving on such crowded, busy streets again, it felt really nice today to drive on what reminded me so much of the sweet little country roads I loved in New Hampshire
  • Bluetooth in my car. The 2 years in NH I drove a car whose CD player was broken, so all I could listen to was the radio, or I would sometimes play music off my phone on speaker (like, off the phone directly, not playing through anything in the car). Being able to get in my car now, and have it automatically connect and start playing my playlists, is AWESOME. 
  • Perfectly ripe California avocados. 
  • I've always wanted to buy myself the full set of Harry Potter books, but kept putting it off because buying them all at once is not cheap. Well, I've now inherited my brother's set, which makes the books that much more special. I like coming across his penciled-in notes and marks in the margins as I read them.

Friday, July 04, 2014

grace in small things #10

The past couple weeks have been brutal. Between moving and mourning (and parenting kids who are also a mess from dealing with all the change), I've been hit by a mental and physical exhaustion that I don't remember feeling since the days when Q was a baby and I was subsisting on no sleep. I feel overwhelmed by life.

But, amid all that, I also recognize that there is so much good happening right now. I'm trying to focus on that. In that spirit, I'm gonna pick back up with the gratitude posts:

  • We landed in CA on Monday night, and got to finally check out our new home. It is quirky but cute and spacious, and the outside is surrounded by gorgeous flowering bushes, and the neighbors upstairs and nextdoor have kids who seem pretty nice, and here's hoping this place can work for us for at least a few years.
  • Unpacking has gone incredibly smoothly so far. I feel somewhat conflicted about the boys having so much unregulated screentime, but it has meant being able to get the house about 75% set up in just a few days. This would have been impossible for any of our past several moves, when the kids were younger.  
  • After several days of endless discussions and debates, we now have a Prius C which is pretty darn exciting. The boys love it, too. 
  • I just discovered that we have a camera shop (that does film developing) and a Borrow Lenses pick-up location each within about a 10min drive from our house. Yay.
  • We've met up with a couple old friends in the area already. Our neighborhood may be completely new to us, but it is really nice to already have friends who will offer to watch your kids or invite you over for BBQs.


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