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.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

So that I might live.

Happy Easter weekend :) Easter is always a wonderful time to spend with family and dear friends, all while consuming some delicious food (ham and deviled eggs anyone?) as well as copious amounts of chocolate and jelly beans. The egg hunts, painting eggs, the Easter Bunny. Little girls wearing beautiful dresses and bonnets, little boys in their Sunday best. It's a perfect time to get that family photo you never usually find the time for. The weather is almost always perfect {gotta love So Cal} and even though Spring officially started about a month ago, Easter just naturally feels like the official kickoff to spring time.

But we know Easter is more than the fluff. Jesus; the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, died so that I might live. That I might escape death. I found a quote from an unknown author that says, "For when He was on the cross, I was on His mind." The thought of that is incredibly powerful and emotional. That's a love I cannot even fathom. How precious I am to Him. Me. A sinner who is so undeserving. How precious we all are, even those who might not believe.

On Good Friday I gently explained to the kids what the day was all about. We read a very age appropriate story and then after I outlined a cross on some sketch paper and told them to paint it however they wanted. They both really enjoyed it and now I have some forever artwork to cherish from my two favorite artists.

"God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by His power."
1 Corinthians 6:14

Jack, Easter 2014

Lily, Easter 2014
While Easter is a time for reflection it is also a time for celebration. I celebrate, because He is risen. His body is no longer on this earth. He suffered on earth and now rejoices in heaven. Thanks be to God! Because of Him I will fully enjoy this Easter Sunday. I will soak up being with my loved ones. I will dye eggs. I will eat copious amounts of chocolate. I will praise His name. I will live.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Springing into Spring.

Well that went by rather quickly. The first quarter of 2014 is over and just what do I have to show for it? Actually a lot in real life, in blog life however...not so much. The truth is I'm tired. My body is tired, my mind is tired. A lot of people's needs need to be met before my own and truly I'm okay with that. I know that this is just a season of life, one that I'm sure will go by much too fast. My sweet third born will be {s e v e n} months old on Easter Sunday which is a bit mind boggling. She's rolling, she's scooting, she's teething, but MOST importantly she's sleeping! The sleep thing has been a game changer in my mental well being, ha! She sleeps from about 630pm until 5:30am. Wakes up to nurse, and then is back to sleep until 730 or 8am. My Lily is newly three and had the happiest birthday. She loves sleeping in her bottom bunk, loves her ballet classes and as of about 15 minutes ago is officially potty trained (more on that later!). My Jack is thriving in Pre-K. He's a natural leader, kind and empathetic to his fellow students and loves doing homework. M and I made the tough decision to hold him back from Kindergarten next year, but it's a decision I feel more confident about with each passing day. It was a tough decision at first, because we know that in many many aspects he is totally ready to go. In the end though we decided to give him that bonus year, the gift of time. The gift of no intense homework (yes, Kinder has changed), not having to go to school  
e v e r y d a y. The gift of being little for just a bit longer.

Bunk beds and big kids.

Lily is three.

It's official: I drive a minivan.
Look who's eating

Happy babes.

I've been feeling very inspired lately, almost like my soul is going through a bit of a rebirth or something. Decluttering, decorating my house and attempting some DIY projects are in the works. And when I find myself in the midst of some quiet time I'm putting my phone down and picking up a book. One of my best friends recently told me she's already read 11 books this year! ELEVEN! I can't even remember the last time I finished ONE book. My husband often says that we pick and choose the things we make time for and I really couldn't agree more. I suppose now I'm choosing to make time for things that inspire me, that nourish my soul. The quiet moments that are few and far between I want to fill with more praying and reading, painting and blogging. Quality over quantity. Perhaps this rebirth is inspired by this Easter season that's upon us or perhaps its because it's officially Spring. Either way I feel God is leading me on a journey. And more than ever I'm ready to be led.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Year in Review

As 2013 comes to a close I can't help, but be a bit amazed at just how quickly this year has flown by. Was it just a year ago that Marcus and I were still on cloud 9 from having our best Christmas ever? That we only had two little ones around our Christmas tree? Amazing. The end of another year is really a time to reflect and remember. Was I kind enough? Did I love my neighbor enough? Did I grow as a wife, mother, sister, and friend? I know where I struggled, where I asked for grace. I also know that I savored. I savored so many moments with the ones I love. Even though I tried to blog as much as I could this year, here's a b r i e f  recap of my 2013 highlights:

I found out I was pregnant with Eva! It was a great way to kick off the year :)

My little Lily got glasses. It was emotional and eye-opening (for both of us!), but I love knowing she can finally see the world through her tiny purple glasses.

Lily turned TWO! And had the cutest Tangled party that you ever did see.

We found out baby number three was a GIRL!

Jack turned FOUR! He still is my favorite super hero.

My baby brother turned 21.

Marcus turned 30! Our trip to Avila Beach was one of the most memorable days of not just 2013, but of my life.

Our family vacation in Laguna. It was our last trip as a family of four and we created some wonderful memories :)

Eva was born! One of the best days of my life.

M and I celebrated 6 years of marriage. He surprised me with a wonderful dinner at The Beachcomber!
(M's sweet FB post)

My dad turned 60! and Eva Louise was baptized.

(Jack at Pappy's party.)
(yum, yum.)
This whole month has been so magical, but the highlight most definitely was Christmas morning at our house.

(princesses and ruby slippers! oh my.)

(comfort and joy)
(baby's 1st Christmas)

(We're on the nice list!)
As the year comes to a close I'm looking forward to setting new goals and making fresh starts. Who doesn't like a good fresh start, right? I definitely have some resolutions and some big plans for 2014, but as with all plans I p l a n to take them in stride. Sometimes just sitting back and watching God's plan unfold in your life can be pretty exhilarating. Really my prayer for myself and the ones I love most is for good health, less stress and a deeper relationship with Christ. I can't really think of anything more important or necessary as I head into 2014. Cheers to you and yours.

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