Dayla’s 10th Birthday Party

This year I asked Dayla if she wanted to go somewhere (like Nickle City or Pump it UP) for her party like her friends get to do. She said to me, “But mom, you throw such amazing parties! I want to do my party at home!” I was flattered right into another over-the-top birthday party theme for my sweet Dayla girl.

For Dayla’s birthday party this year she asked for an emoji theme. I wasn’t sure what games could be emoji, or what activities we could do in that theme, or even what food we could eat in that theme…but I always say that I like a challenge!

We came up with some emoji pops (oreos dipped in yellow chocolate), an emoji birthday cake, and an emoji scavenger hunt.

The crown jewel of the party though was the photo booth! I made a background by taping some yellow plates on our wall, Dayla made all the props (that made people look like emoji faces), and then Daniel set up the tripod and snapped away. Instant photo booth! The kids LOVED this activity! We printed up the photos with one hour and photo and got to send them all home with personalized party favors. It was a hit for sure.

That wasn’t all! The party didn’t end at 5pm…for Dayla’s big 10 year old party we let her have all 12 girls spend the night! Phew!

All in all everyone had so much fun and the party was a big hit.










































Dayla Turns 10

Dayla, you turned 10 this year. This feels so big; double digits. You are now more than halfway through your years and life at home with us. The years of your dad and I giving training and guidance are shorter now…and we need to open our hands more and more as you start to stretch your wings..and you sure do love stretching your wings!

However those are not the only reasons it feels so big. When you turned 10, something big happened with you, in you, too. This summer, right before your 10th birthday, your eyes opened in new way. You have always been very introspective, kind,and thoughtful beyond your years….but this summer you became even more so. You started to see things in people…your eyes opened to their needs and their hearts. You started to see that your parents are not always fighting against you; you started to see our point of view for what feels like the first time. You started to laugh at yourself; we laugh together at ourselves so much more and it feels so good to laugh.

This new set of glasses are amazing. It is like your already big heart grew 10x bigger. It is a gift to witness. It is a gift to be around. I can’t wait to see the woman that God continues to grow you to be.

For your 10th birthday I wracked my brain for a way to make it special. You were already going to have a big birthday party with 12 of your friends, but I wanted to think of special beyond that…something to make this birthday feel special beyond the other years. I mean, double digits is big! Then it dawned on me, something I can give that IS special: a photo shoot! So we put on our makeup and our matching white dresses and headed out to Iron Mountain to take photos together. Your first photo shoot. I was given the gift of capturing how beautiful you are on the outside (I wish I could capture how beautiful you are on the inside too..but that is a gift that remains yours to give to those who know you well)

It was such fun. And when we were done, we headed to a Starbucks to spend that gift card your Aunt Kristy gave you. We had treats, relaxed in the sun, chatted about all things, and laughed a lot.

When we came home I let you paint your finger nails for the first time. You opened your gifts: the most amazing set of pens from Nana and Grandpa, a mermaid tale from us, and beanie boos from Grandma and Papa. Then Daddy took you to Poway Lake. You read and relaxed with him too (being quiet and mellow has always been more your thing) and then headed to a special sushi dinner. It was pretty much the perfect day for me and Daddy (and I think you too!)

Daddy and I both love you so much Dayla. We are so proud of you and the woman God continues to grow you to be. Happy 10th Birthday!






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Work Trip

Every year Daniel has to take a work trip for about 10 days in August.  Every year it makes me:

1. Glad he doesn’t have to travel all the time for work

2. Glad to be married


This year I did something I have never done before.  I decided to take Grandma and Daddy’s approach they take when I am gone which is this: “Be so busy and have so much fun we barely notice you are missing”

I am not someone who likes to be busy…but I think this was by far the best year yet. The strategy totally worked.  The kids had a blast (which means less meltdowns which means less time-outs which means a less tired mom!) and since I scheduled in 3 overnights for them…I got some adult time and even some alone time (win-win!).  It was amazing.   Here are the highlights from our time…

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Children’s Art Exhibit in Balboa Park

Two years ago Dayla had the extreme honor of being submitted (chosen by her teacher to be the one entry for her grade level) and then CHOSEN (by a panel of judges who work for the San Diego Museum of Art) to have her art exhibited in an real art museum in Balboa Park. So you can imagine our surprise when it happened AGAIN this year!

This year Dayla’s art teacher submitted a collaborative project this year to represent the 3rd grade class submission. Of all the 6 grades from Garden Road that were submitted this year, the 3rd grade submission was the only one that won! We were all so excited!

Daniel and Dayla took a date night to go the the “Artist’s Reception”. The theme for the Children’s Art Exhibition this year is “Beyond the Ordinary”. Dayla’s contribution is the cupcake on the bottom right with the purple background. All the cupcakes were made using a tearing technique and magazine photos.

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What an amazing honor to have your art in a museum! We are so proud of our artist!

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First Snow

After our couples trip over the weekend, we snagged the kids from Grandma and Papa’s house and headed up to our friend’s cabin in Big Bear.  The last time we were in the snow, Dayla was about 2.5 years old.  So the boys were excited to experience snow for the first time!  Dreams of snowmen and snowball fights!


We did have some snowball fights, built a snowman, lots of puzzle and game time, fun with retro rollerskates we found in the cabin, and visited the local zoo. There was cold moments and tear-filled moments….but there were also a lot of smiles and memories.


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Dayla finished her first production, Aladdin. It was a great experience. Catherine and her team are an answered prayer. At every reherseal they are teaching kids singing, dancing and acting skills (and confidence!) Not only does every kid has lines, every kid is in EVERY song. There is only one production to go to (which is FREE for family and friends!) and they nurture a love for theater through pushing FUN harder than they push anything else.

I can’t say enough good things about Mini Theatre Troupe. And Dayla was SO great in the show! Proud mom and dad over here!












When our neighbors the Carlson’s moved in two years ago, I remember their daughter Adalee asking herself over to dinner at our house pretty much at first meeting. Her mom graciously moved the conversation elsewhere, but I remember thinking to myself, “One day, but we just aren’t there yet.”

This summer marked that day.

This last summer Dorothy gave birth to their 3rd child Charlotte and in taking time off from work and the craziness of three kids, we have just seen their kids a lot more….which means a lot more coming over to play…which led to a lot more “I watch your kids this day, can you watch mine that day” scenarios….which lead to dinners.

I recognize what a gift and a blessing this is. As I set the table tonight for 5 little kids, I smiled. I know one day there won’t be any plastic colorful dishes, or paper plates, and there might not even be neighbors that come over for dinner. I am so thankful for this moment, this part of the phase we are in, so I snapped a quick picture to document this blessing and this sweet time in our lives.


Lindsay Kids

Yesterday I watched the Lindsay kids.  What I meant to say was I GOT TO watch the Lindsay kids.  I love these kids so much…not only because they are great kids with big hearts, but they seem to bring out the best in my three monkeys. They just jive.  It is a huge blessing to have them in our life.

I knew I had to snap some pictures from our day because I want to remember how sweet friendship can be.  I pray my kids always have friends like the Lindsay kids….that make them laugh, bring out their best selves, understand them and their quirks, comfort them, and love them with a sweet love.

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The boys playing dress up….cause that is what boys who have older sisters like to do.  😉

We have a black bird, a peacock, and a phoenix. Makes me laugh out love and melts my heart all at the same time.


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