As you know I turned 40 in January, what I didn’t share was how we celebrated. Of course, we did it in style and it was a lot of fun.
The day started off with a family outing to Breakfast Republic and it was outstanding! The food, the service and the company made it a very special meal. First the waiter overheard we were celebrating a birthday, so he brought us a warm coffee cake on a plate of “Happy Birthday” in raspberry and maple syrup. Everyone at the table loved that it saved us from squirmy Cecito complaining about having to sit still for the food to arrive. When our food arrived it only got better, it was exactly what I wanted. Flight of pancakes, unique eggs benedict and a skillet of eggs crammed with everything yummy.
We came home and Daddy made me a delicious chocolate cake! That was pretty darn special, too.
Then, we had a fun night out with friends at Draft Republic. Old roommates, single life friends, before kids friends, mom friends, neighbors and an old co-worker were in the mix. I felt very loved and special, which is exactly what I am looking for on my birthday. Just take a look at the pictures, can’t you feel the fun!?
Can’t forget Ashley, our extra special babysitter for the evening. LL made her read about 8 books and for sure thought she was the one in charge. Thank you Ashley, you made the night happen for both of us. Plus, a special thank you to the hubs, he was our chauffeur for the evening. All of us from the North Park area and our overnight LA guests are ever-so-grateful. Muah!
On January 22, 2016 I turned 40; the big four-oh, over the hill, fabulous forty, I’ve finally made it to “the club”…did I miss any?
There’s a lot to be said about turning 40, for me. Not everyone feels that this is a rite of passage, but man, I sure did. For at least a year I’ve been talking about this momentous occasion. I knew that it had to feel big and well celebrated or I would be let down. Let’s be honest here, I love birthdays and I enjoy feeling the spotlight love from as many friends and family that want to give it. I’m a true extrovert that gets immense energy and good vibes from the gobs of attention a birthday usually brings.
In general, people let you know how much they appreciate you on your birthday. They will recall all the great memories you both share through all the good times of becoming friends. Together you can walk down memory lane like it was yesterday and it feels good. I tend to hold onto friends for the long haul. We can pick up exactly where we left off no matter how much time has passed. Which means these nostalgic conversations are usually pretty entertaining and filled with lots of warm fuzzies that I carry with me as long as I can; it gives me perspective.
Turning 40 has taken me on a path of self discovery that I am happy to say has left me in a good place. This journey isn’t over, I’m sure of that, but I feel content in knowing that I am in what society considers, mid-life. The past year, leading up to it, has felt a bit like a mourning period, that I wasn’t even aware of. All I could do was talk about turning 40 and how that made me feel extra old even though I didn’t feel like I should be. What I didn’t realize was that what I really wanted was confirmation that I wasn’t that old, looked better than I felt I did and that life wasn’t about to be on the downhill.
Now I realize that all the times I wanted to post about all my accomplishments and life events was just another way to make myself feel better, from others, because I thought it would make a difference. I thought it would make me feel validated and special. Somehow it seemed that 40 meant I needed to list off all the check boxes for my so-called bucket list, but it’s not.
My second act is just at the beginning. Nothing has happened as I expected it to and I’m pretty sure that the rest of it won’t either. Predictions are useless. The one thing I am sure of is it will all happen the way it’s supposed to.
Okie dokie! Our Christmas wasn’t very eventful but I got great pictures, so I figured those are worth a post.
We woke up with Cecito and had to wait for LL about 20 minutes. She’s started sleeping later these days, and by later I mean 7am. We opened gifts and got a little surprise. Cecito was really into it, unlike his big sis at this age. My best memory of the day was that they would share opening gifts! We would take turns with each of us and they were more patient than I expected. It was especially adorable that when I pulled out a gift for them to open they plopped in my lap and then opened it, together. Super cute and very fun!
The rest of the morning was spent on the phone with family. Later that day we explored out the door to have dinner at a friend’s house and that was it! We had a great time with our little family and some good friends. Christmas was a success!
Tip toe decorating
Teeny tiny guitar…err, violin!
I want to put it high, Daddy!
I love you Daddy, thank you. (this happened multiple times, in a row)
Meeting Santa at school. Cecito was not amused. While LL did GREAT!
Night before Christmas.
Opening their first gifts. He would take a little piece off at a time and hand it to us to put in the trash. Those first ones took a LONG time.
She loved her book from Bi-Nana!
Cecito loved his Three Little Birds book, too! We now listen to Bob Marley for the “Gonna Be Alright” song all the time. Thanks Bi-Nana!
Her first sweatshirt was a hit! Thank you, Auntie Rae Rae!
We had to put on the fairy princess skirt – right away! Notice the belly button? The “jammas” must be unzipped so she can get to her belly button, or else it’s ALL OVER folks!
Daddy’s new coffee carafe. Perfect weekend addition, thanks Tom!
Cecito opening gifts with LL.
LL stoked about her Frozen cd. Thank you Aunt Cori!
So much excitement for Cecito! He was dancing around with a little quiche in his hand.
She wears this little number all the time now. Perfect Aunt Cori!
More opening gifts together!
After bath in his Dr. Seuss shirt. LL wore it until she was almost 3. He has outgrown it now. Eek!
New jammies! They wear them every night and will until they don’t fit anymore. Which is almost upon us. They are growing at a faster pace these days.
Our first gingerbread house!
We all decorated it together while Cecito napped. Next year, buddy!
Our Corazoncito is 18 months old! He’s been walking for 7 months, so that means he climbs on everything! He’s also a chatty little thing that is reminiscent of a parrot. His vocabulary is out of this world, for his age; and it’s becoming clearer where he can enunciate every letter. He’s a sweet boy, but sure does know how to hold his own with his big sister. Smart as a whip and learns things way faster than I can keep up with.
Little boys, what can I say…exhausting, amazing, but exhausting.
His little face is one of my favorite things these days and those cheeks! Momma still kisses them all the time and goes overboard when warm cheek happens. Giving kisses is something that happens on a whim with this kid. Domingo gets the majority of them, yet last week he decided to kiss Daddy’s 1962 Impala as we walked by. The rest of us have to ask and almost beg for kisses, but he usually gives in. Hugs are in the form of leaning over and putting his cheek on you, it’s quite adorable.
These days LL has hung the moon. Even though, he’s taken quite an interest in pulling her hair, head-butting her (and everyone else) and… well, take your pick of anything else a little brother can do to mess with a big sister. He’s got them all down pat! One thing they both love to do right now is stand in a circle, with me, count to three then jump! Little mister can actually get both feet off the ground at the same time! He also, counts out loud with us. I’m a proud Momma, can you tell?
After reading LL’s 18 month post I realized that there was a lot of focus on sleep. I don’t think that I have talked a lot about that with this little dude. Probably because he’s a great napper. They aren’t all that long every time, but he’s getting there. It’s taken us a while to consolidate and get on a good schedule where he will snooze for 2 hours, but we are pretty much there. It’s great! Even if he fusses and says “no nap! no nap! no nap!” I can leave him in the crib, close the door and less than 2 minutes he’s out or at least completely quiet settling himself into sleep. We have come a long, long, long way from the beginning where he was crying if he was awake and it took us 3 hours to get him to even consider closing his eyes.
Last week we had his well check and he passed with flying colors! Totally healthy (minus the 3 month cough and runny nose). He’s getting in one canine and you can tell the other three are working their way out. He was climbing and jumping all over the exam room, saying “no nap” when we tried to lay him down to measure his height and digging through my bag looking for snacks. Such personality.
Lastly, he’s a 35percenter:
49 cm head (89% for that big brain)
Growing just like any other kid. Becoming the picky eater that his older sis is (lovely). And still sporting bruises all over from running his head into everything possible. The other day he ran flat into the end of the kitchen counter wall. I thought he was going to turn, like he normally does, but no. For some reason he just bounced right off it! Arnica was busted out and that was that…it’s our typical day, his normal way and I couldn’t love the little buggar more.
Learning to use a spoon!
Wearing Momma’s socks.
First day of school with big sis.
Enjoying the zoo.
Hard at work!
Snacks at the zoo.
Tired little guy at the beach park.
Thanksgiving fun. Look at that face, he’s growing up.
Hello everyone! I am finally getting around to Thanksgiving, just squeaking by before Christmas.
This year we decided to go see my friend, Kristi. She was my roommate in art school, so we have known each other a long time, at this point in our lives. She comes down for most of our family events, so I was happy to return the favor and make it up to see her for this festive holiday.
Plus, LL thinks that she is the coolest person I know (I think). She definitely talks about her a lot. Not to mention, she’s the one that brought a massive, box of three train sets for the kids on the day we celebrated LL’s 3rd birthday. Another thing I am reminded of regularly.
Our day started off with breakfast at home, packing up the car and then heading out. Hit some LA traffic, per usual, arriving for our holiday fun around 11:30am. We relaxed, played, and took pictures for our holiday cards. It was amazing and I loved it. You see, Kristi studied photography while we were in school, so my plan was to have her take our family picture and it totally worked. Lucky us, because the tripod and timer gig was proving to be a no-go with two kiddos and a dog.
Eventually, her friends and family arrived and we all got to overindulge ourselves with lots of yummy food. The special treat was having our third roommate there, Sarah. She recently moved to LA from Chicago and we are thrilled to have her close to us. Even LL approves. The day after Thanksgiving she was sitting next to Sarah at lunch, turned to her and said, “I like you.” More than likely with her cute, almost embarrassed, smile. I didn’t see it, but I sure did hear it and it warmed my heart.
Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures. We were having such a great time that I didn’t think about it. When you get the three of us together there is always plenty of chatting and laughing going on. I feel very blessed to have these two girls just a couple of hours away. I have missed feeling like I have “family” close by to celebrate with and make the west coast feel even more like home.
So, next I will share the pics we took for our cards. Enjoy!
Front of our card, it’s the best we could do and I love it.
Can you tell which one of us has a photoshopped ‘new’ face?
This one didn’t get used, but I like it. Plus, another photoshopped face!
These cars were a huge hit for the kids. They are almost parent-proofed. You see the bruise on Cecitos forehead that I had to clean up for the other shots?
They are good pics, but man was I disappointed that I forgot my makeup. This is me in all my Mom Glory with fresh clean face right after an amazing shower that I got to take alone without interruption. Perfection.
Sometimes there are people you meet that stick with you. Well, Beverly Stewart wasn’t just one of those people; she was the kind of person that became a part of you.
She was my voice teacher in high school and you wouldn’t think I would be taking this so hard, unless you knew her. You see, she passed away yesterday. I saw the news on Facebook and couldn’t process it. That was surprising for me since I knew she had been sick for a number of years now. Today I saw others post about their grief so now I’m facing my own sense of loss.
Bev was incredible. A soul that brought out the best in everyone. It’s strange because I feel as though I have lost a part of myself. Not because I actually have, but because she represented a part of myself that I have always clung onto. Singing on stage was a thrill, a rush of happiness for me that can’t be measured. She made me feel like I had natural talent. She made me better. She made me understand that I had to trust myself and believe in myself. It was her believing in me that made it easy to think that I was worth more.
You see, in high school, self worth was a hard thing to come by, for me. It might come as a surprise to some, but it’s true. Singing was pretty much the one thing that I felt I would ever be good at. When I started taking lessons from Bev it was like a whole new world opened up for me. Suddenly, I saw my life unfold before me. She trained me and helped me get the lead role of Reno Sweeny in my high school musical, Anything Goes, as a Sophomore. It was the most exciting thing I had ever accomplished. That would be the last big part I ever had in a school production, but it didn’t stop her from making me feel my dreams could come true.
She even called my mom once, just to tell her that I could “go far”. That I had true natural talent and all I needed to do was cultivate it and work hard. It’s something that I will never forget and have held onto all these years like a fragile secret. I was a teenager then, and it was easier to think I wasn’t very talented after a run in with another teacher and only making the chorus after Anything Goes. So I hate to say it, but I haven’t performed since graduating. It’s sad for me. However, that experience made a profound difference in my life. For so many years I held onto the words they both said. It took years before I let go of the negative and have only held onto the positive. Bev made that possible for me. And when it really mattered, I was able to get past the bad things that happen in life, as they always do. So, I am grateful for that lesson, too.
I’m lucky, really, years ago I wrote Bev a letter thanking her for her profound influence in my life. Later, I was able to connect with her on Facebook and we discussed the letter. She said she wrote back but the letter was returned to her. I was afraid she wouldn’t remember me, but she assured me that wasn’t possible. I was able to reiterate how she’s been the most influential person in my life and she told me she was “deeply touched” I remembered her so fondly. It surely didn’t feel like 15 years had gone by since our last meeting, even though it had.
A few years later I was encouraged to come visit her before her health declined too much from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Since I live across the country from her I was unable to do so. Which made our reconnection in 2009 a blessing.
From now on I will think of her when I listen to Les Mis, The Secret Garden, Pippin…to name a few. When I trim the Christmas tree with all the ornaments I received from her over the years. Listen to the vocalization tape (yes, that means a cassette and I still have it) she made for me. And enjoy all the other gifts she bestowed upon me. I can only hope that my years of being trained by her has taught me how to be such an inspiration. Her lovable yet stern teaching ways were sharp as a tack and some of the most cherished memories I have from those formative years. Her warmth and beauty will live on, along with her own wonderful voice.
Thank you, Bev, you made me a better human.
Beverly Jean Stewart: October 10, 1934 – November 30, 2015
We started off as early as we could get on the road. We let the kids sleep until they naturally woke up, ate breakfast and hit the road. Planned to keep our driving to 5 hours or less each day. Gil researched pit stops and fun tourist things to experience. I have to say, it was a feat I wouldn’t have been able to organize. We were very lucky that Daddy set up such a great 11 day adventure for us. He even had contingency plans if we were behind or ahead of schedule.
Driving through California is spectacular, the terrain is astoundingly diverse and beautiful. The next few pictures were taken along the way to Lone Pine. It’s close to the base of Mt. Whitney, where people who want to climb that beast stay before starting the trek.
Then you have our backseat view of the babe. We put up a blanket to protect him from the sun. It worked surprisingly well.
We took a little potty for our three year old. She did an amazing job letting us know when she needed to take a pee break. This gem is taken on the side of the road in the middle of the desert. Hot and dry with high winds.
Here we have Randsburg, CA. A haunted town that wasn’t open when we rolled through, but still cool to see.
Our first night on the road. Lone Pine sunset. Stopping for some fun before we head up the mountain to Lake Tahoe. Lampe Park enjoying the slide with Daddy. While LL climbs the wall, like a boss. Of course, we had to get some swing time in for the two of them.“But I don’t want to leave the park!” Toddler feet of someone who does not want to be looked at. Next door to our motel was the Film Museum. A really cool place for the area. Lots of movies filmed right by there. Old Westerns, Star Trek, Star Wars and many, many, many more! Django Unchained Speaks for itself. So beautiful. View from the Museum’s parking lot. The Alabama Hills are back there somewhere.
Headed home passing by, Sacramento, CA.
Sonoma! Girard Winery, a wonderful place with yummy wines.California Wine Country View from the Ferry going to San Francisco. We spent a beautiful afternoon with my old roommate and our good friend, Wayne. He left us a few years ago, so we jump at the chance to hang out with this old buddy. Lunch at Sinbad’s. Good thing we decided this would be a good idea. They are being closed down for new construction. (sad face) LL had important things to tell her new friend. We love Wayne!I’m pretty sure LL really loved hanging out with Wayne. The whole family, see Cecito passed out on my back? Yep, she loved it. So much that she passed out, right after he left.Leaving Vallejo, California. Next stop, Los Osos! Bi-Nana has chickens! (really her name is Liana, but that’s what LL calls her…for now) She’s thinking…yeah, I think I like you.Time to feed the chickens! She had a blast. Oh AND I get eggs! It was as good as a zoo. I’m not really sure what Daddy was so concerned with, but it probably had something to do with chicken poop.Dreaming of feeding the chickens, too. Nite-nite time with Bi-Nana. Momma wasn’t allowed in the room, but I got this anyway. Notice the photobomber, his name is Clyde.Morning Bi-Nana! I don’t want to leave. (me either, kid)Almost home!
And one more gem, this video. We had lots of singing in the car time. It was fun.
There you have it! Our little vacation. A great time with even better memories.
Big thanks to Mike + company for visiting with us up in Lake Tahoe, The Hugo’s for showing us how fun Sonoma is, Wayne for meeting us in San Francisco, and Liana + Troy for letting us crash at your place. What outstanding friends we have. Life certainly is good.
If you didn’t know we went to South Lake, Tahoe this summer. It was our first family of four vacation. Our first long road trip. Gil planned it. AND we all had an amazing time.
It’s hard to think back to July and remember everything, but I can tell you this: when we came home I was ready to take on the world. The kids got along better than they had in months, they ate all kinds of new foods without us having to beg and plead for them to at least “try one bite”. I got to take regular showers and READ A BOOK! Definitely better than I had expected it to be.
To top it off we were all together. It was the kind of traveling I have always imagined I would get to have with my own little family.
Now I will share pictures. That’s the best way to tell our story. Then, later, I will write another post about our drive and all the fun places we got to see along the way. Hope you have as much fun as we did!
Driving up the mountain at the state line of California and Nevada.
The Ridge Resorts
Hot tub with a view.
Our first sunset.
Baby whisperer, Mike.
Cecil’s first time in the hiking backpack. He loved it!
Family Pic on our first hike.
Happy girl singing on our way back to the resort.
Older kids showing them how it’s done: forts, slides, walls made out of pillows.
Cecito loved the baby whisperer.
She loved these two, instantly.
No shirt pasta night.
Momma selfie action.
Baldwin House, Tallac Historic Site
Walking from Baldwin Estates to Kiva Beach.
Kiva Beach at Tallac Historical Site
He’s my little baby wearer.
View of Kiva Beach from Tallac.
The Pope House Porch. Trying to get a good pic of the kids together.
This is as good as we could get…
Wooden Tee Pee at Tallac.
Hallway from Service Quarter’s House to The Pope House.
View from the other side.
Old Trolley Bus.
You’re so funny, brother…no, you so funny, sister!
Momma and Daughter headed up Heavenly Mountain.
Daddy and Cecito enjoying the gondola ride.
Very small portion of the most gorgeous view at the Gondola Look Out, Heavenly Mountain
It was kinda cold up there, take a snack break.
Our best attempt at a family picture: Gondola Lookout, Heavenly Mountain.
Then we recruited someone else. Smart, but LL didn’t seem to love it.
Headed back down the mountain.
Rare pic of Momma and Daddy together.
Almost there, Cecito and Daddy weren’t too happy about it.
Twin daughter, as LL likes to say.
Momma and LL on our first family hike: Glen Alpine Trail.
Daddy showing LL how to pretend ski (or she says “I’m tending”)
Our Little Love is now three and a half, which means we are due for an update post!
Sometimes I look at her and cannot believe we made this beautiful little thing. She’s speaks clearer and clearer. There are times when she will say a word correctly and not like it. You can tell because she will repeat herself and pronounce it in her baby talk. It’s so funny to watch her get confused and realize the difference.
Her imagination is to the moon and back. Then, there’s her immense love for all of us. Her sweetness is not always apparent through her three-year-old ways, but it’s always there. The amount of hugs and adorable looks I get is impossible to count. She wants to give hugs to Domingo whenever we come and go. According to her Domingo is taking hugs. I hear, “Ohhh, look Momma (giggle-giggle). Momma LOOK, Domingo is taking hugs from me! (giggle-giggle) Awww!” Wearing a sweet expression with a head tilt.
She has perfected that head tilt with sweet gaze by practicing in the mirror, umpteen times! She wants to wear pants or dresses. The dresses cannot be “big” enough, meaning they should be long enough that she needs to pick them up off the ground to walk. She loves crowns and finger nail polish and Spider Man. Her favorite thing to do is dance and her ability to memorize lyrics to songs or the 14 page “My Favorite Nursery Rhymes Book” is astounding. Of course, those lyrics are kinda hard to get out in time with the songs, so we miss a few of them when Belle sings, Little Town.
Sometimes she wants me to sing with her and other times, it’s just LL’s turn. But she ALWAYS wants me (or anyone) to dance with her. Holding hands is one of her go-to moves in making new friends. While she is still veryveryveryveryvery slow to warm up to people she doesn’t know or open up in situations that aren’t familiar to her.
At school, she is learning to recognize numbers, letters, shapes and colors. I’m always surprised at how quickly she picks some things up. Of course, she’s like her Momma, and has times where she completely blanks on things I know she understands…or maybe, she’s just stubborn (like her Momma and Daddy) and wants the questions to stop.
Who knows!? We love her oodles and that’s the important stuff.
Facebook hiatus, that is. I’ve been off of the mighty Facebook for the month of September. My obsession with being plugged in was beyond what I could handle. There isn’t any way that I could delete my account, I know better than that (and honestly, I don’t want to). However, I was pretty sure that I was capable of taking a break, so that’s what I did.
As we are nearing the end of the month and I have to say that I don’t really miss it. There’s a calm that comes without the white noise of Facebook.
Instagram is the one social media outlet that I have been indulging in. Which isn’t saying much because I only need to check it two times a day to get new posts. If I check it too often there isn’t anything new to see, which makes me feel like it’s a little boring. When really I’m checking it too often.
One of my biggest take aways from this whole thing is that I realized I’m not missing out on a whole lot. There’s a lot to be had from Facebook, I do enjoy what it originally offered, but I’m pretty sure what it offers now isn’t something I need. I’ve always been the overachiever in keeping in touch with friends that I’ve moved away from. If I’m honest I still want to be connected to them, but maybe more on a level from the days of letter writing. You got a lot more sincerity and true connection with those archaic letters.
Now, when something happens I text my husband. Sometimes I text a friend or my extended family, but there’s only a handful that I even think would care to hear it. Seeing what’s important and regulating my emotions is a lot easier to do without social media knocking at my door. That’s a definite.
So, we will see how all of this flushes out in October, once I log back on. Hopefully I’m able to keep a healthy balance. If I’m extra lucky, maybe it will be the catalyst to narrow down my “friend list.”