Panda love

Our little girl (OK, not so little I guess) and her love for pandas, we all knew what she’d like.

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And Lucas has been waiting for over a month for this treasure he found just for his sister!

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Over a month ago I finally found a fabric that had cute pandas.  It was fleece, and I thought it was perfect for Siena.  She likes all things warm and soft.  I wasn’t sure what to make for her, so I kept it and have been thinking.  Until I knew the perfect gift I could make for her.

DSC_0238-smallSoft pajamas.  Not sure if she wants to wear them all day or all night, she’s been wearing them for both!

DSC_0195-smallAnd something to last her a whole year with beautiful photos to enjoy and fun stuff to keep track.  She’s enjoying all her new pandas…

One more year


Today is Mark’s birthday.  We celebrate him turning around the sun one more time.  The best husband and the best friend I could ask for, and the best dad to our kids.  I feel so lucky.

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I’ve known Mark since about he looked like this… when he was barely 17.  He was ready for an adventure in his teenage years.  Not sure how we got so lucky, that someone from a small town in Idaho gets placed as an exchange student in a small town in Chile.

DSC_0184-small DSC_0191-smallBut we met, and the rest is a love story.  And I am so lucky to be able to celebrate another year.


dsc_0071-small3Such a cool dad.  Up for anything anytime. We love you for that and so much more!


Happy 44th birthday our ‘big guy’!  We are here to celebrate with you.

Our Christmas

We had a great day, full and with so much fun.

DSC_0148-smallWith excitement. DSC_0156-smallWith togetherness.

DSC_0166-smallWith sweets.

DSC_0177-smallWith lots of playing.


With the cinnamon rolls I make once a year, on this day.

DSC_0181-smallWith delicious oranges.

DSC_0188-smallWith new socks.

DSC_0197-smallWith new games.

DSC_0206-small DSC_0209-smallWith great smells…

DSC_0215-smallWith funny times.

DSC_0235-small DSC_0239-smallWith drawing and testing of new books and art supplies.

DSC_0245-smallAnd with the best gift Lucas and Mark can always get… some bed wrestling!  Hope yours had lots of fun too.

:: this moment : celebrating + having fun ::

A beautiful and fun Friday ritual. Inspired by SouleMama.  But this week I’ve added so many photos, so we can remember this week’s celebrations and traditions.

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo (or two or three or more)– no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. – Amanda Soule

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Lots of fun.

If you’d like to leave a comment and a link to your moment, we would love to see it. Have a beautiful day.  Thank you for coming to see us!

The inner bike

OK, so I’ve known I’m a procrastinator, but I think (most of the time) I should embrace it, instead of fight it.  I’ve been thinking for months of what I’d like to make for my son for Christmas.  I’ve had few ideas, but nothing that really called his name.  Until I remembered one of Maya’s posts from last month.

Oh my… I thought THAT was the perfect idea! Really! Reuse, remake, upcycle, recycle, and bike?  What else could I ask?  I went back to read her post and see if I could figure out how to make this reinvented cuff she made with a bike inner tube.

If you’ve been reading what we’ve been up to this fall, and how we celebrated Lucas turning seven, you might have thought this was a great idea too.  Right?

So I headed to see our friend Butch at the bike store and see if he had a spare bike inner tube, needing to be recycled.  He did. So, I came home with one tube to give it a try.

I  cut the valve out and cut a piece long enough that would fit Lucas’s wrist.  I went to my sewing machine as my kids were playing at one of their friends’ house.  I turned my sewing machine and start.  The needle didn’t move a bit! It got stuck and it didn’t give at all!  I put tracing paper underneath, thinking that would help move.  Nope.  I added another piece on top.  Nothing!

Well, I thought.  There goes my idea, and so much for trying.  But then I thought, it’s ‘only’ 5 days before Christmas (plenty of time for trying something new, right?) I have time to figure this out I thought.  I’ll email Maya, and ask her if she could give me pointers on how to sew this thick rubber.  I thought maybe she’d look at my email in her pile of things to do.  Maybe I’d have enough time by the time she answered me.

And you know what?  OK, so I bet Maya has a lot of things in her plate, evening back East, and she has two kids, and I’m sure she’s getting ready for her holidays, and so many other things I can think of.   Not only did she replied to my email within half an hour I had sent it, but she also gave me great pointers on what to try.   It’s like I had a whole class on sewing bike’s inner tubes in just few minutes in an email.

Oh my goodness… I can’t be more impressed of Maya.  I mean, I was already.  She’s so creative, makes beautiful projects, recycles and makes amazing things out of most of us couldn’t even look twice.  A beautiful person all around.  But she also responded to my “urgent” (procrastinator’s urgency, I know) within minutes!  Thank you Maya, so very much for taking the time to help me out.

I made dinner that day, we ate, read stories, snuggled, and then went to the art studio to give it a try.

She suggested to cut the tube open instead.  And then gave it a try under the sewing machine.  Oh my! Much smoother and the sewing machine was sliding without problems.  And so I went on with my sewing and making Lucas an “inner tube cuff” thanks to Maya’s help and her imagination and creativity.

I was so excited to make this present, that I didn’t take any pictures.  But here it is all done.  You are awesome Maya, thanks!


Well, then with few hours left in the evening, and a whole lot of this nice rubbery tube laying on the table I felt like I could make something else.  I searched online and found another great idea.

A Bicycle Tube Pouch.  Perfect because Lucas is always carrying pencils and pens everywhere we go, and half the time he has them all in his hand, together with ten other things.  Not that he doesn’t have any other bags, or pouches or pencil cases.  I think he just doesn’t think to put them in something.  So, maybe if he has this one, he might use it.  Right?  We’ll see!


I had all the tools I needed.

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And went ahead with it.

DSC_0028-smallI was surprised it was pretty easy to punch holes.


Then sewed the sides.


Put a velcro piece to close it.

DSC_0033-smallDrew something with these cool pens…. I love all minds of Sharpies! DSC_0034-small DSC_0035-small

And well, then I made another one.

DSC_0038-smallAnd then I made a bike ribbon with the stamps we have.  I think it looks fun.

Making : Cookies




It was mostly Siena and Mark who did most of the baking this year.

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But all helped decorate the sugar cookies.

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Funny.  We had never used black frosting before… but Siena made a special request for this year to make some panda cookies.  And they looked very cute!  And well, they were good too!

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But they made four different types of cookies.  All very good and perfect gifts for our friends. DSC_0132-smallHope you are having some yummy cookies too!


:: right now ::

There is lots of making, of all sorts, and some reading, and some watching, sleeping, and lots more.

Right now I am:

:: happy we went to see the Christmas Ships the other day.


:: happy we had a stop in the pouring rain dry the night of the ships, because it was also the Winter Solstice celebration done by the city with a huge bonfire by the river, the evening the ships go by this area.DSC_0077-small DSC_0080-small DSC_0097-small DSC_0115-smallIt’s perfect to warm us all up.  And perfect to finish with a nice warm meal (and a margarita after drinking hot chocolate, right?) in a restaurant close by. DSC_0123-small

:: still savouring the margarita…DSC_0127-small

:: enjoying the darker days.  There’s something natural to me to be indoors, be calmer, be slower, and be more quiet during this time of the year.   We all need it.  I know I do.

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:: feeling lucky for what I have, especially my family close together.  The last few weeks have reminded me of the uncertainty of life, and how we just have this moment, right now, and I am so very lucky to have three beautiful people around me.

:: loving all the drawings and creations Siena and Lucas come up with.

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:: feeling lucky of our friendships we’ve cultivated over the years, and those newer ones we are seeing begin to grow.  I feel so lucky.

:: enjoying the changes in our backyard.


:: still thinking of our evening at The Nutcracker.


DSC_0060-small:: loving at what some of us feel is important to carry in our pocket.

:: loving our tree and the lights.


:: wishing really, really hard we have more snow than these few flakes we got last week.

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:: smiling at Siena’s and Lucas’s ideas. This one is a bucket left outside, with a piece of paper on top, left outside while snowing…


:: holding on to moments like these that seem to mean so much.  Seeing Lucas being able to climb this play structure much easier every time he tries it.  Seeing Siena so tall and confident up there.


:: feeling lucky I get to witness these beautiful and special moments of seeing my kids grow.

:: noticing every time the sun shines, in between clouds and rain.

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:: enjoying Mark being home for the winter break.

:: sad to see our favorite dessert place close down.

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:: super sad we won’t get to eat the best pistachio ice cream ever!  OK… we’ll just have to drive further to go have some.


:: enjoying our traditions for this time of the year and seeing that we’d like to change others.

:: loving the holiday cards we are receiving, with news and photos of family and friends we don’t get to see very often.  I really do enjoy paper and pen-type letters.


:: eating lots of clementines.DSC_0015-small

:: creating little wreaths throughout the house.  DSC_0018-small

:: wishing I could smell…. it’s this time of the year and in the spring I think about it more.

:: happy to be home for the holidays, together with my family.  I am so lucky.

:: happy to have lights. DSC_0021-small

Hope your holidays are having lights and that your Christmas comes full of laughter, peace and love.   See you in a couple of days.  Merry Christmas.

:: this moment : now + then ::

A beautiful and fun Friday ritual. Inspired by SouleMama.

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo (or two or three or more)– no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. – Amanda Soule



A year ago… in India.  We say goodbye.

This is the last Friday I’m remembering our adventure from last year.




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DSC_0258-small DSC_0261-smallAnd other friends had left to go home on their winter break, before we left.   We had mixed feelings about our departure, of course.  We were excited to come home after 5 months, but we were also sad to leave all of our new friendships we grew in that time. Hoping we get to see them again some time soon.


On our last day in Gwalior, we decided we wanted to go down The Fort one last time, to see up close all those beautiful statues and record all those beautiful sights… one last time.DSC_0827-small DSC_0838-small DSC_0867-small DSC_0919-small

This week last year, we left Gwalior, India and arrived home, here in the US.  We took a 4 hour train from Gwalior to Delhi, leaving at 8:30 am.

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Arriving in Delhi we had one of the school’s student’s family pick us up at the train station and invited us to spend the whole day with them at their home.  It was so nice and special in so many ways.  We will always be thankful and happy we got to do that.

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Tired after 24 hours of travels, a beautiful flight over the Arctic with a forever sunrise we were catching up, with amazing colors of orange, yellow, reds, whites…. I will never forget that morning that took over 12 hours to turn into afternoon.

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DSCN3476-smallFlying over the north pole… (kinda’)

DSCN3481-smallAnd then, after almost 23 hours of travels, we see over our window… this is home.





Oh my.  What an adventure it was.  It was the first time for us to travel as a family to an unknown country for almost 5 months. Traveling with kids is completely different than my experience was moving here to the US with Mark as an adult.  Or the experience I had in high school as an exchange student.  Or our travel to Kenya as a couple.

This time, it was amazing, colorful, bright, hard, wet, hot, incredible, warm, friendly, scary, fantastic, take-your-breath-away… almost all at the same time.  There is not one day that passes that we don’t talk about our days in India.  I love it how it comes up in so many different ways and reasons. It was incredible, and amazing.   An adventure we will never forget.  Never.

If you’d like to leave a comment and a link to your moment, we would love to see it. Have a beautiful day.  Thank you for coming to see us!

Happy Solstice.