Thursday, January 29, 2015

Begin, Again.

I've come to the sad realization that I have not blogged since September. The last four months went by at veracious speed its seems. We kept ourselves pretty busy with activities from September until late November and then once December hit I was kept busy with sick kids. When one kid seemed to be getting better, another seemed to have caught a new virus. It was a vicious cycle that kept us home (and stir crazy) for almost the entire month. I tried to make the Christmas season as fun as I could, but to be perfectly honest it just plain stunk. I will say that Christmas day was absolutely delightful and really when you put things in perspective that's the only day that you really want to get right anyway, right?

Before I can move forward I feel like I need to play catchup with the three kidlets. Four months in the lives of a 5, 3 and 1 year old is huge! The little things add up to the big things. Here's where they've been and where they are...


{{Jack}} This guy started Jr. Kindergarten at the beginning of September and has been loving it! I am so SO glad we decided to hold Jack. It was the right decision for him and I've seen him grow and mature in so many ways that make my heart burst with joy. He's still the sweet, sensitive boy that he's always been and yet still manages to push boundaries and challenge authority with the best of 'em. For Halloween this year he decided on being the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz and he was SO DARN CUTE. I love that he's still little and will go along with my zany dress up ideas. Once December hit he had the worst bout with asthma that we've had to date. I say "we", because you better believe that this mama was there for every single croup attack, breathing treatment, steam shower, allergy appointment, pharmacy run and so on that was thrown my way. He finally went on a liquid steroid for five days just so he could catch a breath without coughing. I've said it before and I'll say it a thousand more times, I hate asthma. There is nothing worse than having you child not be able to breath. Nothing. All that being said, we've finally got his breathing under control for now and he's been living and breathing life to the fullest. He's been begging his dad and I to put him in a sport so we're going to put him in some kind of martial art a couple times and week and see how he does. I'm excited for this new first and so is he!

{{ Lily}} Oh my little Lilybug. Lily had a bit of a rough start with school. She cried every time I dropped her off for the first three weeks and it completely broke my heart! Even though I dropped her off in tears when I picked her up she was always filled with smiles and laughter. She has a wonderful teacher this year who has made her feel safe and secure and that is such blessing to me. Lily loves learning and drawing. Most of the time I'll find her sitting in the living room quietly practicing how to write her name. She's so smart and very intuitive. NOTHING flies over Lily's head, ha! Marcus and I say all the time that it would not shock us if this kid becomes a doctor or a lawyer. She asks a lot of questions and wants the facts. She's deeply sensitive and compassionate, yet really keeps her emotions in check. I've seen her really blossom over these last four months. She's not as shy as she used to be and is becoming more social with peers.  Jack is still her best friend and she adores her baby sister. This girl is my shadow and I rarely can go anywhere without Lily glued to my side. Some days that can be very frustrating, but I keep in mind that it won't last forever. And I have every assurance that when she's not right at my heels I will miss it terribly. She's going to be four in just a couple months and the thought of that creates a lump in my throat. My baby is turning into such a lovely, fun loving little girl.

{{Eva}} Our Evie weevie is 16 months old. Sixteen. Months. Old. Isn't that crazy? This third sweet little babe of mine is growing so much faster than my first two it seems. We celebrated her first birthday on September 20th with the theme "Sunshine and Sweet Lemonade" mainly because she is such a ray of sunshine to our family. Her laugh is amazing. And her smiles brighten my world. She's not walking yet, but takes around 3 steps at a time. In her spare time you can find her pushing her baby stroller all-- over-- the house. She's obsessed with babies (real and pretend) and completely adores her big brother and sister. She thinks Jack is hilarious and idolizes Lily. In the last few months I've really seen the girls relationship bloom into something really special. I never had a sister, but boy do I feel extremely blessed to raise these sisters. This girl is also a talker! She's talking so much earlier than my big kids and will talk (or shout) to anyone. I rarely am out in public without Evie yelling, "hi!!" to every single person she comes into contact with. Her favorite shows are "Baby Signing Time" and 'Rugrats". She's a terrific eater and will ask anyone for a bite of whatever they are eating. I just weened her from nursing a few days ago and it's been a bit emotional for mama, but it was just time. She's curious, she's silly and really she's just an all around joy. I love, love, love watching her grow.


And here we are. We made it through the holidays and all the busyness that comes hand in hand with that time of year. New Year's Eve was pleasant, but overall uneventful. I mean hello? We have three kids under 6. I'm still shocked I stayed awake until midnight! NYE is always a little sad for me, because in my mind Christmas is officially over. And with the way the last few weeks had been I was sad to not have savored it a bit more. With that being said however, I absolutely love New Year's Day! My mom always goes all out and has a wonderful spread of deliciously fattening food. In my reality it's really the last day I can feel guilt free about eating whatever I want--I mean it's a holiday for goodness sake! But really the reason I love New Years Day so much is that you get to begin again. I once read somewhere that January brings the first blank page of a 365 page book and I absolutely LOVE that idea. The new year brings the opportunity to dream, wish and hope for a year filled with better things. Maybe you hit the resolutions you make for yourself, maybe you don't. But the hope always for myself is that I become a better wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend than I was before. A better woman of faith. Always better tomorrow than I am today. At least that's my hope.

Until next time.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Goodbye Summertime.

Happy Labor Day! Is anyone else in complete amazement that it's already September? This has without a doubt been the busiest summer our family has had yet. We moved into our new home at the end of July and up until basically this moment I've been unpacking, organizing and getting things settled. I've actually taken the time to turn this new house into a home and it has been such a joy and fun project for me to focus on this summer. There's still many more home projects on my horizon, but it's such a good feeling seeing things come together! :)

Our sitting area. M and I have our coffee here every morning.
Awesome tree painted by my terrific Father-in-Law.

Plate art!
I had been wanting to do this for awhile and am so happy with how it turned out.

Jack completed 3 sessions of swim lessons (that would be 6 weeks total!) this summer and is officially swimming all by himself! I mean one would hope after 6 weeks of swim lessons, right? ha! He has turned out to be a really great swimmer and absolutely loves being in the pool. His dad and I are actually thinking that swimming might be a great sport for our little guy to try in the near future! He also completed his first ever art camp and he LOVED it!! I've said it before, but this guy has a little artists heart. The camp was a week long and he created some amazing pieces of artwork. Of COURSE I am completely biased, but I think the kid has real talent.

loving the OC fair.

so proud of my swimmer!

frame worthy.

this kid loves the beach...and his sister.

Lily was completely content NOT being involved in any activities this summer. :) I mean she's three so I really don't feel like she's quite at the age where she needs to be doing something constantly...and honestly she might just turn out to be the kind of soul who doesn't like a lot of busy-ness (ahem, unlike her older sibling :) I've really seen so much more of Lily's personality develop over the course of this summer and it's really been fun to watch. She's my little introvert, but is quite hilarious actually. She has pulled every dress and pair of shoes out of my closet at least a dozen times this summer to try on and parade around the house in. When she isn't playing dress up, she can be found singing or dancing quietly by herself.
manicures for mama's birthday.

just trying on mom's clothes.


my little lady.

Eva is on the move! About 2 weeks ago she finally figured out how to crawl and is now into everything. With her finally on the go it sort of officially feels like I now have three kids, haha. Even though this new stage can be a bit more challenging, I'm ready for it. Each new stage is such a gift and really is always short lived. Before I know it she'll be walking, climbing, running! It's so bittersweet seeing my sweet little babe slowly turning into a toddler, but I'm truly enjoying the journey of it all.

daddy's girl.

sleepy babe.

first lunch in our new home.

she's on the move!

August brought an end to Jack's summer activities (which I was completely ready for) and brought on some fun trips. I went away with a few girlfriends to Las Vegas for one night and it turned out to be exhausting and completely exhilarating. This was my first overnight trip with girlfriends since my BACHELORETTE PARTY! The fact that I can rarely get away by myself is neither shocking nor disappointing to me. I have three tiny children at home who need me and if I'm being perfectly honest, I really don't like being away from them. Yes, I need time to myself. And yes, I need time away from my children. However, finding the balance of it all is something I struggle with. Going away though for just over 24 hours felt really good. And I think I realized that getting away for a night here and there is okay--it doesn't make me a bad mom, it doesn't make them feel abandoned. The kids got to spend some one and one time with their dad which they all loved, and I got to remember what it feels like to take an hour to get ready for dinner as well as enjoy a hot meal. :) In addition to my mom's getaway we also had our annual summer family vacation.  In years past we've always gone to Laguna, but this year we decided to book three nights at our most favorite place, Avila Beach. Overall, the kids had a blast and we made some awesome family memories. There's nothing better than when the five of us are together. It was the perfect way to end our summer and gear up for school starting tomorrow.

Vegas (sans) baby Vegas!

Avila Pier.

mama and coconut.

family photo.
Avila Farm.

first time touching sand.
School....starts....tomorrow. I have mixed emotions about the whole thing. I know they are both ready to go--ready to learn, ready to meet new friends, ready for this next phase. Jack will be going five days a week and Lily will only be going two. They are going to grow and learn so much, it really is so exciting! However, with school starting comes the reality that they're getting older and life is only going to get busier now that we'll be in a set routine. And that's okay, it's as it should be. I'm just focusing on all the positives of this new change, because there really are a lot of good things to focus on. But if around 830am tomorrow morning you happen to be saying a prayer, could you throw one my way? My heart needs all the prayers and good vibes I can get during the first day drop off. :)

So after today I guess it's goodbye summertime. For the first time in a really long time I'm sad to see it go. We had a full season filled with lots of swimming, beach days, new adventures and some pretty great memories were made. I'm thinking that September will be a wonderful transition into fall. School's starting, Eva will be turning one and Lord knows I'm ready to welcome some cooler weather. Oh my yes, it's going to be wonderful.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Swimming and Sunshine equals Summertime!

June gloom is gone and the warm July weather is here! Those who know me know that I am not a fan of hot weather (as in any temp over 75 degrees ;p), but for some reason July is the one and only month that I'm okay with the heat. I even kind of like it. It's a perfect excuse for swimming everyday, running through the sprinklers before dinner, eating Popsicle's on the front porch, lazy beach days in Laguna and consuming iced coffee at anytime throughout the day. It's also a month filled with one of my favorite holidays as well as my birthday and my hubby's birthday--can July get much better?! ;) However usually once August rolls around I am completely over air conditioning, hot car seats, wet bathing suits, staying inside and am full on ready for fall, ha!

July 4th, 2014
Summer treats!
My grandma's cookies are good for the soul :)
 Summer 2014 has already started off with a busy bang! Jack graduated from pre-school and just a few short days later he jumped {literally} right into swim lessons. He absolutely LOVES swim class! Even better than loving it, he's doing amazing. He passed Level 1 and we just started Level 2 this week and I have been wearing my "proud mom" hat daily. He is working so hard and I think we might just have a bonafide swimmer by summer's end. :) It's definitely been quite a commitment (5 days a week for the last 3 weeks!), but I'm already certain that it is well worth it.

My little fish.
In addition to swimming up a storm this summer, Jack also attended his first Vacation Bible School (VBS) ever. What a wonderful experience! I'm not even sure I can put into words how much he loved it. It was basically four nights of crafts, singing and fellowship. He still sings loudly and proudly all the songs he learned, ha! He also has been asking me all sorts of questions about Jesus, God and heaven. Some questions I'm still not quite sure how to answer appropriately for a five year old brain, but I love that he's asking. Just last night when it was just he and I in the car he was asking me his usual questions about Jesus. Then out of nowhere he simply asked, "Mama, how do I get Jesus to live in my heart all the time?" I was a bit taken aback, but I told him that all he had to do was ask. So he said a prayer in the back of my minivan and asked Jesus to live in his heart. All the time. It's a moment that will forever be captured in this mama's heart. He'll be attending his second VBS next week at the school he'll be attending in the fall and I am so eager to see how God will work in my sweet boy's life.

Even though Jack has been the focus of these many summer activities, his little sister's have been perfectly content just coming along for the ride. This is really the first summer that I've felt the need to keep my little guy busy. He's a boisterous five years old and it is essential (for my own sanity and his, ahem) that he stays active. We'll be finishing off the rest of July with more swim lessons and even his first art camp! He has such an artist's heart and I cannot wait to see what he creates. Come August things will a little bit more mellow for us, but only just a bit.

Another item to add to our busy list is... we're moving! It was sort of a last minute development, but an opportunity came our way that was too good to pass up. So now the house is sold, our entire lives are being packed up and in two shorts weeks escrows will be closed and we will be on our way. :) We're still very close to where we are now, but with a little more added room for our growing family. We are SO excited.

Goodbye house.
Thank you for some pretty incredible memories.
Well, there's the low down. M will be out of town for the next couple days so the kids and I are going to try and stay cool and even maybe venture off to the OC County Fair for a little bit of fun. And a little bit of iced cold chocolate milk of course :) I'll also be up to my ears in moving boxes. Packing up a household with three children in tow is about as fun as you can imagine, but I'm constantly reminding myself that the whole moving process will be over with soon enough. Until then if anyone needs me I'll be hiding in a box and drinking iced coffee. :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

9 Months of Sunshine.

Evidently third babies get the shaft. Not in terms of undying love and affection, but definitely in terms of blog time. My sweet third little babe officially turned 9 months old (!!!) as of June 20th and I think this is the second time I've actually dedicated an entire blog post to her--sorry sweet girl! If it's any consolation you always get my undivided attention in real life ;) In three short months we will be celebrating your first birthday and I can't help but wonder how on earth these last nine months have flown by so quickly? Time goes by just a bit faster with each new baby it seems, but I suppose there's no way around that. Just like with your siblings before you I'm savouring every moment of your tininess :) Here's the latest and greatest with our Eva Louise at {{9}} months old...

Nicknames: Evie, Baby Evie, Coconut.

Weight: 18lbs, 1oz (50th percentile)
Height: 28.5 inches (90th percentile)

Hair Color: Blondish
Eye Color: Blue

First word: Dada! You were our first baby to say "dada" first and this made your daddy sooooo happy!

Teeth: Almost 3. Your two bottom ones came in at the same time and your top front tooth is just starting to break through!

Sleep: I'd say there have been about a handful of times that you have slept 12 hours straight without waking up to eat. (Those nights have been magical, ha!) You still wake up every morning between 430 and 530 to nurse, but always go right back to sleep. Lately you've been teething so night wakings have been more frequent. You still nap twice a day and are definitely a girl that likes to sleep in her crib and in the dark.

On the move: You roll everywhere and you can sit up all by yourself. You're not terribly interested in crawling just yet and that's perfectly fine with me. :)

Favorite Food: Blueberries, Avocado, Yogurt and Chicken. You're a really good eater and are great about eating all your fruits and veggies.

Favorite Things:
Bath time! You start giggling and wildly kicking your legs when you hear the bath water running. You just figured out how to start splashing with your hands and feet and it might just be your favorite thing to do.
Baby Signing Time. The only time we let you watch TV is when we turn on your Baby Signing Time DVDs. You love the songs and can already sign "all done", "more" and "dog".
Waving. This is your newest trick and it is oh-so-cute! You wave hello and goodbye to everyone. Whenever you hear the front door open you immediately start waving (heart. melt.)
Smiling. You are without a doubt my smiliest baby. Your brother and sister were very serious around strangers (ahem, and most family members too), but not you! You give out smiles to anyone and everyone :)

 I think the biggest realization I've had since having a third child is just how truly unique and individual each child really is. When I only had Jack and Lily it was easy to compare and contrast similarities and differences between the two of them. He was one way, she was another. With you Evie I see similarities you share with each of your siblings linking the three of you together, but the simple truth of it all is that you are completely different kid from the other two. Each kiddo has come into this world as their own unique person and it is so incredibly cool watching them grow into who they are going to become.

 The first thought that comes to mind when I think of you Evie is sunshine; pure unadulterated sunshine.  It's amazing how adding one more tiny person to our family has made life that much more beautiful. You have such a sweet and happy disposition, I have yet to see you get really angry. You've recently found your voice and can be quite loud when you need to be--for no other reason than wanting to get our attention. You adore your siblings and have no problem letting them argue over who loves you more. You're a true daddy's girl and light up every time your dad comes in the room--talk about love at first sight! :)  I'm so thankful that I've been right by your side for almost every second of your life these last nine months, there is nowhere else I would rather be.

Eva Louise Month-by-Month 
(9mos to 1mos)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Half of a Decade.

Dear Jack,

As of this past Tuesday, May 27th you turned five years old. {Five. Years. Old} It's still a bit mind boggling to me. Five years seems like a lifetime ago and yet at the same time I can remember the day you were born as though it were yesterday. I remember everything about that day. How you looked, how you smelled, how tiny you felt in my arms. It took 32 hours of labor and 5 hours of pushing to bring you into this world and I would do it again for you in a heartbeat. The overwhelming feeling of love I felt the first time I laid eyes on you is really indescribable. It's a love that possibly only a parent can understand. I'm certain it's because of that love that I didn't lose my mind for those times you smeared your fecal matter all over my couch and carpet when you were two, or when you drew in black permanent marker all over my newly painted walls when you were three. It's a love that knows no bounds. :)

I remember the first time you smiled, the first word you spoke ("mama") and the first time you walked. I'll never forget the first time you tried a cupcake or the first time you dipped your toes in Lake Arrowhead. The first time you put on a backpack and bravely walked into your first day of preschool or the first time you went on a "big kid" ride at Disneyland. So many fun firsts. There have also been some not so fun too. Like the first time you got stitches at one, or your first croup attack at two. Even just two short weeks ago we experienced your first (and I pray your last) febrile seizure. There have been so many more happy firsts than scary ones, but I'm just so thankful I've been by your side through them all.

Jack, you are my little tender heart. You love people and you feel things so deeply. Just the other day I had to put your sister in a time out for biting you and the thought of her being in trouble was so upsetting to you that you actually tried to explain to me (through tears!) how she really didn't bite you, but rather  how her mouth simply "fell" onto your arm by accident. It was very sweet, but she still had to go in time out. And even when the time out was finished you ran right to her to kiss her and hug her and tell her everything was okay. It was one of the sweetest and equally most confusing moments I've had as a parent, haha. You love both of your sisters something fierce. All biting aside you and Lily really are the best of friends. Your bond is so incredibly beautiful and I have every assurance that as Evie grows it will be the three of you against the world. Aside from being the BEST big brother you are also a terrific friend. Your teacher told me that you are a natural leader and that you always make sure all the other kids are taken care of. A mom to one of the little boy's in your class recently pulled me aside to tell me that you had been instrumental in getting her little boy to want to come to school in the mornings. Apparently he's the baby of the family and has terrible separation anxiety, but every morning when he walks into class you always greet him and encourage him to play with you. Even when he's crying you assure him that all will be okay. His mom thanked me for raising such a kind hearted boy. The thought of this brings tears to my eyes, even now. At just barely 5 years old I can't imagine feeling more proud of you than I do at this very moment, although I'm sure as time goes on you'll prove otherwise.

In addition to your sweetness you have a fiery determination. You are incredibly strong willed and at times have a blatant disregard for the rules. You question everything and try to explain your way out of anything! While these traits can at times make parenting a bit challenging for your dad and I, we have every belief that these traits will come in very handy as you continue to grow :) You're one of the funniest people I know. You love telling jokes and have a great sense of humor. I love your laugh, it's contagious. You have a beautiful imagination and an artist's heart. I love watching you draw and paint and I always love hearing the stories you dream up before bed time. I pray that you always, always dream big.

Being five is a big deal. To me, it has finally made me see that you're making that transition into a big boy. You're becoming more confident and independent. You can do everything by yourself, or so you always tell me. Words like "totally awesome" and "cool" are becoming a regular part of your vocabulary and hearing the word "poop" makes you bust up laughing.'re still little. Little enough to still want to snuggle with me or hold my hand when we're out in public. Little enough to still ask me to "wrap you like a burrito and hold you like a baby" after bath time. And your voice! Oh Jack, your voice is still little. You may look like a seven year old, but you sound little and sweet and so, so innocent. You still refer to me as "mama" which makes my heart burst. I'm savoring every moment of your tininess and also embracing all the many fun adventures that will come over this next half decade and beyond.

Happy 5th Birthday my love. You have made these last five years the greatest adventure for your dad and I. We have so many hopes and dreams for you, but have great confidence that God's plan for your life is so much greater than anything we could ever imagine for you.

I love you, I love you, I love you. Times infinity.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Palm Desert and The Princess Potty.

A couple weeks ago decided last minute to spend a few nights in Palm Desert, a favorite vacation spot for our family. We were only there for less than 48 hours, but it's incredible how just a little time away from our usual routine put a pep back in every one's step. We spent most of our time in the pool or playing outside on the grass. Everyone took looong afternoon naps (including mom and dad) and soaked up the beautiful weather we were graced with. Memories were made, quality time was in abundance. Our little Evie finally started rolling too which was just so exciting for all of us! I always love it when daddy gets to be there for the milestones. And as any mom knows, watching your baby hit each new milestone NEVER gets old--no matter how many babies you've had! Being away made us realize that we need to do quick trips like that much more often. With Marcus's long work days it can make planning a trip seemingly impossible, but with anything in life where there's a will there's a way. We've actually planned another mini-vacation to San Fran in the very near future and we are all SO excited.

Watching our littles play outside. Oh how I love this man.

Sibling love.

Having fun with daddy.

Swimming all day, everyday.

In the midst of our mini getaway Lily started potty training. This was a very big deal in our house and something I was dreading. Mainly because she was sooooo resistant. She was perfectly fine wearing a diaper and feeling like she was still a baby. Anytime I asked her if she was ready for big girl underwear she'd ever so sweetly say, "No bank you."However, days after her third birthday I decided to bite the bullet and have us both jump in feet first. The first day was a bit rough. That morning she wailed and sobbed for about an hour saying that she only wanted to have the treats that came with the potty training without having to u s e the potty. I mean I understood her three year old logic. There have been times in my own life when I've wanted the reward without having to do the work too. I kept my sanity intact fairly well and kept reminding her that she could have the treats as soooon as she started using the  big girl potty. Once she realized I wasn't backing down the crying stopped and the potty training began.  The first day wasn't terrible. She had maybe three or four accidents and was really making an effort to remember to use the potty. By day two the girl had-it-down. Zero accidents, going #1 and #2 ON the potty with no problems whatsoever. Pulling her underwear up and down like a pro.

Planking in her big girl panties. No big deal.
Now that it's been about 3 weeks I feel confident saying I finally have TWO kids potty trained. Woo hoo! I'm SO proud of my Lilybug. I knew she could do it! We both made it to the other side of potty training...I still can't believe it, ha.

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