Monday, August 31, 2015


If there's something Orelia loves more than vacation, it's her friends.  She was beyond thrilled to host two of her best friends up for a day trip while we were at Stinson Beach.

Over one of our weekends we had the most incredible weather, and so I suggested to a couple friends that it might be worth the very twisty and somewhat nauseating drive to come up for the day.

Orelia and I loved spending a warm and sunny morning with some of our friends.

One of my goals of the trip was for Orelia to become comfortable enough with the ocean that she could fill up a bucket with water.

Grandma and Noni had worked with her the previous week to get her comfortable with "toe tickling" in the waves.

But it was truly seeing one of her brave friends in the water that convinced Orelia should could be brave too.

Once she got over her fear she was having the time of her life.

We literally had to drag her away form the fun of the waves when it was time for lunch.

When we weren't ankle-deep in water we practiced our throwing skills.  Mommy is pretty strict when it comes to throwing, so Orelia was thrilled to finally find a place where throwing rocks was encouraged.

The utter jubilation just radiated out of her as she ran into and out of the ocean over and over again.

We are so grateful our friends made the visit to teach Orelia how much fun the ocean can be.

After hot dogs and ice cream we said goodbye to our friends and settled down for a very long nap.  All the wave-jumping and bucket-filling is exhausting!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Birthday at the Beach

Some girls are very lucky and get to celebrate their third birthdays at the beach.

Orelia woke up to donuts for breakfast and a stack of presents on the balloon-decorated table.  She set to work with her window markers straight away.

We headed down to the beach early since it was already sunny, and Harper was happy as a clam.

Orelia's birthday was on a Monday this year, but since it was during vacation she got to be with her daddy all day.  What a treat!

 Like almost every beach morning Orelia had a snack of saltines...

Followed immediately by a bag of pretzels.  What can I say - girl likes her salty snacks.

After the beach it was time for lunch and cake.  I snapped this photo while John was telling Orelia about what happened three years ago - the day of her birth.  He told her how we kept waiting for her to come, but she wasn't ready and we thought she was in trouble and Mommy had to have emergency surgery.  She sat there listening earnestly (while probably not understanding much).  I just loved how honest he was with her.

 Three year olds love cake.

It may be the thing they yearn for most when their birthday is coming up.

Orelia was asking for hers since the moment she got up, and finally the time had arrived.

John ordered a special princess ice cream cake from our favorite ice cream store in Palo Alto and then packed it with dry ice to bring up to Stinson Beach.

 Needless to say, Orelia loved it.

Booey was thoroughly smothered with love by his big sister on her big day.

There were presents big and small to be opened throughout the day.  It was really fun to keep celebrating and celebrating.

When I went and got her after her nap, I whispered, "Do you know it's still your birthday?"

The look of utter joy on her face when she realized it was still her birthday and there was still more fun to be had was priceless.

The day ended with roasting marshmallows in our fireplace.

Orelia got to taste her first s'mores and go to bed one happy little three year-old.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bennett at Eleven Months

 We're closing in on the one year mark - happy eleven months, B!

 This little man is on the move lately.  He is crawling everywhere and pulling up on everything he can.  He is working on solo standing (but hasn't mastered it yet).  We are trying to keep him safe, but it's tough as he seems drawn to fireplaces and outlets.

He is always making noises and I'm finally convinced his first word is "mama" and he's been saying it for awhile now.  My dear sweet boy has lots to convey, and it melts my heart that he first learned to ask for me.

He is keeping up with two naps every day.  The morning one is getting longer, though who knows when he will transition to one nap.  

Eating is where this boy excels.   He packs away the solids like it's his last meal.  Meat remains a favorite and he loves chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, and steak.  He devours nectarines and watermelon.  He has eight teeth now (four on top and bottom) and he's learning how to chew better all the time.

 He's losing interest in nursing, but we are keeping it up until he reaches a year.

 The world is his oyster now that he's learned to move and play so much more.  He loves things with wheels and items that open and close.

 His sister is, of course, his number one play mate and best friend.  They adore one another and bring each other more laughs than you can imagine.

 He remains a real trooper always going places for his sister's sake.  We keep him on a good schedule most days and we appreciate how laid back he is about car trips and stroller rides.

We love watching you grow stronger every day, Bennett, and we can't wait to see what next month has in store!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

One Week Down

 We're about halfway through our beach vacation and loving every minute.

Three year olds appreciate a beach right out the backdoor and dinners overlooking the ocean.

They also appreciate having grandparents within arms reach at all times.

An endless supply of birthday presents help fill the downtime as well.

Bennett Booskies like practicing standing with their toes in the sand.

And of course the attention of everyone in the room helps too.

John and I went out to dinner to celebrate our 8-year anniversary.  Neither of us can remember a time when we last celebrated our anniversary on the actual day, so it was especially fun to have our free babysitters on hand.

 Harper has been having the time of her life.  She's a big reason we even came to Stinson Beach since we hate leaving her and knew she'd have a blast.

 My dad captured these amazing images of her running like the wind after endless tennis balls.

 Bennett is still loving any beach time he gets.  We take him down there without even changing him out of his pajamas, and he loves it.

Noni and Grandma have been helping Orelia get over her fear of the ocean and she's been dipping her toes in the water every day now.

Orelia has been scampering off to climb rocks and dance down the beach.  We love her independence, and we also appreciate her enthusiasm when running back to our arms when her solo time is done.

We're one week into our vacation and the beach still makes Orelia's eyes light up and Bennett squeal with excitement.  We are lucky to be here.