'Muff'in Dome

Category Archives: Birthday

A Golden Birthday for a Three Year Old

When your soon-to-be three year old says that all she wants to do for her birthday is walk on the Golden Gate Bridge, what do you do? Well, you walk that bridge!

She began requesting it in earnest as her birthday “party” after this trip, and only increased her pleadings with gusto, so we loaded up the car on her birthday weekend and made the drive down to the Bay area.

We stayed overnight in San Rafael on Sunday evening {so much more affordable than SF!} and drove down towards the City after the commuter traffic had subsided. It was a smart move driving in right as the parking lots opened at 10 as they quickly filled up within minutes of our arrival. It was also a wise decision to circumvent the weekend traffic — causes a lot less congestion headache!

Lucie jumped from the car, eager to begin the trek! {That pose is all her own.}

Her interest in bridges {and lighthouses} piqued by this book, after being introduced to it over a year ago, has not abated. She still squeals with delight each time she spies one as we pass by. This one is no different and now holds an even more special place in her heart as she walked across it!

We love making these memories with our girls.

And we couldn’t finish off the day without a sweet birthday treat. That banana split was a huge hit! What a goof.

A Year Full of Light and Life

L at Jamba

Sweet girl. Today you hit your first year milestone. I can’t believe you’ve been with us that long already. It feels like forever and it feels like yesterday you arrived. We are every bit blessed to have you in our lives.

You are a firecracker. Every bit, you fit your name. Those eyes. That smile. Your exuberance for life.

Your sister adores you and has from the moment she met you. Sure, you have your moments where you get on each other’s nerves, but those moments are few and far between. You roll around on the floor together giggling. You squeal in delight at each other, upping the ante each time. You’ve recently started this game where if you have something Evey wants, you run the other way with it, your eyes flashing with mischievousness. But you always give kisses and hugs to each other before bedtime. I hope you will always take care of each other and love each other fiercely.

Your outgoing-ness pushes me outside of my comfort zone, but I don’t mind too much. With you, it is easy to meet and make friends. When we visited New York earlier this year, you wanted to befriend every person that walked by. You wave, you flash that beautiful grin, and bewitch every passerby. You just want a smile in return.

You began walking a few months ago. Now, I have to run to keep up with you. Although your balance is still a work in progress…sometimes you get going too fast down the hall and crash into the wall, at the park you are overeager to walk on uneven surfaces and eat dirt too often. You can’t keep up with your growing height — under the table is now a dangerous place to play as the edge smacks you right in the head when you stand up. But it is so fun to watch you explore the world around you as you gain your newfound skill. The backyard is your favorite place to adventure.

Your first word was ‘boat’. I pointed them out in the marina while we were down in southern California and you took great delight in the little ones floating the harbor. You also love ‘doors’ — this is anything that goes to the outside, windows included. You point excitedly and shout ‘door’ every time you see one. You were easily taught ‘uh oh’ and now drop things from your high chair just so you can practice. You become very agitated if someone doesn’t pick the object back up after you’ve announced as clearly it doesn’t belong down there. It just needed to be dropped for a minute.

The past few weeks you’ve taken to a small stuffed bunny, which we call ‘bun-bun’. She’s your lovey and you like to carry her around with you. You understand when she has to sit on the couch while you eat your meals at the table. I place her on the arm and you go grab her when you are finished with your meal. The bunny was a gift to Evey when she was sick from Nancy on the train, but she doesn’t seem to mind passing it along to you.

You have incredible rhythm and bop to every beat you hear, be it the dishwasher running or a car driving by with a bass stereo blaring. You feel it in your bones. Your favorite toys tend to be the music makers — the maracas, the xylophone, the egg shaker. I’m eager to see what instruments you pick up as you get older.

You are a daddy’s girl through and through. Always have been. You’ve been happy in his arms from day one. He’s often better able to help you get back to sleep on those restless nights than I am. His arms are your favorite resting place. He loves to play with you and make you laugh those great belly giggles, flashing your toothy grin. {Already at an even dozen!} You are his favorite fan as he walks in the door in the evening. You run as fast as your little legs will carry you straight into his arms, squealing with delight all the while.

The expressions of your face say you have a lot you’re thinking about, a lot you want to express. I can’t wait until I know better what goes on in that active brain of yours. I have a feeling there will be a lot of creativity, tantrums, and inquisitiveness in the future.

It will be bright. Just as you are, my little Lucie {light}.


Love, Mama

31 Lessons Learned in My 31st Year

mama and Lucie

With the flurry of {unexpected} activity that came with the beginning of the year, I haven’t had much time to be introspective. But my dear husband gave me a few hours to think and write the other morning, and I thought I would share the fruit of a bit of it as I wave goodbye to my 31st year this morning.


31 Lessons I Learned in My 31st Year

1. I need to lean on others and stop trying so hard to rely on myself in all things. GOD especially.

2. With two babies at home, if I can accomplish one chore in a given day, I have accomplished a great feat.

3. Hospitality is always more important than a spotless house.

4. Finding time for reading every day, even just a page, keeps me sane.

5. There is an incredible support team to be found online. Although we may live at a distance, we can cheerlead each other through the tough days. We can pray for each other across the miles. The lack of adult interaction is better fulfilled. It makes the days spent exclusively at home seem much less lonely.

6. It is important to be intentional with my time spent online so it doesn’t end up burrowing into the rabbit hole of endless clicks.

7. Facebook and Instagram {and Twitter, although that is not my jam} can be useful tools of human interaction. It’s all in how you use them.

8. Equally important is the community of women surrounding me at home. As a new mother, I found it difficult — frightening, even — to connect with other mothers, as I felt so unsure of myself. But soon came to understand that in that uncertainty, we could all be bonded together.

9. This is truth —> “Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter: whoever finds one has found a treasure. Faithful friends are beyond price; no amount can balance their worth. Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; and those who fear the Lord will find them. Those who fear the Lord direct their friendship aright, for as they are, so are their neighbors also.” Sirach 6:14-17

10. Having photos of beautiful moments with my family scattered throughout my home is a great morale booster. {It brings great delight even to my two-year old!}

11. Forgiveness not only makes the heart lighter, but lifts the bodily oppression as well.

12. A five minute massage on tired shoulders results in a range of motion to my shoulders I forgot possible.

13. The difficulties of pregnancy are worth the reward at the end.

14. Sometimes mommy needs time-outs too.

15. Taking a few minutes to meditate on Scripture each morning makes a world of difference for how the rest of the day will turn out. {This is one place I love to do it. And I’m writing there today. :)}

16. God gave me the greatest gift in my husband. He is my best ally, my closest friend, my safe confidante, my greatest treasure. I love him more every day.

17. When someone is having a bad day, taking just five minutes to sit with them one-on-one and give them one hundred percent of your attention often turns everything around. This applies equally to toddlers as to adults.

18. Your heart can heal. You can trust again. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5

19. Even when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom in the sleep department, there is always a little reserve somewhere in there that you can muster up. {Either that or I have a superhero husband who will come to my aid. God bless him!}

20. This stage your little one is in will both feel like it will last forever and go by way too quickly.

21. Although it is important to me to cook and bake from scratch, it’s okay to cheat a little in the kitchen (i.e. go ahead and buy the pre-cut veggies).

22. Similarly: Although homemade may be the best, it is not always the best way.

23. California sunshine is the best medicine.

24. A cup of hot tea warms the soul as well as the body.

25. {Good} food is equally the way to a woman’s heart as it is to a man’s. {At least this woman.}

26. Just when you feel like you’ve got one parenting technique mastered, the next one will prove to you that it is worthless and you’ll have to start from square one.

27. There is nothing a great dance party can’t fix. {….oh, wait, I already knew that one.} But watching your little girls find that same joy. Priceless.

28. Having a mother and mother-in-law at a close distance can be an absolute saving grace. {And a gift I truly treasure.}

29. When your core is the weakest its ever been since the day you were born….whoa. It can be the cause of great ache. Time to get a routine going for building it up again.

30. The art God intended for me to paint with my life is not always what I had necessarily envisioned. But His way is always the best.

31. Docility is key to alleviating much frustration.

My Baby is 2

E the pooh

Happy Birthday, my dear, sweet Evelyn!

My precious girl — now 2!

polka dot princess

green team

Always striving for the next big thing. You couldn’t wait to stand. From the day you were born, trying in your isolette while the nurse was attempting to measure you. Now, you run, chassé, jump, spin like you were born for such movement. I suppose you were.

in bucket

building blocks

You made me a mama (mimi). I will never forget that day. Ready to spring right into this world!


Your sweet sass delights us all. I am so proud of the little lady you are becoming. You know how to make us laugh…and just at that moment when you know we will explode. We melt.

at CalSTRS

pillow flops

with Gram

photo 2(11)

You are a great big sister. I have never seen anyone with such a big heart. You care greatly for your sister. You can’t stand to see her upset. You rush to her side to make it all better.


hanging out

I couldn’t imagine all of these wonderful adventures I’ve had with you and I can’t imagine the ones to come. I so look forward to these moments I have with you.

on my back

photo 3(9)

You are my little Love Bug.


Much Love,



***Several of these photos courtesy of Gram.***

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

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


4th of July Highlights

I’m finally grabbing a few free moments to edit my photos from our 4th of July trip. (Yay!!!)

We had a great time celebrating the nation’s birthday with family over the long, holiday weekend.

with Gram

It was Evelyn’s first 4th but her cousin, Danny’s second, as he came into the world last year just a few hours before the day ended. Right on time to enjoy the fireworks! 🙂

So, rightfully, we celebrated his birthday, too, with some delicious angel food cake sprinkled with blueberries (his current favorite), strawberries and whipped cream.

Danny's 1st

tasting cake

The celebration couldn’t have been better than with Gram’s paella. Done al fresco, on the barbeque, it was as stunning as it was delicious. The seconds were nearly fought over.

Gram's paella

We enjoyed taking walks with Evelyn around the lake and breathing the cool mountain air. A nice break from the over-100-degree weather we’d been having at home.

Evelyn strolling

pretty toes

through the trees


We made plenty of time for play.



splashing away!

momma and Evey


sitting with Rocky and Grandpa

with Rocky

And rest.

asleep with daddy

One More to Go Before the Big 3-0

Over this past week, we celebrated my birthday. (You should be able to tell by the title how old I turned.) 😉

Evelyn and I went down with some of my family to the de Young Museum located in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco that day.

bay bridge

golden gate park

caleb, sadi and evelyn - golden gate park

There was a special exhibit of Dutch paintings from one of the museums in the Netherlands currently under renovation, most notably Vermeer’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring.

de young museum

courtyard - de young

de young - girl with pearl earring

It is often referred to as the Dutch Mona Lisa, and quite honestly, I felt the same about it when I saw it as I did about the Mona Lisa — don’t understand all the hype about it. (The Mona Lisa‘s claim to fame is that it was the first painting to use the technique chiaroscuro — not sure about The Girl with the Pearl Earring.) Well, actually, I slightly preferred it to the Mona Lisa, which is something because I’m not usually all that enthralled with the Dutch artists. As someone mentioned while we were walking through the exhibit, their works are rather dark. I did enjoy the exhibit, however. It had some of my favorite still lifes.

girl with a pearl earring

Unfortunately, our trip was cut short as we had to be back in time for dinner. We had only just arrived at 1pm, so leaving at 3 was not particularly enthralling. Even though we didn’t have to be back until 7pm, we were heading out of the city early in order to beat the traffic. That was an epic failure. Not only did we fail to beat the traffic (apparently it starts early on Fridays), but Evelyn was very unhappy being locked into her car seat for over 4 hours. We stopped once so I could feed her but it wasn’t enough. She wanted OUT. I couldn’t blame her.

driving to Sf

We walked through the door shortly after 7 to a fantastic meal prepared by my husband. It was such a wonderful, welcoming sight. 🙂 He prepared pureed cauliflower with garlic and chives, blistered asparagus, and stuffed asiago chicken. So good! (I wish I had taken pictures but I was too hungry and tired to think of it at the time.)

birthday carnations

And in the center of the table was a beautiful arrangement of my favorites — carnations.

Wonderful end to a rather long day. 🙂

%d bloggers like this: