Happy 2nd Birthday’s!

One of the things we put on the top of our “blessings list” time and time again is our wonderful Young Families group at our church. Not only do we all have kids the same age, going through some of the same challenges in life, but that group is our support and has some or our dearest friends.
This year for Dayla’s second birthday we decided it was one of the only birthdays that we could make it low-key and not a big ol party. She is past the monumental “1st Birthday” and not quite at the “I want the day to be all about ME” birthdays. So we decided to do a joint birthday party with the other August birthday kids from our Young Families group (Dayla, Ellie, and Yzzy all turned 2). It was a small celebration, with a small guest list and no party hats, but it had cake! It was a wonderful day. Here are some of the pics:

We did a “picnic” theme…so there were ant cupcakes…

…and ants (of course)…and picnic basket party favors!

The Birthday Girls!

Dayla is a normal child…and enjoys cake.

More picture here


I’m a big sushi fan. That isn’t saying much in California since pretty much everyone likes sushi. On our street alone there at least 5 sushi restaurants. The problem is that sushi is expensive and I like to eat lots of it. Thankfully I found a great place to buy sashimi grade fish which allows me to make my own sushi at a fraction of the price. I’ve made it enough times that my sushi actually resembles the kind they serve in restaurants although nowhere near as pretty.
Dayla likes copying everything we do and has gotten a bit of a sushi habit herself. I take sushi rice and squish it into little balls that she can dip into her own soy sauce. Tonight we gave her a Philadelphia roll to work on. She promptly tossed the fish aside and dug out little fingerfuls of the cream cheese like a dog going after marrow. We had to take it away from her when she started picking the individual pieces of rice off the seaweed wrapper and making a huge mess.
Another first tonight was Dayla’s earnest effort to use chopsticks. She didn’t really understand how they work but I don’t fault her. I didn’t get chopsticks until I was 25.

Mike’s Birthday

We drove up to Irvine yesterady to celebrate my good friend Mike’s 30th birthday. He’s got me beat on age by a few weeks. He is moving out to Michigan in December with his wife and daughter so they can be close to his wife’s family.
There was another kid at the party a little older than Dayla that she made fast friends with. It’s amazing how kids do that when it’s difficult for adults to get past simple small talk.
I post the Chou’s family picture below with some reservations. Mike IS a good father and he only smokes occasionally. He is quitting and this birthday party was the last hoorah. I made them pose for this picture because I thought it was funny and he was smoking a respectable distance from everyone else before they gathered for this shot.

More picture here

Pool Party

It’s summer so we’ve basically been living in the pool last few weeks. Dayla’s not swimming or dunking her head but she likes blowing bubbles, hanging out in the shallow end, and jumping into our arms. Today we had some friends over for a relaxing BBQ around the pool. Here are a few pictures.

More pictures here

Vote for Dayla

This is a shameless (and I mean shameless) call for support.
The picture below taken at the Whittier Farmer’s Market is one of my all time favorites of Dayla and I have it hanging up on my wall at work.
I decided to enter it in a local photo contest in the “People” category. The final winner is selected by a panel of judges but there is also a people’s choice vote. You are those people.
Please vote for Dayla.

Hume Lake Vacation

We had another great trip up in Hume Lake this year with the Sundins, Cavers, Colliers, and Woodwards. Biking, Canoeing, Settlers Playing, Disc Golf, and lots of food were all on the agenda.
The most eventful part of the trip was when Dayla figured out she could hoist herself out of her crib, open the door of our room, and walk down the hall to find us in the game room. It was surprising to say the least. Thankfully she didn’t wander out into the woods.
James and Simon in the Lake

Wanna cracker?

Papa in a canoe

Dayla wasn’t sure what to think of the canoe but she was a trooper

4th of July parade of Hume locals

The littlest parade entrant

There were many more people in the parade than actually watching it so we got lots of candy thrown at us. We let Dayla collect as much as she wanted then quietly disposed of it when she wasn’t paying attention.

Violet the cowboy

Hold hands when crossing the street

My favorite picture from the whole trip. James love his cousin Dayla and especially likes riding in the bike trailer so he can put his arm around her.

Notice the matching dresses made by Grandma

James and Papa

During meal times, Violet had a special spot in the middle of the table

I made this picture extra big so you could see Ginette at the bottom of this giant Sequoia.

San Diego Fair

Dayla and I hit the San Diego Fair this morning along with our friends Jeff and Tabitha. The dads did pretty good considering we had no feminine support. We checked out the livestock, the photography exhibit, cruised by the rides, and had a couple orders of Australian battered potatoes (with nacho cheese). Dayla spent most of the time just staring agape at all the people, colors, and noise. Here are a few pictures from our brief adventure.
This is Rock-It the Robot. He’s like a 9-foot tall theme park character. He saw me taking his picture and posed.

A clown band

Fair food. The Zuccini Weeni and Deep Fried Frog Legs were new this year

I want to get the same haircut as this Alpaca

There was an impromptu Michael Jackson memorial in the music pavilion. Jeff is a big MJ fan and left this note.

We wandered out of the photo exhibit into the seats used for horse racing. There was no one around so Dayla and Tabby got to run around for a while.

I admit I asked Dayla to hug Tabby. I was surprised she actually did it.

The seats weren’t clean. I’m sure Dayla gave Tabby a dirty back in that hug.

This guy was actually working on the ride while people were on it and it WAS IN MOTION. Jeff and I were flabbergasted.

Fair lemonade isn’t that great but the heat outside made it delicious.

There was a band playing so Dayla and Tabby had to get their groove on.

Life with Dayla. 22 Months.

The last four months has introduced another stage in my story of parenthood. I have been meaning to write and share with you, as I believe that the blessing of this stage significantly outweighs the challenge. I am LOVING it. Everyday I wake up I am anxious with anticipation for what the day with Dayla will hold. This new stage? The blossoming of words and personality.
Dayla is talking up a storm. Most the time it is one word, two words or the occasional three words together, but it is amazing the difference a word makes. She is also learning new skills that shine a whole new light on life too (opening doors, putting on her own clothes, playing pretend with her babies). For the first time I am learning about WHO she is. She has likes and dislikes. She has imagination. She has her dad’s sense of humor. She has personality! And I just love her. She is spirited. She is funny. She is thoughtful. She is kind. Every day is a new experience. Every day I get to learn more about her and I fall in love with her even more. Every day, as I see her watch me and copy what I am doing, I am encouraged to be a better person. Each day for the last few months I have woken up thinking, this is it, this is the best. And each day it gets better. Here are some tidbits of who Dayla is.


  • She dances. She loves to dance and requests it most days. Techno is her favorite. She made up a dance where we put pillows on our heads and then dance around. This gets her hysterical. Just yesterday I introduced flashing the lights while dancing and she giggled with glee.


  • She takes care of babies. Every day we have gotten into the routine of putting her dolls down for a nap before she goes to sleep. She also has taken to wanting to dress her dolls (since we have no doll clothes, she generously gives hers to baby) and feed them, nurse them and walk them and burp them. My favorite part though is that now in our Young Families group at church there are lots of new babies and Dayla loves to take care of them too. When we go to play group I will say, “We are going to see Tabby” and Dayla says “and baby lette” (Charlotte) “and Hannah” I say, and Dayla reminds me “and Kate”, and so on. I just love it.


  • She is a girl. We just got a wonderful new batch of clothes from my sister and from our friend Erin and our friend Jen for Dayla. We are so blessed to be gifted clothes and absolutely love going through the bags. Upon going through each bag my Dayla will find the pinkest, gir-li-est outfit there is and pull it out and ask to put it on. My favorite was when she pulled out the cheetah print velvet pants and exclaimed, “Mama, SO PRETTY”. Now I know that the level of girly and “princess” in a girl is NOT handed down from her parents. Turns out they are born with that. The best part is that we have a new set of clothes she is ecstatic and wants to change her outfit several times a day, usually dresses. Ah, my little girl.


  • She still loves fruit and hates vegetables and meat. I have a fruititarian.


  • She loves to try on OUR clothes/shoes. Talk on our cell phones (she calls phones “hello’s”). Hold the keys. And graciously reminds me to take these things as we head out the door.


  • She is not so good at sharing, but has mastered trading. I am proud. She has also mastered hoarding, but we won’t talk about that much. I am assured by most moms that it is a 2 year old thing.


And that is life right now with my Dayla.  Pictures will have to come on the next entry.

Dayla’s Photoshoot

You would think that since opening the Sundin Photography business that we would be constantly practicing photoshoots with Dayla. It is not true my friend. I know. I too am surprised. I have been wanting to do a legit “photo shoot” with Dayla for a while, but it is harder then you think to be both parent and photographer.
Well today I went to “scout” a location that I am doing a photo shoot at tomorrow and I am PLEASED to say that all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place (and I was able to snag a couple photos!) Dayla woke up and wanted to wear a dress, a clip, we went to a great location, had good lighting, and best of all a happy toddler. Here are the two I snapped.

SLO Trip

Last weekend we took a trip up to San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles to see my Mom’s side of the family and celebrate the marriage of my cousin Katy. The reception was at my Aunt’s beautiful ranch where we visit each year before Thanksgiving. Dayla got to hang out with the Sundins and Cavers as well as some relatives she had never met before. We had a blast and it was great to see family we haven’t caught up with in a long time.

Aunt Kristy got Dayla and Violet matching dresses

Showing off in the sun

The Sundin/Caver Family

The reception was set up outdoors in beautiful weather

Aunt Amy had blackberry bushes which Dayla went nuts over. She must have eaten 100… many of them ripe.

Lots of land to roam on

Dayla is scared of her Uncle Keith. Not sure why.

She had a blast with her 2nd cousin Logan who is only 10 days older

She didn’t really understand the bike but liked sitting on it

James thoroughly enjoyed his dessert

The next day, we hung out at the same park my parents used to go to when they attended Cal Poly

Grandma and Violet

James loving life