Ballard Famiglia


2 years later...

...and life keeps rolling along. Our two year old is now four, and he is a loving, funny, feisty blessing.


Changing Seasons...

With the rain showing up last weekend, I guess it is time to (sigh) close out summer and think about autumn. There was a small part of me that enjoyed the coziness last Saturday of the rain pattering on the skylights, and actually wanting to put socks on so my feet didn't get cold on the wood floors. I'm sure that part of me that was excited about winter coming will be long gone by mid-December, though. Summer ended in a frenzy of wedding fun, visits from friends and relatives, and starting the new school year on an 80 degree day (whew!).

A fun time in Puerto Vallarta -sans Giacomo- with newlyweds Nicole and Jeff. We had great time enjoying the beach and pool, and I was thrilled to get BBC so we could watch snippets of the DNC in our hotel room.

Giacomo didn't show an ounce of fear - he absolutely loved his first pony ride. It didn't hurt that the pony's name was "Harley".

Giacomo in his bell-ringer "pirate suit". For more on that story, see

Taking advantage of the last couple of sunny weekends on Whidbey
We hung out at home a lot more this summer - it was nice having more room!

G is a big help in the kitchen. We hope soon he'll be making pumpkin pie for us.


Putting away groceries

A couple of weeks ago Giacomo was "helping" me put away groceries. I asked him to hand me the cans from the box so I could put them in the mini-fridge, but he had other ideas...


Summer fun!

Sunshine is such an upper! We've been having fun enjoying the toasty days!We started summer off with a trip to Chelan with the Turners. Brandon, Ryan, Colin and Giacomo are the ultimate wakeboard spotters!

Giacomo discovered ice cream, and loves it of course. It's such a bummer when we have to finish his cone for him...
Had some Fourth of July fun with Adam and my parents on Whidbey. Bill and Sue Goodman (neighbors from the Auburn days) and their adorable grandkids Ella and Severin joined us for a fantastic day. Giacomo loved the parade and carnival, and HATED the fireworks. Maybe next year he'll see them for the cool things they are. I mean, what's not to like about gunpowder?!

With summer in full force, we are especially enjoying being so close to the beach. We've been enjoying picnics at Golden Gardens, and there's always a drum circle or two to amuse G.


Moved in!

Seven months and one week (but who's counting?)after demo started on our house, we got to move back in. We're still living out of boxes and hunting for things, but it's great to be home. Stop by if you're in the 'hood (and don't mind a mess!)...



Giacomo celebrated his 23 month birthday with a snowball fight. Yikes!


Windows, floors & a bathroom

I guess we can move in! Okay, not quite yet. We still need some paint, countertops, and fixtures, but things are moving right along. We have been really impressed and happy with Axiom, our design/build firm.

Giacomo likes running around the Tigerwood floors.
Bathroom is getting the finishing touches.
Soon we'll be back in the 'hood!


Wrapping Up Winter

Giacomo is getting so big, and starting to act like a sassy 2 year old. He starting walking on his own pretty well while we were at Mt. Bachelor over mid-winter break, which was a joy to see! It's amazing what having 3 other boys to chase after will do for his motivation to move!
We enjoyed great weather in Oregon - here we are on a walk along the Deschutes River (yes, like the brewery - yum!).
Colin, Ryan, Brandon & Giacomo - the Mt. Bachelor ski bunnies!

We had a fun visit with the Tuttles and Pauletta, and Giacomo had a great time playing with Shaye and Ryder. I think the cherry on top was when Giacomo got to borrow some Dora pajamas to wear home. When I took the PJ's out of the dryer to fold them last week, G grabbed them and promptly gave Dora a big smooch. She's definitely right up there with curious George on the favorites list!
Bring on the sunshine!


Three Virtuosos (almost)

We had an impromptu brunch after the Love 'em or leave 'em Dash at Green Lake, and Ryan, Giacomo and Colin provided some lovely after-brunchin' music. I especially love Giacomo's headbanging...


"There's No Crying In Baseball!"

Giacomo had a great time "running" (sort of) the bases at Safeco Field during Mariner's Fanfest today, until I plunked him down on second base for a picture. His near-tears boo-boo face caught the camera person's attention, and he put Giacomo live on the Jumbotron TV! Luckily he held it together until I picked him up. Go Mariners!


First Haircut in a Taxi

I couldn't bear to see the curls go, so Miss Rachel didn't take too much off. Giacomo didn't like the cape, but once he was distracted by the toys, animals on the wall, and tattoos, he did okay.


Buon Natale 2007

Christmas fun started with some Festivus bowling up in Oak Harbor. The boys really dressed up (Jeff politely declined the fashion contest).

Christmas Eve we headed to church for the kids' service, where Giacomo was enthralled with the bells, singing, and candles. It was fun to see so many friends and some of the kids (now adults) who used to be in the children's choir at church, who are now in college, or even having kids of their own! After church we headed to my cousin's house, where Giacomo got to play with his cousins Evan, Cadence, Aubrie and Rogan. It was cute having all the little blondies jumping around the house!Christmas morning Matt and Betsy and Aunt Kelly came over. Betsy cooked a yummy breakfast for us, Giacomo opened presents, and we watched A Christmas Story. My dad had NEVER seen it before!

Giacomo sure loved the kid-sized train some of my students made for him!

Merry Christmas!


Whistler Thanksgiving

We had 4 days of sunshine this year up at Whistler! Thanksgiving dinner was fabulous, and the 20 or so friends and family that came up were a blast to hang out with. Just before Thanksgiving dinner, someone yelled "Bear!" and sure enough, there was a black bear ambling up the drive outside our townhouse. Luckily the living area and balcony was one level up, so we could safely crowd the balcony and scare the bear away. On Saturday before we left, we saw a mama bear and her cub walking through parking area.
It was so relaxing and uplifting to get to spend an extended amount of time with people that we just don't get to see enough of.

A yummy feast!

Beautiful day at the summit - and the skiing was great!

Ryan, Colin and Giacomo kept us on our toes!


Roof, windows and siding



Spawn of Beth's

Giacomo had his first trip to Beth's Cafe on Thursday. HE doesn't know that he is in the spot where his parents (and uncle) worked many, many graveyard shifts together, played lots of pinball, and fell in like (okay, or maybe love). But it was fun taking him to the place where it all started! Lots of great memories...but I sure don't miss working graveyard and waiting on drunk frat boys...

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Giacomo & Fiona

We had dinner with the Conners last night. Jeff and I enjoyed catching up with Dave and Chaos, and Giacomo had a great time playing with Fiona! They both looked so cute together with their little blond curls and impish faces. Fun!
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Fungroover, BC

Matt, Giacomo and I had a fun, sunny weekend in Vancouver while Jeff was in India. Coll and Simon were fabulous hosts, as always!Soakin' in the sun!

Yes, I made Matt shoot a posed photo...probably won't get another one until Jack graduates...

Checking out the fountain at Queen Elizabeth Park



The second level is really taking shape! The nice weather lately has been a help in getting things done - hopefully we'll get everything dried in before our next big rain. Did I say "we"? Right, what I meant was, thank goodness for framers and roofers and hopefully THEY will get it dried in soon - the royal "we" is way too busy (and tired) for this kind of project!
Below is the computer-designed "finished" house , although we won't be going with the mint green paint.

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Here's a sleepy picture of our little signer (no I don't mean singer, although he loves to do that too!). In the last month or so, Giacomo has really taken off with sign language. His first sign was "more" (which he's doing in the photo above), and "motorcycle" was a close second. Now without reminders he uses more, motorcycle, eat, kitty, dog, diaper, gentle, sleep, cookie, play, milk, airplane, book, hat, please and I'm sure a couple more I'm forgetting. It's so great being able to communicate, although we haven't figured out how to sign "Please go get mommy a glass of wine." That's probably a good thing.


Ready for GQ