Super-Sized Spring Break

Cannot believe the sheer number of activities our family shoehorned into eight Spring Break days! All three kids and all three schedules overlapped for one overstuffed, wonderful, trying week. I'm still not fully recovered from being ON for so long and with such intensity, so this will be choppy. But here's a record of what we celebrated/survived:

A free-range, grain-fed, at-home spring break would mean the kids would slaughter each other by Tuesday or I would keelhaul them sooner than that, so on Saturday all five of us drove from the Bay Area to San Diego. Our goals: Easter Bunny time with my mom and brothers' families, and witnesses for/help with any keelhauling. 

Seymour drove down with us and got to partake in Easter fun, kiddie egg hunting, beach frolicking, and even a 7.2 earthquake in the middle of Easter dinner.

Then he had to leave Sunday evening as his series, Quest, was mid-launch on its fourth season. He even blogged about it: the coolness of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's chain-mail-scuba-diving-shark-tank cleaners, which he  filmed, as well as something I alluded to on Twitter as being cooler than my Forum interview: my charming husband was invited to meet and go behind the scenes with Mythbusters Jamie and Adam! (HATE HIM sometimes.)

Monday Leo got up at 5 AM and we visited the seals in La Jolla Cove and we went to Anza Borrego Desert (pix below) which was in full bloom - dramatic cholla and ocotillo and barrel cactus and dramatic scenery and palm canyons. I hadn't seen the desert in bloom since I was ten. There was freezing rain and hot apple pie in the mountain town Julian on they way back, then perfectly pristine blue skies back at the coast.

Tuesday Leo got up at 5 AM again and I got a triple shot latte at 6 AM. A couple of hours later (before the caffeine wore off) I was invited to a group interview with the amazing Holly Robinson Peete (post coming tomorrow) about her adorable, necessary new kids' book My Brother Charlie. I was not able to get babysitting and my mom had to work but thankfully my brother and sister-in-law volunteered to pinch-hit with Leo while I asked my questions.

Wed Leo got up at 5 AM again and I published my BlogHer interview with Pamela Merritt, aka Shark Fu of Angry Black Bitch, as part of BlogHer's autism awareness month, including my Welcome to Yellowknife post, and interviews with all the BlogHer10 autism panelists - Pamela's was the first, I will be interviewing Stimey next week, plus my sister BlogHer contributing editor Mir will interview Sharon DaVanport, plus write her own posts, which I will link to here as they emerge. Interviewing Pamela was such an honor -- I adored her long before I found out her brother Bill has autism. Her interview is of particular value to those thinking about the people they love who have autism and are thinking about long-term caregiving needs.

Wed also: Drove home. Was looking forward to resting after three three-hour nights, but then my mom told me that she never drives anymore because she falls asleep even on the drive between San Diego and Orange County. She wasn't trying to terrify me, but she did. And terror is a powerful stimulant. So I was in the driver's seat, all the way home. Which was fine.

We stopped by Seymour's brother's restaurant in Culver City on the way home, and discovered that he serves the scrumptious as ably during lunch as during dinner. We also took a short detour to meet Bonnie Sayers of Autism Family, who was even lovelier in person. Didn't get to meet both of her sons but we did meet N, who was charming and who understood Mali instantly. Leo was in mood, though; we didn't get to stay long. :(

Thursday: Leo painted a painting with a wonderful therapist for an autism auction later this month.  I was skeptical but the artist had faith in him and he responded to her faith with beautiful results. Perhaps I will go to the auction and bid on his painting.

Friday/Sat/Sun: More trips: My wonderful mom watched Mali while Leo and Iz went to sibling camp and Seymour and I took off for weekend at coast - first trip away together in more than two years in which I was able to jettison all projects and finish work before we left. And we saw/talked about/experienced: Sharks, flowers, beach walks, hot tubs. People were so nice everywhere. We found out that gimlets were created to thwart scurvy and they are now my new drink because I heart anything about which once can say, "eat/drink this so you won't get scurvy!" We saw an informal, unmarked beachfront graveyard and talked with someone who'd found centuries-old bones there. We found out why the coast is called the Chalk Mountains (come on, ask me!). We got to see two local bats up close!

This spring break deserves one of the Was it a Good Week? posts. So much amazingness. But Leo didn't sleep. I won't ever again go on vacation with three kids and no Seymour without arranging for someone else to take over my work shifts. And there were no breaks during the day - no one else was able to handle Leo. Who wasn't at his best - he had one tantrum the likes of which I've not seen since 2008. Nor were his sisters. And there were horrible, stressful, this-shouldn't-happen-to-anyone events happening in friends' lives that I couldn't do anything about.

But: Wildflowers were in full explosion mode in Tejon Pass, Anza Borrego Desert, Torrey Pines, and on the San Mateo County Coast. Got to meet Bonnie. Got to take my mom and kids to their uncle's restaurant. Leo was really sad about going to camp after only being home for a day but cheered up and a great time; Iz had a great time too and we were told that they'd hold a counselor spot for her if she wanted it! Mali, who never gets 1:1 time with anyone, got 1:1 time with her beloved Grandma all weekend. Came home from weekend with Seymour (mmm) revitalized but also after that week (plus windstorms on coast meant no sleeping) to house with kids who were happy to be home and a wonderful mom who had made us all split pea and ham hock stew from scratch. What's not to be happy about? Really. Especially since school for all three kids resumed today.

Here are the pictures:

Leelo drew a house! Spontaneously! During Saturday's dinner at everyone's favorite Anaheim restaurant, Mexi-Casa! I am such a huge believer in the power of the travel-size MagnaDoodle/DoodlePro.

Mali's 14-year-old cousin Nicole really likes to play with makeup. I am both creeped out, and fascinated by the idea of my eyebrowless kid having eyebrows.

Leo pre-Easter egg hunt. He did great! He wasn't as frantic as his siblings and cousins, but still found plenty of eggs, on his own, without more than an initial prompt.

Silly me, I thought the kids wouldn't want to swim in the frigid San Diego waves in April, and brought no bathing suits. But they were all perfectly pleased to be practically piscine in their undergarments.

Leelo visiting his friends the seals. He was initially less than pleased about getting out of the nice warm car before 7 AM. I was not terribly sympathetic as I was not pleased about getting out of my nice warm bed before 6 AM.

Proof that I was awake far too early - I am not only wearing the world's ugliest Crocs (bought at Ross for $10 for precisely that reason -- if one's going to wear such nasty shoes, one must fully embrace their hideousness) but I am wearing them with BLACK SOCKS. Nice background, though, eh?

As my sense of humor has been irreparably warped by being raised with three brothers, I consider this the funniest part of our entire trip to the Anza Borrego Desert Interpretive Center.

Cactus Flower at Anza Borrego!

Leo loved digging with his toes in the soft Anza Borrego sand.

Torrey Pines during wildflower season, another hideous part of San Diego. Those flowers are sea dahlias. They only bloom during particularly lush years.

Purple pound cake at Uncle James's restaurant! Leo liked this cake so much he ate it even when we smothered it with crushed pistachios. Sadly, it may be off the menu by now.

Almuerzo con perro, como muchos Angelenos.

Meeting Bonnie! She gave Iz the most awesome hint-per-day Calendar for kids with autism and social skills deficits. Which Iz immediately hid, because it's HERS.

You've earned a gimlet if you're still here. Fresh lime juice makes all the difference.


  1. So glad you all got away and had some relaxation, even if there were more than a few trying moments. Congrats to Leo on his artwork! I also can't believe Iz is old enough to be a counselor of anything...I've been reading your blog far too long, apparently. Wow.

  2. I'll skip the gimlet tonight (sub: phenergan w/codeine cough syrup). I'm exhasuted by your week! LOL

    But Seymour's meeting Jamie and Adam?? HOW AWESOMELY COOL!! Love those guys!

    Mali w/eyebrows reminds me of all those little girl pageants. Creepy! Love her sweet browless face as-is!

    I've said it before but it bears repeating. Your family's travel adventures and all the outings you take with Leo and the girls...gives me something to look forward to with Nik.

  3. Love the choppy, straight from your brain download and all the lovely details. So glad you got a weekend at the end of the week, too.

    Mali with eyebrows = mini-you.

  4. Gimlet -- yum! I loved this post -- you capture how things can be so good and so hard all at the same time. And my head spins with all the travel and adventures and work you fit into a single day.

    And what/where is this sibling camp!!!??

  5. Heh. Mary, my head is still spinning, and not necessarily in a good way, e.g., I forgot to add that we had a 7.2 earthquake in the middle of Easter dinner! Will go update post.

    The sibling camp (which was a pilot; not sure if they'll do it again) was at: http://viaservices.org/content/camp-costanoan

  6. Politics:- Your posting is very nice Crash Kings is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 2006. It consists of two brothers, Tony Beliveau and Mike Beliveau, who are the keyboardist and bassist respectively. Jason Morris adds the beats to the music, finishing up this trio as the drummer. This unique trio adds a complex zest to the rock genre with a tuneful, aggressive and hard rock sound. Their music stems from the introduction by keyboardist and lead vocalist Tony, who provides their interesting sound to the student aid. Tony, commenting on his own music, said I visualize a place where I feel complete peace – usually a place of natural beauty, immersed in nature. Songs like ‘Mountain Man’ and ‘Come Away’ came out of me being out in nature. Many of the songs have not made it onto mainstream radio or television yet except for their first single, “Mountain Men,” which they were able to finish up their act with to provide a lasting memory of their performance. This song was composed to resemble the intensity of the slopes that Tony and Mike grew up loving.thanks by medical school.


Respectful disagreement encouraged.