first thing you should know, is the lovins are incapable of getting a decent family photo. this was the best out of TWENTY 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. 

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

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.

huck made friends with a 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. also, snails aren't bugs.

oh yes, the swap meet of my dreams. turquoise, navajo silver, cowboy hat. check, check, double check. 


  1. Oh my heart. Arizona. I feel so homesick now. What am I doing living in Utah and not at home where I belong?! Being a transplant can be hard. Thank you for the nostalgia.

  2. It's always fascinated me how people deal with moves. I grew up military and I have what I call "the 3 year itch". Even after my dad retired, and we settled in MT, we'd change homes every 3 years without even thinking about it. Right now I'm only living in DC for a year (my husband also joined the military during dental school) and in 4 months we move to another mystery destination. I love it! I have a hard time feeling like a place is "home" in the traditional sense. I don't get incredibly attached to other people, not because I don't want to, but because they feel shadowy to me. Once I move, I usually don't return to that place and I know I will most likely not see them again. I do get pretty lonely due to this, but moving is a part of who I am. I was raised to view moving as a giant cleanse. An exciting moment in your life where you and your traveling family unit blink your big eyes at the newness around you and take a deep breath before diving in again. I don't consider places "homes", just "adventures". So I live it up while I'm there, take lots of pictures, pack up, and do it all again. I don't know any of my mom's family and see my dad's side about once every 10 years. Now, both of my parents live in separate places and I've not even seen their new homes yet. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to really develop roots and have a place to return. It sounds cozy and I know I would love the heck out of that too. Instead of igniting my wanderlust, this post gave me a healthy serving of the warmest fuzzies.

  3. i love the pockets analogy. i've lived in four different countries in seven years and i find myself thinking about them all the time. some years were good and some were bad, but i always try and take the good from those years and take those memories with me. loved this post!

  4. your post reminds me about my hometown.i haven't stop by my hometown few months already and i started to miss it so much. a lots of memories had being created during childhood with my families and siblings.a place that will be forever in my heart.thanks for sharing your thoughts in this post.i can absolutely feel what the feelings is all about..i'm kind of emotional now.

    xo josephine

  5. I want to take your pocket analogy, and put it in my own pocket, and carry that with me everywhere I go. Your writing is magic. Thank you for sharing the love! xo

  6. As I ate my oatmeal, watched the morning news, and read your post on your childhood home, I was surprised by an attack of tears that welled up in my eye. I'm about 700 miles away from my folks and my pepto bismal pink childhood bedroom and sometimes I feel like I don't miss it at all. Because life is just so... good right now. But then came the tears and I was transported back to my street, my yard, my house... And all of a sudden I was a little girl running around in the back yard, mixing my dirt potions together in a little circular nook of the roots of the beech tree. Sometimes I forget where I come from (sometimes I think I do this on purpose). It's good to remember.

  7. I've never commented here before- but I really appreciated this post. Makes me also wonder what pockets my kids are creating right in our home right now. Tear Tear!

  8. Your memories of childhood are so beautiful and true. They are my favorite thing to write about because they are like little sparkles of glitter, magical and wonderful, but you never quite know where they came from or if it's really true, but you trust it none the less. I really can't wait until your book comes out!

  9. so so lovely. it's crazy how our senses can so vivdly bring the past back to us - reminds me of proust with his madeliene's. how nice that huck gets to form his own memories of AZ from visits to see his great-grandpa. i know what you mean about seeing him at your own childhood hime - i feel the same whever i take my son over to my family's house.


  10. it is always an independence day tradition to go on lawnmower races at my granparents' house. not really sure how that goes hand in hand with independence. but we do live in alabama. so that probably covers it.

  11. After you left on Sunday we watched those talent show video's, along with a video of us all singing around the piano in your old house. The sight of those years past brought tears to my eyes. We really did have a magical childhood.

  12. Are you going to talk about your religion in your book? I am really looking forward to reading it.

  13. We shop at the Swap Meet several times during our winter stay. Your photos captured the "ambiance" of it perfectly...giggle!

  14. love this post. i hope the part about the pockets makes the cut. it's a good theory.

  15. Do you read the blog the Wednesday Chef? In her book, My Berlin Kitchen, she talks about her kitchen functioning as a piece of home no matter where she is. She can conjure up home and stave off the homesickness by cooking dishes from different times in her life. Quite a beautiful idea! Isn't it so interesting we don't realize how stronger a sense of home we have until we leave a place? Even time-- you can look back at old photos and practically FEEL how that time felt.

  16. "Put me in your Pocket" -merle haggard version
    First comment on your blog! yay me! this is a perfect song for this post. enjoy

  17. This post was just darling, especially the part about pockets!

  18. I've moved 100 million times and at least a thousand in the 3 years since I got married. It feels that way anyway. But, we've tried to collect an item from each home or place we've lived and keep it displayed prominently in our home. It is a pain in the butt every time we move, but these experiences are the building blocks of our lives together. Each new home becomes a culmination of all our previous homes.... something like that.


  19. I totally understand what you're saying about pockets and places...memories are mind boggling if you really think about it! (like you obviously have) :) Great post!

  20. Ye-ep! Taylor Junior High! I never got to go there because we moved away. But we lived kitty corner to Irving Elementary. Life, man.


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