On my toes…

Oh almost 17 month old son.


 That’s right where you’re keeping me.  On my toes. Laughing all the way.

  …

Every time he walks past our new St. Joseph statue he says “baby!!”. And then animatedly explains that the baby also has a nose.

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On the Eve of 30

Elder30Man. I don’t think I’ve had a better birthday.

And it hasn’t even happened yet.

Today is the last day of my twenties. My Thirty Eve.  And I’m feeling a little introspective. Like, wow. I sure have learned a lot.

But at the same time, incredibly humbled. Because, seriously? I’m not even thirty.

I know nothing.

I know nothing of a career, of caring for aging parents. Nothing of marriage-years in the double digits. Nothing of selling a home, teenage children or the loss of a loved one.

But I do know something. I know love.

I’ve had 30 years of love given to me, poured on me, sister-hugged into me, forehead-kissed on me, sacrificed for me… Over and over and over again. Every day, in fact, every moment of the last 10,949 days someone(s) loved me (and I’m not even talking about The SomeOne, nor the fact that I was loved long before I was born).

To celebrate this year-turning, my parents offered me several nights stay at their home. By myself. It almost felt like I was only their daughter again.

family30-2 family30-3 family30-4 family30-5 family30-6 family30-7 family30-8 family30-9 family30-10 family30

The time was filled with eating, sleeping, swimming, nothing, crafting, eating some more, sister-ing, creating, nourishing, visiting, and a million other –ings. So much family-love.

This past Saturday, 11 beautiful women and 1 beautiful sister snatched me away for a night at the beach.

friends30friends30-2-2 friends30-2 friends30-4  friends30-5 friends30-6 friends30-7 friends30-8 friends30-9

A night of laughing, drinking, eating, beach-walking, beach-talking, more talking, more laughing and more loving. Ever more wonderful –ings. So much friend-love.

And tomorrow’s sunrise, the sunrise on my actual 30th birthday, will wake me up to the most important Loves: My Little Loves and My Life-Long-Love. The girls have already warned me that the gifts they purchased are hidden in Daddy’s sock drawer. Don’t look there Mama! They wiggle in joy, anticipating a day they get to love on me.

Andy holds my hand and squeezes. A gentle squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Our silent code for “I love you”. It’s the same motion we invented walking each other to class 10 year ago, but it’s hard to explain the depth it conveys now. He squeezed my hand like that dancing at our wedding, hiking in Brazil, after arguments, moving states, after our children were born, while praying in Mass… So many different kinds of love from one person. For one person.

Elder30-2 Elder30-3 Elder30-4 Elder30-5 Elder30-6 Elder30-7 Elder30-8 Elder30-9 Elder30-11 Elder30

The love in my life keeps growing. I see it digging deeper roots and sprouting new limbs, a deep stretch in both directions. And I wonder, what is to come… What will the next 30 years bring?

It’s hard to say.

But, love is there.

That, I know for sure.

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Told you there were MORE…

Beach photos!

Per Margaret’s request in comments on the last post, we’ll start (and end) with a group photo:Beach 2-8

Roomies!

We spent one afternoon at Lake Quinault. A beautiful place that may just convince me I’m more of a lake vacation person. I like the feel of fresh water on my skin over salt water and much prefer a walk in the woods to being sand blasted.Beach 2-12 Beach 2-11Beach 2-9Beach 2-10 Beach 2-5

Although, the beach is pretty awesome: kite flying, beach comets, sand forts and castles and pirate ships…Beach 2-22 Beach 2-21 Beach 2-20 Beach 2-18 Beach 2-17 Beach 2-16Beach 2-4Beach 2-2 Beach 2-3 Beach 2

Ultimately, any vacation is a good vacation. Right?

Especially with family like this: Beach 2-15 Beach 2-14 Beach 2-19

And friends like these:Beach 2-13Thank you friends, for loving us and sharing a weekend of your lives. Let’s do it again soon, k?

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Is this a good Activity?

Anyone else a Brian Regan fan? Love that guy.

ActivitiesOur beach time was filled with many, many activities. This is kind of a change of pace from our day to day life. I’m mostly a “go play independently in the playroom while I do something else” kind of parent, and our kids are usually fine with that.

A vacation, however, calls for something a bit different. And that something (aside from the beach!) usually involved paint. Because, who doesn’t like to paint?Activities-3 Activities-4 Activities-6 Activities-7It was one of my greatest joys from this past weekend to watch our friends step in and really engage with our kiddos. The inside (read: non-windy and non-sandy) activities really lent themselves well to getting to know the three most important people in our lives. Activities-5 Activities-8 Activities-2

And we got to know the Roppo kiddos even better. Which is something I’ve really missed since they moved away (Abbie, how can the twins possibly be 4?!)

Lest you think of me as some sort of super mom, not pictured is the disparity between the 30 minutes of prep time for each activity and the 3 minutes actually spent doing said activity. Note how there’s never all 3 of my children in one photo. Yeah, the other one or two were probably screaming or running around or being held by the other parent or ingesting the giant pile of sand by the back door. Additionally, all the meltdowns because “that paint is not pink enough!”. So, not pictured: reality.

Activities-12Meltdowns and some failures aside, Andy and I made a conscious effort to make this a vacation more for them, and less for us. I think an expectation to have all the time we wanted to sleep, drink, read, relax, walk on the beach etc would have resulted in resentful adults and bored (read: crazy and whiny) children.

Activities-9But, as usual when we prioritize correctly, God made time for us to also do those grown up vacation things.Activities-10 Activities-11 Activities-2-2Next up: more beach pictures!

Because I seriously took about a million.

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We’re at the Beach…

with friends,Beach Weekend1 Beach Weekend1-2 Beach Weekend1-3 Beach Weekend1-4 Beach Weekend1-5 Beach Weekend1-6 Beach Weekend1-7 Beach Weekend1-8 Beach Weekend1-9 Beach Weekend1-10 Beach Weekend1-11 Beach Weekend1-12And it is awesome.

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Summer is for Haircuts and Busy-times

haircut haircut-2Dom got his first haircut! I was a little nervous about this because I’ve always cut the girls hair. But bangs and a little trim is so much easier than the whole head! I’d love to learn how to do boy hair, anyone have suggestions on a good tutorial or youtube channel?

haircut-3 haircut-5We went to Lil’ Snippers off of 164th Ave, and, guys, it was amazing. I called at 5, they fit us in at 5:30 (even though they close at 6). From beginning to end the women were excited and motivated and loving. Imagine cutting kids’ hair for 8 hours and still showing love and patience with the last appointment!

haircut-4 haircut-6They were professional and courteous. Asked me some very directed questions to make sure they could give Dom the haircut I wanted, and had great suggestions (since I had no idea what I was talking about).

haircut-7 haircut-8 haircut-9Then, they braided the girls’ hair and added glitter.

haircut-10Seriously. So kind. So lovely, and loving. If you live in Vancouver and need a place to go, please head over there (and they’re not even paying me to say this!).

This summer has been very busy, but I feel like I say that a lot. About all the seasons. Maybe the truth is: we’re busy.

We’re busy with so much love. We have so much family, so many friends, so many birthdays and parties and visitors and trips and…well, so much life. If being too busy, too full because of love is my only complaint…then life must be pretty dang good.

I’m trying to balance that busyness, though, with this impending deadline I call “Mo’s first day of Kindergarten,” also titled: “The day my heart will be ripped out.”

Exaggeration? Perhaps.

That waits to be seen.

So, how do you do it? How do you slow it down? Or, at the very least, set aside intentional time to really be with your kids?

My heart is so open to suggestion right now, I can’t even explain.

haircut-11 haircut-12Lulu: I no wanna be a gwown up, because I wanna still fit in my hello kitty swim suit!

MoBug: Baby Lu, do you want to be a real princess? Ok, then you need a sword. Yep. That’s what a real princess needs.

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Summer Joy!

joy-10joy-8joy joy-2joy-9 joy-3 joy-2-2 joy-4 joy-7 joy-5 joy-6 I wish you could have heard them laughing…

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The Great Outdoors!

Hiking-14HikingThe days are hot hot hot right now (almost 100 degrees in Portland? What?), but the mornings are still fairly cool. So, we’ve been getting outside and actually hiking with the kiddos quite a bit recently.

Hiking-6 Hiking-4Hiking + Kiddos = ?

Is that really a thing? Is it even possible?

Hiking-13Yes.

Hiking-12And No.

We’re not climbing too many mountains, or heading out on overnighters. But, the kids have started to carry their own snacks and water.

Except Dom.

Hiking-5He gets carried.

They have loved exploring, and I find our hikes go better if I say “yes” to detours more often than “no”.

Hiking-11 Hiking-2Can we go down by the water? Can we watch the fishing man? Can I see this leaf? Mommy, will you pick up this bug? Mommy, does Dom need a stick?

Hiking-9We’ve had some conversations about the fact that part of hiking is accomplishing something. Finishing it.

But the stops and pokes and prods and sits are (usually) worth the delay.

Hiking-7So far we’ve been good with a little over a mile, although Lulu hits a wall right around that mark. Whether we’re back at the car or not. Everything is “too toasty!!” or itches or is too heavy or… melt downs all around. So, we carry her pack. Sometimes even carry her too.

Hiking-15At the end of a hike, we’re not going to take our best family photo, and that’s ok. We don’t push her.

Because I want her to enjoy this. I want her to love being outside and exploring.

Hiking-10One of my greatest joys so far is how quickly Mo has taken to keeping a nature journal. She collects leaves and other small things along the way, puts them in her pack, and then draws them when we reach the end.

Which for now, is often a playground. I highly suggest finding a trail that starts or ends at a playground. Any adult along the way is tired just from hiking, but somehow these small humans still have energy enough to swing and slide and run and jump.

Hiking-16Hiking-3When children are happy, that joy is infectious. I watch the faces of hikers at they see my mini-hikers with their camelbaks (we definitely look like an REI ad), and they can’t help but smile. Their stride lengthens and they move past our little posse slightly invigorated. Truly. It’s wonderful to see.

The weather should be in the 90s for a while longer, so I’m sure we’ll continue to be out and about (early!), enjoying the best summer has to offer. Stopping, smelling, touching and collecting along the way.Hiking-8(Hikes: Lacamas Lake trail and Round Lake Trail both GREAT hikes for Littles)

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Last Day of Preschool

Remember Mo’s first day of preschool? Man, I was a wreck. Lulu will be starting next year, and I’m not sure it’s going to be any easier…

Mo finished preschool last week, and (of course) I took ALL THE PHOTOS!

First day of school, September 2014:preschool preschool-2

Last day of school, May 2015:preschool-3 preschool-4

I can’t believe how much the girls have changed! Especially Lu!

Here’s Mo with her best friend Mia on their very first first day of preschool:preschool-6

and on their very last last day of preschool!preschool-5

Mo leapt into Ms Audri’s arms when I asked them to take a photo! I think she liked her teacher, don’t you?preschool-7

And this self portrait now hangs proudly in our kitchen:preschool-8

Kindergarten next year! What?!

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Wordless (Point Defiance Hike) Weekend

hiking-2 hiking-3 hiking-4 hiking hiking-5 hiking-6 hiking-7 hiking-8 hiking-14 hiking-9 hiking-2-2 hiking-10 hiking-2-3 hiking-11 hiking-12 hiking-13

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