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Levi the Wonderdog

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We got a dog.


I know, I know. We’ve tried this twice before, both times coming to sad endings. This time we knew rescue just wasn’t for us. Too many variables when you have three small children and you are looking to bring an animal into your home. We decided to purchase our dog this time around, really research what breed we wanted, and get a puppy instead of an older dog.

We decided on a beagle. Beagles are known to be great dogs for children…a sort of “peanut butter and jelly” relationship. He would be that small/medium height we were looking for, with minimal coat care or shedding. We’d been researching, talking, and discussing for a few months and then decided that it was the right time around the end of January. We found our Levi and brought him home.


He is SUCH a snuggler. He is a very smart dog, and quickly took to his crate and starting sleeping through the night just after a week! He is mostly black with some white and brown markings, so when he curls up to sleep he looks like a little black ball.


Jackson is IN LOVE with Levi. Absolutely adores him. And Levi loves him. They will snuggle and play; I think this is the beginning of a very long, tight relationship between a boy and his dog. That’s exactly what we wanted; a dog for our children to grow up with. Beagles live 12-15 years, so we are hoping to have Levi straight through Brooklyn’s graduation. ๐Ÿ˜‰


We’ve had Levi since the end of January, and I’ll fill you in on a little secret: I haven’t swept the kitchen floor ONE TIME since he arrived. Not once. He hoovers up crumbs like no one’s business and I love him for it.

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Now, beagles are also known for their stubbornness. Luckily, I’m known for mine as well. I always win, little puppy. Thanks to that, he is becoming quite the well trained doggy. He is 18 weeks now and is fully potty trained. He sits on command, and goes to his bed (the crate) on command. He still has his puppy teeth so the nipping is still present, but its getting less fierce day by day. I REALLY need to enroll him in doggy classes, especially for the leash. He’s just a baby and is learning his place in our family. I hear the first year is the hardest with dogs, but then its really great. Every week he gets a little better…progress makes me happy.

Welcome, Levi. You are the cutest puppy ever!


Happy 5th Birthday London!

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When I took the children to see the movie Frozen way back in November, London passionately declared that THIS.WAS.HER.BIRTHDAY.PARTY.THEME. There was no if, ands, or buts about it. Frozen it was going to be, so I agreed. I’m so glad I did! I had such a hard time finding anything Frozen by the time her birthday rolled around in January; everything everywhere was sold out. You couldn’t get your hands on Frozen party supplies even if your last name was Disney. So I made do with what I had, consulted my party planner (Pinterest), and got to work.

Frozen blogboard

The only Frozen thing I could find for decoration was this little Frozen book that the girls now insist I read on a daily basis. They’ve memorized so they hardly need me anymore for the written words. Anyway, I went with Frozen colors and found some really cool ideas for the party, like jello “ice cubes” and “snow cap punch”. We decorated “snowmen”, which was a lot of fun! Although it isn’t pictured, I had tissue paper balls, snowflakes, and garland strung from the ceiling, all in her theme colors.


Decorating the snowmen was quite the hit! Most Frozen parties online seemed to have real access to snow; I would have loved to make snow ice cream or made real snowmen, but hey…you do what you can, lol! We used just some basic craft supplies and make our own little Olafs.


London was so excited to have Happy Birthday sung to her!


She has such kind and generous friends!

She had a wonderful party. We ended the day by going and seeing Frozen together as a family in the theater one last time. It was the perfect ending to the perfect Frozen day!

My sweet London girl,

You, my dear, are my sweet and sensitive best friend. You aren’t easily rattled by what most people would consider scary, like doctors appointments. Instead, you are moved to tears by suffering, like when you cry while reading a book about a penguin losing his way and missing his mommy. You don’t like when others are hurt or sad. You don’t like to be alone and love to have others near and close by. You make friends with everyone, and your laughter lights up a room because it is genuine and pure. You are always close to someone; snuggled next to me watching a movie, holding your sister’s hand as you walk down the hall together, sitting in your daddy’s lap while he reads a book. You L-O-V-E one on one time, and going on “dates” are the highlight of your week, even if its as simple as running an errand to the grocery store together. You always hold hands, always give hugs, always kiss goodnight, and are always quick to compliment. “Mommy, you look beautiful today!”. “Jackson, you are so kind for sharing!”. “Brooklyn, you are my best friend!”. When you get really excited, your joy bubbles over and you scream in delight, usually jumping around saying, “Can ย you BELIEVE it?!?”. You, my love, are so smart. You learn with ease and get so excited when you accomplish a goal. You are starting to read, and I can’t wait to find you someday soon huddled in your bed reading a book all by yourself. I can already hear your laughter and delight over this new-found accomplishment coming soon. You excel at math and are learning to add. You start kindergarten in the fall and absolutely can’t wait.
All of a sudden, you grew up. You brush your own teeth, get yourself dressed, brush your own hair, and emphatically declare that you can do everything “all by myself”. I love seeing you spread your wings and gain confidence in the little things, but oh, how my heart aches to see you grow so fast. Slow down, best friend. I want to keep you always for myself.
I love you to the moon and back a million times.
Happy Birthday, my London.

The Great Catch Up

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I know, I know. Its been FOREVER since a blog. Honestly, it really has been a time issue. I used to blog during nap time, but when we moved into this house London started napping in my room (where the computer is) so I couldn’t do it in the afternoon. Also, being closer to Greg’s job also means that he is home much earlier at night. I used to blog at night after the kids went to bed and before he got home, but now he is home before they even go to bed, so no time is available in the evening either.
I’ve missed it, though. This blog has been the most amazing collection of memories over the past 8 years. I can’t lose it. I can’t not update it. So, I’m making a weekly goal to at least get up one blog. My office has relocated to the schoolroom, so now I have naptime to put up a blog again.
Its been since August. That’s too many month and events to do a post for each of them, so this post is a collection of photos over the past six months. Sure, some of them deserve their own posts, but that isn’t going to happen, lol. Sorry, Grandmas and Aunties…I’ll be much better from now on!!! ๐Ÿ™‚





First up, we started school right after our CA trip. Its been an amazing year…our best yet. I’m way more organized this year, and we’ve stayed on track. Actually, we only have about 10 weeks of school left and we are DONE. I can’t believe it.

IMG_3188 IMG_3297 IMG_3296Jackson played soccer this past fall and LOVED it. In fact, he starts his spring season with the same team at the end of this month. We had so much fun with this team…I can’t wait to see how all the boys are doing and chat with their parents again. Jackson is wicked at defense and was usually around the goal protecting it. We’ve been working on his offense maneuvers over the winter, so who knows where he will be on the field now!

IMG_3366 IMG_3374My father has a prettttty amazing telescope, so in October we went to see the full moon. It was SO BRIGHT. Seriously. The kids had so much fun and it was great to have such a wonderful experience with them.

IMG_3519 IMG_3540 IMG_3538 IMG_3535 IMG_3534Because I’m a sucker for punishment, I AGAIN decided on making the children their desired costumes. Jackson was a Lego Luke Skywalker and the girls wanted to be ghosts. Jackson’s costume was AWESOME. Seriously…still proud of myself over that one. I had to glam up the ghost idea a bit, and the girls looked super adorable. We JUST finished Halloween candy, lol.

IMG_3726 IMG_3725Isn’t my daughter the most PRECIOUS thing?! Seriously. This was one of our Mommy/Daughter dates. She almost always requests to go to Barnes and Noble to read books and get hot cocoa. LOVE. HER.

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My husband built some pretty amazing pieces for our home over the past few months. The most amazing thing has been the build in breakfast nook. Funny I’m posting this now because I’m actually working on the cushions to complete the project. The should be done next week, and then this nook will finally be done. And I LOVE my hall tree bench. It is amazing and really fills out that space in our entryway.

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This past Thanksgiving was my favorite…ever. It was hosted at my house. My first Thanksgiving. My first turkey. Luckily, my lovely mother flew out from PA to be with us for the holiday and she was such a HUGE help. She was here for 10 days and we had such a great time, even though she was terribly sick for most of her visit. My super awesome step-sis Melynda came too! We had 18 people…have I mentioned how glad I was my mom was here, lol?! It was such a great time…we had sack races for the kids and fun games for the adults, and of course, great food. I can’t wait until next year!!!

IMG_3929Just a cute sister picture I couldn’t not share!!!

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In December, we went to Disneyland the week before Christmas. It is our very, very favorite time to go. Have I mentioned how easy it is to take these kids on vacation now? Sometimes I miss have little babies, but not on vacation. So much easier! This was our first trip over to California Adventure as well, and I didn’t like it nearly as much as Disneyland. The kids had a great time, and I think Jackson’s highlight was doing the Jedi Academy! He actually got to fight Darth Vader! We have video of it somewhere…I’ll have to figure out how to upload it. Splash Mountain was also a big hit, as you can tell! We are going to try to go every other year at Christmas if it works out. It really is amazing!

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Christmas was amazing, as always. Such a special holiday. We went to Christmas Eve service at our church, opened presents the next morning and went to Bob and Gayle’s house for Christmas dinner with Greg’s family. The girls got American Girl bitty babies and Jackson a chess set…along with scooters and Star Wars and My Little Ponies and books and a truckload of other things.

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New! Years! Eve! Oh my goodness, so much fun this year! Hitomi and I put together a fabulous evening of food and games for our nearest and dearest! The theme this year was Minute to Win It and it was SO MUCH FUN!!!! The last picture is us enjoying the Japanese tradition of some dish I affectionetly call “Fishy Noodles” at midnight. I’ve spent the past three years with Hitomi on New Years, and this year she finally won me over to Fishy Noodles. It’s probably because I love her so much. Its going to be hard to top this next year!

Phew! Yes…there is more..but next up is my precious London’s birthday, and she gets her very own post!!!! I know I’ve missed photos as well, so I’ll have to pop those in at other times, but it feels good to have this all caught up.
Dear future Becki: please update the blog more regularly so you don’t have to spend three hours in one evening catching it up. Kthanksbye.

Beach Kids

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Like I couldn’t just jump at the opportunity to take some oceanside pictures of the children while we were in San Diego. I haven’t taken pictures of the kids in a long time, so it was nice to add a few more into my overflowing albums of them.

Beach Kids 1

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Beach Kids 7London’s eyes were bothering her that day; we had spent a lot of time in the water and I think she got some salt water in them…and probably sand. Side effects of the beach, I suppose. I just love the picture of Jackson…he looks so grown up in photos. I don’t notice it in person, but in photos he is just so…big.

Brooklyn 3, London 4, Jackson 7

Happy Birthday Brooklyn!

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Brooklyns Bday 2My little treasure turned 3!

She’s been looking forward to this for months now. Whenever she was asked how old she was, it was always answered with, “I two, but soon I be three!”. ย Her birthday was sandwiched in between our Disney day and Sea World day, so we spend Aug. 13 by the sea, just relaxing and playing. In her mind, she had celebrated her birthday the day before at Disney, so I think she was a little confused that the birthday action never seemed to end!

After playing and cleaning up, we headed down to our favorite pizza joint. Its called Knockout Pizza, and it is so great. Just a walk away from our condo and the water.

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Brooklyns Bday 1

Brooklyns Bday 11After pizza, we came home and ate cake and opened presents! Her cake came from this amazing, authentic french bakery just down the street. I swear I was going to turn into a chocolate croissant by the time we left for home. That place is amazing.

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Brooklyns Bday 9

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To my precious Brookie-Bear,

I really wish you would just stay my baby forever, but you’ve got other plans. This past year was a big year for you! You learned how to sleep in a big girl bed, started sharing a room with your best friend, ditched those diapers for underwear, gave up your binky, and found thousands of new words to express exactly what you were thinking and feeling. The only thing you have left that reminds your sad-to-see-you-grow mother of your days as a tiny face is a tattered, well loved blankie. Your personality is really starting to shine through; you are the family clown and love to make everyone laugh. You are quick to comfort if another is sick or hurt, and on several occasions have used your blankie to wash tears from your sister’s face. You love pink and purple, your favorite Disney princess is Aurora, and Tinkerbell has a special spot in your heart. In fact, it isn’t a rare occasion to see you crawling on the floor up to my feet and hear you say, “My wings are freezing! I can’t use them! Please take me to spring so they will warm up again!”. Then I have to pretend to be a snow owl and fly my little warm fairy to her warm place. You insist on matching your sister with clothing, and since you are almost as tall as her, you look like you have a twin. You have an opinion on what you wear, and if for some reason I override it or just don’t listen (Mommy is very sorry), tears erupt. You prefer skirts to pants, like any little princess should. ๐Ÿ˜‰ You are independent, and we hear “I do it myself!” a lot. My favorite thing? You are a snuggler. You love to cuddle up on my lap, or crawl into bed with me in the early hours of morning. You sit on my lap with your arm up around my neck, pushing my face closer to you so our cheeks can touch. You give the best hugs and if I ask for one kiss, I usually get 10. You ask to “cuddle you” every night before bed and several times during the day. ย I try really hard to never say no, because I know these days will soon be gone.

Happy Birthday, my sweet bear. We love you so much, and thank God everyday for the blessing of you in our family!


Our California Vacation

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We took our long anticipated vacation to San Diego this month! We adore San Diego and had such a wonderful time last year that we decided to rent the same condo and live by the sea for a week. Going back a second time is so much more relaxing than the first; you know where everything is, you’ve found your favorite spots to eat, and you know what to expect. Plus, Brooklyn was a whole year older which meant no pack n play or diapers! Truly, this was the best vacation we’ve taken yet. It honestly would be hard to do anything else…we could go back every year!

We spent a lot of time at the beach. Our condo is only about 100 yards or so away from it, so every morning we would pack up and head down and play for several hours. London and Brooklyn just hung out at the shore line, content with building sand castles and watching the waves break over them. Jackson was much more ambitious and developed a love for the boogie board, even if it only meant sitting on it and riding it in. There were picnic lunches, games of catch, Mommy and Daddy holding the girls diving into waves, lots of sunscreen, and a million laughs. (And sand

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Beach 23School had started almost everywhere in the country by mid-August, so crowds were low and we had the beach mostly to ourselves until lunchtime. The weather was gorgeous; almost everyday had sunshine by 10 and the temperatures never got above the low 70s. I mean, it really wasย perfect.

On Monday, we decided to head up to LA and hit Disneyland (about an hour from our condo…we stay a bit north of San Diego).

Brooklyn was turning three the very next day, so we took advantage of her being free AND got to celebrate her birthday! Of course, everyone thought that the “twins” were turning 3, so I’m pretty sure they got some extra special attention. For example. The Princesses.
First, I’ve never done the “meet and greet the princesses” thing. Its called Fantasy Faire, and you stand in a ridiculously long to meet 2-3 princesses…whomever they have on deck that day. We waited for about half and hour and were finally led in by the court to meet Cinderella, Aurora, and Ariel. I thought it was going to be a “hug the princess, take a picture, move on to the next princess” kind of thing. From what I’ve heard, that is what it normally is…but not with my girls. I’m not sure what happened, but they shut the line off behind us and Aurora pulls them up close to her and asks if they want to play a game. Brooklyn about jumped out of her skin with excitement, and London suggested hide and seek. Ariel pops over. The princesses count to 10 and the girls hide in the castle room. Then the girls got to hunt for the princesses. Conversations and hugs took place, then Ariel told the girls that she had a special surprise for them. They had to close their eyes and Ariel held their hands and took them to an empty room and let them know that Cinderella was hiding and they had to find her! I’m practically crying over the awesomeness of it all. They found her, and then Cinderella suggests that they play Simon Says, so of course another game ensue. I mean, we were probably in there for a good 15-20 minutes. It was the most magical time I’ve ever had at Disney. I honestly didn’t get very many pictures because I was just enjoying the moments with them. But here is one, lol!

Unbelievable, right? It was truly amazing. Our whole time there was great (minus a few hiccups here and there). We hit up the girls favorite ride (Dumbo) and Jackson’s favorite ride (Star Tours), with a dash of Pirates, Jungle Cruise, Winnie the Pooh, and many others in between. We had lunch at our favorite place (Carnation Cafe) and Brooklyn had a birthday cupcake! We didn’t get a chance to do the Jedi Academy like we wanted; really, you have to have two days at Magic Kingdom to really have time to hit everything. We got awesome seats for the parade (quite by accident, actually!) and had those awesome huge corn dogs for dinner while watching our favorite characters sing and dance by us. We planned to stay until fireworks that evening, but everyone was beat by the end of the parade, so we headed back.

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While we loved getting the chance to go, I don’t think we will go as a part of our San Diego vacation again. We will make a whole vacation for it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Another day was Sea World (yes, we are crazy)! This was probably the best day; remember, everyone is in school so the park was only lightly crowded, which always makes theme parks way better. We got to do, and see, everything we wanted to with minimum wait times. Our favorite was the dolphin show, and Jackson got to ride the Sky Tower, which he has been talking about since our last visit (we didn’t get to go on it last time).

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Sea World 15So much fun was had by all. We all had a hard time packing up and saying goodbye. Usually by the end of a vacation I’m ready to get home to our normal schedules and routines; I easily could have stayed another week or two. We are so blessed.

Beach 24

Little Fish!!!

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Wide Open Spaces

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It’s been far too long since we’ve made our way down to my parent’s house in Tucson, so we decided to go stay a night this past weekend! The kids were super excited; they L-O-V-E Granma and Papa’s house. They sit on two acres of land so the kids just run around and play. Dirty doesn’t even begin to describe them.

When we first got there, it was way too hot to play outside, so Papa decided it was time for a special treat: Root Beer Floats!

To say they were pleased with Papa’s treat would be quite an understatement. ๐Ÿ™‚ They slurped them down in no time!

One of their very favorite things to do is go on rides with Papa. My parents have a few quads and a trailer they can hitch to them. They switch between riding on the trailer around the property and riding on the quad with me or Papa. Papa goes much faster than me. ๐Ÿ™‚

My Papa (so the children’s Great Papa) loves to come over and hang out with us. These two girls hold a special place in his heart!

Granma always takes such good care of us! She has stocked the house with toys, toys, and more toys, so the children come and have something fun to do! They have an endless amount of things to entertain them while they are there, and I never hear “I am bored” once! I love it!

The huge, deep tub in the master bath is a nightly tradition when we stay. All three kids pile in the tub and make it their mission to get bubbles everywhere.

They’ve always succeeded.

We always stay in the camper parked next to the house. While its hard to see, two tiny girls are snuggled, sweetly sleeping the early morning hours away!

Jackson always rises early, even at home. It was early and beautiful outside. We don’t get to eat breakfast outside very often!

Good morning, sunshine! I love her bedhead!

We had such a great time, and can’t wait to do it again. I’m thinking once it gets below 90 so they can play outside all day!

Thanks Granma and Papa!!! We had a great time!


We Made It!: Triple Pedestal Farmhouse Table

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When I married my husband 8 years ago, I had no idea this kind of talent was hiding out in there.

Really. He’s never built a bookshelf, a picture frame, anything. One day he decided that he would build us a new dining room table instead of buying one, so we searched for plans and came up with this one from Ana White’s DIY site. He bought all the tools (my garage is crazy now), and…well, built a table! And a bench!

You can find the tutorial {here}, and here are some snapshots of us along the way!

Legs built and runner installed. We put some boards along the top just to see what it would look like in the end!

Assembling the framed tabletop. This was, by far, the most difficult part. We learned a lot during this step, and the next table will be even better!

Tabletop and legs complete!

Once everything was stained and poly'd, we moved it inside to attach the legs to the tabletop.

Once everything was stained and poly’d, we moved it inside to attach the legs to the tabletop.

Finished! It was a lot of work, especially for a first project, but I am so proud that he got it done!

I think the legs are super cool, and the runner through them really makes it unique. The bench is just a mini-model of the table, minus the framed top. We just went for the plank look on that.

We used (and LOVED!) Rusteloum’s Ultimate Wood Stain in Dark Walnut. I purchased the chairs off of Overstock and the pendant light from Lowe’s. We are actually building another table right now in a different style to see which one we like better, lol! And now that I know what Greg his capable of, my honey-do list just got a whole lot longer!


The Very Last Binky and a Ding Dong joke.

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Welp, its over, friends.

Babyhood in my house is officially, 100%, gone. The binky was exchanged for a phone. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It really was bittersweet, even as much as I hated searching for, washing, buying, and finding those things. This was the very, very last thing. She is potty trained. Sleeps in a big girl bed (or at least, her sister’s, which we are working on, lol!). ย But even though it was a teensy bit sad, it was such a relief. Its always a bit stressful giving up crutches your children have, especially when it relates to sleep. She did awesome, though. The first day she asked for it at nap (but still took one) and asked for it at bed (but still went to sleep) and hasn’t asked for it since.

Now for the story of the ding dong joke.

Not sure what that is?

Well, the children frequently like to tell jokes at the dinner table. Jackson is getting good at it, London just cracks herself of and doesn’t understand punch lines or how to use them correctly (which is funny), and Brooklyn has her own form of a joke. Instead of saying, “Knock, knock?” for a ‘knock knock joke’, she says, “Ding Dong!”. I don’t know what it is about that, but it cracks me up! She really does think you are supposed to say Ding Dong, like a doorbell! I laugh every.single.time.

I hope she does it forever.