Saturday, July 26, 2014

27 Weeks...

I managed to haul the Week by Week dress along on our trip and find a place where I could set up my computer to take my weekly selfie with a similar if not quite the same back ground. 
So here is week 27 (and all the other weeks leading up to it):

Friday, July 25, 2014

7 Quick Takes: It's Almost Time for the Bar!!! Edition

The bar exam is almost here.  Hold on while I hyperventilate a while about that.

You'd think I was the one taking it, right? 

It probably doesn't help that Paul called last night with a migraine/cold/flu/some sort of bug that always, always, always hits our family the week before midterms/finals/any important exam.

So prayers please?  Lots and lots of prayers that he does awesome on the bar and is feeling better right this very second? 

Because I would really, really, really appreciate it!
Oh the nights have been long. 

While Maggie has adjusted in every other way to our trip west, she has wildly resisted the time change.  She'll happily go to bed at her regular bedtime...  she just insists that morning is still morning at 3 am and that it's time for everyone to get up.

We may have made it through last night (I guess we'll never know) if a certain 20 month old baby brother hadn't decided to exercise his lungs at 11:30 pm, waking everyone in the house with antics. 

However I was very impressed with Mae as I got her back to sleep.  She sang and hummed to herself for somewhere around an hour until she was finally quiet and I was able to slip back out to my bed, tiptoeing and hoping I wouldn't hear a sign that she hadn't really drifted off to her dreams.

The above is likely why I fell asleep a little after 6:30 pm last night.  Because without sewing to do I haven't been staying up until all hours and while it was a surprisingly early bedtime I was really, really thankful for it during from 11:30-1:45 when I was getting babies back to sleep!

Also... finding a favorite sleeping place has been a little bit of a challenge...

Do you know that when I first heard about Edel and also heard that it happened to be this weekend, spack-dab right next to the bar I still tried with all my might to think of a way, any way, that I could possibly be there (ask Paul how amusing that was).  Even though monetarily even without the bar it would be pretty much impossible (not to mention that it would be virtually impossibly even if it were an all expenses paid trip because me-minus the two littlest ones just doesn't work these days... not yet at least...). 


One of these days... maybe...

Which is why I need to focus really, really hard on being thankful that we're in California right now and I'm getting to sleep and that the bar really truly should finally be over in less than a week!

Also, this circled over right above us yesterday and then dipped down and picked up
water about 100 yards away.  I'm pretty sure it was the high point of the trip for the little ones!

Now for something totally random.

I have been trying to pay the registration on our car in Michigan for months and months. 

And they said they needed to see the title.  And I was sure I had the title, except that I couldn't find it anywhere. 

So we went through a big process trying to get the title from the state of Florida and then Florida came back and said, "oh we're sorry, we have no record of that car existing at all" at which point I really started to wonder about the shadiness of the used car lot we brought it from (which was pretty shady as it was... but was one of the only ones with vans in our price range).  And I tried not to think "Come on Florida!!!  I paid registration to you!  You took my money!  You sent us a little registration sticker!  How can you say this car doesn't exist?!?!"

Finally...finally... the local tax assessor's office finds our information and tells Paul that they didn't have a valid address for us so they shredded the title (um, again, you sent us registration paperwork, took our money and sent the little sticker back) and that it's not a problem, they'll send the title to us now in Michigan if I send them my Michigan driver's license.  Which I did.  And we finally have a title to register the car with.  And it only took this side of forever to get done.

"Cabrini"... a van that has made it far, far further than we could have
guessed when we bought it.

This is the life.

It only took a week to convince her that outside wasn't so bad.  Even if the central air doesn't extend this far.  Also, she's watching about thirty humming birds swarm a single feeder.  When she got up and walked around the side of the porch, two of them followed her:

For more Quick Takes, visit Carolyn at Svellerella!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

{phfr} with a splash of trails thrown in

{pretty} with a splash of Theme Thursday thrown in

Sadie asked me to help her into this dress earlier in the week.  It's one that I got the summer after fifth grade when my family visited the east coast and went to Williamsburg.  I think I wore it for Christmas in sixth grade... it's still a tiny bit too long for her in the sleeves, but other than that basically fits my tall six year old the way it fit me when I was twelve.

She also thought it would be the perfect dress to head out to pick vegetables in the garden in:

This is my "trails" photo, although it's taken at the exact moment that Sadie stepped off the beaten trail
and called over her shoulder to me "Let's go this way!  Let's take the short cut!"


Not many vegetables made it into the basket though.  She was too busy eating them:


I snapped this picture of Patch when he was walking towards me eating a popsicle while having a "pool party" on the porch.  It's one of my favorites from the entire trip:

And while this one is a little blurry and you can see a little more of the red popsicle that he was eating on his face, I just loved his smile enough to keep it in the lineup:


After a week of convincing that it really isn't all that bad outside, even if she has to leave the air conditioning inside, Mae joined in the fun on the porch in typical Mae Bae fashion:

And Patch played hide and go seek with Grumpa just before the water fight started:


In case you didn't know, Mama can be so, so mean sometimes.

Patch isn't the kind of kid that needs even the tiniest of raised voices.

Yesterday he was eating a popsicle (again).  I watched as he walked over and started to paint with it on Nani's nice clean window and said in a sweet, soft voice (because I know my audience):  "Oh no Patch.  We don't do that.  We don't paint on windows with popsicles.  That's yucky."

He froze and turned to look at me.  Then he laughed, oh, for about two seconds.  Then he collapsed on the ground and sobbed... until I scooped him up rinsed the popsicle off him and held him on my lap for a solid half hour until he was ready to play again (and he did steer clear of the windows!): 

He did however, swipe a table cloth that Nani wasn't using any more to use as a cape.  Because if there's one thing that our porch needs, it's more super heroes:

As always, partners in crime:

For more {phfr} head over toe Like Mother, Like Daughter.

For more Theme Thursday head over to Clan Donaldson.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

...because a Band-Aid solution could have cost me my life...

NFP awareness week has rolled around again this year and much of the focus has come in response to a post that went viral a few weeks back where a group of women held up signs telling the world why they used the pill.

I hadn't had any big plans to write anything this week because I really didn't think I had anything to add on the subject, other than repeated the oft heard, how can something be whole someone else's responsibility while at the same time being none of their business?

So many good posts have already been written.  Nursing has caused each of our little ones to arrive exactly when we were ready to face the challenge of another newborn in the house, and so I don't find myself mulling over NFP much at all these days.

Yet I kept seeing pictures of women talking about how great the Pill is for their health and each time I wince.

Of course there's the obvious reason, that putting a substance that's called a class one carcinogen by the World Health Organization, right along side cigarettes and lead paint, into one's body each day and calling it "health care" is dangerous to say the least.

But my relationship with the Pill and the reasons that it is prescribed is a little more complicated than that.

Long time readers already know the story, but it's been a couple of years since the events of the fall of 2011 unfolded, and it seemed like an appropriate story for a month when so many are singing the praises of the pill for "health reasons."

I was exactly 12 weeks pregnant that day in late July and had breathed a not-in-the-first-trimester-any-longer sigh of relief, when I first saw a spot of blood on a piece of toilet paper that made my heart stop.  Paul was in a U-Haul, moving all of our belongings across the country to Florida where he was about to begin law school in Naples, and the girls, ages 3 and 1, would be following behind a few days later.
I arrived at the ER my heart pounding in my chest.  I didn't have an OB yet.  My OB didn't see patients until 12 weeks anyway, and since we were moving I'd thought I'd just find one the second we arrived in Florida. It had seemed like a good plan at the time.  Suddenly it wasn't anymore.

At the ER I was assured it was probably nothing, that spotting happens all the time during pregnancy.  At 12 weeks I was unlikely to be miscarrying.  I went back for a sonogram and lay staring at the screen while the silent tech took measurements.  I watched a heartbeat that was slower than my own flicker across the screen and waited.

Just before
I began
to miscarry.
The doctor came back in, his entire demeanor changed.  With a heart rate of 60 at 12 weeks it was unlikely the baby would survive.  Yes, I could still go to Florida.  It didn't really matter what I did.  Nothing was likely to change the inevitable course that this pregnancy would run.

And so I stormed heaven with prayers and did the only thing I could do, which was wait.  We moved to Florida.  The day that my parents left to return to California was Paul's birthday, the first day of law school and the Feast of the Assumption.  That night I sat in the ER losing blood too fast.

As I sat there, timing contractions, waiting for my name to be called a nurse came out and said "Kim."  I didn't move, since she hadn't said my name (I was waiting for the whole "Cammie" that I'd given them when I arrived and honestly didn't think it was me).  Apparently she was having a bad night, or thought that I intentionally didn't get up fast enough, and by the time the mix up was cleared up she was furious that I hadn't jumped up when she first said the wrong name.  She had me in tears with a lecture by the time triage was over.

Thus began one of the worst nights of my life.  It would have been bad no matter what... but I was completely alone.  They had me walk, from my little curtained cubicle to an exam room, still losing blood fast, to an exam room, with an argument between two nurses on the way about whether I should be walking.

Finally after calling for help and having those calls ignored for 5-10 minutes (and having my nurse actually stop another nurse from coming in to help me) I gave birth to our third child, Christian Athanasius, by myself in that little curtained cubicle.  I performed a conditional baptism and then began to argue over his body.  Yes, they would return it to me. No, I didn't care if it was against the rules.  I was Catholic and we would bury this child.  I got louder.  I said I was Catholic over and over again and finally they agreed that if I called early enough the next morning I would most likely be allowed to claim the little body I'd held in my hand.

At this point you may be wondering what this has to do with the Pill, but bear with me a little longer (if you've made it this far).

We were able to claim our son's body and have him cremated.  And I called doctors' offices and tried to make appointments for a follow up but no one wanted to take me on.  The doctor that I'd been referred to that was required by law to see me wouldn't return our calls  (I was later told was actually a concierge doctor and that it was odd that he was the one I was referred to) .  No one wanted to take on an new OB patient who was having problems.

I wasn't really worried at that point though.  What was happening was natural, I told myself.  It would be over soon.

Except that it wasn't.  The bleeding didn't stop.  For weeks and then months. I would return to the ER when it would get to be too much, dizzy and pale, and they would tell me that it was natural for the bleeding to last a while, I could take the pill.  No pill?  Well, it would probably stop soon enough.

In September, two months after the ordeal had begun, an ER doctor took an interest in helping us find follow up care that would return our calls and called a friend the head of obstetrics, who agreed to see me.

This was it, I was finally going to get answers, I was finally going to get better.  I would stop feeling sick and almost fainting every time I walked more than a few steps, and surely they'd find out why I was having debilitating cramps wrack my lower back as contraction after contraction continued, week after week.

Instead when I went into his office he told me he didn't need to do a sonogram.  He said that he'd made his diagnosis after talking on the phone with the ER doctor.  He said he thought that my uterus was still a little inflamed from the miscarriage, but that really I was fine and the only thing I needed was to get on the Pill to stop the bleeding.

When I voiced my objections to going on a medication that I in general did not find morally acceptable but that had also caused me to become seriously depressed every single time I'd taken it, not to mention exasperating my migraines to the point of being unbearable, he brushed it off and said it was the only solution.  The Pill was the only thing that could help me, he told me repeatedly.  It was the only solution and it was absolutely necessary for my health.

When I asked why my back still hurt, why I was throwing up all the time and fainting if nothing was wrong, he paused and said "I think it's probably psychological" and gave me a little speech about how he knew I wanted to be pregnant again but I would have to wait for at least three months.

I was astounded.  It wasn't that I wanted to be pregnant right then (although I would have given just about anything to have still been pregnant).  It was that I wanted to know what was wrong with my body.  I wanted to know why I was so sick.  I wanted to be well enough to go outside and play with my children without nearly fainting or hemorrhaging.

Instead I left with a prescription for estrogen and the feeling that absolutely no one was going to help me.

At that point I was honestly beginning to fear for my life.  Before he left the room I asked him what to do if the bleeding didn't stop.  He paused and said to come back in three months if that was the case (six months after I'd begun to miscarry).

I went home and began to take the pills.  Nothing happened.  It didn't stop the bleeding.  I was still sick.  I'd been calling a NaPro doctor, trying to get in for a couple of weeks, but I hadn't heard back yet (she didn't have secretary and returned her own calls).  Finally, I wrote a letter outlining the entire story and sent it to the NFP doctor with a friend who had an appointment.

She called me almost immediately and suddenly I had hope.  She would fit me in.

I arrived at the office building and winced as I saw a life size sticker of the doctor that had told me that it was all in my head plastered across the elevator.  I stood in front of it, wishing that I had a sharpie, as I waited for the doors to open.

I brought the pills with me and she shook her head as she looked at them.  "He gave you these?"  She said.  "These are such a low dose they never would have stopped the bleeding.  They wouldn't have done anything."

She brought up a sonogram image and gasped in horror.  "I see the problem. This uterus is still full of debris."

Neither of us understood how it could have been missed, over and over again by doctor after doctor at the ER, or by the OB I'd initially gone to (well, he missed it because he wouldn't do a sonogram...).

She prescribed Misoprostol and when that didn't work after a couple of days, scheduled my D & C.   It was October 28th.  I'd begun to miscarry in July.

There were 17 days of antibiotics by the time we were through and while everyone "hoped" we could have more children in the future, but no one really knew what damage had been done by months and months of "retained debris."

The effect of the surgery was almost instant.  Suddenly I was better and the emotional healing that had been stunted by the simple task of surviving each day could finally begin.

In February, a few weeks after what would have been my due date, we discovered that we were expecting again.  We were thrilled, and so was my new doctor, the one who had saved my life, by helping rip of the band-aid of "the Pill will solve all your problems" that the other doctor had attempted to place over a gaping wound.

That's the reason for the involuntary wince every time I hear someone say that the Pill saved their health.  The Pill is a band-aid that covers up underlying problems.  It doesn't address the root issue that lays beneath.  It may be the best tool that many doctor's out there have, but it isn't the only or even best tool that could be used much of the time and while the short term benefits might make it attractive the long term risks are horrifying.

And that is why there's no way I could be convinced to take the Pill at this point in my life... because if there's a problem I want it solved, not conveniently covered up by a hormone that kills women every single year.

Monday, July 21, 2014


I just had to share some of the pictures I snapped on today's field trip.  And I'll throw in a few little stories from the last few days that are completely unrelated to the pictures.

Patch is definitely Daddy's Big Boy and he has been missing Paul quite a bit.  First he started to insist that his name was Paul... and then he showed me a little stuffed dog he's been hauling around the house.  It's a basset hound and he hasn't been able to sleep without it.  Yesterday he announced that the dog's name is Paul... I'm pretty sure that before Paul arrives in California (after the bar) to spend a few days with us Patch will have given every single toy in the house his name. 

This morning I was making oatmeal for Maggie on the stove top.  She kept trying to climb up next to me, with the goal of laying across the stove to watch what I was doing.  When I said "No, no, the stove is hot!  Hot stove!"  She took her hand, touched the very edge of the stove (at the corner furthest away from where I was cooking), looked me in the eye and said "Not hot!" in a perfectly clear little voice.  

Today Patch was whining and I asked him what it was that he wanted and he stopped, thought for a minute and said "brother."

He is impatiently waiting the arrival of another member of the family who does not think that mermaids and princesses are the ideal topics for constant conversation.

Patch's name for the new baby is Bubble.  He came up with the name after spending hours looking through the pregnancy books in the house.  After repeatedly pointing out that all the babies in the books are in "bubbles" he began referring to my bump as "Bubble" or "Brother" depending on his mood.  

Sadie thinks that we should honor Patch's wishes and officially use "Bubble" as the baby's name...

Although she still spends time wishing the baby were a) a girl and that we would b) use her name of choice which is Bibiana.  

Instead just about every doll that comes through the front door of our house gets that name.  

When Patch finishes a meal he shouts "Done!  Done!  All done!" 

And then I have to be quick enough to get the plate away from him because he'll start making grand sweeping gestures that inevitably cause his plate to clatter to the floor.

Accidentally of course.

Maggie still cannot be convinced that playing outside when it's over 100 degrees is a good idea, even if baby pools and popsicles are involved.  

In fact, I'm now convinced that the only reason she lobbies to go outside all day every day in the house in Michigan is because we don't have central air.  

Her love of the air conditioner in Nani and Grumpa's house is pretty much unmatched... however she was enthusiastic about riding in the air conditioned car to go to the museum today... and even agreed to play outside for a while.  

One of the first things Maggie needed to make clear to Nani and Grumpa upon arriving in California was that she in fact a mermaid.  She took her little hand, tapped her chest and said "Mermaid.  Mer-maid!" in a very serious little voice.

Mermaids are very, very serious business around here.  She wouldn't want anyone to think that she was just a princess like her big sister always insists that she herself in fact is.

For someone who is prone to have a meltdown of epic proportions if a single drop of water touches a non swim-suit shirt, Mae did admirably well today and didn't shed a single tear over being soaked after playing in the water portion of the museum.  

Maybe having a mermaid on her shirt helped:

Yes, the bump really is that big.  At 28 weeks.  Because this baby would really, really, really like to be the biggest baby we've welcomed so far.  And to do that he's going to have to clear around 9 and a half pounds. 

While having a transverse baby is an odd feeling, this little guy seems to prefer being breach most of the time at the moment and the feeling of a little head under my rib cage is just odd.  And not particularly comfortable.  I wouldn't mind being a teeny tiny bit taller.  5'5" just isn't cutting it right now.

Now to get some sleep!  My body hasn't quite been convinced to accept the fact that we're in the pacific time zone...  which may have something to do with the fact that Mae has yet to sleep in past 4:30!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Patch and Mae and the Fear I Might Have Had

Since Mae was diagnosed last October I've often thought about how much more intimidating the idea of pregnancy and adding to our family would have been if she'd had a diagnosis before Patrick was born.  If we'd known then how little changes could be overwhelming, it would have seemed almost unthinkable to do something as life changing as adding another person to our family.

The first visit in the hospital to meet her brother
After all, a change of scenery can leave us all reeling (I was up at 4-something this morning dealing with someone having a very, very, very hard time), and doing something like coming home from the grocery store without a warning like "We're going home from the grocery store. Right now.  We're driving home to our house and getting out of the car and going inside." can cause an hour of tears, despite the fact that the grocery store is always the last thing on our to do list when we're out running errands so it's not exactly unexpected (in my mind at least).

Logically, if little changes can have such an impact, you'd think that fitting another baby into our not-so-big house would be earth shattering.

Except that it wasn't.  Maybe it helped that we weren't in a position for life to be all that different when Patch arrived. Since I'd been sick and in the hospital at 36 weeks, all our extra hands and extra help had been poured into that time (when it was very much needed) and I found myself, post c-section, at home by myself with a four year old, a two year old and a brand new baby the day after I got home from the hospital.  Paul was back at school day and night and my parents, who'd spent weeks helping out, really had to get back to California after an already longer-than-expected trip.

So we did the only thing we could do.  We hit the ground running.

Patch split his time between a bassinet I set up behind the baby gate in the kitchen and dozing in the Moby Wrap while we went about days that looked more or less like the days that had come before he arrived.

And honestly now I can't imagine it any other way.  Sometimes as I watch Patch and Mae playing together I can't imagine a more constant, consistent type of "therapy."

It started around the time that Patch learned to crawl.  At that point he decided that Maggie was pretty much the most spectacular person the planet.  He followed her around the house all day long.  For the first few months she evaded him.  She climbed up on top of the toy chest where he couldn't reach her... and he found that he had extra motivation to learn to stand.

Still, unconditional, unwavering love is hard to resist and Mae was no exception.

Once he learned to walk it was pretty much all over.  She'd given up on getting away from him at some point in the previous five months and they'd become partners in crime.  I'd come into the play room and discover that she'd handed him an apple sauce and was watching proudly while he smeared it on the windows.

Over the course of the last few days Mae has gradually been adjusting to being in California.  It hasn't been a horrible transition, but it hasn't been easy either.  She's waking up early, upset with the time change, and is absolutely adamant that she doesn't want to leave the house to go outside and play (which is where we spend most of our time here).

Mae peering over the baby gate at Patch in his
Yesterday I took her on a walk, which she was okay with, and then tried to ease into play time on the front porch by going straight up and trying to convince her that it was really super fun outside with the little pools and toys.  She headed off around the corner and sat down by herself.  And that was when Patch ran after her.  He found her in tears around the corner before anyone else could get to her and began to yell "uh-oh, uh-oh!" in a panicked voice, staying with her until she was happily back inside (after she grudgingly stayed out to eat a popsicle) before going off to play.

And that was only the beginning of Patch looking out for his big sister.  Later in the day we went to the store.  As I leaned over to reach the dairy free yogurt Patch started to sound the alarm.  "Uh-oh!  Uh-oh!  Uh-oh!"  I looked up to see him pointing at his sister (who was in my cart) and turned to see that she'd leaned as far as she could out of the cart and had managed to reach a display of gluten filled rolls and was frantically trying to open them before I noticed.  Patch had saved the day.

Later in the afternoon everyone was relaxing before dinner.  Mae had been coloring in the dining room, but Nani and I both heard when her little feet pitter pattered into the kitchen to pillage the refrigerator.  We both realized at the same time that the lock that Grumpa had made apparently wasn't on it at that moment.  Patch went charging into the kitchen yelling his little alarm and while Nani secured the fridge he ran across the room to a baby gate that wasn't up (the door was closed and Mae hadn't bothered it) and hauled it across the room to Nani to insist that she put it up immediately.  He then stood and watched while she went to work before returning to the living room, content.

Perhaps the best part, however, is that the concern is mutual.  If Patch starts to cry there's a good chance Mae will come over and touch his cheek.  If I can't get him to stop, tears are likely to start to roll down her own cheeks as she points at him, upset that he's upset, demonstrating that she very much does possess empathy, especially when it comes to her little brother.

A couple of weeks ago Mae was walking across the room when she stopped and stared at Patch. Then she walked over and threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly.  I watched, making sure she didn't squish him in her overzealous cuddle.  Then she turned and walked over to the wall, a funny look on her face.  She pulled a chair over and climbed up and stared at the picture, a small smile on her lips.  She sighed and stared at one particular picture before climbing back down and going play.  And the picture?  It was this one:

At the end of a follow up evaluation with the local university a few weeks ago I called Sadie and Patch into the room so the evaluator could see the three of them together.  Patch came charging over.  He immediately sat down as close to his sister as he could get and started coloring on the same piece of paper, right next to her.  She didn't bat an eye and we watched as they took turns with the crayons, side by side.

And so as we begin to think about preparing to welcome another baby boy, I find myself not all that worried about how this particular change will effect the rhythm of life within our four walls.  I'm sure we'll all have our moments, just as we would if things were staying exactly as they are... but I've also seen how our girl can rise to the challenge of major changes and how they've helped her grow in ways that I could never have imagined if I'd been looking at our situation through the lens of fear that can sometimes surround even the smallest changes in our routine.

After all, if there's one thing we've learned it's that the greatest joys I've witnessed for our little group have been the result of letting our hearts stretch to contain the challenges and happiness that this call to love brings... and it sometimes seems that the challenges and joy so often come hand in hand when they show up at our door!

Friday, July 18, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday: Northern California Edition

Let's get the weekly bump photo out of the way.  Here we are headed into the third trimester... I think.  It's amazing how my pregnancy books have "welcome to the third trimester" pages at different points. One book has it before the 25th week, another at the 26th week and while googling the consensus seems to be 28 weeks.  So maybe it's still two weeks off?  Either way in 13 weeks we'll be meeting this little guy and that really isn't that far off at this point!

Back in Michigan it's not unusual for our backyard to have a breeze and to feel cooler than the inside of the house.  And even when there's not a breeze there are the baby pools and the kids pretty much lobby to go out as soon as the temperature starts to climb.

At my parents' house it's definitely cooler inside than out (we hit triple digits again yesterday) and Maggie's response to every suggestion to go outside is to say "no, no, no" over and over again.  She is a huge fan of central air and apparently with air conditioning, the little pools outside aren't nearly as tempting.  She loves the bed that I sleep in upstairs and loves to lay in the window looking out at the horses... althoughI have convinced her a few times each day to go outside for a while!

Not tempting enough to get Mae outside...

I kind of felt like I jinxed myself when I wrote the post on the plane on the way out here.  Just as I was about to hit publish a member of our group got sick... really, really sick.  Seven trips to the restroom later I was getting the stink eye from quite a few people who apparently thought that the kid I was escorting to the bathroom was just making up excuses to get up, rather than being thankful that we were in the bathroom and not sharing the wonderfulness of being very sick on a plane with the entire cabin.

I was incredibly thankful to be on the ground when we touched down in California.

The kid that I was the most worried about ended up doing really, really well.

As you may have noticed from the last picture (or more likely not), Patch is sporting a new summer hair cut.

Usually I do hair cuts in our house, for everyone including myself, but when I started to cut his hair Patch started to get upset and so Paul took over... and Patch happily sat there while Paul used the clippers to give him a nice haircut that would be perfect in the hot weather.

He is so, so Daddy's boy.

For anyone who's curious I thought I'd post a few pictures of what are little corner of California looks like.  I lived in little towns in Northern California for most of my life.  Over the years I've met quite a few people who upon hearing the word California start mentioning palm trees and beaches and smog.  So I like to share the beauty of the far northern part of the state when I can.  And  I'll start a little further back, with some of the other parts of the north state we've lived in.

My first seven years were spent in Humboldt County near the Redwoods.

This is a visit one county north... but I don't have any pictures on the computer
from that first home so I'll share pictures of the area that I do have!

Then we moved inland to Siskiyou County for the next seven years where winters looked like this:

Then it was four hours south for college in Contra Costa County:

East to Marin County...

Before we headed north again, where we lived for five years until Paul started law school in Florida:

And that brings me to the pictures I snapped yesterday while taking Patch and Mae on a walk (and look at how brave I was being since this was about an hour post rattlesnake):

I just couldn't capture the sky and the hills at the same time on my point and click camera!  One was going to be too bright and the other just wouldn't show up at all!

In other news the girls have "kind of" adjusted to being back in the Pacific Time Zone... that is if waking up at 4:45 am counts.  But it's better than the 4:15 they woke up at yesterday so baby steps.  At this rate they might be waking up at an appropriate hour before we head back to Michigan!

Here they are eating veggies out of Nani's garden.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!