“Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Yo, Yo…”

Chunk #2


So, I haven’t given any indication on the blog about the latest schooling decisions, but we had some major changes. In August of last year I decided to homeschool the Chunks. Reasons: a) I’ve always wanted to and b) I felt good about the timing. Really. The timing felt good. This detail is very important in the history of my little family because well, so many things happened after that.

More on that later. I just want to focus on this girl:

So, we homeschooled from August to December. After Christmas, I decided it would be good for us if the kids went back to public school, at least for the rest of this year.  The morning of the first day, this girl was up and at ’em, a clear indication that she was excited.  I was glad because I mostly worried about the transition for her more than Chunk #1.  She had only attended public school for kindergarten and never had a six-hour day.  But her enthusiasm made me think she would be ok.

She was ok.  Except for one little detail.  You see, about a year ago Chunk #2 had a habit of sucking her lips so hard that the skin around them would turn red.  She looked like she had lipstick on or a really strange rash.  The habit stopped and I hadn’t thought about it again…..until she got home from school on January 3rd.  It was back,  along with a very clear light bulb.  Ah, it’s a nervous habit!  No doy!

So we talked.  We talked about feeling safe, about being loved by mommy, about having her friends back (she was soooooo glad to see her old friend, let’s call her Guadalupe).  I also made a joke – I said: “When you get nervous and start sucking your lip, think of Animal in the Muppet Movie.  Just say ‘under control’ just like Animal.”  This made her laugh (just go see the Muppet Movie for your reference).

The next day I picked her up and she updated me on her lip-sucking progress.  “Mom, when I went to suck my lips I did what you said.  I said ‘under control’ and I didn’t suck my lips.”

“Did you actually say ‘under control’ or think it?”

“I whispered it to myself” (lots of giggling).

“Did anybody hear you?” This was a casual question, really.

“No, I don’t think so,” still giggling.

This made me laugh.  In my exaggerated motherly concern I imagined “the new homeschooled girl” off in a corner of the classroom whispering to herself “under control” in the voice of the most incomprehensible muppet.  It was a great image. All she needed was a mouthful of paste.  Aaaah the things I think about when it comes to my kids.

Oh well, she is like a Muppet.  In any case, she seems to be transitioning well.   She is still a little shy but has made more friends and enjoys all the perks of being a first grader (you know, P.E, Art, etc…..). 

FYI, if you were wondering when the early morning enthusiasm would end, it only took about a week.


Looking back #3

Last May we went to check out some birds at the Springs Preserve. As you can see, it was a thrilling event.

I liked it because I finally got to see what a falconer does. We also saw some ginormous owls. I can’t remember everything about the bird show but I’m bringing up this memory because of these little baby Bald Eagles.

Not only did we get a close-up view, but we had a chance to pet these little guys. Cute aren’t they?  Sweet.  Adorable.  Innocent.  One might even forget that they grow up to be keen-eyed, noble, predators. 

Maybe it’s that her fingers are about the size of a juicy worm (although, I’m aware that’s not what Bald Eagles feed their babies), maybe it’s that the baby Bald Eagle was protecting his sibling, but poor Chunk #1 got a nipped by the middle guy  while petting the green-headed one.  Suddenly these little featherless balls weren’t so cute anymore.

She was brave, she held in those tears until we walked away from the crowd.  But when the time was right . . . well . . . you know.

****Post Edit: Ok, so  I was curious what baby bald eagles eat.  I googled it and discovered that sometimes, in a nest, the older eaglet (especially if she is female) will kill the younger eaglet. The parents just look on and don’t stop it.  I would say Chunk #2 was lucky wouldn’t you?

Looking back #2

On March of this year we went to San Diego (yes, I am playing serious catch-up on this Rad blog). We went with a home school group to Sea World, and no, we weren’t home schooling back then but I believe in not letting school get in the way of my children’s education (thanks Mark Twain). My incredible niece, let’s call her “Chuck”, allowed us to stay with her and her hubby and then she accompanied us to Sea World.

Touching this starfish was a big accomplishment (Chunk #1 would have nothing to do with it)

Chunk #2 gave this Dolphin the endearing name of  “Dolphy”.  Later, after she was splashed, she felt differently.

At the temple

Ain’t she great?

The next day we did our usual trip to the Mormon Battalion

After this I went looking for the IKEA.  I thought for sure I could remember where it was.  I couldn’t.  After passing the zoo twice, the historic district and a certain mall five times, I gave up.  The Chunks were patient but very tired so I headed for La Jolla and we found-

The. Best. Tide-pool. Beach. Ever.

It was a Thursday afternoon.  No one was around.  This was OUR beach (for about an hour anyway). It was one of those perfect moments in my life.

Chunk #1, you told me that your favorite part of this beach was seeing the little crabs and seashells and sea anemones.
Chunk #2, your favorite memory of this beach was touching the sea anemones that were covered in sea shells.

I’m up to my ears in megabytes! Ok, not really. I don’t know what the even would mean. Megabytes elude me.

Do you ever feel like all this “easy to reach”  “at your finger tips”  “make life easier” technology actually takes up more of your time?  Burn this.  Upload that.  Transfer.  Wait for the rainbow thingy on your computer and…….done!  So easy but so fragile and hard to keep track of.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love it, appreciate it, and don’t want to get rid of it.  Maybe it’s just that there is so much of it.  The easiness just invites more, more, MORE!  It gets all unorganized in my brain and on our hard drives.

I remember when I used to set up a picture, I would bust out my external light meter, choose my F stop, my shutter speed and then go for just a few shots before I adjusted the shutter or F stop a couple more times.  Then, when I’d work in the dark room to “fix” my photos, it was a long, tedious process, but so rewarding when you got something good out of it. Now, if the shot doesn’t work out, I know I can take another and another and, if the outcome isn’t what I want, I’ll just “fix” it on my computer.   (That’s right, I just took the “Back in my day…” route.  If you want to read that second paragraph with an old lady’s voice, you might enjoy this post more).

Tonight I finally dumped all the photos I’ve taken for the past 10 months onto our computer. I never thought I’d fill this card that my hubby got me. I thought it was ginormous (speaking megabyte-ly, not physically). It was ginormous, I think there were 1100 photos on there. Time to whittle, time to catch up (and I know what some of you are thinking – no wonder you’ve been such a lousy blogger).

This blurry shot is one of my favorites (ok, obviously the computer can’t “fix” EVERYTHING…and I’ll add that I didn’t touch up this photo at all.  The light is what it is…not usually the norm for me).

This campground on a beach near San Diego is one of my favorite places to be. This was October 2010. Don’t you want to follow Chunk #2 on your own scooter into that sunset?

Photo taken by La

January Slide Show #20

photo by el jefe (August 2008)

I was supposed to post this yesterday, no? But my wordpress account was acting weird and, frankly, I had zero patience. So, I’m just doing it today.

There is nothing quite like the sight of ratty yellow hair, pj’s, and bear naaacked toes in the morning (please excuse the misspelling, I don’t like those with other intentions searching my blog). In the past, Chunk #2 has been notorious for the daily morning “rat’s nest”. She’s a ferocious sleeper.

I cannot fully describe this girl in words, but I’ll try. She’s witty and tenderhearted. She gets jokes better than you’d expect and she can tell some pretty good ones as well.  She cries more than most at sad movies and LOVES babies. She also likes to tell me that she should be a Queen so she can get what she wants (and not have to deal with her intervening mother!). She is determined and stubborn….which I don’t think is so bad if we can just harness her powers for good rather than evil. When she grows up she wants to be a Mommy and an Art Teacher. You just can’t tell by looking at that tiny body, the personality that dwells in it and rarely do people get to see her true self.  She saves it for her brother and her parents.  It’s as crazy as her hair and as sweet as those tiny toes.

January Slide Show is a wrap! Goodbye Kodachrome, you’ll be missed. Click here for more info.

January Slide Show #18

Photo taken, developed, and printed by El Jefe (March 2010)

The second El Jefe showed me this work of art he made, I immediately wanted to write something for my Chunk #2. A picture really does say a thousand words.  I think poetry can do the same.  The challenge is writing a piece that says a thousand words, without actually writing one thousand words, right?  I haven’t been brave enough to share some of my work on this here blog. So, I’m going to break those shackles of self-doubt and just share already. I think, of those proverbial one thousand words, dare I say I might have caught two hundred and fifty of them in my poem?  In any case…….love this girl!


Look up.
Breathe your soul into those heavenly torches,
for they blink and wink at you.

Only you.

The Fairy,
The Queen,
The Sparkly Butterfly,
The center of their shimmering swarm.

You giggle a waltz in
a-rhythmic turns and steps.

Gild your days,
with ornate crowns and
Satiny play dresses too big ’round the shoulders.

Adjusting your sleeve,
jeans peering out the bottom,
you call to me
with the cadence of a twinkle.

~Laura Archibald
Summer 2010
This slide show is in honor of Kodachrome’s 75 years on this earth. Click here.

Ahem, if you have some serious feedback on my writing, please feel free to share. I can take it. I can.

January slide show

Somewhere in Kansas, a small family business became the very last developer of Kodachrome film. To some, this is no big deal, just another step forward in our digital world. But the end of December 2010 was also the end of an era in the world of photography I can’t help but feel a little sad. I don’t like seeing certain photo technologies becoming obsolete. I just don’t. Keep in mind, this is coming from a girl who still wants to put a dark room in her house.

There is something about a slideshow.

Turn out the lights, gather around, and reminisce.

Others might consider sitting in the dark and looking at pictures as torture.  Not to me.

So, if this is torture to you, then you won’t want to look at my blog for the next month.  If you don’t mind pictures with some commentary, then please, by all means, look and join in the commentary if you like (I wish I could promise the same kind of commentary you would get at my in-laws.  Really, it’s priceless).

Anywho, in honor of Kodachrome’s 75 years on this earth, I’m doing my own slide show.  Yes, it’s digital, I know it’s not the exact same experience as a true slide show, but there you have it.

January slide show day #1

In the summer of 2008 we had a family reunion at Lake Tahoe.  After a day at the beach with the whole clan, we stayed behind so El Jefe could take some photos.  With the absence of people and remnants of food scattered about, some geese decided to come honking around.  We told the kids to scare them away so  Chunk #2 started honking back. She did a good job, especially since they were probably the same height as her.  As you can see it was serious business.