New Years

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We were so happy this year to spend New Years with my step sister’s family. It really was the best way to begin the year, and Little T had such a great time.

We’d originally planned to get rose float tickets and see the floats on New Year’s Eve, but we didn’t get them in time and decided to go to the Kidspace Museum instead. They had a really fun New Years party and passed out sparkling apple cider, and even had a balloon drop at the end. The bonus? On the way there we got to see the rose floats that we’re sitting along the street. We even saw Cal Poly’s!

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Waiting for the balloon drop!

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Picnic at the top of the tunnel.

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Laugh attack!

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Little T is Cal Poly’s biggest fan, and loudest cheerleader. :p

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Back at the house, we made the worlds biggest mess, and it was awesome. Big T made pizzas for everyone.Big T always begins to talk in an Italian accent when he makes pizzas, it’s the strangest thing. We also did plays, had a band, and played with balloons.

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Grumpy Cat was not impressed with the New Years shenanigans.

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Love this mess. <3

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The next day, we went to Disneyland first thing in the morning. We saw the frozen fun area and had a great time going down the sled. We laughed when Big T was the only person singing in the frozen singalong, and he was singing loud! It was kind of adorable. It was the best day, and we had such a great time spending it together.

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Mrs. Claus!

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So that was New Years! Definitely not what our New Years would have looked like pre-children, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Holidays….seems so long ago….

I would just like to say that this was the first holiday in three years where we didn’t have the flu (flu shots everyone!) This was also the first year I haven’t had a lot of work to do, so I really was able to enjoy everything. And for all of that, I am thankful! We traveled up to the Central Valley for Christmas, and every day was filled with something! Here’s kind of a hodgepodge of what we were up to.

Little T got to check out great grandpa’s model ships. He was so excited about them and wanted to show everyone in the house. He would have us close our eyes and then lead us to the ships in the room and shout, “surprise!!!!!!”

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These guys! <3

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Nana made the most amazing food for us, below is roasted cauliflower. Get that cauliflower, Nana!

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Next we traveled to the Central Valley, I always begin this trip thinking we have so much time, but then every second gets filled, how does that happen? One of our favorite things to do is see the holiday lights at the zoo!

Me and my momma <3

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Zoo lights!

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We also had a great play date with the cousins, stopped at Piemontes for sandwiches, and caught a basketball game.

Super Aunt!

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Little T was a great cheerleader, even though he sometimes would cheer for the wrong team, whoops! He just wanted everyone to win! :p

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Miss Piggy in the Christmas spirit :

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A lot of family excitement this year was focused on this puzzle. I actually did the entire thing myself….kidding! Everyone was so excited about it, that we made rules about only being able to work on it when everyone was there (heehee) and got very competitive about who was working on what part. Puzzles=serious business!

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Aunt D already working on Puzzle #2, because when you finish 1 puzzle another must be started….

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We also played Ticket To Ride. Big T and my marriage only nearly ended once during the couse of the game, so all in all….success! (I blame Aunt D)

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Somebody knows the way to my heart is through homemade salsa…..

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Little T, channeling that inner cowboy spirit.

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Getting schooled in dominoes by Uncle P.

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Little T and Great Grandpa D. :)

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After my mom’s house, we got to spend time with my Dad’s side of the family. We had a great time, but my phone died! It’s probably for the best because we had a Chipotle bar going on and the only photos that would have been taken were of chips and guacamole. We also got to see the Hobbit with my Dad, which was a rare treat to be able to go to the movies. :)

And a little more randomness: hanging out in a basket:

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Little T and my favorite Christmas gift, Grumpy Cat!

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Christmas was great, up next…..New Years!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….

I think this year has been the most Christmassy year of all time for me, even though (confession) I haven’t had time to buy a single gift yet (ack!) For the first year ever, I’ve had to photograph a lot of corporate holiday parties, and so everything has been Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!!! It’s been nothing short of amazing. :) I’ll post a few pics here so you can get the idea….but first-

We took a quick trip to the Discovery Center because Little T has been on a train kick lately and they’re having a Thomas display. It was a little too crowded for us though, so we made a family introverted break for the insects and gingerbread houses instead. ;)

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We had lunch at Mead’s Green Door Cafe before heading home. The whole family gave Mead’s a thumbs up. Little T loved the quinoa chili, and I had a great salad.

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I think during one exciting bachelorette party, I may have signed up for a wine club. I forgot I did this until more wine than I’ll ever drink in my life showed up at my doorstep…whoops?

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On days when we don’t go out, Little T and I like to take little walks and search for sticks! The ultimate activity. :)

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I had a few lovely Holiday engagement sessions during the week. So much fun!

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And we had the trendsetters holiday party! I told Tara from Fairytale Hair and Makeup to do my hair like this:

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Just kidding, I got Elsa hair! Tara did my hair and Cole did my makeup, which was fun because I always watch Cole do bride’s makeup, so it was nice to have a turn. She looked at me with excitement and said……”can I do whatever I want?” So I gave Cole permission to do whatever she wanted to my face, lol. The end result:

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It was fun getting ready with everyone!

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Michelle got ready first, and then looked super glamorous while she answered emails.

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Trendsetters had a beautiful champagne bar, my favorite was the lavender/pear champagne. :)

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Louise was a little overwhelmed by the choices. :p

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I got to see Alan’s shoes! He won trendsetter of the year, so proud of him!

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A few more pics, what a lovely night. The Disney crew won best new idea for their cake mapping, so we had to celebrate! :)

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Dancing the night away!

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At the end of the night, Louise surprised me with a vegan Sprinkles cupcake. That’s why I keep you around, Louise! ;)

Pheo the elf was feeling inspired the next morning. He was up to all sorts of trouble.

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And I can’t show most of the holiday parties I’ve had to photograph, but here is a pic that I can show from one of my favorites. A beautiful holiday party at Kellogg House. So lovely, and there was an amazing choir that sang Christmas songs that put everyone in the holiday spirit.

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This is me taking an iphone video while I was taking photos, haha.

The next day we drove to Apple Valley with Papa G (!!!) to see a Christmas Carol! When we picked Little T up from daycare, he was ecstatic to see my dad. :) We were hoping for snow, but it only snowed a little. We sang Christmas carols all night, interacted with Tiny Tim and Scrooge, and learned some fun new dances! What a wonderful experience.

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We stayed at Serendipity Bed and Breakfast, and as always, we had a lovely time exploring, and Nina made the best breakfast.

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Little T has been coming to see Nina since he was a little baby! :)

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During the trip, my step sister confessed to me that if our family got the rest of the family sick for the third year in a row, we just might be shunned from Christmas for the rest of our lives. The pressure is on. 0_0 :p

When we got home, we had a last minute game night, because our house looked so pretty and Christmassy. :)

Miss Piggy was even in the holiday spirit with some new duds!

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Big T said that unfortunately, the new duds did nothing for Miss Piggy’s breath.

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We love you anyway, Miss Piggy!

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We played our favorite new/old game: Funny Bones!

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The winners!

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And then I had one more holiday party to attend. These were my two favorite Christmas sweaters…perhaps of all time.

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When I got home, Little T heard me come in and asked me to come to his room, so I showed him the new trick I learned at the holiday party with the dubsmash app. ;)

And that’s been our week! So much, I can’t believe we’ve made it through. And now it’s time for some serious holiday prep. :)

I hope you’ve all had a great week, and that you’re more ready for Christmas than I am!

Tut tut it looks like rain….

It’s been a busy/tiring/but fun kind of week.

Happenings:

We had to take Little T to the doctor (he had a cough, poor Boo). He was actually pretty excited about going because I picked him up early from Day Care, which always makes for a great day. After the doctor, we made the 45 minute drive to the Canon repair store to turn in our broken flash. I feel like Little T will have so many photos of himself lying on the ground and bored in this store. :p Thank goodness Nana was here visiting, it made everything about ten times easier.

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We were close to the Mitsuwa Market, so we stopped by to pick up some favorite things. I wish this place was closer! I could spend so much time here! When I was younger and lived close by, we’d stop here frequently for lunch. We were in a hurry though, so instead it was a quick 15 minute dash to our favorite things before jumping back in the car and heading home.

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More exciting news, Little T’s Elf on the Shelf arrived! We’ve had one every year, but this was the first year that an elf arrived that looked like Little T. Little T was thrilled! :)

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My work had been busy because it’s holiday party season, and I haven’t been home much and when I have been home, I’ve been editing. Busy is good though! The only thing is it’s hard on Little T. I had to work on the weekend and through the week (and this weekend too), and Little T was grumpy about it. To get some time in, I dedicated an entire undistracted day with him. We met my sister and the crew and spent the day at Disneyland. He was so happy, it’s not very often that we get so much Mommy and Little T time together.

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His face in this picture, it cracks me up. He was pretending to be scared for the Haunted Mansion.

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It was really wet, which made it fun. We walked back to the car at the end of the day and Little T jumped in every big puddle he could find. It doesn’t rain here very often so it’s always exciting when it does. Little T loved the drive home, because he said it was dark and rainy and spooky, like his favorite book, “The Monster of the Woods”. He’s funny, he likes to be scared, but not too much. ;)

The next day, after a really fun shoot at Disneyland in the morning, I had to run back home to take Little T to the dentist. He loves the dentist, which makes me smile. Our dentist office is so much fun for kids, and the staff and doctor (Dr. shuffer) are great. Little T didn’t want to leave, and I had to resort to parental bribery to get him into the car. You can kind of see the waiting room here, it looks like a playground. It even has a bowling alley.

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The next day, I had a beautiful wedding to photograph and some meetings to attend, but first I had to run a few errands at Disneyland with Little T’s elf. ;)

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Mischief managed!

I got home pretty late that night, and fell asleep going through the pictures on my computer. I couldn’t wait until the next morning to see them! I was amused to discover that I had actually started going through and highlighting my favorite photos in my sleep. Now that is dedication: sleep working. The photos I chose didn’t make much sense, but I gave myself an A for effort!!!!

The next morning after the wedding, I was pretty sore and tired, but still managed to make it to bday party of Little T’s best friend at daycare. I was really torn about it. I was exhausted and had another event to photograph later, but Little T had been talking about this party for two weeks. In the end, I decided to go. When I woke Little T up in the morning, he sleepily asked if there was daycare. When I told him there wasn’t and that it was his best friends birthday party, he shot up as quick as he could with a huge excited gasp. On the way there, he was asking every few minutes how long it would be until we got there. The theme was rocket ships, and everyone loved the games and the jet packs that his bff’s mom made!

Can you believe that Little T is the youngest kid in this photo?

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After the bday party, it was holiday party time! I said goodbye to my two T’s and went to photograph another great party.

The next morning, I finally got to watch Peter Pan Live with Little T (well… I worked and watched). He loved it, and I thought he would! He liked to dance along with the pirates and the lost boys while the show was going. It made for an entertaining editing session. ;) It would be fun to see the show live, I think he’d really enjoy it. When Peter Pan was finished, Big T took over so I could get some more work done for the day.

It’s busy and tiring trying to fit it all in, but worth it! :) I have another crazy busy week over here and then things slow down a little for Christmas. I’m looking forward to seeing family in the Central Valley, wish I could get up there more often.

Hope you all had a great week!

The Basketball Stick

The other day, we took Little T to build a bear. He had a really hard time deciding on making a Star Wars Bear or a Basketball Bear, but after a while compromised and decided he would be a basketball bear with a light saber. My mom got him an extra basketball in case he lost one.

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At lunch, Little T decided to be creative and make the ultimate toy with his light saber and basketballs…..and he called it his “basketball stick”. He started holding it high in the air and it made the people in the booth next to us laugh. I told him maybe he shouldn’t be playing with this particular creation, and he was really irritated with me for ruining his fun.

After lunch, we went out into downtown Disney. Little T liked the music and decided to dance. I started talking to the person next to me for a minute, and when I turned around, Little T was once again rocking out with his basketball stick. He held it high over his head and danced to the amusement of the people walking by. I took his basketball stick apart and said it may not be the best toy for him to play with.

Anyway, here’s a picture of his basketball stick.

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He was pretty mad at me, but I have a feeling that when he’s older, he’ll understand….lol

Weekly adventures, and our trans-racial family

My mom was in town last week! It’s always so nice when the grandmas are here. She really wanted to go shopping, so we took a trip to Downtown Disney.

Ice Skaters and the Lego Store:

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I took Little T’s school photos, which was insane, but awesome! :)

On Thanksgiving, we watched the parade, played with Legos, cooked, and had dinner with family. :)

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Louise and I had a wedding, we were so happy to see the Christmas tree in the lobby! The wedding was gorgeous, and it was just a beautiful and fun day!

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We did accidentally break a flash, but thankfully we have spares!

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The next day, we did Christmas Tree shopping and spent the day decorating. One of the things we’ve discovered since we’ve become a multi cultural family, is how difficult it is to find toys, books, and movies that have kids that are the same race as Little T. We have to order a lot of things online, like an elf on the shelf with black hair and brown skin, but finding these things is few and far between. I just wish I could find one African American cowboy, or pirate, or a figure for our Christmas Village set, or a Christmas book that he can relate to. It’s crazy that in this day and age, toys and figures aren’t more diverse. What’s even sadder, is that I would never have even thought about it until we had Little T.

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I bring it up, because we spent a lot of that day searching for those things. Didn’t find them, but we’re going to look some more online and see if we can find anything.

But all in all, we had a great time decorating. Little T was more into the ornaments this year and had lots of questions about them. He also loved the train set that a friend had given to us, and we watched the train go around the tree for the longest time. :)

And here is Little T cuddling with nana in the morning, she came to stay with us for the week. One of Little T’s favorite things to do is cuddle with both of his grandma’s. :)

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And today, we spent the morning cleaning and working. Somewhere along the line while we were cleaning, Little T and Big T found these outfits. Can you see how hard they were working? I can. :p

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So that was the week! Our house is so nice now that it’s decorated! :) :) :)

A Chicken Chase

I’m always a little amused with our neighborhood. It’s pretty urban, and besides our neighbors who have a pet pig named Penelope, it only has cats and dogs. The other day though, we were all getting ready to sit down for breakfast, when we heard a commotion in the living room. Miss Piggy and the cats were excited to see we had a new visitor on the yard. A chicken.

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We locked the cat door to keep the animals inside, and tried to figure out where the chicken came from. Big T was unfortunately knocked out of The Great Chicken Race early, because he jumped and landed his foot on a lone sprinkler head. Little T couldn’t help, because he would have frightened the chicken with his enthusiasm. He wanted to be included though, so we gave him the task of making sure the animals inside the house didn’t get out of control. He took this job very seriously, and every once in a while we’d hear a little voice shouting, “STOP LOOKING AT THAT CHICKEN”!!!

With the help of Erica (my friend and chicken expert) we decided to build a chicken trap. First we put out some chicken food and led a trail to a cage with the hopes that the chicken would run inside. The chicken didn’t go for the food, but instead decided to eat Theo’s pretend corn, which for some unknown reason, happened to be in the backyard near the chicken on this day.

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And here is the empty cage….chickenless….

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Then we decided that maybe we could use broom sticks to encourage the chicken to go into the cage. At this point, our neighbor who helps with our yard showed up and saw my mom and I in the backyard trying to get the chicken into the cage with the broomsticks. My mom shouted over to him, “do you know how to catch a chicken?” He mumbled something about coming back later and quickly retreated the way that he came.

After our attempts to get the chicken into the cage with the broom failed, we decided we needed to kick things up a notch. We built a more elaborate chicken trap using our old vegetable garden beds….

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I was actually really impressed with myself for coming up with this trap, and Big T wobbled out and whispered….”I think this might work”. Heh heh, that’s why you married me, Big T. For my chicken catching skills. ;) My mom stood in the vegetable bed to keep the chicken from flying over it, while Big T wobbled around and I tried to chase the chicken into the chicken trap. Unfortunately, after about 10 minutes of this, the chicken grew tired of us and flew into the neighbors yard, the yard with all the big dogs. She was in there for less than a second before we heard dogs barking and she retreated to the roof of our neighbors house.

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We all had a busy day and pretty much forgot about the chicken, but then later that night, we had to get into the car to run an errand. Little T was shouting at us to look and was pointing down the street. I was the only person to turn and look and realize that the chicken was over there, crossing the road. :insert chicken road crossing joke here:

I ran down the street to snap a photo. You can barely see him, but he is walking in the distance off into the sunset, with a sense of freedom in his step. Needless to say, I think the chicken had a good day. ;)

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Take care, little chicken. I hope you find what you are looking for. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

So many things to be thankful for this year. We’re so fortunate to have each other, good friends, a loving family, jobs, and a place to call home, filled with stray animals, mix-matched furniture, and an old piano in the corner with a few missing keys. :) Thanks to everyone who has supported our family with encouragement and love, and I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving. We’re going to watch the parade and ride bikes before heading over to dinner with family. This year we’re even going to try the Native Foods Wellington! I may or may not be counting down the hours! :)

Also, I’ve spent the past few days taking photos for Little T’s school because they needed someone at the last minute. Isn’t Little T looking all grown up? I just can’t believe it!

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Disneyland Days, L.A. Adventures, and Stick Searches

It feels like these weeks just fly by! I can’t believe it’s just a few days until Thanksgiving! Here’s a few pics from our adventures last week!

A bike ride, and a search for sticks, of course!

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Food prep for the week! I’ve been doing so well, we freeze bags of brown rice and steamed vegetables so I can pull them out and microwave them for quick meals. :)

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Stare contest, Trevor won.

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A trip to Native Foods to pick up a Native Wellington and vegan Pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving!

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Trying to find ways to have fun at the canon repair store! #photographerskidproblems

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Stopping by IE photo rentals the night before a big shoot. Little T was having a hard time listening to us talk camera equipment, so we had a picnic in the back of the car while Big T got everything, which he thought was pretty much the coolest thing ever.

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Louise and I had a big adventure the next day in L.A. for a great shoot. Taking photos was amazing, but spending the day with so many talented and nice people was absolutely priceless. Here’s Louise getting snowed on, and later after some driving (lol) we wound up at a vegan sushi restaurant.

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Grandma came to town that night, and Little T was in heaven. :) here he is brushing grandmas hair and helping her get ready for the day.

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The next day we had our holiday party at Disneyland! :)

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It was a blast, and Little T joined us for half the time, he decided it was the best day ever. :)

The next day we woke up early to look at wedding venues for one of my besties! It was a great day, so exciting to be able to help!

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At the end of the day, Big T and I took advantage of the grandma visit and went to see the Hunger Games, what a treat that was! So rare that we’re able to do that anymore. :)

And today Grandma and I took Little T to Build a Bear to pick out a stuffed animal, because I thought he was finally old enough to appreciate it, and wow did he ever? Lol, he loves his new little bear “Bouncy”. :)

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And Big T took a pic of me after I fell asleep on the couch, with one hand on my computer working, and the other with the remote with a cat laying on top of it, haha. That’s just the way I roll, it’s a glamorous life I lead. ;)

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And that was the week in our little household, minus the days of me working on my computer, because those make for the most boring cell phone pics, lol! Happy early tofurkey day, everyone! Hope you all have a great time with your families. :)

The Perfect Saturday

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You know those days that you don’t plan out to be perfect, but somehow all the stars align and everything just works together? That was Saturday.

It actually didn’t start out as anything perfect. I woke up around 4 in the morning to get work done so I could spend the day with my two T’s, and was determined to close my laptop by 8:00am, so I was in a rush to get things done at the beginning. And then Little T had a bit of a rough start. He was upset about not being able to watch a certain show, and threw the remote on the ground in perfect toddler tantrum fashion. It broke into pieces, and I think he was shocked that it broke the way it did. Even though Big T could fix the remote, we decided no t.v. for the weekend.

I never expected those decisions to be as hard as they are. It’s easy to look on the outside and think you’ll do things a certain way as a parent, but when it gets down to it, and you have to watch someone you love cry and feel upset, it is the absolute worst. :( But, deep down I know it’s for the best and so the softie in me sucks it up.

He was still cranky about the morning when we got to soccer, but the day got better as it went on. Little T did so good at soccer practice. He really likes his coach and is getting better at all the drills. He still would rather play basketball and asks if he can dribble the ball every once in a while, but we can’t find a basketball team for his age yet.

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After soccer, we went to the Claremont Pilgrim Place Festival. The retirement community puts on the annual festival to raise funds for their retirement program, and I always love going when we can. They all dress like Pilgrims, and their retirement art clubs, wood crafting groups, and different organizations all have tables where they show off what they’ve been working on for the past year and sell the things they have made. Little T and I play a game at these things, and we try to find five cool things to show each other before the day is out. It’s always interesting for me to see what he thinks is worthy of pointing out for the game.

We parked far away and Little T and I had a great walk on the way there (Big T ran errands and met us later). Little T , as usual, looked for the biggest sticks he could find while we walked. I’m always amazed at his ability to find sticks no matter where we are. :)

When we got there, Little T had his face painted like a pirate. He kind of looked like a pirate Harry Potter to me! Expellirarrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhmus! :p

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After the face painting, we went to our favorite area-“the Glue Station”. All the residents collect things like bottle caps for the year, and then hand the kids cups full of glue and a piece of cardboard. The kids then take the bottle caps and leaves and odds and ends to make a piece of art with the glue onto their cardboard canvas. IMG_1175.JPG

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Little T worked hard on his art, and told me he was making the Indiana Jones ride. He’s never been on the Indiana Jones ride before, and so it’s a much talked about mystery to him. He kept adding things that he imagined would be there, like hot lava and traps. :)

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He was doing so well after a rough morning, so we got him a snow cone, and one for big T too. ;)

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Then we rode on the “Mayflower”, it’s a tour bus designed by the crafter retirees. They made the whole thing look like a boat on wheels! On the Mayflower, were given a tour of the retirement community and talked a little bit about pilgrim life. Little T sat next to a kindred spirit, who laughed with him every time we went over a speed bump and the tour guide said it was a whale bumping the boat! :) Hilarious stuff, guys!!!!

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After the Mayflower, we decided it was time to head back and walked to the car. Little T found the biggest stick of all, and I found the prettiest house with ivy all over it, and so everyone was happy. :) The walk turned into a run when Little T announced to everyone that he had to find a potty, lol. Don’t worry though, we made it there okay! Phew!

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Little T with the stick he found:

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My dream house! :)

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When we made it home, Little T wanted to put his art on display! Pretty impressive, Little T! Do you see the resemblance to Indiana Jones? I do! :p

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When we got home, Little T took a much needed nap, and I finished up some work from the morning. I was kind of amused at my sleeping Harry Potter Pirate, note to self: next time remove face paint before nap-time, or there will be a Harry Potter Pirate face imprint on the pillow. :p

After Little T woke up, we all cleaned the house together. Little T prefers making messes to cleaning, but he did his best! Whenever we clean, he likes using the feather duster, and even though I always have to go back and redo everything he just did (shhhhhh), he thinks this is the best task of all.

When we had a cleaning break, we did some learning games on my iPad. We use Agnitus, a great app for working on reading and math. As a side note, the other apps/games he loves are anything from Toca Boca, especially Toca Boca “Boo”.

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When we finished all of that, we got ready to go to our neighbors house for a chili party. Our neighbors work in the Ag department at Cal Poly, and have the sweetest pet pig named Penelope. Little T wanted to show them one of his favorite toys, his barn with his horses. :)

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Our neighbors put out the cutest tent for Little T to play in. This photo was taken before the other kids arrived and they all ran around like maniacs.

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Little T had a great time. It reminded me of being young and finding new friends at grown up parties, such a fun and new feeling. I remember being that age and hearing the murmurs and laughter from grown ups in the background, and wondering what they could possibly be talking about that was more interesting than running around and playing. Wondering if I’d ever enjoy just sitting around and talking like them. Seems so long ago. :)

Big T and I loved talking and getting to know our neighbors better and having uninterrupted grown up conversations at a non-work event, something that doesn’t happen too often for us. Our hosts made a perfect vegetarian chili too! It was so sweet that they stepped out of their comfort zone and made it for us, and wow, it was so good! We teased that we were going to stop by for more veggie food now that we know they’re so good at it! ;)

Little T was worn out when he got home, and even debated having me skip his bedtime book, but in the end he listened to me read with droopy eyes, and yawned and told me he’d had a good day, before drifting into dreamland.

So anyway, it may not seem like much, but it’s always these simple days that seem the nicest to me. The ones where you get to take your time and enjoy what’s happening right in front of you, without the distractions of a crazy busy grown up life, and I’m always so glad when they come up. And wow, two posts in a week! I’m on a roll! :)

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