Lillian Turns TWO!

Our sweet and feisty Lilly Belle turned two this month! It’s hard to believe that two years ago she was a tiny (well, she still is tiny) NICU surgery baby. She’s come so far! She is very headstrong, but very loving. She is talking very well and she can out eat Vivian at nearly every meal. She loves beans, pizza (of course), fruit, quesadillas, cereal, and nearly everything else. She’ll even eat salad! And, she’s a great sleeper – 12 hours at night and 2-3 hour naps! Who knew two years ago when we were in the thick of feeding and sleeping issues that we’d come out the other side like this?! Lillian especially loves Vivian and seeing the two of them play together and pretend together makes us smile all the time. We are SO glad that these girls have each other.

It was a lot of fun celebrating our little girl and we did so with balloons, presents, a big chocolate cake, dinner out, and breakfast with Mickey and his friends. We didn’t throw a big party for her, but she didn’t miss it. She was so happy with everything else and loved telling people that she’s two, along with singing “Happy Birthday” to herself.

Lillian is TWO!

Birthday Balloons and Presents

New Easel from Mama & Daddy

BIG Chocolate Cake (with LOTS of Sprinkles)

Sisters After Birthday Dinner

It’s My Birthday!

Family Photo with Mickey Mouse

Hugs for Mickey

Big Smiles for Minnie

Too Busy Eating to Hug Daisy

Blowing Out Her Birthday Cupcake Candle

Lillian is a ton of fun right now and I know from experience now that the fun is going to increase in the next year. Happy Birthday, Lillian! We love you more with each passing day!

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Welcome William

We welcomed our first son, William Daniel, into the world on Friday, April 13, 2018, at 9:45 am. He weighed 8 lbs. 9 oz. and was 20.5″ long. He is named in memory of Dan’s maternal grandfather and in honor of Dan. His birth was my easiest, by far, and my recovery, also, has been my easiest, by far. And…best of all, he has, so far, been our easiest baby! (We were due for an easier one – ha!). William is one month old now and we have settled into a new life of craziness with three kids. Someone is pretty much always screaming or crying, but most of the time it’s not us parents!

William’s addition makes us a family of five. We are tired, we are stressed, and we are a little overwhelmed, but most of all, we are happy:-)

Our Three Kiddos

This blanket and cap were handmade by Dan’s paternal grandmother.

This blanket was handmade by Dan’s maternal grandmother.

William Daniel

William Daniel

A Pea in a Pod

William Daniel

Our Family (Sans Snoopy)

Proud Parents

Mama + Baby

Daddy + Baby

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Daddy and Daughters Trip to Visit Grandma and Grandpa

In early March, a few weeks before I was due to give birth to our third child and first son, Dan flew on his first solo trip with both girls. The three of them spent the weekend in Livermore visiting Dan’s parents. Dan did a similar trip with Vivian before I gave birth to Lillian. The weekend allowed them great bonding time with Dan’s parents and allowed me quiet time at home. We really should do this more than once every two years!

Daddy and Daughters at the Orange County Airport

Dan’s mom wrote a great blog post about their time together and since I wasn’t personally there, I think it’s best to read about their fun times straight from the source!

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Last Weeks as a Family of Four

Tomorrow morning, on April 13, I will be 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant and I will have my third c-section to deliver our first son. I’ve been on maternity leave for a month (thank you California!) and have spent the past four weeks preparing for our newest’s arrival, relaxing (a little!), and spending time with the girls. For posterity, here are a few of the fun things that we’ve done before adding a fifth to our family:

Pretend City

Sand Play at Pretend City

Shopping at Pretend City’s Trader Joe’s

Water Play at Pretend City

Crafts at Pretend City

Bowers Kidseum

Diego and Frida at the Bowers Museum

Exploring the Bowers Kidseum

Irvine Spectrum Rides

Riding the Ferris Wheel at the Irvine Spectrum

Riding the Ferris Wheel at the Irvine Spectrum

Riding the Train at the Irvine Spectrum

Aliso Viejo Children’s Concert

Butterfly Face Painting at the Children’s Concert

Dancing at the Children’s Concert

Boomers! Irvine

First Time Putt-Putting!

Teacup Ride at Boomers!

Carousel Ride at Boomers!

We also went to birthday parties at the park (bounce houses!) and indoor playards, story time at the library, family night at Chick-fil-A, and out for frozen yogurt. Tomorrow, it all changes – again! The rest of the summer will be full of fun activities, too, but we’ll have a baby in tow. Here we go!

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Vivian Turns FOUR!

Our firstborn is now FOUR years old! So exciting! I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again, although the years seem to fly by, I do not want time to stand still. Each year, milestone, and adventure is better than the last. You cannot stop time and lamenting about its passing is futile. I treasure all of my memories and am so excited for what’s next. I love Vivian so much as a four-year-old – her personality, sweetness, intelligence, energy – I would not take away any of it to go back in time. At four-years-old, she still asks for snuggles from us daily. She is an amazing big sister to Lillian and we are so excited to see her relationship with her baby brother blossom. She has entered her second year of preschool and is very smart – she’ll do fine in school, for sure. She still swims, dances, and takes Spanish lessons. She loves riding her bike (summer goal – no training wheels!), books, arts/crafts, playing outside, and pretending and imagining. Although life can be dramatic at this age, it’s still very, very good.

When you are turning four, your birthday is a big deal. The night before her birthday, Dan and I decorated the house with streamers and balloons and made a display of all of her presents. It was so fun to watch her take it all in the next morning.

Birthday Morning

Excited to be FOUR

After she and I dropped Lillian off at daycare, we went to Starbucks and then picked up my Mom from the airport. Having Nana here for her birthday was a wonderful treat. The two of them baked her birthday cake for her party the next day while I went to my 39-week OB doctor appointment. For dinner that night, we went out to eat at BJ’s, which we’ve also done for birthdays 2 and 3.

Birthday Pizookie

And then, of course, there were presents!

Unwrapping Gifts

A New Rapunzel Dress

Jewelry Box

Reading Nana’s Card

The day after her birthday, she continued the celebrations with a small Rapunzel/princess party at our house.

Hugs for Rapunzel

Two Rapunzels

Finally, on the Monday that she returned to preschool (her baby brother’s due date!), she brought treats in for her class (which Nana helped her make) and got to wear a crown all day and be interviewed by her teacher. [Note that half of the answers to her interview questions are false. She’s actually never been to McDonald’s in her life (I don’t even know if she knows what it is), but she didn’t have an answer to that question and so her teacher prompted her with a list of “restaurants,” the first of which was McDonald’s. Also, as far as I know, she’s never watched Paw Patrol or Spider-Man, at least at home (although I know that she’s familiar with the characters).]

Preschool Celebrations

Birthday Interview at Preschool

Happy Birthday, Vivian! We love having a four-year-old and are so excited for all of this next year’s adventures with you!

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Winter & Spring Holidays

Before children, we celebrated, like, two holidays a year. Well, maybe we celebrated more, but just with booze and parties. Now, it seems like we make a bigger deal out of more holidays every year, and this year was no exception. Over the past three months, we celebrated Valentine’s Day/Ash Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter. Each holiday was special and fun for the girls – and us, too (even without the alcohol and parties!).

Valentine’s Day/Ash Wednesday
These two holidays fell on the same day this year. We made cut-out cookies at home and let the girls frost and decorate them (oh, the mess!). Vivian made her first valentines for her classmates and had two parties to celebrate at preschool. We bought the girls some chocolates, which I think we ended up eating ourselves! And I took the girls to church to get their first ashes.

Our Valentines

Lillian Frosting Cookies

Vivian Frosting Cookies

Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust

St. Patrick’s Day
By the time this holiday rolled around, I was on maternity leave. I baked Irish oatmeal soda bread, cutout cookies (again), and pistachio pudding cupcakes. I could not find a shamrock cookie cutter in any local store (and there wasn’t enough time to buy one online), so I improvised and made frog cutout cookies – hey, they were still green! Vivian once again celebrated at preschool with parties. On the morning of St. Patrick’s Day, a leprechaun had left a trail of gold coins through the house for the girls to find. We ended the day at a friend’s 40th birthday/St. Patrick’s Day party.

St. Patrick’s Day Baked Goodies

Vivian in Her 1st St. Patrick’s Day Outfit

Vivian in Her 2nd St. Patrick’s Day Outfit and Lillian in Her Outfit

Party Time!

Party Time!

Party Hat

Family Photo Opp

Easter
This year, Easter also fell on April 1st, April Fool’s Day, but we didn’t celebrate with any pranks. In the week leading up to Easter, I took the girls to the Irvine Park Railroad’s Easter Eggstravaganza. Vivian participated in two egg hunts at preschool. I took the girls to an Easter party on Good Friday at Cal Elite Kids, their old gymnastics studio. We attended our community’s Spring Fling event (more egg hunts). We dyed eggs. And, finally, the Easter bunny came, we went to church, and we ate brisket to celebrate.

Our First Hatchling

Train Ride at Irvine Park

Bounce House at Irvine Park

Straw Ride at Irvine Park

Decorating Easter Cookies at Irvine Park

Preschool Egg Hunt #2

Arm Painting at Cal Elite Kids

Face Painting at Cal Elite Kids

“Fishing” at Cal Elite Kids

Baker Ranch Egg Hunt – Dresses Handmade by Aunt Robin

Pony Ride at the Spring Fling

Lil’s First Pony Ride – She LOVED It!

Face Painting at the Spring Fling

More Face Painting at the Spring Fling

Family Photo at the Spring Fling with Mr. & Mrs. Bunny

Dying Easter Eggs

Dying More Easter Eggs

Happy Easter (Craft Sent by Aunt Jane)

Easter Baskets!

Easter Morning

After Easter Mass

Whew! Next up, birthdays – Vivian’s (4), Baby Brother’s (0), Dan’s (35), and Lillian’s (2)!

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A Winter Sunday in Laguna

We love Laguna Beach in the winter. There are no crowds. There’s a cool ocean breeze. There is no traffic. It’s clear and feels spacious and lovely. So, a few weeks ago, we drove down Laguna Canyon Rd., stopped to visit the Laguna Koi Ponds, ate lunch downtown, walked around, [carefully] visited the Wyland Gallery, and got some chocolate to go. It was the perfect Sunday family outing!

Visiting the Laguna Koi Ponds

Lots of [Expensive!] Koi

Ocean Views

Ocean Snuggles

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