Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer 2014

A photo documentary of our first Alabama summer in four years.

We kicked things off with Colin jumping headlong into five. It suits him well.


There was much backyard play


Popsicles in pajamas.


And VBS here and there


And lots of swimming


There were date nights enjoyed by mommy and daddy and children left to relish in spending time with the grandparents.


Days out with friends


And park days in familiar spots






And more backyard play


And more popsicles


And months of days filled with enjoying our time together with our favorite people in the world.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sweet Home Alabama

Transitions are hard.  No matter how good I know they are for us, they are still hard. Leaving California was tough and moving is obviously a stressful experience.

We are finally settling in to our new home with our familiar surroundings and in arms reach of family and friends. Being with our people and settling into our home has been the best encourager around.

Isn't this what your moving crew looks like?


The backyard has already been such a joy.  Lydia would spend all her out there if her momma could stand the heat.

We are enjoying finding ways to stay cool in the backyard.










The neighborhood pool is super close and being able to swim with the cousins is awesome.


Also, did I mention the cousins are mermaids?


It took her a few minutes to warm up (or cool down as it were).

I really wish she had held on a bit of the fear.  Now the pool visits are straight up exhausting as LJ spends the entire time storming off into the water until she is covered head to toe with no concern for being able to breath.

I foresee many hours spent keeping cool in good company.


Much to say about the past month since our move, but here is me dipping my toes back into the sharing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fit



You know that one awesome piece of clothing you have? That top or dress that looks so great hanging in your closet, but doesn't quite fit right and never really feels comfortable, that one? It turns out living in California is kind of like that ill fitting shirt for us.  It is so pretty from the outside, but it just doesn't quite work for us.

We will be saying good-bye to the Bay Area and heading back to Alabama in a few short weeks.

It should great and there is so much to be happy with here and so many reasons that we should fit right in. But the thing is - it just hasn't happen.  We have been trying for the better part of three years to make this move fit, but the further we get into the more uncomfortable we get.  Jason and I have realized that this place just isn't a fit for us.  We have loved our time here and there will be much that we miss, but it is time to let go of this thing that will just never fit right or feel comfortable.

We miss our families. We miss our friends. We miss kind smiles and wide opened spaces. We are ready to settle and find a peace of place for our family. No house or city is perfect and there will be some things we still find uncomfortable, but it is time to go "home."

We will be packing up these memories and experiences with us.  They have added so much value to our family experience.  We will be leaving a bit of our family heart here and part of me is sad that these California memories will fade for our young children.  But these few years of growing and stretching will impact who we are as a family and as individuals forever.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Life Snapshots

How does it go, "the best camera is the one in your hand?"  These are little moments captured on my phone for the past week or so.  I don't want to forget all of the nothing special but quite extraordinary to me moments.

When she demands a headband and a tutu with her pajamas, I feel like we are moving in the right girly direction.


The kids' favorite place to play is on our bed.

It's adorable, right up until it gets too rough and everyone gets kicked out.

Smoothies have become a favorite.  Well, of everyone but Colin.  But 3 out of 4 ain't bad.
And Baby Girl's favorite thing is to look out her window and watch the trees blow while she has a snack.

She is convinced she is a big girl. She wants to sit on the sofa with her brothers and drink her milk.  They think it is pretty special when they are the chosen one she sits next too (for 10 seconds).


The Saturday morning quiet before the busy.


I love the ease of feeding a toddler any and everything. After the last two boys having allergies or sensitivities that made meal time so much harder it is a joy to just feed her whatever we are eating.
And Baby Girl loves her protein.  Eggs, sausage and anything else you could get in an old fashion breakfast at Cracker Barrel makes her morning.

LJ has started grabbing her blanket from her bed, bringing it to us, and requesting a snuggle.  It is about the cutest thing in the world and pretty much erases any stress or worries of the day.


It is even cuter when big brother joins the snuggle.


We are still taking (very pricey) swim lessons.  Come on kids, swim already.

The spring fog and clouds has given us some pretty spectacular sunsets lately.


Lastly, I'll leave you with how Eli sits to watch TV.  Every time.  This cannot be comfortable, but it seems it is for him.
.

And now I realize how many of these pictures are of the kids watching TV.  Well, apparently, I take stationary however I can get it.

Happy Weekend to you!

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Day Trip - The Monterey Aquarium

The morning began with oatmeal waffles (okay okay, chocolate oatmeal pancakes) and actual time to enjoy our coffee and chocolate milk.

Then baby took a fantastically timed morning nap while we all loaded up and prepared to head to Monterey for the day.  It is one of the most beautiful places on earth and one of our favorite places to visit.

There is a new exhibit called Tentacles so naturally there were inflatable octopus legs coming out of the top of the museum.  I'm so thankful for my one child who will participate in my photography funnies.


Harbor seals with their pups - the cuteness was astounding.  We talked about mammals and nursing babies, which I love is so natural for my boys.


Then Colin hatched out of a penguin egg.  Okay, not really Monterey local or anything, but still fun to watch.


Once Baby Sister was released from the stroller confinement she was wide opened and having the time of her life.


Being able to stand under the tide and stay dry, fantastic.





Then there was the point where she tried to throw her bow into the open ocean. I think she has underestimated my commitment to her accessories. She will wear bows and she will like it.  I got nothing but time.


And this - this just makes my momma heart overflow.


She did keep coming back to them in the "tide cave," but she did her fair share of stretching her legs at the same time.


And those legs own me.


A few more in the cave, because they won't fit forever.






Of course we rounded out our visit with a stop at Pinkberry.


No one complained.


Walker kept saying how much he loved Monterey and wants to live there.  I secretly hope he does end up living there one day and wants his momma to visit often to make his chocolate milk and chaperone his visits to the shore.

And visits from the past: October 2013, September 2012, and our first trip in May 2011

And and aside - as many times as we have made this drive south the hills have always been brown.  This time they were vibrant green.  It was breathtaking. We could not stop commenting on how amazing it looked.  I don't know if it was because of the recent rain, or if this happens every year but the green only lasts for a short window that we have missed. In any case, we feel blessed to have witnessed the rolling green hills of the California shore.

{shot out the car window as we buzzed along home}

Friday, April 4, 2014

Stitch Fix

I've been using Stitch Fix for several months now.  I have had a few people ask about it. So I thought I would take some truly awful phone pictures and share them all with all of the internet.

A brief description of the service:

Either monthly, or as scheduled a stylist picks out five items based on your style profile and feedback you have included from previous Fixes.  There is a $20 fee, but if you make a purchase from the Fix the $20 is applied to your purchase.  The prices are reasonable.  Maybe a bit higher than what I would pay in a department store, but not having to go to a store and trying things I wouldn't pick out for myself is worth it

This is my most recent Fix and what I thought of my choices.

Prior to this fix I have kept one item from each batch.  Partly because I don't need 5 new things each month and partly because I haven't wanted all five items.  Each time I have gone online and provided feedback on what I liked and what I didn't like.  I felt like with this Fix I saw the fruit of that.  Each item reflected something I had included in my comments.

They provide get this stylist card for each item, which gives you ways you could mix the item with others you might own. Mine also includes ideas for matching new items with purchases I have made in previous months.


It's like Christmas.  A special treat just for mommy.  I usually rip open the box immediately, but then wait until the kids go to bed to try things on.



This was my husband walking in on me taking timer phone pics of my Fix because I was too embarrassed to ask him to take the pics.  But here I am posting them anyway.  I love this dress.  It fits great and is light.  It has tiny cap sleeves and a tie waist that is very forgiving. I think it will be something easy for summer.



I was most surprised by this top.  It was on top of my package and my first impulse was that it was an old lady pattern.  But when I put it on I really like it, even Jason liked it.  I can't decide if I will like it forever or if the pattern will stop me from actually wearing it.  But it is super comfortable and different from what I already own.



I think with a jacket or sweater (as shown on the stylist card) it could add some fun to a simple outfit.


I like this sweater/jacket/wrap thing, but the color wasn't quite right for me.  This makes me want to look for one of these in a bolder color.



Now this shirt is great. Perfect pick for my style. So much so that I already own something very similar.  I seriously have a cream top with orange stripes that wear every chance I get, but I don't think I need two.


I had requested no accessories because I like to buy handmade or local items.  But this time they included these earrings made by a local San Francisco boutique.  I don't have anything like them and think they are great!


From my previous Fixes I have a skirt that I love and wore to every slightly nice event all winter, a button up casual top, a sweater and a jacket.  I also have bought things similar to what they have sent me.  For example they sent me a pair of mint green jeans.  I really wanted them to work, but they were eight feet to long for this short girl and I felt like altering them would make them look odd.  So I ordered a pair in a brand a knew would fit.  I never would have ordered them if the stylist hadn't included this option and shown me how to wear them.



It is something fun to try for a $20 risk.  And I know I have lost more than $20 on clothes that I have picked out myself and hated.

Here is a link if you want to check it out for yourself!

http://stitchfix.com/sign_up?referrer_id=3200179

*Full disclosure they give a credit when someone actually orders from my link. I found them because someone shared their link and am so glad they did!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Eli's Seventh





My lion hearted seven year old.  He thinks of others.  He loves well and expresses it without reservation.  He is a collector of all things, most recently of sand dollars. He loves to build with Legos and draw and create. He follows his big brother but is slowly starting to make his own choices even if they involve choosing to spend his birthday money on a stuffed animal (something big brother would never see the value in doing).  He is reading well, but he isn't willing to admit it yet.

We are so blessed to have him in our lives.

This is how the we spent celebrating.

The morning began with presents mostly picked out by big brother.


Then the requested breakfast of banana chocolate chip muffins and bacon.


And lunch at his favorite spot - Rubios


Then, jumping with friends

(yes this is horribly out of focus, but it is what I got - so it is what we are going to use)







And baby sister continues to believe she is a big kid


Finally cake and celebrating at home




Then, the very day after his birthday, he was able to go with daddy to Birmigham on a business trip.



He has grown into such an amazing boy. Can't wait to joyously march through another year with him.