That’s What I Like about You!

There’s a reason we find children so endearing, isn’t there?  And, it’s not the whining, the selfishness, or the tantrums; (duh — is there any doubt humans are born sinful?)  It’s just they are so precious and innocent.  Watching them grow, learn, and bond throughout the day is priceless!  Moments like these watching my number 2 read to my number 3; absolutely melts my heart!

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And then there’s that free spirit they have.  It may be the middle of winter and 79 degrees outside, but the pool thermometer still reads a mere 52 degrees.  Doesn’t matter — my kids couldn’t resist a taste of summer!

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Yup — you don’t even have to wear a swimsuit if you’re three — just throw off your clothes!  Kids are indeed precious!  (and CRAZY!)

Knott’s Berry Farm 2013

It’s a tradition.  Every January, Daniel takes the girls to Knott’s Berry Farm for their free firefighter promotion.  I have never gone.  I’ve always been recovering from c-sections or nursing a small infant… until this year!

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To be honest, it was a tough decision.  All morning long my eyes caught hold of things that needed to be done around the house.  My thoughts were driving me crazy…. “I should be a good mom and go play with my family.  I should be a good mom and stay home and take care of the laundry, organizing and cleaning that are so desperately needed.”  Back and forth they went.. it was a nice little ping pong match in my head!  Honestly, I didn’t even know I was going until I heard myself say, “Come on and get in the car.  It’s time to go!”   I even shocked my family.

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It really was a beautiful day.  As you walk in the park, you first enter “Ghost Town,’ which made me laugh because the place literally felt like a ghost town; there was hardly anybody there!

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Sierra is at a really fun age now where theme parks are pretty exciting.  (Of course, nothing beats the carousel still!)

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Malachi is at a fun age, too.  He’s aware of his surroundings and able to enjoy himself, though still completely unaware of what’s happening.

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This poor sweetie was just a tad short for some of the “bigger” rides.  I can’t wait for her to ride the swings next year!

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Family picture, take 29 or so… (notice my “cheesy” smile!)

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Allison’s last year riding the little tug cars.  Next year she’ll be to tall!

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And, the “Sierra Sidewinder.”  We were told it was a great “starter” roller coaster for the little ones.  Say wha– this ride was crazy!  It went so fast I couldn’t even catch my breath to look at Natalie or ask how she was doing.  When I finally caught a glimpse, all I saw was sheer terror.  She did not like it one bit!  Allison, on the other hand, (and on the other side of us), had a blast.  She went again with Papa, and then on Jaguar 3 times.  She was thrilled to be tall enough, and discovered a love of roller coasters.  I think Natalie would have loved Jaguar, as well, had she been tall enough.  Whoever said this ride was for beginners must have crazy wild children!

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So it was a tough decision, but absolutely the right choice in the end.  This day had been postponed due to sickness and/or rain at least 3 times.  We didn’t think we could squeeze it in, but somehow we did.  Now I’m hooked — already looking forward to next year!

Plan B

We woke-up and looked outside. Yep.  It was raining… quite hard.  Allison walked down the stairs and exclaimed, “Mom, you’re a genius!”  Nice words to hear first thing in the morning… especially when you know you have some disappointing news to share.

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“What do you mean?”  I asked.

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“You know… our Bible verse.  ‘You can make your plans, but the Lord determines your steps.’  This is the perfect way to teach us!  We wanted to go to Knott’s Berry Farm, but now we can’t because of the rain!”

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I’m not sure how I became a genius from that.  But, the impact was real.  And, I am SO proud of my daughter for looking at this as a life lesson, and not pouting at all.  In fact, all the girls reacted just fine.  And, the big girls actually opted to do school.  It was truly a blessing.  How awesome that God used a little rain to speak to their hearts!

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Once we finished our school work I pulled out some canvases for a little Valentine craft.  It also seemed appropriate since it was our anniversary.  I saw the idea on Pinterest to use pencil erasers to dot-in hearts.

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Each of the girls did a canvas, (though Sierra was done after about 2 minutes!)  Allison sewed the “Love” onto hers.  And, all together this is how they turned out:

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We still had a wonderful family day.

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Then we had a fun fondue dinner.  I love, love, love my family!  Happy Anniversary, Babe!

Dirt, Bubbles, and Hearts

I think I figured out why I can’t seem to get on top of laundry or cleaning around here.

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He has a name.

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If it’s not a blow-out, tearing open cupboards, or climbing onto counters to dump and squeeze whatever is in reach, it’s discovering how to make charcoal showers.  Oh, sweet boy!

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Luckily he cleans-up well.  🙂

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And, he finally enjoys baths.  (Mostly because he has a built-in toy the girls didn’t have – ha!)  But, he also loves brushing his hair — and mine!

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And speaking of not being able to get things done, we pulled out our Valentine decor on Saturday.

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Let’s just say the house doesn’t look a whole lot different than in these pictures!

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Sierra found her bag immediately, along with an old tube of conversation hearts that went right in!

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I finally got around to decorating Malachi’s bag!  Last year was just a bit too stressful.  I’m sure he’ll have a blast pulling these off the backs of chairs!

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And, he’s off…

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I LOVE this old V-day picture of Natalie and Allison.  Makes me smile every year when I pull it out!

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In a hurry to get at least one thing up and off the floor, I hung our wreath right over some of our spelling words!

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And, with each bin we pull out, Sierra always gravitates towards one stuffed bear and never lets go.  She’s been toting around this pink teddy since Saturday.  She now has an orange Halloween bear, a Christmas teddy, and this Valentine bear on her bed!

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Allison got right to making notes, coupons, and jokes for our bags.  So precious!  I love that girl!

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Once we pulled all the stuff out and made a sufficient mess, Allison noted that we didn’t find any leftover heart lollipops as we had in years past.  She wanted to buy some for her sisters.  So, why not?  We hopped in the car and headed to the store.  Our first stop was JoAnn’s for some Valentine fabric since we need more pillows around here, and then to the Dollar Tree where Allison bought her sisters some lollipops.

The kids are now asleep, and it’s time for me to get this place picked up and decorated!  For one thing, I am hoping the neighbors see our heart wreath and flag outside and finally decide to take down their Christmas decorations!  Also, tomorrow is our anniversary, so I think it’s fun to have the house all heart-sy and romantic for both Valentine’s Day and our anniversary!

Picnic Dinner

What do you do when kids are either a) tired, b) fussy, c) not getting along, or d) all-of-the-above?  Why, you take them outside, of course!  At least that’s what we do.  In this case, it was mostly the younger two that were simply overly-tired, but needed to stay up until bedtime.  Daniel was at work, so we packed our Caesar salad, (lovingly referred to as “Seeser salad,” Sierra’s nickname), and our grilled cheese and headed to the park.  Best. Decision. Ever.

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Benefit #1:  Kids are happy.

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Benefit #2: Lighting is perfect for pictures.

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Benefit #3: “Dishes” get thrown away and don’t have to be washed once the kids go to bed.

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Benefit #4:  Kids exercise and thus get more tired and ready for bed.  (Notice Sierra eating her salad while riding her plasma car in the background!)

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Benefit #5:  Did I mention kids are happy?  🙂

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Sierra discovered her sisters’ old roller skates and is LOVING them.

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Moral of the story:  Picnic dinners are a good thing!

This Man.

Allison walked into the house and announced calmly, “I think there’s a cat in our yard.  It’s brown and gray.  It has kind of a triangular face, though, so I’m not sure it’s a cat.  I pet it.”


“Is it still there?”


Daniel and I rushed to the backyard.  And, there it was.  Hidden in the bushes just 5 feet from the chicken coop.

“Why were you looking there?” we asked.

“Because that’s Brita’s secret laying hide-out.”

Brita is our black and white chicken.  Hers are the only eggs distinguishable to me, and I had been wondering why I hadn’t seen any, lately.  Anyway, as you may have guessed, this is what Allison found:

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Sorry, I should have warned you.

Completely disturbing picture!  Isn’t that a nasty little sucker?  I SCREAMED when I saw him holding it… oh, it was creepy!  Let me back up a little and finish the story…

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Immediately after Allison found it she had to leave for tennis practice.  I was at home with the baby, so it was my job to call the animal control people and tell them to please come remove this icky possum.  Daniel had tried to poke it out, but all it did was hiss with its mouth open wide and completely freak me out.

The lady on the other end was very kind and knowledgeable.  She assured me that these creatures would not be aggressive with my animals unless it felt threatened.  And, they do not carry disease because their body temperature is too low.  And, it would probably not move until at least night because they are stubborn and nocturnal and do not like to be disturbed in the day at all.  That was great to learn and all, but when were they coming, I wanted to know?

Apparently they don’t come for possum since they’re so “harmless.”  She told me I could grab it’s tail and swing it into a garbage can, then remove it from my property.  Ha!

Now is the part of the story that makes me so glad to be married to a firefighter.  Daniel donned his gear, and then attempted to grab it as it ran away and tried to crawl up the chicken fence.  Apparently, that’s when my hero tried to grab him, but he wouldn’t let go of the fence.  So, he pulled and pulled until it finally came off.  (There may have been blood involved).  In the meantime, Allison had the camera to capture the action, and I was inside oblivious to the entire situation.  When I walked by the screen door and saw him holding that creature, I couldn’t help but scream!!  He did end up putting it in a garbage can, and he and Allison drove up the hill and released it into the wilderness.

The end.  (Oh, how I hope that’s the end of possum in our yard!)

Seeing Stars

Guess where Daniel took the girls on Wednesday?

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To a farm?

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Horse back riding?

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Guess again…

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With our oldests’ recent obsession with stars, (she even asked for a telescope for Christmas), we thought it would be fun to take them to the Griffith Observatory!  I was a little torn as to whether I should go… you see, the last time I was there was the day my boyfriend proposed to me.  Plus, it was a gorgeous day!  But, the littlest munchkin needed a good nap, and the house needed a good cleaning so I stayed behind.

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The girls couldn’t wait to tell me all about it.  I may have heard something like this: “…And mom, guess what?  I weigh almost 100 pounds on Venus!  Can you believe that?  It’s a good thing you weren’t there, or you might have broken the scale!”


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So in case you didn’t figure it out, there also happen to be pony rides.  For only $3, you get to trot and even gallop around the track twice.  (We pay twice as much at the pumpkin patch to walk a tiny circle).  So, they went again on their way out…

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Meanwhile, our house did get a good cleaning. (Well, I spent most of the day picking things up and organizing, and the housekeeper cleaned the next day).  Now it is Friday and… the house is clean, the laundry is done, my husband is home and made sushi for dinner, and did I mention it’s Friday?!  This is truly a rare day.  I don’t think I’ve felt “caught-up” in months.  And, while there’s always lots to do, I am just relishing in this day.. what a gift!  Happy weekend, friends!

Spring in January

It’s been a cold winter.  And, that’s ok with me… I kind of like cold!  But, this is Southern California after all… and some sunshine does us all good!


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This little lady took all of the following pictures:

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Riding the plasma car around has become quite the adventure for me – er- Malachi!

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My, oh my, we have a fat cat!

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A neighbor was getting rid of their eliptical — I figured FREE was worth a try!

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Hope you have some sunshine in your day!

New Recipes

It’s a new year, which should mean a resolution to eat healthier.  And, I have…  somewhat.  But, not because of a resolution… mostly due to a cold which has curbed my sweet tooth a bit.  My husband and I are currently discussing whether organic is the way to go.  Both of us are feeling a nudge to give it a try.  We have enough local farms that I am sure we could buy meat somewhere locally… and raising our own chickens for meat may be an endeavor, soon.  But, that’s a whole different subject.

Anyway, when it comes to food, it seems my family, (including myself), are just not content rotating the same handful of meals.  In fact, I could probably fill a menu 3 months full of different recipes and that still wouldn’t be good enough; we are always looking to try something new.  Sometimes, I wish we were content with a handful of meals; oh, what joy that would be!  Other times I find it a joy to cook and try new things often.  All I can say is, I am thankful for blogs, Pinterest, and simply search engines that help me prepare meals!

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This recipe is more of a snack than a breakfast, but we ate them as breakfast cookies and they were a huge hit.  They were very simple, too.  You don’t even have to grease the muffin tins; simply pop them right out, if you use the silicone kind.  You can get the “Famous flax n oat bar recipe” here.

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This Pinterest recipe I tried on a night my husband was gone.  The problem with trying new recipes with the kids, obviously, is that they simply may be a flop.  Since this pasta dish contained both heavy cream and cheese, I was certain it would be a hit.  However, it also had Rotel with green chiles, which apparently gives it a kick!  The big girls still ate it, as long as I served it with this:

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Personally, I liked the kick and thought it was delicious.  Check out the recipe here!

Kiddos; an Update

It’s a funny thing about having kids… I can’t decide if I want to speed up the clock, or slow time down.  Thankfully, I can’t do either.  All I can do is choose to enjoy every precious moment, one day at a time.  I’m trying!!!

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This little dude needs to be weaned.  He’s 13 1/2 months, and I haven’t even started.  For one thing, he doesn’t really like milk.  And for that matter, he doesn’t really like veggies, so at least I know breast milk is nutritious!  But, he is also on a happy schedule, and whenever I’ve tried to skip a feeding he gets all thrown-off, which throws my whole day off as well.  I need him on his schedule so that I can accomplish whatever else I need to accomplish — mainly school with the girls!  So for now, he is happy breast-feeding and I am going to have to just figure it out!  Any tips?  He’s my first to not like milk!

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This sweetie lost her third tooth.  I LOVE when the top teeth go — not only does it look adorable, but I love to hear the little lisp, too.  She suddenly seems so much older and so much younger at the same time.  (I can’t seem to make-up my mind today, can I?)  She started a ballet/ tap class this week, and is loving it.  The rest of us are having fun visiting the reptiles at the store next to the dance studio!

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As usual, I could write a whole post on this one.  Recently, (as in the last 3 days in a row), she has thrown some major tantrums when she doesn’t get her way.  Well, that’s not exactly new.  The new part is wetting her pants on purpose at the same time.  Oh, boy.  The crazy thing is, she is totally sweet and logical a while later and we are able to talk about it.  For that I am very thankful.  For some reason, I have a peace — I know it’s just a phase, and I am somewhat happy she isn’t always getting her way so she can learn.  But, I hope it ends soon!  Now, getting her out of pull-ups at night does seem to be a problem.  Again, I am open to suggestions!!

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And this one… oh, I do love 7 1/2-year-olds!  They are so independent!  Now if only they were neater… 🙂  This cutie started tennis this week.  It’s the first time she and her sister have chosen different activities.  So, the night before they started they each wrote encouraging little notes to the other, rolled them up, and put them in their sleeves.  She is always coming up with such clever ideas!  This one especially made me smile.