Ray’s nursery

We moved in about 2 months ago and I feel like nothing is really where I want it just yet. There is so much unpacking and rearranging to do … but I feel like Ray’s nursery is one of the first finished rooms in the house. Maybe in 6 months I’ll change everything, but for right now, this is where we’re at:

My main goal for the room was to have everything at Ray’s level, but high enough to make him want to get up and work those leg muscles so he can start walking (16 months and no sign of stepping). So there’s really no furniture in there for adults. I always find myself on the floor in his room, which is great because it forces me to interact with him on the floor, read to him while propped up against a wall and just be at his level.

Sooooo, I had to have this little workshop toy in his room, but it’s ugly. So I put it in his deep closet and close the sliding doors when I don’t want to see it. But Ray loves it!


Ray, 15 months

My little Ray. You are hilarious. You always have a ready smile. You’re pretty easy to entice with games and distract. We love to make you laugh. Your brothers love you a TON. Both are totally enamored with you. Here are a few bullet points about you right now:

– Liam calls you “Yay” (he can’t say his R’s).

– You don’t walk yet. We’re all concerned. Your 10 month old cousin, Emily, is taking steps and you’re holding strong on the ground. But you are a SUPER fast crawler. And you move along furniture pretty quick too. Your feet and legs are so stiff, it’s so funny. You’ll get there.

– Noah sings to you in the car, all the time. To calm you down, to cheer you up, to make you laugh … and you seem to love it. Your eyes really sparkle when Noah comes around.

– You love opening and closing things; putting things in and pulling them out again. You have nearly broken our cheap IKEA dresser drawers with all the opening and slamming shut they get from you.

– We just moved into a house with 2 stories. At first, 6 weeks ago, you didn’t know how to climb stairs … but that didn’t last long. Within a few days, you learned. But you never learned how to come down the stairs. We’ve tried a few times, teaching you, but you haven’t caught on. As a result, you’ve tumbled down the stairs to the landing twice. You are now scared of coming down, so this is what happens everyday, about 14 times a day: you climb up the stairs fast, like a maniac, then you get to the top of the stairs and call down to us “dee-da! Da! … unnnn, da! Dee, dee da!” And we come and carry you down the stairs.

– You have very specific opinions about things. Last night we had fish sticks and carrots for dinner. Daddy and I were eating some yummy sun dried tomato hummus with pita that I got at the Farmer’s Market. Noah and Liam did not want the hummus and pita, but you refused to eat fish sticks. We offered you the hummus and pita and you downed it!

– You have the cutest nursery in, possibly, the world. I worked very hard on it, and made sure everything was at your level and interactive for you. However, you don’t play in your room. You always crawl down the hall to Noah and Liam’s room and hang out with them and the Legos. sigh.

– you take one nap a day. It is from 10 am to 12 or 1 pm. That’s it. You seem tired around 3 or 4 pm, but I have tried to get you to go to sleep in the afternoon and you won’t do it. You really need it. So do I. You get so ornery in the afternoon … right when I need to make dinner.

– You don’t really love the water. We take you to the pool and at least you don’t scream (like you used to), but you don’t seem super excited about it either.

– You fold your hands when we pray. You just grasp your fat hands together and look down. You picked this up all on your own. Nobody taught you how, you just started doing it. I love that.

These pictures I took of you in the bath. There was no natural light in there and I am still learning how to figure out the lighting thing, when it comes to photography. These bath pictures are not the best photography-wise, but you were so happy, I had to share these shots.


Good way to spend September

It’s still pretty hot around here … like in the 80’s kind of hot … like you wonna go to a Farmer’s Market and then play in a fountain kind of hot. So we did. Aria, Christina and I went to this Framer’s Market in Rancho Cucamonga at this shopping center called Victoria Gardens. And it was a beautiful day. Sometimes the boys are crazy and fight and it’s too hot, but not today. It was wonderful. We bought flavored honey sticks (they had rootbeer honey!), strawberries and the best hummus on the planet along with the greatest pita bread. Then we went to the fountain, let the boys run around in it and sat and talked on a bench in the shade with the babies. Dream. come. true. The boys continued playing by running around on the grass once they dried off from the fountain. And we watched and handed out food and water when they ran by. So good. So fun. Such an awesome way to blow a September day, eh? This is Fall around here I guess :)

Honey sticks

Luca turning his honey sticks into, of course, a gun.

Now this is a rare siting … Rocco in a picture.


I blame ridiculous faces like this on Daniel. Daniel makes the same faces when I hold up the camera ….

At least this shows how Noah has lost his two front teeth and his adult teeth are coming in.

Now Luca is just a child model. He is so gorgeous. His luscious lips (which you HAVE to appreciate in person) and the perfect tan skin and deep, dark, brown eyes. He is just so pretty!

you’re welcome.

Then there’s Chiara, who is THE perfect baby. She was sick today. But still beautiful. I look like someone hit me in the face with a frying pan when I’m sick, but Chiara dons sickness a little better than me.

Emily painted her toes for the day.

Thank you Daniel for creating weirdos that don’t know how to pose for a picture …

Enzo, telling me something.

Zacky. He is fun. He embodies what fun is.

He is being a zombie in this picture.

A little chilly with the wind blowing, but it was 84 degrees. It must be so fun to be Zacky. Eating pita bread, running in fountains, being a zombie for a minute. It’s the life basically.

The sun dried tomato hummus. Ben is taking a swipe with pita bread. So yummy.

Nice moves in the water by Liam.

Noah knows how to get air when he jumps. Noah is a fierce player.

Emily got in on the fountain action too. This girl is a thrill seeker!

Ray … not so much of a thrill seeker.

The scene

Cousins. I don’t know if I ever tire of seeing my boys lined up next to their cousins, enjoying life.

The End :) courtesy of the Blackburn boys.

dancing with total abandon

Is there anyone you can do this with? Dance around with total abandon? I can’t do it with Daniel because he doesn’t dance with me, so I’m always conscious of how I’m dancing because he’s usually just watching … with a huge grin across his face. And with friends, I always wonder if they think I’m weird, or if I’m doing cool enough moves, ya know? The only people I can really let loose and dance with are my sisters.

Well, Aria drove the 30 minutes out here to my house and Christina, Aria and I hung out at my house this morning. The big boys were at school so we let the little boys have a play date (totally unsupervised). We watched the babies, then set the babies up to play and worked out with Jillian. We decided, while hanging with the babies, that we should squeeze in a trip to Michaels for Halloween costume/party supplies and use our 50% off coupons that were expiring tomorrow. While on the way to Michaels, each in our separate vehicles, but caravanning in a row, something happened.

Have you heard that new Katy Perry song? Eye of the Tiger? It’s so fun. It came on the radio and as soon as it did, I called Christina in the car ahead of me and told her to switch her radio station, then I called Aria in the car behind me (twice) and got her to switch to the same station. Then all three of us, while sitting at a couple red lights, danced our hearts out in our cars, waving our arms around and punching the air with the rhythm. I haven’t danced that way in I think … years? And I was smiling so big that my face felt stretched out afterwards. It was so awesome.

Part Two – Christina had left to go home and I was just getting into my car. A few cars over, Aria was sitting in her van nursing Chiara before her 30 minute trek back home. I turned on my car and it was still on the same radio station as Aria’s, and you’ll never believe it … that same Katy Perry song came on again. It was hilarious. I looked over at Aria, through the 2 empty car windows between us and we couldn’t help ourselves. We were wildly dancing again, shaking and punching to the beat … I think I closed my eyes a few times and got some serious moves going. But every time I looked over at Aria, she’d be doing the same thing – just lettin’ loose. I realized at one point, that she was nursing and had a baby attached to the front of her and it made me laugh out loud because I don’t know how she was groovin’ so crazy-like with Chiara nursing! It all kind of ended abruptly when some chick drove up in the empty parking space next to me and Aria and I could no longer stare at each other dancing through blank car windows. ahhhhhh, nothin’ like a good ol’ jam session with sisters.

We used to do this as little girls. And when I say “little girls”, I use that term loosely … we were teenagers doing this. I really remember the best jam sessions happening at the Concord house. But sometimes, when mom and dad were gone and we were all alone at the house, we’d turn on the radio and really blast it, then totally let loose and dance wildly around the family room. Sometimes there was leaping off the furniture and sometimes we were trying to gyrate in the same fashion as Mina. Mina was really the best dancer. She had some pretty cool moves – I think she just had better control of her body in motion. I remember specifically doing a few jam sessions before my first church dance. I wanted to know how to dance there, in front of my peers. So one time, Bethany blasted the music and we figured it out. So fun.

Still jamming after all these years.

the hidden park

Christina called and said her family would be eating dinner at the “hidden park” tonight and wanted to know if we’d like to join them. I have been trying for two days to get out to Home Depot to get more ant killing liquids and I was going to get out tonight. But man I’m glad I didn’t.

She told me to call her for specific directions, but I didn’t. I was pretty sure I knew how to get there well enough and it was the kind of weather that you don’t mind driving around with your windows down in. It must’ve been in the 70’s and the sky was clear, a slight breeze. Just perfect. Turns out, I did know where to go, and as I drove into the parking lot I thought I should be, it was confirmed by the happy faces and waves from 3 dirty blonde headed boys.

We drove up and parked next to them. Christina and Jeff were eating Chinese food on the hood of their car with Emily in Jeff’s arms, getting noodles every so often. Beautiful sight, no?

I got out of the car, the boys ran off in the half empty parking lot with their cousins and I got Ray in his stroller. We headed up to the park. It’s a gated park, kind of up a tiny hill, really hidden by bushes and small trees. The ground at the park is soft, kind of spongy stuff, like turf, that Ray was able to crawl around all over and that was wonderful! Because Ray is turning into the age where he doesn’t want to be held by mommy all the time. He’s his own 15 month old self now and he can crawl faster than some adults can walk. He’s a man on a mission and does things with vigor!

Nothing really eventful happened. But I had a few moments of pure joy. Watching Jeff play football with all the big boys. And really engaging them, playing with them. Jeff is a good big kid to play with. But the highlight was something so small. Christina and I were holding one another’s baby. I had Emily and she had Ray. We would count to three, then drop the babies back and swing them up again. Ray and Emily were all smiles and giggles. For a minute, I had a flash. I thought, “how funny. I grew up with Christina. I know what she was like as a baby, little girl and teenager. It doesn’t feel that long ago and here we are, holding each other’s baby. Babies?! We each have multiple babies! This is crazy and so cool at the same time”. This little flash, seeing Christina and I as little girls and then seeing us in the moment. It was fast, a flicker really and then Christina turned to me, as if she had heard my thoughts and shook my arm and said, “We’re holding our babies and swinging them around together!” We both laughed.

What a moment.