Thursday, August 29, 2013


Legoland just happens to be about fifteen minutes away from where we live. Seriously - it's right across the street from Costco. SoCal - all about the tourism. The boys have always asked to go, but with a family of five it's a small fortune to spend the day. This year we caved. I am officially a year pass card holder. And lemme tell ya - it's kinda great.

Initially, we did a end-of-the-summer long day with the whole family visit. The boys were extremely patient while they spent the morning with us in Duplo (kiddie) land. After lunch, the chiquita and I headed home for a nap, and they got to spend the rest of their day on roller coasters with dad. Win win.

But, since it's so close, it's super convenient. Leeloo woke up around three today and was, um, "energetic". I didn't have any errands, so what to do? Legoland! We got there at about 4:30 and the park closes at 6 - plenty of time for a not-quite two year old. She had a great time, we rode a boat, she played on the spray ground, and she got to ride the train (her fave) again. Not too shabby for a Thursday afternoon!

The good thing about the year pass is that it gives us time to explore. The park is huge - with a water park and an aquarium. We have only made it this far after two trips:

It takes us half an hour just to get to the lasso'd Duplo area. It's not a long walk but the chiquita has short legs (and is highly distractible).  Like I said - good thing we have a year!

So many things are interactive.

Today she played in the house for about half an hour (there is a slide on the other side).

Like I said - she loves it!

She leaves it all on the playground :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

New Tricks

Today Leeloo learned a new skill - taking off her diaper! What joy for mami (especially after she peed on our friends' floor!) The chiquita is so thrilled with nudity that duct tape may be in order soon :)

The un-dressing nook.

Reading in the buff.

Drawing au naturel.

Cooking light.

Side note: I have been laughing all day!

**Originally I published these sans daisies, but then I wondered what the legal ramifications were. I also wondered if she's getting to old for naked pics. Pout. Why isn't the world all soft and fuzzy?**

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


We didn't venture out at all yesterday. It was a quiet lazy day at home (well as quiet and lazy as they come with three kiddos). The day marked a year since my dad died. A whole year. A year and a half since I'd actually seen him. Leeloo was only three months old then. So very little and different from who she is now. I see a lot of him in her, she's smiley and clumsy, social and stubborn. I think he would have totally gotten a kick out of her little personality.

The memory of Mia has been wafting about as well. I think about her everyday, but people don't usually talk about her that much. Kinda a taboo I suppose, to acknowledge the dead child. The boys don't know that norm so they mention her often. It's sweet - they accept that she was a full part of the family and know that we are missing her.

It didn't occur to me that adding a large mirror to the chiquita's room would make me ache. Like most kids she's loves to flirt with herself. She talks to her reflection and kisses it and dances, it's all very fun. Except that I can see both of them there. My girls. Playing together.

I suppose the longing for what was will always be there. I choose to live in the what is instead.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

In celebration of my mother.

Twenty months and seven days ago my life went askew. After the birth of my daughters, I was simultaneously the happiest and saddest I'd ever been in my life. To share both ends of the spectrum internally, pulls you like taffy. I didn't even know when to grieve, since all my time went towards being a wife, a stepmom, and first time mother with a demanding newborn.

That winter was a blur, and by spring D's dad was dying. D put everything he had into his father and the battle against cancer. There were two or three months when he couldn't be present at home, he had to be there for the rest of his family.

Summer came quickly. We had just celebrated out first year of marriage when my dad died suddenly. By then I was numb with shock and grief. Everything was completely raw and there was no way to put anything on hold so I could heal.

If I ever saw my daughter go through that much pain I would drop everything to comfort and support her. I realize now that learned this from my mother.

By September my mom quit her job and was here. Small visits at first, but they extended. She watched me cry and yell and vent and be quite and struggle and smile and succeed. Most of all she got to be included and incorporated into the daily routine of our family, something that I didn't realize I needed desperately. Yesterday, after almost being here a year, my mom finally felt confident in my ability and happiness, to go home for good. I am sad that she won't be here, but I am so thankful for everything she has given to us.

Thank you Ami. Thank you for recognizing when I needed help, thank you for loving me so whole-heartedly, thank you for driving back and forth to Tucson countless times (and through haboobs, snowstorms, and border checks!).

Thank you for doing laundry and dishes and dusting and vacuuming, and cleaning beyond any clean that I can ever muster. Thank you for going to Target and Costco and the grocery store with me everyday (when I couldn't get my dinners sorted).

Thank you for going to the park and knowing the people I spend my days with. Thank you for genuinely caring for them and their children.

Thank you for loving your granddaughter bigger than the sky and deeper than the sea. I have the best memory of my grandparents and I can already see the same between the chiquita and you.  The two of you have a connection that is so sweet. When she makes you laugh and smile I can feel your love pouring out.

Thank you for being passionate about the boys and their education. Not only have you gotten them excited about reading, but you've helped them learn valuable lessons about themselves and who they want to be.

Thank you for being my sounding board. Whether it be about big huge things or silly small things. Thank you for putting up with my temper. I hope I have apologized every time I've snapped at you. Especially when I was hungry!

Thank you for living here and not being a guest. You knew what was needed before I ever asked. You were always two steps and hour (or two) ahead of me.

Thank you for letting me be a mother and not a child. Our parenting techniques totally differ and you let them. Thank you for letting me stumble and coddle, and smother, and spoil this beautiful girl of mine.

I want to say that I love you more than anything, but now, after having my own daughter, I know that's silly. My love is ever expansive, like a magic balloon, that can stretch and extend with my heartbeat. My love for you lies in there, always growing with each year of experience and appreciation.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Her very own room.

Leeloo is so excited - she has her very own room now! It took me twenty months to move her over. Twenty. I am so that mom. In our defense, we did have a lot of trauma to recover from. A lot of nighttime cuddles were needed. That said - her room is the most fun ever!

Between Target, Ikea and Pinterest I could barely fit all the ideas in. It is so colorful, and the chiquita loves it. 

I debated getting a toddler bed or  a twin, but Leeloo moves around a bunch at night. The room we converted already has a full size guest bed, so we put the mattress on the floor for now. Eventually she'll graduate to a bed frame but she totally enjoys the accessibility right now. 

I don't know if you can tell by the picture, but the canopy is HUGE. It's patio size from Ikea. At first I thought it would overwhelm the room, but it fit perfectly. It's also nice because she doesn't get tangled in the fabric. And she totally feels like a princess.

Originally, I wanted the mirror in the closet, but I bought a big one and didn't think to measure first. As a result, the mirror now lives next to the closet instead. It works out though because the chiquita can see herself easily. This little area has kinda turned into her music area. The piano her Nana bought her has been a fave since it arrived last Christmas.

My dad had these cute chairs on his back porch. My stepmom gave them to me awhile ago, but I hadn't had a place for them until now. They are the perfect height for this little Ikea table. And now Leeloo has a more formal place for her tea.

This wall is my favorite. Pinterest totally inspired the use of large engineering prints. As she grows older we can change out what pics live inside of them, and we can update the quotes too. The ones she has now are: 

• Happy girls are the prettiest. - Audrey Hepburn
• Though she be but little she is fierce. - Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
• Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; the third is to be kind. -Henry James
• You have my whole heart for my whole life.

This nook turned out great too. The shelves are just her size, so she can easily reach her books. I love that she can see the titles too. Hopefully this solves the "take out every book before I find the right one" dilemma. The little rocking chair was mine when I was little, I'm exited that she gets to use it too (Many thanks to her Uncle Ben for fixing it and making it seem like new!) 

The closet doors were big and heavy. I removed them and opted for these light curtains. One side (in the reflection) has all her clothes and blankets up top. The right corner is a dress-up area. We don't have a lot of costumes yet, but I'm sure that will change over time. For now she plays Tinkerbell and farmer Ripley - she even can say Yee-Haw!

Leeloo's favorite part of the room? Her new easel. There's a chalkboard on one side and a dry-erase board on the other. It also has a spool of paper underneath for painting. She is absolutely delighted by this item. She loves it so much. We keep the dry-erase crayons (which are awesome by the way) out all the time. However, the chalk and markers have to be put away between uses until we can curb her from taking them everywhere with her. Chalk + white sheets = not a smart mama.

I thought the transition from our room to her own was gonna be a tough one. So far, she has gone willingly. Yay for a new big girl room!

Here is my Pinterest inspiration: Toddler Sanctuary

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


When I was little, maybe two or three, I got a teddy bear from my Nana Juanita. It was a favorite of mine. That bear was always in close distance. It was in my bed in highschool, I took it to college, off on travels, and eventually, I brought it here, to California.

Somehow, Leeloo has chosen this particular bear as her favorite. Every morning she wakes up and finds him. "Teddy, teddy!" she squeals as she cuddles him. Tonight was the first time that she's found him before bed.
The cuteness could kill.