Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Favorite 2016 Photos

It's time for my yearly roundup of my favorite photos of the year.  This photo is all about her blue-tipped hair catching the light.

 Cabo sky and some coral in hand.

 Bougainvillea and backhoe beauty.

 Hot tubs and Daddy rule.

 Here comes Bennett cottontail.

 Accessory fiend.

 A boy and his dog.

 This image makes it seem like she's pondering the meaning of life.

Daddy makes him laugh the hardest.

 The big reveal of our own Disney princess.

 Bennett in the wild.

 You know it's a hot day when the popsicle drippings run all the way down to your elbow.

She often takes drying off after the pool very seriously.

If it's not funny to him, it's not funny.  But if it's funny, it's hilarious.

 Moooooooore tickles?

Her grace and beauty astound me sometimes.

 When I see this photo I feel like I'm right there on the beach with her sitting under the umbrella listening to her laugh.

 These sunglasses.  On this boy.

I knew I would always include this image in my favorite photos of the year.  There's something about her arm and the blue and her genuine smile that just move me.

I wish I had her fearlessness.  

 This is my favorite photo from Orelia's birthday party.  Things have improved since the "I love birthdays" image of last year.

 The true happiness from both kids at this moment really makes this image for me.  That and the way Orelia's toes are curled.

 That is one happy birthday boy.

 I think I might remember this photo and dinner for the rest of my life.  He loved every bite.

 The shutters on this play house have never met a more exuberant peek-a-boo player.

 First ice cream cone and pure joy.

 Not her first cone, but pure Orelia.

 This park in San Francisco has the most priceless real estate and the most beautiful views.  We literally had to drag Orelia away from her flower picking agenda.

 I love how this photo captures Bobby's devotion for his nephew and Bennett's absolute love and comfort with his uncle.

 Classic John.  (Note, I would never in a million years do this.)

 A fitting final image from our Golden Gate Fam.

Happy 2017 everyone!

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 - Year in Review

In case you're interested (Hi, Mom!), here is a recap of our year!

January was pretty low key for us, and we started enjoying more local adventures as a family of four since Bennett was able to see more and do more.

Orelia's hair still had a tinge of blue from the Thanksgiving blue hair experience, but luckily 2016 was mostly blue-hair-free.

February allowed Orelia to experience her first real Valentine's Day.

Her class had a valentine exchange and she loved decorating valentines with me.

February also included our vacation to Cabo with some of our best friends.

Bennett loved beach time with Daddy.

And Orelia loved hot tub time.

It was an awesome vacation.

In March we got a visit from Grandma and Uncle Bobby.

Easter was a blast with our expert egg-finder.

Bennett was keen on the chocolate-eating part.

Orelia won our egg cracking contest with much fanfare.  

April brought warmer temperatures and we began our water balloon festivities again.

We even got a chance to wade in a stream before all the water dried out for the summer.

Bennett and Harper started playing together more than ever.

My Aunt Ginny got a chance to visit us, and both my kids had a blast playing with her and Noni

In May Orelia had her last day of school.

She had a great year and we were sad to have the whole summer without class.

In June Orelia had a ballet recital.

She danced her heart out, and we loved seeing her have fun.

One of my best friends, Eve, got a chance to visit us, and Orelia loved recruiting her to read stories and participate in obstacle courses.

We also made a trip as a family to Disneyland.

Bennett had a good time playing with trucks and seeing vehicles all over the park.

Orelia loved meeting all her favorite princesses.

On Father's Day, Orelia sat on our backyard swing and figured out how to pump and swing properly for the first time.  This was met with lots of excitement.

In July we spent lots of weekend mornings at the park as a family.

We celebrated 4th of July with some of our friends at a backyard BBQ.

Bennett had a blast eating nonstop and getting as dirty as possible.

We spent a lot of time at the community pool over the summer and Orelia ended up being able to semi swim the length of a (short) pool.

Bennett loved experiencing his trucks in the shallow end.

The last two weeks of July were spent at a beach house in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

It was incredibly hot, so we spent lots of time at the beach with the family.

Plenty of trucks came along for every beach outing.

Bennett loved sitting on the adult chairs and filling his trucks with "dirt" (sand).

Bennett was baptized on the deck of the beach house by the pastor who married John and I.  It was a beautiful event and we were so happy our families could be there with us.

My brother and his wife, Kathi were able to come to Rehoboth too, and it was great getting a chance to hang out with them.

Right after Rehoboth, we came home to celebrate Orelia's 4th birthday.

Orelia was ecstatic with her "real" princess gown.

And she was of course thrilled with Cinderella coming by for a visit.

Bennett was thrilled with the cake.

My parents came for a visit while I went to my friend Heather's wedding in St. Croix.

Grandpa read countless books to Bennett, who is very keen on the idea as long as the books have to do with trucks, trains, cars, or maybe even planes.

September found us starting school again.

Bennett had his first day of preschool ever.

He absolutely loved school and every truck it had to offer.

Orelia started her Fours class at school (which she attends four mornings per week).

Bennett celebrated his second birthday at a pool party.

He was quite keen on the chocolate and the trucks.

The pool wasn't exactly warm, but it was warm enough for wading.

A few days later we had Bennett's "real" birthday at home, which included more chocolate cake and more trucks.

While John was in China, Noni and I had ice cream delivered and Bennett got to enjoy his first ice cream cone ever.  He was a fan.

Grandma and Bobby came to visit for my birthday weekend while I went off to a spa in Arizona.

John went with them and the kids to Yosemite, which I didn't mind missing out on.

October started pumpkin patch season for us.

And in California October also occasionally means beach weather.

Bennett continued to have a blast at school and started becoming a lot more social with his schoolmates.

We enjoyed a hayride as a family.

Orelia took a few pony rides.

Bennett just rode on the pretend ponies.

 The kids had a blast at the school carnival playing games and winning treats.

Halloween came around and a new Cinderella gown was worn.  Bennett refused all costumes, but feasted on chocolate.

We went to an ice skating party where John was a saint and took both kids on the ice (while I stayed on solid ground for photos).

Bennett found even more trucks to enjoy at school (as if that is even possible).

We went to our favorite Christmas tree farm the day after Thanksgiving and picked our tree.

Harper managed to stand still for a millisecond for a photo wearing a Santa hat (and we rejoiced).

Orelia and James (aka Bennett) posed for some sweet pre-recital photos this December.

And Orelia danced the only way she knows how - with attitude.

Visiting Santa was a delight this year.

Bennett was literally star struck.

Orelia and Santa had lots of quality time together, which was extra special.

We went to our first Nutcracker ballet together, and Orelia sat in awe for the performance, mesmerized by the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Our year wrapped up with matching Christmas jammies in front of the fire on Christmas morning.

We had a great 2016 and can't wait for more adventures next year!