...is the process by which we create, discover, learn and grow with those we cherish most.


day trip: fossil rim

I love the outdoors. This place is soo big.


Noah? Are you asleep? Psst... wake up. You're not going to believe it, but there are giraffes over there... aren't those your favorite? Pssst....


Fine. Nevermind. I wish I could see it closer, I've always wanted to touch a zebra.


Ummmm... I don't know where I am or what a zebra is, but this is fun!


Ok kids. We're making a quick pit stop to the petting zoo.

Cool. Mom - I'll take this one.


I'll hold out for something better. Do I have to touch it?

Ava, we are at a petting zoo. Pet.

Here's a brush... Now you're technically not touching it...


Noey - weren't you scared of those goats?

Who, me? Nah...


Humzi - come with me - Noah thinks he's a wildlife expert now...

Wait! Wait for me! Buddy, she's probably taking you to go see butterflies.


So what'd you guys think? Nice huh? and worth the drive all the way out to Glen Rose...

Glen Rose - Are you kidding me? I'm ready to take on Africa.

Mom - do you see what I have to put up with?

Yes, we do Ava - and you're the luckiest big sister to have to protect him. So I guess that means you're going to Africa one day too...


in love with handmade

A surprise package arrived for Ava - from ARGENTINA! We ordered her more of Julie's fabulous handmade clothing, and it was nothing short of absolute sweetness... Beginning with her signature tissue paper Ava tore out of the box, drawings from Julie's daughter, Zoe, tumbled out. Personalized and thoughtful, Zoe drew Noah a "bug" which resembled very much like a centipede I thought, and many "moons" for Ava, with a special message noting it was for the Moon Beam Academy! - which is the name [inspired by your comments] of the new "school" Ava attends at home [big SMILE]. More on that later...


A special note from Zoe

Moon & Star skirt

The skirt, adorned with a hand embroidered moon and star, is a brown linen trimmed with a matching gingham check - the perfect uniform for Ava's MBA don't you think? So we had to steal this one from her online store right away...

After the initial surprise wore off, she was ready to go - in other words, make the most of playtime and build tall towers while king kong was napping. So I did - but not before tying the beautiful smock on her. I love the playfulness this fabric already exudes ... the little bow that forms in the back... and the front center pocket made to hold secret treasures... no bigger than a marshmallow or two...

Playing in the smock

That same week, a surprise package came for me this time - from PORTUGAL! And my heart swelled up - for many reasons: Like the grand thoughtfulness of Zelia, a new friend I met from this blog, to go out of her way to hand write me a letter, buy me Portugal fabric and pencils - and send them to me along with tips on how to create Una-na handmade dolls of my own - which I adore so much.



The romantic European fabric made my head spin thinking about all the beautiful things they could be instead... And I just couldn't help but picture Zelia handwriting my letter one night before sealing the package. What was I doing the exact same time I wonder? There's just something extra special about handwritten letters from afar... the time to write down cascading thoughts... the distance of travel across land and water...and the countless people that handled it before dropping it in my mailbox... wow!

All of it simply reminded me of how powerful our hands are - and how they create and move the worlds between each one of us...

Do you have a favorite handmade piece? I'd love to know...

oldie but goodie


I remember record players from my childhood - which wasn't THAT long ago, but it was - considering how far music playing has come: 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs, and now Mp3s ... We used them in grade school to listen to books with our eyes closed. Our Reading teacher would drag the large brown suitcase-looking box from room to room with the electric cord dangling like a tail from behind. Since then, I've only seen them at garage sales, used book stores and specialty shops - where they were usually framed to acknowledge the greatest musicians of all time.

I can appreciate modernism and the simplfying of gadgets so that we can do more in less time [like having a thousand songs to choose from inside of a machine the size of our palms. ] But who needs a thousand when you just need one to play while jumping on the bed before bedtime? Or in the afternoon, when all the kids want to do is sprawl on the ground and fill their imaginations through their ears...

So, we set out on a mission to get the kids a record player - Ebay turned up zelch - and on an unexpected trip for diapers to ToysRUs, Aaron discovered one - in pink! With no records to play, Aaron called 3 Half-Price Books locations before finding one that had the record The Sound of Music [from 1965] in stock. He picked it up along with a few Disney collections [Mary Poppins] and brought them home for us to start spinning.

And oh we did.... one Chim Chimmery Chim Chim at a time....


big red


Nee-nah, nee-nah - that's the sound we echo every time big red charges through the neighborhood. The children's fascination with firetrucks is no wonder. We're curious too. Our wooden model at home just isn't the same.

So we wondered - what would it take for us to visit a firehouse? Try on a fire fighter's hat? Or maybe.... even meet one? Do we have to be apart of a school group? Make reservations?....

The questions left us content for now as we figured the kids will go one day when they're older and in school. But leave it to Dynamo-Dad Aaron who wanted to experience this for himself with the kids first. So on this typical afternoon, while on a mission to complete the weekly errands with the kids out of the house while I worked, he decided to stop by a firehouse and find out about tours.

Lieutenant Campbell of station #28 explained that anyone can get a tour. He just needs to know how many kids and for what date.

Aaron, holding both kids in his arms responded, "Um. Just two. And how about now?”

The Lieutenant smiled. It was as if it was Christmas morning for the kids. They grinned bashfully but curiously. He flashed the lights, let their small hands graze over the buttons, and even try on his helmet.



The tour was cut short at the sound of a siren – when an emergency was called in. The kids hopped off and saw the firemen jump into the truck. They waved to the lieutenant good-bye and in unison sang, “nee-nah, nee-nah” while watching them swoosh down the street.

What I love about this afternoon is how spontaeous it turned out to be. Sometimes lazy afternoons doing nothing can turn out to be the best one yet. And when the kids came home to tell me about it, they each sang "nee-nah, nee-nah" with so much more excitement. This was such a terrific learning opportunity, and I am humbled that station #28 thought so too.

More on Big Red:
To find a
firehouse near you, search the site by zip code and call or drive by to experience the nee-nah up close. And for some great reads you can find at the library:

Fire! Fire! by Gail Gibbons
Fire Truck by Ivan Ulz
Maisy’s Fire Engine by Lucy Cousins
The Fire Engine Book by Tibor Gergely
The Little Fire Engine by Lois Lenski

is it art?

For the past two decades, I have lived in Dallas believing there was "nothing to do" here except watch movies and eat. That is, until I went prego and my mommy radar was fine tuned into locating family events around town. Each weekend, a handful of new ideas adorn the city calendars - and it's always hard to choose. So we try to catch a city highlight now and then just to try something new in an old corner of our city. Like this weekend. I'd probably never go on my own - but I did after discovering that every first Saturday of the month from 10am to 2pm, the Nasher Sculpture Center opens its doors for families to explore, connect, and nurture their artistic passions.

We missed the art activity - but made it just in time for the scavenger hunt. Which again, forced us to do something we wouldn't normally do - like take notice. So we did. And noticed how each earthly element the artist manifested into a person, shape, or idea.




We found all the scangener clues and received a stuffed Target dog as a prize. The kids loved it.
Afterwards, we joined the family tour guide on her quest to show us the exhibits as how they were meant to be questioned. Pablo had us intrigued - how many faces do you see? Is he happy or sad? she asked the group. Great questions to get our little ones thinking about the lines on our faces and how they evoke true or false emotion.


The tour led us straight into storytime. We listened in on the story
Go Away Big Green Monster - which was an instant hit with the page turner set.


By this time in the afternoon - the heat was becoming too much. We quickly hid inside and discovered a special blues performance playing in the auditorium. After we cooled long enough, it was time to hit the road. The kids were exhausted and we were thrilled. While older kids may enjoy the experience more, our little toddlers did quite well appreciating the art on display. I was the only one however that got noticed by the exhibit guard for touching the display case [who knew you couldn't?].

So if you're near downtown - and want to expose the kids to questionable "art", visit the Nasher Sculpture center the first Saturday each month for free! Then pickup a pack of sculpting clay on your way home to create a gallery of moods the kids are feeling that day. How fun!


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