Every single semester in school, once the finals were turned in, and it was all over but the crying, I would wind up sick. I’d get so worn down from the work, the stress, the anticipation of finals (the Reading Day parties…whatever…) that I’d turn in the last test and crash into bed for 3 days, fever raging and tonsils on fire.

[Stupid tonsils. Should have had those puppies yanked out years ago.]

Maybe it’s the anticipation of a break from the city life or maybe it’s the great wind-down from co-chairing VBS and being a 2nd grade room mom and a baseball team mom and whatever else it was that I did all Spring, but we all slid in here to the beach this past Thursday sideways and sick. Jack and I both.

And then lovely Tropical Storm Debby punched in last night, too. The winds and rain were crazy; Theo wound up crawling in bed with me around 5 a.m. but mercifully he crashed back out for a few hours. That saved us all.

We spent today practicing the Couch Potato Olympics, and I can tell you straight-off that I have no idea how people sit around all day doing nothing. When we could not possibly endure one more dance party or round of playing with Digger, the rain finally gave us a break, so we loaded up and headed out to our favorite place on the island, Drummond Point.


Without fail, we explore Drummond Point during every visit and without fail, I have to post photos of it. Sorry. But Drummond Point is even better with a big old nasty gray storm hugging her edges.

the fiddler crabs were a little bit bolder today…






Oh, that dimple. I’m pretty sure I spotted one this past week on my sweet cousin’s tiny new daughter Chloe, too (on her right cheek, when she yawns).  Dimples kill me.



Spend a day cooped up in the house at the beach, and you realize a little rain never hurt anybody.

Jack wanted me to photograph him eating 5 grapes at one time.

He thought his cheeks were abnormally large and funny.

Hate to break it to him; he’s always had some rocking chipmunk cheeks (here he is at age 3, no grapes in mouth).

Profile view of his still squeezable cheeks at age 8. Who needs a stinking dimple when you have cheeks like these?


Drummond Point, thanks for the rejuvenation today. You were just what we needed to shake the lead out. So even though the rain is pouring down again and the thunder is booming and the lights are flickering and the wind is whipping and Jim Cantore might possibly be standing outside in our cul-de-sac going toe-to-toe with Mother Nature, our Old Faithful lifted us out of the housebound doldrums for at least an hour.


So Debby, you can go on your merry little way any time now…

That is all.

gerbil art

Yes, you read that correctly. Gerbil Art.


“Diamond” by Digger
you can’t say the little dude ain’t got some skills…

Let me back up a bit. A few weeks ago, the boys and I spent an unGodly amount of time in the PetsMart, scouting rodents. Seriously. We were there close to 3 hours–through 2 shifts of “small animal experts”. I could have worked there by the end of it. Jack could have worked there. We were all small animal experts after 3 hours of pamphlet reading, critter observation, habitat comparison and critical interviews with the, um, staff.

In the end, we picked a light gray Mongolian gerbil who has tons of personality. He caught our eye when he kept popping up out of his nest with pieces of Aspen shavings still hanging from his head. He also had been deemed by every employee at PetsMart as “the non-biter”. Crucial.

To its credit, PetsMart gave us a New Pet Contract which required that we would be kind to our new pet and treat him with dignity. In return, PetsMart said they’d re-po the pet if we decided (within 2 weeks) that he wasn’t for us; they’d also replace him if he kicked the bucket within those two weeks.

[Side note: this is one of the strangest policies I’ve ever encountered. I’m familiar with it because I was once fish-sitting for a friend and one of the swimmers went belly-up so I had to get a replacement. The replacement keeled over in a day and since it wasn’t a $2 beta fish (more like an $18 exotic salt-water something-or-other), I called up PetsMart to grumble. They told me to bring the fish in and they’d replace it. So I tossed him in a ziploc and off we went for fish #2. Who also died. And who also sat in my freezer in a ziploc for a few months before I finally gave up. And the friend whose fish I was watching? Never even realized one was missing.]

Moving on.

I had all 3 boys sign the contract while sitting on the floor of the store. Then we loaded up our new gerbil and his 10 gallon tank and headed home.

The tiny bit of personality Digger displayed at PetsMart was just the tip of the iceberg. This little critter rocks. He’s cute as anything, very sweet and generally well behaved. He has a clear ball we put him in and he runs through the house, bouncing off the walls and smashing into the dogs, who don’t even get out of the way. They are so old that they just don’t even care that a small, fuzzy, moving thing inside a ball has crashed into them.

And while he’s not a biter (the good folk at the ‘Mart were right on that one), he does love him some chewing. He sounds like a mini typewriter as he goes to town on a cardboard paper towel roll or toilet paper roll. He’ll chew up paper in no time, shredding it to confetti which he thens kicks around to one side of his habitat for his impressive nest.

So the Digs made his inaugural trip down to the beach with us this week. And the boys realized a money-making scheme. Designs by Digger.

They fold up a sheet of paper and hold it out for Digger, who just cannot let it sit there unchewed. Digger’s creative juices get to flowing; he pops up and chews and nibbles on the edges for a few minutes and then jumps back into his log house. The boys deem the artist’s work complete, and remove the paper and unfold it. Voila! Gerbil Art.


preparing the canvas…


presenting the canvas to the artist…


The Artiste at work…
(note the delicate yet deliberate placement of his hands to steady the paper…)


eat your heart out, Picasso…


The masterpiece is complete!

But wait! They’ve taken it to the next level and are currently conducting a Gerbil Art sale on our driveway. When the throngs of customers failed to show up, Tucker decided he needed to do some advertising.



A piece of coveted Gerbil Art will only set you back $.30 (a strategically calculated price assuring all 3 boys each make one thin dime on each sale).


Art sale works on the honor system. We’ve had no takers yet (which only means the selection still rocks).

Tucker has also branched out and created his line of Gerbil Stationery. These cards are the perfect way to say whatever it is that you couldn’t say yourself and felt the need to buy a card to say for you. When in doubt, let a small rodent tackle your communication issues, I say. One-of-a-kind, to say the least.

We’ve been rewarding the artist by putting him in his ball and letting him go wild.

And our little friend has proven just how creative he is.

We heard a bunch of commotion in the living room, and Jack came running into the room to tell us that Digger was indeed an artist…

…an escape artist.

That turkey has figured out how to ram his exercise ball into the wall at full force to pop the top off and go free-range Digger. (He does come back when you call him, though. See, we told you he was a good gerbil.)

And just in case you’re worried that we have completely lost it, I’ll close with some pretty terrific beach photos.

Sans gerbil.



backyard Everest

Two weekends ago, we climbed a mountain.


Well, sort of. Stone Mountain isn’t exactly a mountain; it’s actually one gigantic rock, the world’s largest hunk of exposed granite, to be exact. It’s 300 million years old and features some of the greatest people watching on the planet. My stars. But I digress.

I remember going to Stone Mountain when I was a little kid. The sky-tram–a sketchy, rocking trolley car you can ride to the top–still looks as dangerous as ever.

Of course, Tucker has been begging to ride it. Even Russ was spooked by the sky-tram, so we’ve never taken the boys to the top…until a few weeks ago when Atlanta gave us an unbelievably gorgeous June day. We rallied up the boys and decided to make the hike up.


I remember attempting to hike up Stone Mountain with my parents when I was apparently a tiny, scrawny kid. Here’s the memory, in its entirety: Laura walks forever, uphill, sweating and crying until Popster puts her on his back. Then we finally get to the Pharmacy School picnic area, it starts raining, and I don’t understand why my Dad won’t let me enter the “Best Looking Legs” contest.

Best Looking Legs contest? Someone had hung a shower curtain from the rafters of the picnic pavillion and the judge stood behind it, feeling up whatever leg was shoved behind the curtain. Seriously. School picnics have definitely gotten a little tamer since the mid 70’s.

Anyway, my memory of that day jumped into our backpack and had me convinced that there was no way on earth our older boys–much less Theo–could make it all the way to the top.

The hike started out innocently enough.


Our rock-climber Tucker was in heaven.


We walked up for maybe 20 minutes and hit the famed picnic pavillion from my youth. I must have been a mega-wimp as a child because it wasn’t that far nor was it that steep to get to the resting area. So, Popster, I apologize for being such a pain on that day way back in 1974.

Jack was determined to be the first Herakovich up the mountain. He actually tried to jog up it. We’d trek along for 10 minutes without seeing him and then we’d come upon him sitting on a boulder waiting for us. In the end, he was the first one to reach the summit, which isn’t exactly a summit but more like a flat top.


The high altitude had his bird-nest going in full force. (Stone Mountain tops out at [ahem] 825 feet, so obviously, it was the altitude, not the fact that his mother had neglected to get his hair cut, that caused his mop to go bananas like this.)





Tucker found this little hidey-hole and climbed over the railing (“Safety Last” is Tuck’s motto, you know) to go explore.


Russ and Theo attacked the most technically difficult section of the climb with the skills of alpine trekkers. The second half of the hike has this one stretch where the good folk at Stone Mountain (and their attorneys) have installed a handrail to assist you in walking up the slope which is not much steeper than a set of stairs. Ah, litigious Americans.



Theo made it all the way up and all the way back down; this shot above is the only time one of us held him. My child is way tougher than I was at age 3.5, that’s for sure.


Theo’s train obsession is still going in full force, by the way.


When we got back to the bottom, Tucker announced that he was the youngest person ever to climb a mountain (he apparently forgot that his younger brother was also with us). Then Tuck declared that the next mountain we climb should be Everest.

Now that we know we can handle an 825 foot summit, a 29,028 foot one should be a piece of cake.

the end of an era

(Beware: this a photo heavy post; sometimes pictures are worth 1,000 words…)

Friday found us ending an era; after 7 fantastic years, our fabulous Montessori days are over.

It’s been a great ride.

Jack does some garden work on his last day of school, June 2007

Jack and Tucker at Jack’s End-of-the-Year party, June 2007
Jack’s classroom wound up being the same classroom Theo would have.

Jack started Cross of Life Christian Montessori when he was only 15 months old. Within a week, he was asking to drink out of “weal cups, not sippy ones” and wanted to help set the table. Ms. Kim and Ms. Lise were the perfect first teachers for him. All of our boys started at Cross of Life, and to this day we have only the highest regards for that place. Ms. Pat and Ms. Stefanie (along with Ms. Kim and Ms. Lise) are exactly what a child’s first experience with school should be.

Jack moved over to First Montessori in the fall of 2007.





the rocking runners-up at the Montessori Mile, October 2007

Tucker moved to First Montessori in the fall of 2008, and Theo started in their toddler program in 2010.

On the way to Theo’s first day in Ms. Mamatha’s and Ms. Sanuja’s unbelievable Toddler class, September 2010.



Tuck celebrates his first day as an official Afternooner by showing off his fancy lunchbox. August 2010.

The last days of school are always emotional for me.

Jack and Tuck with their gifts for their classrooms–May, 2009




Jack walking out of Ms. Lara’s classroom and on to carpool for his last time (it was “Crazy Hat” day). I was weeping shamelessly at this point. June 2011


Tucker, Ms. Lara, and Jack. Last day of school, 2010.
Jack was in Ms. Lara’s class for 4 years at First Montessori.

Theo getting pencils so he can do the metal inset work. May 2012.

Jack and Theo work on the trinomial cube at Theo’s End-of-the-Year party, May 2012. 
Jack was right at home in his old classroom…


This place is magical.



Theo heads to school for his last day, June 1, 2012.
He was clearly happier than he was on his first day, below 🙂


Don’t worry; Theo’s tears didn’t last long. He made fast friends with Ms. Mamatha and Ms. Sanuja, whom he nicknamed “Ju-Ju” and asked to come home with us for playdates.

Theo walks out of First Montessori for the last time as a student. June 2012.

We have had an amazing 7 years in Montessori education. To us, it’s the best method for teaching toddlers and young children; Maria Montessori’s methods just logically make sense. Our sons’ independence and senses of responsibility have grown tenfold since they first walked into a classroom organized with different types of work. While the notions of Practical Life and the pink tower at first sounded strange to us, we grew to love them. We beamed when our sons came home talking about the number rods; we were thrilled when each son brought home his first metal inset booklet. I have the stories Jack wrote, the sewing Tucker did and the paintings Theo made. We have lots of memories (and maybe even a few pieces of the Stamp Game) from our Montessori days and they all are warm, sweet and genuine.

We will miss this place. Thanks so much for 6 terrific years–and huge thanks to Cross of Life for the spectacular 3 years we spent there. You all will not be forgotten.