Sebastian’s 7th Birthday Party

This year Sebastian has taken up a new love of dominoes. Not playing the game of dominoes so much as stacking them, making knockdowns, and doing incredible chain reactions with them. When I asked him what kind of birthday party he wanted, it surprised none of us when he said, “A DOMINO PARTY!”

I enjoyed making this into a party theme! We decorated with dominoes, made a domino cake, had a domino pinata, and ate Domino’s Pizza!

Sadly the party didn’t go exactly as Sebastian or I imagined it would. We were hoping that some friends would come over and calmly learn his love of dominoes and build knockdowns with him. We even intentionally invited the calm boys from his class, or boys who have mentioned liking building with dominoes. However it turns out that when you get 7 boys in one place, it becomes Lord of the Flies very quickly. Let’s just say that after the party Daniel and I turned to each other and thanked God for our amazingly calm boys that he gave us!

It wasn’t a total hit, but it wasn’t a total bust either. Sebastian had a good time and got some great gifts….and now we have some calm one-on-one domino play dates on the books too. 🙂

Sebastian Turns 7

On the eve of your 7th birthday, I find myself emotional. Every year on your birthday, I take a moment to reflect on how hard it was to get pregnant with you. I remember the tears. The waiting. The praying. I thank God that He gave you to us. I thank God for his perfect timing (4 years younger than your sister). I thank God that you gave Dayla her first sibling and helped to make me a mom of boys as well as a mom to a girl.

Sebastian, you will always be the child that we hoped for; the child I dreamed of holding in my arms for 2 years before I was able to. You were prayed for. You are so loved. By us all. You will always be the middle child, but I always pray that you know how crazy loved you are.

When Dayla talks about you, she knows how lucky she is to have a brother like you. I think you may still be her best friend. August wants to be your best friend, but I don’t think he is quite into that ranking yet in your eyes. Both your siblings love you and admire you Sebastian, because you are just that special to us all.

Bash, you are sweet and kind. You are the perfect middle child because you are immensely flexible and easy-going. You constantly surprise us, keep us all on our toes, and amaze us Sebastian. You know how to be both intensely quiet and intensely chatty. You can sit in a room and just take it all in, like you are surveying and memorizing the entire scene…but you also are the only kid we have that will walk up to a stranger at a park and strike up a a conversation. You are extremely confident. You are wicked smart. You are wildly independent in that you often fix your own breakfast, find your own things, and would probably walk a mile to the corner store and buy me a gallon of milk if I asked you to. But you also love to be around people; in fact the thing that we love and admire about you the most is your ability to get along with just about anyone. You are loved by everyone in your class, but you also are the kid who will not play with anyone at recess because you want to help pick up trash on the playground. Some days you brag about your abilities, some days you are humble. You can go weeks without crying…but when you do cry, it is almost as if the whole world is closing in. Some days you are mellow and calm, and some days you are INTENSE and passionate. You are the perfect kid to win a raffle because you scream and jump up and down and have the best reactions. Whatever mood you are in, whatever side of you we have, we love them all.

Happy 7th birthday Sebastian “Bash” Victor. Dad and I are so blessed to be your parents. We love you so much.

Halloween at Preschool

I haven’t talked much about how the kids are doing at school this year…mostly because no news is indeed GOOD NEWS.  They all love their teachers and are doing so well.

August is by far the most excited school kid we have ever had.  When he wakes up and it is a school day he will shout, “YES! I have school today!” and do a little fist pump in the air.  When I tell him it is not a school day, he is visibly disappointed.  [This is such a blessing and such a welcome difference from his sister who kicked and screamed and begged not to go to Preschool (for the first 3 or 4 weeks)]

Every time I drop him off in the morning, I don’t have to remind him to put his lunch in the pail or put his name in the sleeve like I see some of the other parents do with their kids. He is super responsible for his own things, and truly just embraces everything about his school experience….and just LOVES IT.

Here are some pictures from him at his preschool Halloween parade.

Eh-hem, I mean “Animal Parade” as August reminded/corrected me….on Halloween…at the parade. 😉

Camping at William Heise

In May of this year Daniel and I went camping with some of our closest friends and had a really really wonderful camping trip. Well okay, it was actually more of an “extended picnic at the beach” since to me camping involves trees, but it was a really marvelous extended picnic.

I love that camping slows down time. I love that there are no T.V.’s, and better yet that kids aren’t ASKING for T.V.’s. Our kids aren’t old enough yet to have cell phones so that isn’t a battle either. So we just get out into nature and our kids run, dig, hike, explore, swim, bike, laugh, and play. Yes, like kids used to do. And the adults sit around and talk uninterrupted…and even get time to play some games together.

When I am camping with my family and our friends, life feels REALLY REALLY GOOD. Everything just feels right in the world and full in my heart.

All that being said, after our “extended picnic” camping trip in May, I really wanted to harness that again. Our kids are all in a really prime camping age…just old enough that the parents get to enjoy the trip, and just young enough that the kids still really enjoy the adventure of it all. So days after our trip in May, I booked up some camping sites in September.

This time around there were trees. Just 3 families went this time so it was a bit quieter then the 6 families trip, but it was still perfect. The weather was 80’s during the day and mid 50’s at night. There were trees, a camp fire, a nature/bird presentation, hiking, biking, and again lots of laughter and fun. August did trip and fall onto the fire pit, burning his hand so badly that he got 6 or 7 blisters, so this wasn’t HIS favorite camping trip….but the rest of us had a pretty amazing time. [see his band-aid picture below]

[I can’t wait to keep camping this year. Daniel and I are upping our camping gear and hoping to get some more trips in this spring.]

August’s First Day of Preschool

Daniel and I had no idea how August would do at Preschool. When we did the open house before school started he was shy and wouldn’t even leave our side, but when he was in Sebastian’s classroom with me last year (while I volunteered) he would sit right there with the big kids (he even moved around less than a lot of them!).

I am excited to report that he was an EXPERT on the first day…not one tear. He walked right in like he had been doing it for years. He grabbed his name and put it in just like his teacher instructed, then sat down on the mat and waited for the other kids to show up. So cute. He was SO ready.

August’s teacher is “Mrs. W” who used to be “Ms. Culllison” with our other two kiddos. She is the MOST amazing preschool teacher and we are so blessed to get to have her for all three of our kids. I have a feeling it is going to be a great year!

Dayla’s 11th Birthday Party

Over the years I have done amazingly elaborate themes and decor for Dayla’s birthday parties. Last year when Dayla turned 10, we talked a lot about how that would be my last “over the top” party for her. She was very kind and very understanding (mostly because she sees how much work it takes me!) and happily settled for a “tuned down” party this year.

It was fun brainstorming together ways to still make it a fun party, but with a lot less work. The thing that helped the most was that Dayla agreed to invite only 3 friends AND did a LOT of the decorations and preparing on her own (this mama is SOOO proud…wait until you see!!)

I love the wonderful woman that my girl is growing up to be. She is confident and strong, but also so sweet, thoughtful and empathetic. She is the perfect balance of both toughness and softness; I just know that she is going to be one of the world’s most amazing women.

Happy 11th birthday sweet Dayla! Thank you for all your help planning and executing this beautiful, “Night at the Movies” themed party!! I LOVED everything you made…it all turned out great and we had such a fun night!

Beach Camping-Mother’s Day

A few years ago we went camping with a group of friends on Mother’s Day weekend, at my request, and it was TERRIBLE.  The friendship was warm and wonderful, and memories were made, but it was SO COLD and it rained the entire first night.  It put a damper on my family and our friends wanting to go camping again for quite some time.

Years have now passed and our hopes for a good camping trip have at last re-built.  To hedge our bets and try to make sure it wouldn’t be in the 30 degree territory again, we opted for beach camping this time.

Now I need you to know that I grew up going camping under massive redwood trees with the sound of birds chirping and maybe a babbling stream in the morning. So needless to say that when we drove up to this campsite that was next to a major Hwy, with a gravel patch for our tent, no trees, and a picnic table….not to mention next to the railroad that had trains going by every hour…yeah…I can’t say I had the best attitude. And it started to sprinkle rain right after we all set up our tents. But it wasn’t too cold, so that was a plus.

To calm my bad attitude I made myself feel better by saying that this was more of an “extended picnic with friends” than a camping trip.  And then we headed into a pizza joint the first night to get out of the rain and enjoy some hot food.

Although the first night wasn’t the best, I am so pleased to say that the next 2 days were incredible. We were met with clear skies, an incredible ocean view, a cool but temperate 65 degrees, beach access to swim in the ocean, and many adventures with friends.

It wasn’t exactly what I hoped for when I asked that we re-ignite our camping tradition, but I will say, it ended up being a really marvelous extended picnic.

Easter 2018

Every year I want to make a big deal out of Easter. Two reasons.

1. It is indeed the holiday that my faith rests on. No resurrection means Jesus was just a man, or a prophet at best. The resurrection is the one event that solidifies he deity…and that matters because if Jesus is indeed God, well it leads to so many more things.

2. It was my favorite holiday growing up. The spring flowers, the amazing See’s candy that my mom filled my basket with, the egg hunt, the delicious lamb my parents would splurge on, the bunny cake my Grammie brought over, the sugar eggs my mom would set up for us to gaze into…it was all magical and warm and perfect.

Easter is interesting because in my quest to make it “perfect” or “a big deal” it has morphed over the years. I just want to share my love of it…and each year it always goes down very differently from how I imagine it is going to go down…but each year it is perfect in it’s own way. This year we are part of a new church, our first day opening was Easter Sunday, so Easter celebrations at home were quiet.

So this year was simple: an egg hunt with the neighbors, candy, and the one fact that Jesus did indeed rise. If you doubt the last part, don’t be afraid to look into the historical. Many witnessed it. Historians verify the validity of those witnesses. So we don’t have to take a “leap of faith” as much as we can use our brains and our logic and come to a conclusion that indeed Jesus was truly God as he claimed to be. So we celebrate that, as well as celebrating that the rest of the things that Jesus said were probably true too. Celebrate because he made some pretty cool claims, that in my opinion are totally worth a read. 😉

Happy Easter. 🙂

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