cider mill 2014

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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.

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

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

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

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

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Then Ray, Emily and I went on a walk.

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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

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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.

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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 na├»ve 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.

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

Trunk or Treat 2014!!

I looooooooooooove Halloween. It’s really my favorite holiday … I think even more than Christmas. Anyway, usually we do an adult Halloween party that is totally ridiculous. I go all out for it. But this year we decided to put all our energies into the trunk or treat ward event. So I used all of my past Halloween party paraphernalia and constructed a theme for this year: Egyptian tomb. We decorated our trunk like a pyramid and tomb and then I dressed up like Cleopatra, Ray was King Tut and Daniel was a mummy.

I love that Daniel does all of this with me. Some husbands wouldn’t participate or support such craziness, but he does and I love him for that. Anyhow, here are the pictures from the evening. Oh and I need to explain one last thing – Noah always likes to pick a totally obscure individual to dress up as for Halloween. This year he went through several random people, starting with Martian Manhunter?? (Google image that one) and he landed on ….. Vitruvius, from the Lego movie. I made his whole outfit from scratch. Had to. Nobody makes a Vitruvius costume. shocker. Liam was Ironman and we even did the facial hair of Tony Stark on him and surprisingly, Liam really kind of resembles Robert Downey Jr. More pictures will be posted for Halloween night.

Not to be outdone, Christina decorated her car beautifully as well. They did a witch’s haunted house. Complete with a working, bubbling cauldron, a crystal ball with floating head inside (hard to see in the pictures) and amazing detail all together. Here it all is:

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good day

Sometimes it’s just such a good day you have to make good “old fashioned clementine pound cake” to top it off :)

This morning Daniel took the boys to school. I love a day that starts with Ray and me waving goodbye to Daniel and the boys while still in our PJ’s. We went inside and promptly made a smoothie. Ray drank his smoothie while watching a Thomas show on Netflix while I drank mine while setting up the mantel. I recently redesigned the mantel with new black and white pictures and an aqua colored quote that says “Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured” by Gordon B. Hinckley. I love it.

I’ve been worried about making everything in the house earthquake proof, so today I tackled that. I secured the pictures on the mantel, then went into the boys’ room and secured the expedit bookcase to the wall and took glass out of frames. While I had the drill out …. I finally fixed the bathroom towel rack too! Ha! While in the bathroom … I gave Ray a much needed bath.

Then I decided I needed a break and laid down on my bed to look at pinterest. I found an awesome article by one of the general authorities and started reading about being meek and before I knew it, I had drifted into a cat nap. That is such a lovely thing to do. I only slept for about 20 minutes but to quietly drift into sleep while Ray played with trains next to me was a special kind of wonderful.

It was time to shower and sing. So I did. Showering is always awesome. I never take that for granted. I’ll bet at some point in my future life, I will take showers for granted … not now. A good day always includes a shower. Then I practiced singing. I have a performance coming up, so it was needed.

I had about ten minutes before I had to pick up Noah and Liam from school and I took that opportunity to look online for some piano books for Noah. I didn’t have much hope that I would find exactly what I was looking for … but then I did … and then I bought them … and they will be here in 2 days, before his next lesson. It was a total success.

When I picked up the boys from school I was bombarded with good news!! Liam said he got 100% on his math test that day and only 3 kids in his whooooooole class got 100%! Noah chimed in with news that he had just passed the next level of reading tests! I was so happy that we spent the rest of the ride home discussing which kind of cake we would make as a celebration.

We got home, put Ray down for a nap, and did homework. Noah finished all his chores in a flash, without any reminders and Liam finished his homework then helped me make the Old Fashioned Clementine Pound Cake. Liam finished his chores while I did dishes then the boys got to play computer games and I got a quiet 35 minutes to start cleaning the guest room. It wasn’t scrubbing the baseboards kind of cleaning, it was looking through old school papers and pictures kind of sorting and organizing type of cleaning. Full of memories and cute pictures. So delightful. Also, I don’t have to have the entire room ready for guests until this weekend, so I wasn’t crunched for time. It was leisurely and rewarding.

As I walked downstairs the air was full of smells of clementines, sugar and cinnamon – that right there will put you in a good mood.

It was 5 o’clock and time to get dinner on. We made homemade pizza. Ray was still babbling in his bed and the other boys were happily enthralled with Spiderman on TV, so I just took my time and made dough from scratch. Noah asked if he could help me cook and the boys both wanted to help. They were fighting over who could cook with me … how often does that happen??? I’ll tell you how often – never. But they were, so I had Noah help me make the sauce and roll out the dough. It was so pleasing to teach him how to fold the dough into 4ths to put it on the pizza pan, just like my mom taught me as a little girl. He giggled as he did it and said, “huh! So fourths?! I got it!”

I went upstairs and got Ray before he started crying and Liam jumped in and actually helped with Ray. Liam got him milk and played nicely with him while Noah and I finished up. Then Daniel walked in the door. I didn’t have to call and ask him if he was going to be super late. I wasn’t checking the clock. Daniel just called us on the way home and then came home. At a decent hour. BEFORE dinner. whaa?? Yeah. That kind of a day.

We ate together at the table, the boys shared their good news about what they’d accomplished at school and Ray ate his salad and showed everyone at the table that he could count to 4 (then he jumps to 7 and that’s the end). We finished off by downing some delicious clementine pound cake.

As I write, Liam and Ray are almost falling over giggling and trying to chase one another with a ball and each telling the other “that’s dangerous!” (about running). It’s funniest to hear Ray say so clearly, “that’s dangerous Leo!” (he calls Liam, “Leo”). Pure bliss.

I’m just going to finish this post, snuggle up on the couch with my lover and watch some good shows. It doesn’t happen all the time, but I guess that’s what makes this so sweet when it happens. Good day.

Liam is 6

My little Liam. He is such a beautiful little man, with so many things going on below the surface. He is loving and sensitive and fun. He loves shopping with me, eating breakfast foods, playing with Ray and making people laugh. I went with him on his class fieldtrip a few weeks ago and realized he makes his friends laugh and he acts silly to get them to giggle. Funny little man. For school, we brought in army men cupcakes. When you bit into them, they were various colors of green:

He loves the movie “Frozen” and sings the songs from it! He reads books now, has about 50 sight words memorized and does very well in school. Most of all, Liam loves to dress up. I will regularly walk around the corner in our house and see Liam walking by normally with a mustache and hat on. Just another day … wandering around the house in a cape and gloves, or with a helmet on and a belt. He’s hilarious. So we had to make his birthday a dress up birthday!

But when I googled “dress up party” it brought up a bunch of girly parties. I needed a manly, dress up party and this is what we came up with:

I don’t know how this happened in my house … I never imagined we’d end up with quite so many weapons.

But my favorite part of the party was the photo booth …. huge success. I took a million pictures of the kids dressed up and posing. You should know there were a million pictures and I narrowed it down.


Noah, Luca, Liam and Enzo


For Liam’s Birthday Dinner he asked for – German pancakes, bacon, strawberries and OJ.


opening presents – I thought I had some awesome pics to show the Grandparents … but all of them were blurry. really blurry. But he has already worn his CAL shirt Gammie and was wearing the costume you got for him in the picture! And Grandma and Grandpa – he looooved the little Lego guy with a holster and the Lego battle pack! You guys had to know he would love it because he picked out everything on his Amazon wishlist himself! he was delighted to get all 6 things on his list from parents and Grandparents combined! Lucky kid.


Here’s a bonus – I’m actually in this picture. Do you see my torso on the left?? Also – there’s the cake. Liam dictated what it was. He asked for a two layer round cake that was blue with yellow stars on it and a 6 on top. He said he’d position his own Lego guys on top of it, but then he didn’t and then the blue and yellow turned out more pale than I planned and well, it turned out looking a little like a baby shower cake. But whatevs.


The little girls got separate favor bags than the boys. In their little bags they got a ring and tiara. Good dress ups to go home with, huh? For the boys’ favor bags they got tattoos, a stick on mustache, silly glasses with eyebrows and nose, an eyeball ring, fake money, a sheriff tag and chocolate coins.

Happy Birthday my Liam!