Land of the Free


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Let's take it all the way back to the 4th of July! We went down to Fresno for the holiday weekend. My sister and her family came up from San Diego. Not much to say about it other than it was your typical 4th of July, complete with pancake breakfast, swimming, bbqing, sparklers, and watching fireworks.
I never want to forget those curly locks back there! Loved 'em.

a report on beach camping with two littles and a 27 week pregnant lady


Monday, July 7, 2014

I was super duper nervous to go beach camping for 5 days. Taking two kids, one who naps atleast 2 hours during the day and both going to bed at 7:30, plus other factors of eating habits and sun exposure and stuff, it all just sounded like camping was a recipe for tantrums, overtired, sick, whiny, kids. Then, add on me with a watermelon belly I just thought WHY ARE WE DOING THIS? But I already knew the reason why - family reunions and you just have to go to those things, ya know? And I'm so glad we did! The kids did AWESOME!!! Like, completely knocked it out of the park with their awesomeness! They slept through the night, I took Warner back to the trailer for daytime naps, they all played well with their cousins, Ev thrived at the beach and loved the waves - they just killed it and they were awesome for the 5 hour drive there and back!
Probably my favorite part of this whole trip was seeing my kids act all grown up and totally doing things that the big kids do. Not even acting the part, but legitimately doing big kid stuff. Like Warner up there with the parachute - he totally got the concept of holding the parachute and tossing it up and down. And both kids are scooter pros, and were in on the cousin jokes at the table. It was adorable to watch and just made me so proud of them for growing up to be such stellar people!
Every day they had a craft for the kids to do. So cute! 
Lots of dirt was involved with this boy! Right when we pulled up to the camp site and got Warner out of the car, he ran to the camp and just ran his fingers deep into the ground, letting the dirt run all through his hands and fingers. Total boy.
The beach was absolutely dreamy every day we were there! I was so impressed with Evelyn's courage in going in to the water! The girl was rolling in the waves! Warner hung back by me and basically had an anxiety attack if he even watched Evelyn walk down to the water, let alone see her get in the ocean! It was kinda sweet - he would clench on to my suit when she got in the waves and whimper out "Eh-when" (evelyn) as he was genuinely concerned for her safety and thought she'd never come back.
Nights were for riding scooters, throwing balls, and eating grub. Warner has three adorable older boy cousins who are so good to him! Cohen was so cute and played catch with Warner for a really long time, and Warner just loved it!
Love these shots of Ev and her cousin, Hunter. They were laughing about something like eating a tree or other nonsense, but they had a good case of the giggles and it was infectious!
Twinners! Ev's new scary face.
And dusk was for smores ;)

Thanks Oakden Family for such a fun trip! Until next year!

Oh, and here are some of Warner's mad scooter skills. He really gravitated to this pink scooter, mostly because it was his perfect size over a razor.

a gosh darn update!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Well, I have been lovingly scolded by dear friends for not updating the blog, so here I am. I am SO GLAD I AM HERE! I have been wanting to update this part of my life for so long, but the saying "my life has been so busy" really has been true around here and I knew that if I ever sat my bum in this chair with the intent to write, I would have millions of hours of things to spill out, so I never dared click "new post." But Jared is out of town, and finally at 11pm I found some time to sit here and cap what has been going on.

Starting with a timeline of sorts - We found out we are having another BOY!! I am beyond thrilled! This pregnancy has been the sweetest experience with Evelyn and Warner. Ev loooooves talking about the baby. Jared has done a wonderful job at teaching her "life skills" for when the baby comes  to make things easier for me - getting dressed by herself, clearing her plate for meal time, buckling herself in to her car seat - stuff like that. She also loves to talk about "the baby" in her tummy. Today on our way to the pool she said "You can take the baby in your tummy and I can take the little tiny baby in my tummy!" "Ev, you don't have a baby in your tummy. You have to get married like me and Dad when you get bigger and then you can have a baby in your tummy," I replied. "Oh," she sadly responded, looking like she was genuinely feeling empty for not carrying a child, "and then I can get taller and a baby can kick me in mine tummy, too?" Both she and Warner are constantly stroking my belly and kissing it. I'm feeling really confident this time around that baby boy will be completely welcomed and loved by his siblings. I am not confident, however, that I will be able to juggle 3 kids. More on my struggle with two kids in another post.

Although we've been here in Sacramento almost 6 months and I'm feeling rather familiary with the city, I still don't feel settled. Most of that has to do with a job opportunity Jared had back in DC. It was a year long hiring process, one we started before we even left Virginia. Jared made it to the final stage, flew out to DC and everything. My in-laws even offered to watch the kids while I flew out with Jared to DC for the interview, but I was so confident that we were going to be back there by the end of the year with this new job that I didn't take them up on it. Then we got the news that Jared wasn't a finalist.... and we both cried. This one was a real stinger. Yes, we have a job now that we are extremely grateful for, but this was our DREAM JOB!! and we were SO CLOSE!!! SO close! It took me a good week to not cry multiple times a day over that disappointment. But oh well, we've moved on and now look forward to staying here in California closer to family. Funny thing, all of the sudden this huge state makes me feel claustrophobic. I always saw our family as a migrant one, living all over the country, even internationally. Now Jared and I both feel exhausted from trying to pursue that route (that route being working for the government as a federal agent, diplomat, analyst), and so California here we are to stay. Virginia is wonderful. I miss the trees, the summer fireflies and crickets humming, our little condo that was oh so beautiful, the culture, the city, the history. I mostly miss our friends. I loved that our friends were just as dear to us as family. I haven't been able to replicate that here, yet. I miss Oak Marr Ward. I miss playgroups and Evelyn having a social life. But I should stop lamenting because life is great, but "don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got til it's gone?"

The main reason why I have been MIA on here is because of the success I have found in my own little business, Swankaroo. This venture has proved to be AMAZING and I love being a business woman and contributing a good amount to our family's income. It is a tough balance, though, to try and juggle all these roles that I, like most women, are called to carry - mother, wife, cook, launderer, housemaid, accountant, teacher, friend, sister, aunt, Christ's disciple, doctor, and many more. But I do love the creative outlet I get out of Swankaroo. It has been a big blessing.

Sheesh, what other nonsense can I plug this space with? Warner got his first haircut! Beat Ev to that milestone ;) I love having a minivan. I love that Ev loves listening to Vampire Weekend with me, but hate that the Frozen soundtrack is played at least two times daily. Evelyn is swimming like a champ again this summer - so proud of her! She still gets an amazing reaction out of onlookers, and when they ask how old she is and I say three, I always want to follow up with "yeah, but she was totally swimming like that last year at two years old!" Warner is the sweetest brother. He is always thinking of Evelyn. If he gets a snack, he asks for one for Evelyn so he can give it to her - always melts my heart!! He adores her.

So I guess that's enough to fill in the spaces of what's been going on. Nothing extraordinary, but every day I feel like I'm rolling out of bed to hike the longest journey of my life.

Is it tacky to post Easter pics a month late?


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Better late than never, right? Quickly, we had a great time over Easter with both of our families. While it can be really tough sometimes to juggle activities with both grandparents around holidays, it really is double the fun. 

But mostly I want to focus on that last picture there of Evelyn. When did she get so big? And that smile she's putting on there? That's not her usual smile. The first one in this stack of photos is her typical one, but this last one is different. She looks IDENTICAL to her dad when he was little. They have the same eyes and cheeks. She even looks like she has Jared's barrel chest her, which she certainly does not, Miss Petite! It just always strikes me when I see such a resemblance between her and Jared because it reminds me that she is made part of each of us. Literally. She is half me and half Jared. That is mind blowing! I've said it once, and I'll say it again, but I love creating people. The coolest job.

San Francisco


Monday, May 12, 2014

Last weekend Jared and I took our first solo trip together since having kids! I have been planning this trip for about 9 months - not our itinerary, but just LET'S GET AWAY WITHOUT THE KIDS PLEASE planning and an opportunity presented itself! While I have been anxious to have some time with just Jared, it was funny how the nights before we were to leave I slept horribly and was so nervous and sad to leave them. I was mostly worried about Warner because he is my baby and he is rather partial to me, and the thought of his mom just up and leaving just broke my heart, but wouldn't you know it the kid did just fine without me! I don't think I ever would have taken this leap of leaving them if my wonderful inlaws weren't so kind to give up 3 days to come spend with Evelyn and Warner. I knew they were in good hands, and once we got in the car to drive to San Francisco I didn't look back ;)
The first stop of our journey was to Alcatraz. The place was much more fascinating than I thought it would be! I really wish I had read up on all the hardcore criminals that were locked up in there before we went. Machine Gun Kelly? The Birdman? Creepy Karpis? Yeah, not so knowledgeable on my gangster trivia. I also had no idea that Alcatraz was home to Native Americans for 18 months during the 60's. Or that families of the guards LIVED on the island. Gasp - give me a heart attack as a mother!! No way would I ever feel like that would be a smart idea to transplant my kids within 200 feet of crazies! But the tour was super interesting... and windy.
Next we decided to walk up the 377 steps up Telegraph Hill to reach Coit Tower. We had heard it was worth the walk with gorgeous homes, fauna, flora, and views of the city. Just about 30 steps in, my pregnant self in tight jeans almost reconsidered the path we were on, but I'm glad I pushed through because it really was amazing and not all that strenuous of a climb. 
Next on the list - Pier 39, Fisherman's Warf, and Ghirardelli. I don't think I need to even caption this portion because the pictures do justice to how beautiful the waterfront is.
And then we rode a cable car.. or two.. or three! It truly is a unique way to travel, especially if you catch a super packed car and you are squished in the middle like sardines. Luckily our third time was a charm and we jumped on one where we were on the outer ledge, catching a PERFECT view of the city as we glided up and down the hills.
And what's a trip to San Fran without the Painted Ladies? This was by far disappointing. The houses are totally rundown and in need of desperate restoration. But the homes surrounding Alamo Park are gorgeous! This city has some killer architecture. The Palace of the Fines Arts there below? Stupendous.
This city is truly a gem. I've been to New York, London, Paris, and Rome - those are all grand and have definitely captured my heart. San Fran might be up there on that list. Can someone please write a complimentary song to "Empire State of Mind" for San Fran? "Golden State of Mind.....?" Til' next time!