Thanksgiving Week

Life just gets too busy around the holidays.

But, on Thanksgiving week with the kids off from school, we went up to our family cabin for a few days to relax. And then back to our house for a quiet Thanksgiving dinner.

When we got up to the cabin, it was chilly so to keep the kids occupied while the fire got started, Mike taught them Slap Jack. Needless to say, it was loud and entertaining. The next morning was filled with hunting for pine cones to take back to the house to make glittery ornaments (which we actually did!). We went to Big Bear for a little, and took the kids bowling and played arcade games.

The next day, we headed over to the local park then onto Lake Arrowhead for a few carnival rides by the water. Woofed down McDonald’s on the steps overlooking the docks and loud ducks. We almost stayed another night but decided to just go home to a very warm Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving was quiet and lazy which was kinda nice. The kids played in the backyard in their pjs for who knows how long. Brooke made mud pie soup on top of the cooler (a favorite thing to do nowadays) while Bryn collected the dirt. Blake played football with the neighbors next door (check out the proof on his knees below). And Ben.. always always smiling.

Halloween & Halloween Parade 2016

A few days before the actual spooooky night, the girls had their first Halloween Parade at school. You can tell which one loved the attention and which girly didn’t like parading around. So neat to see their personalities and how different they really are!

I wish I could say that every Halloween is simple and easy to host. The kids behave and wait patiently to put on their costumes. The chili is prepared ahead of time. The candy is perfectly placed on the front porch without anyone getting into it. BUT… this time it WAS pretty much really really easy. Aside from me frantically carving three pumpkins before everyone arrived (umm… left that one for the day-of and regretted it after the kids were over it halfway through. Seeds everywhere.) I hope Benny Boy had a great first Halloween as a cute little dalmatian!

Pumpkin Patch

In Orange County, it seems like everywhere you turn there is a pumpkin patch full of carnival rides and a petting zoo. This one is the same but for some reason less crowded and full of just really cool people. And, being Ben’s very FIRST Halloween and visit to a pumpkin patch, we knew this was the place to spend time taking pictures and having fun on a Saturday afternoon.

The kids got their faces painted (a dragon, a fairy, and Minnie Mouse). Ben got to sit in a pile of pumpkins. We laughed and watched the kiddies run through the corn maze. Holidays are always so much better surrounded by kids…even sweaty ones with glittery paint running down their faces. ;)

Merry Christmas – 2015!

The morning started off a little rough with our alarm going off at 6 a.m. We wrapped gifts, made coffee, and watched the news by our Christmas tree. Then 8 a.m. rolled around and it was time for this mama to take a nap. A half hour later, the kids were up and ready to open!

Stockings were first, which were pretty good this year if I don’t say so myself. Filled with hot wheels, candy, toothbrushes, pencils, Play-doh, stickers, books, and balls for Bryn. Then came the big presents from Santa: two pink Radio Flyer tricycles and one blue Max Tow Truck that can tow up to 200 lbs. Out of everything, I think Blake has played the game Trouble about four times and the girls have played non-stop store/chef with the fake fruits and veggies. Funny how gifts from Santa are always so needed but the simplest things pretty much always win.

Once my second nap was done for the day, we got up and met some of our favorite people at the park. It’s been chilly here in California, so we stayed for an hour and got back into our cars. I now feel like a cold is coming on but thank goodness for a Twinkie party on the couch with the kids while watching Hook to make me better! Merry Christmas to you all!

Easter Weekend

Sometimes, on these holidays, I stop and think, “I wonder how much longer Blake is going to believe in the Easter bunny.” He’s five. As a parent, you get so excited for your kids to experience these little things, like finding Easter eggs, and then it’s almost gone. I hate that. Life is moving by way too fast right now and I’m looking forward to the next chapter–simplicity (I know, I know… such a buzz word), family, and maybe a few seconds to sit and relax.

The pictures say a ton, but here’s a quick recap so I can remember five years from now what we did. We dyed eggs, of course, but Bryn didn’t participate because she passed out early (her sleeping schedule is killing us!), opened Easter baskets the next morning, and hunted for eggs at Tustin Sports Park with cousin Madilyn.

One of my favorite parts of the day was watching the kids fly their first kite. Pure joy! I also have a soft spot in my heart for these dyed Easter eggs. They just threw them into each color about 33 times and you got something seriously artistic!

Thanksgiving in The OC

It was a warm Thanksgiving again this year. The type of weather that just screams hot turkey dinner, right? Uncle Ronnie and Aunt Jenny came over with Madilyn and we played basketball in the backyard and ran around in tank tops and shorts.

When we finally sat down for dinner, I think I got one bite in and had to get up to tend to one of the girls. Then Blake fell off his chair while singing Little Drummer Boy. Then food was thrown all over the rug. The guys woofed down their meals and got the kids back outside so Jenny and I could eat. The usual chaotic end result to slaving over the stove for over half the day. It’s the best though.

We ended the day at the park, in the dark, and tired. I treasure these little family moments.

*Blake took a ton of these pics with my camera while I was busy in the kitchen. Pure talent!

Cousin Madi playing music for us on our walk.

Easter Weekend

The single best part of holidays nowadays is that I have a family of my own. Hiding eggs, putting together baskets, and being completely tired when our four-year-old pounces on me to wake us up at 6:30 a.m. are all part of what makes these days so much more special. We are the parents now. We get to be on the other side of the excitement.

Our weekend was full of fun, family, and a lot of Easter egg hunts.

Saturday, we woke up early to watch Blake play soccer. This kid is competitive. But, if a bossy girl is near, he would much rather hold her hand and follow her around than run after a ball. Some of the moms and I joked about it. Doesn’t every man love a bossy woman?

Right after, we went to a house nearby where our friends, from these soccer games, were holding an Easter egg hunt. Blake had such a great time! Later that day, we went to Papa and Grandma’s house to enjoy the pool and too much ham!

And today, Sunday, was full of more Easter egg hunts with the neighbors and then finally, in our own home. We ended the day with Blake reading books to his sisters in their pjs and, for us, a glass of red wine in bed while watching Game of Thrones. Another holiday over but so much more to look forward to.

Wishing all of you a very Happy Easter! xoxo

Grand Wailea: Our Maui Trip

To celebrate an early 10-year anniversary (and me turning the big 3-4), we decided to fly over the Pacific to one of our favorite spots–Maui. Since hub works with a lot of people who live in Hawaii, he asked them where to stay and all of them agreed on the Grand Wailea.

It was breathtaking. After we checked in, we went straight to the pool which has amazing reviews. Pretty kid-friendly with tons of water slides, a rope swing, water falls, lazy river… You get the picture. We skipped all of that and went straight to the adult-only pool (aww..quiet), ordered one too many mai tais, and ended up at the swim up bar with some great people from Louisiana and Arizona.

The next few days we ate YUMMY fried rice for breakfast at Fred’s, went swimming at the Secret beach just south of our hotel (there were really only a few of us there), and ate sushi at Sansei in Kihei (go late for half off sushi and karaoke). The few locals we met were extremely nice and pointed us in the right direction when it came to happy hours and “special” beaches where bathing suits are optional, if we were up for an adventure.

One more post to come of the last part of our trip. Aloha!

Happy 4th of July!

It’s been awhile since I posted anything because we’ve been busy. A lot of good busy and a little bit of bad, with a quick stay in the hospital for Brooklyn. Thankfully, she’s back to her happy, chatty self. What better way to relax than a holiday like Fourth of July.

At 10am, the water slides went up in the middle of the street and music started to play. Blake had a blast playing with the Smith boys and Brookie and Bryn were excited to hang out with their newest cousin, Madilyn (solo pic of her below in her cute little dress). When the day ended, we had finished 18 hot dogs and three large pizzas (really?!), tried on one Baby Bjorn, encountered a few meltdowns, and played with every water gun on the street. This holiday is becoming one of my favorites!