Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Motherhood Life Lately: So Happy We Live in SoCal

After living in Monterey, we knew we would end up in one of two places: either Southern California, or Northern Virginia. And when we would tell people, usually those who have never actually lived in the DC area would say "oh that would be so cool to live out there!" And I would be like "have you ever lived there?" ha. The only person that truly understood was Victor's boss in Okinawa who we visited in Germany. He said, "I hate Southern California, but for your stage of life with young kids, that's where you guys would want to be."

EXACTLY. Took the words right out of my mouth. I've lived in Northern Virginia, and the thought of living that traffic filled, cold winter, freaking humid summer with two little boys wasn't my ideal. I'm a big believer in the philosophy "bloom where you are planted" and I would have gone and tried to make the best of it, but I know now in my heart this is where we were supposed to be. 

To me, San Diego brings out the best in my mothering. When we are feeling cooped up, we can hop in the car down to the beach and that usually always cures our grumpiness. Year round I can do that, or take them to parks, botanic gardens (our favorite!) or if I'm feeling up for it, a drive down to Balboa Park or the Children's Museum downtown. And if I'm not feeling up for it? Then just go out in the backyard kids, and play out there all afternoon. We have a large fenced-in yard with a huge hill the boys love to climb and explore, and it is BLISS. 

Just yesterday I was on the phone with a friend who was asking me how we are liking it down here, and she asked whether the boys know how good they have it. And you know what? I think they do! Because when we were in Utah for Christmas and J saw that Cherry Hill was closed he asked why and even now he will ask, "why is it cold in Utah?" We came home from Utah in January and the next day my kids were outside playing barefoot in the backyard in their pajamas and after having to get so bundled to go outside, I think even they knew how nice it was to be back ha!

I love that we can have friends call last minute and say "we are coming into town tomorrow, want to go to Disneyland?" And we can totally swing it because it's one hour away. 

When I was talking to Victor about something I had done with the boys or was planning to do (can't remember) I said "this is exactly the reason I wanted to move down here. The boys are so happy here." And I am pretty happy too. I'm really coming to love this place. And I love that my kids are at an age where they can truly enjoy it too. 

Even visiting Victor when he has overnight duty is something to look forward to because his office overlooks the beach and we like to walk over there--it's a beautiful secluded beach with not a soul on it which is rare for Southern California. See photos below:
^^Gotta keep it real so this whole post isn't just saying how perfect everything is!^^

And some more pictures of my boys living their best lives scooting around the harbor and getting ice cream after:
Life isn't perfect and I still have my moments of losing my patience on the daily, but my boys are in a sweet spot right now where they are each other's friends, and me and Victor are their world. They love getting out and exploring, so it makes it easy to want to get out and explore new places with them. I still relish the freedom that we have in this stage of life. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

An Adventure to Joshua Tree

 Last week Victor was still gone on a work trip, and so was my friend Katelyn's husband, so we took our boys and went on our own little adventure out to the desert! We met up in Palm Desert for an afternoon of swimming and a night at a hotel which my kids LOVE, and the next day we drove up to Joshua Tree National Park and explored there.

When all is said and done, it was a success and we had a great time. But getting four little boys together was NUTS at times. They love to wrestle and fight which usually always goes too far and ends with tears, and they love to be noisy and run off in all directions! So it was chaotic at times, but I was still grateful to spend time with Katelyn and admire the beauty of the desert with her!

I really thought it was a beautiful national park. But if you're expecting beauty like Yosemite or Zion with grand vistas, you will be disappointed. You are out in the desert. So it's a different kind of beauty. The beauty of all the Joshua trees with their crazy outstretched arms, and the beauty of these awesome rock formations. It was an ideal place for kids to run around, play in dirt, and climb the rocks.
^^I spy some little explorers^^
^^the Joshua trees are so cool!^^
^^Elephant rock--so cute!^^
^^Skull Rock--looks like Voldemort haha^^
The one actual "hike" we did was up to a place called Arch Rock. The boys did really well on it--I think having a cool little destination goal helps them. When we took them places to just hang out is when they were craziest! They were proud of themselves that they made it to the arch. 
^^All of us finally in a picture together!^^
We also stopped at this cool little spot in the town of Joshua Tree after lunch.

I hope to go back again and explore some more. Fun story--my aunt and my mom were telling me that my grandma used to take them out there for their Easter Egg hunts for Easter. How cool is that?? I could totally see a "cool mom" doing that these days and sharing the idea on instagram haha. My grandma would have been one cool instagram mom, and I may just steal her idea for next year ;) Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Our Easter Sunday

Happy Easter and Happy Spring!

We had a great Easter this year, which was nice because last year with these little toddlers was rough. An Easter I want to forget yikes. Maybe a lot had to do with the fact that we had general conference so there wasn't the pressure to have a special time at church, because if you put those expectations on your kids, you are usually disappointed. Anyway, I digress. 

Victor got home from overnight duty on Sunday morning, so the Easter Bunny didn't come until after the morning session of conference. The boys were very pleased and very surprised. And pretty dang cute. 
 


So for Easter dinner this year, we had our own Jerusalem dinner on the floor in our living room. We were invited to one by friends in Okinawa, and it was such a neat experience. I inherited some wood dishes from my grandma this summer, so it was a perfect time to use them, which was also nice to have good memories of her.

We based our dinner out of the book called "A Christ Centered Easter"--the title pretty much sums it up. It's great and kid friendly. It has recipes and other recipe/ingredient suggestions of foods that were around in the time of Christ. We started the meal by sampling and explaining each of the symbolic Passover/Last supper foods, and then we ate the rest of the meal. The boys were also excited to do the Romanian tradition of hitting hard boiled eggs together and saying "Christ Resurrected!"

 I really am still on a high remembering what a special Easter it was. I love it when Easter falls on general conference. The wonderful talks helped so much in the spirit of the day. And now that J is understanding the history of things, it was especially meaningful to be the person to explain the Resurrection of Jesus Christ to him.  I can't wait to keep up this tradition with the boys and teach them even more.

Hope you had a great Easter. Hristos a Inviat!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

My J Says

His language is expanding...and he has a lot to say! I love writing these funny little things down. Most of these will read as a conversation. Just assume I'm the other one in the convo ha
"J, what are you?"
"My mommy and papi call me Joseph sometimes"

"Mel Mel, why you drink all my root berry??"

"That toy for sisters. Not for boys."

"What did you learn about at church today?"
"Oh, about Jesus or something."

To his friend Lucy when her and her fam were visiting:
"Lucy, don't say no to your papi!"

"Mommy, come wipe my stupid butt!"

At Christmas time when my sister asked him what else he wanted for Christmas:
"Just the power wheels from Walmart. We don't have a lot of money." 
(???? I had never said that to him hahahaha)

"Mommy, when is my baby sister coming?"
"I don't know, Heavenly Father decides that."
"I going to tell Heavenly Father I want a baby sister."

"K Dom, you going to get married. And I going to stay in the car. Ok you're not getting married so we going to Chuck E Cheese's instead."

"The ocean pulled down my swimming suit!"

"What did you learn about at church today?"
"That Jesus died for Easter eggs."

Me: "Why is my dress so wrinkled??"
"You got poop on it?"

"Mommy, how come the store with drinks and yummy cookies not in California?"
Oh Swig, we love you haha.

"Mommy, I want a pet."
"What kind of pet?"
"Maybe a fishy."
"How about a kitty?"
"No, they too wild."
 Stay tuned to see what else he says. You never know!

Here are some others if you are interested. Love this little boy!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Finally decorated my master bedroom! And a few other areas of my house...

Our master bedroom has vaulted ceilings so I really didn't know how to decorate above the bed so pictures or mirrors or whatever didn't get dwarfed by this big wall. After a couple months living here I saw a few ideas on pinterest and from Joanna Gaines to put a wall to wall shelf. But I didn't want it to be a knick knack shelf. I had seen on pinterest to decorate with plants. It looked so classic and relaxing! Our room has a balcony with a big glass door so it gets pretty good natural light so I finally decided to go for it! I don't have a before, but you can imagine. 

And the after!
Victor and I built this shelf. When all is said and done it was pretty easy. But in the moment trying to find wood, measure and hang up correctly etc., it feels like a pain. My friend Mickelle helped up hang it, because it is sooo long--almost 13 feet! I bought the plants after it was hung, and noticed an immediate difference in the room. I love love love it. 

My favorite part of the room is the view: our backyard is big and has a hill of trees on a back hill, so I can pull the curtains back and not worry about people looking right down into my room. That's the number one reason why we wanted this house.

Over the last few months, I have slowly but surely been decorating and it is pretty much done. A few of my favorite spaces:

The little kitchen nook with my plate wall.
 The front living room:
 The family room:

And the boys room. Love their colorful happy room. And I love that they love spending time playing in here. In our cottage, their room was in the back and secluded so they never naturally went in there.
You can see my dining room in the post I did here.

Anyway, there you go. Making a house a home is one of my favorite hobbies.
 
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