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…


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 🙂



(photo: jen perez photography)

as many of you know, i’m not the type to jump in and do something first.  i like to dip my toes in the pool instead of diving right in.  that’s more colin’s thing… so to be fair, i’m not “affected” or “advanced” but just good old normal in lots of ways.

so reading (or lack thereof) has not been a major issue in the house and mom knew to leave teachers to the task of helping me learn.  it’s daunting really, and since one thing i AM advanced at is memorizing pictures and being read to with my story books. mom’s initial thought was, “this kid’s gonna memorize his way into fooling his teachers to think he can read”.  teacher assured her that wouldn’t happen.  i get really mad when mom covers up all the pictures when we practice together. i’m smart, but i’m also hers. she knows how my brain works.

we’ve spend the better part of the school year so far learning all our sounds, and these things called blends. like most parents, mom and dad thought “phooey” about these so called blends, but folks, they work!  and it makes it a whole lot easier for mom and dad to help me.

now every week i come home with a new work book and pages to read.  seriously people i can do this.  no pictures even.  “the pig sat in the mud”. the first sentence i read. ever.  mom cries.  it’s weird.  sure other kids might be reading harry potter books by now. all in due time. cause mom bets once i get started i’ll never stop. and that’s just fine with her. there’s a whole batch of mom’s old “calvin and hobbes” books just waiting to be devoured….

this is 6

img_6475-3-wi had the good fortune of my birthday falling on a saturday this year.  so all celebrations were wrapped up in one day.  great for me! mom went for something different and brought in a reptile man.  the kids were in awe. count on E to add to the drama.  it’s always good to have a girl around 😉


i didn’t realize that i “had” to hold all the animals.  it took a few to calm my nerves.


the snakes were a hit.


colin was fearless.  i dunno, with those eyes and that tongue, yikes.


i’m starting not to freak out inside my head so much now…


colin is ready to take him home

img_6561-3-wsnakes, a few lizard and a bull frog that wouldn’t jump and then this…


mom should have asked for this to stay back in its home


and then E did this. seriously?? she is woman. hear her roar.


a baby python snake. colin’s comment “ooooh! it’s so cute – ty!”


A out did us all with snake and spider.


say hello to our reptile guy. and say hello to his little friend.  there are no pictures of me with this.  i’m out the door.


this was the best 6th birthday ever.

what comes around, goes around

there are many upsides to having mimi around.  she makes a mean meatloaf… the down side? (there’s only 1) she made mom take all her stuff from growing up back.  so after i graduated pre-k and mom had to go through my things and saw this…. and then she went through her old childhood things and saw this…

i guess if (the poem) ain’t broke, don’t fix it!  if mimi kept this (though she neglected to keep the pinball machine we had), then mom is keeping everything i make. better rent a storage unit now…