Girls Beach Retreat

For the last several years, my mom has been treating the girls and grandkiddos to a Summer beach trip!  Last year was Londyn and I's first time going but she was still very little.  This year, it was so much more fun with Lulu because she could participate in all of the activities with the kids.
We so appreciate my mom for the awesome beach house and treating us to meals out, treats and shopping!  

I love my girl.

The Oregon coast never has predictable weather, but we got lucky and got lots of time at the beach with blue skies, sunshine and the gorgeous ocean!

Ten mermaids and a pirate.

Miss Independent.

One of the girls' favorite beach trip traditions is the annual shopping spree and photo shoot.  The cousins partner up and Grandma gives each of them a budget to pick out an outfit at the outlet mall.  My favorite part is seeing all of their individual styles and personalities shine.  Following the shopping trip, my talented sis-in-law Rebecca does a photo shoot with all the kids.  Unfortunately, Londyn was way overdo for her nap and didn't last very long but I can't wait to see how the photos turn out!

Here is the outfit I picked out for Lulu.  She's just getting so big!

Londyn adores her cousin "Kay-Kay" and would ask for every morning when she woke up.  Sometimes when Kaylee is around, Lulu will only go to her!

Another beach trip tradition is going to our favorite restaurant Mo's.  Yummmm-o!

The kids loved playing on the beach outside of Mo's, digging for clams and splashing around in the freezing cold water!

After Mo's and the beach, Grandma took us all to the "Naked Mermaid" ice cream parlor.  It isn't really called the naked mermaid but theirs a statue of one outside of the parlor... thus the nickname.

My absolute favorite part of the trip was swimming at the pool.  In the past, Londyn has always been really nervous and scared around water.  But she is definitely growing up because I don't think there was a moment where she wasn't smiling from ear to ear in the pool!  Although, she did get sassy because she didn't understand that she couldn't just let go of me and swim like all the other kids.  She loved to climb out of the pool and jump in the water... even when people weren't expecting it!  Yikes!

We had so much fun and can't wait until another girls retreat next Summer!


Morning Glory

Every morning when little miss Lulu wakes up, she has a routine.  She talks to herself for a good 5-10 minutes and then I go into her room to get her out of her crib.  She always wants her "blank" (blanket) and usually puts her "pappy, nigh night" (pacifier away).  We then go downstairs and repeats "show, show, show... show!"  She wraps herself up in her blankets, watches a show and asks for a "ba-ba" or "mulk" (milk).  

Two days ago, I started the morning routine by going in to grab her from her crib... only to find her already out!  Londyn has ALWAYS loved her crib and when she's tired, she tells us she wants to go to bed.  So we've never had an issue with her escaping... until now.  Most kids I know that are her age have been doing this for a while now, so it was only a matter of time.  I hope to keep her in the crib for as long as possible before converting to the toddler bed as I know she will have a hard time napping.  Her naps are my only ticket for rest, relaxation and the occasional momentum to actually get something done around the house... which is why I am not at all looking forward to the toddler bed stage.


Fonduely Yours.

Three years ago today, I married a Marine filled with ambition, drive, a long list of talents and looks that still make me weak in the knees.  He is truly the man that I always dreamed of marrying.  I am constantly admiring how hard he continues to work for our family, the love he has for his daughter and most surprisingly... how well he puts up with me!  
Marriage is not easy... at all and we learned that right off the bat!  Since Andrew and I really didn't know each other very well when we got married, our commitment was based on just knowing it was right.  In the first year, we learned so much about each other and worked out a lot of kinks and quirks.  In the second year, we became a family of three, which brought more patience and love into our home.  The third year?  Our lives our in sync and we often get the feeling of an old married couple.  We are no where near perfect or have everything figured out, but we are both a little less stubborn and a little more flexible.  We make each other laugh, hold hands and snuggle every day.  I hope that never changes.  And now, for the fourth year.  Who know's what comes next.  Although it seems like just yesterday that we met, it is hard to remember the way things were before Andrew came a long.  

He is my best friend and I am blessed to share my life with him.   
We had such an amazing time celebrating our anniversary last year, that we decided to do the very same thing this year!  My parents took Lulu for us and we went out to The Melting Pot for dinner.  We were seated in a quiet corner booth that shouted romance, enjoyed (which is an understatement) salads, a delish cheese fondue, a variety of meats, fish and poultry for our entrees and finished off with a chocolate fondue.  It was absolutely perfect.  

After our two hour dining experience, we took a stroll around downtown Portland... people watching and just talking.  After picking up Londyn and tucking her in for the night, we watched a movie and snuggled in bed.  It was a recipe for the perfect anniversary.

Our story is still crazy... even three years later.

I had just sworn off men the month prior to meeting my man on Match.com - as ironic as it was, the "It's okay to look" phrase on their commercials really caught my attention. My success with men was inexistent and I decided to take a break from them. I kept seeing the Match.com commercials and finally gave in. I looked! Within the first couple of days, I found Andrew. Apparently, he found my profile first and didn't make any move because he thought I was out of his league. WRONG! As untrue as it was, I contacted him first with a WINK. He then e-mailed me and we never stopped. 

The interesting part about our story is that Andrew was in Iraq serving in the Marine Corps at the time. He had been there for a total of 6 months and had about one more month to go. We emailed back and forth about 3 to 4 times a day for a month. We were able to talk on the phone several times but most of our contact was via email. We knew that we had a lot in common and were eager to meet with the hopes that something would come of this long relationship through correspondence. No commitment was made, just plans to meet and see where this connection would go. 

I went on a cruise to Mexico with my family for a week and in that time, Andrew arrived safely back from Iraq. When I returned we had planned as two strangers to meet at the airport so he could give me a ride home. The first time I saw my future husband was a feeling of “home.” He was and still is very handsome and such a gentlemen. We had a few big long hugs and looks of “we must be crazy” and then headed to his car. In the car we were joking around and he went to give me a high-five. I, being the very forward woman that I am, took his hand and didn’t let go. To his surprise, it just fit. He then took me to my apartment, brought my bags in, and we just sat in awe of this strange and ironic situation. It was like we had been together for much longer than just a couple short hours. I offered to get him a glass of water and he accepted, following me into the kitchen. In the kitchen he took me in his arms and gave me one of his world famous hugs, followed by a silent slow dance on the cold linoleum kitchen floor. I thought he was making “the move” and was going in to kiss me. But boy, was I was wrong! So I kissed him instead. At this point, he knew I was a take-charge kind of girl. We spent a few more hours in my apartment discussing the “status” of our relationship and how fast all of this was going. It didn’t matter and we accepted the blessings that we had been given, in meeting each other no matter how crazy it was. 

The next day, we decided to spend time together doing normal things that a boyfriend and girlfriend would do and go on our first date. We had lunch at Mimi’s CafĂ© (our favorite restaurant) and then ran a few errands. As we were driving in the car, nonchalantly and so sincere, he told me that he knew it was too soon and was unsure as to how I would react, but he loved me. The feeling was mutual and I told him “I love you too.” We then discussed what was supposed to happen next. With this being the first week of May and Andrew starting school at the end of August, we decided that with it being only the day after meeting... it was only natural to get married. And married fast! We bought my engagement ring the following day and he proposed 3 days after that in a beautiful garden, filled with an array of beautifully colored flowers and surrounded by several gorgeous waterfalls. We were engaged and wedding planning for the next three months. In those agonizing three months we definitely considered eloping to Vegas a few times. But we managed to make it through. We were married and sealed for time and all eternity in the Portland, Oregon Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on July 24th, 2008. It was the most wonderful and memorable day of our lives. We then honeymooned in Honolulu and cruised the islands of Hawaii. After a week of relaxation and the beauty of Hawaii, we returned to civilization to start our new life together as husband and wife. 

Three months after saying "I do" we were blessed with the news that we were expecting a baby!  Londyn Joy arrived on July 2, 2009.  She is the most perfect little girl and we love her more and more with each day that we get to raise her.

We have our own little family now, with a unique story of how it all began. It isn’t so much as a modern day fairytale as we work hard through the bad days and give thanks for the good ones. His strengths are clearly my weaknesses and my strengths are his. It works! We take care of each other.

In short, we met online and then in person a month later. We kissed on our first meeting, bought a ring two days later, engaged three days after that and then got married three months following.  Three months after all was said and done, we were expecting!  Three is clearly our lucky number!  

 We love each other very much and without using Match.com we would still be looking for each other in all the wrong places. 

First Date at Mimi's Cafe in Orem, Utah


Anxiety & Motherhood

It has been almost 3 weeks since Londyn turned two and if it is even possible, I am more and more in love with her every day.  Now we may just be having a really good few weeks but I am enjoying this stage of her life more than any other so far.  I love that she can tell me how she feels, what she wants and is constantly sharing her sassy personality.  She is ALWAYS talking... I wonder where she gets that from?

The only difficult part of this stage so far is that I find myself reverting back to being the mom of a newborn that I never was.  When Londyn first entered my world, I was never afraid to put her in the crib after two weeks... I let her cry it out with little hesitation... we let go of the baby monitor after just a few months... and the list goes on.  It wasn't until lately that I have become much more anxious and more protective of her.  It is the strangest and most foreign feeling.  At night, when I lay in bed... I worry, worry and worry some more. I get nervous about whether she has too many blankets in her crib... whether she is warm enough or if I should go turn off her fan.  Sometimes I even peak in on her to make sure she is still breathing.  Is this normal?  I feel like I am entering motherhood all over again!

The more I have prayed and thought about these fears, I think that the responsibility and heaviness of my love for her is beginning to really sink in.  Although I love the progress and growth that she shows every day, I am so sad to see each stage pass.  It amazes me that in these last two years, I have been so  eager for future stages to take place and now that they have come and gone, I want her to just slow down!  I know that this feeling will only get stronger as she gets bigger, which is why I plan to enjoy each and every laugh, cry, snuggle and even the occasional tantrum.  She is and will forever be my joy.

Lulu is such a happy girl.

My little dancer.

So silly.


Robin Hood Festival

This entire week, I have been counting down the days until the Robin Hood Festival, an annual tradition in my little hometown of Sherwood.  The parade grows longer and longer with every year that passes, the renaissance wear continues to be most unfashionable and the Fireman's chicken never ceases to tantalize my tastebuds. 

This year, Londyn was all about the parade.  She clapped, waved and yelled "woohoo!" to all the floats and passersby.  We are loving this age!

"Pretty Ears"

When Londyn was 3 months old, we got her ears pierced and I still believe it was the best time to do it!  She barely even cried or ever had a problem with them.  But they did fall out a couple times during her naps, which led to a cheaper alternative to 14k gold... which led to sensitive ears and infection.  We decided to leave them out and try again in the future.  
Now that she is two and can tell us when things are bothering her, I feel good about trying earrings again... plus the fact that a little extra bling never hurts. 
On Thursday, I took Lulu to Claire's in the mall and they were able to pierce both ears at the same time.  She was super wiggly but barely even let out a peep when they did it.  After it was done, she was adamant that she get her candy that I had promised over and over again.
I'm crossing my fingers she will do well with earrings this time!  She calls them her "pretty ears".  

I love my little girly girl!

Londyn Lately {24 months}

This week, Londyn and I tried going to the movies for her first time.  I was hesitant, since the kid can barely ever sit still... but when she does, it's usually while plopped in front of the TV to watch a show.  So we gave it a shot, and after stuffing my purse with snacks galore and a little over an hour of watching Yogi Bear, I would say her first movie theater experience was a success!  She was enamored by the huge screen and kept pointing and telling me about the big "show".  It love watching her love life and trying new things!

If it weren't for my sister, I don't know how I would get through the long Summer nights while Andrew is working.  Although we are so grateful and proud of him, we miss him terribly.  My sister Jenelle is a pro at doing the night time routine by herself as her husband is a police officer and has always worked crazy hours.  I would be surprised if she hasn't gotten sick of us yet, as we pop in... unannounced to just hang out and sometimes even mooch a meal or two.  Here is a picture of my niece Jennifer and Lulu when we went to Olive Garden about a week ago.  Londyn's best friends are her cousins.  She can never have enough of them!  Can you tell how much Londyn loves her Jen-Jen?

Thanks Jenelle for being the best big sis!


Let's get this party started!

On Sunday, July 10th we celebrated Londyn's 2nd Birthday by throwing a big bash in our backyard!  We had a little over 30 guests in our backyard, with beautiful weather and delish food!  




and CUPCAKES... make for a fabulous celebration!

Thank you to all who were able to make it and support our little Lulu.  We are so blessed to have you in our lives!


BIG girl!

Today was Londyn's 2 year well child check with our favorite pediatrician, Dr. Rollins.  The appointment went the same way it has since her first checkup after leaving the hospital.  She cries and screams over every little thing... stripping down to her bare bum to be weighed and measured, the thermometer, stethescope and even when looking in her ears and mouth.  She just wails.  Londyn hates the actual exam but loves when our doctor asks her to do things to see where she is at developmentally.  She loves showing off for Dr. Rollins with her head, shoulders, knees and toes... how she can dance and jump and how when asked how old she is, she says "3" ... (we're working on it).  Dr. Rollins told us that Londyn is right on track, physically and developmentally.  The most fabulous part was that Lulu is completely up to date on all of her shots, so we were able to leave with a sticker and a smile!

As for stats, Londyn weighs 31.4 lbs falling in the 92 percentile, is 36.8 inches in height in the 98 percentile and for her head circumference, she measures 19.5 inches in the 93 percentile.  

Translation:  She is one big whasian girl!    


Lulu's 1st Haircut

Londyn's hair has been kinda scraggly lately, so I decided to work with what little she does have... and give it a little shape.  She was an absolute doll and loved getting her haircut! (or maybe it was watching  Elmo, while sitting on the kitchen table?)



She loved looking at her "new hair" in the mirror.

Independence Day 2011

I love Independence Day!  It is always a beautiful day, filled with sunshine and love for our country.  Andrew has taught me so much about the meaning of true patriotism and I am so blessed to have him as an example of that very quality in our home.  Both Andrew and I have very courageous and honorable men in our family history that have served our country, fought for our freedom and impacted American history.  This day is not about setting off illegal fireworks or the best technique in barbecuing ribs, but it is about our founding fathers, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  It is about freedom and the sacrifices that have and continue to be made for this great nation.  God Bless America, land that I love.

Londyn turns 2!

My Dearest Londyn Joy,

I can't believe that two whole years have flown by since you joined our forever family.  I am so blessed to have your sass and flair in my life.  It is never boring when you are around and you always keep me on my toes!  
So many milestones have passed in your second year.  You are chatty, silly, cheesy, a smarty pants, very loving and the best snuggle bug.  You absolutely love going to the park and ask to go at least 3 times each day.  Your best friends are your cousins.  You were extremely social as a baby and now have become very shy in front of strangers.  Your favorite foods are mac n' cheese, broccoli, cucumbers (minus the peel) and carrots.  You love treats and ask for them daily.  You often want a "baba" (sippy cup) and run to the drawer and grab me a cup and lid, followed by the request "jew-milk" (aka juice milk).  We never know which one you want, juice... or milk.  If we get it wrong, you make it known.  Your answer to everything is "no" or "no, mine".  When I ask you how old you are, you say "three."  I then say, you're "two" and you say "no"... I then say "yes, you're two" and you count "two...four...nine!"  You love rough-housing with Daddy and soak up any chance you get to spend time with him.  You often say, "Where Daddy go?" and then quickly say "work".  You absolutely love music and dancing!  You know how to somersault, tap, kick, bounce your knees, jump and gallop.  You are going to love starting dance lessons in the Fall!  
Your personality and special Spirit blesses us each day and I am so honored to be your mother.  You are constantly teaching me what life is truly about... family.  Your love and need for me is something I have always craved.  It never gets old when you get hurt and cry for me or when you jump up and down in your crib after waking up, ecstatic to see me.  Your middle name "Joy" was an inspiration as you will forever be a joy in my life.  

Happy 2nd Birthday Lulu-baby!  I love you unconditionally.

Londyn's birthday was filled with all of her favorite things!  The day was all about Lulu!

Good Morning Birthday Girl!

We started and ended the day with two different parks.  We got to play in a huge water feature and have a  picnic!

We then went to a pet store with lots of animals to pet and hold.  They even had a turtle roaming around the store!

After a 3 hour nap, we took LJ to Red Robin.  She had her fav, mac n' cheese!

Now for the drama... our waitress put balloons behind her ears... she wasn't quite sure how she felt about that...

They proceeded to sing Happy Birthday... she still wasn't sure...

After the song... she decided she didn't like it at all.  Not one bit.  She was screaming hysterically, and the good parents that we are... could not stop laughing.

It took them giving her a stuffed dog and some snuggles from Daddy to calm her down.  She finally ate a few bites of her ice cream sundae.

Happy 2nd Birthday Lulu!