begin again

I recently finished putting together a blog book … from 2012. I’m a little behind I guess. I really had the intent of creating a blog book each year that I blogged, but I only have two books printed. One from 2008 (Daniel did that as a surprise gift to me one year) and 2012 now. Anyway, I got it printed and it came in the mail last week and I love it. I really kind of treasure it. It’s my journal and a picture book all in one and it documents our little lives. Daniel and I poured over each page when it came and read through a few entries and by the end of 147 pages Daniel looked at me and said, “you should blog again”. So here I am.

I’ve been so busy since I moved to CA with family stuff and trips and everything has been so happy that I haven’t really needed to blog like I did in MI. I did it before as a form of therapy and it was so nice, but I still enjoy writing and I want my kids and family to have a record of the good times too. So let’s get going.

Funny enough, I’m writing because I’m a little sad. It’s Monday and I miss Daniel. I always miss Daniel on Mondays because I’ve had him near me all weekend and Mondays I always have separation anxiety :) But this Monday it feels especially poignant. We met with the stake president yesterday and Daniel has been called to be the Bishop of our ward. We’re both dreading it. We’re nervous and worried and I’ve been weepy on and off since we were told.

He accepted the call to serve, as did I to support him in this call but I couldn’t get the words out when President asked me, I just whimpered and nodded. I’m sure we caused some alarm to our stake president, or maybe not. Maybe he sees this kind of reaction a lot when calling Bishops. Daniel looked flat out scared and I was crying. It was a strange experience – to be called to serve as a Bishop, like one of those that feels like it’s imprinted in your mind. It felt like things slowed down and yet your mind is racing. I was hearing the words our stake president was saying, but didn’t really know what to think about it.

And now it’s the day after, it’s Monday and he will be sustained on Sunday and he already has two meetings this week before it happens – Wednesday and Thursday night. This Monday feels worse without him because I feel like I’ll never see him again. I’m being dramatic, I know I will see him, but his attention and time will be severely divided from me and the boys. He will have a lot more stress and responsibilities. Which is crazy because he already pulls 12 hour days at Amazon – 7am-7pm and that felt hard. Now instead of having his evenings and the weekends, the boys and I will probably get a couple nights a week, no Sundays and I have no idea what to expect for Saturdays. It just makes me want to cry …. again. And I miss him already.

I’m writing this all out now, but won’t post this until after he’s been called on Sunday, since we were asked to keep this to ourselves until then. So I can’t tell Christina, because she’s in my ward. I told my parents yesterday. Daniel and I called them together, mostly to get advice since Dad has served as bishop twice now. It was good. Mom said some things that really helped Daniel – that he would know what to say and be inspired in the moment to say things he wouldn’t normally know how to say. She also said that the Lord blesses His bishops. Dad gave some great advice also – to ask for help from the stake leaders, Elders Quorum president, Relief Society President, High Priest Group Leader, and even other bishops in the stake. Deferring as many responsibilities as Daniel can.

As for me, I have felt a slight shift already. I feel a greater sense of responsibility in the home. I feel like I will be leading out in everything. I thought I was already but I have felt it even stronger just in the past 24 hours – making sure we did our family scripture study before the Google hangout and family prayers. It won’t just be dinners alone, but now bedtimes too and everything really. It all makes me so sad. Just really sad. I picked out my husband, I didn’t just somehow end up with him. I picked him out and desired to spend every waking moment with him and the longer we’re together, the harder that becomes.

There’s only one thing that seems to stand out in my mind over the past 24 hours and it’s something Daniel told me. Before we went in to meet with the stake president on Sunday morning, Daniel and I were talking about what we thought he wanted to talk to us about. We were worried that this bishop calling was on the table because our current bishop has been in his calling for over 5 years and his time is about up. So as we talked, I asked Daniel what he was feeling and he told me that he kept worrying it would be a calling he wouldn’t have time for but the thought occurred to him that his time was consecrated to the Lord. He made promises with the Lord to give all that he had – his time and talents and life to the building up of the kingdom of God, and because he had already made that commitment, the answer for whatever calling it was, would be yes. The Holy Ghost bore witness to me that this was true and it’s the only thing that seems positive in all of this.

Everybody is asked to serve the Lord in different ways and everyone has their own personal struggles. Nobody chooses their trials. Trials change you because they are harder than you think you can handle. Change doesn’t seem to happen any other way. At least not for me.

So here we are. I keep kind of thinking that maybe they’ll ask someone else this week and tell Daniel and I that we’re off the hook, that the Lord had different plans, that all we had to do was make the choice to accept the call …. that’d be awesome right? I guess we’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.

cider mill 2014


Well, what do you do on Halloween during the day with a two year old? You go to a cider mill. It was absolutely gorgeous there. It was about 70 degrees with a little breeze. Not quite cold enough to sport the infinity scarf I had brought, but enough to wear a sweater. It was such a lazy afternoon feel because there weren’t many people there at noon, so there was plenty of room to let the kids play and the lady behind the donut counter was so sweet. She asked Zac, Emily and Ray to say “trick or treat” and they all did, so she gave them 6 mini donuts each! They loved it. It was so cute to see each one saunter away with a little bag of donuts, stuffing one in their mouths and getting cinnamon and sugar everywhere. beautiful.



Can you see Ray holding his bag of donuts and the huge grin on his face?

We saw a woodpecker. It was captivating. That’s what Ray was looking at.



See??! There’s fall in southern California!


Zacky got a stomach ache because he ate all 6 of his donuts in under ten minutes. #smallpeopleproblems.

Then Ray, Emily and I went on a walk.



Good Halloween Day! Now I’m thinking of carving Ray’s and my pumpkins (the boys did theirs last night), eating dinner, getting dressed up and going trick or treating! Happy Halloween!

pumpkin patch

Even in Southern California, where the fall season consists of 80 degree weather, there are fun fall-ish things to do – the pumpkin patch being one of them! There’s even a cider mill in the mountains that we went to last year that I plan on visiting in November when it cools down around here a little :)

We had never been to this pumpkin patch and it was super cool, but waaaaaaayy overpriced. Still. We let the boys pick one ting they wanted to do and they picked the zip line. It was awesome. Check out the pictures to see their little overjoyed faces. We had fresh squeezed strawberry lemonade, climbed and jumped all over a hay castle, listened to a live band, the boys did the zip line and we got Ray a tiny pumpkin. Ray is wild about pumpkins. He has been carrying his pumpkin around everywhere for the past 24 hours … until it finally busted open last night. Ray even took it to church yesterday. He would just hold it in one hand and sometimes give it a little hug. hilarious.












Little side note: at the end of the ride I asked the boys how it was and Noah said, “It was so crazy that at the end I almost yelled ‘Holy s-word’!” I asked him what’s the s-word and then he said the four letter word I was hoping he didn’t know. It was a growing moment. I realized that he wasn’t as naïve as I had hoped. He knows and hears things I wish he didn’t, but at the same moment I thought, “well, he knew it, he thought it and then decided not to say it.” Tiny victory I guess. Wow, my boys are so big. It’s scary. I wanted to protect them a little longer. It feels like times up.


This is right after the ride. Look at their glowing little boy faces. Just awesome. They were super pumped about it.

Camping at Joshua Tree National Park

This past weekend we went camping. Daniel has been referring to it as “glamping” (glamorous camping) … because he’s a punk. For some reason, it is the Forsyth way to not call it a vacation unless you are hurting yourself in some way. Daniel only calls it camping if you are suffering. Evidently, we were not suffering sufficiently enough to call it camping. Moving on …

Joshua Tree is a pretty cool landscape. We took lots of pictures (is it “glamping” because YOU brought the tripod and nice camera, Daniel?? hmm?). I’ll stop harping and let the pictures tell the good story:

Uncle Jeff told stories to the boys and then we put everyone to bed and the parents had fun around the fire, talking, taking pictures of the night sky and then playing with the camera. We used Walter’s phone for a tiny light and then kept the shutter open on our camera and drew all sorts of fun things …

Then we slept … not for very long. But we slept. Daniel slept like a log! I did not. I can now officially deem myself a “light sleeper”. I used to sleep like a log too, when I didn’t have kids, but ever since Noah, I hear everything. I heard the kids moving in their sleeping bags next to me, I heard coughing and sneezing and I heard Ray moaning in his sleep (he does this a lot). I woke up about 7 or 8 times over the span of 5 hours. I kept moving Ray under his sleeping bag covers and moving Liam off the tent floor and onto his mat and pillow … I was exhausted when I woke up the next morning, but that didn’t stop me from making awesome camping pancakes!!

I think it’s my mom’s fault that all of us girls do this. We love breakfast. Whenever we went camping as a family when I was younger, my mom would make an incredibly delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon and pancakes cooked in the bacon grease, so they were like fritters! I didn’t do the whole sha-bam, I just did Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes. They are Daniel’s new favorite breakfast. It was so much more fun to make all this side by side with my sisters. They appreciate it.

But even before the morning scene got cooking, Daniel and Walter went hiking around the boulders in our campground and Daniel took pictures of the camp site.

Then Emily woke up …

And now I have to make mention of something genius I saw on Pinterest … a hand washing station. It was so useful and since a picture is worth a thousand words here it is. The only difference between this one and mine, was that I didn’t bungee cord the paper towels tot he container. I hung paper towels from a bungee cord hanging from the easy up.

After we packed up camp, we went on a short hike to see an arch.

The boys asked if they could climb on top of the arch and I said no because it was too dangerous, then we looked around for where Daniel had gotten to … and he was on top of the arch.

Weekend in SF

Have you ever woken up at 6:33 am and thought, “I have to get kids up and ready for school!” and then suddenly realized it was Saturday? … and you were in a hotel room? … in Oakland? … and you’re about to spend a day of fun with your honey in San Francisco? I have. You immediately smile and snuggle back deeper into bed and sidle up to your honey and fall back asleep, until 10 am. For reals!!!

Daniel had to work out of town a lot this month. He was in Seattle for a week, then home for a week, then gone to Tracy, CA (northern CA) for a week. I knew I’d be toast by the end of the second week he was gone and we had a free flight that was expiring in May, two free nights at Marriott and that’s all we needed as an excuse. Christina and Aria split up my babies and watched them from Friday afternoon until Sunday night and that was that! Daniel met me after I flew into Oakland and we went to dinner in Oakland at B-Side BBQ, which was our favorite meal of the weekend! It was soooo good. I had a pulled pork sandwich with spicy coleslaw and Daniel had the brisket and cornbread. We shared the yams – which were out of this world! They were so creamy and smooth and sweet it was almost like some dessert soup. So awesome.

The next day was just ours.

It was a 90% chance of rain in the city and 57 degrees, so we knew what we were in for, and I planned for it, but Daniel forgot one of his many jackets, so we of COURSE had to make our first stop at … REI to buy him another rain jacket. Yes, an absolute must :) I tease Daniel a lot about the amount of jackets he owns … because it’s a little ridiculous. We also picked up an umbrella and headed out into the rain.

We really plan our trips around food. I don’t know how that happens. Just does. And I love it. At noon we ate breakfast because you can eat breakfast whenever the heck you want when you don’t have any commitments or children begging for it. So we did. We found this cool little place on yelp called Tomate Café in Berkeley. Their fresh squeezed OJ was like eating an orange out of a glass. Very pulpy, but I liked it. I had the French toast with berries and slivered almonds on top and a side of bacon. Daniel had a breakfast sandwich. Mine was the best! The bread for the French toast was amazing … it was like a challah that had cinnamon swirled through it. So yummy. My favorite review I’ve ever read on yelp was about this café. They said, “call your momma, cuz she’s about to be slapped! The French toast here is ridiculous!” I had to say that at regular intervals to Daniel throughout the day – “call your momma, cuz she’s about to be slapped!”

Then we finally made it into SF. But by the time we got there, the rain had subsided and it was marvelous! Everything smelled fresh and the air breezing in off the bay was so full of memories from my childhood – of my family spending time in the city. Daniel and I found a parking spot right of the Embarcadero, next to the bay and walked over to the Ferry building, which is right on the water. The sky was all moody and cloudy and blue and grey and Daniel’s hands were so warm to hold … awwww, it was a moment. We walked around the Framer’s Market there at the Ferry building – trying out olive oils with sourdough, looking at the flowers and fresh food, and we bought some local honey sticks to bring home to the kids. We even walked a bit farther inland and down to Boudin, to get a sourdough round for Aria and Walter to say thanks for watching the kiddos!

We were trying to figure out what we wanted to do next and Daniel mentioned Amoeba and that sounded awesome, so off we went. Because you can decide things in the moment, when you have no commitments or children getting tired or bored. Amoeba is the coolest, largest used music store anywhere. They sell used CDs, vinyl, tapes, DVDs and even VHS and they have everything you’re looking for. We got a Natalie Merchant CD for Christina, two Tonic CDs for me, a Sam Cooke CD, and a Matt Kearny album. We also bought Joe vs the Volcano for $4 and Wizard of Oz. Then we perused down Haight Street.

This is a Daniel thing. He used to do this a lot in High School. He had quite a few favorite stores and only a few of them were still there – Wasteland was one of them. It’s a clothing store, with retro, unique clothes. I loved it and found several things I would buy, if it weren’t so expensive, but Daniel said he couldn’t find anything he would actually wear in public. We’re different that way. I found this big snuggly sweater that was all chunky and nubby and big that I could see myself living in with a pair of leggings and maybe boots. I also found a full length black skirt made completely of black sequins. I loved it. Daniel asked where I would wear it and I said “church”.

Now it was about 4 pm and lunch sounded good about now. Daniel’s mom had sent us an article about this pizza place – Tony’s Pizza Napoletana …. it was incredible. The wait was like an hour to go in and sit down, so we went next door to their “slice house” where you can buy it by the slice and take it to eat somewhere else, so we did. We got the Margherita pizza, meat lovers pizza, vegetarian pizza and hot peppers pizza (can’t remember the catchy name of that one). They were all awesome. The crust was perfect, crispy on the bottom but not burnt, fluffy and bubbly … and flavorful! The hot pepper one had little dollops of fresh ricotta plopped on top and cooked – it was just too much for words. So good. The funny thing was, that we didn’t have a place to take the pizza and eat it, so we just took it to the car and chowed down. But we had such an awesome little parking spot, that people kept driving up next to us and asking, “are you guys leaving?” We just shook our heads and kept eating pizza and fogged up the windows pretty good. Once the windows were all fogged up, I took the opportunity to get in some kisses with Daniel. Of course, right as I was doing that, some guy drives up next to us and asks … I just looked at him and shook my head as if to say, “uh uh dude, no way”. He laughed and drove off.

Then we went walking. We walked up to Coit Tower, only to realize it was closed for refurbishment – yeah, lame. But the view even from the base of Coit Tower was spectacular. The city looked so beautiful and it still wasn’t raining! This whole time it had been rain free. Daniel noticed that there were steps in the sidewalk up to Coit Tower and mentioned to me that he didn’t think there was any other city where he’d seen that before. The hills in SF are pretty taxing. But it was just nice to walk around the city with Daniel. We’d stop in at stores when we wanted to and talk and hold hands. It was just a beautiful thing.

We had planned on meeting Daniel’s best friend from growing up, Nick, and his wife for dinner. We had eaten pizza at about 4:30 or 5 and met Nick and Jessica at 7 … so dinner had to be light :) We were stuffed. We spent the night laughing and talking and catching up and then driving into Pleasant Hill and hanging out at their house for a bit and visiting and watching the funniest thing on Netflix (Jim Gaffigin – sp?? – Mr. Universe), then to bed.

On Sunday we saw my family for just the briefest moment at Drew’s baby blessing. I wanted to pick up little, fat Drew, but he was sleeping and Bethany wanted him to stay that way until the blessing was over, so I got down on my hands and knees in the pew and crawled over to Drew’s carseat he was sleeping in and snapped a few pics. Then I snapped a few shots of the wonderful family I was sharing a pew with. So cute. I love my family. After the blessing, I stole a few minutes in the foyer talking to Dad about religion but that was it. It was too short. Everything we did on Sunday felt like too little time.

After the blessing we went to see Daniel’s mom play organ for a church in Berkeley. Liz is always phenomenal, flawless really. And we got to see what she does every Sunday. She introduced us to a few friends then we jumped back in the car and off we went to Pleasant Hill 1st ward. We could only stay for 2 of the 3 hours of church, but it was great. The meetings were wonderful and insightful. We still were able to be spiritually fed in a short time. And then it was over.

This was the first trip away with Daniel where I wanted to get back to my kids at the end of it. I missed my little men.

The last, fun thing to do with Daniel was to travel with him in snazzy clothes. We were still in our church clothes, so I was in a black dress and heels and he was wearing his Zegna suit. It was cool to travel like that. I’m usually sporting athletic shoes and yoga pants while traveling with the boys and it felt nice to dress up to fly. I felt like a business woman on important business. For all they knew on the flight, I was meeting with big wigs when I flew into southern CA … but instead, I was driving to Christina’s house, throwing off my heels and getting on the floor to squeeze babies. But they didn’t know that.

It was a perfect trip.

I flew in style on the way to Oakland too. Just because I could. Yep. I wore heels and everything. Daniel was surprised when he saw me at the airport … that was kind of the point.

Good morning, from Tomate Café in Berkeley. My French toast, bacon and fresh OJ.

The view while driving into SF … glad it stopped the moment we got into the city :)

Hanging out at the Farmer’s Market in an Adirondack chair I should own.

There are too many hilarious things about this picture. It’s a gem. This was D in Amoeba. You’re welcome.

Lunchtime at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana.

Me taking a breather while walking up the sidewalk stairs to Coit Tower.

Daniel, disappointed at the top.

Andrew Reed Price, aka Reedzilla, because he rang in at 11lbs at birth. heck yes. That’s how we Damiano girls roll!

Jack, Bethany, Taylor and Livie sitting next to me on the pew.

Dad and mom, totally not ready for this picture.

Flying home in style with my Cake face.

Daniel NOT cooperating for a cute picture of the two of us. Ruined! … good thing I love him anyway. You should’ve heard him giggling after this picture was taken and I saw the result. I had no idea what he was doing while taking the picture and he waited for me to see it … he can be such a bum sometimes.