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.


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…

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.


mom forced herself to look through all of colin’s and my baby toys last week… colin is the baby and most likely will stay the baby. mom enjoyed living in denial over this. but a new friend, sweet baby j could really use some toys and well, mom had to face the music.  so what does she do? take pictures of the favorites.

hippo.  look he may be my favorite, but i got this for colin (see i do share) as a gift. it’s all colin though. you pull the string, it shakes and giggles. see? all colin.

oh octopus. this was a toy i loved..each tentacle played a note, 8 tentacles, an octave.  brilliant! you know the song that is playing when luke walks into the cantina in star wars (episode 3?)…. mom would play it for me. she’s got talent.

jaques… the peacock.  he spoke with a french accent.

moo cow.  you squeeze him. he moos. this was a colin favorite.

moo cow, version 1. this was a gift from cousins alston and emma to me, the day i had surgery when i was just a babe. i’ll (mom) never let this go.

lamby. it baaa’d

lamby 2.0.  he plays “jesus love me” this could have been a gift from mimi??

a baby can’t have too many rings to chew on. this took the cake for me and colin

oh elephant… you pull him and he shakes.  i loved him and that he was a gift from nana and papa.

you can’t not have a dalmation. i love him so much that i threw him and broke his head off.  good thing mom works wonders with superglue.

it squeaks, it shakes, its chewable. what’s not to like?

mom may have stolen this from aunt sarah and never gave it back. it’s got that noisy paper in it, and it fits in a baby’s mouth without choking them!  it  got it’s full share of baby saliva in its time.

this is it.  the rattle. if i had a go to toy, this was it. mom will never give it away. sorry baby j.

colin and i both loved this so much.  you press the nose and it  lights up and plays 5 different classical music songs!  mom probably liked it the most…

have you ever seen a 2 sided toy?  yeah me either. another win for mimi with this find. it had so many things to do.


(pretty nice view.  this is mimi’s “backyard”, and mom got to witness a huge lightning storm roll in one night)

friday the 13th. mom knew when she made the plane reservation that it could be a good or a bad day to fly.  leading up to our trip, she would have told you it wasn’t looking too good. she’s not at all superstitious. but, 2 days before we left, she didn’t know what to make of the situation when driving home from picking us up from school as dad (who she was following) mouthed to her “transmission!!!”.

looking back it was a good sign. then we woke up the day of the trip and mom commented, “did i wake up in florida??” it was HOT, rainy and muggy.  it was 5:30 in the morning.  in california. it’s not supposed to rain until november. not a bad sign, but another sign that the day  and this trip had plans of its own.

we landed just nearly missing a thunderstorm in chicago.  darn thought dad… he’s a fan. well, he’s a fan when he’s inside. with power. and air conditioning. and if the satellite tv feed hasn’t gone out. mom is too. so she and dad were *excited* when another storm rolled through on our way home from the airport. colin and i loved seeing the lightning FLASH! then waiting….. BOOM.  fun.  well, for most of us. asking colin if he’d like to take a trip on the highway for the rest of our trip and he got very nervous… thunder storms aren’t waiting for us to take a drive to make an appearance, tickle. (oh, did i mention that’s my new nickname for colin? just go with it…)

to add to our weird day mimi gets a call from her agent (real estate, sadly not hollywood).  a couple was just going in for their SECOND viewing  of her house TODAY and (gasp) she may be getting an offer tonight.  PEOPLE. this is serious stuff.  and by the time everyone went to bed that night, mimi’s house was officially “IN ESCROW”.  like i said. this was all planned out.  what a way to start our trip.

the first weekend in we got to make a trip to see mom’s college friends, and there was a pool, lots of girls (future wives, yes?) and lots of fun.

this sadly is missing little will, i didn’t want to forget him!  so with all these girls at least there were 4 of us boys… it couldn’t have been more fun that day!!

the annual trip to mimi’s big huge park was next on our list.  sadly we had to go there at 8am. it was already 85. it was almost 95 when we left just after 9am.  yes mom pays attention to this stuff. the bright side?  we were the only ones dumb enough there!

i really didn’t care where we went, as long as it had swings. you see robert (my new friend at school) taught me at to pump my legs (you say mom and dad have been telling me that for months now? huh??) and now i can’t get enough.  if i could sign up for a sport “swinging” , i’d be there. if they have trampolining in the olympic, they should have swinging. really.

colin came home to a 103 degree fever. but really you’d never know it from how much fun he was having at the park.  mom is thankful for doctors that are willing to call 2000 miles away for a prescription to fill. phew.

then the annual train ride, this just to deerfield and a park and some lunch.  colin and i sure love them, but they could maybe invest in some noise reduction equipment….that would be great.

we came home and pulled out the slip and slide…

it lasted only these 2 slides. there really is something to the saying “the don’t make things they way they used to…”

two train rides in two days? yes please.  “take me to  chicago union station” colin and i said.

*mom sniffle* this is literally colin’s first view of the skyline of chicago. really people, other than new york, no city can match chicago’s skyline.  it just feels like home to see it.

and aside from the cute faces, this was dad’s view every day at work. he used to work just 2 blocks away.

our quest, like always: do anything but walk in this city.  and we did. we took the water taxi out to navy pier, lunched at harry “ho0-ley COW” caray’s with aunt leeann!.  so much to do there, but all i wanted to do was ride the bus to the EL and ride the loop.  done.  back on the train home and we were satisfied.

then it was off to nana and papa’s house to see them and cousins in wisconsin!!

this is our annual cousins picture… it’s the best.

we went over to cousins for dinner.  people this is what people live in the midwest for.  yards. and dogs go great in yards. we love ginger.

yay for smores!!!

did you know that jelly belly has a factory in kenosha, wi?  well, we went there, and toured the place. don’t you think mom didn’t ponder jumping off the tram and snatching a box 😉

l and c.  the tallest 10 and 8 year old cousins you’ll ever meet 😉

back to mimi’s and some nostalgic picture taking… this is our beloved pappap’s wagon. he built with his two hands. it won’t make the pilgrimage to CA, but that is ok.  mom and aunt sarah had many a memorable ride down our backyard hill.  rides that mom would never let me do, not in a million years… at least she survived!

then the prize colin and i had been waiting for.  the infamous “blue comet” train that has sat on the mantle. colin and i got to help mom pack them up in boxes.  they WILL make the trip out to CA. hooray!

but first we get to play a little…

another successful trip!!!


so the other weekend mom woke up and said “the rail fest is today”.  so we all got up and packed up the car and drove to the perris (too bad it’s not PARIS) annual rail fest. when we pulled up an a woman walked by and said “great! you’re just in time for the puppet show!!!” mom and dad looked at each other and thought “when did they add that to the festivities?” they brushed it off, until they saw a slew of elementary school children and adults cheering for their school.


yeah so the railfest was the next weekend.

well, we are here, we might as well enjoy ourselves.  the bright side? it was free to get in, and there was NO ONE else on the grounds.  we’re making lemonade….

c’mon mom!

we walked toward the back of the grounds, where we heard some rumbling of trains.  and low and behold, the santa fe

it drove right on by. these are the best descriptions of colin’s an my personalities….

can someone tell me what these are??

all in all, a fun morning. we had the place all to ourselves!