bye to Disneyland

Vange got to wear a “birthday girl” pin the whole day. Supposedly you get certain perks but the only one we found out about was free tortillas at California adventure, which we didn’t make it to. But she did get many many greetings from the staff.

And Arwyn came across many handsome princes during the day but none so handsome as this one that was allowed to kiss her gloved princess hand.

Birthday Girl!

Vange is 1! We celebrated here in Long Beach with her Aunt Jessica yesterday. Though today was her actual birthday, I delievered her 1 year ago to the hour now at 9 o’clock in the evening.

We are so grateful for the blessing of her life in our family. She is full of sweet kisses and cuddles and spunky mischeif. She knows what she wants and goes after it with tenacity. Here are some pictures we took of our cupcake celebration with her.

Arwyn Lisa Jane


It seems like a moment ago when I delivered this little person. I still remember the feeling of being overwhelmed by having a little life of my own. Watching her grow up has been such a privilege. She has such a compassionate heart. She loves people. Each night ends with the question “who are we going to see tomorrow?”. Which also reveals the organizing, planning side of her. She needs to know ahead of time to prepare and plan. Maybe when she grows up she will be an administrative assistant for international politics in social justice. Maybe.

She has this hunger for adventure and seeks thrilling activities. She has great balance and agility when she is rock climbing. She easily scales rock walls that older kids take much longer to summit. When she gets to the top its usually celebrated by hands high in the sky and exclaiming “YES!”. She has the most competitive spirit in the family. There are many tears when she is not the first, best, biggest, fastest. Maybe when she grows up she will be a professional athlete…soccer is the latest thrill.

Lately she spends hours at the table writing letters, practicing her numbers, coloring pictures. “Mom how do you spell _____?”. Giving cards to all her friends and writing love letters to her Hero, daddy. Sometimes in the car we ask ” Arwyn, tell us a story.” To which she goes on a long journey of tales connected between “and the-e-n”. Maybe when she gets big she will be writer. Wait. I just got handed a picture she drew of road runner and coyote, maybe she will be an illustrator.

When I discovered her dreams for this years celebration of her life I got these answers: Purple, pink, sparkles, dresses, butterflies, and last but not least princesses. We decorated the living room at Nana’s with balloons and streamers, a big purple and pink butterfly cake, her tiara and special tutu waiting for her on her throne-like chair and a little mound of Disney princess wrapped gifts awaiting, most of which were dollar section in Target of various surprises like : toe rings, big BLING rings with hidden lip gloss compartments, fancy elbow high gloves, and more. By the way Daddy went shopping for all that:) When all is said and done at the end of our 5 year olds day there is something that she dreams of being… a princess. But in our hearts she already is.

Of course daddy and I had to balance this glam out with some intellectual stimulation. Her main gift was her first video game (which we were quite reluctant to introduce). But since it was a Leap frog one that only teaches reading and writing we were OK with it. What a big girl gift! She also received a MP3 player from Nana and Papa. Nana downloaded all the family songs that she would like. Side note: Nana she listens to it daily, she roams around the house with her earphones in learning all the songs, just lingering. It feels like a teen in the house…

Happy birthday sweet blessing of ours!

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The beginning of Birthday number 4

Last Saturday we celebrated A’s 4th birthday and aunt Jessica’s (Josiah’s sister) 29th birthday together since we had all the sibs together. A requested a vanilla princess cake, so I made the cake the night before and Jessica requested that they decorate it together, so A mixed the different colors of icing and Jessica put it on, and they decorated it princess style. I couldn’t find a cinderella (Arwyn’s favorite princess) cake topper so I found a small rubber one in the toy section at Walmart. It worked well. Uncle Joel made yummy hamburgers and we had watermelon and salad. It was fun celebrating together, and this marked the beginning of birthday celebrations. Sunday of course was Daddy’s day, but Monday A got to share a hot fudge sunday that The Red Robin staff brought to her after singing happy birthday. We were having dinner with some friends and they snuck in that she was having a birthday tommorrow. Tuesday was actually her birthday and we started the day sleeping in! (much to Daddy and mommy’s delight) and then made blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Daddy found some free movies here in Sant Ana and A chose American Girl: Kit Kitridge over Horton and Charlottes Web (which are actually two of there favorite movies). They made it through the whole movie (“they” is the key word). Then A wanted to go to Chili’s. We let her pick whatever she wanted for lunch and she picked a blue freeze drink, and she nibbled on some of our things too. The Chili’s staff came and sang happy birthday as well, and she buried her head in my shoulder at first, then braved and relished it with sheepish delight. They gave her a HUGE brownie mountian, that she gladly shared with us. Then we drove home while the sugar crashes took place. We spent the afternoon swimming and recieving birthday phone calls from grandparents and aunt Jessica, having so much fun that we didn’t document it with the camera. We did get one clip of them swimming with our video camera, which I will try to post, or rather get Josiah to post if we can figure it out. They had so much sugar yesterday that I held off on the chocolate cupcakes that A requested till today. I will post some pics of those this evening. The birthday festivities have pretty much come to a close, except the day after we get back in to Sac we are driving to Vallejo to go to Magic Mountain for her birthday gift. What a week!

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A tribute to my mother

In less than a week my mom is going to turn 51. Looking back on half of those years, I personally know how fast they must have flown by. I feel like my three years of being a mother have felt like seconds sometimes. Maybe the first 6 years couldn’t have gone by fast enough at moments, being a single mother. Then finding someone special to share her life and her child with life was less stressful, and finally she was able to spend that time, not working three jobs just to support me, but raising me herself. Making my lunches, doing my hair, taking me to school, going on my field trips. As I got older going to all my sports events. Investing in me. My friends always loved to talk to her, she was open and laid back, very easy to talk to, something not all parents take the time to do. I appreciated that she was a good listener and always made me feel like she was on my side. Even if she didn’t agree with my thoughts or feelings she validated them, she showed she remembered what it was like to be in my stage. When I get those opportunities in the future I want to learn from her example.

God has given my mom such creativity! The things she makes and creates never fail to amaze me. And she is so generous with that gift, always making things for others. Another example of her generosity is giving away things she doesn’t need or has more than enough of. A little over 3 years ago when i worked at the family center she asked me if I know of a woman that needed plates. She had a whole matching set of dinnerware that needed a good home. And when I had a clothes drive give away at the center she had the opportunity to give it to my Muslim friend. She had some plates but they were all cheap mismatched plates, nothing to be proud of when serving guests. My friend was so overwhelmed and happy to receive this hand delivered gift, she hugged my mom repeatedly. Till this day she asks me how my mom is doing. It is a running joke that we can never leave my mom and dads house without a box or bag or both of stuff she is sending home iwth us, NEVER. I try to send people home with things too. Recently my dad was over and it was I who sent him home with stuff, a jar of rejected pickles (rejected from my daughter) and a Huge cucumber. Well, its a start.

God has made a woman’s heart strong. Strong in the way she gives, strong in her desire and pleasure to create, strong in the fierce way she loves, strong in her intuition and confident fight for the helpless and needy. My mom is one example of this strength. Through these glimpses at her and who she was created to be, I see things about my own creator that I love so much.

Happy Birthday Mom!