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Every Six Months ~ Cora and Lyra, August 2014

Cora, 4 years old. Lyra, eighteen months old.

Green Valley Falls, Julian, California, August 2014.


Every Six Months: A Photo Project

The girls are 2.5 years apart and their birthdays fall almost exactly six months apart in a calendar year. My goal is to document the two of them together every six months. You can view all the photos in the series here.

*Special thanks to Ella Sherman for taking and editing this photo. 


Cora's 4th Birthday | A Birthday at the Beach

Cora and Wes Turn Four | Amazing photo by Ella ShermanThree years to the day that we celebrated Cora and Wes turning one year's old, we headed up to another North County Beach to celebrate their turning four. 

Living in Mexico has created a piñata tradition that we shall carry on indefinitely.

Eric and Dominic (Dominic is the author of Americano Abroad and To Be Frank San Diego). 

Mele and Lyra

Ella, Gray, Wes, and Miles were all there. 

Me, Renee, Leo, and Helen

Helen and her vivacious girls came.

Renee, Xavier, and Leo joined the fun! (Renee and her husband Dan were one of the families that opened their home to us after the rescue. I was at their home when I wrote this post.)

This is Steve and Monique. They also live on a sailboat, s/v Sea Conquest, and lived in Mexico at the same time we did.

They had this hunk of love, Ronin, only a few months after we had Lyra down in Mexico.

Sacha, Monique, and Cora

Cora has memories of playing with their son, Sacha, in Catalina Island, La Cruz, Mexico, and San Diego. I love world travelers and I love sailing families.

My friend Paige's two munchkins, Maddie and Colin. Paige, and our friend Mollie, are now the talent behind Red Charlotte.

It was a day to reconnect with all kinds of people in our lives, friends, new and old.

Renee and JenDana, Ivy, Jen, Stella, Mike, and Elsa

We played soccer, soaked in the rays, hit the piñata, and had the kids decorate their own donuts (a true crowd pleaser):

Xavier and Leo show off their piñata candy haul.Auntie Mele holding Lyra, and making magic in the water with Cora and Sacha.

It was a day to be happy and to show gratitude for the friends and family in our lives.

Three years ago Ella took this photo of our family on a beach in San Diego:

Me, Cora, Eric | Cora's first birthday

It was both perfect and bittersweet that she was able to take this photo on a beach in San Diego three years later:

Eric, Cora, Lyra, Me | Cora's fourth birthday

We had planned on being somewhere in the South Pacific for Cora's fourth birthday, but it is really, truly, hard to complain when we are in an incredible city, surrounded by friends and family, and so connected with love and support.

Happy birthday, Cora.


Post script: Eric sums up the day of intense beach fun perfectly in the photo below.

Is it bedtime yet?


DIY Rainbow Mason Jar Organizer

A finished project is always a thing of beauty, no?

Finally found the time to hem those curtains!

We live in a 320sq ft studio, so maximizing space creatively is a must. Since this was going to hang in the girls' room, (aka, the closet,) I wanted it to reflect their bright personalities.

The inspiration for the rainbow stripes? The Ikea pillowcase you see in the photo below:

Cora always looks fabulous when she plays dress up.

Lowes will let you get little sample jars of any of their paint for $2.99, so we hunted around until we found the perfect shade to match each stripe.

And then we marked out the stripes and we painted.

Cora and I worked together on this for days and days. We'd only do one or two stripes at a time and then wait until another day when Lyra was napping and the stars were perfectly aligned for more painting. I've now decided that Cora needs to see Karate Kid so she'll understand why I kept saying, "long strokes, up....down."

Lyra wanted to help but her best work was simply doing an impression of me holding a pencil or marker as I measured things.

I initially marked all the hose clamps so the tightener would be right in the center of each jar, but neither Eric nor I could drill a pilot hole directly through the metal. Maybe we are weaklings? Maybe we needed something other than a cobalt bit?

My mark in red versus where Eric ended up drilling.

Instead we shifted the hole to the little gratings nearby. That meant that the hose clamps screwed shut off center, but I like the look and it got the project moving again.

Huge thanks to Eric for having delicious muscles and helping me with this part. Crafty projects are not normally his forte but he helped without a peep of protest. Gracias, amor.

Once I marked out where I wanted each jar, I drilled pilot holes in the wood as well. Super handy to have stripes on the wood (a reclaimed piece of wood that cost us zero dollars, score). The stripes made it easy to line everything up.

Helping husband for the win.

He also screwed the finished piece directly into the wood in the closet. It fit perfectly.

(Land projects are soooo easy to nail the first time.)

Almost all of these jars were hand-me-downs from friends. I made a Facebook post several weeks back asking if anyone had glass jars they didn't want and voilà, a conglomeration of pickle jars, jelly jars, and Mason jars for your viewing pleasure. Thank you, friends!

Because this is hanging in the girls' room, I had to make sure that the lower jars only held things that were safe for our little ones to have access to. Cora has been asking for a mirror so she can do her own hair. The lowest jar holds their hair brush and comb, and the left quadrant has a mirror from Ikea; color choice for the mirror was decided by, you guessed it, Miss Cora.

Up close the mirror is a little low for Cora, but when she stands back, it works. It's a little high for Lyra, but she'll get there. Both of the girls love the 'rainbow wood organizer.'

I'm calling this project a total win. It was something we all participated in, it was easy on the budget, and it added some visually gratifying storage.

 More Mason jar cleverness to come! 


Eric Turns 36 | It has been a helluva year

I may be biased, but my gods, I think this man is handsome.

And today he turned 36. 

'Dem forearms.

Okay, fine, yes, I'm just posting random pictures highlighting Eric's forearms.

I made him a paleo watermelon cake with coconut cream frosting.

And I gotta tell you,

I think I nailed it.

Pro-tip. If you decide to make one too, take the recipe advice of mixing the cream for five minutes seriously. Go the distance and make sure you do five minutes, there is a definite change during the fourth and fifth minute. Crazy people, those paleos, but they know their coconut cream.

The watermelon was too unwieldy to make into one cake, so I made two. Because the only thing better than one birthday cake, is two. Obviously.

And now we have an entire second watermelon cake taking up the top shelf of our fridge. It shall be served for breakfast.

Trick candles always make things more interesting.

Cora drew Eric several pictures as presents:

Rainbow and Storm




Birthday card from Lyra (and Cora)

And my personal fave, Cora drew this picture of Eric and asked me to write down the things she loves about him. As dicated to me by Cora, I give you:

Happy 36th, Eric. It has been a hell of a year, a hell of a month, and a helluva day. I'm glad I had you beside me.


Fundraiser for That Others May Live (TOML)

I'm re-posting Eric's blog post here to give it maximum exposure on our site.

Via Eric:

"I was genuinely honored when asked to participate in a fundraiser for That Others May Live. If you've followed our rescue and post-rescue world, you probably heard me mention that organization a couple of times. Simply put, the Air Force Pararescuemen (the folks that jumped out of a plane to help my daughter) have a dangerous job. 

The Air Force Pararescue motto is:

That Others May Live

Not "That we all might live", or "That we'll all get through this one together", but genuinely and truly they are working hard and putting their lives at risk for other people. If you're an adventurer, traveler, soldier, or otherwise a person who's out there in the thick of it and need help, these are most likely the people who are going to come for you.

And it's the only type of work they do. There are no risk-less assignments. There is no getting the cat out of the tree or helping old ladies across the street. These are M4 toting hard-asses with families of their own who put that aside to do a duty that is truly awe inspiring. 



In the course of their work, they get hurt. They're jumping out of planes, climbing over mountains, swimming in the ocean, and dealing with enemy forces in their combat search and rescue role. 

The TOML foundation (pronounced "Tom-ahl") helps out those rescuemen and their families. 

These guys are there for you right now. There is a C130 waiting on the runway, fueled up, with a dozen airborne medic-soldiers just waiting to come get your ass out of a jam: it's that real. It's what they train for, it's what they're the best at, and I'm proud to do whatever I can to help them.

If you have the resources, consider helping them as well. Your support goes directly to help people who can and will risk their own lives to help you and your family. "