A Year of Thanks

1 post a day for 365 days showing gratitude

let the good times roll December 31, 2013

Filed under: family fun — courtsbrogno @ 11:29 am

Christmas time is a blast for me. I love it all: the cheer, the songs, the wrapping, the buying. All of it. this is my holiday.

The only thing I regret this year is not turning my bookshelves into this:

42(Why did I not think of this myself????)

I think what I like most about this season is the hunkering down I tend to do over the holidays. I stay in. I hang out with the kids. We watch movies. We get a break from work and school. Everything just slows down in life. I love it.

Here’s the highlights:

13(Decorating the Christmas tree and Luke refused to wear pants. That’s the way we roll.)

14(We celebrated the holiday by seeing the local band Fialta play all Christmas music at Kreuzberg, our local coffee shop. Who knew that a bunch of adults singing Christmas carols could be so much fun?)

16(I went to a few holiday parties)

18(And we hosted our own gathering)

11(We drank champagne instead of beer or wine!)

19(Shopped for Christmas presents and found th most inappropriate toy EVER. To me, this just screams rape. I mean, come on, the only girl smurf lying in a martini glass? Who thought this was a good idea?)

35(Then Christmas was upon us and I was so thankful to just be present with my kids–the best gift ever)

43(Maddie got what she wanted from Santa)

37(So did Luke)

44(Kirby got cheeky)

45(Kirby got Maddie sloth socks because as a 14 year old teenage girl, her closest animal relative right now is a sloth)

38(Luke getting Lincoln  Logs. I loved these as a kid)

32(Luke got not one, but two watches.)

36(Maddie finally getting her own rainbow sandals so now she can stop wearing mine)

39(Even though Maddie claims to hate reading, I still made sure she got some books, hopefully not to just collect dust And a Kirby photo bomb in the back)

31(Maddie’s  gift to Luke: a firetruck set)

33(The bounty!)

I wish I could say we did some extravagant things after Christmas and before today, but besides a few trips to the movies and to walk around, we all stayed inside and just played, slept, and ate. It was glorious.)
















And finally, I caught up on all my New York Times Sunday newspapers:


The end. Our vacation is almost over and it’s New Years Eve. Time to prepare for 2014.


Christmas is almost here, so I’d better get to summer and fall December 23, 2013

Filed under: family fun,friends — courtsbrogno @ 8:12 am

Ohhhh…this post has been a long time coming, but there’s been so much going on in my life that I haven’t made any time to write on this blog. But I have been writing…more about that later.

For now, let’s just get to summer. Here’s the deal. We had PLANS. Lots of them. Maddie even made a summer bucket list with tons of cool stuff for us to do: camping, road trips, face painting. It was a really long and fun list.

But we did practically NONE of it.

This was partly because we had to move AGAIN. But this was a great thing. My terrible, awful landlord actually moved into the house right behind us and  made it her sole purpose and pleasure to make our life a living hell. I’m not going to go into the details now because I’m trying desperately to forget about the whole incident. We also, in the midst of deciding to move, had to make some choices: do the kids and I strike it out on our own or do we move as a whole family, S and Kirby included. We decided to go with the whole family. But living where I do, it’s almost impossible to find a place that’s 1. affordable and 2. allows dogs and cats. So we looked and looked and looked and got frustrated and more frustrated and then we made contact with Marcy, who is now our most amazing landlord, a God-send, and rented us her house, which is on my favorite street and is old and has character and most importantly, very large. It’s also super close to downtown, Maddie’s school, and my work. I will die in this house.mving(Moving SUCKS, but moving away from the anti-Christ made it all worthwhile).

luke moving(This is how Luke helped move.)

new house(Our new house with an awesome porch)

new house view(The view from our porch)

new house view 2(We even got a rainbow a few days after we moved in. Surely this is a very good sign).

So most of the summer we spent giving this new house some TLC. It’s such an old house it really needed it. We planted a garden and painted, which for the dining room meant removing about 12 layers of paint and wallpaper.

painting(Ridiculously difficult work, especially when using a butter knife and some vinegar)

Partly our summer was also super mellow because I was so burned out from teaching. Because I joined SUSTAIN and had to change most of my curriculum, I was incredibly busy, and when school ended, I just kind of flopped down and stayed that way.

But we did have time to go to the beach a whole bunch.

maddie beach friends(Maddie and her girlfriends who wouldn’t sit next to me nor Luke).

luke beach(But Luke and I still had fun)

luke beach 2(He never minds getting super dirty. I love this about him)

beach(Kirby never minded Luke running into the water, getting super cold, and then lying on him)

S took the kids to our local shelter and we got a new cat. Ahem, S got a new cat. I refuse to take care of one more living thing.

boo boo bat ears(Luke names him Bat Ears. S named him Boo Boo. Now we call him Boo Boo Bat Ears. P.S. No one knows what happened to his tail)

I took Luke to the circus (no animals!) and he loved it. Maddie didn’t want to go to something “so silly,” but we had a great time.

luke circus(God, I love cotton candy so much.)

I also found out I won a little award. It makes me feel all weird inside though, like I don’t deserve it or something. I don’t know how to describe it. It just doesn’t feel right. But at the same time, I very proud of myself.


I got a chance to get away from the kids and town and go down to LA to do some exploring.

la trip 2(Went to the LACMA. Rothko gets me every time)

la trip 3(I just thought this was hilarious. And very, very true. If not a bit didactic)

la trip(I went to the Edison in Downtown LA and saw a pretty cool burlesque show)

la trip 4(My biggest LA accomplishment: I navigated the LA garment district, didn’t get lost, and haggled for prices!)

me and gpa(And I got to see my grandpa!)

We also did sneak in one trip this summer. We went up to the Russian River like we do every year (OK, I skipped last year) to watch my Uncle Michael run the ironman–named the vineman because it goes through Sonoma. This year he finished in about 13 hours. INCREDIBLE.

river trip 1(Family vacation beginning!)

river trip to see jonathan(Saw my brother for a minute!)

redwood house(We stayed at a rental, but it is my dream house. A redwood grew through it. And there were gnomes. I love gnomes)

river(We hung out by the beautiful Russian River)

l and m river(River life)

luke river

mama and luke(I could move to this area in a heart beat)

finished im(And we watched my uncle’s crazy race. But he did it and beat his old time by hours. I was so proud. Hell, we all were)

luke um ironman(Except maybe for Luke, who got pretty tired at the end of the day)

gg bridge(Back over the Golden Gate Bridge [the best bridge!] because it was time to start getting ready for fall)

We also took in some Cal Poly soccer games before school started.

family soccer game(Maddie was at a sleepover, but we were missing her)

cp soccer game(The players always come by and say hello to the kids. I love this about our team).


But right before, Maddie got braces!

maddie braces(Dammit! She’s still so beautiful. I’m hoping though that the braces will be a boy-stopper).

So school started, and Maddie changed schools. No more private, Catholic school. This girl is a full-time public high school student.

maddie freshman(And she loves it. And so do I. No joke. I love this school so much)

And then the first day of school came for all of us. Maddie off to be a freshman and Luke off to Kindergarten. I tell you, I almost lost it. If I didn’t have to teach  that day, I would have probably cried all day long.

1st day of school(First day. New backpacks. Slays me.)

And then life got super busy.

Maddie made the volleyball team.

maddie vball

m vball

And still played soccer.

maddie soccer

And this was also Luke’s first year playing AYSO soccer.

luke soccer

And between Maddie’s busy schedule and Luke’s schedule and adjusting to new schools and new schedules, I still had to work.

back to work

(My office. No fun happens there)

There were, at times I admit, that I felt like I was holding onto our lives with the very thinnest of strings. Threads really. Let’s be honest, in retrospect, I have no idea how I did it all. Lean-In, Sheryl Sandberg? Fuck You. I’m just trying to stay standing.

But this did cheer me up at some low points:

luke jesus(Luke drew this and claims it’s Jesus Christ. When I asked him who Jesus is, he said he didn’t know. That’s my boy. And probably my poor parenting).

As did the fact that I finally got a new, working record player. Finally!

record pplayer

And went to a fun vintage party with some good girlfriends:


Then got crazy sick:

sick(My message to Kirby)

Maddie went to her first high school dance–Homecoming. And I was thrilled that she wore converse!!!! But, shhhh….don’t tell her I told you that)

maddie 1st dance

Thanksgiving came and went, but I was so busy I barely noticed. However, the local Cal Poly turkey made it out alive. Thankfully.

cp turkey

And that about sums it all up. I rushed I know, but it wasn’t that interesting of a summer or fall. I mean, it was interesting for sure. A bunch of new changes and expectations and there’s a lot I’m leaving out because I’m saving some things for a few future posts.

Next summer will be better.

Here’s an adorable picture of Luke though, which makes up for almost anything bad he does as well as hopefully this rushed blog post:

cutest luke pic ever