Wednesday, December 26, 2012

december 2012 in a nutshell

Warning: You are about to be inundated with photos.

December has been a full month.

Full of activities.

Full of family.

Full of friends.

Full of love.

Full of fun.

We spent a day at Disneyland with Uncle Phillip, Aunt Andrea, Ariana and Juliana. We forgot that our passes weren't good on Saturdays...big oops!

We hosted our 4th annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party.

Polar Express at school for Charlie and Jack's last day of preschool... 

 Early Christmas with Aunt Christine's family...

Santa Train with friends and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas...

Family photos....we went with the crazy one of course.

Baking and eating and eating and eating...
Tree hunting...


Christmas Eve with my side of the family...

Christmas morning at our house...

Christmas Day with Kevin's family...

Like I said, it was very full.

I think I like full.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May your 2013 be full of many blessings.

Much love,

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Much love,
Katie and the Guys

Friday, December 21, 2012

I blinked and he turned 5

My baby, Jack, turned five on the 4th of December. I still remember the shock of the plus sign on the pregnancy test like it was yesterday.

Yes, I know how those things work, but with Charlie only 7 months old and Luke barely 4, I was not prepared for 3 kids within such a short time-frame.

Jack turned out to be the most easy-going, happy little guy. Instead of complicating life, he taught me to be more flexible and to let things go. He cruised everywhere we went. He napped in the car as we drove to get Luke at preschool. Schedule? What schedule? He was so loveable that he even convinced me that it was okay to feed him on a newborn schedule for the 1st 10 months of his life.

When I finally decided that I needed to reclaim my sleep, he cried for a few minutes and slept through the night from that point on. He had me fooled. I'll confess that I loved that alone time with him at night as I knew he was my last baby. I hung onto each stage for dear life.

Now he's officially a big boy.  


It is part of a new club: The Big Kid Club. But Jack shows me that being a big kid doesn't mean he doesn't still depend on his mama. He still snuggles with me on the couch and grabs my hand when we walk. Not always, but when he does... I notice.

I know. 

I have two older boys.

Those days are not going to last forever.

Oh, this wild and crazy kid! He is so full of energy and enthusiasm. Sometimes those qualities lead him to trouble. But that is okay, for I know he will find a way to use it for good because he's a good guy.

I love this big kid. He makes my heart full. 

Happy 5th birthday, Big Kid.

Much love,

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

atypical anniversary post

Kevin and I celebrated 13 years of marriage on November 20th. Two days prior we marked 18 years of togetherness. While I long to share a post of warm and fuzzies, I rather share what the tough and gritty has taught me about marriage.

When I stood in front of our family and friends and proclaimed my love for Kevin, I meant it. I knew we were committed to sticking it out through whatever came our way. We were young, but not naive. We knew that with marriage comes a lot of muck. That's life. 

I just didn't expect it to come so hard and so fast. After dating for 5 years, we were long over the honeymoon of being together prior to marriage so we didn't have to struggle with that hump. We had already formed a solid lifetime bond that went well beyond the dating high. However, within the 1st year, we already had our doubts about the survival of our marriage. We were dirt poor while I was getting my teaching credential. The stress level was mounting as was our arguing. We were miserable. The "D" word was thrown around like a football at a family get-together. To add to our stress, I was diagnosed with lupus. We were young, poor, and struggling with a chronic illness.

It seemed like a slew of shots were coming our way at lightening speed in the following years: hospitalization following Luke's birth, job loss, a child with health issues, and finally cancer all by the time we were 30. Once again, we found our marriage bruised and neglected. With 3 kids under 5 we were just trying to get through each day.

As I reflect now, I am so thankful we stuck it through those tough times. Our marriage has not been perfect. It has had its highs and lows. But I have learned to cling to those highs when we are in the low times to get us through. When it comes down to it, we have personally changed and endured so many life changes since that November day in 1999,  but we are still the same at the core: faith, family, and humor. It is that solid core that keeps us together.

May we always promise to stay focused on the core to one another and to Luke, Charlie, and Jack.

Much love,

Sunday, November 4, 2012

last of the pick

A combination of the insanity of the beginning of the school year, excruciating temps, and a traveling husband, put a crimp on our fall traditions. Despite September and almost all of October tip-toeing out of sight, we made it up to Julian for our annual apple picking. Even the rumored threat of all the apples being picked over didn't rob our apple picking tradition stamina. Nothing messes with our traditions.

This year was especially delightful. The mountains were covered in thick fog, the air was cold enough for us to dust off our hoodies, and the rows and rows of apples beckoned boot covered feet. It gave us southern California natives a rare fall experience. We often have to fake those kind of events here.

Although this is a tradition we enthusiastically tackle year after year, it never grows old.

These moments are precious.

Much love,

Monday, October 22, 2012

once upon a pumpkin

We've been super limited this month due to Kevin's traveling for work. Being a single mama over a couple of weekends has limited us on our pursuit of our annual traditions. So what does one do in such a predicament? 

Why, you cram them together in one weekend, of course. 

It started with arriving at a local pumpkin patch. You won't find bounce houses or petting zoos, but you'll find pumpkins still attached to the vine and a homey atmosphere. It is another opportunity to show our children the benefits of living in a small town. I never thought I'd write those words when we left this small town.

However, 3 years after moving back to our hometown, I have to say that taking our boys to such places like Lavender Hill Farm, makes me content with our decision to move back to the "we will never move back there" neck of the woods.

Yes, "never say never" has been a humbling lesson for me, but a lesson that has given me the opportunity for gratitude, too.

 Each boy had a method true to their own self reflection. Luke observed, contemplated, and took his time.

Lots and lots of time. 

My natural inclination was to rush him along. However, I restrained myself and let him work through his process. He looked for the most unusual pumpkins. I love that he didn't want to settle for just a regular old, orange pumpkin.

Meanwhile, it didn't take Charlie long to enthusiastically pick-up a pumpkin and declare it his new prized possession. However, after a few seconds that pumpkin was tossed aside for a brighter and bigger pumpkin. Our rule is, as long as you can lift it, you can buy it. He puts us to the test.

Homeboy was on a mission.

He had to stop and think about it for awhile. Our Charlie is quite pensive about life. He had to make sure it truly was the biggest he could fit in the barrel.

Well, and then there is Jack. I find myself saying that often about this kid. His energy is overflowing and he may or may not have sat in the car for a portion of the pumpkin picking. 

While I could gripe about how he pushes every button or zaps me of all my energy, I am going to tell you that I love that kid more than life. He is dramatic, fearless, and the life of the party.

You can trust that Jack is always going to bring his A game. He may just bring his B and C game too; he's got a lot of game.

As the boys studied each pumpkin, I studied them. Sometimes in the rush of each week, I forget to truly look at them. Each one is so uniquely their own person. Who knew a misty morning in a pumpkin patch would provide such reflection?

 To prove how much of a bonding time we had, I thought I'd make you jealous...

 I only hope our Christmas photo turns out as stunning.

Happy Monday, friends.

Much love,

Sunday, October 7, 2012

crystal cove

We piled in the minivan last weekend and headed north to Crystal Cove. It is located in Newport Beach, but is the exact opposite of modern day Newport Beach. There is no pretense to this location. It is a step into the past of a sleepy beach with aged, quaint cottages, expansive tide pools, and watercolor blue skies. I can simply tell you that I have found my happy place.

It was certain that Luke, Charlie, and Jack found their happy place, too. The have a special room in their hearts for tide pools. They have a natural inclination for exploring. When you combine exploring and the ocean, their happy buckets are brimming.

Being with these four guys in such an overwhelmingly beautiful spot, caught me off guard. At one point, as I watched Luke splashing in the waves, tears welled up in my eyes. I have to tell you that I'm not a crier. I guess the Crystal Cove experience does that to a gal.

 After a full day in paradise, we stopped to get shakes. Chocolate shakes speak to me.

We are off to the beach today, to celebrate my dad's birthday. I hope you have a fun day!

Much love,