I’m back home now after a week in California. I went to southern California first, to visit Clarks and then northern California to see the rest of the family and have Thanksgiving. I miss everyone terribly now. I just have their faces floating through my mind now and thought I’d share the few close up shots I have of them.

While on the plane there and back I was reading “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency” by Alexander McCall Smith. I finished it today. The book talks about Africa and the narator expresses their love for Africa constantly throughout the book. I resonated with that aspect. I came back to Michigan and I can’t stop thinking about all the things I experienced in California that made me miss it.

Everything was so familiar. I have a fondness for the smell there. I can’t even explain it. But the air smells fragrant and fresh. In SF it smells like Eucalyptus trees and that’s tangible, but at home, it just has a smell about it. I have a fondness for cool evening air …. not cold air, but cool air. California is basically the desert and beach, so it gets warm during the day but you can always count on it to cool down in the evening and morning. That’s comforting.

And the people. I know Grandma, Aunt Sheri, Aunt Linette and mom will always be there. forever. Aunt Linette and Uncle Cliff will ALWAYS host Thanksgiving. They’ve hosted it for 23 years now … and counting :) My cousin Heather will always be the most positive person I’ve ever met in my life and Devan will always be antsy about people touching his hair. Playing games will always bring out the worst in my family members and the little kids will always attack mom’s fountains.

I think I kind of view Michigan like a terrible step father … trying to take the place of something that was really mine, something that I knew and loved so much and I resent Michigan for that. So I’m back and I’m a little sad. Mourning the loss of a brief reminder of home. Anyway, here are those lovely faces …






dom, liam and noah


Fairyland in CA

I don’t remember going to Fairyland when I was a little girl, but my mom does. She told me about a picture she has of her dad (Ray) holding her up high to touch Pinnochio’s nose at Fairyland. So, we have started going there everytime I’m in California. The kids love it.

I didn’t have a lot of time in northern California, only three days. Wednesday was spent at mom’s house, just easy going and making yams for Thanksgiving and seeing Breaking Dawn part two for a date night, then Thursday was Thanksgiving and Friday we went to Fairyland and went to Fenton’s (I got a black and tan …. super yummy ice cream). I rarely pulled my camera out, which is a shame, but at Fairyland I had it out and thankfully got a lot of good pictures of the fam. Here they are:

These 4 were fast friends: Noah, Liam, Taylor and Dominic. Noah told me Dom and Taylor were his favorite cousins. He followed it up with Liam as his third favorite cousin :) Liam said Luca was his favorite, then changed his mind and said Truan was. When I asked why Truan, he said, “cuz he has da most wegos (legos)”.

Everyone walking on the path to Fairyland. I odn;t know what gang signs Noah learned and is using …. crazy, cuz we were only there in Oakland for a few hours :)

Luca and Aria. Both stunningly gorgeous, right?


Mina, Mom, Aria (pregnant) and Bethany.

Kris (Mina’s hubby) and Devyn Ray (aka Jellybean) on the old lady’s shoe.

The Donner Party (Family … that donner party joke never gets old).

Most of the cousins on the dragon. Noah, Taylor, Livi, Jellybean, Enzo, Liam, Truan, Dom, Jack in Jonathan’s arms … and that crazy guy is Walter :)

OK, I apologize in advance for the amount of pictures I have following. They are all of children on a grassy hill rolling/sliding down. But seriously, the kids stayed on this hill longer than any other part of Fairyland we went to. We kept joking about how we could’ve saved the expense and just taken the kids to a park somewhere with a grassy hill. But hands down, the best part of the grassy hill was Jellybean. She sat and slid down the hill at a sanil’s pace and she looked absolutely thrilled the whole time. She even put her hands up in the air, as if she were riding a roller coaster. It was hilarious because she was sliding so slowly it was almost inperceptible to the human eye.

Noah and Truan

Jelly, just taking a breather.


Liam’s face is hilarious.

Aunt Mema taking a stab at it.

“Hands in the air, Eezma”. The little belly showing, hands up and slowly sliding down the hill had every parent at the bottom of the hill in stitches.

One can never have enough “breathers”

This was Aria posing for me to practice lighting with my camera …. but Aria’s face turned out pretty good huh?

This was taken on the orange train car with me, hence, the orange-ish hue. These three loved each other.




emily jane clark

I finally got to meet Emily this past week. And I love her. I love these first few photos of her because they were taken of her in my arms. Christina held and nursed her for most of the time I was in southern California, but for one, quiet and lazy afternoon I held her while Christina napped. It was heavenly. I held her and she slept on me while I dozed and napped too. She was warm and beautiful and smelled like a new baby. Ray is almost 6 months now and his infant stage is definitely over. I still thought of him as a tiny guy until I met little Emily. She’s perfect. I know all too well how much work it is in the beginning … and how exhausting it is. It’s really a shame that during this recovery period mommies aren’t fully able to see what they have in their arms. At least I was never able to see it. Even with Ray. They are so fresh from heaven. In the midst of craziness and sleepless nights and painful nursing there’s a perfect little being in your arms, wholly dependant on you. They reaally are gorgeous at this moment in time.

It was funny and amazing to me, to see how I felt about my sisters’ kids during this trip to CA. I knew so much about each of them because I talk to their mommies everyday mostly about them. And I just felt like they were mine too. They were an extension of me and my boys and I loved them.

That one lazy afternoon with Emily is when Mina and I did a mini photo shoot of Emily. I realize that they are all basically the same picture … but we took a million and each one is slightly different and I should get props for not posting all 35 pictures we took.