Monday, December 30, 2013


Sometimes Maia will not stop talking. Here is an example of what comes out of her mouth, and yes, it is often in random order and only halfway decipherable but I will leave out the jibberish parts.

"Mama! Big hug mama. I ride horse! Wif Dora! You ride camel like Diego. Go fast, really fast. OH NO! There a wolf coming. I gonna get you, I gonna get you wolf....tickle tickle tickle! I want raisins. I do myself. JD NO! NO! JD! NO! Where Debbi? I go in Mama's car. I drive. I sit Mama's side. JD what you doing?

Where Gretchen? Leah? Jamma Baby? Jasmine? (*Note: her treasured babies) No, I do myself.

I want go see Shamu. I want take bath. Mama, me watch Dora? Watch show? Dora! One wif horse. I wook out window and what I see, popcorn....Where my horse? No, purple horse. I have ice. Mama may I milk pease? JD NO! NO! JD! JD NO! I talk grandma on puter. I talk Papa puter. I go airplane with Kay-Kay. I see dog. Mama ride el-phant wif me. I go upstairs Mama, I take nap. Mama take nap wif me. Where Gretchen? Leah? Jasmine? WHERE MY HORSE? Guess what? Mama what you doing?"

New hilarious material every day. Love it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Little LMMer

I've been active this year on a Facebook group of about 70 other parents of lipomyelomeningocele children. They abbreviate the condition LMM. Through this group I have learned that there are families all over the world dealing with the unknowns of this condition; that there are a lot of toddlers needing significant help/intervention to learn how to walk (Maia has had zero problems with this);  and that the traumatic experience of her diagnosis and her two surgeries (one untethering, one to clean out a bad infection) are not uncommon and many other parents have almost identical experiences. It's been really great to connect with other parents and hear their stories.

We just had our annual checkup with her neurosurgeon. She looks great! She is doing incredibly well. Hopefully now that she is talking more and more, she will be able to communicate symptoms that she is experiencing and alert us to a need for another surgery before there are any irreversible problems (like loss of bladder control). Some kids need additional surgeries to prevent further problems, some don't, and her doctor said there is really no way to predict which is which. Living with that unknown has made me realize that none of us really know when something will happen that will irreversibly change us, and the practical realities of living by faith day to day. Maia might have health problems from her condition, she might not. As I watch parents with their kids at CHOC when we are at these appointments, I realize that any of us may be in their shoes someday - I'm just more aware of that vulnerability because my daughter has a diagnosed condition.

She got the green light to work on potty training (just bought what is hopefully my last box of diapers!), jumping on the trampoline, running, jumping, and being a normal kid. She was talking about Papa's boat during her appointment and it turns out her neurosurgeon is a fan of sailing so she especially got the green light to enjoy the ocean. :) With a life jacket of course.

Monday, December 9, 2013

thanksgiving, friends, four naps, five books, and a little bit of winter. 2013 has been one of those years that didn't kill me, so I must be stronger (right?), so it was nice to spend a week away from it all. And let's face it, there's nothing that will make you feel more thankful than spending an entire week having your mom take care of you and your two darling toddlers. :-)


 Drinking hot chocolate and watching the lights come on for the first time this season at Temple Square. The kids loved it while their attention span lasted.

 Watching the nativity with Grandpa

 I have so many memories as a kid at the excited to share snowy winter wonderland with the twinners. They weren't thrilled about the snow when we were there last January but liked it a lot better this time, mostly thanks to the new gloves Grandma bought. :-) There wasn't a ton of snow but we're from CA now so even a few inches is fun.

 My Thanksgiving turkey. Don't worry, we didn't eat this one.

 How lucky am I that one of my best friends flew down and met me in UT for Thanksgiving? We had a great time and the only downside was I missed her more than ever when she left to go back home. :-(

 JD trying to pull me in the sled with a little help from Grandpa. :-) He is so dang strong, give him a few years and he'll really be pulling me all by himself.

Gorgeous. My family has been coming up here since the 1950s. No cell reception, no land line, no internet, no city lights...there are not many places in the world like this anymore.  

 A boy and his sled. "I do myself, Mama." And he did.....

Having fun with Grandpa

Saturday, November 9, 2013


So I don't forget how cute my 2.5 year old is....

1. I was walking down the stairs today in our home next to Maia, who was carrying her two baby dolls oh-so-carefully. "Maia, you take such good care of your babies," I told her. She is so dang cute - carrying them around, putting them in their strollers, feeding them at meals. She looked up at me and matter-of-factly responded "It's not hard, Mama." LOL

2. While visiting Grammy, in the evening, before going home: Grammy had already changed JD's diaper and put him in PJs. He was downstairs. Maia was upstairs in the play room. Grammy went up to check on Maia and asked her, "Maia, would you like to put on your pajamas?" Maia said "yes" while continuing to play with the dolls in the doll house. Grammy told her "Your pajamas are downstairs." Maia looked and Grammy as if the answer was obvious and said "Bring them up here."

3. I was doing alphabet flashcards with Maia, more to see what she already knew than anything else. She'd identify A and I'd say "A is for apple." etc etc. When she identified the M, I said "M is for Mama." Next was N. I asked her what starts with N. She thought for a second and said "N is for Nai-Nai." Hilarious and true. She calls herself Nai-Nai, which is how JD started saying her name over a year ago. So she thinks her name starts with an N. I call her that half the time too, since it's cute, so I guess her name really does start with an N.

4. Maia has taken an interest in where people live, I think in connection with her realizing that Papa lives at a  different house than we do. So when we talk about various family members, I'll say "Grammy lives at Grammy's house." or "Our cousin Max lives at his house with Aunt Jen and Uncle Josh." or "Aunt Alli and Uncle Ammon live in Illinois." Grandma left on a plane to go back to Utah on Thursday. That evening we were talking about Grandma going to the airport, and I asked them where Grandma lives. Maia thought for a second and said "Grandma live on 'puter." Interpretation: Grandma lives on the computer. :-) hahahahaha Smart girl. We Skype with Grandma on the computer, so yes, that is where she lives.

Friday, November 8, 2013

"I don't WANT to"

This is JD's new favorite phrase. He sounds incredibly cute when he says it and it is hard not to smile...."I don't WANT to!"

He says this in response to anything I say that is not "Let's play with your trains." Eating, sleeping, napping, watching Dora, going for a bike ride - I tried it all tonight. "I don't WANT to" was my answer.

Followed by "Mama play wif JD trains?"

Dear Santa, we need a few more train tracks at our house!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Amazing Mom

How come I never get very many pictures when my mom comes to visit? Probably because we are having too much fun playing with the kids to remember to take any....this is the only one from her five day visit here!

My wonderful mother came out on her birthday weekend to hang out with us and to help with the kids while I went out of town for a few days for work. Two nights/three days on my own with next to no responsibilities = incredible sleep, caught up on the news, went for two good runs, almost finished a book, and met some great people to bounce work ideas off of and network with.

And she cooked, grocery shopped, cleaned and surprised me with having my carpets cleaned for me while I was gone......seriously, how did I get so lucky?!?

Fall 2013

Dear Halloween,

We loved you. Oct 1 to Jan 14 = my favorite time of year ever. Q4 + my birthday. The weather has been amazing, our new town of Aliso Viejo has trees that shed yellow leaves that kind of make you feel like you are experiencing a new season, and JD and Maia were So. Dang. Cute dressed up this year. Not to mention the riot they had getting all sugared up trick or treating multiple times.

Can't wait to see you again next year. Until then we will be busy enjoying Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's (goodBYE 2013, whew!) and stepping one year deeper into the 30s decade. The next couple of months are going to be super fun.


JD, Maia & their Mama

 Cute cousins

Sesame Street

Tanaka Farms

Vampire Maia

Vampire JD

Driving the boats.....JD's favorite


Picking pumpkins with our friend Harry

This is some serious horse riding

Rides with cousin Audrey

Riding the swings

Thursday, September 26, 2013


We had a fantastic weekend in Catalina. Thanks Grammy & Papa for such a great vacation!

 Watching the boats

 We spent a lot of time at the pool 


Hanging out with Papa

 On the Flier over

 Lots of treats :-)

 Having fun at the park

 Hazel sharing her dinner with me

I seriously love this picture of Maia

Friday, September 6, 2013


We were playing around with some props at my mom's house and caught this gem on camera.  Look past the glare on the glass and you will see proof that the female species is born with the natural talent of giving "the look".....and JD is a typically clueless guy, "Huh?"

Best caption from Diane: "You do not belong in my window!"

On a side note that isn't that a gorgeous peach tree in the back. I was pretty bummed that nothing ripened while we were there.

Our Mountains

The thing I miss the most in Utah aside from my family is the mountains.....I had a great time sharing the lovely Wasatch front with the kids on our trip home last week. I had the hardest time leaving when it was time to head back to CA....I think we were in Filmore before I stopped crying. The good news is I have two little outdoor-lovers on my hands and we'll be back in a few months for another round. In the meantime the tourists have left the coast so we can start enjoying the beaches again as some sort of consolation that the mountains are hundreds of miles away. :-)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wheels on the Bus

For people who love my kids enough to want to see them doing toddler hand motions to the Wheels on the Bus. Really cute according to their mama. :-)

Another thing from this weekend - their nanny Debbi made a cake but it was too late at night for them to eat cake, so I told them they could have a piece the next day. I woke up the next morning to both of them in their cribs saying "Debbi cake! Debbi cake! Debbi CAKE!" Apparently they knew it was the "next day". After thinking about it for about three seconds I realized having cake for breakfast isn't that much different than having donuts for breakfast, which Americans do all the time, so why not? So we had cake for breakfast. Pretty fun way to start the day for two kids with a normally health-nut mom.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Summer Randoms

We are loving this unseasonably cool summer and spending as much time outdoors as are the simple things we have been enjoying
We bake something every weekend. Last weekend was chocolate-cranberry muffins. This is Miss Maia's response to "Smile!" She smiles with her bottom teeth and I totally love it. :-)

On our daily walk to get the mail. Which is a couple of hunderd yards awaya but sometimes takes 20 minutes to get to, because we have to, for example, play on the stairs for 5 minutes on the way there, 5 minutes on the way back. Love these monkeys.

We can walk to the bagel place which is fantastic on Saturday mornings. Bagels and orange juice please....note that Maia is feeding her baby doll a bagel. She takes caring for that baby pretty seriously.
Throwing their trash away after breakfast. I totally wish I could look this cute in leggings with a big pink heart on my butt. (Yes, both kids are still in their pajamas. We wanted bagels and a walk and didn't want to get's Saturday, anything goes.)

At the circus inside the OC Fair.....Grammy treated us to an awesome Friday night at the fair.

My 2 year old put together a 100-piece puzzle by herself.
Just kidding. I helped a lot....but she does really love puzzles. She has little 12-piece puzzles she can put together like a pro.

Guess what else is in walking distance of our house? Cold Stone and a really awesome fountain. We go play at the fountain at least once per weekend, sometimes mulitple times. Yes, I have had to stop them from swimming.

Our own personal pool on our super fun front patio.

with aunt Shannon at the SJC mission. Maia saw a picture of her aunt recently, pointed and said "Nan-non!" Too cute. We have 4 aunts - Aunt Kay-Kay, Aunt Owie (Alli), Aunt Jen and Aunt Nan-Non.

Super happy about the fireworks on the 4th of July.

Had a great time at our friends the Franklin's block party - bounce house included.

Street hockey with the big boys? Don't mind if I do!

Owning the game

He spends like two minutes prepping for this really big jump into the pool

My coworker had 2-year birthday party for our friend Ziva at this great park (new to us) off of Crown Valley. So much fun exploring.