Sunday, August 2, 2015

baby girl turned 4 weeks old

I never thought having a girl would be so different from having boys, but it is. I'm constantly surprised when I discover more feminine features in Norah. She is beautiful and dainty and delicate, and so sweet. Her brothers adore her too, and she has Jon completely wrapped around her tiny finger. We love our little Norah, and cannot believe how fast time has flown since her birth. She is growing too fast already- getting more adorable and interacting and smiling too, which softens the blow of her newborn days passing too quickly.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Penn-boy no longer a baby

On the night before my baby turns 2, I want to record some things I never want to forget about him:

*his obsession with gloves. and not just having his gloves on his hands, but talking about any gloves he sees on other people, lying around, or in pictures.
*his sense of humor and how he can't seem to get in trouble or be disciplined because when he knows he has misbehaved he either turns up the charm or the comedy
*his sweet little raspy voice that mostly talks about "aaaachs" (cars), "ooowas" (planes), and "biiiiiih" (dirt bikes), and "wads" (quads- said really quickly and breathy)
*how he is truly his own little person, attaching himself to dirt bikes more than any other vehicles, which is remarkable considering his influences
*his empathy for others
*how much he loves saying "hi" to his baby sister and giving my belly loves
*his love for the moon
*how he asks to go in the car on a regular basis now, and has a hard time being patient about it
*his initiative. this kid will turn desire into results and he's usually successful. when it doesn't work, he has a hard time asking for help, I think because he's more frustrated with his own limitations than anything
*his love for music and especially his shoulder groove dance
*how I always find him with either a dirt bike and a quad, a dirt bike and a bmw, two quads, a dirt bike and a plane, a dirt bike and a motorcycle...
*his love for his Seahawks shirt, and Emory's Seahawks shirt too
*how if he can't find gloves, he'll always find socks to improvise and go use the rocking orca as a motorcycle or quad
*how if we read his "First Words" book he points to the picture of the dandelion and explains to me in his language that he sees those over by the cars Jon works with
*how he calls me "Ma," Jon "Deesce," and Emory "Ory"
*his obsession with the "ooooooh" story in the Book of Mormon (the story of Nephi's family sailing to the promised land in a boat
*his blankie.
his love for looking at pictures and videos of our family on our phones
*how he loves to tickle himself and be tickled
*his ability to really rouse his brother while playing and roughhousing
*how if I encourage him to say something "with his mouth" instead of using signs, he will point to his mouth
*the way he says amen "ai-nah"
*how he wants me to kiss his hurts better, even if they're not that bad
*his love for dirt
*his love for books
*how he points to something and grunts a certain way when he wants to know the color
*how tonight as I sang to him, he grabbed both of my cheeks in his hands and pulled our faces together

This kid is something else. I adore my Penn Albin.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

from 4 to 5

My Emory Shawn turns 5 tomorrow (technically today, since it's so late). This is the last picture of him as a 4-year-old. He put on his new pj shirt and happily tried on all his new school pants to make sure they fit- kindergarten! How did we get here?!? Tonight I read him the long version of one of his favorite books, Emergency, sang him "a really long song" (Souviens-toi), and scratched and then rubbed his back by request until he got super sleepy and turned towards me and said, "I'm ready for you to leave now." I have to say, I feel like these special moments with Emory don't come often enough, so I soak them up when they do come. As I laid in bed with him tonight, I thought of some of the most memorable things about E at 4 years old. This has been a huge growing year for us as parents of this kid, and a huge growing year for him as well- he's blossoming into someone who, although still shy, can speak his mind and opinions easily when asked, is quite decisive, and is so well-behaved with an obedient spirit (with some spunk and fight against his mama at times too).

his term "4-nit size"
his wife Relijah
his kids, including Kijo and Kingo
his imaginary friends Bocci and Zig
his work to stop biting his nails- accomplished finally last week!
his random exclamations of "I like you, mama"
how he gets "restracted" while cleaning his room
his fierce love for Baylor, the dog
his methodical approach- reminds me of his nunu
his incessantly backwards shirts
his two wives from preschool, and his sadness when one of them became a vampire instead one day
his "let me tell you a story" moments
his independence in the morning before we're up
his outstanding behavior at church and in preschool
his way of writing the letter Y with three lines, unconnected
his love for Penn, especially as Penn has gotten older and more interactive
his concern for others when something is wrong
his bravery in the primary program and his school programs- loves the mic
his varied car/motor sounds- a true boy
his dealership "Brand New Motors" and the car window stickers for his toys that mimic his dad's decals
his sense of direction
his favorite color "light blue"
his outbursts of "I love this!" in the middle of roughhousing, especially when both parents play
the way he stands when he rides his quad
his preference for his dad

Happiest 5th Birthday, dear Emory boy. I love you so much!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

these two

Our boys are shooting personality and cuteness out their ears lately. Seriously, I'm gaining a greater appreciation for motherhood lately, courtesy of these two characters, and I'm loving it. Summer is good to us: lazy pajama mornings, pool time on the deck, rides on the quad, fruit galore, eating on the deck, and bedtimes that are too late. 

Emory is registered for kindergarten-gah! so I'm trying to soak up the last bit of his pre-school years innocence this summer. He LOVES to tell stories, whether his audience is listening or not, and the stories usually involve him working with his friends Bocci and Zig to pick up this or that exotic or special interest car for this or that person for this or that amount. Basically, he's a mini-Jon. Being the first child has certainly influenced the tiny adult in our Emory- he's always joining in on adult conversations and adding unsolicited input. The other night (mid-story while I wasn't paying close attention) he said to me, "Mama, I just love talking." I know you do buddy, I know. He's also extremely willing to help feeding Baylor, cooking in the kitchen, and playing with Penn (most of the time). E is learning to ride his bike and holding out for a quad- he has informed me that he wants a quad cake for his birthday this year and that he doesn't want grown-ups at his party. He still wakes up from most naps (when he takes them) grumpy, but sleeps like a champ and has taken to waking Amber in the morning with loud keyboard playing instead of waking us with loud roughhousing in our bedroom. (Thanks for taking one for the team, Ber). He adores Baylor, and bosses him around, but insists that the dog "loves [him] best." I'm glad I have another year of him only in school a couple days a week... my days are far less entertaining without Emory around. 


Penn-baby is so not such a baby anymore! This fact would depress me more, but he's so much fun that I can't dwell on his growing up fast lately. Penn is busy all day long. He plays hard and sleeps hard, and is observing and learning more every day. For a couple months after his birthday, Penn worked hard on perfecting walking unassisted and finally started walking as his main and only mode of transportation about 3 weeks ago. Now that his large motor skills are much more refined, his focus has turned to communication for the past couple weeks- I think we're moving past the nasal grunt/point he's been so fond of lately. It is so rewarding to see him sign "please" without being told, and to see the wheels turn in his head when he picks out the same favorite book at least 5 times a day (thankfully the favorite has rotated over the past few weeks from "5 Little Ladybugs" to "Happy Baby Animals" and "Happy Baby 123" to "Doggy Kisses"). He blows on his food and says "ah-ah" when it's hot, says "ball," "dah" (dog), and has a special squeak noise reserved for the cat. He also recognizes eyes, ears, noses, mouths and teeth. He loved fireworks on the 4th of July, and we haven't really discovered any fears other than our Roomba. Just this week Penn started insisting on us holding him with ALL his blankets and bunny during our lullaby time before bed. Quite possibly the cutest thing to date is his new fascination with bringing us various articles of clothing from around the house to put on his tiny body- he began yesterday with my yoga tank, Emory's long-sleeved shirt , and Jon's t-shirt over his pajamas, simultaneously. Penn is incredibly assertive at home with family, but calm around others, for the most part. He reserves his most wild moments to share with his brother, and it's endearing to see them play well together, and fight like brothers sometimes. When he wakes up too early, Jon and I Penn-proof our bedroom and he wanders, playing with both of our phones, always finding the French music to play on my phone, and climbing on all the furniture until we finally drag ourselves out of bed for breakfast (our bedroom is most often a disaster from this or that stray kleenex or magazine he has found). It seems being a motor head is a requirement in our family, and P-diddy obsesses over driving all the cars around and going for rides on the quad as much as Emory. He has also patented his own car sound to use for playing with toy cars. It's adorable, of course, though loud in church. Now if we could just get his molars to come in faster- he finally has almost 2 of them, after working on 3 for at least 2 months. Perhaps our favorite thing about Penn, is that he likes to tickle his own belly, and will do so on command- adorable.

As crazy busy as our lives are right now with Jon in his last year of grad school, applying for jobs, running the dealership, and our responsibilities at church, our boys are so flexible and resilient. I adore them, and I wouldn't trade our day-to-day with another imagined life.

Monday, May 5, 2014

6th wedding anniversary

The morning of our anniversary, we left our boys with their aunt Kendal and headed north in the white Mercedes SL (the hydraulics for the convertible top were out of order for the entire gorgeous weekend, but not for lack of trying to make it work anyway) for Vancouver, Canada. We first stopped at one of our favorite eateries we've discovered: Tweets in Edison. Every time we go, we're amazed by how good the food is. Seriously. Everyone in the tiny town seems to contribute to the day's menu by dropping off fresh produce and eggs, and in return, the owners hand them plates of the most deliciously prepared food. If you go, know they only take cash or check. So worth it.

We crossed the border and went into the city, and after a failed attempt at finding our hotel, we successfully found a gelato spot we discovered during our first year of dating 9 years ago. The story is that Jon and I took a day trip to Vancouver that spring in 2005, shopped for a while, and then had the romantic experience of finding a quaint little gelato shop, complete with an older roman woman and two Italian gentlemen, thrilled to have the young in love in for a treat. We sat down and enjoyed our gelato and as we listened to the other shop patrons speak in Italian, cherry blossoms blew through the open doorway, littering the floor with pink petals. This memory has remained one of our favorites throughout the years. We found the shop flawlessly, without a map, on a whim--one of the best gifts Jon could have given me, since we got to relive a little piece of our early time falling in love. Though the place is now owned by a Vietnamese woman and sells subs along with gelato, it was the same, and finding it this time of year again could not have been more ideal. After gelato, we walked across the street to Kitsilano Beach park to enjoy the gorgeous sunshine and reenact a couple photos we took all those years ago.

We stayed at the Pan Pacific with the most gorgeous panoramic views from the 16th floor, and we truly enjoyed just relaxing together, driving through Stanley Park, eating the most delicious meal of our lives at Vij's (wine-marinated lamb popsicles over spinach and potatoes and saag paneer so good that I will go back and gladly wait without reservations again and again--the restaurant is rated the best Indian food in North America by the New York Times and the rating is well-deserved, and as a plus, the service was so beautifully orchestrated in a professional but relaxed environment), and of course, sleeping in without children waking us. We left the hotel and got the gelato at Bella Gelateria, the best we've ever had, and slowly made our way home to our boys.

So in love.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


While we colored Easter eggs, Penn colored himself with pasta sauce. 

brunch for the birthday boy

Scenes from the post-brunch present opening and cake smashing: family came to town... Great-great Grandma (as Emory calls her), Aunt Kelli, Uncle Doug, and Jocelyn, Jessalin, Nana, Nunu, Grandma, Grandpa, and Amber. I remembered at Emory's first birthday party that the poor guy got super tired and was frustrated that he had to open another present after wanting to play with the one in his hands, so we planned Penn's party a little better for his schedule and succeeded in keeping a happy baby (sorry for being our guinea pig, E). I was thrilled to have Aunt Kelli here to make the cake pretty. I made Penn's little moon cake--we always sing him the moon song before bed, and I had about that much usable cake left after another project so it just came to be. I may not make things as beautiful as possible, but I do make them good-tasting. Somehow we missed out on better photos of the actual smash, but Penn got into the cake and enjoyed it. 

 my mom made Penn the coolest mobile.