Monday, December 27, 2010


Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Welcome to the family, Wii. With how much time the kids have spent looking at you, talking about you, and playing with you, I'm pretty sure you're the 6th member of the family.

(Anyone have any must-have Wii games for these newbies?)

Monday, December 20, 2010

like mother, like daughter


Today you made me extra glad to be your mom. I've always felt like you, specifically you, were sent to me. You have impressed me so many times. I can't imagine a better daughter.

You're so much nicer and kinder than I ever was as a child. However, there are so many areas where we are just the same. Your dad tells me you and I "snuggle the same way." We both take a long time to really wake up. Your dad also says we have the same attitude (that's ok, I promise you it will come in handy, just maybe not with him). We like shopping, especially when it's just the two of us and we find a good sale. We both have a soft spot for babies. We both like to cook goodies, and also eat them. I love that we enjoy doing these things together. But, as I said, today I noticed that you might be taking after me in another way. Even though your strongest subject right now is math (and it was never my strongest), you love words. Writing. I was an avid journal-writer, even when the things I wrote were silly and juvenile. I'm not the best at keeping up with my journal anymore, but I am pretty good about recording the important stuff.

I still have all my old journals. I don't always like to read them because they're so silly, but I am glad I have them. Today you were given a journal by our neighbor. Sure enough, when I sent you to bed tonight you asked - as you do every night - if you could stay up and write for a few minutes. When you pulled out your new journal and opened the first page I couldn't help but feel proud. I was even more proud when you came out and showed me what was on that page. You decided to title it "Emma's stories." You wrote about our family, telling a little about each of us and including our ages and birthdays; and you got them all right. You even included your little sister, reminding me that you know just what an important member of our family she is.

I saw a bit of myself in you tonight, as you wrote what you felt. I know you're going to record some wonderful and important (and probably some not-so-important) things in that book, and I hope you will keep it - your very first journal, with green and purple elephants on the cover - forever.

Thanks for reminding me just how important the small stuff can be.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

the season

I love this Christmas season. And I love the season of life I am smack-dab in the middle of.
Life events usually cause us to step back and take a look at our lives. Before Tanner was born I knew my life would have to slow down. I think we all know that life doesn't actually slow down with a baby but it definitely has caused me to re-evaluate and change my priorities. I don't get a whole lot done around the house anymore because I would rather play with Tanner. And I'm totally ok with that. This is probably my favorite age - 5 months - because babies are so fun and interactive at this age. He will only be 5 months old one time. Who cares if my floors need mopped?

I have to keep telling myself that just because there are a hundred good things I can be doing, the more things I take on the more things will pile up and knock at my door. I have to prioritize the best things. I can't help with every teacher request, and I can't help with every class party. I can't do everything. I've noticed that if I am really busy it takes a toll on my kids. And as much as I sometimes loathe the things that go along with having little kids, I really treasure the small moments. I treasure almost everything, including the messy diapers. Those messy diapers mean he's healthy. Being up in the middle of the night with the baby means that we have alone time that is quiet and is just the two of us. Listening to him cry (a lot) means he's got good lungs. Working on homework means I get to teach my kids how to do math and how to sound out words.

I love this season of life. I love that things don't come easy for us, that we have to struggle sometimes, that we go through trials, and that we get to see the small miracles that inevitably follow. I love that I get to stay home with them during this most critical time when they are little and are so mold-able (even if it means driving a 13 year old car), and that I get to help shape who they are becoming.

I also treasure the Christmas season. I love how it makes us all feel. There's lots of baking and eating and talking and wrapping. Here are some other things making me happy:
*The gorgeous Christmas lights Spencer and the kids spent so long putting up outside. Every night Tanner and I walk around outside and watching his eyes dart around to all the lights brings a smile to my face.
*I get to enjoy my little family at home for Christmas this year. The kids are getting some pretty awesome stuff for Christmas, and I can't wait for Christmas morning.
*Spencer gets to use his 2nd paternity week (haha, finally!) over the holidays. Just in time, and right before his work schedule gets crazy for the next 9 months.
*My little brother has been in Australia for 2 years and gets home just after the new year, so I get to be with my family - all of them - to welcome him home. I am so excited to see and talk to him, and to introduce him to his newest nephew.
*I get my two school-aged kids home with me for TWO WEEKS. I can't say how excited I am for this; I really enjoy them and would much rather have them home with me than away. I am so lucky to have kids I truly enjoy being around.

And even though it's at the top of my blog now, I am about to make another blog book so I want it in a post - here is our family Christmas picture. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Do you enjoy thrill rides? I sure do. Or, used to. :) I grew up going to Knott's Berry Farm quite often. As a tween/teen, it was more fun than Disneyland (pre-California Adventure) because, plain and simple, the rides were better. My memories of Knott's Berry Farm include funnel cakes and rock candy, and rides such as Kingdom of the Dinosaurs, the soap box cars, the log ride, the spinny water ride that was supposed to be "under the sea," Boomerang and Montezuma's Revenge. We would go there for a day during family reunions in Newport Beach at "our" beach house, and we'd go with friends at other times. My aunt and uncle even took us with them when they went on their honeymoon! Without fail, I would barely be able to walk out of the park at the end of the night, purely exhausted.

I hadn't been back since before I had children. We were in LA for Thanksgiving last week and we went with my parents. It was so much the same as I remember, and so different at the same time. The Log Ride probably is still my favorite, and as we were in the log the smells of the water (do you know what I mean?) put me back 15 years! I was thrilled when Tyler said that it was also his favorite ride. Some of the rides I remember are gone, and lots of new ones are in their places. I only went on a few rides, but one of them was intense and crazy, and right before we took off I said to my mom: "What am I doing? I have 3 kids!"

My kids were happiest on the kiddie rides in Camp Snoopy. I am coming to terms with the fact that they don't share my feelings of excitement with scary rides. Spencer even said, "Sorry. They're kinda like me." But, watching them on even the little rides still made me happy; they ate it all up just like I used to. I even forgot my camera back at home (my home) and I must say that not reaching for my camera every few minutes really helped me appreciate the fun they were having in that moment and I wasn't missing things while getting the camera ready. (At the same time, I SO appreciate that my mom had her camera and was taking pictures...)

At the beginning of the year I was determined to enjoy the journey a little more. We did some incredible things this year and went some amazing places, and I really feel like we got the most out of it. It's been exhausting and fun and such a thrill, and I can honestly say it's been a great time.