Monday, December 17, 2012

I need to write today.  This overwhelming feeling of sadness and grief over the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings has really gotten to me.  I feel depressed.

The thoughts keep returning; every time I look at Maddie.  She is 6 years old.  She is in Kindergarten.  She went to school Friday, with excitement and joy.  It breaks my heart that there are mothers right now who can no longer say "Good Morning" to their children.  I cannot fathom it.

So, I live in a bit of denial by keeping super busy, not watching too much news, and listening to uplifting Christmas music in the car.  But, I keep thinking of them.  Those children.  Those teachers. 

I felt scared to let Maddie go today.  We drove over to school and I prayed out loud for her and her safety.  I pray for her a lot on the way to school each day, but of course today it felt necessary.  She is so unaware of this tragedy.  She is excited for Christmas, and library today, and her sandwich with a new flavor of jam.  She is light, carefree and happy.  It's all a mother could want. 

I am trying to do as my Mom suggested; "lean into" my faith.  It is hard in moments like these.  I have cried each day while praying for God to please bring peace.  I've prayed that I cannot understand this; I've been angry with Him.  I've pleaded for a change in this world.  I went to church yesterday and prayed that our nation would sense a healing that only He can bring. 

Today, life continues on.  I will keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I will keep praying silently, out loud and with tears.  I will keep my faith.  That is really all I can do...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Time!!!!

Griswold has nothing on us!

Thankful Tree Finale!

Some of Maddie's "Favorite Things"

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mason is 5 months old today!!!

  IMG 0774 from Sarah Mejias on Vimeo.

 So, today is pretty special because MJ is 5 months old and Elisabeth is in labor!!!!  I'm so excited for this day :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

As a family, we begin on the 1st of November using our "Grateful/Thankful Tree."  I will post a picture of it when we are finished on the 30th.  It's something we've been using since 2008 (I think) and I just love the things everyone comes up with.  It's very sweet and such a good practice in gratitude.   
Today I am grateful for so much.  For my husband, children, family and friends.  For our health, our home and plenty of food & clothes.  Basically everything.  We have so much.  More than we need, that's for sure.  So today my goal is just to be present and mindful.  I want to focus on them and me enjoying them.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 10, 2012


There is so much I want to write.

But, I want it to be....perfect.  That is one of my hardest struggles.  The idea that in order to do something, I need to do it perfectly (or at least work really hard to have it appear that way).

Lately I read two of Anne Lamott's books, Some Assembly Required and Operating Instructions.  Both are fabulous, by the way.  One is about her experience as a grandmother and the other is about her experience as a mother.  She is my favorite author and there is just so much wisdom in what she writes.  But above all else, when I read her words, I feel okay.  It's like she has a way of describing exactly how life is (how imperfect it all really is) and being fine with that; not even fine, rejoicing in that.  She seems to be able to rejoice in her imperfections!  That is what I'm working towards.

I wasn't always this way.  I'm not sure when it started.  But at some point in my adult life, I realized that I really liked control.  I felt better when I felt in control.  It calmed my anxiety and made me feel safe.  Control is really such an illusion and is almost always about something else (fear mostly) but I've made myself believe that if I'm on top of everything, then nothing will go wrong.

I have to say that feeling that way is exhausting.  That's it.  I've gotten to the point in the last 4 months to simply realize that I'm exausted by the overwhelming need to have it all together.  I'm notcicing that this timeline coincides with having Mason.  Maybe having 3 kids is what God needed to show me that I don't have it all under my control.  But that really, He is in charge.  In one of the Lamott books she talks about those car seats that have a little steering wheel so the kid can think they are in charge of driving the car.  She says that while the child is working so hard to drive, the real driver looks in the back seat entertained by that determintation.  She likened that to us being the kid and God being the real driver.  I LOVE that.  How true!

The thought to write about perfection came to me this week when I went with my kids to a playdate at someones house I'd never been to.  When we walked in, her home was immaculate.  She had candles burning (so it smelled really nice), pillows placed just right, floor vacummed.  She is a person with a lot of energy so she began talking....and talking....and talking.  Some people do nervous talk.  They are uncomfortable so they fill the space with words.  My husband can be that way.  I'm learning to be more of a listener.  I've always been known as a talker (ie; report cards from childhood labeled me a "social butterfly.") But now I find that I want to be more of a listener.  So, I listened.  And she talked (somewhat frenetically) about laundry day on Tuesday, money she spends on her kids clothes, the size of her small home, etc.  But, as I listened I noticed that she basically talked about perfection.  About her need to have the dishes completely done, laundry put away, house mopped in order to feel okay.  And I TOTALLY GOT IT.

That has been me.  For quite some time. I have stressed about the stuff that doesn't matter.  I have been overly consumed with having my home be just right.  I have freaked out before having people over because the kids are eating crackers like chimpmunks in a room I just vacummed.  I get it.  I have totally been a Martha when I need to just be a Mary (see Luke 10:38-42).  Mary was in the moment, concentrating on her guest and serving.  She was not worried about the appearance of things.  Martha was missing the whole thing because she was cleaning!  That is such a good parable for me.

I don't want to miss this.  To miss this crazy time of having a 6 year old, 4 year old, and 4 month old. I want to enjoy the moments, all of them. Even the ones that involve crumbs.  I also want to let go.  Let go of the appearance of things, of me, of everything.  Don't get me wrong.  I still want to look nice, but I don't want all emphasis to be on the outside stuff.  I've been working so hard on my inside stuff for years now.  I think all that work is finally producing some fruit.  I think I'm beginning to be okay with myself.  Which, by the way, is really, really difficult.

I'm glad that I've shared this this morning.  My home has been quite quiet.  The girls are away with Gabe and it's just Mason, me and the dogs.  It's given me the time to blog and to reflect.  I know I'm not perfect.  None of us are.  And I want that to be okay.  But, since I am human, I'm pretty sure I will vacuum again today :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Part 2 :)

                  We had a blast.  Mason slept through the whole thing!!!  Fun was had by all :-)

Monday, October 29, 2012


My heart aches just looking at these pictures.  It captures all of them right now, just as they are.  They are my my world.  My family.  It's crazy for me to think that God believes I deserve all of them.  They are so wonderful in all different ways.  Today I'm just extremely grateful for each and every one of them.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Maddie at age 6

I simply love everything about this.  Except for how long it took me to spell every single word she wrote down.  I have to point out that my favorite part is that her favorite pastime is "relaxing."  She's definitely in the right family! :-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dearest Madeline,
    Today was your 6th birthday and you were sick :(  You had a fever in the middle of the night and because of that, you missed school today.  We hung around the house together and watched a lot of "Barbie and the Popstar." 
    I have to say that in a way I'm glad you were sick today.  It meant I got to have you home and all to myself.  I've missed you a lot since you started Kindergarten.  I know how much you love school and that makes me happy.  But there have been times in these last few weeks that I have deeply missed you.  Let's face it, for a while it was pretty much just me and you.  You were my side-kick.  You were my bud.  We had so much freedom, just the two of us.  It was pretty special.  (Just for the record you are still all of those things to me; it's just a little different now).
   Several times today you told me things like "I'm lucky I got you for a Mom," or "I love you so much," or "You're the best Mom anyone could ask for."  Honestly, I think I'm the lucky one.  Lucky that God knew exactly what I needed when he gave me you.  You have been such a light in my life, Maddie.  I'm always proud of you; like all the time.  Your heart mystifies me; it's the most loving and forgiving heart around.  You teach me constantly. 
  So, on your 6th birthday, now that you are all tucked into bed on the top bunk, I want to say thank you.  Thank you for being so brave with your emotions and your love.  Thank you for being an awesome big sister to Gracie and MJ (they really look up to you).  Thank you for being sweet, goofy, smiley you.
  But mostly, I hope that some day I can truly live up to the person you see me as.  I love you Maddie.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Today was a beautiful day.

Only, not in the traditional sense that would be based on weather.  I caught a glimpse of something majestic.

Gabe and I met at the grocery store while Maddie and Gracie were at school.  It was a very rainy day and he had time to meet me there and lighten my load with the baby and all.  We shopped around finding everything we needed and many things we didn't.  We threw it all in the cart without a thought. 

At the deli counter we were behind a man who was probably our age.  The deli lady was having some long convo with the lady in front of him and it was all I could do not to say something.  I had so many thoughts running through my head; things like: "terrible customer service", "the deli lady has an awful attitude",  "why do I live in Virginia?
You get the drift.

So, Gabe and I finished our shopping and proceeded to the check out.  There was only 1 guy in line so I chose that lane.  As we were loading our groceries on the belt, I realized the man in front of us was the same guy we had been behind at the deli.  I could tell there was something going on.  The manager was being asked questions by the clerk about "voiding, or holding the transaction until he could make a call about his card."  I knew what was happening.  The man had a look of shock and worry on his face.  He seemed to be saying "Can I afford food?" without speaking.  It struck my heart.

So, my inner voice (aka The Holy Spirit) said that we should offer to pay for this man's groceries.  His total was $37.85.  But then another voice came in saying that "he would be offended if we offered to pay."  I felt stuck.  So I didn't do anything.  Didn't say anything to Gabe, didn't think about it again.  I just sort of froze. 

In that moment, while the man was down about 10 lanes from us, making a call to his credit card company, Gabe spoke up to our clerk and the manager and said, "I'll pay for his groceries."  The looks on their faces were priceless.  They told Gabe he didn't have to do that, etc. etc. but Gabe responded "I'd like to pay for his groceries." The clerk in the next lane overheard what was happening and started talking about us "being a blessing" to this man.  

So, the clerk proceeded to add up our groceries with his and gave us our grand total which we paid.  By then the man was off the phone and walking towards his cart.  The clerk told him we had paid for his food and he was SO very, very thankful.  He reached out and grabbed Gabe's hand with both of his.  He shook it over and over and said "Thank you" while looking deep into his eyes the whole time. 

I had tears in my eyes at the sight of this. 

I've always known the kind of man Gabe is.  He is very loving, a good provider and a wonderful hands-on dad.  I know his political beliefs (don't we all? ;) and his faith is secure.  But honestly, he humbled me by his actions today.  He saw a need that he could meet and he stepped out in faith to help someone who was down on their luck.  Isn't that the point of it all??????  I had the same thought as him, but I let doubt and fear tamper it down to where I did nothing. 

I feel like I re-fell in love with him today at the supermarket.  I was reminded of how big his heart is and how lucky I am to call him my husband. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mason at 3 months old!

IMG 0477 from Sarah Mejias on Vimeo.

The baby turned 3 months old this week.  Time is definitely flying by.  He is so much fun such a sweet addition to our family.  Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Maddie learned....

to RIDE A BIKE TODAY!!!  No more training wheels :)  I will post video tomorrow....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Dear One

 Dearest Gracie,

   Today you are 4 years old.  In some ways I cannot believe it and in others I can.  You have become this little kid; no longer a baby.  I'm so proud of you. 
   You are still incredibly talkative.  Today you got upset that I was "always interrupting" you.  I responded that since "you are always talking, someone's gotta interrupt you sometime."  :)  You didn't like that too much but I thought it was funny! 
   I always think of you as my strong-willed  child.  You are my kid who colors outside of the lines, marches to her own beat, etc.  You move through life without a thought as to what others think of you.  I admire this quality in you.  You are teaching me.
  Which leads me to your outfits.  They are WILD.  You don't pay too much attention to things matching.  Mostly you pick items you love (ie: favorite tank top, skirt, shoes) and you put them all on; without a thought or care as to if they match each other or the weather outdoors.  And heaven help the person who tries to tell you otherwise.  I've learned in the last year that it just isn't worth it.  It's a battle I'm not willing to fight. So, I let you be you out in the world.  And I continue to be so proud. 
   This summer you became a big sister for the first time and you are amazing in this role.  I think deep down it has been hard for you to no longer be the "baby."  But, your Nonnie had a good point.  You will always be my baby girl.  No one can replace you.  You are truly one of kind and I love you completely.

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


This morning you ate Coco Puffs for breakfast because you begged me to buy it for you yesterday.

You chose your own clothes; in fact when we did our school clothes shopping, you knew this would be the shirt you would wear.

You packed your "nigh-nigh" in your backpack because you heard there would be resting time and you said you would need it.

You gladly posed for pictures in front of our home :)

As we drove to school, your excitement grew; I could feel your adrenaline.

Daddy, Gracie, Mason and I all took you to school and walked you into your classroom.  Your teacher was there to greet you.

You walked right over to her, took off your new backpack, and found a seat.  I watched you take a crayon and get right to work.  As I talked to your teacher I tried to take it all in.  The site, smell and energy of the first day of "real" school.  It was so exciting.

Gracie liked seeing your teacher; she'd really been wondering about her.

As I said goodbye, you stood up and ran over to me.  "Big Hug and Kiss, Mommy," you said.  I leaned down and planted one on ya.

And I knew in that moment it's going to be a great year.

I love you with my whole entire 1st heart Maddie-girl. (1st because a couple days ago I said I loved each of you with my whole heart and you determined that I must have 3 hearts; one for each kid :) 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

There are SO many things that I want need to blog about. 

On the baby front:  He is amazing.  Just turned 9 weeks old and took his shots like a champ.  He weighs 11 lbs. 5 oz now (3 lbs. more than birth) and he's the best thing ever.  I'm in love.  I'm also done breastfeeding.  Hallelujah!!!  I had never breastfed before.  Both girls did formula and they turned out great.  But since I knew Mason was and is my last, I decided to try something different.  He was a natural at it.  Come to think of it, so was I.  I mean, my body knew what to do but my mind realized it's a lot.  A lot in the sense that ALL OF THE FEEDINGS are my job.  As in, no help from Gabe.  As in, just me, awake, sobbing, nursing Mason while Gabe saws logs next to me.  I cannot tell you the level of resentment that results from this.  The word "unfair" kept playing on a loop in my mind. 

I know that "breast is best" and all the slogans that go along with the breastfeeding world but for me and my life, I've decided "bottle is the way I stay sane."  Seriously.  Breastfeeding Mason for 6 weeks was really neat and bonding and special.  But it was also a ton of work, exhausting, and made me feel like a prisoner.  I know this isn't everyone's experience but with 2 others kids that have a lot of needs, it became too much.  Oh, and did I mention the crazy amount of reflux issues Mason was experiencing while nursing.  No bueno.  So formula it is and formula makes all of us much happier :)

However, there is judgement from others when you either give up (or never attempt) breastfeeding.  Silent judgement.  I've been through it before.  That look of surprise when another mother asks and I give the answer that he is bottle fed now.  Then I feel some need to explain.  Like I need to give reasons why I'm not nursing.  The same way I used to answer the "What do you do for a living?" question by responding that I am "just" a mom and then reciting my resume to prove that I'm indeed educated and started a career at one point in time.  Ugh.  I don't do that anymore.  Thank God. 

Back to judgement.  My cleaning ladies were here the other day.  They've been here several times since Mason arrived.  They are very sweet, Latina ladies.  They are always nice to the girls but very happy that I had a son.  (This is a theme in the Latino culture; boys seem to be the desirable sex and until I had one I would always get questioned about when we would be trying for a boy.) 
As they were cleaning, Mason woke from a nap and I headed to the kitchen to prepare his bottle.  My cleaning lady looked at me, then the bottle, and asked " Why you aren't breastfeeding?"  I responded that I did, but I'm done, and he has reflux, and this is better, and.... 
Did I just get judged by my cleaning lady?  I heard her then recite to the other cleaning lady in Spanish that I nursed for 6 weeks but not anymore.  I don't know what she said after that.

Here's the thing, it shouldn't matter.  It doesn't matter.  It's up to each person and each family and it's no one else's business.  It's another one of those parenting/mothering/woman things where there is a ton of judgement in each respective community and none of it is valid.  The proof is in the pudding and so far I think my puddings have turned out  pretty awesome; formula and all :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Beach or Bust

We are off on our first vacation as a family of 5.  Well, the girls are already on their way with their grandparents and Gabe and I will leave with the baby soon.  But, we will reunite and be on the vacation together :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

This is us the other day.  So classic.  All day, every day I hear "Can I pleeeeeeeeeeeeaaasssseeee hold the baby?!?!?"  So, we find time when he isn't fussy and everyone takes a turn.  The girls are beyond in love with Mason and it's so special to see.

I heard something on the radio yesterday that made me laugh.  The radio guy said to a mom who had called in that her son better get used to not having a chance to talk since he had two older sisters!!  I can definitely see that being the case around here :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


It's been a whirlwind around here. 

A new baby, 2 older kids, visitors, etc.  It's been pretty awesome; when it hasn't been so hard.

Let me start with saying that having Mason here is amazing.  He's precious and I love him so dearly.  I had felt like someone was missing from our family for a while and now I know that it is complete.  He is the perfect ending. 

On the other hand, having a newborn is HARD.  As in, it's so hard I find myself sobbing at times just because of sheer exhaustion.  I have a few friends who have 3 kids and they always talked about the level of tired they were experiencing and to be honest, I didn't have a whole lot of compassion.  I didn't couldn't understand.  Now, I do.  I get it.  It's really difficult and I know it's worth every single second.  I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

The other thing that's been happening in my head lately is that feeling of being homesick.  I believe that every time I've ever had a baby, I become terribly homesick.  I miss it there. 

Various family members have come here to Virginia to meet Mason and more than anything to help me.  It's been amazing.  When my Mom was here, I felt so incredibly close to her.  I loved sharing a part of each day with her as I welcomed my son into the world and into our home.  Then, she had to go.  I mean, of course she did; she doesn't live here.  But the reality of her leaving left me in tears and feeling unsure about what I'm doing.  Then, this last week, Claudia, Gianna and my Dad were here.  Again, so many laughs, good food and fun companionship (even in those wee hours).  But, that too has come to an end.  And it left me sad. The visits remind me why I love them all so much and why it's hard to have so much distance between us.

I'm just so grateful for my family.  They seriously mean the world to me.  It feels like they live a world away and that hurts my heart at times.  Often I have reconciled living here with the fact that I can go there when I need to/want to.  But with Maddie starting Kindergarten and having a new baby, I know that my visits are going to be dictated more by their schedules than my whims.  That will take some getting used to. 

So, today marches on.  There are children to feed, a baby to bathe and a mommy that needs a nap.  I am thankful for everyone who has come here to see me and I want to just sit with that.  It reminds me of that quote by Dr. Seuss: "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."
Let that be my motto for today.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Blue Eyes

We are adjusting.  Life has definitely changed for the better.
Maddie has become such a huge helper and she's in love with Mason.
Grace loves him too, but in her own way ;)
Yep, life is pretty tiring, stressful, hard, and 100% wonderful.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mason James is finally here :)

Mason James 
born 6/26/12 @ 7:45pm
8lbs. 5oz 
21" long

He's as awesome as I thought he'd be!!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


We are playing the waiting game around here.....
So, I made a collage of Mason over the past 9.5 months!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Sweet Madeline

 Tomorrow is the big day; graduation.  It's a day I've been both really looking forward to and dreading at the same time.  There's a safeness I feel at the preschool; it's become familiar.  The teachers, students and parents have basically made up our little community for the past 4 years.  It's the only school we've known.  Trust me that there have been moments of frustration at the preschool but overall it's been amazing.  Maddie has seriously grown up there.

Maddie began preschool the day after I delivered Gracie.  So, there's something full circle about the fact that I'm now super pregnant again as she ends her preschool career.  She was 22 months old and she barely had enough hair to fit into a ponytail.  My Mom and Gabe took her for her first day.  I was in the hospital with Grace who was only 12 hours old at the time.  Back then, she couldn't write her name, recognize letters or numbers, use the potty or stay up past 7pm; she was basically a baby.  My first baby and it was hard to let her go. 

So, here I am 4 years later and the neat thing is, I know her so well.  She is a real person now; not just a baby.  She has thoughts, feelings (major feelings), emotions, and so much love to give.  She has one of the kindest hearts I know.  She humbles me with her generosity towards others and with her ability to seriously love me just as I am.  She also has an amazing love for the Lord.  She has these questions about Heaven, and Jesus and I love the simplicity of it all.  I'm just so very grateful that she was given to me.
Tomorrow will be here before I know it and the tears I'm typing through are just the preamble to tomorrow's real waterworks. I fully expect to be an emotional mess but I figure I won't be the only one; plus I'm pregnant and hormonal! 

Kindergarten is just around the corner and she is ready.  She cannot wait.  I'm so happy for her, that her life is changing and that she's excited about that change.  For me, it will take some getting used to.  I still see her as my first little baby and it's heartbreaking (in a good way).  I want to still protect her from everything; I never want a single bad thing to happen to her.  But, I know that's unrealistic.  So, tomorrow I will watch her performance and clap and take tons of pictures.  I will try not to cry too much and I will be present.  Afterwards, we will go out to breakfast as a family and she will get her new charm bracelet as a graduation gift.

And, I will remember it always. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mason's Sweater

I literally just finished this minutes ago and I'm SO proud of it so I ran downstairs to post it here and now I'm ready for sleep....
Tomorrow I will buy the buttons for it :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

What's in a name?...

Gabe and I officially decided on this baby's name, Mason James, back in February on our way to California.  However, it should be noted that back when we were having Maddie, she too would have been named Mason if she was a boy.  It's been our favorite for a long time.

This week the Social Security Administration published it's findings stating that Mason is now the #2 name in the country for little boys.  USA Today reasoned that it's because Kourtney Kardashian had named her now 2.5 year old Mason.  I have to admit that this gave me a little panic.  I don't want people to think that I just jumped on some bandwagon and copied a celebrity reality personality to name my child.  Ugh.
I began reflecting.  Since I knew that over 6 years ago I already loved the name Mason, I had to remember where I first heard it.  And then it came to me.

It was 2001 and I was 23 years old.  I was really into Jack Johnson and had tickets to his concert in San Francisco.  My boyfriend and I got there early and we heard the opening act; it was Mason Jennings.  I immediately fell in love.  His music consisted of just him and his guitar (a harmonica here and there) and I LOVED it.  I bought his album and it sort of became the anthem in my old Toyota Camry on my way to class at SFSU everyday.
So, what does all that mean.  I guess it means that I first favored the name because I loved (and still do) the music someone with that name made.  I think it gives me some nostalgia for a time from long ago.  A time without much responsibility and with a lot of freedom.  It reminds me of California and the Pacific Ocean.  It feels like home.

When Gabe and I chose it for our baby this time we reflected on the fact that this will be our only son and in fact that word "son" is actually in his name.

I don't know what it is about me that wants the world to know that I in fact loved the name long before anyone heard of the Kardashians, but I do.  So there.  I was years ahead of the trend ;)

Listen below to hear one of my fav's :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I have so many things to blog about but at the moment I'm tired.  So, here's a sneak peek into the photo shoot we did a week and a half ago with our fabulous photog Megan Keys of Keys Photography. 
I can't wait to see the rest!
In other news, I am extremely pregnant.  Yes, I know this isn't earth-shattering information but it's all I can think of/feel.  Everything is getting hard to do; shaving my legs, putting on shoes, bending down to pick something up off the ground, rolling over in my sleep... You get the drift.  However, today I heard someone say that "it's all a matter of perspective and if you look for it, there's always something to be grateful for."  So, I will say that I'm grateful for this baby boy that is healthy and moving all the time.  I'm also grateful that tomorrow we are doing a 3D ultrasound and will see his sweet little face.  I'm also grateful that there's only 5 weeks (or less) until I get to hold him :-)

PS: As some of you may remember, when I had Grace my blog's web address had to change.  Well, it's happening again ;)  I won't change it until Mason arrives, but just FYI, it will change next month :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!!!

At the Farmer's Market yesterday am :-)

34 weeks pregnant today :-)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Baby Shower!! / 6.5 weeks to go!!!

The Girls and I at my Baby Shower last weekend :-)   

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Beauty Shop"

I've been busy doing chores around the house.  Maddie came up to me and asked me for "a bowl of water so Grace can soak her fingers."  What?!?  I asked what they were planning to play in the basement and she, very matter-of-factly replied "Beauty Shop."  Please understand that I've never taken them to the beauty shop.  Sure, they know I go there.  I get a pedicure regularly.  But there is something very perceptive about Miss Maddie. I went downstairs a few minutes ago to check on the progress and the pictures above show what I found. 
Several things stand out to me in these pic's.  1) Maddie is taking her job very seriously.  She's really getting in there and working to make Grace's feet beautiful!  2) Grace is EATING IT UP.  She is thoroughly enjoying herself and the relaxation that comes with someone making your toes look better.  And finally 3) I don't know how she knows this, but Maddie even brought in a few books/magazines for Grace to peruse while she's being serviced!  This cracked me up the most :-)
Madeline sure is growing up.  We registered her for Kindergarten this morning.  It was bittersweet (but heavier on the sweet).  Life is about to change in more ways than one. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Workin' on the nursery...

I know I look super tired in these pic's but this is what we did Sunday afternoon :)  The baby's room is really starting to come together!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dresses & Inchworms

This week seemed to fly by!  The girls and I found a great deal on dresses this week so that's why I took a pic of them before school Monday.  They looked so cute!  Then, the big thing on the playground at school were inchworms.  I took pic's of the ones we have brought home and are now living in a jar next to our coffee pot :)
On another note, I had a doctors appointment this week and everything is going along as it should.  Mason gave a huge kick while we were listening to his heartbeat.  Even Gabe saw my whole tummy jump from across the room!  I've got 9 weeks until my due date and 7 weeks until he's considered full term.  Time is ticking down.  I'm working on the nursery every day and will hopefully have pictures of the finished product this week.
Happy Sunday!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pictures at Fort Point

In each of my pregnancies I've had the opportunity to go home to California for a visit.  When I was pregnant with Maddie, the thought crossed my mind to go to one of my favorite spots in San Francisco, Fort Point.  It almost feels like a secret place :)  It's under the Golden Gate Bridge in the Presidio and it's a place I grew to know and love while I was in college there.

The picture on the far left, is me pregnant with Maddie.  I'm 28 years old and it is June 2006.  I had come home for a visit and for my baby shower that my Aunt Susan was throwing for both me and my sister-in-law Jen.  I remember it being such a fun, special trip.  The same week I came home, Gabe and I had moved into our very first home.  He stayed in Virginia and unpacked most of our belongings!  I remember feeling like life was pretty spectacular.  All I had ever wanted was to be a mom and it was finally happening.

The middle picture is me pregnant with Gracie.  It is my 30th birthday; March 2008.  My Mom, Jer, Maddie and I had all ventured into the city to go see an Annie Leibovitz exhibit at the Legion of Honor.  It's what I wanted to do on my big 3-0!  I remember it being a beautiful day but I also remember feeling somewhat exhausted from taking care of a 17 month old while pregnant.  At the time Gabe stayed in Virginia/North Carolina to go to a dog show and to work.  I remember feeling sad that he wasn't there for my birthday but I also remember that almost every day of that visit, a present showed up at my Mom's from him; a Coach purse, a gigantic cookie, flowers, a Nintendo DS (It's what I wanted; honestly!).  I also remember that on that trip was the first time Maddie's hair fit into a real ponytail.  She seemed so big.

The picture to the far right is me pregnant with Mason.  I am 33 years old (1 month before turning 34) and it is February 2012.  On this day it is only Gabe and I.  We are off on an adventure; both of us doing something we've never done before.  Gabe has just finished his first tour on Alcatraz; he loved it, it was a lot too much walking for me.  We ate lunch before the tour where I had my first experience having Dim Sum.  We ate at Hop Sing and it was fantastic.  I am in love with steamed pork buns.  We had a really amazing day and it stands out in my mind.  When this picture was taken, we had only known for 2 weeks that we were having our first boy.  I think my mind was still reeling from that reality.  On the airplane to get to California, Grace leaned over and hugged my tummy and said "Hi Baby Mason."  Gabe and I looked at each other and decided that Mason would be his name.  We were probably somewhere over Colorado :)

I'm proud of these pictures.  I just love, love, love capturing memories through photos.  I'm surprised as I sit typing this how much I remember about each of those time periods in my life.  They are all special and I'm grateful.  I'm officially 29 (almost) weeks pregnant which means time is winding down on all this.  I'm getting excited to meet this little guy and terrified of labor/no sleep/etc. at the same time.  I'm focusing on the positives though and fighting the fears :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Real Housewives of Virginia: Preschool Edition

There I was the other day, chaperoning a field trip with Maddie.  It was a beautiful morning and we were outdoors.  Lots of other moms attended the field trip and a couple of things really stood out to me.

First, there are some really fun, nice, normal women that have children in my daughters' preschool.  They are very similar to me in fact; they drive minivans, make lunches for their kids, believe in God, etc.
But, there are a couple of moms that are something else.  There are 2 of which I'm speaking and they are both older (by at least 10 years), their youngest(or only child) is the age of my oldest, and they are bullies.  The are friends with each other, in a cliquey way; only I would never want to join their clique because they are mean.  They are also both really loud and aggressive in the way they speak.  I'll call them "thing 1" and "thing 2" for the purpose of this post.

During the field trip, I could feel "thing 1" studying my face while I talked with another mother.  At one point, she interjected (it was breaking news of course) that she "could finally tell by looking at me that I'm having a boy."  "How?" I asked.  (New Rule: Don't ask questions of the bullies.  It's not worth it!)  "Oh," she says, "They say your face/jawbone change shape while you're pregnant with a boy and I can see that's happening to you."

I wasn't sure what to say so I did some nervous, weird laughter and hoped she would move on.  Was this a compliment?  An insult?  It was so confusing and honestly, pregnant women don't want comments on their appearance unless it's positive.  It must be clearly positive.  So, I told myself to avoid "thing 1" for the rest of the field trip.  However, I held on to that comment the whole morning and mulled it over and over; still not making heads or tails of it.

Then, the field trip was over and it was time to pick up Grace from school and her, Maddie and I went to the playground.  As soon as we entered the gate, I noticed "thing 1" and "thing 2" standing near me.  Ugh, I thought.  "Thing 2" approached and asked if we have any baby names picked out or "Are you one of those people who keep it a secret?"  It needs to be pointed out that the tone she used for this part of her interrogation was that of a whiny-sing-song-mean-school-girl.  "Umm," I said "We're still narrowing it down but I'm pretty sure his name will be Mason."  I said this with that excited smile you have as an expectant mother who has thought about this every day since she found out she was pregnant.  "Thing 1" nodded and said "That's a nice name." It seemed sincere, really it did.  "Thing 2" on the other hand, contorted her face and practically made a sound that resembled puking.  "Oh, I don't like that name.  There's a kid in my son's class with that name that I can't stand."

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THIS?!?  In the moment I was caught off guard so I didn't say much.  I mumbled something about liking the names "Gabriel and Micah" too but then I sort of wandered off.  I spent the rest of the day thinking about that interaction.  It bothered me; it still does.  These women are rude and I'm questioning why I didn't say something to them along those lines.  Probably because they are bullies and when you're in the midst of bullying, you just want it to end.  I've made some decisions since this happened.  I've decided that I will be polite to each of them by saying "hello" but that's where our dialogue will end.  I will not share any more details of my life with them.  I will keep it brief.

It was a good reminder for me though about where I am when it comes to standing up for myself when I feel that I've been treated poorly.  Looks like I still have more work to do. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saturday Night Art Club

My girls LOVE to create.  All they ask for all day long is playdough, paint, paper, crayons and markers.  They are obsessed.  For the past few evenings, we've been pretty cooped up with sickness (yes, again!) and so it was time to bring out the paints.  They were in heaven.  There is something so fun about watching them make something.  It's also interesting how different they are.  Maddie wants to only paint princesses and her own hands, while Grace just plays with colors and textures.  It's been a long couple of days of coughing, breathing treatments, and just sickness in general.  I'm ready for a new week!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My 34th

I had the best day with just Gabe, the girls and I.  It included getting a massage, napping, opening presents (throw pillows and pj's; all chosen by Gracie!), eating polenta with gravy followed by ice cream cake.  Sometimes, that's all you need!  Happy 34th to me :-)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What I See

I thought I'd take a moment to share the way things look from my eyes as of late.  The other day, as I was washing eating a ton of strawberries, one fell from my fingers and on it's way to the ground it landed directly on my expanding tummy.  It made me laugh.  As I peered down, I realized that I'm at that point in pregnancy where my shirts are bound to get something on them at each meal and where I can barely see my toes peeking out.  I'm 24.5 weeks today and it's exciting.  Knowing that this baby boy is growing right on track and that I can feel him moving all the time is really fantastic.  I am really focusing on appreciating everything that I feel because this is going to be my last baby. 

As I type this, Gabe and I are on a vacation in the Bahamas.  It's been really good.  It's fun to be able to finish a thought and a sentence.  I've enjoyed meals where I get to eat the whole thing without getting up to get someone more water or a different fork.  But, at the same time, I miss them terribly.  They truly are my world.  It's funny how life is; last week I was counting the minutes until I could shower uninterrupted and now it feels oddly quiet when I can pluck my eyebrows without a barrage of questions!

 We talked to them yesterday and Grace is simply carrying on with life as usual (that's SO Grace) and Maddie is sad.  Last night we talked to Sandy (who has been watching them) and she said she came downstairs to find Maddie sobbing while looking at a picture of Gabe and I.  I was heartbroken to hear this.  She is my emotional one.  She told me before my trip that she doesn't like me to go away because even though she can talk to me, she can't touch me.  I totally get this.  Being hugged, held and loved by people who are connected to you is irreplaceable.  Deep down, she is fine and I have to keep telling myself that.  My heart is so connected to hers though.  I woke at 2:12am and stayed up until around 4.  I couldn't sleep and she was the first thing that entered my mind; actually it was her and ordering a crib.  A mother's mind never rests :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pajama Day/ Gracie's Dress

We are back from our trip to California!  The girls had been concerned as we left that we may miss Pajama Day at school but lucky for us, it was Tuesday.  Gracie chose jammies that best reflect her interests and Maddie chose the "perfect ones" because they have ponies on them and she's in the pony class! 
Today Grace wore the dress I knit for her.  She was so proud to wear it to school and told her teacher right away that "Mommy made it."  Her teacher was impressed and to be honest, with how long it took me to finish it, I'm proud too :)

Monday, February 13, 2012


I FINALLY finished Gracie's dress last night :)  I started it in June, but to be fair I took a long hiatus while knitting Christmas gifts.  Now Maddie wants one...
As soon as I finished this, I started my baby boy's sweater!  So excited to be knitting something new :-)
Happy Monday!

*If interested in the pattern for this dress, you can find it on Ravelry or here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

My New Favorite

One of my dearest friends, Rosana, sent me this today.  It was perfect timing as it goes so well with my thoughts from two days ago.  Read and Enjoy! 

On Being A Mom
By Anna Quindlen

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves.

Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.
Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with "Goodnight Moon" and "Where the Wild Things Are," they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories.
What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what they taught me was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One boy is toilet trained at 3, his brother at 2. When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow.
I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month-old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language - mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, What did you get wrong? (She insisted I
include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.
Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity.

That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Same Dress

The girls chose their clothes today and decided it would be awesome to be "twins."  Here they are right before we went into school :)  Happy Thursday!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

3rd time around. {vent}

So, it's begun.  The unsolicited advice portion of pregnancy.  That part where strangers as well as people who know me start to give me input on what it's like to have three kids.  This crap infuriates me.  Don't get me wrong; I've often referred to this pregnancy as the "b*&%h-on-wheels" one.  So, the fact that people giving me opinions and sharing stories about their 3rd, 4th, 5th, kids is annoying, is not that surprising.  Here's the thing, I don't want to hear it unless I ASK you.  Often in pregnancy books there are whole sections about "strangers touching your belly."  This is not the problem I have.  People must know not to mess with me.  But, in the last week I've heard "Good luck!" (insert sarcastic tone), "That 3rd one really threw our family off balance" as well as "I don't even remember what that last one weighed/said/ate/drank/etc."  The thought there being that one is too busy with the older children to really care about that last one. 
I am opposed to this idea.  I do not, for one second, believe that this baby's upbringing will be exactly like either of my other two.  But to know me is to know that I document everything and that I'm very present with my children.  I know their birth weights (lbs. AND oz.s), I know their first words, I know the age at which they moved into "big girl beds," and I know when they got potty trained!  I don't forget or act flippant simply because I've done it before...
For example, both girls went to Gymboree once a week with me (starting at 6-9 months) and guess what?...that's the plan again.  Both girls spent the entire first 2 years of their lives at home with me...again, still the plan.  Both girls became fabulous sleepers because of a book I read in every pregnancy and follow almost to a tee...still going to happen.
I do understand that I'm not in control of everything.  If God has another plan, then I will follow it.  But I refuse to think that because I've done the baby/toddler/kid thing before, this time laziness will be sufficient.  It's just not me.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

18 weeks :)

It's almost that time....

We find out whether this baby is a boy or girl a week from tomorrow.  It's funny how you go half way through without even an inkling of what he/she is.  I've had 2 specific dreams related to the sex of this baby; and they have proven that it's literally a 50/50 chance.  In one dream, I had a new baby boy.  In another dream, a girl offered me some cake (there were two choices; one pink,one blue).  She chose my piece for me and it was pink.  So, who knows?!?  Either way, we will be overjoyed.  8 days and counting....

**Also, At the top right of my blog, I've added a poll for you to make your prediction about the gender of this baby.  Please take a moment to vote!!**

Friday, January 20, 2012


This week seemed to be a very busy one!  But I was able to catch these two really cute pic's :) 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Good Afternoon

This is how I found Mad's and Tuck when quiet time was over ;)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Good Morning :)

Such a nice way to start the day!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

White House Tour Collage/1st Day of 2012 Collage :-)

Tour of the White House December 23, 2011

Family Walk through our local nature preserve January 1, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012


Christmas was very busy and fun!  Enjoy the pic's :)

Christmas Time December 2011