first thing you should know, is the lovins are incapable of getting a decent family photo. this was the best of the TWENTY that i had on my camera from the weekend. it's okay.

my grandpa is an old cowboy. he sang cowboy tunes in a cowboy band on a cowboy radio station when he was young, chaps and all. he's your classic western snap button shirt and cowboy hat on the dashboard. he had eleven kids, and all those kids had a lot of kids, so we're this motley crew of gila monsters, basically. there are about 95 of us these days and just over 50 made it home to arizona for the weekend. i grew up in mesa with a hundred million cousins, all living within a mile or two of each other. we mostly shared each others' parents. the elementary school talent show every year was a solid hour of lovin cousins, one after another after another. it was a pretty ridiculous way to grow up. i don't think i fully realized until this weekend how lucky i was to have had that kind of love + support as a kid, and how much i've been missing it since without even realizing it.

i have the neatest uncles. there are eleventy billion of them. a few of them live in utah. they were kind of my surrogate dads when i lived there in college. a few of them are my husband's age, and have become this wonderful sort of friend/older brother mix. somehow my grandpa raised all his boys to be the softest, most loving men. they're all gushy with their kids, none of them seem to feel the need to prove their masculinity in the stupid ways so many of the guys i know seem to, they're all wonderful fathers. even to their brothers' kids. ;) i know in a pinch i could call any single one of them and they would bend the earth and sky to be there for me. it's sort of amazing, the caliber of male influences i have in my life. 

the minute we landed we went for mexican food. and then, since we were in the neighborhood, we drove past our old house my parents designed + built when i was a kid. i remember when the work on the house was just starting and the construction workers laid the concrete backwards, and the look on my mom's face. it was pretty classic.  

seeing my baby there was weird. 

i've spent a lot of time thinking about pockets. not like in your clothes, like pockets you create in places. pockets of yourself. i wrote about it once here, and then wrote about it some more for this book nonsense (though it might get cut--apparently i only needed 35,000 words. i submitted 70,000. sooooo, editing), but being in arizona this time, i started wondering. instead of putting yourself in a pocket in a place, do you think you could put a place in your pocket? and carry it with you? does this sound crazy? i want to figure a way where i can start to bring these places with me, instead of leaving myself behind. 

after we landed but before the mexican food, i had this conversation with brandon about time travel. it felt so weird being back in arizona. it had been 10, maybe 15 years since i'd been there last, and these memories i'd forgotten i had kept coming and coming, every so often i'd see something or smell something, and it really felt like miniature time travel. the airport, even. i remember walking through that airport on my way to the plane that took our family to korea for a year when i was six, i remember walking through that airport on my way to the plane that took our family to connecticut when i was twelve. i didn't have any memories of coming to arizona, just of leaving it. and then walking out into the 93-degree heat, i remember that too. every time i climbed out of a car or walked out of an air conditioned house that weekend, i had that same tactile flashback. being around all of my uncles, and my cousins, driving past the little caesar's where my mom and i used to get pizza for dinner, the bottom of the box burning my bare legs as we drove it home, turning at the corner of taylor junior high where we swam all summer long to get to my grandpa's house, finding the brick by the front door with my old scribbles still on it that say "tiffany, you're funny," it all made me catch my breath. it was like these ghosts were everywhere. it sometimes felt a little like coming face to face with me

i'm fascinated with the idea of who we become and what we leave behind when we come to a new place for a time and then go. and of what happens when we go back. i'm always surprised when i find myself in these places still. it gave me this strange desire to fluff my bangs up six inches high and wear matching shorts and t-shirt sets. you know? it gave me a lot of sudden realizations too, about myself, and my family, as well as other, completely silly, trivial things. and it made me wonder, if i just thought about it hard enough, could i just take all of that with me? instead of the other way around?

yesterday i took my baby to 69th street, a place which feels more like home than our current place does, even though we only lived there for a year. i'm sure once we leave this place, here will start to feel homey to me, too. 

and is this a side effect of moving too much? or of thinking too much? ;)

after mexican food, while poking around our old house, we did a little raiding of our (their) orange tree. 

then we stayed up late chatting in my grandpa's back yard. 

then aaaall the cousins came over and huck took his first ride on grandpa's lawn mower? i guess this is the new rite of passage for the lovin grandkids (the blades were off, still freaked me out). 

this bad photo is the only shot i have of the three lovin generations together. next time i have to remember to do this type of thing on purpose!

and then huck made friends with this snail. arizona really belongs to the bugs, you know. we humans are just passing through. brandon managed to convince one of my uncles to take him scorpion hunting. they found just one, but it only took them about 30 seconds. snails aren't bugs. but yikes, arizona!

and then there was the swap meet of my dreams. turquoise, navajo silver, cowboy hat. check, check, double check. i'm going to look pretty ridiculous wearing that hat around the city this summer. i'm kind of excited.

(photos from our day in sedona next. thrilling!)


we're back in new york after a really, really really quick weekend in arizona for a family reunion. too really quick. looking back at it now, a three and a half day trip involving two full travel days + fifty family members all staying at various places all over the valley, that was maybe never going to be too relaxing. i guess it'd never be possible for me to get as much time with the people i love as i want, i always leave even more homesick than before, and more than a little teary eyed. it was a bit of time travel this weekend, a peek back at the days when we all lived just a few blocks from each other, all five million of us, and i don't think i'd ever appreciated what an amazing way to grow up that was until just now, but more on that later.

first, the pool! my top five list of things to do this weekend included roasting in the sun and gaining at least two pounds of chips and salsa (check and check). we stayed at my aunt jen's in mesa and took serious advantage of her pool. the water was still cold but my mom, my aunt nikki and her kids, and my sister amanda and her family, all came over and we braved it together. 

this is amanda's husband, zach, and my uncle darren's kid, graham. huck was strictly a pool steps dude until watching zach make this dive, and then he looked me square in the eye and said, "mom, i'm gonna jump too." it was just a mild heart attack, watching huck go from the shyest guppy in the pool to full on daredevil flying fish in under thirty seconds. he launched himself off the side of that pool without blinking, no encouragement or prodding needed. as much as a lovin clone as this kid can be most of the time, every now and then this huge brandon streak comes through, and i'm so glad. this move was all dad. i still get timid hopping off the curb onto dry land. ;)

he knew it, too.

and then we graduated to the paddle board... and then we were doing jumps, no floaties needed. pants falling down and everything. this kind of stuff is dad material. by this point i was really working hard on my tan. (nope, skin's still see-through.)

this is my sister amanda and her fat baby silas. spending time with amanda as an adult has been so, so good. i miss her so much! we need to get our act together and just move in next door to each other already.

this is darren's oldest, jaden. how great is this shot? huck was in cousin heaven all weekend. (first cousin once removed heaven, to be precise.) 

my cousins range in age from 35 years to 18 months, it's wild. we counted this weekend, there's like 75 of us. this is darren's youngest, cole, and jen's oldest daughter, sydney. cole slammed his fingers in the pool gate three times, and threw alex's cell phone in the pool once. (he also tossed in a donut and a 32 oz diet coke from the gas station, the pool was all set.)

then the goggles came out and things got really great, really fast. i've been posting about a million shots of huck looking completely ridiculous in these pink goggles on my instagram if you want to check it out. (worth it.) 

attempting to stave off a case of hypothermia. :) huck stayed in that pool like a boss and refused to come out, goose bumps, teeth chattering and blue lips be damned. we finally lured him out of the water with donuts. you know, parents of the year.

p.s. henry holbrook before the pool / henry holbrook after the pool:

i'd say huck won.

i have more photos + thoughts to share later, but for now i'm off in the rain to the visit the post office with our taxes. blerg. happy tax day, kids!

update: my sunglasses! amanda's suit is tbd. i'll have to text her. :)
update update! it looks like this is her swimsuit HERE. she got it during an end of summer sale. good luck!


start your engines, it's clog season! myself, i have enough clogs. but a girl can never have enough clogs, so i still pine from time to time. (04 and 05, right?  need need need). the time to dust off your summery clogs is right now! even if the temperatures aren't reliably humane yet. if you wait too much longer you'll miss the precious, fleeting "socks + clogs" weather, which is right up there with leather jacket leather on my list of things i live for.

clogs can run you all sorts of money and every maker is slightly different. swedish hasbeens seem to run a little narrow. i've long had my eye on no.6 clogs, just because they are so out of my budget i'm brainwashed to think they must be flipping amazing. my dear friend nina has her own line of hand-made clogs, currently based out of sweden but in the middle of moving to new digs to be fully handmade in brooklyn. her clogs are more rustic and clompy, the leather is more raw, which is why i love them, and her prices are very fair. (you can find her at the brooklyn flea most weekends!)  and of course there's eBay! it happens to be a lovely coincidence that i do most of my shopping on eBay these days (designer tastes on a less than designer budget), and clog market on eBay is hopping. i've got a collection of them you can see HERE.

with clogs i've found its best to size down if you're unsure, especially for sandals.

PS: if you're into it i wanna to see your socks + clogs! nina + i joke about it but it looks so great every time #socksandclogs! tag it on instagram so i can ogle your sock collection, please. don't you think a person's choice in socks really says something about a person? they're kind of the final frontier of getting dressed. anyway. 

and thus concludes my project with eBay. thanks to you for your support and to the companies that support this blog. this has been a lot of fun! :)

clogs sources: 01 / 02 / 03 / 04 / 05 / 06 / 07 / 08 / 09

this post was sponsored by eBay. you can follow this and more of my collections on eBay HERE. #followitfindit

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