Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace,
as I have seen in one autumnal face."
-John Donne

We Caught A Big One....

Whoever said you need the "proper" equipment to fish was sadly mistaken.
After deciding to go fishing on a whim, all it took was a quick stop at Wal-Mart and then grabbing some turkey hot dogs we had in the refrigerator- and we were set! We told Bella she could pick out any pole she wanted...and lucky for us, she spotted a hot pink Barbie one right away.
After only a few minutes, we already had 3...that's right 3, catfish on the line. But each time, the heavy catfish was too strong for our puny little Barbie fishing pole, and it would slip away.
So we came up with a plan.
The next time we were able to reel the fish in close enough to the shore, Grandma would try to grab it with both hands, and I would use the shopping bag from wal-mart to scoop up the fish and trap it. So Bella stood patiently with Papa as he taught her the fine art of waiting and reeling...waiting and reeling....
Bella liked to reel the pole, but she wasn't so fond of the waiting part.
Once we had a bite, Papa slowly helped reel it close enough...then Grandma reached in and I quickly used the bag to scoop the fish in...and voila!! Our plan worked!Ok, so by the look on my face (above), you can see I was a little surprised and delighted that we had actually succeeded in catching our allusive fish :-)
All in all, we caught our monster catfish and two little sunfish - one of which Bella caught and reeled in all by herself!
All it took was a little ingenuity and a sense of humor.
And turkey hot dogs. The catfish loved those things.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Love You Forever.

Warning; if you are a mother of a little boy, do not read this book unless you have some tissues handy.
When I was a little girl, I remember my mom reading me this book Love You Forever. It's a sweet and simple story about a mom who goes through the never ending joys and struggles of raising her son. Through every sweet day and every temper tantrum, she would still sneak into his room at night after he had fallen asleep, and she would pick him up in her arms and gently rock him as she sang,
I love you forever
I like you for always.
As long as I'm living,
My baby you'll be.
When Tyler was born, I was so excited to have a son and to be able to experience having a little boy. I immediately felt something different that I had never felt before with Bella- almost like a deeper protection instinct for him; a desire to protect him against how hard it can be to be a good man in the world these days. I instantly believed that there would never be another boy as cute, smart, athletic, funny or charming as my little man. And of course, there would never be a woman good enough for him someday. The fact is- I just didn't want to see him grow up.
But the inevitable happened. He grew. With every passing day he grew taller, chubbier, his dimples grew deeper, his eyes grew bluer, his personality grew sillier...and my love for him grew stronger.
I used to be the kind of mom who couldn't wait to get to the next stage. I can't wait for them to walk...I can't wait for for them to talk...I can't wait till they start preschool..... But having Tyler has changed all that. I dread the day he doesn't want to cuddle in my lap. I dread the day he would rather play with his friends than me- or when it's too embarrassing to have me kiss him good-bye. I dread the day he starts driving...and don't even get me started about the day he tells John and I that he wants to propose to some young woman.
I don't care how old he gets, when I close my eyes I will always picture him like this-I will try my hardest to remember what it felt like to hold him on my hip and feel his face bury into my shoulder and his little chubby hands grasp on to my arms for dear life. Today Tyler turns 2 years old.
Although most people would no longer consider 2 years old to be a "baby" anymore, I am just not ready to let go that fast. Even when some day he towers over me- I will still have to resist every urge in my body to hold him and see him as the dimpled, silly, beautiful little boy that I once rocked in my arms.Tyler, you have given me more joy and pride than I could ever express to you. You are so blessed to have your dad as a role model and mentor to you- and I have every ounce of faith that you will be an honorable and respectable man some day, just like him. I am blessed beyond words to be your mom and I hope some day you read this and know just how deeply I love you.
At the end of the book, the boy's mother is very old and weak. Her son goes to see her, and she starts to sing her usual song to him, but she is too weak and she cannot get the words out. So the son (now a grown man) picks up his mom, cradles her in his arms, and rocks her gently as he sings,
I love you forever
I like you for always
As long as I'm living,
My mother you'll be.

Tyler, I love you forever.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thank Heaven For Little Girls

It was about 5 years ago when John and I moved to Sacramento and met a fun, sweet couple named Matt & Rebekah. We all hit it off right away and became good friends.
The first night we invited them over for dinner, we all sat around chatting and having fun, then decided to throw on a movie.
It was only about 8:00pm when we started the movie.....but I just couldn't make it through. I was utterly exhausted, and I fell asleep somewhere in the middle. To make the situation even funnier- John fell asleep during the movie as well.

{keep in mind this is the first time we had them over to our house to hang out}

So...the movie ends, and Matt and Rebekah look around to find that their hosts were both sleeping! Both of us! Sleeping!
Talk about weird and awkward.
So they had to wake us up, and when we realized that we had both fallen asleep in front of our guests, we all had a good laugh.
Turns out, my exhaustion was due to a certain baby that I was not yet aware of. (John doesn't have a good excuse) And the Thomas's were one of the first friends we shared the good news with when we found out :-)
Even as our family moved away, we have always stayed in good touch with the Thomas's (they actually visit quite often!), and now we get to celebrate with them as they embark on parenthood themselves with their gorgeous daughter Addison Brielle. They stayed with us this past weekend, and I loved getting to spend time with my sweet friend..and especially take pictures of her stunning baby girl.

Thanks for coming Thomas family, we love our friendship and we miss you very much!

Still Playing Make-Believe

When Emily and I were little girls, our favorite thing to do was play make-believe. Especially since I was older than Emily, I got to decide who we would each be, and what fantastic journey we would be embarking on. We pretended to have a circus, travel in time machines, walk the runway in fashion shows and have elaborate tea parties and royal balls.
*Of course I always got to choose the best dresses and accessories...but being the little sister, Emily happily obliged in all my demands :-) *
Now as grown women in our twenties, we still haven't lost the fine art of make-believe with each other.
The best part is, she's still my little sister and I can still direct her and she {usually} follows along. So we ventured off to a hidden spot we found on a bike ride one day, and wandered around taking fun pictures. I like going out and practicing with my camera, and Emily is an easy subject.

*Thanks for the practice Em, and I'm especially thankful to have you around to enjoy our zipparitas and hot wings with! Love you *

{disclaimer: I still can't figure out why the colors and sharpness don't show up as well when I upload pictures to my blog, but Em looks good no matter what! :-) }

See more pictures of my popular model/guinea pig/sister by clicking HERE

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Evolution Of A Blossoming Love Affair.

You could see the play-by-play set in motion.
They both showed up wearing matching Adidas warm-ups.
Hers in pink. His in blue.
Then, they sat together in their small chairs and Ty tried to act aloof, while Allie secretly checked him out.

Tyler leaned over to say hello, and Allie gave him a quick look back.

Tyler tried to casually attempt to put him arm around her, but Allie senses that he is after her cheerios and she backs away...

Tyler retreats his efforts, and Allie starts to soften a little...

She eventually gives in to her feelings for him, and offers him a share of her cereal snack.

Ah, young love!


When she starts running down the field aggressively kicking the ball (in the wrong direction!) I smile.When her coach is giving the team directions, but she looks over at me and flashes me this cute glance, I smile.

When I see her happily snuggling with her godmother, who came to cheer her on, I smile.

During a time out, when everyone else is listening to the coach, and Bella is practising her pirouette's on the field, I smile.

*She just never ceases to make me smile*

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Laugh, Eat....Retreat.

Every now and then it feels good to get away.
Get away from work, the house, running after kids....just about everything.
And you know what's even better? Getting away with your best girlfriends.
The only rules for the weekend:
-1- No real clothes.
-2- No make-up.
-3- No making notice of calories ingested.
-4- Happy hour can begin whenever we say it can.
-5- No keeping track of time.
So we ventured off again to the Bennett cabin, where we hunkered down in our comfy clothes and fuzzy "house socks" (as I call them), and we spent time together doing absolutely nothing. We ate, drank, read magazines, watched movies, played games,...I even learned how to play rummy for the first time. But the best part about the whole scenario is that we didn't feel the need to do anything. When we are all together, there doesn't need to be an agenda or schedule- we are completely comfortable with one another to sit around and do nothing together.
We're sort of like our own little family.
And since we're family, we welcome all newborn babies to the group to join us on our little retreat :-) Avery is only 6 weeks old! What a trouper!
The real mark of a true get-away? No cell phone service. No internet. It just about killed me, but I made it through ;-)
And so, we spent our time talking and laughing together.
Laughing at the babies, laughing at my {absolute} fear of cabin windows that don't lock when you are in the middle of nowhere...and laughing at the fact that I make everyone 'declare' themselves when walking around during the night so that they don't get pepper-sprayed, laughing at Kerri spilling stuff all over her pants, laughing at all our inside jokes, laughing at the fact that Amanda and I cannot survive without making real coffee in the morning before the other girls make a pot of decaf, laughing at the way we were completely winded at the end of our so-called 'walk",...and much more.

Thank you girls for another memory to store away, and here's to many more years together

{more pictures to come soon girls, I'll tell you when I post them}

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Indian Summer.

Leaves turning various colors of splendid shades, chilly nights, cooking every meal in a crock-pot....those are my sweet dreams of fall.
As the rest of the country starts to get their fireplaces ready for use, pulls their crock-pots out of the cupboard and cranks up the thermostat- we are experiencing an indian summer here in the valley. Although the temperatures have cooled, it is still pleasantly warm enough in the evenings to run around in tee shirts and flip flops. And we plan on soaking up every last minute of it.
We've enjoyed play dates at the railroad park with friends...
(Bella and Oliver Fay- you can see their sweet family blog here)
*Ty enjoyed laying in (and eating) some sand.*
We've also had a good time playing around at the state fair-And Tyler was super excited to be big enough to do some rides on his own now!

Yes, the fall has had a great start so far. I'm definitely craving the crisp coolness of more fall-ish type weather, but I'm thankful for the abundance of fun activity and good times our family has had this fall.

And one of my favorite parts of fall??.... Pomegranates!!

They only appear in the produce department for a very brief period of time from October to November. And I literally devour them daily. And when I say devour, I mean that I put a dish towel around myself like a bib ( those things stain like crazy) and I dig in until my fingertips and nails are stained with red juice. I look like a hungry little squirrel busily eating a nut- a funny sight I'm sure :-) But they are worth the work because they are so darn delicious.

And so, we eagerly await the full transformation of the fall season. Pretty soon the weather will be much cooler and I'll probably start hearing holiday music in the shopping centers...actually, I'm sure that's already started, right? And I'll be happily humming right fingertips and all :-)
more pics of our fall fun in our web album:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Wrap-Up.

I had a few more pictures to share from all of the halloween festivities that went on this past month.
Which leads me to a certain thought.....when I was a little kid, my parents did the whole dress-up, trick-or-treating thing with us like normal. We would hand out candy to other trick-or-treaters, and we would participate in school costume parties. But as we got older, my parents started changing their minds about the whole Halloween idea. Em and I were getting older (well, she was still kinda young) and I they just didn't like the idea of what Halloween represented and it wasn't like we were little kids who didn't have a clue about demons and scary spirits any more.
Truth be told- Halloween is evil. Pure evil. There is nothing redeeming, uplifting or Christ-like about the whole Halloween holiday. As a Christian, and especially as a parent- I have been starting to debate on how to handle Halloween as my kids get older. Should I be OK with them celebrating a day that glorifies demons, witches and ghosts? I'm going to go out on a limb here (and I might lose a few of you reading...) but I believe in all of those evil things. I truly believe that demons exist. Satan has a very strong hold in people's lives, and I believe there is a whole spiritual battle going on around us that we cannot see or understand. Which is why I cling to Christ.
So should I regard Halloween as just a silly, unimportant holiday? Does Satan win a little victory over me every time I allow my kids to participate? It may seem like a small and trivia dilemma ...but my kids are on loan to me from God. He has trusted me with more than just their physical well-being, I am supposed to be raising them to keep their eyes focused on Christ; protecting them from their influences around them. If any of you have thoughts, please feel free to share. I'm still learning about this whole parenting thing- so I struggle for answers all the time!
So changing pace here- look at this adorable picture of Bella and her best friend from school Avery. I'm sorry it's all blurry and out of focus, but I snapped it so quickly to capture this cute little look and exchange between the two of them! Such cute little friends!!
Avery and her family came over to have dinner with us and to take all the kids trick or treating. Avery and Bella are just a few months apart in age, and Avery's little brother is just a few weeks younger than Ty! It's like our mirror family!
Speaking of friends, this isn't from Halloween, but I just had to include this picture of Ty and his girlfriend Allie. Looks like someone might finally be warming up to Tyler! :-).....
And here are Bella and Avery getting ready to go out and collect some candy!
A few weeks ago we spent a long weekend in San Diego, and the kids dressed up and went trick-or-treating at Legoland. Grandma and Papa loved every minute of it :-)
That's it for now- more to come later.
Happy Monday!

Like Family.

One of the many joys about having a quality friendship is being adopted into another "pseudo" family. Not only are we blessed to have Matt and Heather in our lives (and especially little Allie!), but they both have these amazing families that have welcomed us in from day one. Last night I was able to spend time with Heather's family, and take a few pictures of them for Jim and Pam's Christmas card (Heather's parents...and yes, I think they are aware that Jim and Pam is also a couple from The Office :-) ) Talk about good genes in that family...geez. Emily and I kept commenting to each other that Heather is extremely lucky to have her mom's genetics...she is just the most graceful, elegant looking woman! Heather's brother Ryan and his adorable wife Lindsay joined us as well, and I think we got some great family shots....
See what I mean about being photogenic!.....

Thank you so much McGuire family for trusting me enough to take your pictures! You make it easy since you are all so stinkin' good looking :) And another thank you for the yummy dinner...the whole night was a blast for me, and I'm so thankful to have you in my life!