So I managed to take (very) few pics on thanksgiving and one in particular that poor Kate happened to be super distraught during. So needless to say it was the realest. But we had a great day!—waking up slow, watching the parade, getting our dishes started (sweet potatoes, veggies and mac/cheese this year!) and a quick walk, all before heading up to be with family (and crashing collectively once we got home!). I love hearing how other friends and family celebrate and now fun to see the kids come closer to an age where they look forward to it all. Luke is so in love with this time of year already, keeping track carefully of what’s coming up, being first to wake up and shout happy whatever!

There are so many nostalgic moments for me, and it’s hard to ignore the warm flurries it still brings me. The older I get, I’m much more pensive as I process this time of year: as an adult, as it pertains to kids, thinking through what lasting ideals I hope will reverberate in my kids. There are bright wonderful spots that come with this time of year and also other qualities that can characterize it—loneliness, grief, inadequacies, comparison, greed, poverty. It seems better highlighted by the weather, the spending, the family dynamics or lack of them. In the height of a season incredibly full of a mix of it all, I want to make ways of giving, thinking outwardly, selflessness, generosity. So anyways, that’s been on my mind this season! I have a couple ways we aim to give back through the year and then this holiday. Curious what other people and families focus on!

We have soo much to be thankful for, any problems we face at this time are minimal in the grand scheme. With the fires and loss in play for many Californians this season, the value of life reverberates a lot more loudly. We are clothed, fed, warm, together, our kids are cared for. Above that, we have laughter, family, friendships and that definitely puts it over the top!

Bits and pieces

California has been in a heartbreaking state these last weeks, the smoke in the air is a constant reminder of how awful the fires have been. We are thankful things are beginning to clear a bit and praying the thanksgiving rain that’s forecast will stick, for the affected areas, the firefighters and so many families. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted it more 🙏

Tonight at bedtime, I had a sweet time watching Luke carefully put away all his animals into his bed, which don’t move too much except for cleaning days. He had a place for everything and the cutest, was wrapping up his snake stuffie in a little circle, as snakes do! He is so careful and thoughtful about certain things, and the things he’s picked up or simply knows always blow my mind.

I’m so ready for a thanksgiving feast this year! We are in charge of veggies, sweet potatoes and chose to add a baked pasta dish. The plan is: crispy bacon wrapped asparagus, sweet potatoes with crispy pecan topping and a four cheese baked mac (Gruyere, cheddar, jack and a little parm).

Kate is growing so much. While she won’t admit she’s turning 3 soon (“8” according to her!), she has shown her three-ness in all the ways. One one hand there is so much independence, there’s so much she can do all by herself and she loves to show us—hand washing, taking off clothes, putting on a bracelet, or backpack, or shoes, helping me in the kitchen, or raking, or getting into the bath. It her pure joy to see her satisfaction in these moments of accomplishment. And then again so much need is present too, in her little tasks and the adventure of doing things by yourself—opening a door, or turning off the water, or finding the stool so she can help, or actually helping to put things away (conceptually she’s in, ha), buckling up (though she can get *in* the van). And the emotion that comes when there’s something she can’t yet do is real (quite real, I tell you!). The ability and need is there, both at once, all together, and she’s growing right before our eyes!

Emma is so talkative these days and my favorite exchange is saying “hi” back-and-forth til one of us stops. She is standing so much right now, and takes steps with help but doesn’t seem too bothered about walking around. Every time she stands, she is so incredibly proud and smiles with a big open mouth, waiting for one of us to catch her eye and celebrate (which we do!).

I turned 31! It’s been a few years since my birthday fell on Election Day, which was definitely a focus of the day. Though my ultimate highlight was the beach time with the kids and an evening date with James. The weather was such a surprise, and was like a one-off summers day! The kids and I drove by all the beaches on our way home from breakfast and it was gorgeous, completely quiet and out of nowhere warm! We ran in the ankle deep waves together and stuck our feet in the sand til they disappeared. We all went home half soaked and I couldn’t have loved it more!

Everyone’s been a bit sick from smoky air, which is hard to complain about, so many have it much worse. The ushering in of the sick children season is always a jolt to me though. The switch from summer bedtimes and baths in the sunlight and minimal pjs to dark nights, decked in fleece wearable blankies, the nighttime juggle to lather and soothe sore throats and the endless sticky little bottles strewn across the counter (droppers, honey spoons, empty medicine capsule, the chest rub, etc). Once they’re actually to bed, total exhaustion always sets in!

I’ve been craving the funniest mix of things: eggs Benedict, broth and veggies with Ramen, soups in general, homemade cookies, sushi rolls or anything remotely close (rice, nori, etc) and holiday foods. I spent an embarrassing amount of time making Hollandaise sauce and poaching eggs last Sunday, while James was sick in bed and the kids ran amok. In the end of it it all, my sauce broke a little, though I still ate and scooped up every drop with a huge hunk of crusty bread. And before this post has anymore food in it, I’ll sign off!

Happy early thanksgiving to you!

Thoughts on a Wednesday

Oh Fall, you have finally made your debut. And here we are, burrowing indoors, concocting and doctoring soups and stews, gobbling apples from the backyard (as long as we beat the birds to them!), making every sunset an event, snapping pumpkin portraits with only the most impeccable lighting, chattering incessantly about the weather changing (somebody stop me!) and writing too, everything and anything. Continue reading “Thoughts on a Wednesday”

Emma at 9 months

My little babe is nine months! This is a really sweet phase.. Emma has an absolute sunshine personality, she is a joy for all of us. The kids are figuring out more and more how to make her belly laugh. She is feeling bigger every day, especially in her speech and she is LOUD. I don’t know what she is going to do with these pipes but let’s all hope something! Continue reading “Emma at 9 months”

Bits and pieces

This week we’ve been gearing up for Luke’s fourth birthday. He chose funfetti cupcakes to bring to preschool so I had a late night moment alone with a funfetti mix and frosting. I am NOT an experienced cupcake baker, though I bake plenty. It’s something I’d love to learn! Meanwhile though, I am quite an experienced cupcake eater Continue reading “Bits and pieces”

The end of something sweet

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. Continue reading “The end of something sweet”

Christmas has graced us!

nope! not too early 🙂

one of my favorite traditions is spending our friday after thanksgiving putting up the christmas decorations (you too?)! that’s one way we like to try and work off all the pumpkin pie calories from the day before (and by ‘try’ i mean that in between the decorating, we eat pumpkin pie for breakfast/lunch and mashed potatoes for dinner, mmm). 
it’s fun to see all the things we stored away throughout the year and remember the funny stories, memories, etc! every year, i forget that james has all sorts of little christmas stockings, two little ones with puffed paint ‘jimmy’ on them, a couple ornament stockings and his main one—a larger ninja turtle stocking (which i lovingly placed a ‘jesus is the reason for the season’ on).me on the other hand, in addition to my gorgeous (gorgeous!) eighteen crystal orefors ornaments (one every year til i was eighteen..), i have loads of ornaments with my name from almost every year of life. clearly our families focused on different keepsakes, but it makes me smile every year! it also helps us think about what we’ll collect for our little ones… do you have any fun things you’ve collected over the years?
and i do declare that the most wonderful feeling is after all the lights are lit and garland is swagged, settling in with the latest martha stewart and real simple christmas issues, a nice cup of tea and bing in the background. merry christmas my friends! we can finally say that! ..okay we could have said it before but you know what i mean, no judgement now! woot!

merry christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving!

the best family photo we can manage thus far.
you’re welcome son 🙂
around these parts, we have two thanksgiving dinners. one yesterday and one tomorrow and we started the shopping on sunday to boot, so really it’s like a full week of thanksgiving mindset, which consists of family/friends, laughter and stuffing our faces.. err, our turkeys. thus, my introspection on thanksgiving always comes a little early.

so happy early thanksgiving my friends!

i am thankful for so many things. this year more than ever, i’ve realized the true gift of the things i always take for granted. the clothes on my back, the food on my plate, a job to work at, heat in my home and laundry machines in our bathroom (ok, that one i don’t take for granted too too much..cue to me hugging my washer last week).

in past years, i’ve conceptually thought, sure.. i’m thankful for these everyday things. but this year i feel that so much more than ever. i feel like this year has taught me so far that life is truly a miracle. every single step of it. and things that have seemed to always be there, i treasure more than ever.

i’m grateful for the family we have, both near and far, with all our (and their) misgivings, we are blessed to know them, to be connected with them, to have them to send cards and gifts to, to have family who sends pictures and prayer requests and recipes and terrible chain mail. yes even for that (you know who you are! for a church family so dear, who help us grow and aren’t intimidated by our junk. for a mom who continues to be my advocate, even as i become a mother and carry my own little baby. i guess i always thought that i’d have it together by this point so my mom calls for help would lessen (ha! can i get an amen people.).. so i’m thankful that my mom also that knows it never will.
for a partner and best friend and husband, who makes me laugh more than anyone, who makes me more upset than any other person other will, yet pushes me to the edge of my comfort zone and gives me the opportunity to be a better me, all while in the wonderful grace of his leading and friendship. i love you james. and for you, little baby boy. you are already our treasure.
above all i’m thankful for jesus, who i’m convinced all these things come from. the one who saves me day by day and who gives me grace to live, learn and be more like him. he is truly great.
happy thanksgiving to you my friends!! you sure are wonderful.
and don’t forget to wear your stretchy pants.
ps i’m making these pumpkin pies this week**
pps **pray i’m not shunned from pumpkin pie duty for years to come. seriously though.