Archive | family

the happiest place on earth

They claim it’s the happiest place on earth.


They are so right.

Our family plus my mom & sugar-daddy {that’s code for the best stepdad ever} spent a few days in disneyland two weeks ago. I just love everything about disneyland and could not wait to experience it through the eyes of my own children.


It was a very full trip – you don’t sleep much when you’re in the magical world of disney – but every single moment was so worth it.

happy in disneyland

happy in disneyland 2

very happy in disneyland

I don’t think any of us stopped smiling.


Except maybe No. 1 who after sitting through it once, affectionately referred to the It’s A Small World ride as the dreaded tower of doom.


The kids were so excited to meet their favorite Disney characters, we ate all sorts of terribly unhealthy, but oh-so-worth-it food and from the oldest to the youngest, we all had the time of our lives on the rides.

Our favorite of all {especially the older boys} was the california screamin’ roller coaster in California Adventure. Want to take a ride with us?

That’s my head on the left and Ryan on the right. No. 1 & No. 2 are in front of us {daredevils} and grandpa is the videographer and the screamer.

{I might be screaming a little bit too}.

We seriously had the best family vacation we’ve ever taken and memories that will always be some of our favorites.



Coming up this week: what I wore to disneyland, our favorite places to eat and some helpful disney tips to save you time and only a teeny bit of money.

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a note to my children


When I was a little girl, all I could dream of was being a mommy. Your aunties and I played dolls until we were way too old for it. We crafted baby books with photos torn from clothing catalogs to document our imaginary children’s lives. I spent hours daydreaming about how many children I would have, what their names would be, what color hair they would have and, most importantly, what I would dress them in for family pictures. Once I was old enough, I spent my time babysitting and playing with kids in the church nursery, then later nannying for a family and falling in love with those children.

My friends in college would sometimes laugh at me because I just wanted to get married and have kids. I wasn’t looking for a career path, I didn’t have a strategic post-graduation plan. I had a boyfriend {your daddy} and the dream of marrying him and becoming a mommy.

Now that I’m here – on this side of my dream – with four healthy, bright, happy and unique children, there is something I want you to know.

My darling children, you have made my dream come true.

In my young mind, I wanted kids to dress up and cuddle and show off. I do that with you sometimes and it’s fun, for sure.

But, as it turns out, that is not my favorite part of motherhood.

From the moment I realized you were going to be part of our family, you each captured my heart. That love developed through the months of growing you in my tummy, holding you for the first time, staring at your perfect little face, admiring how you looked so much like your siblings and yet so very different. Each of you have your own personalities, you own talents, your own struggles and needs. As you grow, you become more and more of your own person and I get the best view to watch it all play out. I see things in you that remind me of daddy, you have mannerisms that you get from me. Then there are those things that are all your own and I get to find ways to encourage you, protect you, understand you … those are the best parts of being a mommy.

You are mine; we are forever connected, and I love you so much deeper than I ever knew was possible.

Yesterday a mama duck and her little ducklings started crossing the busy road. I slowed down and came to a stop {on the highway!} to avoid hurting them. After a few moments, their mama turned direction and her babies followed quickly after her.  It was the sweetest sight watching those tiny baby chicks waddle after their mama. They needed her and she led them confidently towards safety.

Sometimes, that’s how I feel. I feel like the mama duck with my little ducklings following after.

Sometimes I feel confident and walk with my chest held high, confident of where I’m going. I have four well-behaved, darling little babies and parade you proudly. Look what I’ve done!, I say. Look at these amazing children who call me mom!

But sometimes {okay, maybe a lot of times} I feel exhausted. I feel selfish. I feel ill-equipped.

Sometimes I feel like I’d rather not have four little ones following me at every turn. Sometimes I want to turn around and tell you to sit still or leave me alone or find someone else to follow. Sometimes I actually say those things and I’m so sorry for that. I’m not always the nicest mommy to you and I hope you will forgive me for my times of impatience and rudeness.

Sometimes I don’t know if I’m very good at motherhood. Am I answering your questions? Am I nurturing your heart? Am I teaching you to love people more than things? Are you well-rounded? Are you kind? Am I praying for you enough? Reading to you enough? Saving for you enough?

What I have learned over and over in my short years of being a mom is that as hard as I try to lead you confidently, I will let you down.  I am still a work in progress – I’m still figuring out how to be less selfish and well-rounded and kind right along with you.

So, my babies, here’s what I want to say to you today:

thank you.

Thank you for making me a mommy. For being a dream come true. For teaching me about selflessness and forgiveness and my unending need for grace. For making me laugh and being my companions. For following after me like those baby chicks. For wanting me and needing me and accepting me. You are the best children ever.

I love you, my darlings. Oh, how I love you.



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instagram highlights


Just in case you’re dying to know {wink, wink} what we’ve been up to outside of the blog, instagram is a great place to find out.  I’m not great about using facebook, twitter is still over my head and this new video thing called vine? Not sure it’s up my alley either. But I just can’t get enough of instagram. It’s so easy to document little snippets of our day and see what my friends are doing in their real lives, too.

So here’s a snippet of our month:


We enjoyed the chilly but bright sunny skies, we played with our pup, we skied {me for the first time in 16 years!}, we worked, we dressed ourselves {hence the inside-out tights}, we crafted, we bowled, we celebrated.

It was a good start to the new year.

{you can follow our day-to-day here}

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I went with my daughter to the ballet

  Last Saturday was a special day for me and my baby girl {who is really not a baby anymore}.

In our neighborhood of friends, there is a little group of girls all about the same age. It is the most darling thing to watch these girls become friends and do girly things together. Each of them has a brother {or two} and we do plenty of non-girly things as families {camping, crabbing, sledding, etc} so just spending the day with the girls is a special treat.

This past weekend, we celebrated one of the girl’s birthdays by going to the ballet. The moms and daughters dressed up, drove in to the city and prayed that our babes would sit quietly through the show.

I’m sure this is a special moment for any mom-daughter duo. But particularly so for me as this is the stage on which I lived out my little girl ballerina dreams.

I adore ballet and still wish I had the dedication, the grace and the feet to be a real ballerina.

All of the girls did amazing well. They sat through the show in awe of the pretty, sparkly costumes and ballerinas. Audrey was adorable. I could not believe she understood the story even though it was new to her. She teared up when I told her Cinderella couldn’t go to the party because she didn’t have a pretty dress to wear.  She was mesmerized by the carriage {not sure why, but she was very into it}, and at each intermission she didn’t want it to end. I really didn’t know what to expect taking a 2 1/2 year old to the ballet. And I’m trying to be careful about putting my own dreams on her so I didn’t want to talk it up too much. If ballet isn’t her thing, I want to be okay with that. But she loved it. She can’t stop talking about it. She wants to go again.

It truly was a magical day for me as a mommy of a daughter.

Please don’t get me wrong: I love my boys. I’m so glad to have three of them to learn from, play with, enjoy. I even took them to the ballet last Christmas. I grew up with two sisters, have only one boy cousin and nannied for a family with three girls. I understand girls. I like pretty things and fake eyelashes and am not a fan of rodents or insects of any kind. I’m girly. So to have a daughter that I can identify with in these ways is a blessing. This in no way diminishes my love of being a mom of boys, I’m just thankful that I also get to explore my feminine side by being a mom of a girl.

A girly girl who also likes the ballet.

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5 things learned while on a mini-getaway

Our family took a mini vacation earlier this week on a whim. We planned on staying one night, but once we arrived, we instantly changed our minds and decided to stay two. Funny how a getaway will do that to you.

Here’s what I learned on our little trip:

1. Sunshine is good for your mental state

Western Washington has had a very gray summer and we needed some sun. Just a few hours east lies Lake Chelan with its bright blue sky, fluffly clouds and warm, dry air. We needed that.

2. Spending the few extra dollars on a hotel room with an adjoining bedroom is totally worth it.  It was so nice to put the kids to bed in one room so Ryan and I could cheer on the US women’s gymnastics team {okay, maybe it was just me} while sipping a glass of wine {see #4} late into the evening.  Have you ever sat in the pitch black trying to be silent while your children fell asleep on the next bed over? It’s not that fun. Small conveniences like the door in between rooms make all the difference. At least when you are traveling with children.

3. Days of lounging at the pool while our kids swim in the pool are almost here.

My little ones are still a bit too little to take my eyes off them, but I did spend a few minutes laying on a lounge chair {about 12 inches from the edge of the pool!} while they played on the steps.  A-ma-zing.

4. Not all wine tastes like nail polish remover.

I think it was these teensy grapes growing on the vine at the winery we dined at that convinced me to give wine another try. I’m glad I did. Especially since we were in the middle of wine country and ate at wineries each night.

While dining at the winery, we sat next to a nice family who we eventually struck up a conversation with and realized we had many things in common.  A little later, we ran into dear friends who also happened to also be vacationing at Lake Chelan.  It is people that make life interesting and enjoyable and so it was fun to meet some new friends {hi, Ben & Abby!} and connect with old ones {love you, Scott & Erica!}.

5. Even though it is a lot of work to pack up a family of six, drive four hours to a so-so hotel, eat out for each meal and share beds, these family moments are worth every ounce of energy and each penny spent.  We don’t getaway as a family often and so when we do, we try to make the most of it. I am thankful for a three-day getaway to just take a step away from the normal routine and enjoy each other.

And now I will catch up on housework and emails and half-finished projects that I’ve fallen behind on.  I guess that’s what happens when you take a vacation on a whim.

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