Day Two and Three- Railroads and Capitol

The Railroad Museum in Sacramento is exceptional, as retired train after retired train greet you to awe you with their size. The staff sit aboard every train, and are prepared to discuss that particular engines history and travels.

History of the west and the development of the western states is woven throughout the engines.

You can go inside many of the trains, others you must be content with glimpses from the windows at the life size wax passengers inside.

Claire was very happy to have “All the sisters” in one place, though this particular photo lacks Madeleine.

The conductors seat stirs the imagination.

How many brothers can fit in one seat?

The capitol building is nestled in a garden like arena, complete with orange trees full of fruit.

The children bonding with their new state animal:

Christmas Day

Christmas suspense was building. This little watcher kept a tree-side vigil patiently:


Well, mostly patiently.


We enjoyed Christmas music from family musicians old:

and new:


One of the best parts of the day was a father-son Jingle Bells duet. Alexander has been taking clarinet lessons for about three months.


Keeping time:img_1981

Little brothers-my favorite.

Daniel and Dominic sweethearts. Joseph is not amused.



Grandparents visited:


Dominic and Claire love to play ‘puppysitting’


Landon won the originality award for wrapping presents for himself:img_6610

Merry Christmas!


Summer Days

Sweltering heat and humidity set in at the beginning of the week, setting the mood for the transition into late summer. Another month and I’ll be making final preparations for the school year, a fact I’m trying not to think about longer than needed. For now, I’m relishing every minute of watermelon, campfires and summer sun-when I’m not occupied by waiting tables.

I started as a waitress all the way back in January, but I’m only just beginning to be really good at it. I am learning that most things are harder than they look, and I’ve been amazed by the amount of multitasking skills required. Balancing a thousand tasks at once is definitely not one of my strengths, but I have been slowly improving in ways to remember and organize multiple areas.

Interacting with so many people has also presented new challenges. I have had to  focusing on ways to make quick connections and conversations with total strangers from every background imaginable. Now I am starting to build a stockpile of topics (Are you from town? Busy day?) and tricks (I will stare directly at you until you finally make eye contact with me, and then I will smile so cheerfully to find out if you are friendly, so I can chat with you, or if you want me to leave you alone, and I will go away as soon as possible).

The family is bustling with even more activity than usual, between ongoing construction projects and trying to keep up with the baby and two puppies (a seven month old collie and a three month old Golden Retriever) who seem to spend most of the day trying to outdo each other in their escapades. Benjamin is also on his way to setting the record for earliest talker in the family, even thwarting attempts to teach him sign language. I once demonstrated the the word ‘outside’ when he was waiting by the door, and after a few moments of thought, said “out-ite” with a twinkle in his eyes.