Still alive.

Yes, we are still fluttering around over here. It seems as though the summer has gotten away however. Between beach days and zoo trips, to visiting friends, along with a couple of vacations scattered in here and there, summertime was rich with experiences. And not much room to spare!

Filling up those little spaces in the memory banks of the youngins’ is always a treat for me.

Sunsets at the beach..

I admit, the beach was calling our name almost every week it seemed like! But we love it there and the kids could literally spend hours digging and playing in the sand. The best part is that they are all the perfect age now for me to pack us up on a whim for the beach without having to plan too much for it. I’ve been waiting for this day to come forever now!

Little diggers

Silliness

And football was a must during the fire pit night we had one evening…

Football fanatic

Might I add that beach nights are absolutely AMAZING to me!!! ūüôā

On the flip side, there was more to these summer beach days of fun. There was the reality of life that still ran through my entire sence of self, as I escaped to sunny days in the rays. The changes and choices that still go on, no matter where I am at any given point. I haven’t felt so inclined to write about these changes yet, let alone have time to keep up with my posts this summer. So much to do, so little time right?! It’s been really great though letting go of my grip with technology, remaining¬†present in every moment and forced to feel life without distraction or escape in that way.

The sand is to my kids what the waves are to me. But not so much for play, for thought really. Whether it’s the mesmerizing water colliding so relentless against the sand. Or the lulling crash and fading away of waves, with a force and song all its own. The vital sound could overcome anything around. Waves unceasingly abound the shore, although each in its own unique manner. Every wave comes with its own speed, size and depth.

When I watch them, I can almost fell the earth speaking. I can relate to its perpetual longing to make it to shore with each break that it makes. It’s the same consistency I find myself clinging to throughout life recently. Everyday brings something new. Whether it’s a fresh idea, inspiring thoughts from friends, soaking in moments with my kids, a new experience or just a renewed energy overall. It’s a pattern much like the uniqueness of every wave. God continually¬†provides opportunities for growth, many times in a different way. To see each one as significant and special is what I try to acknowledge. The subconscious desire to carry on with life is always there regardless of any setbacks. I know that it’s essential to stay constant to get to the place I need to be. Constant and steady like the waves…

Loves.

I have always felt so connected and inspired when I’m at the beach. I’m sure I’m not the only person who would feel that way. How could one not feel affected by the beauty of something so magnificent? It’s energy is undeniable to me.

The beach days of summer are starting to fade to memories, as the new school year is underway. All the experiences will be safely tucked away into the minds and hearts, as we make room for new ones. And as the proverb so gently reminds me… just when parts of life start to seem undone or coming to some sort of end, it is the chance to transcend into the next beautiful chapter!

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Now she’s gone and done it…

“Very early, I knew that the only object in life was to grow.” ~Margaret Fuller

She went and turned seven!

This sweet little toothless-wonder is growing up TOO fast!! There are days when

I think back to my baby girl, the first ‘Little sunshine, who makes me happy when skies are grey…’

I miss that little face!

Every year I ask myself the same queston..”where does the time go?”

and every year I get the same answer.

……….

Ella’s birthday’s through the years.

Time goes, you say?  Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go.
~Henry Austin Dobson

Interesting. Now is it time moving through us, or us moving through time? Whatever the answer, moving forward through these years, there hasn’t been another like our “Boogie Bear.” She brought so much love into this world, seven years ago today. As hard as it is to see how much she has changed and grown up already in just a short span of time, I am so proud of her growth! She is the sparkle to everyday….questioning, reasoning and thinking her way to the ends and outs of life already. I feel so lucky as¬†her mama to guide her through life while I can. I just know this little girl has big dreams counting on each of these candles today!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELLA ARIA!!!

A week of milestones: “Farewell” teeth and “so long” diapers!…Tear.

This week brought with it a couple of milestones that I knew would come soon enough, but was still not fully ready for. I realize how fast little ones grow up, especially between the three mine! It’s like one milestone after another! It surely doesn’t happen without mommy getting a bit sad about the reality of how fast it all goes by.

It seems like yesterday I was adoring on this little face of Ella’s as she was beginning to grow in her baby teeth. At the time it seemed like she couldn’t get those teeth in fast enough. Teething is such a nightmare!

Baby Ella just getting teeth

After winning a fight with the teething monster, Ella finally had her beautifully complete little set of baby teeth which we still adored on…

This little smile...

I couldn’t believe when Ella lost her first two baby teeth on the bottom row already last year. It seemed like even that started so soon! Now as of Monday night, she lost her first tooth on the top and proudly sports a toothless grin yet again!

Her new beautiful toothless smile!

Pretty much from the minute Daddy pulled that top tooth out, I regressed and wished I was looking at that little baby face again… in my mind I still pictured it and wanted it back. But I couldn’t let that stop me from moving on with the moment and sharing the happiness with her as she couldn’t wait to get that wiggly tooth out. It was really bothering her at this point and was getting painful to eat with. It was definitely time to come out! Plus she told us, “I can’t wait till I can talk like thith!” Haha! I love that childhood excitement, and had to remind myself to hide the mommy tears so as not to give her any notion of how I really feel about her growing up sometimes. It just has to happen doesn’t it? I still feel like I’m soaking it in, that this little girl of mine just can’t stay¬†little forever.

Mommy Mantra

..ENJOY EACH MOMENT..YOU NEVER HAVE THEM BACK..

My oldest baby is almost seven and losing her baby teeth, and my youngest is out of diapers!! I definitely needed a good mommy cry this week.

So that other milestone this week was that Grant pretty much will not give me any option with starting up potty training. He was ready to move on from the diaper life for good! Monday morning after breakfast, he came out from his room with a pair of his big boy underwear in hand, asking to put them on. Over the past month or two, he was¬†interested in the potty mostly I’m sure because of big brother and sisters influence. He wore underwear a couple of times and has gone on the potty about twice. It was all random and not further pursued. I just haven’t felt ready to take on the challenge again of potty training. Especially that he is my last baby, and is still barely 2 years old.

Once again though, mommy can’t dictate everything and my little determined toddler has decided for me anyway. Time for the potty!! I won’t post any embarrassing photos, but here is Grant¬†determined to ride a scooter like his older siblings already…

The determined two-year old!

I guess he gets most of his determined nature from his momma. My mom has stories about me wanting to potty train before the age of two! Yikes! Anyway, from the get go I vowed to make Grant my little “Go Green” baby which included going to cloth diapers, exclusively nursing him longer than my other two, and making all of his baby food (which I thoroughly enjoyed!) This was all in part to keep with my promise to make my third baby the most cost friendly and earth friendly baby for our family’s growing needs. I became¬†determined as ever to go¬†as ‘natural’ as possible with him. I don’t know why it never hit me before with the other two. Some where along the way though, I realized how much money I was dumping into diapers and mass-produced, not to mention preservative filled baby foods, as well as the cost of formula towards the end of not nursing Ella and Gavin. I was younger when I had the other two and just didn’t think about things like that so much. I also had two in diapers which I am not sure I would have done cloth for both of them anyway. I also probably wouldn’t have taken it on since I decided not to use a diaper service, and cloth diapering on your own is certainly a messy business!

Here is baby Grant all pinned up around 3 months old..

I pinned my baby lol

After trying out various cloth methods for about the first six months, I decided to stick with the G diaper. I’ll admit the “G” on the diaper may have swayed my decision since it is his initial and all, but mostly it’s just a very cool diaper. It’s a little different from other cloth methods in that it has the plastic insert that you can snap inside. This makes removing and replacing diapers SO easy! It also has a nice flushable/biodegradable insert that I liked using on the go. Especially as he got older! It’s no fun traveling with a dirty cloth diaper let me tell you, so having a flushable option helped!

I seriously LOVED cloth diapering him and really wished I would have done it for Ella and Gav after all. It is a little more work but it’s just so nice knowing their little tush is comfy and protected in a natural way. It gave more time to enjoy me him, relishing the moment of baby while folding and pinning him up. Sounds so cheesy, but I realized that I payed more attention to diapering him than the others. There was something so sweet about it that you can’t find in the experience of a disposable. As you are reading this you might be thinking I’m crazy for carrying on a post this long about a diaper, but it’s that unique of an experience, I’m not kidding!! The real awesome benefit to it though is the help that it does for our planet. The disposable diaper, while the most convenient option, is still a growing issue on landfills. Researchers estimate that it may take 200-500 years for one diaper to decompose. Since diapers haven’t been around for that long, we can’t know for sure but the average child goes through about 5,000 diapers before potty training! That’s a crazy big number of diapers!! I’m not a huge advocate or anything by any means. I’ve certainly done my part in contributing to the problem, but choosing a diaper this time that has a lower environmental impact made me feel like I at least made somewhat of a difference!

The cloth tush

one year!

Wow, so this post has ended up being a lot about this whole diaper thing but that’s probably just me trying to savor the moments that no longer exist since even that couldn’t last forever. Yet another thing I wish I had back. After having to pack up our house, the days of cloth diapering had to come to an end for us. I no longer had the convenient option of washing my own diapers at any given moment of the day. See my post on how I am washing things these days right¬†here.

So the disposable diaper was back!!!…..but not for too long…. As I was saying Grant decided he is too big for diapers and truly came the closest thing to potty (pobby as he calls it) training himself this past week. I of course was¬†right on his tail with ensuring that we were visiting the pobby quite often. He really took to it way easier than I thought! I can’t say I used any particular method this time around. With Ella and Gavin there was definitely a reward system going on. I think there just must be some magic in being the highly influenced and determined little brother, that he just went for it. We had our fair share of accident’s no doubt. Overall in terms of potty training, I have found you just have to go for it and not look back! That has been the one thing I realized and you can’t be half way about it. It’s all or nothing, besides night-time training sometimes of course.

Grant really did such a great job of mastering this milestone this past week, that I am so very proud of him ūüôā

See me, I'm a big boy now!!

I can’t even believe I am writing this post because it seems so official now that I no longer have babies on my hands. It’s been many bitter-sweet moments this past week that are just par for the course of mothering I believe. I must continue to accept these little lives growing up and welcome the happiness for them because it is through each of these steps and progressions that they are forming their own proud moments and learning how to welcome change for themselves as well!

In honor of a fallen soldier and fellow classmate <3

A true hero ‚̧

I couldn’t let today go by without paying my respects to a fellow high school classmate who was laid to rest this morning after giving the ultimate sacrifice of his life for our country. Sgt. Carlo Eugenio,¬†assigned to the 756th Transportation Company, 224th Sustainment Brigade, California Army National Guard, Van Nuys, Cal., was the first California National Guardsman killed while serving in Afghanistan. He was one of 17 fatalities of which only 4 were Americans (if I read the correct reports) while his convoy was attacked by a suicide bomber, in Kabul.

While reading the reports on such a tragedy, yet a reality we hear about too often, his death is not just a number to add to the list of fallen soldiers. He was a life…he was a brother….he was a son….he was an uncle….he was a friend….to me, a fellow high school classmate. Although we were not the closest of friends, we had many mutual friends and a class together here and there. The occasional “hello” while passing in the hallways, I recall his bright smile well.

Seeing his most recent photo out there brought to life the reality that this was a man we should all be grateful to have had any experience in knowing. Many of us who had the privilege of going to school with him, could not have had the foresight to realize the sacrifice he would go on to make for us, while we knew him back then. As the world beckoned all of our graduating class of 2000, had any of us any inclination of the honor he would serve us? It is a question I ponder as I solemnly reflect on this young life that is no longer, and the painful yet proud emotion that his family must be experiencing now. I find it hard not to get enveloped into questioning the bigger picture of what we are here on this earth to do, as something like this inevitably hits me hard regardless of how well I knew him. The fact is he was a true hero. He served his country, and he had to have been so brave. When he set out on that fateful day on October 29th, he may not have questioned if it would be his last, but there is no doubt that he was honorable in doing what he needed to do regardless of the risk it took.

As I came upon a lull earlier today, that I sometimes do amidst the endless amount of things I find myself needing to get done, I reminded myself that there are things bigger than me and my mundane self rants. Besides the fact there is a war going on, that I will admit I forget about in my day-to-day life, there are real men and women out there risking their lives each and everyday for us. I will not get into my opinions about any of the politics of what is going on… not my style…but I will say I feel so grateful to the soldiers who do put their lives on the line for us. The bottom line is most of ¬†us would not trade where we are at in our comfy lives today to go be in the shoes of a soldier out there in combat. It is just a fact. I shouldn’t speak for all, but honestly if we would, then we would be there now. That is why I need to lay my greatest ¬†gratitude, respect and regards down for Carlo and all the other fallen soldiers who have gone as well, because they truly are deserving of it. It takes something else to be out there doing what they do, something I will probably never truly understand. A bravery, a courage, a sacrifice that not many will ever know. I was honored to have known him in my youth, and forever owe him thanks for the tremendous service he gave us.

‚̧ May you rest in peace Carlo, and may the memory of your life and sacrifice never be forgotten ‚̧

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~Nelson Mandela

Washing a load of pride at the laundromat

This was my first¬†experience with a “load” like this. And it’s not the fact that pride is hard to wash away, for me it was the fear of being exposed and out of my element for the first time in a while. Discomfort, inconvenience, the fear of the unknown all took trail behind me as I made my way in, and checked my laundromat snobbishness at the door…

image

So the last time I remember setting foot in a laundromat was about the age of 4. I recall that age fairly well still. My parents, my sister Jaclyne and I lived in a duplex back¬†then, down in San Pedro. ¬†I remember our tire swing in the backyard, playing with play-doh on the back patio, our neighbor who had a giant toybox, shaped like a turtle that seemed to hold oodles of toys which I was envious of, and of course I’ll never forget our days at the laundromat. I just remember encountering so many various walks of life there. To me at that young age, it was like such an exposure to people of the world by simply sitting on a chair waiting for the clothes to get¬†done. Back then it was leaving my safe environment at home with mom to go to a place where you never knew who you would meet, or what you would see. To be quite honest it was a place where I encountered someone with obscenely large ears for the first time in my life (couldn’t stop staring I’m sure) and the first time I noticed or became aware of other races besides mine(I asked my mom why the guy next to us looked purple). Through the eyes of a child, who wouldn’t know any better than to¬†be bluntly aware of my surroundings, I also didn’t know anything other than that way of life at the time. It was a good time, and I am thankful for that.

Fast forward several years, my parents bought their first home, and we became accustomed to washing our clothes in the comfort of our own home. Laundromats became a thing of the past and that was that. I don’t like to call it a snobbish thing but essentially, I wouldn’t have dreamed of being in another one of those places again in my life. I knew that those days for us as a family were tight living and I guess somewhere down the road I began to associate it with being poor. How sad does that sound though I’m sure. For some I know it might be their entire life they use a laundromat and it has nothing to do with their status of living. It was just an ignorant way of thinking and becoming spoiled yet again with the luxuries in life.

Well the time ultimately came where I was faced with the fact that I had to actually step in a place like that again, out of necessity. THERE WAS NO WAY AROUND IT!! Pull up the shoulders and walk in like a big girl….figure it out and don’t drop any underwear on the way out! So that’s what happened, this big girl walked in again 25 years later, 3 kids in tow, and with A LOT¬†of laundry I might add!

It actually wasn’t as scary as I imagined either. As much as I had done my laundry time after I time, I felt like there must be some magic way of working the machines that I was unaware of. Thankfully I met the sweetest lady who works the place, and she had me feeling right at home in no time, showing me the ropes. The kids all liked to help with it of course. What’s more fun than loading up clothes and pouring the soap in with mom right? Watching the dryers spinning is a favorite pass time now too lol.

One thing that I noticed hasn’t changed over the years are the various walks of life you can meet there. I have had the pleasure of meeting a homeless man, who is now on my list of inspiring people that I have been blessed to meet in this life. He lives out of his car at the moment, yet manages to take care of himself still some way or another. He is on the road to recovering from this state of living which he has been humbly open about with me. The nice owner of this particular laundry place has taken a chance on him and gave him a job to help get him back on his feet. There is also a local church that has been very good to him as well. ¬†The same sweet lady (her name is Cathy) who made me feel at home, also brings him a good meal when he works. It’s just so refreshing to see truly GOOD PEOPLE in this world taking care of others. Having the opportunity to meet this man was a blessing. I have seen him working hard there and it is obvious he is grateful to be working, regardless of what job it is. It hit me when one day when I had run out of quarters as I was waiting for a last load to finish drying. It ended prior to all the clothes being completely dry. When both Cathy and the homeless man saw that my clothes weren’t done drying, they insisted that I don’t leave with damp laundry. It was at that point that this man reached in his pocket and begins putting quarters in the machine for me. It was as if he didn’t think twice about it…just gave away any hard-earned change like it was nothing. I couldn’t even thank him enough. How do you give thanks to a person in that situation who still gives of himself regardless of his own needs. All I could do was pray later that evening and gave my thanks to God for giving me that special moment to learn from that day.

image

There is much to be learned in this world. Try spending a couple of hours in a laundromat and you are bound to discover something. I am so thankful for being reintroduced to this experience all these years later. Even more so because I never want my kids to feel that they are too good for these places or anything for that matter. There is a huge upside to bringing our clothes in there as well: it saves me time because I can get it all done at once and it’s saving water since I’m not at home doing it! Besides the worst thing that could happen (dropping underwear in the street) hasn’t happened yet, so I think I can get used to this for a while! The pride has dried so to say ūüôā