Tuesday, August 13, 2013


This week our little family sent our oldest out into the world.  Tuesday was the first day she has ever left her family members, her safety net and her comfort zone.  I often hear coaches say you'll know what you're made of when you leave your comfort zone.  My little Isabella is a brave, intelligent and friendly soul.  She was a little hesitant when we were getting ready to leave.  I made her a sign, "1st day of Preschool" and she didn't want to hold it up and smile.  But when her little partner in crime, Julianna, joined her she was smiling and making funny faces and holding up that little sign, careful not to mess up the chalk.  I love her and I love that she is her sister and brother's example of courage.  She is showing her two siblings how to go out into the world. 

When I picked her up that first day, she was smiling and couldn't even wait for me to get her into the car before wanting to show me what she did that day with her two classmates and her teacher, Mrs. Katelyn.  Isabella told me that she read a book about a little raccoon that left it's mama for the first time but the mama kissed its hand before leaving and a little heart remained.  She showed me her craft that went along with that book and then said, "Just like the freckle you gave me, mama!" 

When Isabella was about 18 months i noticed a little freckle on the back of her arm.  Being that she has very minimal freckles (in fact, i don't think she has any other than the one i'm talking about) I told her that I gave her one of my many freckles and put it on her.  That way she can look at it and know that i am always with her.  She'll always know just how much i love her when she looks down at that freckle.  I often point it out to her if we know we are going to be a part for a long time.  I say, "Where's your freckle? It's still there!! See I'm always with you."
My heart was beating fast when she pointed out the correlation of the raccoon's heart shaped kiss his mama gave him and her little freckle that her mama gave her to my attention.  I love that smart little girl so much.  I hate myself when I find myself being selfish or impatient with her.  She surprises me and Bobby everyday. 

I hope she remembers this week anytime she is scared to try new things in life.  I hope she remembers how brave she was and how fun it all turned out in the end. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Life's a beach

So here is that overdue post i told myself i would write down and never forget.

We took the kids to the beach this summer during our California vacation.  Truth be told, as a kid we always opted for the beach when given the option to tour Disneyland or Sea World.  We loved those places of course, but my family loved playing in the sand and coming dangerously close to dying in the waves of the ocean.  I remember walking into the ocean so far that when i looked back at the beach I was about 75 yards out from our beach blankets and 40 yards to the right.  While walking out I never paid too much attention that the waves were not only pulling me further out from the beach but sending me up the beach as well.  Those waves are crazy.  I loved it.

Its so quiet being out that far.  People look tiny and your world looks miles away.  Then the fear of what else is out here with me? that always had me scurrying back.  But I lived for that feeling.  I want my kids to have the same daring memories that I have.

So it was to my delight that when we arrived at the beach this time, Isabella did not cry and say that the sand was disgusting and demand to be picked up and carried the whole time (an example of our first trip to the beach).  This time, Isabella AND Julianna cried out how disgusting and "eewww" the sand felt in between their toes.  But it was cries of laughter.  Julianna spent the first couple of steps examining each grain going through her toes.  This was her first experience walking in the sand. 

My two city girls were loving it!  They were running and screaming like they do and I was a happy mama.  Smiling girls.  Now to get them to the water.

After we threw our blankets down and situated baby boy with Nana Sarah, we headed straight to water.  Juju was a bit skeptical at first.  I think anyone would be looking out into endless water.  It was cold and Julie shied away.  But when she saw her big sister laughing and running in the foamy water she couldn't resist any longer.  She shot into the water so fast I had to run to catch up to her.  With my camera in hand, I was desperately lunging to grab her hand so she wouldn't fall from the force of the waves.  All while holding my camera above my head trying to keep it dry.

The girls were happy and playing with their cousin Josiah.  Running and screaming from the waves.  I decided to go grab Robert and put his teeny toes in the water.  

Teeny toes in the water is cute. He kept squishing the sand between his toes.  His eyes were big at this new sensory touch.  Graining sand is pretty amazing to a baby boy.

This was his first time sitting up on his own.  I guess he rose to the occasion.  He was more than willing to put in the extra work it takes to hold himself up if it meant he could play with this awesome sand stuff. 

No beach trip is complete without burring someone in the sand.  Josiah was the lucky candidate.  He's such a good sport. 

There was one last thing to do and that was to put our mark on that stretch of beach.  We wrote our names in the sand: Nana, Tata, Nina Tori, Bobby, Nettie, Josiah, Isabella, Julianna and little Robert.  It was a successful day!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

...if you're young at heart.

We just got back from a very memorable vacation to California.   We weren't going to do it.  Really we weren't.  But we went for it.  We loaded up our small tribe and spent the day at one of the most magical places.  We met celebrities, soared in the sky on a magic elephant and sang along with children of the world.  We said we should wait for Disneyland for the kids to be a little older and for the two of us to have a little more money.  But we went for it. I'm so happy we did.  Now for a mess of pictures!

Kids, guess where we're going? Disneyland!!!!

Happy kids

After this ride i hear, "Bye choo choo, bye!" from my Juju.

Ah, so amazing. Something about a gorgeous man with cute babies.
Bobby scored major points with the girls when he surprised them with these magical hats.  He even got one for little Robert, which in turn, scored major points with me!

Her favorite.

Our love story.
Behold, celebrities!!!!

It's a small world. Still a big hit for kids!

I'm a little obsessed with hot air balloons!

Our best attempt at a family photo!

 There were lots of smiling faces like above.  My heart was over filling!! Such a great, great day!

A stop at Minnie's house! I couldn't wait to show them her little cottage!

 Meeting the big man himself, Mickey!  Bobby said they were the last group let in because Toon Town was closing for the night. The girls were in awe!

 Lots of cotton candy!

So lesson learned in parenthood: Go! Just do it. Forget about the cost, the toddler meltdowns and the long lines. This day was indeed magical! Thank you for the memories, Disneyland!

Part II of our California vacation coming up soon!