November 16, 2017
by gwendolyn
0 comments

I’m Five (and 5 1/2) Years old!

This is a first: LL’s annual birthday post comes at the same time as her half birthday post. I have to throw my hands up and say, “It’s ok, at least, she’s not 6!” Life has been flying past us since she started kindergarten and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Eek!

Let’s get down to business. LL is just as sweet as ever, she loves it when I call her my sweetie and if I ever call her “buddy” or some form of that I get corrected. “No, Momma, I’m your SWEETIE!” She still wants to be a mom when she grows up to be a “real adult”, what I’m unsure of is if she’s still set on having 6 kids or not. (Yes, I said SIX!)

Since starting kindergarten making friends has become her new hobby. It’s always been pretty important to her, but what’s interesting about this stage is we get the lowdown from when they weren’t friends to how they are now (hand holding, and all). She seriously warms my heart. It makes me realize more and more that this parenting gig really does get better, even though it gets harder.

LL is curious, loving, maternal, helpful, stubborn, creative, social and sporty.

I’m pretty sure where she excels is athletics. The other day she decided that she wanted to learn to jump rope. At first I didn’t think anything of it. Then I realized she had been next to me for over 30 minutes trying to succeed in her goal. Over and over she kept jumping and throwing the rope over her head with just a small amount of encouragement. It’s been a while since I stopped to notice this is the kind of thing she. The last time was at the beach to hone her frisbee skills. Her perseverance and understanding of how her body can perform is admirable.

She’s the all around girl and I couldn’t be more proud for her to call me Momma.

If I had written this back in April I would have told you that there is no question her best friend is her brother; however, now it’s 6 months later. They love each other and there is no doubt that they miss each other when they are apart (I do still hear about that, just not as often). Right now they have more of a push and pull relationship, a typical sibling camaraderie. She is growing up in front of our eyes and there is no doubt of her individuality.

No matter what, though, she is still my cuddle bug (which is my favorite). And she tells me she misses me, constantly. AND there have been a several times that I have gladly taken the “you’re the best Momma” compliment. There is no question she is still making my heart grow with every day I get to spend with her.

Ok, now onto the fun stuff, photos! There is a park set from when I planned to take photos for this post. Now that it’s so late I’m going to add in some more recent, just for (high) kicks!

I’m finally 5!

Wait, where did my brother go?

Tick-tock!

Watch me! I can do it, myself.

little feet

My sweet girl.

They really do love each other!

Watch Momma! Are you taking a slow motion video?

Pre-K Graduation

Princess face painting, pools and cupcakes!

Momma, can I try on your glasses? Just for one minute. Then, I’ll give them back. I’ll be careful. PLEASE!

Adventuring

New sunglasses = New attitude

Sweet thing got to use her favorite belonging! SoCal rain (for 3 minutes).

Me and my girl.

September 5, 2017
by gwendolyn
3 Comments

Kindergarten has nothing on me!

Our darling LL started ‘5 day school’ last week. If you don’t know what that is, it’s Kindergarten. We have a kindergartener! Can you freaking believe it? We have come a long way from this:

Not only was it our first week of school, but it was Cecito’s last week at the daycare school both of them attended AND it was a heat wave of epic capacity for San Diego! LL only got to experienced two full days of five-day school, since her school is air-conditioned free. Yes, schools out here do NOT have AC and it’s stifling hot in those classrooms.

Even so, our little lady is in LOVE with kindergarten. Her first day I asked her what her favorite part was and her response, “Everything! I loved it all, b/c I had fun.”

I think my heart burst, for the eleventeenth time!

We are enjoying the Running Club in the morning where we run laps for 15 minutes. Little Miss has consistently finished 6 laps each morning. While, Momma is hoping this works out, positively, for her too!

Her teacher is great and she was lucky enough to get two kids she already knew in her classroom. Not to mention she made one new friend! Affectionately known as her ‘zebra friend’, b/c that’s where they met on the playground. (Ummmm, adorable!) It took a couple of days to remember her name.

It was a really busy week, but we made it through and feel pretty good about it. Let’s hope the rest of the year feels even better!

Now onto the fun stuff…pictures!

First day of Kindergarten!

My Little Lady

The rest of the week’s outfits. The only change is she didn’t wear flip flops on day two. They aren’t allowed and by some miracle she wore kicks without protest. Whew!

I am a proud Momma. She lights up a room and our hearts. Way to go, sweetheart!

July 21, 2017
by gwendolyn
3 Comments

Cecito’s 3rd Trolls Birthday Party

Yes, we are still a Trolls obsessed household. (At least we were when I wrote this.) It’s the car soundtrack request, every time, and the almost every time request for tv viewing. To illustrate it further…Cecito had a fever today, which means we had to have a second viewing since he slept thought most of it in the first showing.

If it was up to him we would have hosted the exact same party we did for LL’s 5th birthday. It was the same park, almost the same guest list, same theme, with a little bit of different food and new take home items. The Troll hair will remain a one party thing, per request by Gil.

This time I made rainbow salsa, rainbow fruit salad, Trolls snack mix and cotton candy grapes (I’m still baffled as to how they can be organic). Of course, there were donuts and coffee (cold brew and hot) with pink lemonade. What is is about pink lemonade that makes little kids go nuts?



Loads of fun and the biggest hit were the Trolls lollipops! You would have thought they had gold hidden the in them. There were Trolls hair colored pencils, too, but they were like the veggies we all try to get our kids to eat.

Next in line for super fun was the Metallic Hair Glitter Chalk. I highly recommend them. First, our guests started off adding rainbows to their hair, then it quickly turned into face paint. It was hilarious! Some got into it more than others…

Then, it was time to sing to the birthday boy and he had very specific ideas as to where the troll figure was going to go on his donut. Just take a look…

He had a bit of a fit when I tried to do it myself, so I let him do whatever he wanted. “Haircut Branch” was essential, while one candle went unlit so the other Branch didn’t catch on fire. It was exactly what you would expect for a three year old who adores his older sister and has a birthday right before July 4th! He was so happy while everyone was singing, you could totally see the joy in his eyes.

I must say watching our kids establish bonds with our friends and their kids has been a surprising plus in this parenting gig. I’m happy to report that we all had a great time hanging out with good friends and their kiddos. The party was fun, relaxing and very enjoyable. Plus, we have parties so dialed in now, that we brought the pup! I like to think that he enjoyed himself, too.

A big thanks to all that came out to celebrate our little dude. He felt very loved and special with all of his friends at his party!

Since I’m so late on this post I will include some extra pics. I have yet to post any to social media, and I know some of you have been waiting. Two months is way too long for this cuteness! 

 

 

 

June 2, 2017
by gwendolyn
2 Comments

Mothering: Noah and Allie (Part 5)

I must admit this “Mothering Series” is something that I thought about for years. It wasn’t until maybe 2 years ago that I put pen to paper, so to speak, and began to gather my thoughts. The surprising thing was how nervous I was about hitting the ‘publish’ button.

There are so many things I have written about, that were incredibly raw and personal. Over time I started to wonder if I would ever stop hovering and click my works out to the interwebs.

Which is comical because there aren’t that many people that read this and even less that comment. So, what am I afraid of?

Well, let me tell you, there is one person who always reads them: Gil. Yeah, you know him, the hubs. He’s the nice guy that everyone loves. The reserved, yet personable guy that throws witty zingers across a room. Everyone remembers him, even if they never see him again. I love him, but there are days that we have a hard time connecting. Which is a foreign concept for us.

Before kids I didn’t think there was anything that would break us, not even a crack. Absolutely nothing that could give a flicker of doubt that we wouldn’t be in our 90’s talking about “the good ‘ole days.”

Then, we stopped talking.

It was hard and I don’t even remember it happening. I do remember how frustrated, alone and isolating it felt. Being a parent, who mostly stays at home with really small kids is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I didn’t feel good at any of it; work, wife, or parent.

Don’t feel bad for me, though, most everyone feels this. It’s something we all have to work out when adjusting to babies and toddlers, otherwise known as the little messes that get you sick at every turn and scream at you just for looking at them. However, they are kids who need and want their parents. We are so special to them. Though living up to that task, every day, is harder than it looks.

I stopped having time and energy for our marriage.

Becoming overwhelmed is easy to do.

Yet, I’m happy to tell you that today, we are better. Much better. The swift touches, as you pass by, have come back. The little compliments have snuck back in our daily routine. And we look at each other more.

Having a baby changes you.  As a woman it changes your chemical make up. This is something I wasn’t aware of and it’s the most insidious aspect I had to conquer. The fact that you will never go back to the way you were before is a tough pill to swallow, but settling into a new me is something I feel a good about, now.

We were lucky and didn’t have to work at our relationship, for a long time. They say marriage is a full-time job, for the rest of your life. It’s something I get, now.

Almost six years of marriage or 10 years of being together is monumentous, for me. I can’t imagine life without him. I feel lucky to have him as my partner, even luckier that he chose me (though it  could have been that I wouldn’t let go and he was ok with it).

Which leads me to the title of this blog post: Noah and Allie. Did you ever see (or read) The Notebook? If not, you should; read the book, then see the movie. It’s a love story to end all love stories. Good, ugly cry, type of thing and worth it.

I strive to be like them. Having the heart crushing love they have is worth the hard work.

Plus, have I mentioned how much the kids love him. Of course I have, I could I wax poetic about how great he is with them. They adore him, as they should.

In life, times get hard, I realize you can’t control them. At this point, after all we have overcome, I’m confident in saying we can make it through them. We have two amazing kids and we have each other. We just need to remember how it all started, how easy it was to love one another, and we will persevere.

I will conclude in saying, “We love you, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say I love you most.”

Our 6th year wedding anniversary date!

May 14, 2017
by gwendolyn
2 Comments

Momma’s Day Pictures

It just so happens that a friend of mine is a pretty awesome photographer, so when she invited me along with her to do DIY Momma’s Day photos I jumped at it. She had been wanting to take her little to this store called, Pigment, in our neighborhood. It’s a super bomb store and they are dialed in to have two areas outside that are prime for selfies and pictures made perfectly for Instagram posting.

To say the least I was ecstatic at the idea of having someone else take photos of me with the kiddos. It was a shower day for me (yay!) and I even took the time to put make on! Since it was last-minute so we threw on whatever was easiest and made it happen. Cecito didn’t seem to love it, but he did well. LL seemed to really enjoy it.

The best part was hanging out with Nikki and her little. She’s been a friend for over 10 years, and I met her here in California, at work. I even like to say I hired her, but really our creative director did, I just interviewed and gave the thumbs up. She’s an inspiration from a work perspective, friend life and momma world. So, a big thank you to her for starting off my mother’s day weekend with a bang!

Here are the fruits of labor to enjoy!

Going for a ride…

Where’s Momma?

Almost got us all smiling!

BIG HUGS!

Kisses and smiles.

Who wants ice cream?

Miss Nikki!

She loves making funny faces for pictures now.

There’s that dazzler.

He wanted one with just us. (heart explosion)

Making friends is so much fun!

Let’s do another one, Momma!

I want to do that again!

She could have done this ALL day, but I had to stop her. There was only a little pouting.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

May 5, 2017
by gwendolyn
0 comments

Mothering: Realizing Who I Am (Part 3)

Part 3: Where it gets real. (Or it did 29 versions, ago)

I’ve always been a very social human. I crave learning about new people and getting to know someone who could be my friend. Connecting with people is something that makes me feel alive; to a certain extent it makes me feel more worthwhile.

A true extrovert, a friend collector, the ultimate social butterfly; all of these are adjectives other people have used to describe me. I don’t disagree. In my twenties I was just as comfortable going to a show at a small bar alone as I was going to the grocery store. If I wanted to do something and no one else was interested, so be it; I was still going and would have a great time. No biggie. Then I experienced something that changed me. There’s something about putting your faith in one person who ends up using your trust to lie to you and turn your life upside down. The chaos leaves you to question everything, most importantly, yourself. 

*we’ll come back to that in a bit*

When I got pregnant it never even dawned on me that any of my friends would choose not to journey down this path of parenthood as my confidant. Very distinctly, it feelt like they weren’t interested or plain didn’t care about what I was going through and what was happening in my life. After it was all said and done, they simply faded away. Which should have been ok, but I was pregnant; on the cusp of reinventing life as I knew it. Only I didn’t know that was how it all goes down.

As you know from my last Mothering post it’s not all sunshine and roses with motherhood. It can be the most uplifting, rewarding -heart-bursting-with-love experience. Alternately, it can also be the most lonely, terrifying, anxiety-ridden-soul-crushing-mind-fuk. So everyone tells you to rely on your support system; your family and your friends. Reach out, talk to people, ask for help. Well what does one do when family lives across the country and most of your friends aren’t interested?

It’s a tough one. I attempted to figure it out and that’s when I realized I was different. Not only from becoming a Mom, but also from trying to piece back together who I was when my life went to shit. *see I told you we would circle back*

No longer was I that free spirit who could talk to anyone in line at the grocery store, even if they didn’t want to. I’m too aware of my own insecurities and their inconvenience, now.

After becoming a Mom I realized just how uncomfortable I was in my own skin. I thought it might be the fact that I relocated across the country and simply didn’t fit in. Then, I thought it was because I was getting older, maybe this is what happens when you aren’t in your 20’s. Your 20’s are where everyone you know is in the exact same space in life so it’s easy to create incredibly strong bonds. There was even a point where I thought there was something innately wrong with me. (Ridiculous, I know.) It’s embarrassing to admit that I let a few bad apples spark that inside of me.

Coming back from feeling like you were torn down, as an individual, isn’t always easy or noticeable. I, also, think that the last person to realize the truth is always, you.

When I became a wife, then eventually a mother I felt like I belonged in my life. Both of these milestones made me stronger and gave me a better sense of self. Yet, it had to be reconciled with the old me, the one who was still healing.

I’m pleased to say that I’m starting to return back to that witty, welcoming, sometimes sarcastic, and memorable girl you meet and think; I want to be her friend. Even better I feel more compassionate, more open-minded and smarter (despite the mom brain).

Most importantly, I’m narrowing down my field to leave only the brightest flowers. I don’t need a thousand friends and activities. A handful of pals that really get what I’m going through, want to be there for me and are there for me is enough.

Quality is essential and I didn’t get that before. Especially when I was in my 20’s and nothing could stop me. From what I can tell, this is a natural progression. Where I feel lucky is knowing and understanding quality. It sure did take a lot, but I’m relieved to have the chance to teach my kids what I’ve learned. Hopefully I can set a good example and show them it is the most rewarding. 

Thanks for “listening”

May 2, 2017
by gwendolyn
4 Comments

Momma’s Haircuttery

Not sure if you know this, but I have taken to cutting the kids hair. I figure what is there to lose when I was already unhappy with the cuts I was paying for. At least this time I would only have myself to blame.

So far it’s been going ok, I’m not that great, which is why you haven’t read a play by play of all my learnings. However, this time I feel like all those YouTube videos and diy blogs I’ve been scouring paid off!

Over the last year, LL has been asking for short hair. First she wanted a pixie cut like I used to have, which freaked me out. How was I going to pull that one off? Then she wanted bangs because I got them and shortly after that she wanted a cut like her brother. Say what?

After a year of all that I caved and cut it shorter. And gave her bangs. She has been in heaven ever since.

She keeps telling me how much she likes it and her brother announced that she looks like a friend of her’s with the same kind of cut, which I found to be pretty astute. (Remember when I told you he might be a genius?) 

Well, I can’t tell you enough how good I feel about haircut for my Little Love. She loves it and plays with the bangs, constantly. We are now excited about brushing hair and there are less knots, so really this is a win-win that I never dreamt of.  What do you think?

My heart sings (really guys, it does).

April 16, 2017
by gwendolyn
0 comments

LLs 5th Birthday Trolls + Donut Party

Who doesn’t want a super soft, larger than life Princess Poppy stuffed doll? (To be honest, sometimes I think Cecito likes it better than LL!)

Here we are again, another post for another birthday party. It’s even another donut party! Only this time there’s the addition of a Trolls theme. You know, that incredibly popular animated kid movie with none other than Justin Timberlake (most of you know how much I adore that dude)!

So. The big news is that our LL turned 5! Can you believe it? Of course not. (Well, let me tell ya something, me either.)

SHE’S FIVE!

or

WE’VE BEEN PARENTS FOR FIVE YEARS!!

Meanwhile, someone told her that life was going to completely change once she was 5. Which means she’s been talking about turning 5 since about day 3 of being four. Ha!

The party was really fun. It’s completely dialed in, as you can imagine. This is my third donut party. The changes were an addition of pink lemonade, cold brew (that’s coffee, just in case you didn’t know), and crudités of many raw veggies, accompanied with dip and hummus.

One of the big changes was that Gil and I made ‘troll hair’ for the kids to play with at the party and take home. It took us a little time to make them, but it was worth it. Even some of the adults joined in the ‘troll hair’ fun!

Just take a look in the pictures…

Momma and LL

This is what I think of this not being MY party, guys.

A motley crew, enjoying the new play structure

Pink frosting filling donut for the birthday girl, with Princess Poppy figure on top. (Oh and a glitter, pink #5 candle to boot!)

I had to jump in there! Such cuties.

Dancing and singing to the Trolls soundtrack was a favorite.

Fun with friends. Keep the magic going!

Sometimes you just want two troll hair headbands.

Friends! Check out the sequin dress and new shades.

We made it through! Even so, we were exhausted after having a great time with some amazing guests.

Someone won the “Most Tired” award, on the way home. (too cute)

This video is super cute if you just imagine what they look like. Sorry it’s so pixelated. I have no idea how that happened. Eek! Even so it’s really great because I can still ‘see’ them all dancing and now I can hear them singing, for years to come.

March 10, 2017
by gwendolyn
2 Comments

Cecito is Two + 1/2

The boy is two and a half and it just doesn’t seem like that’s possible. I feel like he’s been with us as long as LL has. It’s a strange feeling, but very true.

So guys, there’s a real, stark difference between our two kiddos. I mean, I knew that innately I could care less about sports (always) and when I was a little girl I thought that pink and princesses were the greatest things on this green earth. However, I coudn’t get far enough away from them once I became a teen. What I wasn’t ready for was the male/female difference happening at two!

For example, Cecito decided to hit LL while they were playing today, she didn’t care and they kept playing, but he continued to hit her. So his Dad told him not to he responded with, “that’s what guys do,” and a little shrug. Then kept throwing punches at the air, in jest. (Say what?!?)

Even though, Cecito can’t wait to see LL when he wakes up and has to find her about every 5 minutes, if he doesn’t have her in his sight. Still, he will fight her over her little princess dolls, but that’s just because she wants it, really he adores his monster trucks.

He’s rough, loves blue, runs around like a maniac still getting bruises on his face. He’s all boy, yet still loves his sis so much that he will wear dresses, crowns, princess costumes, and ask for ponytails. He’s as obsessed with a skirt that will flare out when he twirls as she is. It’s got to be one of the most adorable things he currently does. Well, that and when he insists on wearing a skirt over sweat pants to go to school.

My little man is also a great cuddler. It doesn’t last long, but when you get a kiss and hug from him the warm fuzzies are particularly spectacular.

Then there is his smile — oh man! He has a dazzler and I find myself doing a double take when he flashes me his pearly whites with those big, dark, baby brown eyes. He’s gonna be as much of a heartbreaker as his sister will be.

We are in trouble.

It’s ok, we love him

Here is LL’s 2.5 year post, it’s got a lot of great language examples. They are some of the cutest memories I have of her at this age. Gil and I sat down trying to recall the same kind of list for Cecito, but it’s not as long or even as memorable, because he’s a bit of a language master. He speaks like a 4 year old (according to his teacher). So when he makes a flub you really have to remember it. There’s a chance he won’t ever do it again!

Cecito’s list:
peeky-boo (peek-a-boo)
meemow (meow)
wub (love)
mout (mouth)
Dec-a-lan (Declan)
buh-cation (vacation)
plian-na-no (piano, courtesy of LL)

 

…let’s move onto the good stuff, pictures!

Hanging out with Daddy at Balboa Park! (first time on the butterfly ride)

 

Happy and excited with a Nutella (choc) mustache and cowboy boots. Perfect accessories for your pajamas!

 

When he’s tired, he’s really tired. No nap, boy.

Hi Momma, I see you.

Sleepy boy.

There’s my sweet boy, who won’t stand still for a picture, ever.

Picking flowers with sister. Of course, no pants. Who needs pants?

I can do everything you can do…see?

I’m not trying to get out the doggy door…just look at how cute I am. That’s all there is to see here.

Harley guy, already?

Let’s see if we fit on the stairs? (He did, she a little long and had to bend a bit.)

My little stud. Darn cardboard box that attacked his face!

Little feet and a squinty smile.

Saved the best smile for last. Well the best one I could capture. So many kisses!

 

 

February 3, 2017
by gwendolyn
0 comments

I’m Four and a Half

LL isn’t far from turning 5, but I just had to write a half birthday post for her!

She is the sweetest, most nurturing almost 5 year old I know. Who can also clench her fists so hard they are white knuckled while she’s in rage at almost anything that doesn’t go her way. Mostly that means she’s really pissed at her brother. You know, normal sibling stuff.

What she, also, does a lot, is pretend she’s a momma and has a baby in her tummy. Which means a stuffed animal is in her shirt. She used to claim it was the “babysitter”. So awesome, guys! The “babysitter” doesn’t happen any longer, but playing family does. What’s extra cute, right now, is that either one of our kids can be the the dada (she’s brought that term back, in full force — even Cecito says it), momma, brother or sister…it’s equal opportunity, folks!

Another favorite is socks worn inside out, because why would you ever wear them the right way where they don’t slide!? If you didn’t know, almost all little kid socks have grippys on them so they don’t fall and bust their face open. These two kids will beg to slide, just once, at any point in the day, it’s that exciting to them. They, also, really really need to wear a pair on their hands. It’s the new fashion craze, people!

We are constantly in the search of matching pairs way more than before. But I blame that on Gabby, because she is the one that showed LL it’s way cooler to wear mismatched socks! And woudn’t that rule apply to your hands?

Gosh, you know I could go on and on, but I’ll end it with one more ultra adorable thing. She is as cuddly, loving, smiley, sweet, happy, nurturing, inquisitive and intelligent as any other kid; but what sets her apart is how she can make you feel so loved your heart is literally going to burst open. She might take a while to warm up, but when you are in, you are IN. I think she’s the type that’s going to love big and love hard, but not that often.

She’s the best of what I envisioned she’d be.

Sibling love at UTC Mall.

With Momma to see The Lion King (off Broadway)

Happy Girl!

With Daddy at Uncle Tom’s Wedding!

Sliding down!

Just one of the girls, in LA!

Friends of every generation.

Standing tall. Standing strong.