Dear Santa Cruz,

You really came through for me last weekend.  Somehow you knew that a visit from two of my favorite people in the world was your time to shine.  You dispensed with that ridiculous cold weather (don't think I don't compare you to the temps in Atlanta every week!), and you brought out the sunny 70's.

You rocked it at the boardwalk, with cotton candy and carousel rides.  Though really, those two were just so happy to be together, they probably would have settled for playing at the park.

You busted out a major surfing contest, but you thoughtfully dispersed the crowds in time for our drive to San Francisco the next day.  You even gave us a glimpse of Mavericks- at least I think?  If a random spot in the ocean where the waves looked kinda big was it?  Still, fun times...

I think you knew, deep down that if Tracy and Graham moved here, you would would have me for life.  You did your part- the rest is up to me.  I owe you one.


Bucket List Thanksgiving

I was thinking today about how one thing on my list of things to do before I die was to have Thanksgiving at the beach...

...think I can check that one off now!

We had my cousin, my brother and my Aunt and Uncle with us- which made for lots of silliness, lots of fun, and lots of help with the kids and cooking, which was lovely.  

On Thanksgiving morning, the boys paddled out for a quick surf while the rest of us watched and cheered from the cliffs (you might be able to see them if you look real close).  Right after I took this picture, some guy alerted me to the fact that Eleanor's stroller was rolling toward the cliff edge.  Mom of the year, I tell ya.

Laura got some good footage of Briggie catching a wave (he's the last one left standing at the end):

We took a morning to visit the Mystery Spot, site of a weird gravitational vortex....or group hallucination...or alien invasion...we're still not sure which.

We also did some hiking around the upper campus at UCSC, which has become one of our favorite spots to take visitors to see the beautiful redwoods. 

Marley enjoyed forcing everyone to take turns giving shoulder rides to her creepy one-eyed baby doll named "Baby".

It was basically an awesome Thanksgiving.


Welcome to Tweenville...

...where you reserve a copy of the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, released, coincidentally, on your birthday.

...and you're done with silly cakes in the shapes of cars and Star Wars characters...just stick some candy on it and you're happy.

...and you want a rollerskating party, but (thankfully, for your mother's sanity), no girls yet.

 ...and you smile politely when your mom still insists on making you a cake in the shape of something.

It was a great birthday, made even greater by the presence of Aunt Rachel, Uncle Bob and Laura, who were in town for Thanksgiving.  Laura saved the day by running to the store for the ice cream I had left on the counter at home, and Aunt Rachel and Uncle Bob did lap after lap with Eleanor so that I could focus on the birthday boy and his friends.  I don't know what we would have done without them.

I love my boys getting older.  Their early elementary school years were kind of hard, and I missed the sweet preschool days (not the toddler days- NEVER).  But I slowly figured out that I go deeper into my mom groove the older my kids get.  I love to hear about the social goings-on at school and in the neighborhood, and I love watching their concerts and sports games, arranging their playdates and being able to watch a movie with them and not want to poke my eye out.

Every year on Eric's birthday, Eric Sr. brings me flowers and I think about the day I became a mother, now 11 years ago.  This poor boy has been with me from the beginning, bearing the brunt of my fumblings and failures, patiently letting me figure it all out.  Despite my ineptitudes, he has grown into a really cool kid.  We like him a lot.


A new year

Is the century a teenager already?  I'm not sure how Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and everything in between have slipped by without even a moment to catch my breath, write and reflect.  Our lives have been full of adjusting, meeting, navigating, and lots and lots of visits from and to wonderful friends and family, and all of that is swimming around in my head as the year lurches to a start.

Do you ever think about all your friends, and how amazing each one of them is, and then have trouble figuring out how you're going to be like all of them when you grow up?  That happens to me a lot.  One thing I know- for once in my life, I am not resolving to go to bed earlier this year.  Something I learned in 2012: I don't need as much sleep as I think I do.  Eventually I reach a point where I'm so exhausted that I sleep really, really hard for the time I've got, and even though it hurts to hear the alarm go off in the morning, I can usually make it through the day just fine.  Nice to know.

2012 was a bumpy year in many ways.  Getting used to the whole four kids thing (oh my goodness).  Saying goodbye to a life in Atlanta that I had just barely fallen in love with.  Getting used to a new town, a new state, new schools, a new job, a new Costco layout (very traumatic for me).  Dealing with an eternally restless and cranky toddler.  Yikes.

So, I'll start with this: in 2013 I resolve to take more care in mustarding my hotdogs.  The rest, I'm sure, will fall in to place.