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Our vacation

I am becoming increasingly terrible at taking and posting pictures of various family events.

My iPhone is helping to change that a little, but iPhone pictures are what they are which isn’t always the greatest. Sometimes I forget how much better our Rebel is until I dust it off and pick it up and give it some love.

Anyway, we went on a little vacation with some of our very best friends. It snowed and it was wonderfully cozy and relaxing, just as I’d hoped. I didn’t get as much crafting or reading done as I did the time we went pre-kids, but it was still a great vacation.

So for those of you not on Facebook, here are some of my favorite shots of the vacation:


As soon as we got there, Bean was smitten with the oldest girl and was constantly asking where she was and asking her to play with her and pretty much pestering her. She handled it wonderfully, especially for an 11 year old. Here she is the first night reading a story to all the other kids, including Bean.


It was snowing when we got there and snowed all night. So there was a couple inches of fluffy stuff on the ground for the kids to play in the next day. They made a very tiny snowman. Bean was trying to direct all the snowman building operations (though given her youngest of all the big kids age and small stature, no one was really listening to her demands and by demands, I definitely mean demands), hence the bit of a scowl on her face.


She did start to lighten up a little bit. She loved the snow and being outside in it.


Her brother hated the snow. I think it had more to do with the constricting and puffy snow gear he had to wear to keep warm and his inability to be coordinated in it more than anything else. So this is the face we got when he was in his snow gear or in the snow.


Or this one with the duck lips.


He did perk up a bit getting pulled around in the tubes.


His sister was not a fan.


She preferred being in complete control.

Unlike everyone else we made a two day event out of the driving there and back, though now that I have experienced it, our kids probably could have handled one very long day of driving afterall. So on our way back we stopped at Zion National Park which was also beautiful.


The whole park is just these gigantic canyons and mesas of red rock rising up above you as you drive through. The afternoon we got there, there was a storm just passing through. Actually, we were a little concerned because when we were on the I-15 and we got to the northern part of the park, it was snowing pretty bad and we were not sure it would be a good idea to go, but by the time we got to the exit for the southern part of the park, things were much better as the storm had already passed by this part of the park. If you look closely, you can see a little powder sugar dusting on the tops in this picture.


This was our best attempt at a family picture thanks to a rock on the desert floor.


Stephen was getting a little antsy with the kids being outside the car, even though there really wasn’t much for them to get into besides dirt or far for them to go. So we didn’t do the picture thing very long.


This is what he calls my money shot. Though the cloud shadows on the rock face leave me with it feeling slightly imperfect. Not that I can, you know, control clouds or anything.


The Virgin River is so green and clear here in the park. Further down stream as you get closer to Arizona, it is muddy and red and not nearly as pretty.

It was really just so beautiful that we decided to go back early the next morning before we set off for home and do a quick walk/hike on a paved trail that ran beside the river.


It was interesting seeing the park in morning versus afternoon lighting and clear versus partly cloudy skies.


Bean had fun looking at all the mountains and big rocks and playing with her sunglasses and driving through the mile long tunnel that goes into one of the moutains in the park.

So there you have it. Our vacation in just a few pictures.

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An Olive doll for a friend

One of the hardest things about leaving Bakersfield last year was leaving our community. We had a church that we both had basically grown up in with lots of people we loved and loved us.

It has been very challenging trying to figure out where we fit here and finding another community. I know that relationships take time to develop and didn’t expect it to happen overnight.

A few weeks ago Stephen’s sisters’s in laws invited us to the community group Bible study that they are apart of through their church. We did try a similar group that our church was hosting, but it was in Camarillo, had no childcare and sometimes went a little late into the night. It just wasn’t the best situation for our family. This new group has a wide variety of age groups and they have childcare during the study on site.

It has been so neat to become a part of a community again and meet some new friends. There are things we have in common like food allergies and things we don’t always agree on. The conversations can be passionate and they can be fun. We’ve been welcomed in immediately. We’ve had playdates, barbecues, pot lucks, and sporting events to go to with them.

Today we have a birthday party for one of the little girls in the group that is turning one. So, I decided to make her an Olive doll. I did most of the sewing while the kids were napping, well not so much Sprout he chilled out in the Boppy to watch. Yesterday Bean helped me stuff her and she’s all ready to go.

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Happy Harvest

We went to the Underwood Family Farms Harvest Festival with these guys. It was so much fun and unlike other Harvest Festivals I have been to in the past, there was actually a fall harvest there to celebrate (like veggies and other farm stuff). I picked up a couple pumpkins that I will be turning into some homemade puree for pie and soup. There was lots to do there and all the kids had a blast.

We wore our Autumn attire:

Some of us did in fact get “corn-fused” in the corn maze…


…but thanks to a friendly guide we finally made our way out.

There were lots of games and activities. Bean and her cousins had a lot of fun in the bean bin (very appropriate).

Bean got measured at the “How tall this Fall?” photo spot (cheeseball, I know, but I did it anyway).

We of course saw a lot of pumpkins and tractors.

And when we got home we were just plain tuckered out.

Special thanks to Cara for being the only one of us to actually remember to bring a camera so we could document it all. 🙂

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This should make up for the next 10 days or so…

I have so much to write about, I guess I’ll try and start from a beginning of sorts… my jam packed Labor Day weekend.

Friday afternoon Stephen got off work early and we packed up the van to head to Bakersfield. We barely made it in time for our hair cut appointments with our favorite hair guy.

Then we headed over to the Bakersfield Museum of Art for my best friend’s wedding rehearsal followed by dinner at the Bakersfield favorite, La Costa. We definitely got to sit at the cool table that night and met some really interesting people that were also in the wedding party. After that we went to Target for some random stuff like another sippy cup for Bean because I forgot to bring any with us. Then we finally got to Stephen’s parent’s house to crash for the night.

The next morning we hung out for a little while then went to the mall to get my friend a wedding gift. I am the queen of last minute things lately. Then back to the house so my sister could do my hair before I headed over to the museum. During this time Stephen’s mom was playing with Bean and threw out her back trying to be silly with her. Stephen dropped me off at the museum where I got ready with the bride and did the picture thing.

Oh and pretty crazy was the fact that my best friend had chosen the same dress I did for her wedding day that I had worn almost to the day six years ago (our anniversary was the next day). It was very surreal for me seeing her in the dress, especially on my anniversary.

Stephen came back dressed up with Jillian and the wedding started. The ceremony was beautiful and fun. We did more pictures then had some yummy food. Pretty much everyone in the room has some connection to the news industry and a couple of our newsie friends made an awesome “news story” video about the couple. Then they shared their first dance.

And just minutes after this photo was taken…

Bean went into total meltdown mode because it was about 2.5 hours past her bedtime. So we had to cut out of the wedding a little early.

The next day we got up bright and early to head to Sequoia National Forest to do a little “hiking” (the path was paved and very flat) on our anniversary.

The last time I visited Sequoia was about 15 years ago, but Stephen had never been. The place has completely changed since I was last there so it was very unfamiliar and a little disorienting to me because I can still visualize the old parking lot and visitor center which have all been ripped out to make things better for the environment. There were mobs of people in the park that day. We couldn’t even get a parking space over by the General Sherman Tree hike so we just headed out of the park.

We drove to Fresno to hang out with our good friends Paul and Brooke (both were in our wedding and it was Brooke’s birthday). They made us dinner and as usual our time with them flew by with great conversations about church, politics, life, careers, parenting and all kinds of other stuff. I so wish they lived closer again because that used to be a weekly to monthly occurance with them and I miss it so much! We drove back to Bakersfield late that night.

Monday we went out meet up with our renter and see our house before heading back home. We got everything unpacked, started laundry and then headed over to my sister-in-law’s house to work out details of what will be occupying the next 10 days…

Since my MIL threw her back out, she won’t be able to watch Bean’s cousins while their parents are in Norway. So we volunteered to take up that task. I’m actually kind of excited about it. Ruth is quite the extraordinary planner and as such watching her girls will be busy, but organized and full of fun. 🙂

Anyway, I doubt I’ll be posting much (or maybe I will, who knows) and wanted to explain my absence before dropping off the the radar.

Oh and a couple more things…

I am still slowly working on the boy blanket for my sister’s friend. I’ve got all the knitting done, just sewing the panels together now and then on to the backing and border…

I totally love it and might be tempted to keep it for our baby boy. 🙂

Also, Bean will be 50 weeks old tomorrow…

Her appetite is still ridiculous and as such she has decided that the snack trap is her new BFF. She is very posessive of the snack trap, so even when I take it away to refill it, this is what happens:

Dropping the morning feeding has made things so much better around here. I’m still dealing with biting, but not nearly as much. So I’m debating whether to drop another feeding this week or just keep working on the biting issue with the ones that remain.

She’s also getting a little braver with walking. Last night she took a few steps without even being coaxed to do so! She also seems to prefer it, at least while holding on to stuff for now, over crawling the last couple days. So I know she’s right on the cusp of being a full time walker.

Anyway, that about sums things up.

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Week Thirty Nine

Week 39 happened to fall on the same day that Bean turned nine months old. I was contemplating switching to months at some point, but I figure I’ve made it past the halfway point with weeks so I might as well continue until she hits a year.

It was a big day for Bean and I. We drove to Bakersfield all by ourselves in the new minivan we got this past weekend (Honda Odyssey for those that are wondering). First stop was my lovely midwife’s house for a prenatal appointment. Got to hear baby #2’s heartbeat! Even though he couldn’t be there Stephen also got to hear because I called him.

After that, Bean and I headed over to my friend Tiffany’s to hang out with little Lucy for a playdate. Oh how refreshing it was seeing her. I have to say that one of the things I grieved most about leaving Bakersfield was the new friendship we were forming. Tiffany just gets me! We have very similar philosophies about so many things from parenting to doing research about everything to the fact that we both cloth diaper our kids to our love of crafts. The couple hours together was gone so fast and much too short!

Once both of our kids were tired out I headed over to my old station to say some hellos and then to my sister’s apartment for a few minutes before heading back home.

Driving around town gets more weird the longer I am away. I know where stuff is and I know how to get where I need to go, but I find myself making silly mistakes and getting confused much more easily. Streets that were once so familiar seem strange and distant. Maybe it’s just the realization that Bakersfield isn’t “home” anymore. Even the cute downtown houses that I used to count on as unchanging when I passed them each morning on my way to work are drastically different. So many of them are getting gutted, stucco facades, and completely “made over” from their quaint demeanor of decades past. I guess change is the only constant in so many aspects of life.

Bean is certainly a testament to that. It is amazing how much she has changed in just nine short months of life. Tiffany kept commenting on how big and different Bean was today. Last time we hung out Bean was barely sitting up on her own and certainly not crawling yet.

Her current phases are “everything in the mouth” and “pulling stuff out of containers”. She is also still very much into climbing on things and pulling herself up to stand no matter how stable the items used for support are.

She tends to get very fixated on things that she wants or wants to do. Usually no amount of redirecting, “no” or even getting hurt can dissuade her. For example, yesterday I came home really quick in the middle of running errands to go to the bathroom among other things. I basically walked in the door and put her down and then ran to the bathroom. I forgot to make sure that the gate on the stairs was latched. Bean of course immediately headed for the stairs and climbed up them. I was telling her “no” (which she knows what that means) as best I could while disposed of, but she was not listening. In fact, she was looking back at me and giggling as she went higher and higher. She got about to the third step, looked back at me in her very “haha Mama” way, and lost her balance rolling down the two stairs below her. She sat up, cried for a second, then laughed and set about heading back up the stairs again. At this point I was able to stop her and close the safety gate, but she probably would have continued to climb and then hurt herself as long I let her because she is just that determined about stuff.

I am sure this is going to make my life so much more interesting in the future.

She can also layer the drama on thick if she doesn’t get her way. I probably have to sweep her mouth for various objects (leaves, carpet fibers, hair, etc) about 20 times a day. If I find one and take it out she immediately errupts into a puddle of tears. This also holds true if I try to redirect her from something I don’t want her to do or have to another toy. The other toy is NOT good enough. The tears begin flowing, the face turns bright red and the upper lip juts out. Where do kids learn to do this? Sometimes it just makes me laugh because her pouty face is so funny and cute.

She does have an extremely funny and silly side too. Lately she really thinks that this head bang, hip thrust, bounce type dance move that she does is extremely hilarious, especially if you join in with her. She gets to laughing so hard that she sounds like she is almost gasping for air. I think the gasp noise is probably just another thing that she finds to be really funny. She is extremely ticklish, just like Mama. You don’t even have to actually touch her. You can just wiggle your fingers at her and she’ll start giggling away.

She continues to be more and more vocal, though she isn’t as big on her words as she was at first. Actually, the only time she says “Mama” now is when she is crying. We’ve tried and tried to get her to say “Mama” and “Papa” on command, but she just won’t do it anymore. Sometimes it does sound like she says “yeah,” but we’re not completely sure on that one. Mostly it’s just a lot of “aaaahhhh ba da la der di di di.”

Anyway, here she is at 39 weeks/nine months:

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Saturday June 6

Saturday morning we got up fairly early and went to my favorite bagel place where we spent way too much on breakfast.

Then we headed over to my sister-in-law’s house to meet up before heading to my first Dodger game (second MLB game). On the way to Dodger stadium we passed through Echo Park in which Stephen questioned my knowledge of whether or not that place is part of the ghetto. I even had to bring in reinforcements in the form of my rap music listening sister and he still didn’t believe me. I was a bit annoyed.

Anyway, we got into the stadium just in time for the start of the game. Though knowing now that we were in for the long haul, I’m not sure why we were so concerned with being on time. We should have taken a cue from some of our other friends that showed up much later.

So we get all settled in our seats and then Stephen heads off to get food while I took care of Bean. Stephen came back with my first ever Dodger Dog sans mustard. It was so disappointing. I don’t know how you can have a hot dog without mustard or how he thought that would be OK, but anyway, I was pretty much told that I just needed to get over it and suck it up and eat. Stephen’s lap was full of our food and I had the baby so I really didn’t have much of a choice. Ugh!

We were in the shade the whole time and somehow I still managed to get a sunburn. I still don’t know how it happened. To be honest having so many people I knew around and trying to take care of Bean, it was hard to pay attention. I missed pretty much all the action on the field, but would occasionally glance at the score and stand when everyone else stood to cheer.

The game went into extra innings, 12 to be exact, and by that time I was really ready for the whole thing to be over with. Finally, Andre Ethier hit a home run and we all got to get up and leave.

Next up we headed over to China Town to do some cute pictures with our girls. I am so excited about these and can’t wait till we get copies.

The consensus was that there really isn’t authentic or good Chinese food in China town so we drove 20 minutes to this Chinese Islamic restaurant in Rosemead. It was fairly good, my favorite dish was a beef dish. My stomach just was starting to act up and so I was having a hard time eating food in general.

Then to top it off we went to this awesome place called Frootsii that has Boba, frozen yogurt and cupcakes. I had a cupcake, but my stomach was still feel bleh and all that sugar didn’t really help. I’ll definitely be going back when I am feeling much better.

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Great friends…

I have had the priviledge of knowing Talia (and her family) for well over five years now. As so many others have said, Talia is the sweetest person you could know! I am so glad to count her as a friend. Her husband, Jeremy, goes even further back with Stephen, as you saw in the old photos I posted a few days ago.

While we don’t see eachother very often, they are the kind of friends that when we do hang out it never feels awkward and we just keep on staying until we all realize it is way past bedtime and that one of us has a 30 minute drive home ahead of us because we live on complete opposite ends of town. It is well worth it every time though.

The other thing is that we are the kind of friends that are too busy having fun to remember to take pictures! So the last few times we’ve seen eachother, we’ve been trying to make a point of picture taking. Talia just sent me the pictures she had on her camera. So here goes…

From her perfect shower (no dumb games, just the best little time of visiting and opening gifts even the kids were there!)…


Yay! We finally have a picture of us together!


And as promised, Bean and I modeling the sling I made her.

Sunday night we had dinner (in which I discovered a white sauce that comes in a jar and actually tastes really good) and hung out for the last time before the move and before little Rosalie arrives. It was at their house that I realized that my camera didn’t have the memory card in it all day which meant that not only could I not take pictures of our time together that night, but that I also had NO pictures from Bean’s baby dedication that morning. I’m hoping Stephen’s mom got some and will pass them along. Anyway, here are the pictures I took with Talia’s camera…


Talia requested that Stephen bring his guitar over. So Stephen grabbed my guitar. We refer to it fondly as the “beater” guitar because it is the least expensive of all the guitars in this house. So we don’t mind taking it places where it could get a “beating” like the beach, hanging out in the back of a hot car, where kids are likely to have accidents around it, etc. It is still a great guitar though and sounds good. Anyway, while we were there Talia was saying that she wished she had a guitar and I was going to just give it to her (Stephen has given away his fair shair of instruments over the years, so I figured I could do the same), but when I announced this we all found out that Jeremy had already sneakily bought the guitar for Talia as a surprise. I’m glad the guitar has a new home with such good friends.


Annabelle was having so much fun playing with Bean. Poor Emma had pink eye and had to stay a little isolated that night. 😦 Even though pink eye is really contagious we decided to risk it because we knew this was our last chance to hang out and I knew from the tear duct business after Bean was born that I had everything I need to treat it for free (Yay for breastmilk!).


Do you see that lovely little blue bird blanket Bean is sitting on? Well Talia decided that she was going to make her own receiving blankets for Rosalie because the ones in the store are way too small. So she got a bunch of different flannels and made some. She decided to make an extra blue bird one because the fabric was just so cute. And so then when I agreed on how cute it was she gave me the extra one. Yay! I love, love, love this blanket. Eeeee! Thank you so, so much Talia.


Of course Talia could not resist Bean’s cuteness. She had so much fun making Bean giggle. It was too cute.

So anyway, I’m thinking this will be the last post before the move and until we get our Internet service set up. I think it is a great way to wrap things up in Bakersfield… with good friends. We will miss you all!

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