Saturday, March 12, 2016

Spring forward!

Clocks spring forward tonight!

{Why does this always excite me?}

The girls are now on spring break and get to visit family, something they love more than a trip to Disneyland. It's hard living away from those you love most. 

Hopefully they will behave. 

London said the other night,

"I really need to be nicer to Ellie. It's just hard. Cuz like, I've known Lily for years. But Ellie? I'm still getting used to her."

Love my drama queens.

{Photo cred to the talented Lauren Elizabeth, who shares how to dress for your family photo shoot plus many more important family photography tips! Thanks Lauren!}

Thursday, March 3, 2016

in a few words.

{because pictures are the best part anyways...}


{new player}

{heart shattering}


{who says he needed a son?}

{...such a sexist assumption.}

{isn't that right, fourth daughter?}

{datz RIGHT.}

{spring in heaven redlands}


{{maybe if i wear it on a t-shirt, it will really come true?}}

{{{even with the stain.}}}

{tis the season!}

{making music}



{more spring in redlands.}



the end.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Count yer friggin blessings, dude.

{Friday afternoon lazy bummin.}

Weekend is here! Our plans are to do a little yard work, enjoy the sunshine, hopefully watch The Good Dinosaur with the kids, church, and London's very first softball game. It's a new dawn, a new day, a new me: the first official time I'll ever really pay any attention to a sporting event. 

Yesterday, as I drove the girls home from school Lily spilled on some of the fourth grade drama of the day {lucky for our family at the dinner table, there is usually plenty, on the daily, for Lily to talk about}.  It was a minimum day Friday, and their class had a special "read-in" day.  Everyone could bring their pillows and blankets and read while drinking hot chocolate.

So, according to Lily, apparently Bobby Fletcherrrrr was like sssssuper rude and annoying because Lily accidentally spilled like one drop, ONE DROP!, of hot chocolate on his pillow pet! I mean, come on Mom! I said sorry! One teeny drop! He kept saying that it was the worst day ever. THE. WORST. DAY. EVER. for him. Can you believe that?

{Actually, I was thinking in my head, yes, I can envision how a fourth grade prepubescent male showing up to school with his pillow pet could, indeed, turn out to be the worst day of his life.}

Bobby just kept whining Mom! On and on!

So what did you say then, Lu? 

I did that thing that you always do to me. 


I said,

{she tees this up with some serious attitude and mock sarcasm...think lots of wide eyed staring and eyebrows excessively raised}


TELL ME. Please. PLEASE tell me why today is the WORST DAY ever?

Tell me why you are sooOOOooOOOOoooo upset.

Is it because the um....the SUN is shining?

Is it because... your body IS HEALTHY AND MOVING?

Is it because... you had enough FOOD TO EAT today?



Is it because you have... FRIENDS and a FAMILY who LOVE YOU?!


{Hey! She's paying attention!}

Poor Bobby.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Photo dump: the weekend birthday surprise.

In all of my years of wife-ing, I'm pretty unbelievably lame when it comes to special anniversary or birthday gestures. Tyler and I kinda like to pride ourselves on being low key about such events. It's either the pressure is too stressful, or there isn't the money when you need it, or you build up all of these expectations only to have them somehow thwarted. It's become a bit of a sentimental joke that we prefer to go to Chili's for our wedding anniversary dinner celebrations. We'd spent most of our dating years eating there frequently (queso dip!), and then our early childbride poverty years, and now? Simplicity and lack of fanfare has become our thing.  Well, that is, besides the raucously naughty sex we have in our vehicle in Chili's parking lot.

{I'M KIDDING!.....or am I?} 

But THIS year, I was like Rachel, get it together. So! I secretly arranged for Tyler's parents to come down for the weekend (thanks Nonna and Pop!) to watch the girls, and I surprised my main man by showing up at his work last Friday with his bags packed. He was informed immediately that he would NOT be leaving work to go coach London's softball practice (as he had planned) but instead, would be on his way with this here superwife for a luxurious stay at a swanky hotel on the beach. All hail 32nd birthdays! 

So. much. relaxed. fun. 
We explored Laguna, Dana Point, and San Juan Capistrano together all weekend.

A weekend for our little marital record book, for sure. 
And, another reminder to me that being married to my best friend is one lucky adventure.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Bearded Man.

On your birthday.


so many things to say, so much i love about you

for starters

your beard

growth that began on a whim

a few beard pins on my pinterest acct

soon became a fun man hobby of yours

cleaned, trimmed, shaved, examined daily

carefully combed as you drive your truck to work, a new habit

it makes me laugh

you make me laugh


the best medicine in marriage

the smiles you have given me



it all began

the day you were born

what if it wasn't so

i cringe

i fear to think

the infinite amount of possibilities

that could have ended differently

me without you, you without me

this life

four daughters

deep, belly joy





all because you were born

all because you are here

and so i celebrate you

i will always celebrate you.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

After school.

{Sisters reunited. Always "starving!". Snack time.}

I wish I had more time to write.

I wish I had more time to sit and think and document all of the big and small stories. The stories that are, to me, worthy of long-term record keeping. But daily I have to continually ask myself, for a myriad of tasks: is this a top priority?

It often feels like life is filled with nothing but TOP priorities, all competing with one another. I feel pulled in eighty different directions every day. But when I listen to the stillness, and that small little voice inside that gives us our best information, it's pretty easy to remember how my priorities really stack up. The struggle then is getting my outside world to better match the inside one. 

I'm getting better and more fluent with magic words like No or that's not my battle! or i'm letting this go! or oh well! or sorry, can't make it! I'm also telling Mom-guilt to shove it! 

I'm doing my best. 
My best is always good enough. 
Remembering that makes all the difference.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Holiday Weekend Photo Dump

bike rides. fruit stands. working with a landscape designer on our yard (eeeeek!). because sometimes you gotta know when you're out of your depth and consult the professionals. sunshine. taking my girls for a day outing to the pretend city museum (so fun for them) all by myself. remembering how my mom took my siblings and i on countless outings all by herself. completely different perspective from this side. seriously, how? the poor woman. a breastfeeding infant, a toddler, and like 6 more kids in tow. it's funny. it's remarkable. it's heroic. got my sexy on for the world's most sexy husband. who rocked valentine's day this year. thanks my love. read a lot of my new book. felt happy. enormously happy. this is my life. pinch me.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

It's Friday! Links, thinks, and LOVE SWEET LLLLLOVE.

1. We have three Valentine class parties to attend tomorrow. These are the sorts of events that slap me hard with the reality that I actually am a mother. All of those damn sign-up sheets and papers and food allergy listings and class "Room-Mom" pressures. I still have moments when I'm waiting for MY mom to show up and take care of my life for me. I'm baking brownies for Emerson's preschool class because I am determined to do something to show my competence as a human being. We consistently show up 15 minutes late to class EVERY time. No joke. Chronically late loser here. Naturally, it only makes rational sense that a boxed brownie mix will fix all of this. 

2. Going out this weekend with my Valentine and planning to wear some thigh high boots. Datz right. Have you heard this Ted Talk? Perel also gave a full master lecture at my University available here online. Great insights. 

3. "I'm not waiting for leaders anymore. We are the leaders." The compassion collective has reported on donations! What I especially love about Momastery charity work is that it often only accepts certain donation amounts (like a MAXIMUM of $25. That's it?!), and their work is targeted and specific. My heart sometimes explodes when I see the thousands of people all over the world who give just a little, only to see how much a little can make BIG, HUGE things happen. I love that you can make your donation, and within a few weeks see exactly how the money was spent. Pictures, notes from the recipients, all of it. It becomes so real. 
It makes me feel like overwhelming, horrendous problems really can be helped by small, even shamefully painless gestures like me throwing a little of my starbucks money their way. I am so inspired by the women who run this. Check it out and read the latest (also, grab a box of tissues - your heart will break and heal simultaneously in so many good ways).

4. A neighbor invited us down to rob their flower bushes and lemon trees:

  I mean, come onnnnn.....could a late Wednesday afternoon possibly be more dreamy?:

 {photo by Lily. "Mom, I think I'm going be a photographer someday."}

(Someday I hope, when life may feel miserable or hard or unfair in any way for my girls,  that they will remember that one afternoon they rode their bikes on a sun-drenched day in February and filled their baskets with fresh lemons and flowers. In other words, they are impossibly lucky. No matter what.) 

5. We had this Valentine's FHE lesson last Monday and instituted The Love Bug. The lesson plan was simple and cute and the kiddos loved it. All items are free to download and print. The Love Bug popped up around our house as the girls made kind gestures to each other for the week.

(But I mean, let's be real. The super lovey dovey kindness lasted like 3 seconds...I feel like my girls were mostly a hot mess of bickering all week, truth be told. Sigh...defeated shrug...I guess you gotta just keep trying, right? )

6. Thrifted vase. $6. Score.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Finally, Emersonisms.

Behold, Emerson.

So here's the thing about this kid. This adorable kid. When I thought of all the funny and quirky things to record, it's mainly all the funny and quirky ways she says quite normal things. Because, you see, Miss Emerson has a bit of a speech delay that we've been working on. It isn't so much the content of her sentences that bring us such joy, so much as the fact that we are finally hearing actual sentences come out of her mouth! 

It's a big, long meandering story that involved some hearing loss early on (now corrected) and what I think is just a generally late development pattern with her. Currently, we are feeling really good about her progress. We've worked regularly with a speech therapist and every word and sentence she speaks now feels like a balmy bunch of salve to my fretful Mama soul. 

Last week, I checked Emerson and Ellie Jane into the YMCA play center so I could take a pilates class. The room had been scattered in balloons. As I chatted with the childcare employee and another mother, Emerson came up behind us with a balloon and said quietly,

"Cooze me teacha. Why awe dare blue bayoons hewe today?" (Excuse me teacher, why are there blue balloons here today?")

I had to abruptly stop all conversation to turn and exclaim loudly,


I'm sure the employee and Mom-friend found my over-enthusiasm a bit startling.

But I don't think I can adequately describe how every word and every sentence now spontaneously beginning to bubble out of her makes me feel. Tyler and I love nothing more than when she says something random, in a full sentence, and we can look up at each other in surprise, happiness and...relief.

So, the Emersonisms we celebrate today are things like:

"Mom, can i peeeeease seep in your bed?" (Mom, can I please sleep in your bed?)

"No! No!!! ten more meeenites! Ten more meeenites! (No! No! Ten more minutes!)

"Eyeee Jane did it." (Ellie Jane did it.)

"And Lulee is my shista and Yondon is my shista and Eyee Jane is my shista! I have free shistas!"
(...and Lily is my sister and London is my sister and Ellie Jane is my sister! I have three sisters!)

"*grunt* *grunt* {carrying a bag of groceries for me)....oh Mom! Dis is soooooo heeby."
(this is soooo heavy!)

"one, two, free, fouyee, five, six, sheveen, nine, eight, ten, eleben, fouteen, fourteen, nineteen, twinty!"
(Counting! Screw the order! We'll take it!)

I think that even if she ends up as the first female President of the United States someday, my heart's reaction to that wouldn't trump what I feel right now when we are having these first few conversations together.

 {Emerson and Ellie Jane, best best friends}

She's well on her way. 

And that makes us very happy.:)