25 April 2019

Fall According to my Phone

I try to capture most of our events with my big camera but I don't always have it with me for the small moments I want to remember. I love that phones are accessible so I can fill in the gaps.

For my birthday at the beginning of the school year, Troy gave me the best gift; the gift of alone time. He sent me to a hotel for 24 hours and it was heavenly. I got so absorbed in catching up on computer work that I didn't even leave to eat. I ordered some lunch poolside and called it good. I sifted through hundreds of photos and made a dent in catching up on documenting.
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Weeknights became busier than ever with three kids in activities. One night I packed up our dinner to go to get Blake to scouts on time. I loved that the boys sat down to bless the food outside the church building.
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We celebrated my dad's 60th birthday in SoCal with a nice dinner and gelato in Laguna Beach and then took the whole family to Newport Beach the next day.
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The beginning of 4th grade was a rough transition for Blake. I noticed how weighed down and defeated he was feeling. One Monday when I picked him up from swim practice, I surprised him with a quick date to Disneyland. We sat in traffic about as long as we were actually in the park and we only rode on a few rides. But, he held my hand with fingers interlocked the entire time and it meant the world to him.
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Finn fell off our porch swing at the end of preschool one day and earned himself a few staples under his hair.
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Our neighbors threw together an impromptu s'more gathering one Sunday afternoon. We love our street.
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Every time we go to the dentist, the boys insist on taking a picture with the giant giraffe. 
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Crew and Finn are good errand runners. Usually I save my errands for the days that Crew is at preschool so I just have Finn in tow, but they love coming up with shenanigans together. 
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Nash was on fire with reading in 2nd grade and I loved finding him in interesting positions as he whipped through book after book.
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I was having a rough day and Blake wrote me some notes to make me feel better. He writes feel better/apology notes often and it's the best.
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We took the quickest family pictures ever on a cold and windy day in November. The boys climbed the trees once the photographer left.
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Troy's family spent Thanksgiving break with us. We kept busy with trips to the shopping center, pool, and beach. We ended with a leisurely afternoon at the movie theater seeing Coco and had lunch and played Cornhole afterwards.
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December kicked off with a girls' night out at an escape room. We were proud of our less than one hour finish to solve the puzzles.
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Then our front porch started filling up with package deliveries and that meant December madness was in full swing.
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24 April 2019

Salt Creek Outtakes

We had the quickest photo snapping session ever to get a family shot for our Christmas cards. We decided on overlooking the beach but it ended up being cold and windy so it was a good thing we had only set up a 15 minute mini session. It turns out that 15 minutes is the perfect amount of time to capture the best smiles from 4 boys. Besides, all we really wanted was a picture of us all together for our card. The rest of the outtakes were just a bonus.
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14 April 2019

Blake is Ten

Blake let it be known that his 10th birthday was a big birthday. We had a hard time locking down what to do to sufficiently celebrate his advancement in age, until I found a great deal to stay at Great Wolf Lodge. The boys had seen their commercial advertisements for years and I knew they would be beyond excited about the getaway.

Blake opened his gift that contained an event ticket the day before the big stay. He jumped up and down and so did his brothers.

Blake had a Robotics competition on Friday night that delayed our arrival a bit, but we enjoyed the novelty of being in a hotel on Friday night and geared up to spend the entire day on Saturday at the indoor waterpark.
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We hardly saw the older boys; they were hopping from one slide to the next all day.
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Even Finn couldn't get enough of the waterslides.
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It wore him right out.
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The whole lobby was transformed into a winter wonderland and we enjoyed some shows there in addition to swimming our hearts out.
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Now all of the boys think that when they turn ten they will earn a night at Great Wolf Lodge. Sounds good to me, I always prefer experience gifts over toys!

Ten things I love about Blake:

1. He works hard at things that don't come easy to him. He has had to work through frustrations and setbacks in piano, school and swim this year and he keeps trying no matter what.

2. He is loyal. When I throw out options to switch swim teams or swim groups within his own team, he won't even consider it. 

That brings me to...

3. He is not a quitter. He finishes what he starts.

4. He is willing to try new things. He picked up cello and Robotics club this fall in an already busy schedule filled with swim, piano and scouts.

5. He values his free time and spends it well; typically building things, riding his bike or scooter, or jumping on the trampoline. He does not like to waste time.

6. He is grateful. He notices small acts of service and he is the first to thank me for taking him on outings.

7. He is responsible. He wakes up before everyone and packs his lunch for school. 

8. He respects rules and authority. He loves to be in charge and make sure everyone else is following the rules. 

9. He is the first one to feel remorse when he makes mistakes and writes me beautiful apology notes.

10. He's such a conversationalist. He shares lots of details and asks lots of questions. There is never a quiet moment riding in the car with Blake and I love having him in the front seat with me; talk, talk, talking away.

Happy tenth birthday Blake!


13 April 2019

Decking the Halls

Each year when we pull out the bins with Christmas decorations, the boys find the burlap that goes around the tree and wrap each other like mummies. 
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After all their fun, Blake hung around to actually help me decorate the tree.
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Ready or not for December, we got two important things checked off the list. We set up the tree and wrapped the children's Christmas books so the boys could open one each day. 
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Sometimes I wish we could skip all of the rest of the December hubbub; shopping, programs, parties and additional decorations, and simply enjoy the glow of the tree lights and gathering around them each night to read our favorite stories. That is my favorite part of December.


12 April 2019

Black Friday

I didn't do an ounce of Christmas shopping, but I sure liked this Black Friday.
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Every time I glanced at the sky, even after the sunset, it kept getting more and more colorful. We've had lots of good beach days but I think this one will always stand out above the rest.