3 Day Visit with Nana and Grandpa…and NOT ONE to show you….

There have been many times in my life when I thought, “I am the worst daughter ever.” Like the times when I would yell at my mom in my teenage years, or the times that I have forgotten to call/write on their birthdays, or the Christmas’ that have passed that I overlooked sending a gift to them, or when months pass and I have neglected to pick up the phone because life just feels “too busy” to call. Yes, these are all true. I know. It is shameful. There are many days that I wonder why they have not totally disowned me as their child. After having my own child I am convinced the only reason they even still call me is because of that strange, incredible, very forgiving love that exists between parent and child. I thank God for that love.
I am not sure if this one takes the cake, but I am definitely having a moment today when once again I find myself thinking, “I am the worst daughter ever.” I just finished spending 3 wonderful, glorious days with my parents and I did not take ONE (no, not one) picture. And I am A PHOTOGRAPHER! Seriously. What was I thinking? Feelings of guilt creep in a little, but more then that I just feel REALLY sad that I neglected to capture this really special time that we shared. It was a so terrific. I figured tonight that I would just have to journal about it a little, to you internet, so that I can capture this feeling and try and retain it, try to mold it into a memory that stays without the photographic reminders.
We really did have a glorious time. The first day just filled with relaxing and visiting and a fun dinner at a 50’s Diner. The second day was a full day’s trip (6 hours!) to the San Diego Zoo. Wednesday was the Scripps Birch Aquarium and then a scrumptious dinner out at the 94th Aero Squadron restaurant.
But it wasn’t the activites that made this visit feel so special and stand out to me. It was the little things.
It was my parents listening to me talk for about 6 hours straight the first day with intense listening ears. Being genuinely interested and excited about the things that are important to me right now. (they have always been good at this)
It was that with every meal I made for them my parents both gave me enough compliments that I am actually CONVINCED now that, if I wanted to, I could be the head chef at a fantastic culinary restaurant. Not the type of compliments that feel hollow or routine, but they are genuine. They mean them. And they aren’t shy about handing them out. At the end of the days with them I really do feel like I could do anything; I am soaring. Really I think what it is is that they just appreciate the little things in life. They appreciate the little things on a kind of level that I have never seen in anyone else. I love that about them.
It was also that they love my daughter. I know you are thinking, “she IS their grand daughter”. But my parents have 8 grand kids and 7 kids of their own. Many of the “oh that is so cute” moments, my parents have seen before (more then a few times before!) And my daughter (although I love her to pieces!) has become quite the personality. I recognize that she might be a little much for some people. But they loved her. They got a kick out of the same things I love about her. They laughed at her silliness and her jokes and her quirks the same way I do. And there is something really special about that to me. It completely touched my heart.
It was also the way that Dayla took to them. Dayla has the blessing of getting to see her other grandparents (Grandma and Papa) a little more then once a month. My parents on the other hand she will probably see not much more then twice a year. I guess that is just the way it is sometimes. So as you can imagine, I knew Dayla would not remember Grandpa and Nana from our last visit 5 months ago and I wasn’t sure how these 3 days would pan out. She was unsure at first, but after a mere 30 minutes she was pretty sure they were great. I think it was at the zoo when I saw her true affection for them shine like the sun. As Grandpa pushed her stroller along to every animal she would regularly gaze up at him in love. Every once in a while she would shout out “Hi Ampa!” When she was out of the stroller it didn’t take her long to figure out that Nana was her lady. Without coaxing she happily lead Nana by the hand and pointed where to go next. When she took off running down the hill she was delighted to see Nana right behind her, both of them laughing the entire way. I think Dayla really feel in love when she figured out that Nana played “peek a boo”…and unlike most game-players…Nana had no problem keeping pace with her desire to play it for 25 minutes straight. Reflecting on the 3 days now I can see why it only took Dayla 24 hours to be able to say “Ampa” and “Nana” with almost perfect diction. Why when she woke up Wednesday morning she was thrilled when I said we got to see Grandpa and Nana again. She is smitten. And I can’t blame her. They are pretty great.
So thanks for an amazing visit mom and dad! Thank you for making the trek to see us. Thank you for blessing us with dinners out, with compliments, with fun-filled days and most importantly for blessing us with time with YOU. Love you.

Carlsbad Flower Fields

A blur of radiant, exquisite color catches my eye as I zoom down the freeway. I turn my head. I feel a rush of joy and peace as I witness God’s magnificent paint brush. He is good at it.
We have lived in San Diego over 10 years now and every year, sometime between March and May the Carlsbad Flower Fields are in bloom. The best part is that you can admire their glory without even getting out of the comfort of your freeway zipping, air-conditioned, music flowing chamber of a car. And truthfully, I never thought I had to leave the car. This year though Dayla and I were treated by Daniel’s mom to enter. And it was magnificent. Not to mention a photographer’s dream. And Dayla has a blast. What could be a better day then that?

We went on a “tractor ride” to view the fields

Grandma, James, Dayla and baby Violet

For 60 years these fields have grown nearly 50 acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus

The playground had cute buildings restored from an old “Santa’s Village”

More flowers. But seriously, they are beautiful, right?

Dayla’s First Easter Egg Hunt

I know that I have talked about them before, but I’ll share again. I am blessed every Monday when I hang out with a group of truly “awesome moms” (also, coincidentally the official name of our play group!) They are a blast. They are kind. They understand when my kid needs to leave kicking and screaming. They bless me and make this world of motherhood not feel so overwhelming.
The Monday before Easter we had a egg hunt with all of the kiddos. It was so chaotic….I mean cute, it was SO cute. Much to my surprise, Dayla, the girl who loves to pick things up and put them in her bucket, the girl who has no problem being first at all she does, had NO interest in picking up the Easter eggs on the ground. She just patiently watched as the other kids rushed around. Without any hesitation Dayla’s good friend Yzzy shared some of her eggs. THAT was TOO CUTE. Thanks Yzzy. 🙂

Yzzy shares her eggs with her friend Dayla

Dayla excited about her basket!

Ben and Abby share a swing!! (don’t worry they are family, they love to share!)


Hannah found a yo-yo in her egg

Abby shows some of her finds

Click Here to see the rest of the pictures

April has been some exciting times!

The month of April has kept us super busy!! Some of our excitement includes new babies being born (our friends have brought 3 more newborns into the world in April!), a Garden Planting Party, our first Passover party, Easter, Easter egg hunts galore, Carlsbad Flower Fields and overall just some wonderful days with Dayla. It is some blessed times! I was going to do a GIANT sized post and download it all at once, but then I thought, “what is the fun in that?” So I am just going to try a do a post a day for a few days. Are you READY? 🙂
To start things off, THE GARDEN PARTY!
Earlier this year our friends Ben and Julian (and Ellie and new baby Lucy) built a chicken coop to house their very own chicken! All of their “city bound” (apartment bound) friends were very jealous of this new joy. So they decided to invite all of us to join in on the fun. (What great friends!) In the beginning of April they hosted a “Garden Party” where we all helped the toddlers plant some new plants in their garden and welcomed some new chicks to the coop. It was blast!
I asked Dayla “Where is the chicken?”

Ready to plant!

Yzzy and the chicken

Watermelon break with Dad.

Planting with Mom.

Tabby and Ellie

The Planting Crew!

Click Here to see the rest of the pictures

Dayla on the PETCO Scoop

WARNING: Shameless self-promotion ahead.
As many of you know my day job is working for PETCO. Recently I’ve been involved in a lot of fun projects like setting up a PETCO Facebook and Twitter page.
We also recently launched a company blog called The PETCO Scoop. It is a group blog so, in addition to me, about 10 other PETCO associates contribute to it. If you’re an animal lover you should check it out (and tell your friends).
I wrote today’s blog post, titled the PETCO Zoo, and Dayla was my model. Click on the link or picture below to see the rest of the pictures and read the post.
The PETCO Scoop

If life give you Lemons…

Our good friends the Lemons family just had the blessing of welcoming twin boys into the world one week ago yesterday. Adam (7lb 4 oz – 19.5 in) and Alexander (5lb 11 oz – 19.0 in). They are cute as can be! Here are some pictures I took at the hospital on Sunday; still so fresh from God. It is not “official” if the boys are identical twins or fraternal twins, what do you think?

Two Year Molars = Not Happy

On most days Dayla is one of the happiest babies you will meet. She is just a lover of life. She runs with a giggle and the wind at her back, laughs so hysterically that her laugh goes silent, dances with her whole body and her hole heart, hugs with gusto, blows kisses to strangers and gets genuinely excited about every flower that she passes by smelling them with enthusiasm. I love it.
However, one of the things that has always been a tough one for her is teething. I have heard some parents say about their child, “Oh, (s)he is cranky cause of teething” and their child will be letting out a small whimper. I am not judging, I am just saying that is NOT Dayla when she teethes. I don’t know if my kid is a drama queen, or if she just has it BAD, but it is a sad day in the Sundin household when Dayla is teething. She cries from the time she wakes until the time she sleeps (if she sleeps). She tantrums at the sight of food. Under NO circumstance does she want to leave the house. And the only thing that seems to ease (note, I did not say stop) the crying is a video/movie combined with a popsicle. Now we are on the TWO YEAR MOLARS. These are a BEAST. We have had one sad little girl on our hands for a week. It got to the point that I just had to laugh at how sad she was. (AND of COURSE take a picture of it!) Next time you hear me say, “Dayla is teething today”, this is what you can picture: