Friday, November 25, 2016


James is SEVEN!

  • James is in first grade and eats hot lunch every day. His favorites are cheeseburgers, mac and cheese and pizza.
  • He plays on "the wheel" at recess (balances and runs on a spinning wheel) and can beat fourth and fifth graders (by who stays on the longest), and is very proud of this fact.
  • Loves Lego and builds and invents all the time.
  • Star Wars is his favorite movie and game. He was Darth Vader for Halloween this year. 
  • He is a great student, loves math best and is getting to be such a good reader. 
  • Adores his sister and the cats. 
  • Still likes water and waterfalls, is an amazing hiker.
  • He is very popular in class and everyone thinks he's funny.
  • Favorite colors are blue, red and green.
  • Likes to try new foods (a bit) but still eats his standard favorites over and over. 
  • Best friends are Owen and Peter.
  • Loves wrestling, shooting games and running.
  • Fabulous swimmer and runner, but doesn't play any sports.
  • Is a joy and we can't believe he's seven! 

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Metropolitan Museum of Art

We had a short and sweet visit to New York to see my grandma and visit with family. While there, we were excited to make the trek into the city a couple of times. James hasn't been to NYC since he was a wee babe, and Juliet hasn't ever visited Manhattan.
Both kids, upon entering the MET were instantly entranced. We weren't sure if they'd be interested or not (the were only marginally interested with The Intrepid the day before) but something about this museum captured them. James asked the most intelligent questions (why did the man named Jesus die? Why do so many people care about him? Why does nobody wear clothes in art?) and on and on.
Juliet was a bit slow to warm up to all the craziness and excitement, but soon was LOVING it too. We let the kids lead the way, E and I have been to the MET so many times that we didn't have a particular route we needed to stick to, or particular pieces we wanted to see.
All these photos are in no order whatsoever, but that's how our visit was. We would look around one gallery and wander to another. Nothing was seen in total (dozens of galleries for each section of the museum) but most areas were visited briefly. We let them set the flow and the pace, and they didn't let up. FIVE hours later they still didn't want to leave.

We were excited to show them the Temple of Dendur which is an entire temple the Egyptian government gifted to the United States, and then we moved it stone by stone and now sits within the museum.
Juliet kept asking for my phone to snap photos, and it was the cutest thing, I couldn't say no. The things that caught her eye were interesting and unique.

This is a photo by Juliet! She's a natural. Nice lines and reflection really makes this an interesting photo.
There is SO MUCH to see at the MET that you can't possibly see everything in a single day. We made a good effort though.
The Jesus art really intreated him. Until this day, he'd never even heard the name Jesus.

These tiny carved statues with miniature hinges that open and close have always been a favorite of mine.
This Tiffany fountain was his absolute favorite. He's talked about it half of dozen times since, saying it was his favorite part of our NYC trip.
I told you these photos are in crazy order. ;)

I had 70+ photos of blurry interiors at the end of the day, but it was worth it to see this face.
I think it's impossible to not adore Van Gogh.

If anyone reading this hasn't been to the MET make it your life purpose to go. The outside is some of the most beautiful architecture the United States has to offer, and it is absolutely magical inside. It's not what you're expecting. It's entire rooms, castles, spaces and temples from all over the world recreated inside. It's so large that you can get lost for hours wandering around, and finding true secret rooms. This museum will always be my favorite.
We left the museum and walked through the Upper East Side where some of the buildings are absolutely stunning. This may be an embassy or another important building, but it stopped me in my tracks it was so gorgeous.
Looking towards midtown from the Upper East Side. 
We hopped on a subway near The MET and rode to Union Square to meet Colette and Jen!
The weather while we were in New York was SO MILD. We spent late in the evenings exploring the city and laughing with friends. This kiddo loves loves loves my friends Colette and Jen.
Colette spent her high school years in Ukraine, and was excited to introduce us to a authentic Ukrainian restaurant. OMG. These pirogies were filled with squash and cheese and short ribs. Served with grilled onions, applesauce and sour cream. TO DIE FOR.
Next door to the Ukrainian restaurant was this old fashioned toy store with a wooden sign. NYC, one of the fastest moving cities in the world still has old fashioned gems to be found.
Look at this store! 
We've been friends for a long time, and it is excellent to see these two again. 
Since we parked at the MET (best parking place in the city!) we had to return at night and just were in awe. The air was warm and the city was buzzing around us. The MET was lit like a jewel and the fountains were spectacular. We didn't want to leave.

Friday, October 28, 2016

NYC at last!

It had been over three years since our family had visited someone very dear to us, my Grandma Florence in New York. We wanted to go this summer (my grandma is 98, so not getting younger) but our ten year anniversary and a camping trip to celebrate my mom's 60th ate up our entire summer's vacations. We decided that over fall break we MUST get to New York.

And made it we did. GG (Great-Grandma) and Aunt Ellie were thrilled to see us. The kids were really engaged and talked and talked. When they grew bored they'd draw pictures and discuss their drawings. We visited every morning, with New York bagels, and even brought dinner over one evening.

At 98, Florence lives alone, has a strong memory, and still gets around with only a walker.  James and Juliet are two of seven great-grandchildren. We really had such a lovely time and she is such a great excuse to visit NYC.
Next up, what we did in Manhattan. 

Friday, September 16, 2016


I am so behind on blogging it's getting ridiculous. However, Mr. Watson needs a post of his own.

Two days (two days!) before we left for Yosemite the kids and I were taking a neighborhood walk, which we do almost every day. As we neared our favorite old home we heard a yowling. It had to be a cat, and the yowling was loud.

James and I looked at each other and both raised our eyebrows. "Let's go see if that cat needs help," I said. We walked back down the lane and around into the church parking lot. High high in a tree was a cat!

He was so scared. (Here is a video I shot and uploaded to Instagram.)

I wasn't sure if he could get down so I called the fire department and they directed me to animal control. Luckily, after this, the cat had an audience and he started making his way down the tree head first. A few tense minutes passed and finally this cat (now we could see he was a kitten!) was low enough for a neighbor to climb up and grab him.

As he was lowered I took him into my arms. He was tiny. Scared and meowing. The kids were entranced. We asked the gathered neighbors if they knew where this cat belonged. No one did. So we brought him home to feed him up, get him a drink and put up posters.

E was worried, what were we supposed to do with a kitten when we were leaving for Yosemite in two days. He had a point.

This kitty had no chip, was sick and full of ear mites, but was the biggest love ever. He could clean, use the litter box and mostly was just dying for affection. We hung up posters and called the local shelters, and after two days, decided he was ours.
He got along really well with Mabel the entire week we were gone. Now two and a half months later he doesn't even look like a kitten. He's hilarious. Jumps and runs and plays with toys all day. He wants to snuggle on your face and neck and give kisses on the lips.

He's healthy and happy and looks so much like Rumpus it's fairly ridiculous. We named him after John Watson from Sherlock but decided that his personality was much more Sherlock's than John's. I wanted to change his name to Sherlock but was overruled by the family. I still call him Sherlock in secret sometimes. 😉

Look at his white knee socks on his back legs!

A couple of my favorite IG photos of him:
Juliet loves taking pictures of Watson (above), her is of my favorites of her's:

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Yosemite has our hearts

This is a miss mash of all the rest of our favorite Yosemite photos spread over most of the week. Some of these photos are my favorites of all. The one above, playing in a meadow at sunset with towering El Capitan  looming over us. El Capitan is three times taller than the World Trade Center was, it is MASSIVE.
Both kids and their mama. ;)
Both kids were able to pick out a new toy at the visitors' center, so the raccoon and squirrel went everywhere with us.

One thing we were most excited about was swimming in the Merced River. This river is deep, and cold and absolutely stunning. The water is emerald. When I got married in Yosemite I seriously considered wedding photos on the banks of the Merced (now I wish I had!).

Our favorite beach is in the shadow of El Capitan. Not sure if you can see that rock in the middle of the river, but we've been visiting that rock since I first came to Yosemite when I was 15. It's in the middle of a deep part of the river and requires swimming to get to it. Once there it is the BEST rock to jump off of. When I was getting my laser eye surgery ten years ago they told me to just relax and imagine somewhere that made me feel peaceful, I spent the entire hour surgery imaging I was lying on that rock, in the sunshine, so it feels extra special to me.
I begged the family to join me out there on my favorite rock, but man the water is cold! Only James went out there with me. He's my best adventure buddy. He's always up for something exciting. And he jumped off with me too!
We spent hours on this sandy beach. Playing, swimming, splashing, enjoying.
It doesn't even look real when you're standing there.
Another day we went to a different beach and the kids loved this log that had fallen across the river.
All these little ladybugs had landed on the log and they both spent so much time "rescuing" them.
E didn't want to swim or get wet so he found another log and enjoyed his book.
I never don't want to swim. I ALWAYS want to swim. This reminds me a lot of this photo from Teton National Park two years ago.
On our last night there we went to The Ahwahnee to have a fancy dinner and enjoy the historic lodge where we were married.
The Ahwahnee is everything a historic hotel and lodge should be. It's grand and fancy and stunning. The entire building (and even its name) is inspired by the Native Americans that originally lived in Yosemite Valley. These historic chairs were specifically designed for Ahwahnee, they tip back letting the gust view the amazing Native American paintings on the ceiling above.
Look at how grand this fireplace is!
Can you see the stained glass above the windows? And the ceiling? It's hard to get an idea how large this room is, but it's just so grand!
Everyone packed one fancy outfit for our evening at The Ahwahnee.

This love was all smiles while we explored the grounds. We walked over to the Merced River and watched the deer that hung around the grounds.
Soon it was time to go into the stunning restaurant. Luckily we made dinner reservations a week earlier, everything was booked! 

We decided on the cheese plate for an appetizer and joked it could feed six people. Luckily we ate almost all of it. 
While eating dinner this tiny baby fawn followed her mama out of the grass, we watched them throughout dinner and couldn't get over how tiny she was. 
We asked James to snap a photo where we said "I do". Thanks kiddo.

This is the room where we danced and had appetizers all those years ago.
Until next time Awhanee.
On the last day of our vacation, we said goodby to our little condo that we stayed in and took the long road back through the high country. We decided to eat lunch at Tenaya Lake. What a spectacular place to spend our last meal! 

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