'Muff'in Dome

Birthday Remembrance

grandma and Laurel

This is a photo of my grandmother and I when I was a babe. {Boy, do I know where the chubbiness comes from on my little ones’ cheeks!!}

birthday celebration


fun with Grandma!

Today is my grandmother’s birthday. There were four birthdays sandwiched in the month of September growing up, my grandma’s being smack-dab in the middle. We would always celebrate the September birthdays with a trip to Apple Hill, full of caramel apples, apple donuts, and fresh air picnics at one of the orchards.

Apple Hill with the family

Owen fishing with Grandma

enjoying a caramel apple



She passed away about a year and a half ago, and with that time of year upon us, I’m really missing her presence and those fun trips we took with my grandparents as a kid. It was one of the greatest highlights of the year. We are planning on carrying on the tradition of those apple-filled days with my children, but her presence there will never be missed.

kids with Gpa and Gma

And if you wouldn’t mind, please offer up a prayer for my grandfather. He is in the throw of his last days on earth and could use some extra grace right now. His heart dearly misses my grandma, and he will be reunited with her soon. <3

Grandpa and Grandma


Around the Web ~ 9.14.14

Fall Leaf

A few links that caught my attention this week:

Including your children in the day-to-day.  ”Teach little ones to love work by allowing them to help when they are little and still want to – and raise up a crop of hardworking adults who get the job done.”

The struggles many of us have with body image and learning how to find a balance in pursuing our well-being. Especially when little ones come along.

On one of my favorite sites, the importance of finding and making friends and a medium to discover like-minded people in your locale. Excited to develop our own St. Gregory Pocket care of the Like Mother, Like Daughter blog!

With the plethora of tomatoes covering my kitchen counter, it’s time to get down to business preserving them. I think some will go into this roasted tomato sauce to freeze.

Also, made a half batch of this garden fresh tomato basil soup to try out this week. It definitely passed the test! Going to make another full batch and freeze some for the winter. Perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich for dipping!

As autumn approaches, all things pumpkin are on the mind. I love this healthier alternative to the ubiquitous PSL {pumpkin spice latte}. Also, a cold adaptation that is actually good for you!

Potty training on the mind…. There are some good ideas here whenever we actually get started.

The Time That Whole Foods Made Me Realize That I Don’t Want to Live Forever.  Yes to this.

We’ve been wanting to incorporate more of the feast day celebrations into our family life. Here are some great ideas to get us started this Fall.

Also, thinking of our Fall garden…. Anyone have ideas of easy-to-grow plants for our beds?

Moments {Vol. 2}

A handful {or two} of blessed moments from this past week or so….

train Evey and daddy

 A little vacation to the sea {a more detailed post to come…} led us to this wonderful train that delighted Evelyn to no end, of course.

mama and Lucie train

Lucie and I enjoying the ride too.

starlet Evey

 Our little starlet wrapped in the hotel-provided robe on her way to her evening swim.


 Digging at the beach.

Lucie beach

 The littlest one enjoying the ocean air.


 Hanging out in the hotel.

sleeping with pooh

A most precious sight — sleeping with her friend.

quiet moment

 A few quiet moments stolen while my best friend watches the kiddoes.

up and down

 Riding the ‘up and down’ at the zoo.

Owen and Evey

 A rocking chair ride with cousin Owen and slightly nervous about the whole thing.

watching the game with dada

 Watching the USC – Stanford game with Daddy.

Lucie cake

 The outfit that inspired Evey’s new nickname — Lucie-cake.

homegrown tomato soup

 Tomato soup homemade with homegrown tomatoes fresh from the garden.

sick girl

Although she’s feeling under the weather, you would never know it! ;)

This Year’s Garden

Between pregnancy and taking care of a newborn for me and full-time work and part-time grad school for Steve, it is a wonder we got anything out of our garden this year. After my brother and his friend put up a wonderful fence around our side yard and two beautiful planter boxes, we hustled to get a few things into the ground before Lucie made her appearance. Our haste made for a slap-dash tilling and planting without much regard for the suitability of the soil. The side yard was previously some nasty grass. We tossed some fertilized dirt over top, Steve’s dad came over to rototill and we raked it into rows before planting. The planter boxes had a little more attention, being filled only with good soil and the insertion of soaker hoses to aid in the watering process {much-appreciated as I painstakingly tried to do a lot of it with my big belly before it was finished…no easy task}.


One entire box we devoted to strawberries which we hope to keep going year after year. {Supposedly, they get better each year at producing.}

my berries

The next was half-filled with peppers — cayenne, ancho, jalapeno and serrano. They’ve done fairly well, although a few peppers ended up with some brown spots at first. Steve has used them to make some FINE! hot sauce. The first, he made using grilled peppers and it turned out being a chipotle hot sauce. SO yummy! {I haven’t tried the second yet. I get nervous because he likes his sauces HOT! ;)}


ancho jalapeno


The other half of the box, we attempted to grow radishes, carrots and leeks from seed. We got a good crop from the radishes {which we reseeded a few times}. The carrots sprouted…and then disappeared one. by. one. It was odd. I think it was either an insect eating them underground or the crazy scrub jays we have sqwaking around our yard. We never saw the leeks. :(


We started many little tomato seeds back in the early Spring. Many came up initially, but we didn’t do a sufficient job moving them into larger containers as they grew. As a result, we ended up with only ONE that could be transplanted. It was a Roma and it hasn’t done that well. Plus, I think it got some sort of mildew on its leaves. We grabbed some plants from a nearby nursery — an heirloom variety, Early Girls, pears and about half a dozen cherry tomato plants. {Needless to say, we have cherry tomatoes coming out our ears.}

tomato plant


Evey's tomato!


Alongside the tomatoes, we grew some some bell peppers that came up from seed. They looked sad when we first put them in the ground, but after Steve gave them a magical potion of coffee grounds, they perked right up and grew twice their size practically overnight. {I just made some stuffed bell peppers with eight of them the other night and it was SO gratifying!}


dinner prep

stuffed bell peppers

The last thing that went in our garden were a few rows of corn and a few of sunflowers. They never saw the light of day. Again, I think those nasty scrub jays are the culprits in the case of the missing plants.

We had a squash plant and two pumpkins that came up on the hillside, but the squash produced only a few teeny, tiny vegetables and the pumpkins stopped growing after a few weeks. Something wasn’t quite right with the soil, I’m guessing.

We sprinkled in some cheery and bright marigolds to help out the tomatoes, which Evey loved to help water.


She also had her own little flower, which she dutifully watered every morning.

Evey's flowers{It looked a lot better earlier in the summer when it was in full bloom!}

Evey's flowers 2

I threw some seed in the flower bed of a flower that attracts butterflies {and lots of bees!} that I can’t remember the name of at the moment. They did well in helping our garden get pollinated!

orange flower



The garden is a bit of an embarrassment at this point with the number of weeds we’ve allowed to get out of hand. {I’ve been pretty good about taking care of the strawberry bed, though. Surprised? ;)}

the garden


Our youngest gardener.


youngest gardener

We Will Never Forget

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 7.24.03 AM

I was stirred from my sleep by the phone repeatedly wringing. It was early morning here in California, much too early for people to be  calling. When the second line, which had a phone in my room, started ringing too, it pulled me completely from my slumber. Why were so many people calling this early in the morning? I walked out into the living room to find my mother sitting on the couch crying. She looked at me through the tears and said, “We’re under attack.” The television was on displaying these two large towers, one of which had smoke billowing from one of its higher floors. Within minutes, I watched in horror as a plane came bombing into the side of the second tower, listening as the newscaster screamed in panic. They are usually so poised.

burning towers

It felt a tad as if the world was melting around me. The first few hours that morning were some of the most tense and scariest I have felt in all my life. We learned of another plane smashing into the side of the Pentagon. Another coming down in a field in Pennsylvania. Up and down the eastern seaboard. What next? What would keep them from the western side of our country?

It was horrific watching that plane crash. But then, the first tower came down. It crumpled like a sheet of paper. I just kept thinking, That can’t happen. This must be fake. There are hundreds of people inside those buildings. Just seconds before, the camera had panned in on a person waving a piece of cloth of some sort to let rescuers know there were people trapped on that floor. Like a game of vertical dominos, the tower came down on itself one floor after another.

The television was now showing people scrambling for their lives on the street, covered in a white film while pieces of paper floated down out of the sky around them. It was truly surreal. I felt so helpless. All I wanted to do was sweep those dear people out of harm’s way.

people of 9.11

At around noon time here in California, it seemed like the attacks had finally stopped. Now, we listened in as people searched in desperation for their loved ones. Life seemed at a standstill that day all over the U.S. Perhaps the world. We were united in solidarity for those suffering. In truth, we were all suffering. The attack killed 2,996 but it was an attack against every one of us. They were aiming at what we stand for, what we believe in as Americans

And everybody seemed to know somebody who died that day, be it a personal friend or relative, a friend of a friend, a neighbor. And there were the stories of the near misses — those who had for some reason or another been late to work that day, those who had been on a trip to NY only the week before and wandered the floors of those buildings, those who had missed their flights or were bumped to another.

I was on a crew team at the time. Nothing kept us from our exercise routine. But there would be no rowing that day as the dam below the lake we rowed on was closed and all the waterways surrounding it for fear it might be targeted.  It was a day of intense fear. Who knew what was coming next?

As I reflected back on that September day 13 years ago, I hope in my heart that this has ended. But, still, I fear it has not. Let us continue to pray for those affected by the horrible attacks that day and those who continue to be attacked for those same reasons. May God grant us safety and peace.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 7.27.08 AM

Mountain Air

We were fortunate to spend a little time a couple weeks ago a month ago (I’m SO not on top of things these days) with my family in a large house in Truckee. We don’t get everyone together too often so it is nice when we have the opportunity. {Although we were still missing two of my brothers who live in So Cal. :( }


Raphy in Reno

Reno Aug 2014 2

We drove up to Reno one evening to visit a good friend of my father whom all of us children have known since birth.

Reno - Owen

Rosie and Teresa - Reno


A wonderful BBQ was enjoyed, a bit of badminton played, and a baby passed around.

Owen - badminton

Gabe and Raphy - badminton

Mommy and Son

Kathleen and Lucie

Daddy and Lucie


Lucie in Reno

They had some amazing hammocks which everyone had to test out.


tickles!Great for capturing someone to tickle!!

My parents rented a wonderfully spacious house where we were able to spread out. {Sadly, I didn’t take more photos of the place.} The four of us had one room to ourselves where we were able to relax at night.

sleeping on the floor

It was definitely a week for catching up with longtime friends too. My mom’s college friends stopped by the house on their way back down home from the mountains to visit for a bit. We went to the brewery in town for lunch and brews.

with aunt teresa

my loves

To end our short trip, we headed to the lake near Steve’s parents’ cabin for a quick swim and to soak up some sun.

motor boat

 Motorboat, motorboat, go so FAST>>>>>>> oh, she loves this!


 Daddy teaching Evey how to splash Uncle Raphy properly.

Serene Lake

 Beautiful day for some time at the lake!

Sunning herself

 The beauty soaking up the sun after a swim in the cold lake.

Lucie with Grandpa

 Lucie hanging with her Grandpa. <3

OUCH! and Lucie’s 2 month stats


One of the worst things about parenting is attending the immunizations of your child(ren). I begin dreading it days before we make our doctor’s visit. I’m probably more worked up about it than they are! {Although, I really try to keep my cool for their sake.} It is just horrible having to hold your child down while they poke them with sharp objects, all the while, they look into your eyes like, ‘how could you betray me like this?’ Not. fun. at. all.

push up princess

Lucie had her first round with her 2 month check up on Wednesday. She did well, but let me know that she was none too happy about the pokes in her legs. She’s been rather grumpy the past 24 hours or so too. :(

ooh daddy

On a happier note, she’s been growing like a weed! She’s currently at 12 lbs. 10 oz. and 23 1/2 inches tall. {I’m not sure if I ever posted her birth stats here, but she was 8 lbs. 7 oz. and 20 inches tall when she was born.} I could tell she was gaining in weight and stature but WHOA! ;)

happy baby

She’s a healthy little baby, praise God!

hanging with Lucie

Summer splashing

splish splash!

Due to California’s drought, many of the splash pads have been closed this year. But, darn it!, it’s still hot here! The kids need a way to cool off during the hot summer months! If the splash pads have recycled water, I can’t see how that would take too much unnecessary (boy, is that relative!) water from other things.

We have discovered a few that are still open. One is about 10 minutes from our house and, bonus!, the little playground there is just as exciting.


A few days ago, while Lucie was taking her morning nap in the stroller, Eveyln and I explored the park and splash pad. We had it all to ourselves for about an hour! She had me going up and down the spiral slide with her repeatedly. (She’s not quite ready for it on her own.) I think we did it about 50 times. It was nice to have my hands free to play with her a bit. I miss chasing her around at the park due to the other little person in my care. In an effort to tire herself out more, she would loop around the bottom of the slide after we made it down, before running back up the stairs to go down again. {I opted out of the loop — just stuck with the stairs.}


We enjoyed the swings together too, making it fly as high as she was comfortable.



The splash pad opened at noon, early enough for us to enjoy a little time in the water before nap time. She was a little nervous at first, but began to rush right in once she had assessed the situation. {That’s her way of things. Smart girl.}

splash 1

splash 2



sisters 4

The way these two love on each other just melts my heart. <3

sisters 3

sisters 2

Best friends.

sisters 9

Okay, it may be more Evey than Lucie. ;)

sisters 8

Practicing push ups on her sister — look at how strong she’s getting!

sisters 7

Evey loves to help haul her sister’s rock ‘n play into the living room after she’s finished her nap in the bedroom. She wants to help with everything she can.

rock n play

Every time it’s time for Lucie’s diaper change, Evey runs off down the hall to get her diaper and wipes ready for the change. If I’m too slow coming, she’ll bring them to me wherever we are.

sisters 1

Chatting together. {They probably understand each other better than we understand them.}

sisters 6

Nigh-night hugs. 

sisters 5



Dance, Dance

Oh my, how this girl loves to dance! She’s been taking classes for about 5 months now and is really starting to participate fully. She practices her passés, sautés, and grand battements continually throughout the day.

The only thing that could make it better was twirling around in her very own tutu! A gift she received from her godmother at Christmas, it now fits her well and she loves to wear it every chance she gets.

Ballet 5

Ballet 2

Ballet 4

Ballet 3

Ballet 1