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…


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…

party of four

mom and dad’s favorite show to watch in college was “party of 5”.  mom thought that name was the best. she secretly wants one more baby just so she can walk into a restaurant and say, “table please – party of 5”. but it’s ok!  cause when colin was born, she could at least call us “party of four” hence the blog title.  and because of our 4th member of the family turns FOUR, it’s reason to celebrate.


(miracle of miracles! we are both smiling and making eye contact with the camera!)

mom found this crown for colin and he proceeded to decorate with peel and stick jewels. it took much persuasion from mom not to purchase ALL the pink and purple hearts/butterflies/bows peel and stick gems, from michaels. he wasn’t feeling the green and blues. she managed to convince him with red.


commence the presents opening


you know what he got? cars. cars, cars and more cars.


then it was off to BIG AIR OC. i’m pretty sure i could caption this as colin saying “MA – RI – NA!” she was the one girl from colin’s class that was invited. we think he loves her 🙂 they play mary and joseph in school all the time.



i’m ok!

IMG_7445-38emma, always fun, jumping and bouncing the kiddos while they lay there.

IMG_7461-48time to eat.


i’m beaming, discussing the visit from the tooth fairy (post to follow)

IMG_7472-53cousin love. what you don’t see here is aunt sarah squeezing colin and owen together, otherwise they would have been on opposite sides of the room, saying “cheese”.


IMG_7479-59mom contends that colin’s favorite part of his birthday is not the presents, but the singing. the love and the celebration that surround him, fill him up and he takes it all in.  if it could be his birthday everyday just to be sung to, he’d take it.

i love my tickle (yes i still call him that….) with all my heart. teachers tell mom how i take such good care of him.  mom would like to believe that one day, if i were to write my story it would begin with, ” my life started the day my brother was born.” she can hope.


this year, miramar kinda snuck up on us.  sadly so did the heat.  people it was just hot. just mom, dad, colin, me and 100,000 of our closest friends. oh boy.  this year’s trip was especially nice. as it was our last chance to see it with our buddy, d, and his family.

colin was clutching that poor air show booklet, holding on for dear life.

we got to hang in some helicopters

and shooting stuff.

we made our way to our seats and mom bought colin and i some sunglasses. yes we planned an all day outdoor adventure, with no sunglasses.  hey we have hats though.  colin enjoyed poking his belly button with them. don’t ask, we don’t understand either.

the only clouds we saw

do we look hot?

well explosions liven things up a bit.

this was mom’s favorite shot. as the blue angels started, they startled us from behind.  d got a great view.

we had a great time. the best part of the day was, just as we were leaving, the blue angels did one last sneak flyover. it was loud and low and mom nearly jumped out of her shoes.  she was holding colin’s hand (we were all 4 on a mission to find a toy plane we didn’t already own) and she looked down for fear he was frightened from the noise.  he looked back up at her with a face. pure. glee.  they screamed and laughed that they had been snuck up on, and carried on with their mission.

the happiest place on earth – at night

we’ve had our annual passes to disneyland for about 6 months now, and had yet to spend a real “night” there.

what took us so long???

sitting on the train, mapping out our rides

seriously, how high are their electric bills?

we can’t leave without a treat

goofy faces waiting for the memo ride

a trip to disney isn’t complete without a parking garage view of the fireworks…

soccer x 2

as if my maniac soccer obsessed brain wasn’t enough, mom and dad decided that they thought colin had just about enough of watching me play soccer from the sidelines. with the chance to put colin into a U4 league, of course they wouldn’t pass it up!

look at the kids next to colin.  and my mom thought he was tall….

yes, he kicked it!

our buddy  D and and colin. they get their OWN soccer balls and don’t have to share them with the older brothers…

“magic 8 ball… will i get a goal?”

just to offer proof of my maniac ways, our neighbor came up to us the other day as we played outside (in full soccer gear) and asked about my soccer team and how often we practice, cause she always sees me dressed up. you know, cause the first thing all boys do is rip off their school clothes and dress head to to in their uniform (and socks!) for dinner each night.