Monday, September 21, 2015

notes on travel: disney land and huntington beach

last week we took a family vacation to disney land and huntington beach. it was much needed, especially after the health scare from last month. it was so wonderful to spend quality time together as a family!

easton had been looking forward to spending his fourth birthday in disneyland for MONTHS. this was our first trip to disney, since having kids (tony and i hadn't been to disneyland since we were kids, ourselves) and we were so excited to experience the magic. before we went, however, we made a quick stop in huntington beach. we stayed at the Kimpton, Shorebreak Hotel right on the water. as soon as we arrived we grabbed the hotel supplied beach toys, blankets, and beach towels and headed straight to the beach. the four of us played in the water for hours. i couldn't believe how warm and how clear the water was. easton and sailor loved digging in the sand, building sandcastles, and letting the water wash over their tiny little bodies.

 as always, there was a lot of jumping on beds during this trip...

we ate dinner at the hotel (which was amazing) and went back to our room for an early bedtime. in the morning, my dear friend (from elementary school) met us at our hotel. we chatted and hung out on the swanky patio while the kids played a large game of chess and dug in the sandbox.

then, we were off to disneyland! we picked up our friends at the airport and went straight to the park.

 day one of disney was full of fantasyland. we road snow white, pinnochio, dumbo, tea cups, small world, and lot's of others. easton was NOT a fan of the snow white and pinnochio rides. they were too scary- but that kid was a roller coaster king. he went on every single ride (minus space mountain, the matterhorn, and indiana jones). we also didn't take him on the haunted mansion ride, because snow white scared him. no explanation required.

Sailor loved meeting the characters. he especially loved pooh bear, he had a very special moment with him, holding hands and rubbing noses. true to form, sailor takes a while to warm up- so whenever we got on a ride, sailor would cling to me and whine but by the time the ride ended he would try to stay on, trying to go for another. he loved the little mermaid ride and winnie the pooh ride the best!

we went to disneyland with the idea that we would buy each kid a shirt, a stuffy, and one toy. however, a very special fairy surprised us with four day park hopper tickets- and wouldn't let us pay her back, so we let the kids get a few more trinkets. it's something that we will probably never do again, but it was pretty cool to say yes (for the most part) every time easton asked for something. he was quite surprised, actually. easton's favorite character is minnie mouse (just like his mama). he even wanted minnie mouse ears to wear around the park. he loved meeting minnie and seeing her "house," and she loved seeing his minnie mouse ears!

tony and i got to spend the morning with our friends, anica & chris. they met us for some adult rides and lunch at disneyland. we had a great time, until we picked up the kids at a ride and listened to the one and only melt down from sailor on the entire trip (but it lasted for about 3 hours).

 tony and i on the indiana jones ride, and cynthia and i taking a selfie while our kiddos played in the "street."

we watched the light show, hit the parades, saw the frozen sing along, the mickey mouse club house show, and even got caught in the rain one morning. we wore rain parkas, minnie ears, and lots of smiles!

easton's birthday was two days shy of our disneyland trip. so we did what any normal parent would do…we lied. we told him is birthday was on our last day in disneyland (which was september 16th, when his actual birthday was september 18th). we celebrated his birthday at the park, and ate dinner with all of our friends at Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland hotel. we even had a special minnie mouse cake made, just for him! he was a little off kilter by that point (8pm on the last day in disneyland), but it was still extremely special and extremely magical! we bought him a mickey mouse watch for his birthday and "slink dog" (from toy story).

we ended our trip the same way we started. huntington beach. tony flew home on thursday, and i drove on, to visit with anica (for a third time!!) and then to karen's house. karen is one of my closest friends, she and her family moved to huntington beach about six months ago (and we miss them dearly). easton and sailor love their buddies, neena and bear (and play so well with them, it's honestly a joy to watch). we spent the night and hung out all day with them. it was a wonderful end to a wonderful trip!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

the state of things.

it's been a very long time since i last updated my blog. things in life are never constant. there is always a new challenge or two and the state of things never seem quite, calm. we've had some big changes. we moved from our lovely little pink house in late july and are in the middle of looking for a home that is big enough and safe enough for our budget. while we're looking, we're staying with my mom in her big house- and are so thankful.

tony had another heart attack last week. we are reeling from the fear and stress from that- but are living in a state of gratitude for his life, his amazing doctors, and the knowledge that God has him, right where He wants him.

last thursday, i kissed all three of my boys goodbye. tony took the kids to daycare and preschool on his way to work and i had a few moments to get ready for my busy day in an empty house. as i was looking through my phone (boredom scrolling) i stopped on a picture of tony and the boys. my heart was flooded by love- but also fear. i had an overwhelming fear for tony and his health. i felt frozen and scared. i emailed tony right away to tell him how much i love him.

the feeling of dread for his health and the fear of losing him didn't pass. the whole day i was, off. after work, i hiked with a dear friend and let her know all of the fear i was in, over tony. that night, after we put the kids to bed, tony expressed discomfort. he was clammy (but didn't have a fever) and couldn't calm down. he said, "maybe it's just anxiety from the first week of school." with a new job (the director of HR for the school district), it would make sense that his stress level was elevated.

all the fear of my day, all the concern for his health, washed over me again. i insisted on taking him to the hospital. he wasn't having chest pain, or arm pain, or any other symptoms of a heart attack (that we know so well). the only thing that i can say is that, God was telling me something all day long. He was saying- "something, My love, is not right." it wasn't. a blood test confirmed that tony did, indeed have a heart attack.

as scary as all of this has been, i am in such awe of the way that my God has shown up in our lives. i could write about all of the fear, all of the pain, all of the worry over our children, and tony's health. instead, i want you to read this. we are okay. we are good. we believe in something that is so much greater than any of the fear and pain will ever be. i am grateful to God for saving my husband for a third time in ten years. i am grateful for our life together, our love and devotion to each other, and our children who bring joy into our hearts every single day.

if God cares about the lilies in the fields- he cares about my family.

Matthew 6:28
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

a lazy sunday.

last sunday we decided to skip church. we usually don't but we needed a day at home to unwind and relax. the morning started off with cuddles on our bed and ended with two little monkeys jumping on the bed.

i have been so busy with work and life in general, so i haven't taken out my camera to catch those sweet moments that i so often love to snap. sunday morning was the perfect time to dust off my camera and take a few shots. these are some of my favorites.

my life with three boys. be still, my heart.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

mama to an eighteen month old.

it took a little while for sailor to come into his own. he was shy and quiet for a really long time (since birth, actually). he has always been sweet and snuggly, and really really clingy. honestly, he took so long to take his first step, that we were all a little nervous that he was never going to walk. finally, he took his first steps (around 16 months) and started to walk exclusively around 17 months. now, he's walking all over the place and doing a little "toddler run," when he chases easton.

sailor has (weirdly and totally randomly) taken after easton's hat obsession. he puts food on his head, boxes, and actual hats, of course. he sleeps with an A's hat every single night, and plops down as soon as i give it to him. one night he cried until i told him that i'd bring his hat if he stopped. i walked out of the silent room to grab his hat, as soon as i handed it to him and said, "lay down, now, sailor boy" he threw his little body on his mattress and put his hat over his head. too sweet.

he loves to walk molly, holding her leash. he is quite demanding, in his squawking (he uses very few actual words) and let's me know exactly what he wants, ALL THE TIME. sailor is totally down with the big kids, and tries to get in on the fun when easton has a friend over. he wants to be a big kid, these days.

sailor is the climb-y-est toddler i've ever seen. he tries (and most of the time is successful) to climb everything. he even tried to scale a headboard, while i was staying overnight at a friend's house. sailor climbs on top of the table, the chairs, and right into his high chair. one morning we woke up to sailor, sitting in his high chair waiting for food. no joke. he is truly physical, and pushes easton when he's trying to be funny, and jumps on my bed morning, noon, and night.

i am so in love with this little boy. my only regret is that easton is so clingy that sometimes i feel like i can't give more attention to sailor. i suppose that's the second child curse. sailor boy, is my beloved. be still, my heart.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

notes on travel: san francisco (staycation)

last weekend we took an impromptu vacation to san francisco. our church is in Marin, so we often head over to san francisco after church to explore and play. this past weekend we thought, let's stay overnight! i used priceline to find a great deal on a hotel (i always use the price negotiator tool, and get amazing AMAZING deals at pretty swanky hotels). with taxes and fees included we payed $105 to stay at the Monaco Hotel on sunday night.

we got to our hotel right after church, threw our bags down, and headed out for lunch. we decided on pizza. blondie's pizza (my favorite). we wanted to be nice and full while we waited in line for the cable car.

 blondie's pizza is right next to the cable car stop, so while we ate, easton could hear the "ding ding" of the car and nearly jumped out of his seat every time. he was so excited. we waited in line (and listened to a terrible street singer, who was holding us hostage by singing into a microphone right next to the line), watched pigeons hang out on the tracks, and watched in amazement as the cable car workers manually turned the cars on the track.

easton was in heaven, while we rode the cable car. i kept singing "clang clang clang, went the trolllllyyyy. ding ding ding, went the belle…" and all three boys were frightfully embarrassed of that. (although, my neighbor got a kick out of it). we stopped off at the pier, and got ice cream. easton hung out on tony's shoulders while we walked around fisherman's warf.

when we finally took the cable car back to union square, the boys were tuckered out. we went back to the hotel and ordered thai food. easton watched a movie while sailor fell asleep in the porta crib.

we had such a sweet time in the city. i wish we could stay, and never come home. i think easton might be a city boy...

Monday, April 20, 2015

notes on being busy.

you guys. life feels crazy right now. i'm in the artificial lawn business- so this california drought has got people thinking, "sheesh, i need myself a synthetic lawn!" i've been so busy running around the entire bay area trying to get these folks new lawns, that i haven't had time for much else. seriously. i haven't made a proper dinner in a week. last week barley counted for a proper dinner because i scrambled eggs, sautéed some veggies, threw quinoa in the mix and called it asian fried rice. then we ate it with noodles the next night. then i made pancakes. since then, i've been trying to take a breath and eat something other than granola bars.

anyway. when work gets busy, my head gets crazy. i haven't had time for yoga, i went to one meeting last week, and i haven't slept in the same bed as tony for, what feels like an eternity, because easton won't go to sleep on his own.

today, with heaviness in my heart, i took the kids to day care on my "day off" so i could get work done in peace. my dear friends called me for a hike and i thought- "nope. no way. i have too much feeling overwhelmed to do, i don't have time". but i went. it's so crazy how a bit of fresh air and conversation (with people who understand me) makes my heart and mind a little more…still.

when life gives me too much good stuff, my mind starts to get all…sappy and self deprecating. i start telling my little self how horrible i am because my kids have eaten mcdonalds, and mac & cheese, and pizza in the same week. i start saying how life would be better if maybe i stopped working and stayed home and cooked and cleaned and made homemade guitars out of pine cones. maybe then i wouldn't feel so overwhelmed? probably not.

i've said it before and i'll say it again. the beauty in this life, the fullness, it can be overwhelming sometimes. sometimes there are so many things, that life feels out of control a bit. that's okay. the best thing to do, is take a breath, maybe a hike, and eat some granola bars out of the package (not the homemade stay-at-home-mom granola bars that makes us working/part time working moms feel inadequate ) and be so grateful that life is busy and beautiful all at the same time.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

notes on travel: kauai

tony and i jetted off for a quick hawaiian getaway to the garden island. we decided to go to kauai on a whim a couple of months ago. we thought about doing a family trip, but then thought again. with a seven p.m. bedtime, we would be stranded in the hotel/rental every night unless we split up and did things on our own. also- we wanted to hike. we knew we couldn't hike with a three year old and one year old in tow, so a trip for two was in the stars.

once we decided on the north shore, we started looking for places to stay. although i love the idea of luxury hotels, i never seem to end up there. tony and i tend to be drawn to more, kitch-homey vibes (remember when we stayed in a treehouse in Big Sur?). after reading far to many travel blogs i stumbled upon the Hanalei Surfboard House. the owner of this super fabulous establishment is a retired music producer from the UK (he even signed RADIO HEAD!) simon potts, has three bungalow apartments that he books for no less than three nights (but he gave us three nights because he is just so sweet! ;-) we stayed in the elvis sweet. it was decked out with elvis memorabilia, a full kitchen and bath, seating area, beautiful secluded patio, and a crazy comfy king bed. he stocks the bathroom with local soaps and shampoos and the kitchen with local coffee! our house was a ten minute walk to downtown hanalei and a two minute walk to the beach. perfect!

we didn't have much on the agenda (except for a non-negotiable hike along the na pali coast). we spent the first day browsing in the downtown boutiques, napping, and going to a fabulous dinner at Postcards Cafe (it was the best dinner of our vaca).

the second day was our active one. we hiked, swam in the ocean, and took a leisurely walk downtown to dinner. i showered like THREE times a day, because it's the rainy island after all, and they aren't on drought alert! i also slept throughout the night all three nights we were there, and woke up to wild roosters in the morning.

on the third day we spend the entire time at Tunnels beach near the Na Pali coast. i attempted to snorkel but the waves were so huge that i got knocked around more times than i'd like to admit. so, i put the snorkel gear away and body surfed for three hours. it was amazing. tony laughed every single time i got  pummeled by waves, and i went into lifeguard mode every time he got pummeled by waves.

we ate sushi for lunch at Sushigirl every day we were there. it was hands down the best sushi we've ever tasted. i am craving it right now, actually.

i'm sort of a homebody by nature, so travel is a little stressful for me. what i have discovered is that i do best when i stay in one area- make it my own. explore the in's and out's until i have uncovered all that is  about one particular area. it makes me feel at home, even when i'm far away on a tiny island. that's what we did in Hanalei. we stayed there the entire time. we loved it!

a quick note about travel without kids. tony and i felt that we really wanted/needed some time to recharge together. it was so special, so needed. we went through the list of 36 questions to make you fall in love, and had beautiful conversation and attention with each other for four full days. it was absolutely wonderful. we missed the little's, of course. but we loved the alone time. it's something that we have tried to do once a year since we brought easton into our little family and i hope that we will continue this. our marriage is the most important part of this family. it holds everything together. we have to have as much focus and attention on it as we do our children. with that said. i was like a magnet to every single little child on the island. i found myself cooing over little babies and laughing at toddlers. i wanted to be seated near them in restaurants and on the plane! crazy, i know. life without kids, it's less colorful, now.


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