Goals 2015


This is how I chose to display our family goals this year. We each tried to pick something for a different area of our lives: spiritual goals, health goals, educational goals and a fun goal.

I used an old chalkboard I had in the garage (by chalkboard I mean a board I painted with chalkboard paint a few years ago). Then I printed out pictures of the goals we made to give us a visual image of what we’re working towards. Anyway, I printed it out on cardstock and stuck it to the board with tape. Goals? Done.

what happened to my Ray?


Ray has been my happiest baby by far … I use the past tense because it is a thing of the past. What happened to my sweet, happy Ray?

He used to be my pal. My little side kick. We’d eat breakfast together, talking about the berries in his yogurt and giggle about how they looked with yogurt on them. Not anymore. Now he cries because the yogurt is touching the berries. Or because the spoon is already in the yogurt, so he whips the spoon out, flinging yogurt everywhere (including all over himself) then cries because he now has yogurt on himself. He’s no fun anymore.

We used to meander outside, look at the lemon trees, water them and talk to one another about the flowers and then sniff them. Not anymore. Now he has serious opinions about wearing a sweatshirt or not and cries about it. He doesn’t like the shoes I put on him, or the socks, or the fact that I opened the door instead of him. He wants me to let HIM water the plants, but refuses to let me help him hold it, so then we both get wet when he jerks away and well … he’s no fun.

He cries all. the. time. About everything. He whines and cries and yells and his language has taken a turn for the worse. He used to try and copy what I would say. I’d get close to his face and help him repeat it. We’d touch each other’s lips and I’d stick out my tongue and so would he. We smiled. Not anymore. Now he just grunts and whines. I have to guess at everything he says.

I pick him up to go outside:
Ray: uh uuuuuuuh!!
Me: Ray, you don’t want to go outside?
Ray: uh uh.
Me: No?
Ray: uh UH!
Me: ok, no outside.
Ray: ahhhhhhhh!
Me: what? You want to go outside? Do you mean yes?
Ray: uuuuuuh ….
Me: Outside? Yes?
Ray: uh uh.
Me: Ok. (I put him down and walk away from the backdoor)
Ray: (crying, wailing, gnashing of teeth)
Me: (I pick him up to go outside – he goes straight as a board and screams like I ripped off a limb).

There are no winners here. He cries and is sad all the time and I feel like crying after spending 10-15 minutes with him at a time. The days are full of time outs in his room, lots of grunting, crying and questions. We are at an impasse. Everyday. All day. Nothing gets done and no one is happy.

The worst part is that I feel absolutely no empathy for him. at. all. He stares at me with his face covered in greek yogurt and honey, crying about something stupid like the placement of his spoon and I think, “Man! Do you have any idea how good you have it kid?!” So I put him in his room and let him cry it out until he’s more ready to deal with the world around him. Aaaaaand, he’s actually there right now – in his room. But lucky for me, I live in a two story house, so his crying is like the faint, distant crying of maybe someone else’s kid. I can imagine that it has nothing to do with me and I don’t have to worry about it for a few more minutes. Then it’s back to being a mom of a 2 and a 1/2 year old. ugh.

january 2015

Things are different here in California. I knew they would be, but wasn’t sure how that would translate. Turns out, they’re better different.

I can’t help but contrast my life here to my life where I was before, in Michigan, but it seems like an unfair comparison because things here are so drastically different in a positive way. I blog less. For no other reason than because I’m busy doing things. Fun things. Good things. Family things. In fact, it’s quiet this morning and has been the past 4 mornings because Christmas break finally ended and the boys are back at school. I have this new thing going on where I get the boys to school and Ray is still sleeping, so there’s this quiet morning hour where I have no kids to care for, it’s too early to practice singing and so nothing is pressing (except for laundry, that’s always pressing …. but don’t worry, I just try to ignore it until we’re going without underwear. Come to think of it, I’m on my last pair ….) and it’s just quiet and calm in my house. We just had visitors over the weekend and I’ve gotten comfortable with anywhere between 10-20 people roaming my house. When they all left on Monday morning, I scrambled around cleaning up and making myself busy, but then the past 3 mornings, I took the quiet time to: sleep, workout, take a bath, make really yummy oatmeal, make my bed, read an article out of the Ensign and right now, to blog.

It feels like I’m moving into a new phase of life – the older kids phase, and that is wildly different than Michigan. I know I still have a 2 1/2 year old but we’re going to start potty training this year and next year he’ll be in preschool and then what? I’ll be a real adult again, with time to dedicate to stuff. What stuff, I don’t know yet, but we’re on the cusp of this people!!

I hate that this is true, but I am one of those people that takes stock in January and makes goals. yes. goals. I do that. This year after the annual Family Home Evening where we talk about our yearly goals, I spent some real time coming up with a plan on how to display our goals in an artful way. Then I went to Staples, not once but twice! To print it out correctly. And truth be told, I’m going back today because the yellow didn’t print right and I needed a few more pictures ….. anyway, I’m THAT person.

So I’m taking stock of the past year, really the past year and a half here in SoCal and … it’s pretty nice. Daniel and I were planning the year and already have a few things on the calendar – a trip just for us to go snowboarding and do Vegas (cuz you can do things like that with a sister to watch kids, cuz you know she’ll turn around and have you watch her kids too), we’re planning to see Ian come home from his mission and be there in the airport, then take a ski trip as a family. Daniel will take a hiking trip to Havasu Falls in AZ with brothers. Then there’s Spring Break for heaven’s sake! And we’re only up to April! In the winter here we’re planning ski trips, Vegas, mountain biking, hiking and camping because that’s when it’s cool enough to do really active outdoor activities. Then the summer should be filled with beach trips, tide pools, our anniversary and NorCal trips. The Fall will bring our Halloween party, which I think I’m up for this year. Then Christmas might be together with the Damianos at a beach house in Newport! We’ll see. All of it is still in the wishing/planning stage, but it’s realistic. It was never that way in Michigan.

I love my MI friends, they made things better, but man it feels good to be home in CA.

I feel more at ease with motherhood even. I think a large part of that is that the boys are getting older and more self sufficient, but with each new phase comes its own challenges. But I’m ok with planning the boys’ soccer games and swim lessons, with taking Ray to the library and doing play dates. I don’t mind staying on top of allowance and homework. It doesn’t seem as overwhelming as before. It seems good and fun even. I feel settled into it. Maybe it’s the freshness of the new year, but I’m energized today, this quiet morning. And I think I’ll jump in the shower! 2015, here I come, showered and everything!

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 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.


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