Happy birthday to Phylo, my favorite pictures of 8 years.

Cozy boy #germanshorthairpointer #dog #owl #plush

It's that time of year again...Bird's birthday on the 8th, Phylo's on the 10th, and then Jared's and my anniversary on the 11th.

Today Phylo is 8! Technically this may not be his real birthday. I may have mentioned this before but Phylo came to us through a rescue agency that received him along with a brother and sister all the way from Cyprus. They were just tiny puppies when they were found by an American couple who lovingly cared for them till about 4 or 5 months of age then sent on a plane to California. Phylo was placed with a foster mommy till we adopted him at 8 months old. It's funny that we've brought him all the way back to Europe.

I also realized today it is important to mark this birthday of Phylo's on my blog not only because he's been my faithful buddy of over 7 years but also because it may be his last birthday with us. Phylo started sneezing and showing cold symptoms back in the Fall and we went through antibiotics and different meds until finally our wonderful German vet put him under sedation and looked in his nose. He saw a tumor growing in his sinus cavity - nasal cancer. It made perfect sense based on the symptoms. Dr. Bey said it was inoperable and after doing plenty of research about the aggressive nature of nasal cancer and how little time radiation/chemo would likely add to Phylo's life (not to mention the negative impact of these things) we've decided to treat Phylo with a steroid, antibiotics, and pain medicine when necessary. It is terribly sad and so cruel that our Phylo has this illness and that he is so young. The only consolation to me is that this time in his life has been so rich. Germany is a dog's paradise...endless fields and forest to explore off leash. Phylo's first year here has been the best gift we could give him. I can literally walk out the door with him and be on a trail in less than a minute, with Phylo running freely to each tree, weed patch, mole hill, and puddle.

So here are some of my favorite moments with Phylo over the years. There are some holes in the years with missing photos but these capture him and all of us together pretty well.

Not long after purchasing our house in San Jose. Right before he did that crazy dog thing rolling all over the rug. May 2006

In the kitchen in our California house. Pre-kids, post kitchen remodel. With my parents visiting from Okinawa. July 2007

With Bird who has just learning to crawl and was getting herself stuck under the laundry box. November 2008

Playing with Phylo #germanshorthairpointer
2+ years later with a new little one to harass him ;o) Phylo and Griffin have a nice little relationship these days. December 2011

Who me?
No shame about curling up on the sofa. None at all. February 2012

#apartmenttour #germany #germanshorthairpointer dog enjoying backyard view. It's a shared space but we seem to be the only ones using it.
Looking out at his brand new view - Germany! March 2012

Thoroughly enjoying himself #germanshorthairpointer #dog #aachen #germany
Sniffing out the wood pile creatures. March 2012

He's just a big baby #germanshorthairpointer #dog
Sofa lover, Fall 2012

Fell asleep waiting for me :) #germanshorthairpointer #dog #myshadow
Patiently waiting for the evening walk, Fall 2012

Though could be a mouse. He's caught them before. #germanshorthairpointer #dog #garden
Hunter of small furry creatures, Summer 2012

Requesting a walk
Not so patiently waiting for the evening walk, Fall 2012

Headed home. Spot the Phylo dog :) #roadtrip #germanshorthairpointer #dog
Travel companion, Summer 2012

Planning #grannysquares #crochet #yarn #germanshorthairpointer #dog
Studio buddy, Fall 2012

Walking on a gorgeous Fall day. #aachen #germany #fall #germanshorthairpointer #dog #trees #autumn #sky
Loving life as a German dog :o) Fall 2012

Someone's getting chilly #gsp #germanshorthairpointer #dog #snow #winter #germany
Sitting on my lap to keep his feet off the snow. Winter 2013

Happy early Valentine's Day :) love, Phylo
More sofa love, February 2013

My happy companion after a late walk :) #aachen #germany #germanshorthairpointer #dog
Happy dog, post walk :o) Summer 2012

Little ball of Phylo dog waiting for me to get kiddos to bed. #germanshorthairpointer #dog
A pro at finding the coziest spots, Fall 2012

Magical place #forest #aachen #germany #trees
One of many forest walks, Fall 2012

Bird strung the necklace. Phylo dog models agreeably ;) #germanshorthairpointer #gsp #dog #crafty #kidart
Happy to help model the accessories ;o) Winter 2013

Pouting for a walk & maybe about having to wear his sweater. Phylo dog has the sniffles :( #germanshorthairpointer #gsp #dog
Pouting for a walk, and maybe about wearing the sweater. Winter 2013

Such a good boy. Fall 2012

Sun seeker #gsp #germanshorthairpointer #dog #sun #sunlover
Sun seeker. Spring 2013

We've reached a rough stage in Phylo's illness. Last night with a hard sneeze he ruptured a blood vessel and has been sneezing/dripping blood since. This morning we went to the Tierartzpraxis and Phylo was prescribed pain meds. We'll go back this week if
After seeing the vet and a weekend of terrible health. A happy, beautiful respite in a blossom filled field. Spring 2013

Always on the hunt
Fresh weed patches to explore in depth. Spring 2013

Phylo in the wheat grass
In the new wheat grass plantings by my parent's house. Spring 2013

He knows I'm taking his picture. #camerashy #gsp #germanshorthairpointer #dog
"I hear you talking about me..." Spring 2013

Professional sniffer
Constant sniffer. Spring 2013

Jared's home. We're taking a breather. With prosecco.
Sidekick, always. Spring 2013

2+ weeks of no baths...happy stinky dog  Can't wait to wash him up soon.
Little love. You can see the pressure on his lower left eyelid from the tumor. Spring 2013
I can't close my front door. #sunlover #gsp #germanshorthairpointer #dog #foyer #june #aachen #germany 
Warm days popping up here and there. Phylo is happy to soak up all the sun he can. 3 weeks ago he tore the ligaments in his rear right leg and had TTA surgery to repair them. He's gone from walking on 3 legs to starting to walk normally again, bit by bit. We are walking with the leash for another 3 weeks and then will watch him carefully that he doesn't get too crazy and hurt his other hind leg! Unfortunately the 2 or so months of a pretty dried up nose (following the rupture of a blood vessel and sneezing out a lot of the tumor tissue) has come to an end and Phylo is back to sneezing, much of it bloody. Please keep him in your thoughts & prayers.

Much love & hugs,

Happy 5 little Bird

The sun didn't shine as I'd hoped but it didn't rain! Bird is 5 years old now! There is a picture in the left sidebar of my blog...Bird is less than one year old in the picture. Just amazing. What a girl.

Gigi and Grandpa drove up for the weekend and we had fun opening presents together. Flamenco dress from Spain, shiny red shoes, crocheted barrettes, toy cash register (instantly causing fights between the kiddos...oh well), & Hello Kitty dvd's in German.

We've all been a little sick with colds and Griffin has been getting up at night and also early in the morning. The party started at 10:30 (with some folks arriving even earlier...a German thing??) and he was asleep on my shoulder by 11:00. I tucked him in the wagon turned bench and he was so cozy and snug despite the sunless 50 degree weather (14 celsius) that he slept nearly 2 hours while the party went on around him!

Bird was allowed to invite 5 friends so of course she insisted on 6. They all have names that end in "a" or "e" (which is also the "ah" sound in German) and they were all adorable, well behaved little ladies. I was super impressed and we had a really great time. The trampoline was the hit of course. We got it for Bird as an early present back in April (the snow had JUST stopped) and have used it as much as possible in between all the rain. It is fabulous!! I think it was a great outlet for all the sugar consumed...& thankfully no one was (seriously) injured.

We had our new typical mix of languages. It is starting to feel quite familiar at this point. There was even Spanish spoken between my parents and one of the dads who apparently knows 5 languages. How neat that he and my parents found a connection through Spanish.

I've discovered that the children's birthday parties here consist purely of sweets...cake, cupcakes, candies, chocolates, juice, soda even. I can't do it that way! So we made sure to put out our usual fare - veg, fruits, pizza, sausages & bread, crackers, cheese, etc., and then brought out pudding, cupcakes and finally the birthday cake after a little while. Bird is quite a different kid when she's all sugared up. Can't say I'm a fan :/ !

It was fun to recycle bits of decor from year's past and add new stuff like crepe paper flowers (I became a little obsessed making them...). I also had a kiddie pool full of really used water beads and I scooped them into vases with pretty flowers (Bird's current favorite color is yellow, with a stated preference toward "light" colors - missing the sun much dearie?). I tossed the rest into the garbage bin. I can picture this Thursday when the garbage guys toss the contents of the bin into the truck, if they miss even just a little those bright blue beads will be bouncing all over the neighborhood. They may certainly take note of the number on the can belonging to the problem house.

Bird has some lovely friends at her kindergarten. She also has a bestie, little L, who is only 3 years old. But age doesn't matter and they totally have a connection. It is super sweet and I hope Bird remembers this time years from now and will enjoy these pictures.

All 7 little ladies in one shot! Success! Thank the cupcakes.

Hello Kitty is a favorite these days. I happily complied and put together the HK birthday cake with marzipan icing (my first time using it). I admit to getting more excited about birthday parties than probably my whole household combined. I totally use it as a creative outlet and feel I have every excuse to steal time to work on things for the current party in the making. Maybe I should use this attitude toward my own work in general...gets me thinking...

We sang Happy Birthday in English because that's the way the Germans do it too :o)

And shortly thereafter our lovely little Griffy awoke. Ready for a cupcake and trampoline time.

The sun never came but we still went for it and I'm glad. Complete with moving our sofa into the garden, along with half a dozen other indoor household items. This place is not California! But it is LUSH with greenery and so gorgeous.

Little 5 year old Bird, you are getting so much more beautiful inside and out every day. You show simple acts of kindness that make us so proud. You are so observant of your world and you take notice of every detail. The little things really matter to you. You are a lover of babies, swinging & jumping, reading books, and being in charge. You will try almost anything, especially if I (or Daddy) will do it with you. Little adventurer, always ready to go. Something new, something different, something else...you will find it, or you will come up with it. Determined, with a plan. And instructions (sometimes barked as orders) for everyone involved. Little General. I don't worry about you a bit. You are my beautiful babe. I still remember your fuzzy head on my neck as you'd hang out on my shoulder when you were so small and not wanting to leave my side. I always look forward to the mornings I get to snuggle with you. Cozy & warm...love love love you little Bird.

And today is Phylo's birthday!! Happy 8th birthday to our sweet boy.

Much love & hugs,

Happy 2nd Birthday Griffin

Happy 2 little Griffin :) :)

Dear Griffin,

Today you are two years old! We had a fun & noisy party surrounded by people who love you. New friends, your mom and dad, your Gigi and Grandpa, your sister who you kindly picked out a present for and made sure she got her present first before even realizing you were standing next to a new tricycle, firetruck, and frog backpack. You are a wonder to us and every day with you is a fresh adventure.

This past year you have often stretched me, as you have consistently amazed and impressed me. You still get up 3+ times a night (I barely remember that one time you slept all the way till morning) and you barely nap 30 minutes a day. I think you just don't want to miss out on a thing. You have your own agenda and make it very clear how you feel - usually with words (often full sentences), sometimes with force. Your strong sense of self is inspiring, if a little intimidating. Some days I think you have hit me more than 50 times, often a smack to the face. Those are usually the days I put up the baby gate to keep you away from me as I make dinner and loudly sing songs trying find a "happy place". It's lovely when you go from screaming hitting maniac to dance party Griffy in Bird's outgrown sparkly pink slippers. How wonderful that you live in the moment most of the time. Thank you for reminding me to not be so serious. To remember to be curious..."what's that Mama?" "where's dat from Mama?"...and to slow down.

You are so happy to be held..."up Mama, up!!" You love touch and comfort. You love your home and often ask to "go home". Bird always wants to go! - off for adventures. You are happiest to come home. You are starting a lot of imaginary play and your language skills are shocking. Yesterday you made a funny rhyme while eating your breakfast. We like to talk about colors - you love the word "violeta" (purple in spanish, and in our house pronounced loudly as VEEEOHLETTA!). You said "breakfast...not done yet-a! violeta!". You can count to 20 sort of, not perfectly in order, but in both English and German. You love animals and at the toy shops gravitate toward the animatronic animals that purr and bark. You are often fearless...rarely cry much when you get hurt (full superman flip off the swing, bellyflop onto face and tummy in the muddy mulch, 30 seconds of crying, bit of freak out from Mommy, then here we go off to the see saw...), though teething has been awful and we have gone through plenty of sleepless nights and ibuprofen. You starting getting out of your crib at 16 months old and have had a big twin size bed for a couple of months now. After reading books at night you can walk yourself to bed, climb up and tuck yourself in. You can also get yourself out of bed, out of the room, then sneak into our bed at any time of the night you want to. I hope now that you're 2 you will start to become a deep sleeper!!

I love how you engage other people. You are hesitant at first, but within minutes a charmer. You are impish but mostly because you want to interact. Just like Bird you are a go-getter and I feel confident you will grow up to be a wonderful boy, young man, adult, father, grandfather...how privileged we are to have you sweet Griffin.

Happy Birthday :o)

Love Love Love

Griffin is 18 months old

Apple with his pasta, why not? Happy one and a half year birthday to you Griffy :) #dinner #18months

I think with the excitement of his one and a half year birthday Griffin can't help but look forward to being that much closer to 2 and therefore is celebrating with plenty of "no!", full body tantrums, smacking Mom in the face while saying "no!" (for extra emphasis), and shaking his head "no!" whenever possible. Oh dear...

Interspersed between finding his new voice Griffy is hilarious, heart crushingly cute, cuddly, very interested in other people, and super excited about many things including anything that moves on legs (dogs! cats! beetles!), putting on big sister Bird's shirts and dresses (yellow is a favorite color), mixing all his foods (see photo above), climbing any and everything (heart attack for me), picking and smelling flowers, turning shoes into cars and trains, and playing peek-a-boo which has turned into a game of a very screamy mis-timed "Ooooo!!" to which we jump and look as surprised as possible and give him all sorts of enjoyment.

We love you little Griffin. Wonderful precious heart stealing boy.
Hopefully tomorrow we can do a proper half year birthday, assuming we'll all be in the mood for it ;o)

Love and hugs from Germany,

Last week

I started this post last week and even though it's not much I can't bear to trash it...sometimes things like waking babies, door bells ringing, etc etc happen and I end up with these half posts. 

Better that than nothing :o) Here's from last week:

Sunset from the studio #aachen #germany #sunset #sky #clouds

When my mom was here last weekend she corrected me (as moms do) that Griffin was not turning 18mths on the 17th of August, but just 17 months. Uh huh, that's right, yes, do the math Devon. He seems like such a mature 17 month old I guess I just assumed he a month older :o) So I deleted the post about his one and a half year birthday and we will just celebrate that next month.

This week we've had super warm (awesome!) weather and today it is starting to feel chilly again. There are sprinklings of leaves across the lawn from the first appearance of Fall. It starts early here. Figures!

We were able to get to a local spring (actually 7 springs that come up together, so neat) and cool off a bit. No matter how hot the air temp, you can count of absolutely freezing your footsies in that water! It's refreshing to say the least.

Jared and Griffy cooling off :) #stream #aachen #germany #summer

Stream slug #stream #aachen #germany

I'm trying to find a balance with our new routine and it's been challenging. Griffin is down to one nap, early in the day. And with less sleep he has been pretty cranky. He's also got a little cold which doesn't help.

Bird is doing well with kindergarten (aka preschool) and has been happy to go in the mornings.

I'm starting a new project that I'll share pictures of next post. It's been awesome to have a little more time at night (which is what happens when your kids don't sleep much or at all during the day!) and I've been able to get in the creative groove more often.

More soon, xo


Crazy great playground #tongeren #belgium

On Sundays most all the shops are closed in Europe. Grocery stores, hardware stores, etc, etc. There will be some bakeries & restaurants open and often special events that occur, but other than that Sunday is like an official "rest day". I like it. It was inconvenient at first but you learn to organize yourself accordingly and then go with the flow.

On Sundays you can take a drive over to Tongeren, Belgium, to their famous flea market. It's huge and FULL of eye candy. Amazing never before seen things await you and your pocketbook. Beware! They also as we've discovered, have an amazing playground and park area that is as much a destination as the flea market. We had a great day yesterday enjoying a bit of both.

I would have loved to have brought one of these home had we a purpose for it. They would fantastic faucets for an outdoor sink. My mom also thought it would be a fabulous pot filler mounted over a cooktop. Talk about a statement piece.

Giant duck head faucets #tongeren #antique

My find was a gorgeous blue folding iron table. I had spotted it there over a month ago and happy joy it was there again yesterday! It wasn't pricey and it fit in the car - even better! I love it against the (way too pale) yellow of the house. It's a delicious slice of color and so practical. I can imagine using it for years to come and I'm sure it will be a part of future craft sale set ups.

My new old iron folding table from #tongeren #antique #market

Jared is a lighting geek. He has been amassing little lanterns for future projects. I'm wondering when the "future" is...but he has time ;o) Yesterday he saw the ultimate lantern. It was not cheap, but worth the price (much better than ebay!) and so so pretty. It's an antique copper ship's lamp. Complete and fully functional. After getting it home Jared and my dad checked out its insides and found lots of wick still left. My dad suggested we actually use it at parties for lighting. That would be fun. Right now she lives on top of our office space. Shiny, pretty thing she is.

And Jared's find: #antique #copper #shiplamp He's giddy about it. Fully functional too.

After the market we hit the crazy good playground. The weather was so warm and sunny, we filled our solar cells well....ahhh. Bird enjoyed the bikes, Griffin climbed all over the play structures and practiced his sliding, then we all jumped in a paddleboat and experienced the best part of our day. It was so nice to float around in a sunlit lake, with soft thin clouds in the sky, ducks and geese swimming curiously by, people to wave to on the benches. I was more than happy to pedal us around while Jared sat with Bird and Griffin in the front and munched on snacks. It really was the nicest way to end the day.

Biking #tongeren #belgium

#tongeren #belgium #pond

#paddleboat #tongeren #belgium

Now we're back to a mostly regular week. My parents are still here but are away for the next two days to explore Brugge and Gent on the coast of Belgium. My mom goes back to work next week (she is a school teacher with DODDS) so she is using her time well. Bird is back to kinder/preschool and every day is still a challenge but it's going okay. Jared, well, he's in a new position today. He received a promotion of sorts (a job shift, to something that seems will be preferable, or more effective as they like to say here) and also gets a new boss today. I haven't heard from him yet. Hoping all is well. This is life here for us. So many changes!

Griffin and I are creating new routines with our time together and I'm planning out my next project. I'm working on illustrating and printing tea towels that I'll sell in my Etsy shop. I'm just in the illustrating phase but getting excited about colors and trying to just focus on this one little project. My mind can wander so quickly and then I'm getting ahead of myself and accomplishing almost nothing. Focus is the word of the moment. Bigger things come from chipping away at little things right?

Have a lovely week!
Hugs, Devon

Marvelous Metz

Metz, France

We took a couple of days off last week and headed for my parents house (~3hrs away). We had originally planned on finding a "cabin in the woods by a lake or river" or "quaint French beach house on the coast" but it proved to be pretty difficult to do. In the end, we had a pretty fabulous four days of vacation. Seeing my parents, getting out for an evening just me & Jared, hiking in the Eifel forest region, and exploring the town of Metz in France.

#eifel #germany #yellow #flowers

The Eifel is a really neat densely forested area not super far from us. So nice for getting away and being in nature. We realized it was the first time we had actually hiked together as a family of four! We found & munched on wild strawberries & blackberries, got stung by nettles (poor Jared!), made it up to a good look out point and had a picnic, and just kept encouraging Bird & Griffin to keep going. Haha, that took up a lot of our hiking time.

Top of a hill in the #eifel #germany

Griffin & Bird really enjoy my parents house. My mom has it stocked with toys & books and they just go nuts with the big open spaces. Our homes here in Germany are so much bigger than they were in the states!

Our crazy kids love my parent's house

My mom and I enjoy walking Phylo at night after Jared and I have put kiddos to bed. It's been gorgeous most evenings. My parents home is surrounded by farms and the wheat is in the middle of being harvested. I love seeing the changes every time we visit.

#schwedelbach #germany #moonrise

On Friday we drove to Metz, France. Our tactic with kids is to drive directly to a playground that we find the night before using google maps satellite :o) It's the best way to get their energy out before we do something that's not so fun for them. The first thing we saw was the Moselle River. SO PRETTY! It was a beautiful day in general and the river was sparkling, full of swans and fish, and a few people wading in with fishing poles. Containers full of colorful flowers line the railings and bridges.

We ended up not actually finding a playground where we thought there was (!!) but were happily surprised by an empty mini-golf course.

Mini golf #metz #france

The cathedral in Metz was so amazing. Huge and mesmerizing. Because it was a sunny day the color streaming through the stained glass windows was fantastic. Griffin tried out all the chairs he could while Bird crashed for a few minutes in the stroller.

#metz #cathedral #france

#metz #cathedral #france

#chagall #metz #france #cathedral

Griffin loves trying all the chairs #metz #france #cathedral

We found a gorgeous garden in front of the opera house. It was so inspiring. I really could have spent hours there :o)

Magical garden #metz #france

Blooms #metz #france

On Saturday we did a little flea marketing with my parents. That afternoon we all took naps - even me, the most resistant to napping! Then out for some time to enjoy the sun (which you know by now is something not to take for granted here!!) with some bike riding, hay bale "rolling", and later out for Thai food with just Jared (thank you to my mom).

Sunday we hit the road with a really really packed car. We picked up more treasures in France and Phylo barely had any space ;o) We stopped on the way home for a picnic in a field and got to stretch our legs.

Bike for two #bike

Those hay bales are heavy! #hay #farm

Headed home. Spot the Phylo dog :) #roadtrip #germanshorthairpointer #dog

Painterly clouds #sky #clouds #germany

Bird and Griffin have been playing "sleeping games" lately. They're ridiculously cute. Our little guy is so easy going for his big sister it's amazing. When we got home from traveling Jared and I got swept up in cleaning, laundry, etc. while kiddos chilled out in the living room. I took this picture after Bird had convinced Griffy to lay on a bed she'd made him, then tucked him in, and was "reading" him a book. Love!

She made him a bed, tucked him in, and is reading him a story. #love #sisterandbrother

Thanks for reading this long picture filled post! :o) I'm hoping to get back in the blogging routine again. Especially with living here and all these amazing places we're visiting. It seems a shame not to document it all! Hope you have a lovely rest of the week.

Hugs from Germany :o)

Griffin is ONE

Today is St. Patrick's Day but more importantly to us, it's Griffin's 1st Birthday!!

Birthday boy! Griffin enjoying his 1st birthday :)

See saw! #aachen #germany

Leg hugs :)

Before leaving San Jose, we had a big fun party with friends and celebrated our boy's upcoming birthday and our impending departure. It was so amazingly great to spend a few moments with many of our friends and have the chance to give last hugs for at least a little while. Griffy had a lovely time being passed around (still not really walking!) and squeezed, then enjoyed handfuls of chocolate cupcake after we sang him the Birthday song (Bird obligingly blew out his candle).

Walking practice w Griffy

Dear Griffin,

You are the sweetest little one...I smile every time I think of you. You can play and find fun in just about everything that crosses your gaze. You're cuddly and ferociously affectionate at times (full body hugs, often in the middle of the night). You are who I expected you to be in that you bring a lightness to our family, a sweetness, an attitude that life is better when you're having fun. You don't get mad at your sister when she's less than gentle with you. In fact, you call her in your own unique way when you get up in the morning and realize she's not there. You love our Phylo...maybe a bit much. But he doesn't seem to mind you. You have an appetite for life, and also for food! You love all sorts of things but especially food with real flavor. Spices, olive oil, almost anything off our plates :o) You want big hunks of things and you want to feed yourself. Yesterday you were putting your food on a spoon and attempting to eat with it. You're really into mimicking us and enjoy copying our random sneezes and coughs, then laughing about it. You were almost able to blow out your birthday candle tonight. I know you'll get it soon.


Homemade #cookies brought from San Jose. We have a pretty decent food stash.

#apartmenttour #germany #aachen So happy to have found this 7€ rug in "as is" at ikea yesterday! That and the laundry basket are big hits.

Things that move get you really excited. You love hide and seek. Trains are fascinating. Dogs are intriguing (and you bark quite well). You've taken 3 or 4 steps at a time and practice at random moments. You still try to eat little rocks at parks and playgrounds (sigh). You love to be held and you love snuggles. Diaper changes are a waste of your time apparently. You have the grabbiest fingers I've ever seen on a kid (disastrous!) and you're loving our crazy tiny table here at the apartment in Aachen as you can reach everyone's plates :o) You love books & when we read to you. You're starting to babble on and on and have little conversations. You still don't sleep well at night but we're getting ready to move you in with your big sister soon anyway (you two will work it out).

Beer and baby :) Down the street from our apartment in #Aachen #Germany

Ikea in The Netherlands

This past year with you has been amazing Griffin! What a journey it's been. A year ago today I never would have imagined we'd be moving to Germany and you'd have your little childhood here. What fun for you and Bird and for all of us to have together. Can't wait for many adventures ahead with you.

All my love, Mama

A few pics from before the move :o)

(early) Birthday boy and his balloons

Waiting for bites of dad's cereal

Crazy town at our house #moving

Mattresses on the floor! #moving

Done for the day #moving

Griffin is 11 months

Griffin, 11 months old

Griffin is 11 months old + 2 weeks :o) We are actually having a 1st birthday party for him this weekend since we'll be in Germany when he turns 1 officially. It will be nice to have both experiences I think: loud, kids, friends, backyard fun here in California & simple, just mom & dad/Bird/grandparents, maybe a picnic with cupcakes over in Germany (and maybe inside because it'll probably be rainy & chilly!).

He continues to be such a delightful lovebug who doesn't sleep well at night. We joke that he's a perfect baby so it's inevitable he needs a flaw, such as screaming for 2+ hours last night between the hours of 1:30 and 4:30am.

 2 more teeth are coming in, that will make 6!

 So far he has said "car" and "go" and quite a bit of "mama" - makes me happy :o) Griffy also likes to mimic barking dogs.

Over the weekend he took his first steps!! He's been able to balance on his own for a while now and seems to be interested in the next big thing. Exciting, scary. Griffin also is in the phase of putting absolutely every tiny little thing in his mouth. In the house, outside, in the car, wherever. It stinks. Especially as we're prepping the house for renters and packing up for moving. And there's the climbing...I have a feeling he'll be on the table tops before we know it.

 Hugs, Devon

Griffin is 10 months old

Caught (!) with the black marker

Griffin turned 10 months old on Tuesday. It's amazing that he is just two months from turning ONE - where did all the time go? It's so true all the things I've heard about it going by so fast. Of course the memories from certain things are still intense (the reflux through 6mths comes to mind).

Griffy you are such a treat. You are not the best sleeper but I don't mind so much these days. I know there will be a time when you will sleep well on your own and you will no longer pull yourself up to the side of the crib and bounce and jiggle with complaint that I'm not picking you up fast enough.

Sleeping Griffin, 10 months old today

Today you stood for a good 10 seconds on your own and clapped your hands. Yes, bravo, little man - bravo! You also figured out how to remove the caps from your sister's markers and really enjoyed the black one for the 3.5 seconds before I pried it from your extremely firm grasp. You were not so happy to give up the marker and of course went looking for more. And I of course handed you a screw top variety - try that one kid. And you probably will. I'm scared.

Eating the alphabet book

You love books - we read with you before every nap and bedtime and you talk along and grab the pages and fuzzy parts. At other times you wrestle them, gnaw on them, and simply enjoy the heck out of playing with them. I don't usually intervene, unless you're actually ripping pages and then attempting to eat the paper.

Bird requested a photo with Griffy and recommended "orange" as the filter (toaster)

You love your sister...you look for her when she's not around and when you hear her voice you call out so sweetly. "Deh?" She's not enamored with your hair pulling loving enthusiasm, but often remarks on how cute you are. So far you've not held any grudge toward her toy stealing, biting (less of this lately thank goodness), "accidental" bumping into, etc., etc. She can do no wrong in your eyes. I love watching you guys play together.

#janphotoaday - close up - Yay! Griffy's passport arrived. We can officially move to Germany now :)

We finally got your passport...so little in your picture. Now we are all ready for Germany. So many adventures ahead.

#janphotoaday Childhood - sister and brother

In the morning you'll happily hang out in your high chair for a few minutes (we did have to recently fashion a seat belt - whatever happened to the other one who knows) and eat a rice cracker while morning busy-ness in the kitchen takes place. Bird often wants one too and you're happy to "feed" anyone willing to offer a mouth.

Messy finger licking good

You enjoy feeding yourself and especially like blueberries and tomatoes, just like your sister :o) I don't think you've turned down anything we've offered you.


You are such a delight. At 10 months you are really showing so much of who YOU are and it's a joy to watch. Playful, determined, curious, engaging, and so very sweet. We love you Griffybear. :o)

Hugs and Kisses, Mama

Happy Halloween!


Bird was the cutest cowgirl this year...she practiced a lot of giddyup's! and yeehaw's! and had been wearing bits and pieces of her costume for close to a month. We had so much fun last night :o)

Cowgirl Cowgirl Cowgirl Cowgirl

No pics to share of Griffy in his stegosaurus costume - it was super cute. There are some pics on my phone but it was getting dark and he is a wiggly 7 month old. So you can imagine how not so great the shots are. I was a woodland fairy (sort of)...holding a whining/screaming baby in one arm while trying to paint leaves on my cheek with the other. Then he nursed and promptly fell asleep. I was going to feel so guilty getting him into a costume while asleep, then thankfully he woke from a 20 minute slumber and was good to go :o) Trooper.

We went with my lovely friend Mrs. Potato Head and her furry friend Hans dressed adorably in a sailor coat.

Happy Halloween everyone, and now on to November and December and other fun things ahead!

Hugs, Devon


Griffin is 7 months

Griffin, 7 months (w Bird's hat)

Griffin is 7+ months old and zooming ahead on things I'm totally not ready for!

Case in point...finding him climbing the pantry drawers, trying so so hard to grab that bright red box of Indian food.

Griffin, 7 months

Before I knew it he was moving along to the next thing - not happy to just be on his knees, of course!

Griffin, 7 months

So now he's pulling up to stand. Really? At 7 months, is this normal? And if I hold his little chubbers of hands he'll WALK from room to room. Maybe I shouldn't be encouraging this behavior. Lest I have a 9 month walker.

 Griffin, 7 months (standing!!)

Griffy is just the sweetest and cutest at 7 months...we don't want him to keep growing :o) He has both bottom teeth (got those while Jared was traveling, along with a cold). Then a top tooth poked its way out a few days ago, followed by another cold (this time with a cough). I'm sure the next top tooth is coming soon. But really hoping for no more colds for a while, please?

Hugs, Devon

Cereal box kids

I sent these pictures to family yesterday and the response I got was they'd be perfect on cereal boxes :o) Especially Bird's picture - can we say animated?? What a ham.

I've started Griffin on the baby led feeding thing...basically he eats real solid foods instead of purees. He doesn't mind the occasional puree/smooth baby food, but wow does he get excited for spears of sweet potato! It was really fun. I've ordered these bibs based on another mom's review and can't wait till they arrive (backordered!).

It looks like it's going to dump buckets of rain out there. I feel like Fall is arriving. Just in time for us to get a bunch of exterior work done on the house...oh well, can't always have the best timing. I'm dying to get to Lowe's (w/o kids would be heaven) so I can get paint samples. I'm leaning toward an artichoke heart green for the house body color, a firey orange/red for the inner sash trim, and a creamy white for all the larger main parts of trim. I'll also add an eggplant color in there (probably paint it myself to save cost) on some detail trim parts for extra fanciness. What fun! Can't wait to get this house painted. Now to line up the contractor for exterior rot fixes, and the gutter guy, etc.

Have a lovely afternoon & Happy Columbus Day, or Native American Day - whatever's your choosing!

Hugs, Devon

Griffin is 6 months

Beach Day

Dear Griffin,

Happy half year birthday to you!

It was officially on the 17th of September but the time has gotten away from me. There is so much going on in our lives right now. The busiest we've ever been I believe. You contribute to that busy-ness quite a bit but we don't mind so much :o)

At 6 months old you are so active and physical, so into your world. You've been eating solid foods for over a month, practically launching yourself into them. You loved munching on a half of a ripe peach and you've eaten entire figs from our tree. You are quite the eater (like dad!). This morning you munched blueberries from my fingers and last night at dinner you ate sweet potatoes and quinoa. It's quite fun seeing your enthusiasm.

You are sitting up on your own quite nicely and scooting yourself vigorously across the room. When you see something you want you really go for it. Hardly getting upset, just doing whatever you can to get that thing in your fat little hands then into your mouth. You love when Phylo or Sanguine (especially Sanguine, who is at your height) get close so you can grab handfuls of fur. Sanguine will hiss at you but has not bitten (yet). This really makes you laugh.

Laughing...you are such a happy little guy. Very ticklish, so incredibly charming. There is nothing like the sound of you laughing :o)

Sleep is challenging...naps are often short but I think it's because we drag you around everywhere and it's too hard to nap. At night you're up a lot but we're working on that. With dad gone to Germany for 2 weeks I'm so tired but your smiles motivate me to stay cheerful.

We love that you joined our family and have planted yourself quite nicely in your own unique spot. You are just what we needed! We love you Griffybear.

Love, Mama

It's official :: Auf Wiedersehen!

That's right...I just said goodbye, in German ;o)

We are moving!!

Not forever, just a 3 year commitment and we're keeping our house and doing storage and such. So we're definitely coming back (can you hear my relief?). Jared resigned from his job of 11 years and took a new one with a company in Germany. We will be moving in March. Until then (and maybe then too?) things are going to be tough...Jared will travel for 2 or 3 weeks at a time every two weeks :( But the pay off will be living right on the border with the Netherlands, 4+ hour drive from Paris, quick trip to Belgium, 3 hours from my parents (they're by the Air Force base in Ramstein), with 30 days vacation a year, oh, and Ikea (Netherlands) just 25 minutes away which is the same amount of drive time it is for us here ;o) It's the important things right?

Mostly, it will be a new experience. A fresh start, a paradigm shifting maybe. I think we've been needing it. I've been trying to accept my current situation of having so little time to myself and being so busy with two young children. I may as well go focus on that in a different country right?

Speaking of no time to myself...I'd better publish this now before it takes me a week to come back to it.

Hugs, Devon

Griffin is 5 months

And three days shy of 6 months but I am determined to record 5 months on my blog before the opportunity passes. Griffy, at 5 months you are extremely grabby & strong (!), happy and laugh easily, take painfully short naps and don't sleep through the night (but we love you anyway...). In fact, you are up from your nap right now and I have to go get you. I'm sure you'll have a smile for me :o) Griffin, 5mths Griffin, 5mths Griffin, 5mths hugs, Devon

Book recommendation for busy 3 year olds who should be sleeping

It's laaaaate and I should be getting to bed (Griffin is up a lot at night these days for who knows what reason) but I'll be mad at myself if I don't type this out right now. I'm already a little sad I didn't take pictures.

Anyway, a certain friend of mine gave Bird the book pictured above for her 3rd birthday. It's awesomely funny. And my mischievous inner child can't help but egg Bird on a bit while we're reading it. "Look, see where his mom stashed the paint so he won't be able to get it", etc. etc.

Tonight I checked on Bird before going to bed. She's often in odd little places about her room. It's strange to find her tucked in with nothing else strewn about. This time I walked in and found her on the floor. She started to get up when I came toward her and I immediately saw black marker all over her hands (like gloves people) and lower half of her face. I scanned the scene and saw THE BOOK opened up like an instruction manual on her bed. Markers uncapped all over the bed. And scrawls across the sheets, bed frame, dresser. I scooped her up and got Jared, hand over my mouth to keep the howls of laughter in (not entirely successful at that one). Jared got her cleaned up while I changed out all the bedding and wiped off all the markered surfaces (thank goodness for washable markers!!!). Looking at the scene more closely I found a baby wipe totally covered in black marker. I think she was actually trying to clean herself up after the whole wild escapade and then fell asleep in process on the floor.

So if you need a little excitement in your life please give your child this book. Or give it to your friends child ;o) They may not find it as funny as we did but hopefully so.

Hugs and good night!!

3 adults 3 kids 2 dogs::Camping in Big Meadow

Big Meadow

We were just a little afraid...but we did it anyway :o) Like most anything with small children, camping was a lot of work but it was so worth it for the change of scenery, fresh air, new experiences for Bird, time with friends, time w/o internet and phones, etc., etc.

We drove into the Sierras on Friday and luckily found a spot at Big Meadow campground. Our initial plan was to camp at Lake Alpine but our friend David got there before us and found it to be less than ideal (boggy, no fire ring which meant NO fires, eep!, & LOTS of mosquitos) so we found a sweet little spot at Big Meadow. Picture huge granite boulders, towering redwoods, creeks with crystal clear cold water, miniature everything else - mosses, powdery blue butterflies, teeny alpine flowers. Just divine.

Big Meadow

We spent time both hiking & exploring as well as trying to get Griffin to sleep, haha ;o) I walked up and down the road for half an hour with Griffy in the sling while reading my Sunset magazine. Heck, that actually was somewhat relaxing.

Jared did what he normally does. Made me nervous by throwing Bird "high in the sky please?!" (her words) and crossing rivers on fallen logs with 4mth old Griffy strapped to his chest. Not too happy about that one still...

Bird LOVED it all. We are planning our next trip and hopefully one for each month next summer as well.

The only real issue was how crazy cold it got at night...and that when sharing one space for sleep, if one person wakes up often everybody wakes up. This can be a bit of a bummer. Note photo below...hard to tell but that is the sunrise behind Jared and the kids :o)

Big Meadow

David and his little guy joined us in camping. Bird loved having someone to dote on.

Big Meadow

Big Meadow
We'd only been at the campground half an hour and look how dirty Bird was already! I'm STILL washing clothes & bedding, etc. Even the ergo carrier smells smoky.

This picture is great because it shows that Phylo is the same while camping as he is at home. Always wanting to be up on something. He chose the little table for his bed. And tada! That is our new car...sadly, we had to let go of the Element. It's a bit of a bummer - it's been such a fun car and was awesome for my mural business. But the Odyssey can do just about everything the Element did and possibly better. It fits a 4x8 sheet of plywood or drywall FLAT on the floor and you can close the doors! It gets better gas mileage. It can fit 8 people. And Phylo. And lots of stuff. And I can't tell you how much easier it is to get kids (especially in a rear facing carseat) in and out of the car. WOW. Yes, we have a minivan and I really LOVE it. :o)

Big Meadow

We also played at Alpine Lake on Saturday. Beautiful deep cold lake. I'd love to go back with a canoe and paddle to the inner islands. Maybe next summer.

Big Meadow

Bird was nervous about going in the water at first. But when she finally did it was near impossible to get her out.

Big Meadow

I encourage you...if you have kids and have not taken them camping, you should REALLY do it! It's worth it.

Big Meadow

Hugs, Devon

Griffin is 4 months old

Griffin, 4 months

Sweet Griffy boy :o) 4 months old!

Griffin, 4 months

Hands in the mouth, grabbing everything, decent sleeper, happy kid.

Griffin, 4 months

Bird is still just as obsessed with her little brother. It's lovely, most of the time.

Griffin, 4 months

He has super hearty laughs. Bird didn't laugh like this so we're really enjoying every bit of it :o)

Griffin, 4 months

Hugs, Devon