Tuesday, December 6, 2011


His Coat and Tails

Trying on his coat and tails for the Nobel Prize ceremony

A few weeks ago my lovely husband, Ivan, got a phone call from the Nobel Laureate, Saul Perlmutter. Except when Ivan knew him 15 years ago, Dr. Perlmutter was not a Nobel Laureate, he was just Saul... a professor that Ivan worked with at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (aka, the Berkeley Labs).  As an undergraduate with some wicked Fortran programming skills, Ivan worked with Saul, writing software that would eventually be built upon to assist in discovering the speed in which our universe is expanding. Ivan worked on this project for many years, as a lone engineer amongst academics until the private sector called with more room for advancement and financial rewards.

A wonderful thing happened this past October. The project that Ivan worked on, The Supernovae Cosmology Project, won the Nobel Prize in Physics for Dr. Perlmutter... and thus the phone call to Ivan, with an invitation to attend the ceremony in Stockholm to recognize and thank him for his contribution.

This incredible, loving husband, father, brother, son and friend will be crossing the ocean today to be recognized for his work in discovering the expansiveness of the universe. We will miss him as he will be away from us for a week, but there are not enough words to describe our pride in him.

We love you, Ivan. You are amazing, you are cherished and we are proud to be yours.

Congratulations, My Love.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Tale of Wildwood and Anansi...


Once upon a time there were two little boys, Matteo and Nico. Oh, how they loved to pretend to be warriors, vikings and knights! Using sticks, they'd duel each other...swinging and poking, slashing and screaming, their poor mother was at her wits end! What power these little boys had! What energy! Then something magical and wondrous happened... she met Master Alejandro.

Master Alejandro is part wizard and part craftsman. Quite learned about the ways of knights and warriors, he created special swords for the two boys. The little boy Nico, chose the sword which carried the image of a spider, bearing the gift of cleverness and cunning to the one who holds it. He christianed his sword, Anansi. The other sword held an image of a tree, bestowing the one who wields it a mastery of the Forest and Trees. The older brother Matteo, chose the name Wildwood.


The boys were in awe of such wondrous blades! Made of leather, the swords had the ability to strike down evil while still protecting the boys from harm. The boys mother taught them the responsibility of having such swords...

Respect Anansi and Wildwood and the power that they hold
Never let the blades fly in anger
Use them to protect that which you love and honor
and lastly...

Do not use them on your brothers!


The boys were so very happy, swinging and jousting these beautiful swords. They wanted to know more about Master Alejandro. Their mother told them of how Master Alejandro was from a land of many lakes and that he had travelled to a far, far country to learn the art of making leather swords, shields and masks. She told them of the care and love that went into creating these magical swords... and of the great responsiblity that came with bearing such great power.

The boys gave heed to their mothers petition for care with their new blades. They roamed the countryside, looking for dragons, monsters and furies... protecting the world around them and those that they loved... as all wonderful little boys do.

The Warriors Run

Sending much gratitude and love to Alejandro Ortega, aka "Master Alejandro"! An artisan skilled in creating the punchinello masks from the Italian art form of Commedia d’el Arte, he has taken this talent of working with leather and applied it to the making of swords, daggers, shields and even the occasional adorable elephant :). These beautiful, heirloom quality items can be found in his Etsy shop, Made By Alejandro


Friday, September 16, 2011

{this moment} brothers and joy

Boys on Bart

{this moment} A single, special,extraordinary moment. A moment in time that I want to pause, savor and remember.

{Inspired by SouleMama}

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Goodbye Summer

We had fun helping Lolo in his garden

Dad and his helpers

Riding our bikes in new places
Trail Ride

while stopping every once in awhile to look at bugs
Roly Poly

We loved going on carnival rides for the first time!

and eating watermelon
Luca loves watermelon

Picking apples at Nonnieys...

...To make into apple pie together

The cows at the Little Farm always looked happy to see us
Boy meets Cow

but sometimes it was nice to just spend lazy afternoons on the couch with the newest member of our family, Hanuman
Matteo and Hanuman

But our FAVORITE part of summer was having daddy home with us to eat ice cream together!
Ice Cream With Dad
Happy Early Birthday, Daddy! We love you!

(No more travelling 10,000 miles for work, OK?)

Love, Matteo, Nico and Luca Bean

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Journey

A funny thing happened a few months ago while I was standing in line to pick up the boys race packets for a kids fun run. I decided to run as well, but not the kids fun run... the half marathon. Which would be the next day. Which I hadn't trained for. At All. There was something about the energy at the race expo that seemed to slap me out the funk I had fallen into. I wanted to be one of the warriors who would hit the road for 13.1 miles. I had just gotten on the scale a few days prior and saw that I had reached my highest weight ever, even when pregnant... 200lbs*.

I decided that I may be a fat chick, but I am a fat chick that would run a half marathon.

I won't bore you with too many race details. I will say that I finished, though I was basically in tears and stumbling at mile 11, so very sick of EVERY song on my iPod. The amazing, cheering spectators gave me boosts of energy when I thought I couldn't go on. I crossed the finish line in a blazing 3 hours 14 minutes (speedwalkers were passing me at that point) but I felt like I had opened a door that had long been shut.

Before... Oakland Half Marathon

So that's where I've been the past few months... running.

My day now starts at 5:30AM. While the rest of the house sleeps, I sneak downstairs, put on my running clothes, quietly slip on my shoes and head out the door. For at least an hour, the early morning world is mine. The streets are mostly empty, I get to listen to MY music (which occasionally has a few swear words) and I am moving and thinking and sorting out things in my head. It is absolute bliss. And when I get home, sweaty and feeling like my cup has been filled... I see my lovely sleepy boys on the couch waiting for me.... and I am ready to pour my cup into theirs for the rest of the day.

It was just 6 years ago that I left my job, became a wife and a stay at home mother. They've been amazing and wonderful years, but I know that I got lost somewhere along the way when it came to caring for and nurturing myself. 6 pregnancies and 3 beautiful boys in 6 years had taken a toll. I wasn't just overweight, I was technically obese. I was suffering from my old nemesis, depression. Food was my go-to for comfort and relief from stress. A visit to an incredible psychiatrist and the tools of antidepressants helped me conquer the demons that I was struggling with. Weight Watchers showed me the way to healthier eating... and my runs, my blessed morning runs gave me back to myself.

I ran another half marathon a month ago, almost an hour faster than the one that started this journey. I've lost 35 lbs, with more to go. But most importantly, I am finally very, very happy in my own skin.


I have to be honest and say that I don't know where that leaves blogging in my life. I love the friends I have made (meaning YOU if you've read this far), though I feel awful that I haven't been able to peruse blogs as I used to. I started this blog to document my journey as a mother and my familys adventures. I'd like to keep doing that, though it will probably be with less frequency. I roll my eyes as I write this, as I realize that my header is still a chunk of ice from March ;}.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I've loved sharing it with you and I hope that we'll continue on it together.

Much Love and Gratitude,

* how's that for facing your demons... actually sharing a NUMBER??!! Just goes to show how much I love you guys :)

After... See Jane Run Half

... Now :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Rain

Luca in the Puddle

The storm came up so very quick
It couldn't have been quicker.
I should have brought my hat along,
I should have brought my slicker.

My hair is wet, my feet are wet,
I couldn't be much wetter.
I fell into a river once
But this is even better.

-Spring Rain by Marchette Chute

It was raining today and oh, how I loved it so! The air felt so fresh to breathe in and all around us it felt like the earth had been given a gentle cleansing. On our street a small lake forms near our home and the boys enjoy a bit of puddle jumping

Puddle Jumper

Neighbors smiled as they walked past these crazy little boys who were finding so much joy in the water
Happy Nico

Luca Bean had fun with his brother's discarded boot
Brothers Boots

Nico took a moment to reflect ;}
Puddle Boy

These moments, so fleeting... of my boys being just little boys... finding such happiness in something so simple as a big puddle. I don't think my heart could feel any fuller.

Wishing you many moments of such joy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Crafty Times

If Helena Bonham Carter had a crafting doppelganger, that person would be my friend Najma. You may remember Najma, of fabulous monokini fame... this woman never fails to blow me away with her creativity! Last week my crafty pals had another get together and Najma didn't disappoint with her incredible ability to think outside the box when it comes handwork. Najma's new project is to knit a vest using strips of denim... really. It was quite a sight to see her ripping strips of an old pair of jeans. Denim was flying everywhere and it was like Edward Scissorhands meets Martha Stewart! It was truly awe-inspiring!

Jenny was crocheting flowers for her square in a community quilt using an impossibly tiny crochet hook. That woman has some serious skills.

Our lovely hostess Andrea, was working on fingerless gloves

I tried needlepoint for the first time with Alicia Paulson's Pleasant Kitchen Dishtowel pattern

Our crafting get-togethers are never complete without some yummy pastry action, and this time was no different with a tart to celebrate the gorgeous Courtney's birthday :)

As Andrea is also the mother to boys, I always love visiting her home to see what wonderful boy-ness is going on. I was absolutely charmed this time to walk in and see a tee-pee set up in the living room.

Sam Cooke and Mos Def provided the soundtrack to our morning (courtesy of Jenny's husband's cool site Mog!)... I truly felt so lucky to have such a wonderful group of women to spend time with.

Thank you to all my crafty friends, near and far, for your energy and inspiration!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Simple Play

Simple Play

Maybe it's because we're just getting off of a long period of rainy days spent indoors, but I've been feeling overwhelmed by all the toys, art stuff and general kid clutter that has been taking over our house. I came to the realization that we really do have too much stuff! From the simple things like constantly having to step over toys that always seem to find their way to the floor to never being able to find one of three (!!) pairs of kid scissors because they are buried under piles of papers and crayons... I just really felt like our enough was too much, so I've started the process of letting go.

The hardest things to let go of have been the toys. The beautiful, Waldorf wooden toys. When the toy safety issues and recalls made headlines years ago, I became much more mindful of the kinds of toys I wanted my boys to play with. It was at that time that I learned about Waldorf education and wanted to surround my children with these breathtakingly beautiful pieces of art that were Waldorf toys. I wanted the toys that they touch to be natural and warm. But sometimes too much of a good thing, can still be too much. I've come to realize that having these playthings, as nice as they are, do not make a Waldorf family. It's about my sons and letting them be who they are. It's about Ivan and I supporting them, stepping back probably more than we're used to... and it's about giving them an environment where their imaginations can run free.

My dear friend Christine Schreier is an artisan who makes beautiful Waldorf dolls. She once told me a story about being at a Waldorf School Faire and having a mother approach her at her booth. It appeared that the woman was having a difficult time choosing a doll for her daughter. After asking her questions about the child's favorite colors and preferences, Christine learned that the child already had 10 dolls! So proving herself to be the worst salesperson ever (but probably wisest adviser), Christine gently explained to the woman that to her daughter, those 10 dolls were 10 children for her to care for, FAR too many for anyone to handle! The woman was visibly relieved to not have the burden to choose one... but came back later to buy one for herself! I think too often as parents, we buy for our children what we want for ourselves. I know that I have been very guilty of that and that while my sons have enjoyed the pretty toys to some extent, having so many of them have made them each less special.

Luca and his baby
Luca and his baby

So I've spent the past week gathering up the toys that I thought all good Waldorf families have... wooden blocks of all kinds, doll furniture, European games and I've sold them. It was hard at first, I kept thinking "what if the boys miss them!" or ridiculously "are they going to miss out on learning something if we don't have it?!"... it should come as no surprise that neither of those things has happened. Instead, our savings account is much healthier from the recent infusion of cash and more importantly, it feels like we can finally breathe in our space. The boys have rediscovered toys that have been invisible through the abundance of too much. Admittedly, there are toys that I love too much to let go of, but at least I recognize that they are for me. Getting rid of the toys has been healthy. I'm learning to become less attached to these things. For a long time, they had represented a lifestyle that I had wanted for my family, but I realize now that they were getting in the way of it.

In the book, Simplicity Parenting, author Kim John Payne writes :

By simplifying, you've taken steps to curb the excess that threatens childhood's natural rhythms and growth, By starting at home- embracing experience over things, and "enough" rather than always more- you've made room. You've cleared out space, literally and emotionally. You've made a container for relationship and the slow unfolding of childhood. you've allowed room for your child's own imagination and play.

I found this to be so true in our experience. It was a long and hard process to go through it all, sort it out and rearrange, but we felt rewarded in the evening when the boys (who had spent the entire weekend bickering and fighting) playing happily and cooperatively in their playstands.

"Pretend you're the pirate on the top bunk, I'll be the one on the bottom"
"Pretend this is our home, I'll be the daddy, Luca can be the baby"
...with many giggles ensuing

It was all joyful music to our ears and it felt like we made the steps closer to what we want for our happy home.

Simple Play

Sunday, February 6, 2011

An Adventure at Ano Nuevo

Ano Nuevo State Park

Last week, Matteo, Nico and I took advantage of the gorgeous weather here in California to go visit the elephant seals at Ano Nuevo State Park. From December to March, the Northern elephant seals come to the park for breeding season. It's really an amazing experience to be able to see the seals in their habitat.

We were able to witness a few bull seals fighting for dominance and access to breed with the female seals.
Bull Seals

We did see some seals mating. I have to say that I was a bit relieved that the boys were not at all curious for an explanation of what was happening (at least this year).
Seals Mating

By late December, many of the females have given birth to the pups that had been conceived the previous year. It was very sweet to see them nursing their young.

At some points during the almost 4 mile guided hike, I think the boys were just happy to sit and play in the sand
Boys play

On the way back to the nature center, there was an outpost where we could learn more about the elephant seals
Naturalist at Ano Nuevo

and their population
Seal Census

It was an incredibly fun and educational trip for all of us. Now that the boys are older, they seem to get so much out of learning about the world through being able to see and experience it. I really do feel so fortunate to be in a place where these experiences are readily available.
My Boys

Wishing you all many glorious adventures!