Thursday, November 28, 2013


I didn't expect Vivian to appreciate Christmas this year. I thought she was too young. But she is already squealing over houses adorned in lights and ogling over Great Gramma's ornaments.

Christmas will be magical once again.

This past week, my entire extended family on mom's side traveled from Florida, Texas, Washington, and Southern California to congregate here with us. We shared giant delicious meals every night and stayed up late reminiscing and catching up on each others' lives. It was first time in four and a half years that all of my siblings and I were together.

My sister is a month away from her due date. 

Corey strung lights up on the house and I dusted off the wreath and hung it on the door. Tonight we will pick out the perfect tree and decorate it. The holiday season is here.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


We have been trying to introduce the baby sign for "help" so that Vivian can ask for assistance in putting on her shoes, scooping her oatmeal, and what have you. But when I offer "help", she looks at me with a furrowed brow and pouted lip - almost insulted, like how dare I take away her independence. Help is the last thing she wants.

Today we were exploring downtown Roseville (as we often do when we go to work with Corey) when she started pointing and shrieking excitedly towards some cement stairs leading up to a house. It actually was an architect's office. (I only know because Corey networked their computers when they moved in.) "You want to climb up those steps?" Nodding and giggling, she squirmed out of my arms as we approached the stairs.

It was only seven steps high. But then again, she's only about two feet tall. From her view down there, the staircase was a towering feat to conquer. Up she went, no reservations.

Fifteen months old. This seems to be the age of confidence. Everything is tried. Everything is tasted. Everything is new.

I won't hold her back. I won't to tell her that people are staring, that the stairs are filthy, that there's nothing she needs at the top of the stairs. I want her to hold on to her confidence as long she can - forever. Because people will always judge, hands can always be washed, and sometimes you don't need a destination to start moving.

As kids grow up, the water becomes too deep, the stairs become too high, and fear of failure settles in. At what point do kids loose confidence in themselves?

What if they never did?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Redland Trip Part 2 - Sand & Seagulls

About a month ago, Vivian and I visited my sister in Redlands. Read my first post about the trip, here.

One of Sheridan and Mark's favorite places is San Diego. They lived there for the majority of their marriage and discovered all of the best spots to visit and eat. I have only been in the city a handful of times, so was thrilled to hear that they planned a daytrip during our stay to introduce Vivian and I to the place they love - San Diego.

We painted the nursery first thing in the morning so the paint fumes could air out while we were gone. After a short two hour drive, we made it just in time for lunch at the amazing Sushi Deli. Best sushi I have ever had. Awesome prices.

Later in the afternoon, we headed to the beach. How could we not? The weather was perfect.

The beach was definitely a learning experience for Vivian.

Lesson 1: If you venture too far out toward the ocean, you better run the other direction when the tide comes sweeping in. Or you may fall on your face.

Lesson 2: Eating sand is not fun. It may look like brown sugar but it's glorified dirt.

Lesson 3: There's never just one seagull. If you throw a Cheerio towards a seagull, you will soon be surrounded. One seagull is cute. A group of thirty is a bit intimidating.

Lesson 4: Sand. Gets. Everywhere.

After the beach, we met up with our cousins, Nicholas and Evan. Both of them are truly amazing young men. Nic is finishing up law school and Evan has this killer job for Sony. Both are so much fun to be around. It's a mystery to us all how they are both still bachelors. Two lucky ladies have a lot in store down the road. We all went to The Fish Shop for some of freshest fish you can get and then walked through Balboa Park (where Mark proposed to Sheridan years ago). We finished the night by indulging in some extraordinary desserts at, well, Extraordinary Desserts.

We were all wiped out at the end of the day. The ride home felt twice as long as the way there, as it always seems to when you're exhausted. Definitely worth it though.

A few other highlights from our vacation...

1. Coffee cake from Carolyn's Cafe. Holy. Moley. I had never before experienced anything quite like this buttery, moist, warm slice of heaven. I still dream about it.

2. Successful Thrifting Trips. Sheridan found the perfect retro side table for the nursery. We painted it and it looks like a lot more than the ten bucks she spent! I found a set of magnetic letters for the refrigerator. They are now Vivi's go-to activity when I'm cooking dinner.

3. Staying up late to work on crafty things and talk life with my best friend. So great, I can't even tell you.

Sheridan is really great at helping me document Vivian's growth by taking pictures of her every few months with her amazing Canon Rebel. Here are some the photos she took for her 14 month milestone.

And, finally, a few shots with Aunt Sheridan. Doesn't she look fabulous seven months pregnant?! Vivian and Sheridan have such a special bond. We are so blessed to have her be a part of our lives.

We are counting down the days until Thanksgiving when we will be reunited once again. We love you, Sheridan and Mark!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Upcycled Thrift Halloween Costume - We Can Do It!

She's a cultural icon. She's a symbol of economic power for women. She's Rosie the Riveter.

She was also a perfect choice for Vivian's first real Halloween costume.

I thought of the idea months and months ago and had been keeping a mental list of supplies I would need to create the costume. I knew that if I wanted it to be recognizable, I would have locate some specific items and I knew that thrifting was the way to go.

Thrifting is kinda like fishing. Sometimes you can be out there all day, casting and reeling and end up with an empty ice chest. But every once in a a while you'll catch something really great - something you're proud of - and it makes it all worth it. It doesn't always happen so if you're going to stick with it, you've gotta love the sport.

And I do. I love hunting through racks of velor track suits and polyester dresses with heavily padded shoulders and mock leather vests with fringe to find something awesome. It's especially fun when piecing together a costume, because some of the most outrageous things are often just the things you're looking for.

I was at a thrift store looking for some old suitcases to use in a display at work. I figured it wouldn't hurt to check the children's section to see if they had what I needed for the Rosie costume. I remember saying aloud "I'm going to check and see if they have a one-piece denim jumpsuit in Vivian's size." It may seem like a stretch but if there is one thing that thrift store's don't have a shortage of, it's denim.

And lo and behold, I found this little number, sized 18 months.

I paid just two bucks.

Because it was intended for a tiny mechanic, it needed a few alterations. I took a seam ripper to the patch on the front and the embroidery on the back. I attempted to peal off the silk screen lettering. No such luck. It took nearly a half hour to take off one letter and you could still see a discoloration from where it had been. Instead, I found a tote bag at Hobby Lobby made out of a very similar color denim. I cut out a panel from it to fit the back of the jumpsuit and just glued it on.

These stick-on embroidered stars and letters were just $.69 each at Hobby Lobby and added a fresh pop of color and a hint to anyone who didn't know there American History.

The front also needed something. It had a discolored oval from where I removed the mechanic patch.

I found a perfectly sized American flag patch and stuck it on.

The jumpsuit was ready to go but Rosie just isn't Rosie without her iconic red and white polkadot head scarf. Back to the thrift store! I perused the racks for anything with the pattern that I needed and came across this.

Once upon a time, it lived in the drawers of a grade school teacher, I imagine. But now, this stretchy nylon top would be given a second chance at life. I cut it up, tied it in a knot, and stretched it over Vivian's head. For the finishing touch, I collected some plastic tools and stuffed her pockets.

Among lots of princesses and ladybugs, one little riveter tried her luck at trick-o-treating.

Rosie fixing the bike rack with her all-in-one screwdriver

Our little hero on the homefront grasped the concept of trick-o-treating so quickly. She would take a piece of candy from the outstretched bowl and plop it into her bucket, sign a little "Thank You", and wave goodbye. We only visited about five houses around a cul-de-sac and it was plenty. The highlight of the night was the house handing out glow stick bracelets. She didn't want to take it off.

Will we be able to think up an even cuter idea next year? We Can Do It!