2016 was a beautiful, but hard year of growth for me as a person. Plenty of hardship, but SO much goodness happened and here is a little (maybe not so little) monthly recap from this last year full of run on sentences and absolutely no fluidity.
We also spent last New Years in Lake Arrowhead which was so amazing. The house was a masterpiece and the time to reconnect as a family was needed. I also got my dream hair via hair queen Shurie. I still can’t believe I went so short! We took Star Wars obsessed Ollie to see Force Awakens and it felt like something so special to take our kid to see a new Star Wars film. He said one of my favorite quotes he’s ever said ever right at the end of the film when the credits started rolling, “I still remember Jar Jar Binks”.
Like practically every other family, Star Wars kind of took over. Some of Prim’s new words in her then small repertoire were “D2″ and “BB-8″. The top right is from a random day trip to LACMA which makes me feel a little bittersweet at how easy it was to just go wherever whenever before Ollie was in school full time. Plus look how cute 1 year old Primmy was. We went to Disneyland and the highlight by far was meeting Kylo Ren WHO WAS TERRIFYING. Just look at poor Ollie. Lastly, the great debate of 2016: Daniel’s possible RyGos spotting. If you witnessed the feud on Snapchat between us vs Blythe, then you know.
1.5 year old Prim was just so funny. I think it was sometime around now when she started calling everyone “PooPooMan”. We took only the boys to California Adventure and it was AMAZING not having a napping baby with us. Radiator Springs Racers forever. Our Archdiocese acquired THE Bishop Barron over the past year-ish and attending Holy Thursday Mass with him as the presider was so beautiful and a highlight of the year. And Easter! Ended up being super hot and us having a swim party. Best.
Atlas turned 3! He always has seemed older than he is, so 3 was a long time coming. Looking back at these photos from earlier this year reminded me of how much of a paci guy he was! Biggest change of the year was us getting Poppy! She was sooooo little and fluffy in comparison to the raggedy beast she is now, jk jk. It was so silly watching her tiny little body trying to herd the kids all day long.
Ollie played an angel (as well as all the kinders) and my godson Francis starred as Jesus in Oliver’s school Christmas play and the entire show was just the sweetest, most precious thing. Kids forgot lines. The bigger kids only mumbled their songs. The curtain closed on top of the preschoolers. Just all the things that make a kid performance the best.
2. Cocktail Party
Ya’ll, why is low key partying with close friends the best?? Clubs, nah. Fike’s house on a weeknight, ya. Blythe was throwing a white elephant christmas shout out to my birthday cocktail party and it was just the best. We couldn’t find a sitter that could stay the entire length of the party so we brought them and put them to bed at her house. LIFE CHANGER.
Rumor was circulating that the Harringtons just may stop by since they are in California and it happened!
Anyway, we are toying with the idea of having a monthly dance party. Will keep you posted.
Today was my birthday. This year I turned 28. My birthdays have always felt really weird. Being born on Christmas Eve, my birthday has always been kind of pushed to the side because the next day is a far more important birthday. Growing up I hated it. I couldn’t help but feel overshadowed, plus mixed with my melancholic + self-preservation type 4 personality these feelings felt a lot bigger, but now I don’t mind my birthday being overshadowed because it should be. It helps me focus my attention to where it should be during this time of waiting that is Advent. Like Bishop Barron says in this podcast, we are meant to strip ourselves down during Advent and reform your lives because we all know our lives aren’t where they should be because we all fall into the pattern of self-absorption. What better way to remind myself to stop thinking about my life as MY project by having a not so usual birthday, but how my life belongs to God and to serve God’s purposes. It truly is a blessing and I finally see it as that. (Listen to that podcast as a birthday present for me, okie?)
28 feels like this in between age. It’s not that shocking anymore when I say I have 3 kids. I don’t get carded that often. But still I feel young. I often feel like I have no clue what I’m doing while also feeling so sure of myself and confident as a wife and mother, my vocation. I have been married for almost 7.5 years and a mother for almost 6. Saying that makes me feel older than 28. 27 was an eye opening year for me. If I write out a year in review, it wouldn’t say much because a lot of what happened to me was internal. I think I emotionally grew more in this past year than any other year in my adulthood. My faith got richer and deeper, more complex. My level of self-awareness through studying the enneagram and temperaments have allowed me to see these constant patterns in my life (and of those around me) and how to take action and fight my weaknesses and nourish my strengths. Physically I am at my healthiest and strongest I’ve ever been, even if each kid has blessed me with a little extra 5 pound package that I can’t seem to shed. I finally started taking care of myself though exercise, alone time, and my appearance by actually going out and getting my hair and nails done and using nicer products on my skin. The other day while I was buckling Atlas into his carseat and we were joking around and I had a huge smile on my face that now reveals all my emerging wrinkles, he put his hands on my cheeks and pulled my face close to his and said, “Mama, your eyes are cracking” with these sweet, loving eyes and a little smirk on his face. I was so surprised that I didn’t feel upset by the honesty of my child seeing and pointing out my aging features. I’ve prayed and prayed to be a woman that ages with grace. To not complain about my appearance or point out changes that come with getting older in a negative way, even if I feel not so happy about it on the inside. It seems almost silly to point this out now while I’m still in my twenties, but it’s something I want to be conscious of as these new qualities arise. I want to be that woman and give that example to my sons and especially my daughter. I want her to see the love, joy, and independence that comes with being a woman, wife, and mother and also to see that we don’t need to go at it alone because it is impossible without His grace to get us through times we need it most.
I pray that 28 is as enlightening as 27 was and that I can share the Blessed Mother’s faith and courage that we are reminded of this Christmas season and pray to God “let it be done to me according to Your word”.
And lastly I want to give the biggest and grandest shout out to my other half, Daniel, who makes sure I feel so loved and special every year on my birthday and made me lag on getting this post out because he was busy treating me on an overnight date out in the city. xoxo
Last week Ollie got his first award at school for being a Christian Leader…. I know I teared up, too. The description was all the nice things of putting others before themselves, being helpful and kind to all, etc etc, but funnily enough we have been having such hard days after pick up because he is exhausted?? upset?? angry?? all at once and takes it out on me and that day when we got into the car he was being such a stink and I know I shouldn’t have said it, but I said, “Ollie, you aren’t acting like a Christian leader right now” and he said, “Well, I’m a Christian leader at school… NOT at home.” Ollie 1, Mama 0.
2. Have a Little Faith
Have you guys seen this video from 2 years ago making the rounds again?? I forgot about it! I still love it so much and think that Blythe totally nailed it. B, how’s it feel to be part of a series that Rafael Solano is also part of??
Happy St Nicholas Day! The kids got the usual chocolate coins and this year they got medal necklaces! Oliver got Our Lady of Olives. She protects from lightning and helps protect pregnant women in the hour of delivery which fits his birth story and name completely. I had the sweetest thought of him having this medal growing up and one day giving it to his future wife when she is pregnant. All the tears people.
Atlas got the Holy family. It’s also a sweet story because he has been having a hard time at bedtime saying that he needs us to protect him. </3 We have tried all the angles of his brother and sister being in the room, us being so nearby, and his guardian angel PLUS the siblings guardian angels all being there with him but it hasn’t comforted him at all. One day I was looking at medals and he said he wanted a necklace too and we went through a few basic ones for him— Saint James, Guardian Angels, a Marian, but he said, “None of those church things make me feel protected” with a frown and almost tears. Then a minute later he said, “I know, I want Baby Jesus! Baby Jesus make me feel protected” so I showed him one of the holy family and he said he wanted that one. So today I put the necklace on him and he kissed it and said, “I feel so protected” </3 </3 </3 Protected! Who is he. (but about an hour later he wanted it off so…. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
Prim woke up a good 45 minutes after the boys and snoozed her way over to her shoes and ate some coins without the slightest reaction. She loved her necklace of Our Lady of Fatima (from this etsy shop!) and was starting to turn it into a lovey but then wanted it off as soon as Atlas said he wanted his off. Oh well!
Advent has been going pretty well! We got our christmas tree early this year and realized with all of our rearranging that we didn’t have a spot for it. First we tried over in our dining room but it was too cramped (but the lighting!)
So then we rearranged our living room AGAIN and found a spot for it cozily tucked in the corner.
What else Advent-y…. the Jesse Tree! We have the beautiful Jesse Tree cards hanging from Blessed is She that Erica designed. I was part of a Jesse Tree ornament exchange last year so now we have a set that we paired with this ultra fancy Target gold tree (our advent wreath needs a serious redo next year).
The kids are loving it. Probably the part of getting to hang the ornament beats out the little prayer we say, but still. Love these traditions for us as newish Catholics.
What else what else….
Oh, we’ve been neglecting Poppy a bit and with her crazy shedding + rainy weather she’s been a mess so we splurged and got her to the groomer for the first time ever and I swear, my love for her doubled. She was so clean and polished that her puppy behavior was so much more tolerable because she looked more like a puppy again and not some haggard stray. So there is her Advent/Christmas present. She’s only 9 months and look how giant she is….
Anyway, gotta go sneak some of those mini toblerones. Happy feast day!