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Today my darling, peach of a little sister turns 21! I feel validated in saying this since I’m eight years older than her: my little girl is growing up!! 

I feel like I tell this story every year on her birthday, but every year on her birthday I’m reminded of how special she is to me, so I’m going to share it again. I was an only child for eight years. Eight long years of watching my friends with their siblings and longing for one of those built in best friends. My parents were trying and trying, but it just wasn’t happening. If you know my sister, then it totally makes sense that she made us all wait for her haha. Finally, I was given the news I’d hoped and hoped and hoped to hear, when I was seven years old. Mom was pregnant. With a girl. My very own sister! My very own best friend. She was so worth the wait. I remember meeting her for the first time a couple hours after she was born. She had tons of dark hair (she’s always had amazing hair) and a cute little button nose that she’s never lost. I was instantly attached to her and that attachment has only grown in these past 21 years.

She is a wonderful person. She’s unique and doesn’t try to change to fit a norm. She is artistic and creative. She is a doting aunt who makes her nephews feel valued and important. She is a good listener. She is beautiful. She loves Kpop and has taught herself Korean. She’s also learned German. She is hilarious and has this sense of humor that I crave. She is tough. She is soft and sweet. She is all things amazing and I am beyond grateful that she was born!

Yoohoo? Fall?

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And just like that, I’m over summer. It was a great summer. We had a lot of fun, but I was suddenly bit by the fall bug and now I am ready. Bring it on. I’m ready for crunchy leaves, pumpkin everything, adorable decor, sweaters, pants and socks, lots of soup and pie and crisp, cool mornings and evenings. I think I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Lately we’ve been getting little tastes of fall and I’m very grateful. The cooler mornings and cooler evenings are incredible. A few days ago we had a cold day that was overcast and a little gloomy all day and honestly it was heaven on earth. The boys and I wore sweat pants and hoodies all day and were living our best lives.

This week I’m hoping to break out the fall decor and probably the Halloween stuff, too, because why not? You better believe the fall scented candles are burning strong (lets be honest, I never stopped burning them since last fall! Its almost the most wonderful time of the year, people. I hope your fall is magical, pumpkin scented and crispy.

What I Hope We Remember from Summer 2019

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Dear Boys,

2019 has held my very favorite summer that I can remember, and I have you to thank for that. The season started off really rough for me. I was in a sad, frustrating, emotional spot and originally I believed my summer and maybe even the rest of the year would be stained with sadness. I wasn’t feeling motivated to be all that fun and push us to have an exciting summer. But as you two always do, you encouraged me with your adorable little voices, consistent begging and precious faces to at least try. So at the beginning of the summer I decided to go forward with the attitude of ‘fake it til you make it’ to have a fun summer with you guys. In no time, after several fun outdoor playdates, pool visits, splash pad adventures, evening walks, porch sits and so much more, we were having the best summer ever and I’d completely forgotten about the crumby beginnings of the season. Again, I have you two to thank for that.

Once the ball got rolling, I decided to dedicate the summer to you two. We didn’t have vacations planned or anything big and exciting in the warmest months of the year. So I let you guys call the shots and that was the best thing I could have done. We had a blast spending time together, the three of us, and times got even better when dad could join after work.

You two are so young still, so I don’t know what, if anything, you’ll remember, but I hope I can at least remind you often of what a great time it was. I hope we remember all the swimming in Grammy and Pops pool that happened – how Emmett gained so much confidence in the water, floating in his puddle jumper by himself and figuring out its not the worst thing ever to get water in your face, or how Harrison really started to get a grasp on swimming by yourself, pushing yourself and feeling brave in the water.

I hope you remember the trips to the farm, the zoo, the Museum of Curiosity and the Dinosaur Museum. You two were filled with wonder, excitement and lots and lots of enthusiastic pointing and squealing. You learned so much, you explored it all and you never wanted to leave. “I want to stay here forever!” – Harrison after leaving most places.

Then there were all the visits to the Splash Pad. I know we have access to our own private pool, but sometimes the Splash Pad was what you guys desired. Emmett hated it the first time. The cold water touching him upset him and he was happiest to sit on the blanket with mom, but by two or three times in, he was just as happy as Harrison to get in the water, to get splashed and soaked. Harrison made friends at the Splash Pad, he shared, he returned lost toys, he helped kids who fell down, he covered every inch of that place.

I hope as you two grow up, you always think back fondly to our family walks. We’ve done this since before either of you were born, but they just keep getting better now that we are adding kids to our evening walks. Our walks involve playful conversation, big decisions, lots of “I Spy,” animal watching and people watching, and so, so many questions from you two. Our walks are something I look forward to the very most with you little boys.

Lastly, I hope we remember the times in our very own yard. There were countless hours spent on the porch on the rocking bench, talking, watching birds fly by and chatting. There were hours in the front yard playing fetch with Penny, racing, playing Avengers and dinosaurs and riding our bikes and scooters. In the backyard, we had our tiny kiddie pool, sprinklers to run through and the large cement pad where thousands of chalk drawings were made.

There were so many wonderful, simple, perfect memories made this summer. I’m so happy for that time. I’m so happy that you two turned my whole attitude around. You two are wonderful and magical.

I love you to infinity and beyond,

Mom

First Day of School

Maybe you/your kids/siblings/neighborhood kids have already started school, but for my neck of the woods, school starts today. Today is my youngest sisters first day of her Senior year and that’s a lot for my brain to wrap around. Being eleven years older than her, I truly feel like, though I am her oldest sister, I’m also her second mom. So to be honest a tiny piece of me feels like I should be saying, “my baby’s growing up!” (My poor mom..)

But lucky for me, it’s a long, long time until my kids will be starting the first day of their senior year – though I’m sure it’ll be here sooner than I care to know. Harrison will be starting another year of speech preschool next month, and we have actually been doing some home schooling for preschool for him since we missed registration for ‘real’, mainstream preschool this year (long story).

This is me on the first day of some elementary school grade.. I’m sure my mom will be able to inform me which year this was when she reads this post! It’s a very high quality picture of a picture – enjoy.

The first day of school always brought about a lot of emotions for me. As we all know by now, I’m a high anxiety human and have been since I was tiny. When I went to first grade I was so sure that while I was gone, both of my parents would die (it’s real fun living in my brain) so I hated going to school for a long time. I remember my mom making me a special necklace (that I still have!) that had a white heart bead representing my mom, a charm with my picture on it, and another white heard bead representing my dad. She told me when I was nervous to hold the necklace and remember “mom and dad love me.”

As I got into older elementary school I seem to remember liking school quite a bit, though still dealing with a lot of anxiety and worried thoughts. Middle School and Junior High honestly are still a blur. But I know it was a love/hate relationship. Maybe that’s how it was with high school too! Haha!

If today is your first day, I hope your day is great, I hope your school year is great! Remember to be nice, be a friend and to try hard!

7 Year Engaged-Aversary

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Seven years ago, on this very picnic table, I was asked a very important question and gave a one worded answer that changed my life for the better. I knew it was an incredible decision then, but I had no idea just how great saying ‘yes,’ would be on that day, August 17th, 2012.

Seven years ago today, Craig and I went to the eye doctor together and on our way home he told me he was going to take me back home because he needed to work out. This wasn’t anything out of the ordinary so I thought nothing of it. He dropped me off, I chatted with my family and a while later was laying on my couch, talking to my dad when Craig walked into my house and said, “Hey, come with me I want to show you something.”

We walked outside to see his mom on a 4-wheeler with a barrel with wheels attached behind it, the side cut open so Craig and I could ride in it. Craig and I squished into the barrel and his mom took us on a ride. I assumed this is what he was showing me! His family had this barrel/4-wheeler contraption for a while but I’d never been able to ride in it, so I thought he was excited for me to have my chance.

We were driven to a nearby park, we got out and then Craig’s mom drove away. I was a little confused, but I didn’t mind the thought of now being stranded at a park with my boyfriend. We walked around for a minute and then he lead me deeper into the park. Pretty quickly I spotted a picnic table with an enormous bouquet of colorful balloons tied to the middle of it and we kept walking towards it. In all honesty, I thought the balloons were for a kids birthday and I was worried we looked suspicious walking towards some kids awesome birthday setup. But quickly I realized the setup was actually for me.

On the table, there was a blue box with the Up house on it. Craig had me open it up, and inside was our very own Adventure Book (like from the movie, Up – my favorite movie – especially at the time). The book was magical. Craig had made it and highlighted our adventures we’d gone on in our past year of dating with lots of special write-ups and messages to me. The last page is one that still gives me goosebumps. It said we’d been on many adventures together and he didn’t want them to stop. The last line said my name and, “will you marry me?”

“AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!” Is what I was saying on the inside, but on the outside I just started giggling and hid my face behind the book, trying to sort out if I was going to burst into tears or start screaming. (The tears won).

Craig knelt down in front of me and pulled out a box with a beautiful ring inside and asked me to marry him, to which I very happily said, “YES!!”

Best. Decision. Ever.

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It’s Almost that Time!

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What time? Halloween time in Disneyland!!

This year, instead of the usual and wonderful Mickey’s Halloween Party in Disneyland, it will be Oogie Boogie Bash in California Adventure! Totally not going to lie – I am bummed it isn’t being held in Disneyland, BUT several years ago when the Halloween party was in California Adventure I still loved it, so I have no doubt I’ll still love 2019s Halloween Party!

We are getting our costumes all cooked up and ready and we are bursting at the seams we are so excited to get to our favorite place during our favorite time SO soon!

How about some facts now:

  • Tickets cost $110 a person ages 3+ (I know, I know. Lots of $$$, but worth every penny)
  • Oogie Boogie Bash goes from September 17 – October 31
  • Since we don’t get the amazing firework show behind the castle, we get Villainous! A World of Color show that is sure to be amazing!
  • Mickey’s Trick and Treat – a show which is said to be an interactive Halloween party with Mickey and pals!
  • Our tried and true Frightfully Fun Parade will be there!
  • One of my personal faves, Guardians of the Galaxy: Monsters After Dark will be going!!
  • There will be spooktacular overlays, decorations, photo ops and so much more!!

If you’re wanting to go, act fast and buy your tickets soon!!

And happy almost Halloween in Disneyland time!

21 Months Later

Twenty one months ago around nine at night, I had my little Emmett. I honestly can’t even believe he’s that close to turning two – but thats a post for another day. For the last couple of months I’ve been really focusing on myself, especially my body and the way I am caring for it and thinking about it.

Its been a rollercoaster, thats for sure.

Quite truthfully, I’ve always had a very up and down relationship with my body. I’ve always caught myself wishing it was looking like something that it was not or wishing it was doing something it wasn’t currently doing. I’ve been all over the place inside of my own brain when it comes to my body.

This makes me sad because my body is awesome! It has been pretty darn healthy for my almost twenty-nine years of life, its allowed me to go on adventures, walk miles and miles in Disney parks, birth two beautiful babies – one vaginally and one through c-section (both incredible feats) and thats only to name a few of the things its blessed me with. So then why the heck can I be so harsh with it and speak so unkindly about it?

A couple of months ago, admittedly after weighing myself for the first time in who knows how long, and not feeling in love with the number I saw (stupid scales), I decided something needed to change. Maybe physically, but especially mentally.

I needed to love my body again.

So I made a pact with myself.

No more shameful words towards my body. I see all those posts all the time about ‘wear the swimming suit’, ‘talk about your body how you wish your daughter would talk about her body’, etc. That last one is the one that got me. I’m sure its likely more significant with daughters, but guess what? Sons watch their mamas really closely, too! I want my boys and my future kids to be confident in themselves and I want them to have learned their confidence at home from their parents!

I also made myself vow to treat my body kinder. Not as much junk. A lot less Diet Coke (still accepting this one). A significant amount more of exercise. Choosing the active day instead of the lazy day. Maybe I’d lose some weight and gain some muscle, but hopefully I’d lose some body negativity and gain some confidence, acceptance and pride in my body.

And guys? I think its working!

I’m still working on myself physically. If I’m being honest, I know I’m capable of shedding a few extra pounds, eating healthier and getting toned up in a couple places, but I’m not rushing myself and I’m not beating myself down when those goals aren’t being reached as fast as I’d ideally like. I’m also being patient with myself and reminding myself that I’m human and sometimes, as a human, I really want a cookie and a giant Diet Coke from Sodalicious and that is PERFECTLY OK. While I try to work on whatever my goal body is, I choose to love my body every step of the way. Weather its softer than its ever been, really sore, growing another baby, feeling sick, feeling strong – I’m going to love it, respect it and honor it because I can’t deny how amazing it is.