Thursday, March 12, 2015

Faces of Liam

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Daddy Daughter Dance

This was posted before, but it bears repeating in its own post.  The girls loved their Daddy Daughter Dance so much.  How lucky they were to have not one, but two handsome dates.  The same could be said for the guys as well.  What a special night.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Everyday Miracles

Dinner under a canopy of trees, a separate kids table and live music because it's Valentine's Day // Disney does it again.

Just one of a million magical moments.

Radiator Springs Racers was Gabe and Ari's favorite ride. Ari hooted and hollered the whole time, kicking her feet with excitement. I so wish I had taken a video. Bella didn't like the drops, because they made her "butt feel weird". Liam was just an inch shy of making the 40" cutoff. I guess we'll have to come back to celebrate when he grows that inch..

Pretty awesome to get to ride with these guys // I can't believe I gave birth to them four days shy of 8 years ago!

Every day in Disneyland is the best day ever // even when Liam has a blowout on the Jungle Cruise // you read that right.

I'm so lucky // Gabe told me out of the blue "Mom... I love you." // it may not seem like a big deal but it was one of the best parts of my day.

She may look vulnerable, but don't let that fool you. She's the bravest of them all.

Three good lookin’ cowboys.

Someone's having a good time.

My Valentines.

Family pictures are getting trickier // I love my motley crew.

Goofball will actually wear her 3-D glasses now.  Every milestone counts.

Apparently Disneyland didn't offer enough thrills for Bella, because she felt the need to get stuck in and nearly fall 30 ft. out of our mulberry tree today. Jake: "How are you feeling Bella?" Bella: "Like I'm going to FALL!"

He knows he's cute and he works it… in the rearview mirror.

I had all but given up on the idea that we would have any cauliflower, but surprise surprise // it has only just begun.

We will start and end this day with celebrating two of the most amazing people I know. These two made me a mommy for the first time 8 years ago, and I can't even comprehend how that much time has passed. I am so grateful for their joyful, humorous, and loving presence in our lives. I can't imagine our family without either one. I love them so much my heart hurts!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Everyday Miracles

My little ones love holiday decorations. If they had their way, our house would always look like the seasonal isle of the grocery store. Last night, I spent a few hours with a hot glue gun and went for it.

Making juice.

80 degrees. I guess it's summer again.

It's wonderful to see Ari growing up and establishing her own friendships.

All girls all day.

Yeah, I have no idea what beats this // Ari and Bella's cousin, Madison's birthday party was their favorite day this year.

This conversation: Me: "Bella, doesn't she sound just like Elsa from the movie?"   Elsa: "Umm… that's because I am the same Elsa from the movie."

Daddy Daughter Dance with Daddy and Papa // the girls were so excited to be the center of their attention all evening // I hear they danced like no tomorrow.

Official Daddy-Papa-Daughter Dance pic // three generations // melting...

Ari and her IRun4 buddy got the chance to meet in person today, and it was so awesome // perfect match, these two.

Just about to begin gardening and other weekend to do's, but that corner and a cuppa are calling my name // and I got tulips from Ari's IRun4 buddy Tracy, so that's one more reason to stay right here.

Picnicking with our next door neighbors // I love our country life.

Nothing makes me happier than watching my sweetest childhood memories being fulfilled in my childrens' present day // Gabe is making a dash for home base.

I love when my yard is full of life // the cousins have arrived // every spring day is the best day ever

I don't know where she came from, and I have no idea how to feel about this.  I have a crazy, fearless girl.

It's all about letting loose at the rest stop and then when we get back in the car, I'll pull out my peace and calming essential oils.

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Everyday Miracles

Thank goodness for funny movies on the mornings after he keeps us up all night.

Bok choy rice noodle soup with turkey and tofu meatballs because my sister is coming over tonight, and I'm bound and determined to cure everyone's winter colds.

It's hard to believe that we are already at the start of a new season, and we're planting five rows of our summer garden! // Three varieties of tomatoes, bell peppers, three types of watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe were started this weekend. // Meanwhile, we are still reaping all that the winter garden has to offer, and feeling so blessed.

Birthday parties full of good friends are happy reminders that I love this little community we have and this place we call home.

I scratched the itch and came up with this guy // he isn't finished, but at least I can work on my taxes now.

Busy day of grocery shopping, a downtown neurology appointment for Ari, prepping for a twin birthday party, cheer practice, and speaking at out R.S. activity tonight in simplifying the way we eat... and running on 4 hrs. of sleep // I need s glass half full. Of fresh squeezed tangelo juice.

Lemon bars in my beehive cake stand // I would be lying if I said I didn't spend a very long time searching for a beehive cake stand.

Is it just me or does she look way older than six here? // impatient to play in the rain and get soaked to the bone // rainy day ritual.

Of course I got her to smile two seconds later and here comes my six year old running back.

Bathtime sweetness.

Friday night movie favorite "My Girl".

I didn't even think it was possible to have this much fog in Phoenix // this is definitely a cuddle day..

I sketched this out for Bella, and here's what she did with it // I have a painting budd.

I came home from a photo shoot last weekend, and Jake was baking lemon merengue pie! What?! It was so good too!

Sunday family walks are the perfect way to close the weekend.

We don't always eat Cold Stone ice cream, but when we do, it looks like this.

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Everyday Miracles

Rewinding a bit to remember some earlier everyday miracles

Pomegranate gift to Marci.

Cheeseburger gift to Leah

Hot chocolate date with with my two favorite women // mommy-daughter time.

I love my little buddy so much in spite of the fact that he can be so naughty sometimes... he threw his Converse shoe at my head with amazing aim when I was driving this morning, because he was mad that I changed the radio station.

Ready for the adventure of potty training.

Born to fly.

About to embark on another day with my mini me.

Baking pies for company with my apron twin // fig pecan from my favorite restaurant Beckett’s Table // I have been waiting for this all week.

Fish love “Let it Go” too.

Beautiful day for the zoo with cousins.

We can't seem to get enough of pampering goats.

Thank the Lord.

One plateful of kale and quinoa salad is never enough.

One of those rare days when I've had eight hours of sleep, go to two back-to-back classes at the gym, and eat a salad for lunch // feels pretty good I have to say.

Sometimes I hate putting him down for a nap, because it just means less time with him.

My budding photographer snaps photos of every sunset, zoo animal, and "cool scene" that there is.

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Makeover Madness

Normally, my sisters-in-laws and I like to do our makeup at the kitchen table when we’re together so we don’t have to miss out on quality time while we get ready.  Or at least that’s what I tell myself.  So our daughters see this and, of course, want in on the primping and preening.  We made them over and voilĂ  – a pretty, yet slightly awkward look into the future.

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Ari was trying so hard to perfect her kissy face.

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Four gorgeous, overdone little girls.  I know I’ve got my work cut out for me with the one in the red. 

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Ari took her cues on how to pose from her cousin, Madison.  She is such a girlie girl at heart.  But then again, they all are.

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Snowy New Years

We spent a wonderful New Years at Grammy and Papa’s house in Holbrook with most of the cousins.  We weren’t expecting snow, but we were lucky that we came prepared, because it snowed hard and all at once.  We didn’t have to go far at all to play in it either.  They boys had snowball fights and made some type of bomb out of snow.  They shot paintballs at snow targets too.  Bella helped me make her a snowwoman.  Even the little ones had fun.

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Ari did not like to wear her gloves, and then she realized that she didn’t like how the snow felt without her gloves on either. 

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Unwrapping Christmas

Christmas Eve is always hard to beat, but Christmas Day just may have tied it this year.  The kids got many presents.  Ari received a lot of Frozen toys like an Olaf, a wand, a microphone, a boom box, and a several other things.  Bella asked for Lego Friends, a fish, a real professional sports bra (for cheer), and a stuffed peacock.  Her wishes came true.  She also received her own big girl bike and scooter so she and Gabe wouldn’t have to share his.  Gabe wanted mostly Lego sets, but he also got a tree ladder, some sports balls, books, binoculars, and a few other things.  Liam got his first remote control car, Duplo sets, sword, among other things, but he loves playing with Ari’s toys the most.

All four of my little ones were so grateful and excited about every gift, no matter how small.  It was a pure joy to give to them and watch them receive.  They also had made us gifts from school, and were equally excited to give them to us.  I will always cherish the moments in which they’ve given us gifts and cards over the years.  Nothing is more special than watching their pride and anticipation at our appreciative reactions.  In my experience, there is no truer happiness felt in life than in giving to others, and especially to my own children.  I love watching them experience this joy.

Both of my sisters were here as well as Grammy and Papa.  I served a green chile egg casserole, because it was easy, but everyone loved it.  We took our time unwrapping, eating, and eventually cleaning up, and I don’t remember hearing a whine or a complaint all day.  The feeling was so playful and peaceful.  I feel happy just remembering the day.  After a nap, just the six of us went to Chinese food at Magic Noodle House and to watch a movie in the theater.  This year, we saw Big Hero 6.  This has become very much a tradition to us on the years that we are in town.  It is so relaxed, and yet so fun.  We get noodles, because I remember that as a child, my family sometimes used to eat noodles around New Years to represent long life or something like that.  When I was young, we also had a tradition of going to a movie and Chinese on Christmas Eve, because I was raised Jewish, and not much else was open on Christmas Eve that still felt festive.  Jake and I have decided to incorporate this tradition, because after cooking many consecutive elaborate meals and prepping/shopping/wrapping/decorating/baking/singing/reading/reflecting all month long, it is nice to have a break but still be celebratory and have something to look forward to. 

I didn’t take hardly any pictures this year, because I’ve been relying on my iPhone camera too much.  I’m kind of sad about it.  I want to start using my real camera again and be better about documenting detail the way that I used to.

All I can say is, I hope we remember this.  When things are hard and kids are whining and I am tired and crabby, I want to remember this.  When they are older and it seems like they care less and less (I hope this never happens, but I know it can), I want to remember this.  This day will never happen again.  At least not quite like this.  And I want to remember that it did and how it did for ever and ever and ever.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Everyday Miracles

Snow day with the people I love most // Bella commissioned me to build a snowman taller than me, and I did not let her down // so much fun!!!

The cold isn't her favorite but her smile pervades no matter where we are.

Do you want to build a snowman? // I love how focused she was.

It makes me so happy to play with my children in the snow // I got to relive a piece of my snowy childhood with them // it was a beautiful winter day in Arizona.

Jam sesh with Ari and her cousin Vance.

Winter wonderland.

Go ahead, give me a reason to send you a card // I'm ready. Thanks to my sweet in-laws for gifting me the coolest stamp ever.

All is pretty. Even through a dirty windshield.

It's been seven years since we have been on skis. I was a little rusty, but we had an amazing time. We even FaceTimed our kids the whole way down the mountain on one run.

We celebrated 10 years of marriage today. I am one lucky girl. Love him so much!

Close of a perfect day.

Meet "Grayson", the Taylor family pet // one of Bella's favorite Christmas gifts.

Scatter sunshine all along your way.

Garden beets baby.

Cilantro grows like a weed // a weed that I love to eat.

Flat leaf parsley // the garden goods keep coming.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Everyday Miracles

"This is how you cut your food with one hand."

And sometimes they really love each other.

Gabe told me that he wanted to plan things just like I do // he rescued this mini weekly planner from the recycle bin... It was a gift from our financial planner // here is is showing me his schedule.

Prepping for the feast // Bella learned how to crush garlic // prime rib underway.

Prime rib with sage jus, Yorkshire pudding, beet arugula and goat cheese salad, leek and potato au gratin, roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon, pecan fig pie a la mode // Christmas Eve menu.

This Christmas Eve, we welcomed family into our home to celebrate, and it was one of the most memorable and fulfilling holidays I've had // I love Christmas.

Christmas with my people // I love them.

T'was the night before Christmas // waiting up for Santa and doing a gift exchange with my love.

We go big on Christmas Eve when we're home. I love the anticipation and hope of that day. Christmas night is like one big joyous exhale for us, and the last thing we want to do is cook again after cleaning up from a brunch on Christmas Day. So unless we are with extended family, we opt for the simple and casual tradition of going out to Chinese and a movie on Christmas night // last night we saw Big Hero 6, which may be one of my favorite movies ever // I rank movies by how much I cry in them.

We shared the last slice of Grammy's pecan fig pie from Christmas // recipe by Beckett's Table, our favorite restaurant for the past few years

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and we wish you a blessed New Year!

8 kids eating around my table, 5 more playing football in the yard, 4 men around a bonfire, 4 women in the kitchen // a good night with good friends.

A great way to end a great night.

Cuddles with my biggest little guy.

Having a moment watching kids who are not arguing // thank you Monopoly.

We were super excited to become super heroes // thanks to my sis for taking our whole family on this fun adventure!.

Marvel Experience with my babes and my sissy.

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Christmas Eve

Right now, somehow, life seems busier than before.  We are settled into our home, and Ari’s surgery is well in the past, so I don’t know the reason it is that way, but it is.  I have picked up some new hobbies, maybe, like gardening and baking and dabbling in watercolor, but this blog still matters to me.  This project that I’ve had for the past seven years.  I see it as a legacy for my kids, a journal in a way, of major milestone events and celebrations in our lives.  I don’t really care that my grammar is poor and my writing sounds like it rambles… okay, I do, but not enough to quit writing over it.  So, I am aware that it’s February, and I’ve skipped a few posts along the way, and still I’m no farther than Christmas Eve, but I want to remember this past Christmas Eve. 

I want my kids to remember it if it’s possible.  It was my favorite one so far.  It was warm and perfect in every way.  At least I thought so.  I loved that we were here and we had a beautiful mix of both sides of our family.  We ate prime rib and Yorkshire pudding, potato leek au gratin, beet and arugula salad, stuffed mushrooms, and had our favorite pecan fig pies.  Everyone contributed something to the meal, but more importantly, our home was full of love and laughter and every seat at our table was occupied by wonderful company.  We cooked together and ate our “feast”, as Gabe would say, and went on a family walk in the cold night, and it was so lovely.  Christmas Eve is my favorite night of the Christmas season.  There is so much anticipation and it’s so festive, yet it has hardly anything to do with presents.  This song just about sums it up for me: http://nj1015.com/watch-excellent-christmas-version-of-hallelujah/

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sweet Traditions

Baking Christmas cookies is one of my favorite traditions of the season.  It goes without saying that it is possibly the favorite Christmas tradition for my kids.  It is, after all, an entire weekend devoted to cookies and Christmas movies (movies in case, you know, you need a break from eating cookie dough and frosting cookies).  Each year, we assume that the process will get quicker and more efficient, because we have one year more experience, but it just never works out quite that way.  And that’s okay, because our memories of these days are something that I always want to remember.  Truthfully, I would love to think that this is something that we will repeat in our home for years to come, even when our kids come home from college or have chubby cheeked children of their own.

This year, we added our new favorite chocolate chip cookies to the standard sugars and ginger molasses cookies.  I already have a couple new recipes in mind of cookies I want to add in 2015 (thumbprints and snickerdoodles, in case I forget).  The schedule is that we spend Friday night making dough, Saturday baking and usually making more dough, Sunday decorating and bagging, and Monday evening delivering to our friends and neighbors.  Tempting as it is to eat 500 Christmas cookies, our favorite part of the whole ritual is making the deliveries.  In a small but significant way, we are getting to celebrate with each of our friends.  The kids take turns walking up to the door and personally making the deliveries.  This is one errand they never complain about running, no matter how cold or dark it is outside.  The chance to present their friends with a treat that they helped to make all weekend long is an honor that they compete for at each stop along our route.

These are the tiny things that make up our season.  It’s these tiny things, these everyday things, that I appreciate so much.

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