Thursday, April 16, 2015

Everyday Miracles

I am getting my craft on today because the spring decor I like is out of my budget. I think the spray paint and hot glue fumes are getting to me though.

Flower garland for spring // felt is my new thing.

This guy scored the first goal that the team made all season so far (he wasn't at the first game). I am so proud of him, but he was beaming! He is growing up too fast. All too soon, he will tower over me like this when I'm standing up beside him.

New leaves on the fiddle leaf fig.

Shells for my friend.

Our beautiful one year old Paulownia tree is now taller than me.

Grabbing a spinach snack to go.

Vines have started their ascent.

My lunch date.

Field day fun // girls beat the boys in Bella's class 8-0.

Today was of the most fun birthday parties we have ever had! // Gabe and Ari, life is so full of joy with you two in it! // Movie night with "Nacho Libre", because my kids love to laugh.

Grateful for the wonderful friends in our lives // friendship is the best gift that we can receive.

A happy day in our backyard.

Chillin' and enjoying the female attention before the movie.

I would love him either way, but the birthday boy is growing up to be someone I'm truly proud to call my son.

It's midnight and we are finally cleaned up from the party // time for cupcakes!

The mud pie she baked almost looks good enough to eat.

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Everyday Miracles

My first babies are a big

kid age, and for the first time their birthdays are making me weepy and nostalgic // slow down babies!

Had a sugar-and-laughter-filled day celebrating my twins.

My girls are both daddy's girls and they don't share him very well // every girl should be so lucky to have a dad like him.

Nighttime game of croquet with the little miss // and what a beautiful night it was.

Everyone had a good time at the beautiful wedding of Noel and Daniel last night... even this little one who wouldn't part ways with the dessert table.

It was an overall great day in the garden.

Turns out, despite people telling me for most of my life, I was a "city girl" and "pampered", that I am a "country girl" and "outdoorsy".  So there.

Two peas in a pod hard at it // work around here doesn't pause for potty training.

Spring dinners outside are back on with this crew.

Where the neighborhood kids were after school today.

Rainy day birthday party backup plan.

Blossoms are the promise of wonderful things soon to come.  Popcorn poppin' on the apricot tree... and the apple and the peach trees too.

Baby sissy Marci.  My childhood home videos have been the evening entertainment recently.

Spring allows for after school neighbor play dates almost every day.

Getting back inside after a walk around the yard // so beautiful out, but it's nice returning to this cozy place too.

Ari participated in her first cheer competition of the year with AZ Heat Inferno. She stole the show with her amazing smile and enthusiasm! She was so happy to perform with this awesome group of girls!

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Sneaking Away

We only got to visit for two days, but it was worth it in every way. Disneyland is where we went for our three day weekend back in February.  We wanted to beat the spring break crowds, and while it was as crowded as ever for Valentine’s Day, the weather was perfect and so was just about everything else.

We spent one day at Disneyland and one day at California Adventure, and we got to ride most of the rides that were open.  Liam was just an inch too short for some of the rides, but we gave him an E for Effort.  He stood on his tip toes and put his arms up in the air in a vain attempt at making himself appear taller.  We had to rush around quite a bit to fit everything in that we wanted to see and do, as compared with our typical three day trips, but it was awesome to be spontaneous and just get away from everything for a weekend.

I didn’t take many pictures at all, because we had our hands pretty full, and I wanted to enjoy every moment without the distraction of my camera.  I am kind of regretting not taking a few more in hindsight.  I wish that I could have captured every magical moment.

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Liam was pretty brave.  He was content to go on every ride we brought him on.  Ari was the same, and she was the only one who wanted to ride Space Mountain with both Jake and I when we did Rider Switch.  Bella was the most apprehensive about the rides.  She reminds me so much of myself when I was her age, and I still get a little nervous on new rides or rides with big drops. 

Some of our favorite spots in the park were closed, like Liam’s Whinnie the Pooh ride/corner, the Grizzly River Run, and the Adventure Trail, and we didn’t ever make it on the Jungle Cruise, because Liam had a blow-out right in front of the ride just as we were about to get on it.  That was awesome.  At least we’ll get to laugh about it for years to come.  And we now have one more excuse to try to make it back again this year.

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We convinced/bribed Bella to go on Thunder Mountain Railroad for the first time this trip, and she loved it.  She said it was her new favorite ride.  Hopefully, she remembers feeling that way for next time, so I don’t have to repeat the whole convincing process again.

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We attended a Frozen sing-a-long, which was actually not really a Disney caliber experience, BUT my kids, and especially Ari, were so enthralled by it that it moved me to tears right then and there.  So it ended up being a true Disney experience after all, because you can count on Disney to, if nothing else, make me cry happy tears in ten minutes or less.

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Everyone’s favorite ride was Radiator Springs Racers.  It is impossible not to love it when you’re sitting next to Ari, who is squealing and laughing with joy the entire time you’re on the ride.  Bella, however, somehow managed not to love it because of how it made her butt feel when we went down the drops, so she blacklisted it.  Hopefully, she’ll forget for next time.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Faces of Liam

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Daddy Daughter Dance

This was posted before, but it bears repeating in its own post.  The girls loved their Daddy Daughter Dance so much.  How lucky they were to have not one, but two handsome dates.  The same could be said for the guys as well.  What a special night.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Everyday Miracles

Dinner under a canopy of trees, a separate kids table and live music because it's Valentine's Day // Disney does it again.

Just one of a million magical moments.

Radiator Springs Racers was Gabe and Ari's favorite ride. Ari hooted and hollered the whole time, kicking her feet with excitement. I so wish I had taken a video. Bella didn't like the drops, because they made her "butt feel weird". Liam was just an inch shy of making the 40" cutoff. I guess we'll have to come back to celebrate when he grows that inch..

Pretty awesome to get to ride with these guys // I can't believe I gave birth to them four days shy of 8 years ago!

Every day in Disneyland is the best day ever // even when Liam has a blowout on the Jungle Cruise // you read that right.

I'm so lucky // Gabe told me out of the blue "Mom... I love you." // it may not seem like a big deal but it was one of the best parts of my day.

She may look vulnerable, but don't let that fool you. She's the bravest of them all.

Three good lookin’ cowboys.

Someone's having a good time.

My Valentines.

Family pictures are getting trickier // I love my motley crew.

Goofball will actually wear her 3-D glasses now.  Every milestone counts.

Apparently Disneyland didn't offer enough thrills for Bella, because she felt the need to get stuck in and nearly fall 30 ft. out of our mulberry tree today. Jake: "How are you feeling Bella?" Bella: "Like I'm going to FALL!"

He knows he's cute and he works it… in the rearview mirror.

I had all but given up on the idea that we would have any cauliflower, but surprise surprise // it has only just begun.

We will start and end this day with celebrating two of the most amazing people I know. These two made me a mommy for the first time 8 years ago, and I can't even comprehend how that much time has passed. I am so grateful for their joyful, humorous, and loving presence in our lives. I can't imagine our family without either one. I love them so much my heart hurts!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Everyday Miracles

My little ones love holiday decorations. If they had their way, our house would always look like the seasonal isle of the grocery store. Last night, I spent a few hours with a hot glue gun and went for it.

Making juice.

80 degrees. I guess it's summer again.

It's wonderful to see Ari growing up and establishing her own friendships.

All girls all day.

Yeah, I have no idea what beats this // Ari and Bella's cousin, Madison's birthday party was their favorite day this year.

This conversation: Me: "Bella, doesn't she sound just like Elsa from the movie?"   Elsa: "Umm… that's because I am the same Elsa from the movie."

Daddy Daughter Dance with Daddy and Papa // the girls were so excited to be the center of their attention all evening // I hear they danced like no tomorrow.

Official Daddy-Papa-Daughter Dance pic // three generations // melting...

Ari and her IRun4 buddy got the chance to meet in person today, and it was so awesome // perfect match, these two.

Just about to begin gardening and other weekend to do's, but that corner and a cuppa are calling my name // and I got tulips from Ari's IRun4 buddy Tracy, so that's one more reason to stay right here.

Picnicking with our next door neighbors // I love our country life.

Nothing makes me happier than watching my sweetest childhood memories being fulfilled in my childrens' present day // Gabe is making a dash for home base.

I love when my yard is full of life // the cousins have arrived // every spring day is the best day ever

I don't know where she came from, and I have no idea how to feel about this.  I have a crazy, fearless girl.

It's all about letting loose at the rest stop and then when we get back in the car, I'll pull out my peace and calming essential oils.

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Everyday Miracles

Thank goodness for funny movies on the mornings after he keeps us up all night.

Bok choy rice noodle soup with turkey and tofu meatballs because my sister is coming over tonight, and I'm bound and determined to cure everyone's winter colds.

It's hard to believe that we are already at the start of a new season, and we're planting five rows of our summer garden! // Three varieties of tomatoes, bell peppers, three types of watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe were started this weekend. // Meanwhile, we are still reaping all that the winter garden has to offer, and feeling so blessed.

Birthday parties full of good friends are happy reminders that I love this little community we have and this place we call home.

I scratched the itch and came up with this guy // he isn't finished, but at least I can work on my taxes now.

Busy day of grocery shopping, a downtown neurology appointment for Ari, prepping for a twin birthday party, cheer practice, and speaking at out R.S. activity tonight in simplifying the way we eat... and running on 4 hrs. of sleep // I need s glass half full. Of fresh squeezed tangelo juice.

Lemon bars in my beehive cake stand // I would be lying if I said I didn't spend a very long time searching for a beehive cake stand.

Is it just me or does she look way older than six here? // impatient to play in the rain and get soaked to the bone // rainy day ritual.

Of course I got her to smile two seconds later and here comes my six year old running back.

Bathtime sweetness.

Friday night movie favorite "My Girl".

I didn't even think it was possible to have this much fog in Phoenix // this is definitely a cuddle day..

I sketched this out for Bella, and here's what she did with it // I have a painting budd.

I came home from a photo shoot last weekend, and Jake was baking lemon merengue pie! What?! It was so good too!

Sunday family walks are the perfect way to close the weekend.

We don't always eat Cold Stone ice cream, but when we do, it looks like this.

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Everyday Miracles

Rewinding a bit to remember some earlier everyday miracles

Pomegranate gift to Marci.

Cheeseburger gift to Leah

Hot chocolate date with with my two favorite women // mommy-daughter time.

I love my little buddy so much in spite of the fact that he can be so naughty sometimes... he threw his Converse shoe at my head with amazing aim when I was driving this morning, because he was mad that I changed the radio station.

Ready for the adventure of potty training.

Born to fly.

About to embark on another day with my mini me.

Baking pies for company with my apron twin // fig pecan from my favorite restaurant Beckett’s Table // I have been waiting for this all week.

Fish love “Let it Go” too.

Beautiful day for the zoo with cousins.

We can't seem to get enough of pampering goats.

Thank the Lord.

One plateful of kale and quinoa salad is never enough.

One of those rare days when I've had eight hours of sleep, go to two back-to-back classes at the gym, and eat a salad for lunch // feels pretty good I have to say.

Sometimes I hate putting him down for a nap, because it just means less time with him.

My budding photographer snaps photos of every sunset, zoo animal, and "cool scene" that there is.

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Makeover Madness

Normally, my sisters-in-laws and I like to do our makeup at the kitchen table when we’re together so we don’t have to miss out on quality time while we get ready.  Or at least that’s what I tell myself.  So our daughters see this and, of course, want in on the primping and preening.  We made them over and voilĂ  – a pretty, yet slightly awkward look into the future.

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Ari was trying so hard to perfect her kissy face.

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Four gorgeous, overdone little girls.  I know I’ve got my work cut out for me with the one in the red. 

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Ari took her cues on how to pose from her cousin, Madison.  She is such a girlie girl at heart.  But then again, they all are.

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Snowy New Years

We spent a wonderful New Years at Grammy and Papa’s house in Holbrook with most of the cousins.  We weren’t expecting snow, but we were lucky that we came prepared, because it snowed hard and all at once.  We didn’t have to go far at all to play in it either.  They boys had snowball fights and made some type of bomb out of snow.  They shot paintballs at snow targets too.  Bella helped me make her a snowwoman.  Even the little ones had fun.

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Ari did not like to wear her gloves, and then she realized that she didn’t like how the snow felt without her gloves on either. 

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Unwrapping Christmas

Christmas Eve is always hard to beat, but Christmas Day just may have tied it this year.  The kids got many presents.  Ari received a lot of Frozen toys like an Olaf, a wand, a microphone, a boom box, and a several other things.  Bella asked for Lego Friends, a fish, a real professional sports bra (for cheer), and a stuffed peacock.  Her wishes came true.  She also received her own big girl bike and scooter so she and Gabe wouldn’t have to share his.  Gabe wanted mostly Lego sets, but he also got a tree ladder, some sports balls, books, binoculars, and a few other things.  Liam got his first remote control car, Duplo sets, sword, among other things, but he loves playing with Ari’s toys the most.

All four of my little ones were so grateful and excited about every gift, no matter how small.  It was a pure joy to give to them and watch them receive.  They also had made us gifts from school, and were equally excited to give them to us.  I will always cherish the moments in which they’ve given us gifts and cards over the years.  Nothing is more special than watching their pride and anticipation at our appreciative reactions.  In my experience, there is no truer happiness felt in life than in giving to others, and especially to my own children.  I love watching them experience this joy.

Both of my sisters were here as well as Grammy and Papa.  I served a green chile egg casserole, because it was easy, but everyone loved it.  We took our time unwrapping, eating, and eventually cleaning up, and I don’t remember hearing a whine or a complaint all day.  The feeling was so playful and peaceful.  I feel happy just remembering the day.  After a nap, just the six of us went to Chinese food at Magic Noodle House and to watch a movie in the theater.  This year, we saw Big Hero 6.  This has become very much a tradition to us on the years that we are in town.  It is so relaxed, and yet so fun.  We get noodles, because I remember that as a child, my family sometimes used to eat noodles around New Years to represent long life or something like that.  When I was young, we also had a tradition of going to a movie and Chinese on Christmas Eve, because I was raised Jewish, and not much else was open on Christmas Eve that still felt festive.  Jake and I have decided to incorporate this tradition, because after cooking many consecutive elaborate meals and prepping/shopping/wrapping/decorating/baking/singing/reading/reflecting all month long, it is nice to have a break but still be celebratory and have something to look forward to. 

I didn’t take hardly any pictures this year, because I’ve been relying on my iPhone camera too much.  I’m kind of sad about it.  I want to start using my real camera again and be better about documenting detail the way that I used to.

All I can say is, I hope we remember this.  When things are hard and kids are whining and I am tired and crabby, I want to remember this.  When they are older and it seems like they care less and less (I hope this never happens, but I know it can), I want to remember this.  This day will never happen again.  At least not quite like this.  And I want to remember that it did and how it did for ever and ever and ever.

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