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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Grey's Grey's 3rd Bday Celebration

Our poor middle child went another year without a birthday party. Serious second child problems, but honestly, he doesn't have a whole lot of friends yet (all he really cares about his Hayes at this point) and our house isn't really conducive to hosting large parties with tons of kids anymore, unless those parties are pool parties and even that gives me major anxiety (why do kids wait until they're in the pool to announce that they have to go to the bathroom THIS INSTANT and why oh why didn't we put an outdoor toilet next to the outdoor shower?!).

Second child problems or first world problems?
Anyways, since we didn't have a big birthday party for Greyson this year, we wanted to do something special for him to honor him turning the big three. We took Hayes to Disney when he turned three so decided to make this our family thing - just me, Grant and Greyson for an all-day, anything-you-want-is-yours affair. 
Unfortunately, clients in town derailed my plans to go on his actual birthday - November 15th - but we were able to sneak away for the day at the beginning of December, which was all the more special since Disney had decked its halls (and we all know how much of a sucker this gal is for anything Christmas!).
Kisses for Mama in front of the Christmas lights...
So off we went, for a day full of adventure with our big 3 year old. It's rare that we get to spend any solo time with him - he's usually either grouped within "the boys" or "the littles", which is nice in the way that it means he'll never be lonely, but also a little sad that it means he rarely has anyone's undivided attention.
Favorite rides seemed to be the rocket launcher, the Buzz Lightyear shootout and Pirates of the Caribbean. He went around holding his fingers up and telling everyone that was THREE! He was super stoked to see Woody from Toy Story and he chased so many bubbles being let out from bubble blowers that we couldn't resist buying him his own to put under the tree. He spent the majority of the day sitting on Grant's shoulders, his favorite place in the world. And although we didn't get to see Mickey (why is Goofy the only social character at the park?!), we did see parts of the Christmas parade while we were riding the rocket launcher for the second time, which featured the whole line up of characters and even some fake snow!

Taking Mom and Dad for a spin...
Waiting patiently for the rides...


It was a really fun day and I was sad when it was over.

Happy birthday, Grey Grey! We love you!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Thankful for all the turkeys in my life...

I'm aware Thanksgiving was almost a month ago, but the next couple posts of mine will be playing catch-up a little bit as we close out 2016. The whole point of this blog is to capture the fleeting memories of my babies as they pass by - lately it seems as though they're passing by quicker than ever and it makes me panic just a little bit.

Days are long, but the years are short, right?

Anywho, I had to share some pictures of one of our favorite weeks of the year, Thanksgiving up at Angel's Camp.
For those of you who don't know about the magical place that is Angel's Camp (and no, it's not a biblical sleepaway experience as Greyson led his pre-school teachers to believe), let me try and explain...
Oddly enough, Hayzey's unexpected favorite animals the first time we went to the LA Zoo were the deer. Seems he still fancies himself a fan...
Grant's grandparents (yep, the kids' GREAT grandparents), whom we affectionately call GG and G Pops live in this sleepy town called Angel's Camp in Calaveras County (fun fact: it's the only incorporated city in Calaveras County). The population can't be more than a couple thousand and the major highlights are a Starbucks and Round Table Pizza. It's not what's in Angel's Camp that's alluring, rather what's around Angel's Camp. The closest towns that we frequent while we're up there are Columbia, where one can spend the day in an old cowboy town, panning for gold and getting held up by cowboys on staged wagon rides, and Murphy, which has the cutest little main street you ever did see and a Mexican/pizza joint that has arguably the best fish tacos on the west coast.
Grey Grey taking the robbers VERY seriously...
Sounds strange, doesn't it? But I swear, it's heaven. Mainly I like to just hole up at GG and G Pops' cozy home and be surrounded by the smells of good food and the chatter of good family. Thanksgiving also comes with the bonus of about 10 willing and able babysitters who can't get enough of our kiddos. The best.

Looking for fish with Aunt V...
Henley's biggest fan, Great Aunt Anne Marie...
Mackenzie, the jungle gym...
This year, since Hayes had the whole week off, we went Monday-Friday and it really felt like a nice vacation. We got to spend time with the Dake side of the family, hit up all the usual spots (although sadly no panning for gold this time since it was muy frio) and I even got to kick my new brother-in-law's ass a few times at Jenga (I'm experiencing a renewed love affair with board games as of late since I can't stay awake to watch television anymore). Mother Myrn was the most gracious host and although I feared our not-so-small family of five might scare her off of ever wanting us to come back, she told us to mark our calendars for the annual frog jumping contest in May, which I'm very much looking forward to.
Breakfast overlooking the golf course...
Big hair, don't care...
Giving Mama a heart attack...
Conversations with GG...
Winter fashionista...
Swings!
First tub altogether for the love bugs...
The spread...

1st Thanksgiving...
We even got a private performance of the Overland Kinder Thanksgiving song, complete with back-up singer duties by Grey...
Anyways, it was great week and I'm so thankful that I married into such an amazingly welcoming family, full of fascinating people whom I really do enjoy spending time with.
See you in May, Angel's Camp!

Monday, December 12, 2016

18

18 years with this guy today. Holy Moly.
We were children when we started dating and we have three children of our own now. It's hard to even comprehend just how much has happened over the last 18 years. It gives me anxiety even thinking about how long 18 years is (where have all of those years gone?!). 

We have officially been together for over half of our lives (!!!!!).

It's gone by in a flash and I know I don't say it often enough, but I'm a lucky lady to have Grant by my side in this game of life. I admire him as a father, partner and person and truly could not imagine what life would be like with out him. He is my comfort, my constant; my heart feels good when I think about him. Does that make sense? I don't know how else to explain it.

Happy anniversary, bigou! Luvulots!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I have a few minutes of unusual calmness while the littles nap and my eldest runs barefoot on the golf course in 45 degree weather trying to get a close-up of the deer (what does he think this is, a safari or something?) and thought I'd steal away to reflect on what I'm thankful for this year.
Everyone keeps talking about how shitty 2016 was - between celebrity deaths (I know people who literally cried when Prince died), more mass shootings and then the icing on the cake, effing Donald Trump being elected to serve as the leader of the free world, I get it. 

But from a personal perspective, 2016 was a pretty incredible year for us. We moved into a house that we literally dreamed up and built from scratch. Our daughter was born on one of the happiest days of my life. We made countless new memories with our friends and family, taking trips to Hawaii, Cape Cod and Austin. And we welcomed a new brother to the family when Thomas and Aunt V got married in October. 
We have so much to be thankful for and although we should try and remember that throughout the year, sometimes the hustle and bustle of everyday life gets in the way and it's hard to see the bigger picture. So, on this Thanksgiving week, here are some of the things I'm most thankful for this year:

Our health. For the most part, everyone in our lives is healthy and that will always come number one on the scale of what's important and what's not. I battled a pesky kidney stone again this year and just being off my feet for a couple of days was a good reminder of how important your health is. It was a wake up call to take my health more seriously and since then, I've made a conscious effort to drink more water (for reals), get back to the gym (well, in my case, Cardio Barre once a week - baby steps) and take better care of myself. 

We have a roof over our heads (and a nice one at that!). We built a house on a darling street in a good neighborhood a block and a half away from an amazing elementary school. Because of that, our kids can partake in the sorts of things all kids should be able to experience during their youth - block parties, trick-or-treating, twinkly lights and cheesy blow-up santas on lawns around the holidays. And it's pretty amazing that this little slice of suburbia in the big city means we're still within walking distance to a Starbucks and a decent thai place - the whole reason I like living in a huge city like Los Angeles in the first place!
Our kiddos. When Henley arrived earlier this year, our family really felt complete and I am so thankful for my boys AND my girl. Watching the relationship grow between Hayes and Greyson has been fascinating. I always remind them that they could be each other's best friend if they wanted to be and for the most part, they heed this advice. And Henley is just such a joy to be around - not only is she as delicious as can be, her temperament is so amazingly easy going, I truly enjoy her company.
Grant. It's been 17 years since we first stole a kiss at that Cypress Hill concert and although there are an incredible amount of distractions that we face in our daily lives, I'm happy to wake up next to him every morning and couldn't have chosen a better partner to navigate this crazy life with. 

Our nanny. We had a rough go of it this year when our longtime nanny, Lolo decided to leave to pursue another opportunity and experienced a little bit of nanny turmoil trying to find her replacement. I truly believe that all of that happened for a reason - had we not gone through that turmoil, we never would have found Colisha, who has been the perfect addition to our family. The kids love her, we love her - and we're incredibly lucky that Grant and I can go to work every morning knowing our kids are in good hands.
And finally, work. I've been working under the same roof for 13 years now, 11 of them spent with my boss, Jeffrey, whom I consider a dear friend. He's patient with my crazy schedule and makes me feel like a valuable and integral part of the team. Not to mention he keeps me sane by allowing me to continue to escape the craziness of being home with 3 kids! I am truly lucky to be in the work situation I am in and will be forever grateful that I was able to spend these important years of my kids' lives not feeling like I was missing out - and also loving what I was doing when I was doing it.

This week, we're up at my favorite place, Angel's Camp with Grant's extended family. As I sit here typing, the smell of delicious pulled pork simmering away in the slow cooker wafts through the air. Hayes is helping his aunt and great grandmother make a coca cola cake. The sun is starting to set, casting a glow on the gorgeous Fall leaves outside on the trees. 

And there's a Nasty Woman t-shirt hanging in the front yard. 
There's nowhere I'd rather be and in this moment, I couldn't be more thankful.