Sunday, March 2, 2014

Leapin' Rand

He's halfway to his first birthday and causing a storm of trouble. Uncle Dan let us invade his house for Rand's birthday celebration and let us use his tools for the boys' Pinewood derby cars and even took the boys on motorcycle rides. Super Fun!

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Happy Birthday Little Dude, Kinda....

Thursday, January 9, 2014

While the east coast was freezing

We didn't do much over the holiday except for healing from the plague. But towards the end we got to do a few things. We walked to the beach and enjoyed the 70 degree sunshine. Can I just tell you how much we LOVE living in Pacifica? No really. It's love. And it never gets old. It really amazes me how everyday the ocean is a color that I haven't seen before. It has it's own personality. It's awesome.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Years

Sometimes Nick and I just look at each other, shake our head and laugh. How did we end up in this happy bubble of never-ending chaos? We both love the quiet time reading in front of a fire and I'm convinced that no one envisions us in that setting, and you'd be right. It's pretty crazy over here. Luckily our little ones lend their energy to our love of hiking and the beach AND we still live in the perfect spot.

Most of the time I feel pulled in 10 different directions at once. There is always an immediate need and always someone getting put off. There are always messes. And there is always a healthy serving of guilt. But we've survived having 2 more babies while here on the coast and I know that I've learned patience, or maybe it's an "ignoring the crazies so you will survive until bedtime" technique so I don't lose my mind.

But there are times that I let the messes accumulate and eat nothing but leftovers and that would be New Years this year!! My kids are FINALLY old enough to play the big games with us. So. SO SOOO exciting. We no longer have to search out new people to teach the games to or find friends that already know how to play. We have our own built-in gaming buddies AND they are always willing to smack around some dice.

It was a perfect way to ring in the new year, getting to see the personalities of our boys a little closer.

Cooper 11y, as always, excels in school and maintains a high GPA. When I pick the boys up from school, he is talking to me about his day as soon at the car door cracks open. Nothing goes unsaid. He loves Minecraft and is roaring like a freight train towards puberty. I hate that word.

Sean 10y, still his curious and troublesome self. He reads science books and memorizes every fact about bugs, animals, rocks, history or whatever. Sean is very well spoken and eloquently lets you know how he feels. He is my absent-minded professor and I'm learning to just deal with him instead of trying to change him.

Mason 7y, is still my bundle of energy. He is so very happy and free with his affection. His constant bounding around and talking can get a little old, but we love his ready smiles and helping nature.

Rand 22m, is finding his words. He says your typical, dada, mom mom, bye bye, manana, yeah, keee (kitty), boodee (bri), ball, hat, etc. He hadn't learned to say NO yet, which is quite surprising, but yesterday he busted out with "mine!" and Nick just said, "oh no, it's starting." But he's still completely adorable and hypnotizes everyone he meets with his charm and cuteness.

Briallen 3m, is growing quickly. So very fast. So far, she just a baby and the fact that she's a girl only manifests itself when we get her dressed. She is a wonderful sleeper (she sleeps too well and it worries mom sometimes) and a happy baby. She loves getting her diaper changed, getting walked around by Sean and staring at her baby einstein baby thing in her crib. She loves music, getting sung to and sucking on her binky.

Nick is finishing up dental school! Less than 6 months and we'll be calling him "Doctor Nick." He's working very hard and has a lot on his plate. In 2013 he took his boards and had to deal with a pregnant wife, did awesome in school and applied to residency programs all while serving as EQ president. He makes killer sushi and has been smoking up bunch of meat in his big green egg. He manages to gather us for family prayer and scripture at night and continues to amaze me.

Emily has been busy with little ones. I forgot how much work it is having babies and toddlers around and unfortunately the spoils of my efforts are all around me (IE the house is a mess. like. always. and it drives me almost. insane). This year I will turn 40 and it amazes me that even at my ripe old age, I am still learning about who I am. Not just the fact that I'm sprouting a turkey neck and an aching back, but internal stuff too, some good. Some not-so-good. I am blessed to be surrounded by so many helpers and they are always so willing to chip in without complaining. I think it's because they have a good example in their dad. Still spending lots of time in the kitchen and behind the shutter, but mostly just changin' diapers and helping kids with homework over here.

We are eagerly looking forward to see what 2014 brings. We will be leaving California and moving on. If Nick gets into a residency program, we'll be moving to New York, Washington or Hawaii in mid June. If he doesn't then our next location is TBD. We'll find out on Jan 27th and are squirming until then! Hopefully this year we'll also get a family photo done and get to visit much-missed family.

Hugs and prayers to all!

Briallen Joy End Q1

She's 3 months old!!

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This dress was mine as a baby. My mom may have made it. I think it's adorable.

Pics for the Grandparents

I took these photos for my mom because she helped us out so much while we lived here in California. It seemed to capture how much we appreciate all that she does for us. Of course I framed it and we gave it to her for Christmas. Only the best moms get promoted to Grandmas.

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Christmas 2013

 Our last Christmas in Pacifica was filled with beautiful high 60s weather and illness after illness. We all got hit with gastroenteritis. One by one it creeped and took victims. Mason was hit the worst. And thanks to grandma for coming to the rescue when mom was hit.

The Christmas Eve jammies.

We made gingerbread houses instead of gingerbread men this year. (click here for recipe and how-tos)

There were many things planned for the season this year but didn't happen due to the illnesses. But we had a wonderful blessed Christmas!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

OMS! (Oh My Sand)

We couldn't leave the California coast without going to at least ONE sand castle competition. So we ventured to Ocean Beach today for a glimpse. (Can I just say that getting 5 kids out the door is a much bigger chore than 3? SIGH) Photos are in no particular order and the last photo is just snapshot I attempted yesterday, but baby girl was too hungry for pictures. Enjoy. We had fun!

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sean's Great Great Passport Project

Sean's fourth grade class had one of those "this is really for parents" projects this month. It was called the "Passport to California" and it was grueling trying find who our first progenitor was to come to California. With questions like, "how did they travel?" and "what did they do when they got here?" We were finding these challenging to answer. I can see where it would be easier for someone whose Grandma who immigrated and is still alive, but for us it was much different. We learned that Sean, his siblings and mother have quite the California heritage!!

Meet Charles Whittaker. He lived in Camden, NJ where salt water taffy, mason jars and Walt Whitman were born.

He visited California around 1900 and fell in love. He picked pineapples in Hawaii for a while, went back to NJ and then moved to California around 1903. He was the first to drive the electric trollies in San Jose around 1906. They ran for over 30 years and he was the last to drive the trollies as well.

Sean's Great Great Grandfather was friends with John Muir. He helped map the trails in Yosemite. He loved the outdoors (a little too much according to some of my family members). He was a daredevil. He probably loved trains and trolleys (because of all the photos and his son's future profession).

 Sean's classmates didn't believe that this photo was actually his distant grandfather, but it is and I think it's great! It shows what an adventurous spirit he had. You would think he died in some crazy stunt he was doing, but cancer got the last laugh I guess. I'll leave out the no-so-great stuff that I found out about him, nobody is perfect.

As you can see he was an avid photographer. His son, Wilbur Charles Whittaker was like a grandpa to me and was a pretty famous train photographer. I loved hearing his stories and looking at his train pictures.

Thanks to my mom, Aunt Tali, Aunt Nancy and Aunt Janet (for the photo CDs) for helping him on this project as well! Love love finding out stuff like this!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Briallen is 1 month old!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugShe weighs in at 10 1/2 pounds and 22 inches! She is growing up so fast. We are all trying to snuggle her as much as possible before she grows into a sassy teenager!

Her brothers LOVE her so much. I never have to bribe or look for willing arms to take her in. She is one loved little girl.

At her doctors appointment today, he was a bit concerned with her eyes. Supposedly they aren't perfectly straight. I hadn't even noticed and we're hoping it will correct itself before her 2 month check up.
Other than that, she is a perfectly healthy bundle of pink.

This month she has started gifting everyone with her smiles. She loves to be talked to and especially sung to. She quiets at the sounds and vibrations of music.

Last night she slept over 6 hours, woke up for a snack and slept another 6 hours! LOVIN' this girl!

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Have you met Rand? If you have, you will understand this new word in our home which is a hybrid of "Rand" and "Radar." The kid has built-in radar. He knows everything in the house that is left unattended. I'm not talking toys, or clothes or furniture. I'm talking electronics, open toilets, open doors, remote controls, tissue boxes and computers, anything that he's not supposed to have he goes after and FAST. The kid is so fast that his superhero name would be "The Blur."

This is why every chair is knocked over and barstools are upside down, to prevent (or at least slow down) the little blur.

For example, you're sitting at the computer. The phone rings and you get up, walk 4 feet to pick it up, and its a telemarketer that you hang up on instantly. You turn back to the computer and Rand is already sitting on the desk holding the mouse, your screen is gone and some youtube video about a fox is playing. This is a typical Randar moment. You get it right? In 20 seconds everything is chaos. Like all the time. SIGH

He's wearing us out.

1 1/2 years old and cuter than ever.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A child's holiday fo' sure

I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween.
But I remember the magical feeling of getting to be someone else for a day.
Last minute costume fittings and fixes and school parties to attend.
But I get mommy taxes on the loot they bring home.
On November 1st it looks like a monster-sized pinata puked all over the house.
Okay, I'll admit half of those wrappers are mine.
and a week later they are still sneaking into their costumes for a little reprise.
So childhood was pretty great, wasn't it?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

10 years of Sean

Sean age 3 and age 10
He is 10 years old now.  Double digits dude. We've survived 10 years of him! More responsibility and all that stuff. He hasn't changed all that much. He still loves seafood and pretty much anything that Cooper hates. He's super smart and I foresee him as the absent-minded professor. Love this kid so much. He really is amazing. Happy Birthday, Sean. Please be good!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I couldn't get her into a tutu fast enough

She'll probably see these photos someday and say, "mom, WHY did you put that on me?"
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And I'll tell her, "I waited so long for a baby to put in a tutu."
And people make fun of me for doing these photos literally within hours of coming home from the hospital. (if you look closely, you can see her little cord crimped)
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But I'm not offended when people jest about my photographic eagerness.
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Because sometimes I wish I could freeze time. And this is my closest attempt. And because you would too!
Welcome home Briallen.