'Muff'in Dome

Of water heaters and to-do lists.


This day has flown by at a rapid clip. Stephen and I made a to-do list yesterday afternoon as we were beginning to feel overwhelmed in the face of what the next 24 hours held.

Saturday evening I went in to give Evelyn a bath and found that the faucet would not produce warm water. Walked out into the garage to find it flooded and the water heater making a strange sound, like tea kettle would if you had allowed all the water to boil out of the pot. Steve quickly shut off the water main to stop the leak.

E bath{This was taken on a different day. I didn’t torture her with a cold water bath.}

Facing the prospect of a weekend sans water, we called around to see if we could get some help that night. Seems not many plumbers like to work on weekend nights. I can’t say I blame them.

We finally found someone to come assess the situation and possibly replace the water heater at 9 the next morning. Around 8:30, Steve found a message saying that the manager informed the workman who was to come to our house that they no longer serviced our area. Guess he didn’t get the memo.

Back to the drawing board on a Sunday morning.

We looked more local and a nice man by the name of Dave was able to stop by to look at it. Turns out our suspicions were correct: the bottom had rusted out. Thankfully, he was able to shut off the water flow into the heater so we could at least have cold water in the house. (However, we decided to forgo the penance and showered at Steve’s parents, but it was certainly nice to be able to flush toilets!) He scheduled a return for the following morning with a decent water heater (apparently, Home Depot doesn’t sell the good ones so we had to wait for the service center to open on Monday) to fix us up with hot water.

We are now the proud owners of a new 40 gallon water heater that, I swear, ups the water pressure on all our taps. That’s a definite perk.

We also had him install a gas line for the gas dryer that has been sitting in our garage since we moved in, 1+ year ago. We’re hoping that takes our utility bill down a notch.

resting with daddy

Other highlights of our to-do list included: clean leaves out of the gutters, mow the lawn, wash dishes, attend a concert (not all these things are chores!), finish up a magazine article Steve was writing, write thank you notes for gifts given to Lucie ages ago, fix car battery (that has been a rather involved process), move couches (postponed), and write up items on craigslist. (….and many more!) All of which was done in between diaper changes, feeding babies, napping them, cleaning up spit up and keeping the girls entertained. That’s a to-do list in and of itself.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

pumpkin pancakes


Head on over to the food blog for a scrumptious recipe, sure to indulge your Fall-cravin’ soul! You won’t be disappointed!

King Fire

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 8.01.06 AM

Posting has been rough this past week as not only did we kill my laptop, but we’ve been leaving the house for hours at a time to escape the smoke from the enormous King Fire burning just east of us. It seems our town is the perfect pocket for the smoke to settle.

The air has been in the hazardous zone for the past few days. The particle matter in the air is very dangerous to breathe and even more so for little ones. It has been causing cold-like symptoms in both Steve and I. The girls can’t communicate quite how they are feeling but I can see they are suffering too. It has certainly increased Lucie’s spit-ups incidents, even to the point of making her vomit one day, and Evelyn has clearly been suffering from itchy eyes and a runny nose. They seem extra tired. I know I am.


We can smell it in our house. When I wake up with Lucie in the middle of the night, the smell permeates our bedroom. I noticed my hair even smells like I’ve been sitting close to a campfire. Our vehicles are covered in a thin film of ash. The sun burns a rosy orange color as it rises in the morning and sets at night.

The worst is first thing in the morning. The cool air allows it to settle close to the ground. We drive through a haze as we attempt to make our way out of town.

storm and smoke

They are expecting some cooler air this weekend, but also windy conditions which may counteract the good of the cool air. As of my writing this, the fire has burned just shy of 9,000 acres and is about 35% contained. Please pray for the safety of our firefighters and that they may get this under control soon.

Around the Web ~ 9.21.14


We had a bit of hiccup this week with being able to post links as my laptop died due to a beer libation that was poured on top of the keyboard. Seems it doesn’t thrive on that sort of thing. There were a couple I remembered from my bookmarks but you’ll have to excuse the scarcity this week.

It is rather discouraging that my firm intent to get back to exercising this week coincided with a horrible fire, and, thus, horrible smoke, that we’ve been dealing with here in the foothills. This list of common mistakes moms make when trying to get back in shape will get me re-motivated when the clearer air returns.

It is so easy to be an idealist after receiving a great formation in school. But this is the real, tainted world, filled with real, fallen people. Don’t let that hinder you from learning to give people grace. (You need it too!)

I’m really loving this new daily devotional written by a few of my favorite bloggers (and others I’m getting to know). These lovely Catholic women put together a reflection based on the day’s readings. Go follow along.

This is a great help to us newbie toddler parents (and perhaps seasoned one’s too). How to quit feeling helpless in the face of disciplining your young ones.

And here are some great tips for your family photography session, especially important as we move into the holiday season and prep for our Christmas cards.


Have a great week, friends!!

Choo Choo! – Railroad Days

We have a thing for trains around here. It is bordering on obsession. Who am I kidding…it is an OBSESSION.

train girl

Evelyn makes trains out of every little thing she can get her hands on. She has no problem with imaginative play when it comes to trains. :)

daddy and E choo choo

When we saw a neighboring town to the north would be hosting Railroad Days events, we just could not pass up an opportunity to drop by. {Despite the fact it was the hottest day of the year so far, in the middle of September! What the what?!?}


 They were sure to cater much to the younger crowd with fantastic inflatables perfect for jumping HIGH!

bounce house

Lucie decided to sit this one out.

Lucie resting

The smallest ride-on choo-choo you ever did see.

train ride

We brought along an uncle and cousins too for double the fun!

Owen and kids

HUGE grin with every pass!

Daddy and Evey choo choo

train ride 2

Hard at work on choo-choo printables.

O & R coloring

E coloring

Live demo of rope making. Owen was fascinated. Even got to take a piece home!

making rope

making rope 2

And, of course, there were model trains galore to stop and watch.

train watching

Crockpot Tri Tip Pot Roast

As I mentioned in a previous post, birthdays are in abundance around here come September {and October and November too}. My brother, Gabe’s, started off the season so I made him a special dinner last week to celebrate the occasion. He requested tri-tip, bacon jalapeno mac and cheese, sesame green beans, and pumpkin pie, without hesitation. The man knows what he wants.

Gabe's birthday

I was happy to oblige with such a heartwarming supper, perfect as we look forward to cooler Fall nights {and no more smoke here in hazy northern California due to the King Fire}. Head on over to my food blog to see the recipe for crockpot tri-tip and links for the other dishes!

tri tip crockpot

Our Place of Missionary Work

my life's work <3

A woman shared this on one of the groups I am a part of on Facebook, and agreed for any and all to share, so I pass it along to you today. The thought really brought a moment of peace and gratefulness for my mission on this earth. Absolutely beautiful.


Ladies, I had such a moment of clarity and beauty at 1 am this morning as I knelt next to my 16 month olds crib- my hand inside so she would be calm and go back to sleep without me taking her out of her bed. My 3 year old on the other side of the room whispering for me to come lay with her…….

This is my adoration. This is my mission ground. These are the children whom God has entrusted to me- they are no less my ministry than if I was a nun in Calcutta, kneeling next to the bed of an orphan. This is my mission house- where I do the work of Christ.

I put my forehead to the ground as I love to do when I am alone in front of the Blessed Sacrament and had this gorgeous peace and clarity. This is our work ladies. It can be for our own children, our family, our neighbor, our spouse, our world. God Bless you all.

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! ;)