Monday, December 31, 2012


There is a difference between being child-ish and being child-like.  I opt for the latter.  As the last few minutes of December bring us closer to the new year, and the photos of myself show that I am not looking any younger, I wish for finding ways to be child-like forever.

Last night we felt the magic as we clapped and believed with all our hearts that we could save Tinkerbell.  Our eyes and hearts spilled over with a powerful joy as she flew again.  Mason and Ellie snuggling into me in the darkness of the theater as Peter Pan flew out over the crowd sprinkling magic fairy dust all around is a moment I want to remember always.  We soared with hope and wonder.

As we stayed until the very end of Peter Pan's meet and greet, Mason hunting for treasures among the fairy dust sprinkled lobby, and Ellie running, singing, "flying" all around I thought ahead to this morning, knowing I would be making a Peter Pan costume to make sure the magic would not end.

"You can fly Onyx!"
Sure enough, when we awoke Ellie found her fairy dust that Peter Pan gave her last night when we met her.  She had proclaimed on the car ride home that she could be Peter Pan because Peter Pan is really a girl.  Oh and "Mommy, Peter Pan has short hair and I have short hair, so I can be Peter Pan".  If we believe, it is so.

Soon enough fairy dust was flying at me and I was told I could fly.  Ellie flew through the kitchen asking me who I was and continued to throw fairy dust long after her container ran out.

The floor was sparkling with silver and before I knew it, I was sewing a Peter Pan costume for Ellie to go along with Mason's from Halloween 2011. She was no longer Tinkerbell, she was Peter Pan.

It pays to have scraps of felt hanging around.
And that belt from Mason's shorts that he never wore has sure come in handy for Puss in Boots and Peter Pan!

The joy of fantasy and play beats out head colds, coughs and such.  If you are Peter Pan there is no room for being sick.  However, you can come close to death due to pirates and need your family to believe that their applause will bring you back to life.

This older brother is always looking out for her.
His get well gift for Peter Pan.  "You can even turn it into a kite on a windy day."  I love that boy!
Ready to fight those pirates again!
We played and played and played and just when I thought the cold had possibly beat us, there was a second wind. The afternoon brought us outside to find a wrench for family that were stopping by and cupcakes were shared with them.  When Mason and Daddy returned from their adventures, Peter Pan and I had "cleaned the ship" and all the leaves were gone.  Mason cruised inside and returned to announce, "Mommy, why do you always do Cupcake Wars when Daddy and I are gone?"

"I don't know.  I didn't know what to make for lunch, so I made chocolate cupcakes. We could play again tonight."

And we did just that.  It was a New Year's Eve that will be in my heart for a lifetime.  Right up there with the year I was in Times Square having champagne sprayed in my face, only oh so much better.

As we dined on Josh's dinner Mason proclaimed that I had to be a cupcake maker and Josh would have to be an Iron Chef.  With the size of our kitchen I jumped on the cupcake idea and searched for a recipe.  I wanted a challenge, I mean it was round 2 and the last day of 2012 and there is always the $10,000 to win.  (Remember if you believe, anything is possible.)

My trusty carpenter! Have you ever seen that show? They always wear those plaid shirts.
So I researched and we were off.  Peaches and Cream Cupcakes complete with a filling?  I was up for the challenge.  Ellie was my baking assistant and Mason was my carpenter.  We had to make our 1,000 cupcake display and we really wow the judges. Mason grabbed a pencil and paper and had me sketch the design idea and he was off to work complete with his plaid shirt.  I was busy trying to pretend like I had things under control and wasn't going to miss a step on the recipe.

Here it is our Cupcake Display.  Didn't I have an awesome carpenter?  Oh and that baking assistant, I couldn't have done it without them.

So as time ticked away, we actually pulled it off.  Cupcakes were baked, filled, frosted, and the display was a show stopper.  We beat out the Grinch and won the $10,000, packed up our display, and headed to the main event.  The dance party started and yep, it was a New Year's Eve to remember.

Dancing in her "glass slippers".

Monday, December 17, 2012

"It's Just As Much Fun Decorating a Fake Tree"

I don't have photos directly related to this post, but it is all about traditions, so these from the Annual Tree Lighting event a couple of weeks ago seem to fit.
As Thanksgiving break drew to a close a few weeks ago, the sunlight and warm weather brought us outside and I thought I should put up our lights and garland.  The lighting on our fall decorations was too beautiful and I wasn't quite ready to let it all go.  The next weekend it rained nonstop, so I didn't change things then either.  Last weekend we were busy with a project and suddenly I realized 3 weeks had passed and we were that much closer to Christmas and all my projects/plans remained in my head and not in reality.  Mason and Ellie began asking me about our tree and decorations and as they continued to open their tiny doors of their Advent Calendars I began to realize there are fewer and fewer of them.

We visited Santa at the Tree Lighting, but still hadn't decorated our home.

This weekend was filled with plans and I thought, "How will I ever get it all done?" Saturday morning arrived and as we were getting up and moving and preparing for a birthday party Mason said he wasn't feeling good.  At first I thought he might just be hungry, but it wasn't long before I had good reason to stop all plans and clean the bathroom.  We would not be heading to the party and although I don't wish illness upon anyone, there was a silver lining on this dark cloud of bleck. We were sad to miss the party, but being stuck at home meant I might actually be able to clean and figure out how we might make room for a tree.

Later that day, Mason was feeling a bit better and he had been dying to try out Geocaching.  Josh took the kids on their first treasure hunt and I stayed behind to clean.  I rearranged our living room furniture and found a way to feel as though we had more space and a spot for a tree.

Building traditions: Visiting Santa at the Tree Lighting
Today we ventured out to the local tree lot and Mason told Ellie, "You smell and I'll look."  I peeked down the aisle they were in and Ellie stopped, leaned in and sniffed the trees.  Mason ran around and soon she chased after him. I love that we had the pine tree scented experience, yet I was hesitant to buy a tree there.  I remember the year we bought our first artificial tree growing up.  I remember my dad being happier without so many allergy issues.  I loved that tree.  I looked forward to setting it up each year. My dad would hang the lights and all his ornaments at the top and we would hang ours all around.  It was our tradition to buy an ornament on our family trip each year. We had quite a collection.

To me I love the memories that hang on the tree. Each ornament tells a story.  Yes, I love the smell of pine trees, and on this cold Sunday morning, Mason reminded us to smell them and we did and it was grand. Yet a part of me didn't want to bring that into my home this year. This year we will be home for Christmas and I want to welcome our family and friends without worry of bringing on an allergy attack.  I want to gaze at our tree, the lights, the memories of each of our silly ornaments.

Ellie loved dancing with The Nutcracker.  We have read that book a  lot lately at bedtime, so this was pretty magical for her. 
So I told Josh that I wanted to look at artificial trees.  We found one we liked, but passed it up because Gran offered us her old tree. We left the store with a rosemary plant and a festive entry rug and headed to her house.  Such a magical trip it was. She passed along a tiny tree with ornaments and lights for Mason and a small green tree in a bin for our family.  We took it home and spruced it up and as I pieced it together I thought of all the years of building trees at home. I went to the garage in search of something to set the tree on.  I wanted it up higher to make room at the floor.  When you live in a tiny space you have to get clever with things. My first attempt was a no go, so back out I went.  I spied a cement form and a plastic five gallon water jug and then it hit me...

I pulled out the glass 5-gallon water bottle from my Grandmother's basement that has been hanging around waiting for it's new beginning.  Last night Ellie and I made Mason Jar snow globes and today they sparkled and filled our home with the cozy feel of winter. Now our tree would be standing in style on our giant snow globe like a cork.  Just as we were getting it to work I had to leave.  I was invited to a family tea party which was simply divine.  I hated having to leave just as we were getting going, especially as Mason invited me up to his room to show me how he had decorated his tiny tree.  The kids were begging me to get the rest of the bins out, but I convinced them that the box of nutcrackers and Santa's sleigh bell would be enough until I returned.  Even though I was late, I hurried up to Mason's room to catch sight of his display and my heart, oh my heart beamed at the sight of his proud face showing me his tiny little tree.

The tea party was wonderful.  A special day with the women of Josh's side of our family. Such a fun afternoon.  If I had to be breaking away from making memories at home, this was a good place to be. My heart was full as I left and I drove to see if I could catch my trio who had called me from the grocery store.  I drove through the parking lot, but didn't spot the car, so I drove on through and as I turned I saw them, Josh in his new winter hat, Mason in his superhero costume and Ellie with her new antler hat skipping down the sidewalk.  My heart jumped for joy and I scurried to find a parking space and surprise them.

It was already dark, but after stopping to buy coffee beans and having a small cup, I even found a couple of gifts for the kids in one of the shops, I headed back home to meet them and make time to decorate our tree.  Ellie and Mason were so proud to show me how they had covered the tree with ribbons, but were eager to pull it all off to make way for the lights and ornaments.  I headed out to the shed and the bins exploded through the room.  Ellie and Mason dug through with glee finding all their treasures that had been tucked away for the year. Ellie found the lights and helped me string them on. I unwrapped and handed them ornaments telling them the stories of each one. They retold them to each other as they walked over to place them on the tree. Mason pronounced, "It's just as much fun decorating a fake tree!"  My heart spilled over with joy. Sitting there amidst our memories, making new ones as we spoke, I whole-heartedly agreed.

Our local tree in town, lit up in all her glory!
We finished hanging the last of the ornaments and tied some sparkle ribbon.  Then we turned out the lights and let her glow.  She is a beauty, that little tree standing proudly on that pedestal.  I think I'll name her Rose Marie.

*photos to come...

Saturday, December 01, 2012

"I Love You So Much..."

Me: Laying on the couch reading the new picture book Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening By Robert Frost and Illustrated by Susan Jeffers while Pandora plays "Silent Night"

Mason: Mommy will you peel my orange?
Me: Yeah.
Mason: Mommy, I love you so much.  I love you so much I am crying.  I really am.
Me: (getting all misty, while peeling the orange and seeing Mason wipe his eyes on my grandma's handmade quilt I am snuggling under)
Mason: Daddy, I love Mommy so much I was crying.
Daddy: I know.  I've felt that way.

My heart is full and then some.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

In the NOW!

At the preschool there is a clock that has the word NOW in place of every number on its face.  Lately this sense of a 3 year old's need to live in the now has been more and more apparent. When I am driving Ellie in the morning and we begin chatting about her day and what lies ahead, she tells me how she doesn't want to go to preschool because a particular girl will call her names.  When I am getting ready to say goodbye and leave for work, she cries for me to stay.  When I arrive to pick her up at the end of the day she is first thrilled to see me and then cries that she doesn't want to leave and stomps her foot as she tells me she is staying. Her story from preschool the other day was about how we would be going on our trip the next day and she would be sad because she would miss her friends and she would not be there.  She would miss her friends.  These same friends that she didn't want to see the other day.

The common thread...she wants to fully embrace the moment.  She is not comforted by the thought of what fun could be coming her way in the future.  It isn't that she doesn't like the other places, people, and things she will be doing.  It is the change of it all. Switching out of the current fun or time she's spending with someone she cares about, that is hard part. She wants the NOW, and when you're 6 it isn't much different.

Yesterday we got up, packed our bags, ate breakfast with Daddy, and then took off on our mini-vacation getaway.  The kids and I on our way.

Today we set out on an adventure.  We drove west and as Grandma said, "We're almost at the ocean." It was decided.  Our "NOW" was the ocean.  Nothing would stop us.  The wind? No.  A snack? No.

"Mommy follow Mason's footprints," Ellie called.
The sand was calling our name and we kicked off our shoes and headed toward the waves.  The wind was strong, but our will was stronger. We stopped along the way to take some pictures to share the fun with Daddy and capture the beauty of the NOW. 

Hair by Windy Day

Two buddies 
Hangin' with my bro
Grandma and Mason paved the way
Why of all days had I left the house without extra clothes? As we neared the waves I worried about how cold it would be when the NOW wore off, as I am a mama, and not 3 or 6.  At first I attempted to forge on ahead and simply roll up pant legs and hope that the chill of the water would be enough to send us up toward dryer land.  They dipped into the sand and the joy on their face exploded throughout their whole being and it was contagious.  That is the thing about living in the NOW.  When you really find it, everything else disappears. Your only worry is how to keep it going.

Fingers dipped into the wet sand and we were hooked. There was no turning back.

Dipping my toes in the ocean in November. Priceless.
Jumping for Joy. Priceless.

Playing without a care in the world...

Sand stuck to your feet? Nope.

Cold wind to worry about?  Nope.

Wet clothes to spend the afternoon in?  Nope.

All of that worry can wait.  We are living in the NOW!

Monday, October 01, 2012

October 1st

My response to the woman leaving Dos Coyotes on Saturday who asked with a smile, "Is it Halloween already?" :  "One day is not enough for costumes!" I grinned, spreading the joy.
Well as Mason would say, "Yesterday we said goodbye to September and today is the first day of October."  October, the bittersweet time of year.  October is filled with so much to look forward to, and filled, filled to the brim where things begin to overflow.  Today was a Monday and bittersweet is fitting.

Tonight as my mama skills were maxed out and exhaustion was setting in, my head was spinning...spinning with all to be getting done and spinning with "live in the moment: these two need you."  We took a ride to the mailbox, me on my feet following behind as they raced their bikes up the road.  There is something about this strip of road of ours that helps erase the wild and crazy of the day.  Our little ol' road, I love it.

When we got back the kids jumped on the swings and flew.  This past weekend I realized how I miss our hammock.  I need it.  Darn squirrels, nibble, nibble.  Nevermind, I told myself I would write in the positive.

Moving on, we ventured inside when the sweet smell of skunk was wafting through the yard and as we rounded the corner of the laundry room Mason announced, "It smells better in here." We were safe. After taking a few minutes to chip away a layer of dishes and start a load of laundry I settled into some game time.

I told the kids I needed a few minutes to do some dishes and they could play or draw while I do that before we played a game.  While I did dishes they asked me how to spell Daddy.  Here is the little snippet of joy that evolved and now hangs on our wall with green and yellow striped tape.  Notice the hand holding...bliss!

Mason wanted to do puzzles and Ellie wanted to play a game and neither wanted to compromise.  They wanted me and they wanted their way.  Somehow we settled on Mason building puzzles while Ellie and I played The Ladybug Game.  I turned on Pandora and The Vitamin String Quartet reminded me of our "restaurant" we created Sunday evening with newly carved mini-pumpkins and a nod to fall with candlelight, stew, and homemade bread courtesy of Chef Daddy.  (We won't mention the triple digit heat of Monday.  We shall bask in the beckoning of fall.)

As the music played and we played everything slowed...the spinning, the fight for my attention.  I sat in wonder and took moments to think.  I watched and learned.  Mason executed his puzzle building plans, announcing key strategies as he felt appropriate, giving sideways glances at his sister who was making up her own rules for the game we were about to embark on.  "How will you even play that without the cards, Ellie? You won't even know how far to move."

"We will use our brains to know," Ellie replied with confidence. She did not need the rules, she was creating her own.  We began to play. I took her lead and somehow my brain told me how much to move and when it wasn't right, her brain showed me the way.  Mason quietly kept eyeing such play as he built his puzzle.  It must have taken everything he had to not scream at her, for she was not playing by the rules.  Yet somehow, maybe it was the music, it took over and it wasn't long before one of his glances at our game moved up and locked into mine.  That's when it happened.  He got it.  A grin broke his seriousness, not a wink exactly, but it was his way of doing so.  He suddenly knew that she was okay.  It would be okay that she wasn't following "the rules" she was letting her brain be our guide.

Somehow in the letting it play out, we all figured things out and found the right time to leave those games and puzzles and laugh and play one together.  As they set up one of daddy's "favorites" they put all the pieces out without arguing and said, "Daddy would be blue but he's not here."  He was probably okay with that. The land of candy is not where he likes to reside. We played on and Ellie allowed Mason to lead the way this time and he did so with a bit less control.

It is a dance they  I love the quote, "Life is a dance.  Sometimes you lead. Sometimes you follow."  I don't know who said it, but I love it.  When I begin to spin again, I hope to find my lead and follow them to greatness.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Start somewhere...

So for a while now I have had an abundance of ideas spinning around in my head and a desire to write them, yet somehow when I find the quiet moments in my day to do such things I find myself too tired and/or noodling about reading other blogs and such, that I can't seem to capture the magic and wonder I was thinking. It saddens me a bit to miss those moments and not write them down, yet it is like something I heard once about trying to take a picture, that somehow in that truly magical moment could the picture really capture that feeling of that lump in your throat? When I miss the opportunities to write, I try to hold onto that feeling, relive it in my mind, let it dance and play and stay a while in hopes that even if I can't go back and reread the words I chose to capture it, or gaze at the amateur photo I took, I can call it back to mind again.

We love to buy flowers at the farmer's market.  Ellie insists on putting them in her room.
The past several weeks have been full.  Sometimes overflowing and I just keep taking it in.  We have had some big moments and many little ones that feel just as big.  There have been laughs and tears and missing teeth everything in between.  

I keep reminding myself to observe and observe and try to let things play out before stepping in, and man these two kids of mine have become the best of buds. They are figuring each other out and I think one of my favorite things lately is walking behind them, or hearing them play through the house, or ride in the back seat.  I love when they carry on as though I am not there, allowing me to catch a glimpse of the bond they have. The other day in the car, this annoying song they love was requested and played on and on, and the more it annoys me, the more I love what comes from it all.  It is like at school when kids request one of my least favorites and I play it and end up having such fun watching the joy it brings.  On this particular car ride the song is singing away, "why do I have to have a sister?...." and goes on to talk about a sister being a pest.  Ellie and Mason begin to argue about the word pest and Mason tells her she isn't one, and she argues that she is, and he continues to argue that no she isn't, because a pest is someone you don't like at all and "I love you, Ellie."  

We must endure the annoyances, the things we cannot stand, to uncover the beauty, the rich, pure beauty that is there.  We must let go of our worries that feelings could get hurt, and trust our children to work through and prove us wrong.  Model, model, model the good you hope to see, and then sit back and let them find it within themselves.  I write this for me.  Take it if you wish and run with it, but I warn you it is not an easy task.  You must continue to remind yourself especially when you want to jump in and rescue.  Trust them, though, they will have the power and strength to show you they can be all that you want them to be. And best of all, they will show you who you want to be too. 

There have been many leaps we have taken these past weeks.  Mason is in Kindergarten.  I was so nervous about this one.  I worried about what it would be like.  I worried about how he might miss preschool, but I was viewing it through my own lens and not his.  His lens is not blurred, his is crystal clear.  He sees the joy of learning, the magic of school.  He sees it through the lens that has been built in the most magical place we could have found. 

First day of Kindergarten, my boy is all grown up!
Ellie anxiously awaited her time and it is here.  The girl is a preschooler.  The place is her school now. She is ready to shine!
First day of preschool, yep girl is growing up, too!

First ride on our new bikes!

Chasing bubbles, not the first and definitely not the last.

Silly faces and sideways photo
So with school, comes homework and this week we were given the task of talking about menus and shopping lists and creating some of our own.  Mason insisted this happen on day 1 of the weekly packet, so Friday night we were at the store shopping and then home to create his pancakes.  I stepped back and let it happen.  I gathered supplies and took some photos, worked the hot griddle, but the preparing was all on them.  Ellie insists on doing the homework, too.  She must keep up with her brother, there is nothing she can't do. So there was flour to measure.

And they were off and running with their ingredients.  I didn't help other than to gather what they "needed". 
 And eggs to crack.

Oops cracked the egg into the shell container, good thing we bought a dozen.
And in a bit, pancakes to be eaten.  Model, model, model and step back and watch it happen.  Who says a 3 year old and a 5 year old can't crack eggs and make pancakes from scratch?

Mason and Ellie playing last weekend
As I said before, the photo just can't seem to capture the moment like really being there can.  It can try, but even when I crop out the piles of mess, the view is not the same as the feeling you get when you're around them.

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Right Place At the Right Time

Last weekend we were having dinner with friends and they were telling us about their upcoming camping trip and then invited us to join them.  Talk about being in the right place and the right time. We were thinking ahead trying to visualize our calendar and couldn't think of anything already on the agenda, so we jumped at the opportunity.  When we got home that night, I saw that the weekend would end on Josh's birthday, what a way to celebrate!
Josh and Ellie at her Birthday Party!

As we woke up the next morning I told Ellie that we were going to a birthday party and she started crying, "But what about our camping trip?"  Girl was ready to go.  That's the thing about being a kid.  No need for plans, packing, getting ready.  They are ready at the announcement of a camping trip.  

All week, in my brain, I was planning the trip and thinking about what I would bring and how I would be all organized and such.  Then my true self appeared Friday morning and realized all that planning "in my head" had not transformed itself into reality and I was rushing around like a crazy person to hurry up and "get everything ready so we could hurry up and get going and have some family fun".  Ugh!  And so began the beginning of our list of what we would do next time to be more prepared for camping as to not be an utter freak-a-zoid prior to embracing the memorable moments we were preparing for. 

Books, directions, CHECK!
After the final trip of running back in to get one more thing and Mason saying, "Can't we just get going and stop having "one more thing" we should just be going by now!?!" He was right, and off we went. We did make one important stop around the corner for a special delivery to our friends. 

Josh's first batch of Strawberry Jam goodness!
Homemade Hummus and Strawberry Jam, CHEERS!
And then we were off...well, after stopping for gas and searching for Tiny Robot who had been dropped into the depths by Mason's seat. Our road trip mix had us dancing in our seats and we were on our way.  As we arrived at the campsite we were greeted by our friends and the fun began.  Josh and the kids started putting the borrowed metal detector to good use searching for buried treasure.  

Shovel to dig up found treasure?  Put it on the list.

After setting up the tents and such, we were off to check out the beach and the dunes.

Happy Campers!

The kids dug right in.
Casey found a crab skeleton
Josh and I had a good laugh at this photo.
When I rotated it so Mason was standing up Ellie looks like she is leaning.
What the heck is going on here?

Running/squealing with glee to and from the waves.

Climbing the dunes as the fog was rolling in
Erik scootin' down the dune

Mason takes a turn

Ellie too
We decided to head into town to find a restaurant for dinner that night as the fog got thicker at the shore. 
The kids rolled down the hill to the parking lot

As a kid there is no worry of getting too sandy. Instead they think: Why wouldn't you roll down the hill?  It takes a lot longer, but it is way more fun.

After dinner we called it a night as our firewood was too thick to get a good fire going and we were all pretty tired out. 

Hatchet for chopping wood?  Put it on the list.

The next morning would bring more fun. The chill in the air felt good and was accompanied by Josh's trip to the local store for a hatchet and then he made a nice fire that was roaring as we rolled out of the tent.

Erik was still loving the glow of his bracelets from the night before.
Ellie was helping me make my list

Friday morning before we left our house for this trip Ellie put her swimsuit on and was ready to hit the beach. She could not be persuaded to change out of it and she renamed herself "Beach Girl".  Don't be fooled by her fully clothed self from Friday photos.  That suit was on underneath. The chill in the air didn't stop her either, that's what robes and puppet gloves are for. 

After breakfast, we packed up for a day at the beach. 

Beach Girl gives the day a thumbs up!

So, off we go!

Taking a quick break

Ready for more
We set up our area and the kids dug right in again. Pedar was helping search for sand crabs and Ellie was instantly mesmerized.

Sand crab homes
Hunting for beach treasure

There is something special about feeling the sand between your toes.

The water was quite cold, but that didn't stop us.
 As the day went on we spoke of childhood family memories we had and embraced the ones that were presently in the making. I remember my family trips to my grandparents beach house in Lincoln City. Beach combing with my dad, collecting rocks and shells.  The ocean was always so magical to me.  The power of the waves, the sand, the search for what you might find. 

A woman I admire deeply told us to find things we love to do and do them in front of kids. To me this is how you teach your kids how to embrace life and truly live it to the fullest.  I thought of how my parents did this for me. My dad was always challenging us to taste new foods and body surf in the waves in Hawaii.  My mom showing me how to care about others and both of them embracing the importance of family and spending quality time. This was in abundance this weekend. 
Dads were building their friendship and playing like kids.

"Always keep your eye on the ocean."

There is something about those waves that just makes you smile.
 The night before our trip we headed to Target for last minute supplies and new sleeping bags. Mason and Ellie found some must have "surf boards", a.k.a. little kick boards. I never got a photo of Josh helping Mason "surf", but it will be burned in my memory for sure. It would have looked similar to these with a tiny batman board under his feet. They even got a round of applause from the skimboarder who was hanging in the sand with his girlfriend.
I love these two boys!

Ellie and Casey worked for hours together digging, caring for sand crabs, and becoming best buds.
One of their big ones, so proud!
Sand castles were plentiful

Countless trips to and from the water. 
"Do things you love in front of kids..."  The kids watched carefully as the dads dug tunnels and such, and were silently challenged to push their designs to the next level.
 We reached the time of day where you are so covered in sand that not being sandy seems odd. You began to embrace the beach spa treatment. You start to dig and love it so much you just can't imagine not being sandy.  In fact each time I pick up a bag I am reminded as tiny grains of sand spill out onto me. That day I discovered how each section of that beach had such variety of sands.  No wonder you could dig there all day and never get tired of it.

Erik taking a break for our picnic lunch

Digging more holes.

Definitely not afraid of getting TOO SANDY.


If all kids could dig in the sand like this...
 Mamas embraced some snuggle time and showed the importance of letting go and time-warping away the day. Reading and letting your imagination take you away from the worries of the work week. 

 Or imagining you are Beach Girl who surfs the big waves. 

"Ellie are you cold?" I asked.
"No, I am a surfer. Surfers never get cold!" she chattered through her blue lips.

A bit of salty sand in her mouth after that last wave.

Daddies were digging for treasures.  Josh was in search of the perfect sand dollar and after several attempts and a big splash...

He found one!

Pedar came running over to Nora at our picnic with a huge grin and genuine excitement to share his new discoveries/theories about the sand crabs.  You could see as he shared and smiled that he was talking to his best friend. 

Moments later, Casey came running up the sand to share a baby sand crab with Ellie.  ("Find things you love to do and do them in front of kids...")
There is no question that these two are in love.  
Time warp we did...we spent the day at the beach and it was glorious.  The sky was grey and the fog was rolling in, but glorious it was indeed.

Back at our camp after a shower and new swimsuit, Beach Girl and Beach Boys hung out at the fire...
Root beers all around!


Roasting some dogs

Shower + Glass of Wine = Happy Parents

Jiffy Pop! We must be camping.

After a hard day's work they couldn't eat it fast enough.

The mist rolling in didn't stop us from s'mores.

We love that Auntie Nora!
 The next morning we woke up to wish Josh a Happy Birthday!  Songs were sung and Mason was thrilled to finally dig his surprise card out of his suitcase and surprise Daddy with his tape measure and handwritten card.  Adorable!

Getting a little crazy with our morning coffee.
 Coffee spoon and Tea Kettle?  Put them on the list. 

I love this tent
 We left the campsite, but the adventure continued in Petaluma or as Ellie called it Luma.

Checking out the snails and pondering whether or not they are eating that tree.

Stopping and the luxurious Baker Creek Seed Bank for Daddy's Birthday!

And lunch, Cheers!

Jen and Nora stopped off at The Red Umbrella to do a bit of consignment shop shopping!  Here's Nora sportin' her sassy new shoes.  I know, I am not a photographer, but believe me they were hot.
Some of my new clothes

Heading home..."Uma, has it!"

Car entertainment..."Mommy look, I am playing my bow."

Ellie crashed out and I was sportin' my new shirt!
I am grateful for Nora and Pedar and their sense of adventure.  I thought of how it is easy to fill your days with family time at home, but a weekend getaway now and then is SO invigorating too. I love that they reminded me that there is nature all around us to explore and therefore nearby excursions are a must in our future. 

If you have hung in there to the end of this post you must be feeling the family time love.  Go out and make some memories, dig in the sand, share with your friends, pop some Jiffy Pop, lose yourself in the joy of getting TOO SANDY.