I promise this won’t be a photo dump. But it sort of is a photo dump. Doh. There’s been much afoot in the lives of the Mastrianna fam! We have had some really amazing memories logged together these last few weeks.
This girl is five whole months!! She is growing in her interactive ness, getting so tall in my arms and holding her body up so much (even though tummy time is her least favorite on the daily to dos). Emma loves being anywhere in the vicinity of her sibs.. Kate is always handing her toys and hugging her and just saying hi. Luke will find her at the opportune moment and just make faces with her, she loves that. She loves to be on my arm/hip/forearm/shoulder/whatever! As long as she is cuddling and in the action.
She loves to cuddle.. she will stay in one position in my arms, very still and very sweet. She’s been chattering since the start and is still pretty loud with much projection. She’s still a great nurser and is prone to holding my shirt or stroking my shoulder when she does (bahhh 😭). Definitely had a bit of a sleep regression these last weeks but she’s pushing through and we had a couple few good nights even with the wake ups. Oh lawd we love this girl.
This last week, we had our last meeting with the youth group we’ve been leading for eight years, and helping with for almost ten. Those numbers feel a bit unreal! .. There is so much in my heart when I consider all that occurred over the years.. in us, in our family, in time with the youth. Bible studies, Pizza parties, camps, movie nights, beach days and many many more.
People gave us a precious place in their lives, a place sometimes of influence and friendship, allowing us to care, speak and closely observe God’s hand in their life. I treasure these years and come from this experience so aware of the role that community and tribe can play in this life, but especially in the formative years. I’m also acutely thankful of Gods great sovereignty and faithfulness to those He calls His own, having seen His story and blessings weave in and through so many lives in these years, including mine.
We began before we were engaged and just days after graduating college, and now have since married, had three children, moved multiple times, had job changes, and beyond, but God intertwining us with the youth remained the same. It was a very constant place of refining, joy, laughter, revelation, peace and again and again friendship, that we will always treasure.
While we say goodbye to a season of time that’s been very rich to us, we are so expectant for our next steps loving on this family of ours. Our hearts are full!
This Christmas season was filled with so many non material gifts for our family–so much quality time being near the top of the list. We started off break with a great end to James’ school semester and a fog of sickness. Whilst recovering, we did day trips to local spots, an evening at a fun light show over the hill from us, had drinks with friends and spent some time catching ourselves up on life and looking at the upcoming year.
It was the first time Luke really understood the entire value and richness of the Christmas season. Although I wasn’t able to pull it off this year, I am anxious to plan ahead for advent next year and soak up the sacred sweetness of these special days in December. On Christmas Eve, we celebrated the day with family time and wrapped it up with reading the birth of Jesus as we set up the nativity (and had some popcorn and an impromptu movie after!). These are the moments I am so thankful to get to create for the kids, not shying away from the holiday and it’s meaning. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas Day was their personal heaven of toys and treats and more, but I probably will pull back in the future and only do a little of the frivolous–as I look back, my best Christmases weren’t attributed to that anyways!
I ended up writing this directly to Kate! And for what reason I can’t entirely say except that it’s 1130pm and I’m tired by don’t want to miss a moment to write down my love for this girl. These next photos also best represent the many sides of our little girl!
Gosh. What can I say about this little love? Kate. You are feisty, hilarious, so intelligent, very very soft (even when you pack a lunch of sass) and so amazingly thoughtful towards others. If you could, you would hand feed our entire family, change their clothes, bathe them, cuddle them and kiss them a hundred times over. Your name means pure, and I see that ever so clearly in you. You are the purest sense of whatever you’re feeling or experiencing in a moment, it may change swiftly and abruptly without warning, yet somehow, you remain purely whatever the next moment provides you.
You are already a wonderful companion, you make us all laugh and feel special. You somehow remember to hand Emma a toy when the moment is right (how you even knew she would want one is beyond me!). You love to point out when someone is funny! .. I treasure our morning cuddles with you and find security in your nonchalant bedtime preferences (just want to go to bed!—no frills!). And girl, you love your yogurt. Your speech has grown incredibly! You are passionate, super aware and you don’t ever want people to experience hardship (especially if brother needs a talking to). You are simply lovely my dear, and I cannot wait to see all that this year of TWO has in store for you!
This was a sweet day last month that I hadn’t gotten around to logging, but the kids and I were looking for a easy access beach to frolic on and came across this one in Carmel, which is about a 45 minute drive from us. We had the sweetest drive around the winding ocean front road, peering at all the driveways with “race cars” lined up in them (see: fancy houses) and either singing or chatting away. Kate loved playing with the sand but locked up every time she had to walk on it, so I found myself carrying Emma in her car seat and Kate (i had my fair share of sweaty moments).
Being on the beach with the kids is so nostalgic for me. Most weekends as a child from early spring to early fall each year were spent walking the railroad tracks with my mom to play at the beach. I look back and imagine that’s where she got a good amount of her reading done. Balancing on the long railroad beams or skipping from wood step to wood step, trying not to get rocks in my sandals as we went. Setting up camp, arranging all my sand toys and then running back and forth with a bucket between the waves and my little world I’d created, adding water to my moats or baked creations.
Mostly, the kids ran around playing race cars and scooping up the fine white sands in their little hands, asking me to chase them every few minutes. We made it back to the car, poured out half the beach at our feet and moseyed home, stopping for a much needed coffee and trip to the farm stand.
I hope you had a wonderful New Years! So typically, I find myself at home in jammies with popcorn and a movie, all topped off by a sensibly early bedtime. But this year! This year we spent our evening with friends chatting, trying the occasional sip of moonshine, playing games and rocking my fussy baby (I mean, the ONE night she decides to fuss.. :)).
This year already feels as if it’s signifying major changes in our personal world. We are experiencing a wave of new things in many facets of life and 2018 already feels like a huge gift that I’m about to unwrap. I am looking forward to pursuing things that are important to me.. in my writing, my personal faith, enriching my kids’ worlds as much as I’m able, enriching my own mind and understanding, connecting with friends, old and new, baking bread more, running to offset said bread, hobbies, etc 😉 Can’t wait to see what this year holds for you as well—happy New Years!
Little lady is three months old now! I feel like we’re sort of exiting the newborn phase and I’m looking forward to discovering more of her personality. I’m also holding onto her newborn-ness fiercely because it’s just the most precious phase to me.. gosh I love this girl. Continue reading
On Sunday afternoon, I decided I had my last frustrated attempt at reaching and grabbing the ridiculous amount of toys that had built up under our bed! While the little girl population in our family slept, I shlepped our furniture around and found a new arrangement, cleaned and literally used my entire being and body to shimmy our stuff around, and it feels so much better! Continue reading
I’ve been looking for ways to teach myself—and our children—to think of other people and practice empathy. The holiday season naturally inclines me to consider those in our community who are in need, though I realize these considerations must go much beyond only this small piece of the year. As I see empathy growing in the kids and I Continue reading