celebrating Matthias {twelve!}

adventures, matthias By January 15, 2016 2 Comments

Today is Matthias’ official birthday. Earlier this week we celebrated at Disneyland with his cousins, Torie and Lexie. We’re pretty much all about Star Wars right now. So fun! Matthias is twelve–I keep trying to make myself believe it. It’s cliche but the time goes so quickly!

Matthias, you are such a blessing to our family. You make us better. You teach us to see the world creatively. You help us understand David. You’re an old soul with keen insights beyond your years. I adore you!

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Happy birthday, Matthias! We have so many reasons to celebrate you–and your birthday is a perfect opportunity! I can’t wait to have new adventures with you this year. And may the force be with you.

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a little bit of joy to suprise the day that changed everything

david, inspiration By January 7, 2016 72 Comments
At some point in each person’s life, pain shows up. That’s the day everything changes. What was true one moment is gone the next. The path turns sharply in an unexpected direction. It’s disorienting, unfamiliar terrain.
When it happened to me, I knew in the depth of my soul, things were broken and would never be the same again. The pain, in all its heavy darkness would be with me for the rest of my life. Instead of the happy, healthy baby I imagined, our son was born with a severe disability and a body that didn’t work correctly. The joy of anticipating our son turned to grief as they hooked him up to monitors and tubes.
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But slowly, as I started to accept it, the pain became part of me. It was still there but it wasn’t quite as heavy.  I loved cuddling with David and feeling his soft breath as he cuddled into my shoulder. And that first smile when he was three months old was like wind behind me–moving me forward. Each footstep didn’t feel so exhausting.

from pain to joy-01Then, to my surprise, a little bit of joy peeked through the clouds, like ray of sunshine. I wasn’t expecting it and I almost felt guilty. It must be a fluke, right? A little accidental joy. But little by little joy showed herself. The pain was still there, it’s there today, it’s part of me and part of my journey. But the pain has allowed me to feel joy in a new, fresh way that I couldn’t before. The pain helps me appreciate the joy. The pain makes the joy much, much sweeter. The day that pain showed up, it changed everything.
And in it’s crazy, mixed up way, the brokenness of pain is making me more whole.

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Every morning I slip the sunburst ring on my finger as a reminder.
Has joy started to peek it’s head through the clouds in your journey? I’d love to hear.
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why we’re in love with boston and our family moments to share

adventures, family By November 25, 2015 6 Comments

Last week we took a family trip to Boston with my sisters Susan, Ellen, Chrissie and Chrissie’s family. Matthias chose Massachusetts for his state report last year–so we wanted to visit and see the historical sites. But we also just wanted to travel and do something fun! And we had a great time. The boys have grown a lot since our last adventure–and we’re planning to visit our family in England this Christmas, so is was kind of a warm up trip. We saw a lot, ate great food and had a blast with cousins, aunties and uncle. IMG_1371

We explored Harvard. Cambridge is beautiful–it was a highlight of the trip!

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Since I’ve never seen Boston–I was taken with all the history. It’s so different than California. I think it’s kind of a mash-up between England and San Francisco.

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The trees were gorgeous this time of year. Some had colorful leaves, some were bare. The weather was chilly but manageable.

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The cousins missed their first flight {along with their parents} and they arrived 18 hours late. We were THRILLED when they arrived. The cousins had so much fun together!

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Look at those smiles. David smiled the whole weekend. He was such a trooper!

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Oh the leaves and this gate at Cambridge. Spectacular.
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I loved getting some sister time!

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Red building, red leaves.

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I can’t get enough of that sweet smile. I think David loves to travel. He’s an explorer. He wants to see and touch and experience everything.

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Matthias spent time drawing and sketching. Of course.

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We found a mini kalimba for David at a little boutique. He spotted them right away and I couldn’t resist getting him one!
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Twins <3
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Steve and I explored some fun boutiques on an evening out. It was such a treat to explore Boston for a few hours without kiddos!

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A green bike in front of the boutique Sault. So inspiring.

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Evening light.

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So thankful for our family of four!

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Susan planned the trip and found us a great Air B&B where we all stayed together. Most mornings we made breakfast and we relaxed in the evenings. Perfect!

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Hey, it’s Paul Revere!

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I love the texture of this alley and the peach door at the end.

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David crashed out on the way to the airport and Matthias snuggled up with him. Matthias is faking–but isn’t this the sweetest?!

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Berries growing on a brick wall.

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Here’s our whole gang! Party of ten. We had so much fun!!

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We walked the Freedom Trail on our last day and explored a couple old graveyards. So much history and story and texture.

Have you been to Boston? What are you favorite things to do there?

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how we created the ‘cross of light’ ornament {matthias remarkable imagination}

christmas, inspiration, matthias By November 18, 2015 3 Comments

Months ago, I was working on our Christmas ornaments and I asked Matthias if he would like to design one. At eleven years old he draws and sketches all the time–I mean, he literally carries his drawing pad and pencil case everywhere. And this is nothing new–he’s been drawing since he was three or four years old. I thought an ornament would be such a fun gift for aunties, uncles and grandparents. I asked him to draw whatever he wanted and planned to create the ornament from his drawing. Take a look at what he came up with!

*Also, scroll down to the bottom to see our ornament special happening today!*

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Matthias drew the cross himself, then from his drawing, together, we created the ‘cross of light’ ornament. It turned out so well!

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I asked Matthias why he wanted to draw a cross for the ornament and he said, Christmas is about Jesus and the cross symbolizes Jesus. Beautiful!

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The ‘cross of light’ ornament is finished with a sheet red ribbon and can be personalized on the back with a name or the year.

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I love having Matthias use his talents and creativity to be part of the business. He loves to draw and sketch. This was a perfect opportunity to use his artwork in a new and different way. He inspires me!

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All ornaments are buy two get one FREE today! Enter code ‘happytree’ at checkout. Yay! They’re the perfect gift for each kiddo, teachers and dear friends.

You can find the ‘cross of light’ ornament here. Click here to see all the 2015 ornaments.

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researching and loving Morro Bay {kayaking as a family}

family, san luis obispo By September 10, 2015 6 Comments

One of the things I wanted to try this summer was kayaking. A couple of years ago, some friends of ours took Matthias and David–and they had so much fun! So we figured we should be able to make it work.

I researched Morro Bay kayaking and Kayak Horizons had excellent reviews. We loved them and we will definitely use them next time we go {which I hope is soon!}
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Matthias was a little nervous but he did great!

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I love all the colors against the blue sky and Morro rock in the background.

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They gave us each a life vest. I love that silly face Matthias is making–what a ham.

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Can you see that smile on David’s face?

David and Steve used a single kayak, Matthias and I used a double. We wanted to keep David close by–and the single worked great. After a bit we ended up switching and I took the single with David and Matthias and Steve took the double.

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Matthias did a fabulous job paddling. He told me I was being too bossy, though!

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We pulled the kayaks up the sand bank and played for a bit. Matthias named this bit of land ‘Barnacle Island’.

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The three towers in the back and our kayaks on the beach.

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Matthias wrote in the sand with the oar.

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They’re checking on David to see if he likes kayaking. Love my boys!

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All four of us. I loved sharing this adventure together.

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David loved playing in the sand and he got it everywhere.

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Steve pulling the kayak out so we could explore more.

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There were lots of sea lions hanging out on this dock.

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We paddling around lots of boats and up and down the bay. It was a beautiful day. Afterwards, we got lunch at Blue Sky Bistro overlooking the water. It was such a fun day!

Have you tried kayaking? I’d love to hear about your experience.

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hiking madonna mountain

family, san luis obispo By September 3, 2015 2 Comments

Last weekend we tried a new hike–Madonna Mountain. It ends at a huge ‘M’ on the side of the mountain. The way up is a bit steep but definitely manageable. The landscape was dry {we’re in a severe drought} but breath-taking.

When Matthias was little we told him the ‘M’ on the side of the mountain stood for Matthias. So it was fun to hike there and see it up close. He struck an epic pose near the ‘M’–check it out below.

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David loves to be in the pack and soaking up the fresh air.

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The dry grass against the blue sky was beautiful.

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How did I get so lucky to call these boys ‘mine’?

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Framed by branches.

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Matthias, claiming his ‘M’ on the side of the mountain.

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Sunlight filtered through the leaves.

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This hike had lots of cacti–different from other hikes we’ve done.

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All smiles–I love it!

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After the hike we got cinnamon rolls. So it was pretty much perfect!

We’re on the search for more good hikes. I want to try a hike in Avila Beach that ends at a lighthouse. It sounds amazing!

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50 years is a crazy, amazing thing {all the details}

celebrate the every day, family By August 6, 2015 4 Comments

When we were in Lake Arrowhead last week, all the kids planned a 50th dinner celebration for my parents. We split up all the tasks and it came together beautifully. The dinner was delicious {I had nothing to do with food prep!} and the decorations were so fun {I helped with the fabric bunting and centerpieces}. We had a toast {Martinelli’s sparkling apple juice} and a talent show put on by the kids. My younger sister created this video of photos through the years. Each guest took a succulent favor home with them. I’m sure we’ll remember this night for a long time. I took lots of pics to share with you–take a look!

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I know my parents felt celebrated and that’s exactly what us kids wanted for them. So special! 50 years is a crazy, amazing thing.

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Cousins camping at lake arrowhead 2015

family, hello monday By August 3, 2015 4 Comments

Hello friends! We just got back from celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary in Lake Arrowhead. It was busy and crazy and fun. Now we’re welcoming cousins and preparing for zoo camp this week! I’ve got pics to share of our trip and some hellos for a brand new week.

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–and there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!***

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Hello cousins and aunties and uncles and grandma and grandpa. All of us together!

Hello party prep and celebrating 50 years.

Hello splashing in the lake and waterslides.

Hello pine trees and starry skies.

Hello editing pics and smiling at memories made.

Hello stand-up paddle boarding for the first time. Once I got over being terrified of falling, I love it!

Hello big breakfasts and lots of coffee.

Hello making up spare beds for cousins.

Hello packing lunches and loading up on sunscreen for zoo camp.

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week with beauty and busyness waiting. Are you ready?

What are you saying hello to this week? Leave some hellos in the comments or link your own hello monday post there.

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hello celebration

adventures, family, inspiration By July 27, 2015 3 Comments

Later this week we’ll be up in the mountains celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. It’s sure be fun with a lot of crazy mixed in. How about some hellos for a new week?

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–and there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!***
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Hello cousins and aunties and uncles and grandparents. Hello big family!

Hello mountains, cabin sleeping, and starry nights.

Hello driving winding roads and trying not to get carsick.

Hello swimming and hiking and board games.

Hello making memories.

Hello breathing deep and letting life be imperfect.

Hello celebrating 50 years of marriage. I think you have to be a little bit crazy to be able to stay married that long, don’t you?

Hello to YOU! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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