Farewell 2008

A year filled.
A year closing.
The year of Logan's birth.
The year that our family became a family of four.
The year my little girl turned two.
The year Abigail became a sister.
The year I became a mother of two, under two.
The year John and I faced some of the most difficult trials--head on, as a couple.
There were times we danced through our trials with grace, but many times we were crawling on our knees praying to God to help us through.
The year we received many of the Lord's blessings.
The year my faith grew into a new and deeper faith.
The year that I finally realized I am a full fledged adult.
The year of deeper prayers.
The year of family.
The year I meet my niece.
The year I was reintroduced to my nephew.
The year that I was able to see my sister and Peter.
The year that taught me the most important thing in life is God and family...nothing else matters--even though it is sometimes a struggle to not get caught up in all the other junk of life.

Hello 2009!
I'm sure I'll learn even more this year.
I'm sure my kids will amaze me even more.
I'm sure my husband and I will grow even closer.
I'm sure my faith in the Lord will deepen.

I am grateful for life and hope to live it well.



This week I am in San Diego on vacation with:
my husband
my kids
my sister & brother in law
my niece
my nephew
my mom & dad

Today we walked to the beach to watch the sunset. It was glorious! (and I forgot my camera) The kids collected sea shells (and by kids I mean all of us), and we put our fingers in sea creatures and looked at crabs.

Weston, my nephew, found a big shell. On the walk back to the house I was walking behind Weston and Uncle John. Here's what I overheard:

Weston: "Uncle John, I still have my huge shell!"
John: "uh-huh. What do you think lives in that shell?"
Weston: "I don't know?"
John: "I know what lives in that shell. A sea dragon lives in that shell."
Weston: "wow!"
John: "do you know what a sea dragon looks like?"
Weston: "no"
John: "they are very scary. They are green. And they have very sharp teeth!"

******long pause*****

Weston: "wow"
John: "You know, only really brave people have sea dragon shells!"

****long pause and time for Weston to really process thsi statement****

Weston: "wow, then I am really brave!"
John: "only hero's have sea dragon shells."
Weston." what is a hero?"
John: "a hero is someone who is very brave and very special."
Weston: "I am very very brave. I am a hero!"
John: "yep"

What a great conversation to overhear....an uncle building up his young nephew.



We had a great Christmas
The kids got spoiled.
We ate great food.
Here's some pics


The Mission Inn at Christmas

One of my most favorite hotels is The Mission Inn in Riverside. It is beautiful and looks like a majestic old castle. This is the first year that we visited it at Christmas time. Oh my, do they out do themselves!! There are lights everywhere! There's an ice skating rink, there is music and HUGE Christmas tree, and perhaps best of all Cinderella type horse rides. We started the night with a nice dinner at the hotel---if we do this again next year, we'd skip this part....nice sit down dinners do not mix well with toddlers and babies! After dinner we walked around and enjoyed all of the Christmas festivities! One fun part...it was COLD! It really felt like a winter wonderland! Here's Abby and my cousin's daughter Savannah. They get along really well! They were holding hands and singing Jingle Bells.
Me and my two favorite boys!
The carriage ride. Abby loved this. She screamed Jingle bells as we rode through the streets. She told me that she was Cinderella and we were going to a ball. Fun!
Us and our Abby.


babies and cookie dough...delicious!

This is Logan's first reaction to cookie dough....not store bought cookie dough...the real stuff! I completely understand his joy.

This was an important parental teaching time....how to properly like the utensils clean!

Abby's an ol' pro, she already knows how to do it!

A good night--me & my babies....and cookie dough! Heavenly.


Mommy's Helper

Abby was so helpful today. First she helped me by putting lotion on the couch. That has been on my to-do list for a long time, so thanks Abby for helping me check that off the list.

Next, Abby helped me by getting out all the wrapping paper. She also helped me by pulling long sticky strings of tape from each tape dispenser she could find. Then she helped me by drawing on all the boxes. Lastly, she unrolled a few wrapping paper rolls.

Think of all the time my little helper saves me by assisting me with these important chores! Thank you Abigail! Mommy loves you.


Rain and Wine stoppers

I love the sound of rain...in fact, it is my most favorite nature sound. It is also rare here in Southern Cali, so when it rains it is like a main event that takes center stage in our home. This morning when I woke, I heard it.
Falling on the ground.
Falling on the roof.
Falling against my window.
It gave me a burst of energy as I jumped (that's a lie) out of bed. I thought to myself, "I've gotta have a look!" So I tiptoed into Logan room (he was awake), and I told him, "look little handsome (that's what he's called) it's raining!!!" It was, after all, my "little handsome's" first big rain storm--so we sat, well I sat and he nursed, and we watched the rain falling down from the sky.

Then I woke up Abby (whom I affectionately call "beauty") and she promptly told that we needed an umbrella!!

That is how my day started--fast forward 25 minutes and I was running around yelling at my kids like a crazy woman. Why? Why you ask? Because they are crazy and they cause so much trouble and Abby is really naughty lately and I am TIRED! I cannot seem to keep my head above water--between the kids, my job, the housework, being a wife, and everything else...I am failing at juggling all the balls and keeping them all in the air.

It's hard.

It's tiring.

It's discouraging.

My house is messy.

My work is undone.

My two year old is giving me a run for my money.

My 10 month old is playing in the toilet water.

My husband and I need a date night!

So, fast forward another 3 hours and I'm leaving the mall--in near tears. Let's just say that Christmas shopping with two small kids is HARD and usually very unsuccessful! So, after only buying one gift, I gave up, loaded the kids, got in the car (still admiring the beautiful God sent rain) and called my mom.

I drove.

I talked.

I cried.

My mom said, "I was thinking of coming out tonight."

I said, "YES!!"

Fast forward another 5 hours and "Horray, Nana's here!" My mom is awesome. She always encourages me. I am blessed by her. Always. So, after Nana arrived I did what any self respecting tired mother of two young kids would....I left.

I went Christmas shopping.


In the beautiful rain.

I didn't have to load stroller, fight with a toddler, calm a baby, bribe with candy, hold a bottle, threaten a spanking.

I just parked the car.

Opened the door.

And walked into the store.

WOW! I forgot how easy shopping is without kids.

I bought many gifts. I even made it out of Bed, Bath and Beyond without spending money.

Okay, that's a lie. I bought a new tablecloth and some wine stoppers. But I did pass up the high tech trash can, a new soap dispenser, the egg yoke separator, and the high tech cheese grater.

Gotta love Bed, Bath and Beyond.

And Nana.


Nothing else matters...

...once daddy is home from work!


My view

No matter what I'm doing these days...my hair or makeup, washing the dishes, talking on the phone, watching TV, folding clothes....this little boy crawls over to me and pulls himself up on my leg -- and just stands there, holding on to my leg, staring at me, sometimes yelling at me. But, really....how could I be mad with a view like this?

Then I've got my Abby girl...she's stubborn these days about most things--one main battle is getting her dressed in the morning. She would wear underwear and nothing else...if I allowed her. So, on Sunday morning she informed me that she was ready for church. Take at look at this....pretty awesome, huh? (Oh, and she was dragging around a bag full of my old (non-nursing) bras. Yep, sure Abby....go ahead and take that to your church class!)


Empty nest?? Already!

My boy is growing up.

I just walked by our sliding glass door which looks out to our backyard. Earlier this evening I decided that it was time for Logan to sit at the table in a booster chair, and thus, I would retire the highchair to our garage. I took it outside for a good washing before hauling it to the garage. Not suprisingly, I got distracted and forgot it there outside...in the cold....wet...and alone...already forgotten about.

It makes me sad that my boy is already graduating to the table and leaving his highchair behind. Am I strange that this makes me tear up? Before I know it we'll be celebrating his 18th birthday and he'll be leaving the nest.

This nest that I'm working so hard to create. A nest that, I hope, is warm, safe, fun and protected.


I'd like to keep my little birdy here with me, warm in our little nest.

Perhaps he should have one last meal in his highchair. I mean, it's only right outside the door...I'll just pull it inside tomorrow when my little guy is ready for breakfast.

Which will be bright and early.

Have I mentioned that Logan's a morning bird?


Childhood freedoms

Nothing like watching a little
TV in your birthday suit.


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Today was the day that I was going to create our very own winter wonderland in our house. Okay, that's a bit much....basically, today was the day that I planned to decorate our home to reflect this wonderful Christmas season.
I had visions of me, John, and our two beautiful bouncing babies hanging bulbs on the tree, laughing together as we sipped hot (okay lukewarm) cider, Christmas carols playing in the background, each one of us hanging up the stockings....you get the picture.

Here's how it actually played out.

I quickly realized that it would be wise to begin the decorating process once Logan went down for his nap. Logan is in that phase where he is tearing everything apart, putting everything in his mouth, trying to climb the tree, etc. He's like a little terrier dog. He never stops! He's always in motion! he's always into something!

Allow me to digress...Abby's no better. I spend my days running, sprinting, racing, trying desperately to keep one step ahead of them both. For example, this morning Abby and Logan were eating breakfast and I was talking on the phone. While I was distracted with my phone call, here's what they did...

This photo does not really capture the mess that these two monkeys made. They both painted their faces with their blueberries--yep, both had blue faces and blue hands. They also threw their food all over the kitchen. Naughty!!!

A little later in the day, Abigail came to me with Vaseline rubbed all over her face and arms. She said, "look mom, i put ipstick on!"

Not long after that Abby walked through the room with just her shirt on. No panties. Just a shirt. I said, "where's your panties?" She just laughed and said that she does not wear panties anymore.

A few moments later I found Logan...crawling into the dishwasher.

Where was I? Oh, yeah...creating my cozy winter wonderland. Here's how it went: I ran around as fast as possible trying to hang, create, organize, arrange, and display all of the Christmas decorations. John watched football....but he did help...i'd post a picture of that...but he was in his unmentionables aka: boxers.... :)

In the end, I decided that Christmas decorations stress me out. I really hate clutter and trinkets. And have you ever noticed that putting Christmas stuff on every shelf, ledge, and surface feels a bit cluttered? So, I de-cluttered and I am now happy with our Christmas beautification.

Do you want to know the most fun part for Abby and Logan. it was not the lights, not the music, not the tree, not the stockings.

It was a box and some post-it notes.


Conversations & Prayers

Tonight I took the time to sit in the dark and talk with my Abigail.
She sat on my lap, her head on my shoulder,
and she began to share her thoughts with me. She told me about getting her picture taken (Carmen took the kids to get Christmas pictures today--brave woman!), she talked about the big Christmas tree with "shinny balls" hanging from the branches, she talked about the big "lellow" star at the top of the tree. She told me that the tree was so big that she would have to get a ladder to touch the top. She told me about how Logan was put in a box for his picture and that she thought it was funny. We spoke of her candy jar, her special potty treats, grandma, disneyland, pajamas, books, daddy, Jesus, how mommy has "big boobies" and how mommy wears "big panties."
She wanted to pray. And then pray again. And then pray again. She thanked Jesus for mommy's hair (which brings her comfort when she trills it in her fingers--she's done that since she was 11 months old), she thanked Jesus for mommy, daddy, grandma, jacqui, jared, carter, brandon, jakob, megan, becca, peter, sierra and weston. She thanked Jesus for candy, chocolate and sugar.
I am not making this up by the way--the little girl can talk! She takes after her mama I think.
She thanked Jesus for apples, flowers, and friends. She would have continued if I let her. But I finally got a word in edgewise and told her that it was time for bed! As I turned out the lights and walked out of her room I heard...

"it was a pretty tree. a big tree. it had a "tar" on the top...."


My Sister

well, really her name is Rebecca Nicole formally Hurley, but now a Bunnell.
that's my sister.
She's a missionary.
In Mongolia.
That's in between China and Russia.
Don't lie--you didn't know where it was, did you??
I didn't know where it was until she said one day about four years ago, "I think Peter (her perfectly suited for Becca husband) and I are going to go to Mongolia to be missionaries."
"huh?" I so eloquently said, "where's Mongolia?"
And so the adventure begun.
A year of planning.
A baby boy, Weston (my nephew)
Packing big wooden crates to ship over seas.
I remember that day.
A big wooden crate.
A small blond baby boy.
My sister and her husband.
So brave.
So sure.
A final Christmas together.
A final day trip together.
We went to Newport Beach.
Ate at the Crab Cooker.
John held up Weston high in the air.
Face to face.
Weston laughed.
And then he drooled a large string of drool into John's mouth.
An uncle was born.
Funny thing to remember about that day.
We said goodbye.
They left.
We're sisters, so...
...we called...
...we wrote...
...we Skyped...
...we sent boxes...
...she came back early...
...for the birth of my first baby, Abigail.
She was there with me, and John...
...in the hospital room...
...she kicked people out when I was too overwhelmed...
...she took the pictures of my little girl (with a BIG head! ug!) emerging...
...she cried...
...she told me that Abigail was so beautiful before I saw my baby for the first time.
She left again.
Back to Mongolia.
Lots of talks.
Lots of letters.
Lots of love.
Another baby.
My niece Sierra.
Born in Thailand.
I remember how shocked my sister was to have a girl.
More talks.
More calls.
More emails.
Lots of emails.
Thank goodness for emails.
Another baby.
My turn.
It's a boy.
Funny story.
Water broke...
while I was sitting at my kitchen table...
With our Realtor!
Becca called right then.
I was shocked that I was going to have a baby that night!
I wasn't due for three more weeks.
She talked to me over the phone while I waddled around the house trying to get a bag packed.
She reassured me.
She told me two kids is twice the love and not to worry.
She called every hour.
I remember she was talking to my mom while I pushed.
She was there.
Over the phone.
Nothing can replace a sister.
She's home now for a few more months.
It's been GREAT!
Lots of love.
Lots of talks.
Lots of screaming kids.
Lots of sharing mommy techniques and frustrations.
Just felt like writing about my sister.
This is just a glimpse.
So much more that I can say!
Not enough blog space.
Love you sister!
No matter where you are!


Some toliet paper, a Christmas tree, and jumping on the bed!

This is Abigail helping me make the bed...and by helping I mean jumping, rolling, throwing pillows, and other helpful things like that.

Look what I found mom! This stuff is great, the more you pull the more you get! How fun!

Logan's first Christmas tree--we went with the fake tree this year because Logan likes to eat wires, branches, drink tree water, burrow under the tree itself...you get the point. So this year it's fake tree and pine scented candles. :)