Happy birthday

Happy birthday to dad. The best: Lego builder, sea shell collector, restaurant finder, rc driver, pancake maker, roller coaster ride giver, soccer goalie, scooter racer and angry bird attacker around.




photo (1)all i know of this clock is that a little bird comes out and chimes each our.  currently 12pm is my favorite, wouldn’t you know it. what my mom tells me of this clock is that it hung in her childhood home.  a token of my pappap dave’s from his army days in germany in the 60’s.  she thinks. at some point it became unreliable. it would stop and start.  mimi and pappap tried to get it fixed numerous times.  alas it fell silent but never left the wall. it became an “attraction” in our house. “do you want to see the cuckoo?” and they’d wind it up and let it chime.   soon it would fall silent again.

the clock made its way from one house to the next, still silent but the thought of ever taking it down or getting rid of it never entered anyone’s mind.  last year mom helped mimi pack up the house to come to california and found a box for the clock, naturally.  after spending a year in a temporary space and only unpacking certain boxes, she finally made it to her home, and unpacked every last box.  the cuckoo clock made its appearance and it was discussed where to put it.  mimi agreed, it should sit amongst family pictures on the wall in the spare room, across from the rolltop desk that pappap dave used to sit at.

mom helped mimi hang the pictures on november 30th, certain to position the clock first, and centered.  once the pictures were hung around it, mimi casually wound the clock, set the time and moved on.  it hasn’t stopped working since.

maybe it will fall silent once again. it doesn’t matter.  maybe mimi doesn’t see what mom sees. everytime we come over we look and see the clock still works. mimi’s replies of “yes it’s working” when mom asks are not in “shock and awe” as mom would think.  mom thinks its a sign.

mom says maybe the clock, and pappap dave, finally found their home with mimi.

it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…


this a fairly good description of mom and dad’s experience when travelling down to chicago to see pearl jam.  please. chicago itself did not disappoint.  not even with 90+ degree weather and 100% humidity, would  that ruin the fun.  but the concert on the other hand. it  felt like mom and dad were in their own musical themed “hunger games” competition.


the day started off fairly normal, colin and i hardly batted an eye when they left.  cousins lauren and caroline were around to play with.  see ya! first stop once they arrived was to pick up tickets. a window at wrigley field will call for each letter of the alphabet.  only 1 window for the letter “M”.  see here’s where a great story comes in. mom begged (only half joking) for dad to take her name when they got married.  for 2 very good reasons: 1, that who on EARTH can pronounce “michalski”??? (for the record its “mi-hall-ski”. ugh. mom sighs in defeat every time the grocery clerk annihilates it at the store each week), and 2, victoria is much better; less people are named with a “V” and it’s way less irritating being asked why you have two first names than suffering through mispronunciations.

but i digress. as they approached the line, seeing there was not a division into “Ma – Me” and “Mo – Mu” (or something of the sort)  mom started sweating. they ended up getting stuck in the LONGEST of all lines to get tickets.  see?! too many people with the last name “M”.  which validates any and all arguments mom had with dad regarding changing last names.

finally tickets in hand, they head to eat lunch.  mom and dad wax nostalgic about life before kids, before getting married. almost, it seems, before LIFE really got started… how appropriate should they then see this.


the#22. the bus dad would take to and from work at his first apartment here. it’s not really that special, they come every 10 minutes. but they took it as a sign. let ’em have it.

back to the digs to cool off and get ready for the concert (thanks leeann and pete!)  no thanks to the audi a4 ding dong lady that parked right in front of their driveway gate so mom and dad could not pull in.  a $150 ticket and a mad and confused woman later, the driveway was free!

all along this time mom and dad knew what they were in for.  what comes with hot humid weather? storms. they hoped that it would roll through mid day and be free and clear by 7:30. oh no… that storm needed an entrance. but this was a momentous concert. the only one in the states in 3 years and then who knows when again?  reason enough for the white sox and brewers fan to succomb to the cubs mecca.  admittedly. its the most beautiful sporting location… and face it mom and dad don’t like baseball that much.


so they went. walked onto the field to get their seats, knowing the worst could happen. something seemed amiss when the band emerged over an hour late.  at almost 8:40.  the entrance by eddie was lackluster and the crowd seemed to know something was up.  6 very mellow songs in, he finally speaks…. they need to take a short break. bad storms a-brewin’.  “do you trust me? (that we’ll return?)” he asked. several times.


(eddie asking ‘do you trust me?’)

they had to abandon our seats.  it rained. it stopped. it rained again. they were stuck in the pits of despair known as the concession area. it was hot.  and they were there with 10,000 other people.


mom had enough and they sat out in the stands while the last of the rain came.  much better.


this was the scene waiting to be finally let back to our seats.

pearl jam did return.  THREE LONG HOURS LATER. at (gasp!) midnight. what did they do all that time? we may never know.


an unforgettable concert.  good thing pearl jam never disappoints.

mom and dad are too old for this.  two a.m. came and it was done.  the best and and the worst show.  but that’s wrigley for you, right?


(2:10 am can you see it on the clock?)

the next morning dad continued his recovery from the night before in front of the tv. mom wanted coffee. or rather she wanted an excuse to walk.  to feel like she still belonged to this city.  she found a starbucks about a 10 minute walk away. perfect.



she wandered her way back home, not down bustling southport, but just one street off.


it seems like  a world away.  quiet.  walking down lakewood it looked the same as the others she’s lived on. .



this is the best part about the city.  minus the skyline.  chicago has the best skyline…

get the chevy!

its that time of year again where we travel out to the midwest. we have one less person to visit (ahem mimi) but then again we had a one more band to visit this time.  hold your shorts, that’s for another post. now whether or not we planned the trip home to see the band, or the band happened to be there when we planned the trip, who knows. dad claims it was serendipitous.

we had all sorts of fun with nana, papa and cousins this week, with pools, playing water guns and coloring.




we had all sorts of sleeping arrangements during our time… one night in particular, it was a late bedtime and colin and i were wiped. so dad put colin in his own room.  around 10, mom went in to check on us as usual and as she knelt down to cover up colin, he started thrashing.  then talking. if anyone knows colin, his tag line would be ” colin: 2 volumes. loud and super loud”. so he didn’t talk, he YELLED.  “guys… GUYS! GUYS GET THE CHEVY! THE CHEVY, GET! IT!” as dad ran up to his room to see what the yelling was about, he saw colin thrashing and mom rolling on the ground laughing.

the hit of the vacation was the revival of childhood toys of dad’s. maybe i say this every year, but it’s true.  but the older i get, the more emerge!  this year it was speak and spell



and the math professor! (mom had forgotten completely about having this as a kid…)


and marbles (colin did this color sorting, mom thought it looked rather pretty!)


and who can forget fashion plates? well i can… but who knew there was “little van GOES”?!? what boy wouldn’t want an assortment of conversion vans to create and color?! my favorite was the van with flames.


as always turns with the tractor were necessary.  even cousin lauren got in on the mix.  meanwhile everyone else would climb the tree.





on almost our last day we ventured to oconomowoc to see our second cousins and aunts and uncles. the best name ever for a town.  what other city do you know that has an “o” ever other letter?





we got to play with our cousin cole, who enlightened us on cape wearing and general superhero-ness.  i demanded to be called batman (or whoever i was wearing) all afternoon.  see for a kid who only likes cars, i’m not much into comic or superheros. i may have just seen the light though… (ps. see the anchors on my shorts? mom’s grooming me to be an DG man yet!)

thank you to all our family for making the trip so very special.  except for papa. he may not have forgiven mom yet for leaving the house with the windows open as the storm of the century rolled through town… oops!



more on mom and dad’s eventful trip to chicago later…

there’s something about… nina?


the scene: last night, in my bed, mom just turned out the lights. she is attempting to hug and kiss me goodnight as i fight back and whine. wait, that’s not normal?

me: mom. there’s a girl.

mom:  a girl?  at school?

me: yes. she kind of follows me around.

mom: wait, does she like you?

me: yes.

mom: well, do you like her?

me: yes (mom silently gasps)

mom: that’s great buddy… that you like to play with her… what’s her name?

me: what? (put off) i don’t know.

mom: well at school tomorrow, why don’t you ask her when you are playing together?  it’s the first week of camp it’s ok if you don’t know people by name yet.

me: that’s ok, i’m sure she’ll say her own name sometime.


further investigation by dad this morning may have lead to her name being nina.  as dad went down the list of names on the  camp roster, i went with it.  although hers was the first name he mentioned… chances are i was already bored with this activity.

mother’s day


please ignore the fact that is has been WEEKS since mothers’ day. eso si que es… (did i spell that right?) my friends.  in an attempt for mom to extend mother’s “day” into a weekend celebration, she found a great idea to explore the local tidepools.  she’s continuing her attempt at visiting literally ALL the beaches in orange county. it’ s gonna take a while.  this little gem is in corona del mar, called “little corona del mar beach” she checked the tides…. that’s important you know and we got there just after the afternoon low tide. morning low tide is better, but friends, it’s at 5am.  sorry…

as always, containers were brought for the event. colin likes his treasures…. it was beautiful. heaps of hermit crabs crawling around in the water, along with sea anemones.


initially this was the only view mom saw of us.


here was her chance to take in the view…



there’s a crab in here… somewhere.


colin was on a serious mission. he found some really good stuff.  shells abandoned by hermit crabs, and even what mom would say was a shark’s tooth.


someone lost a leg…




these are sea anemones covered in shells …


stick with dad, he finds the good stuff.


there’s a house up on that cliff… i want to live there.


mom’s favorite shot of the day


cause this is way more fun that just smiling and hugging each other.



mom tag-teamed with mimi on this. look a smile!

then we found a deeper pool, warm from the sun and leftover from the tide.  colin couldn’t resist.



“i’m going in andrew” said colin


when i realize nothing has eaten colin yet, i make my way in. ever the cautious one.


thank goodness for little brothers.


happy me.


we wrapped it up and headed for some mexican food.  the perfect start to mother’s day mom said…

the tooth fairy

As if preparing for Colin’s birthday wasn’t enough. the night before his birthday and party, mom picked us up from school I proudly showed her my semi loose bottom left tooth. Mom, who worried I might be the last six year old to start losing his teeth, was ecstatic. We went home to dinner with Mimi. Once home I showed Mimi as well. though this tooth wasn’t hanging by a thread, is was soon to come out. But the proclamation by Mimi was “ooh! Three more weeks!!” As if my looking at my tooth she was viewing punksatony Phil and his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter.


i’ll spare you the details, but some time with daddy in the bathroom and it came out!

p.s. the going rate for the tooth fairy is $5 and a hot wheels book.


skip ahead 3 weeks.  if you leave mommy to her devices long enough, the second tooth will come out before she can announce the first.  this was a little slower moving.  it was loose long enough for my big tooth to start growing in behind it.  that made life a little harder.  it made eating harder really.

finally our last trip to disney with our annual passes, and i think daddy had enough of my tooth complaints while eating.  he yanked and yanked and mommy suggested twisting the tooth and POP!  that’s trick#1 folks. twist the tooth. so at paradise pier in california adventure, tooth #2 came out.  some kind father saw us fretting over my tiny tooth and brought us over a ziploc.  trick #2, always bring a baggie if you have a tooth to lose.

IMG_1878 IMG_1876

it was quite a great ending to our time disney 🙂