Goodbye + Monterey

Friday, June 15th we had a beautiful service for Grandma Jean as we honored and celebrated her life. She lived an AMAZING 95 years and deeply impacted every single person in our family. What a legacy she leaves in our hearts. The day was clear and tranquil. 

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We met at Green Hills Cemetery at 10:30am and spent some time hanging out with my cousins (not pictured) and all our kids (aka the next generation) - the great-grandkiddos. 

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Service was held at the beautiful chapel and it slowly filled up with people who came to honor Grandma Jean's life. 

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I love this shot of the pallbearers, as they watched the slideshow and smiled at pictures of Gma and Gpa and the family. 

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One highlight was seeing Monette and Hiroko who both lived at my parents house for the past 1.5 year as they daily took care of my Grandma. We all miss the caretakers SO much. I will forever cherish the days when they were in my parent's home, filling it with their presence, their laughter, convos and cooking! What I wouldn't give for one more day at my Mom's house with Gma ad Monette.

Monette shared a song "I Can Only Imagine" and it brought me to tears. It was a very special moment. 

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All the kids behaved very well during the hour service (even the baby!) and right after, I had them sit outside for snacks and they devoured a bag of maui onion chips in .02 seconds. 

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After the service was over, we drove to the burial site to spend a few more minutes with the family. 

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A family friend came up to me that day and mentioned that it brought her joy to see and hear the little kids at both the service and the burial. That made me feel better, since we had to keep reminding them to stop running around. She said that it reminded her of new life, even on a day that we are reminded of death.

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One of my favorite pictures of the day - my Dad and his older brother, Uncle Glenn. 

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We had to be sure to get a sibling photo (missing my sister Amie). 

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Just after the burial time, we went to Uncle Glenn's house and had a beautiful lunch. Look at the cheese platter. The food and desserts were catered by Giulianos. 

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That night, after a loooong day, we still had The Bridge! Ant shared on part two of his recent series called Grown Up. The message he shared was on overcoming temptation, and looking to God for strentgh. 

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We sang Happy Birthday to Ant to end the night, and the Bostons brought oreo cake and carrot cake, his two favorite flavors. It was a great day!

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Saturday, June 16th was Ant's 32nd birthday! We hit the road at 8am for the 6 hour drive up to Monterey for a weekend getaway. We joined up with his bro and parents in the early afternoon. The girls did great on the drive, each napping for a bit, and all at the same time - what more could I ask for?!

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We made a quick stop before we got to our hotel, to pickup 4 FREE tickets from my friend Claudia. Her and I met 2 years ago on a flight to San Antonio. She sat by me and 1 year old Eden, and we became friends. She told me back then that if I ever went to Monterey, I should let her know. Well, I told her we were going up and she offered me tickets. She is so kind. And hey those tickets saved us $200 for aquarium admission. 

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The suites that we stayed in were legit. They were two-story townhouses right next door to each other!

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Our first orders of business were acai bowls and swimming. It was mid 60's with a breeze, but the pool was heated nice and warm. 

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Our chubby mermaid (10 months old). 

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After an hour of swimming, we showered up and then headed to a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant nearby. 

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Party of 12!

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The place was adorable and the pasta was fresh. I got gorgonzola and apple gnocchi and forgot to take a picture of it! It was creamy and delish. The frozen berry gelato dessert was the bomb dot com. 

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Sunday morning was Father's Day and we had a yummy free breakfast at the hotel.

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Had to snap this pic of Mike and Ant and their Dad Allan.

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Sunday was aquarium day. The kids were pumped and we got there right when it opened at 9:30am.

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I'm glad I made sure to snag this group photo before the crowds came - it got pakced by 2pm.

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Our six year old niece Isla led us around to see every exhibit.

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There was a cool wave simulator machine and you could sit underneith a giant wall of waves.

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My fav part was just outside the aquarium. The views were amazing and we saw an otter float by on its back. 

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Back inside we went - the kids were mesmorized by the giant fish, turtles and sharks. I was mesmorized by the cool artowrk banners!

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Around noon, we opted to get lunch outside, for more fresh air.  The Dad's chose a poke spot for lunch. It was flavorful, filling and light.

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We got the kids spam musubi and they were very satisfied with that.

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Literally 5 minutes after lunch, we were getting ice cream at Ghirardellis! Lola and Lolo treated us all to sundaes and ice cream waffle cones. The waffle cone was legit. 

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We strolled back over to the aquarium for 30 more minutes - specifically to see the penguins! After we saw two exhibits, we all opted to leave as the place was as crowded as Disneyland! WE had the great idea to head to a nearby park.

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Only 2 miles away was Dennis the Menace park - a park my Dad took us when we were littlte.

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The park is beautifully located and has a lake right next to it.

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There were about 10 play structures for the kids, and although it was crowded, the groups of kids were spaced out enough to make it fun. It was also getting hot, but manageable, as we stayed at the park 1. 5 hours.

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The park has a cool suspension bridge. Len ran across it with no fear!

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We headed back to the hotel around 4pm to lounge a bit and build our appetites for dinner.

At 8pm, we walked to a cute Mexican place - it was still light out.

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I had some yummy carne asada and also had a sleeping Eden on my lap. I guess the aquarium and park tired her out. By the end of dinner Ant had Tayah sleeping on him, too.

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Good thing we packed our leftovers - Eden was up at 9pm, looking for her dinner.

We crashed out that night and slept at 10pm. I made the comment to Ant, "If I sleep now, I'll sleep 9 hours!" Tay slept in her pack n play from 9pm -7am every night. She's the best! (*see pic of sleeping layout below) Lenny slept with her cousins next door and Eden slept right between me and Ant with a big smile on her face, that she got to sleep in her parents bed. Ha!

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Monday morning we had breakfast at the hotel again (waffles, bagels, etc) and then hit the road.

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At noon, we stopped in SLO to eat the famous Firestone Grill (tri-tip). And then Lolo bought the girls new shoes at the Nike outlet. Thanks, Lolo/Lola!

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With a few more stops, we made it home by 7:30pm. Thankfully it was still light out, so it didn't feel too late, but it was a long day. The girls were so over being in the van and so was I. But they did great and Tay napped 3x, Eden napped 2x and Lenny napped 1x. A successful road trip!

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Fun in May

In May, Ant and I hosted our bi-monthly small groups, but switched it up by making it coed. It was promoted as a night of Q&A's where we would answer common questions from the young adults that attend our church group. We prepared Biblical answers so that we could point them to God's Word before sharing our own opinions and testimonies. It was such a cool night with 30+ people in attendance.

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I like hosting these meetings because I can put the girls to bed and then join the group. Except that this night, my girls stayed awake super late - likely over-energized by late night sugar, and so I sat in the room with them until 9:30pm. Afterward, I came out the join the discussion, as they wrapped up the very last question. 

These get togethers are always super fun. We have yummy potluck dishes, small moments to catch up with one another, lots of laughs and everyone hangs until at least 11pm. #keepsusyoung

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In other news that week, TayTay had her 9month Drs appointment. Lj was at preschool so I had Eden with me and we made a nice morning of it. The appointment was quick, Tay did great with her shots and after, we got an acai bowl as a special treat. 

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I LOVE me a good acai bowl. Tay and Eden ate 1/2 of it and I was like ummmm, excuse me kids, but I want some too, please. 

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On Saturday, we headed down to Newport to Crystal Cove beach to celebrate my SIL Sam's birthday. It was our first time there and it was awesome! 

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It was an overcast 60 degree day, but we didn't mind and were out there like it was summer time. At least it was less crowded. 

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I love it when we're up early on a Saturday morning and at the beach before 10am.

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This was our first time trying out this new gadget that my Mom got for Ant as a Christmas present. It's called the Piggyback Rider and the girls LOVED it. Len was nervous at first but a few minutes in, she was brave enough to go hands free. It's intended to be hands free for both the Dad and the kid. Ant says that when she is strapped in tight, the whole thing is pretty comfortable on his shoulders and back. The girls took turns resting their legs during the hike. But who are we kiddling, they didn't even need rest - they barely walked!

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We made our way down to the shoreline and tide pools. Again, it was very cold, but the kiddos were unphased. 

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By 11:30am we were hungry so we hiked back to get milkshakes. They whipped up shakes pretty quick at the cute little shack and I got a BLT and sweet potato fries (my fav). 

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This is one of my fav pics of the day. I love all the cute buildings, the steep stairs and how Uncle Mike swooped up Lenny and Faye and carried them down the steps. 

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After lunch, Faye and Isla went crazy and ran into the freezing water! All of the adults had sweatshirts and the little girls were giggling like crazy, so, so happy to be in the water. It was really fun to watch them play but I was like, aren't you COLD?

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We wrapped up our beach adventure around 1pm and headed home. It was one of those really great Saturday mornings. Crystal Cove you're great - minus the $15 parking. 

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After naps and showers, we went to my cousins Danielle's birthday party. Except that I told my family it was her HS graduation party. No idea how that got into my head, but I was confused the entire time. And then I realized that her birthday (5/22) was before her grad (June). Ha!

Epic candy bar.

Epic backyard.

Epic taco man.

Excellent party. 

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See the Dani cut out for the photo booth? Did you think that was her standing with us? 

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Dani plays the ukelele and she performed and I was blown away. She is GOOD. And I can't fail to mention the giant koi fish. Ew. 

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In case I hadn't done enough that day, I had a Mom's night out planned. So Ant took our three daughters home to give them a bath and put them to bed and I went to Eatalian with my Mom homies. We had a blast! We each shared how we met our husbands since some of the ladies didn't know each other stories. We also swapped little gifts and it was a sweet time.

All of these Moms I know from church and it is so nice to be encouraged and hear "I FEEL YA. I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN" to know I'm not alone. Go Moms! 

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I tried the strawberry Gelato and it was yummy.

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On Sunday, May 20th, my beloved 95 year old Grandma Jean (Dad's Mom) passed away. She died so peacefully, taking her last breath surrounded by her care takers and family, so loved and adored. She had no pain and went to Heaven to be with Jesus and reunited with Gpa.

We sorted through her old photos and I love these b/w ones from the 40s. 

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Since she died on a weekend afternoon, we were all able to be together which was comforting. 

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This is one of my fav pics with my Grandma. It was at my bridal shower in 2012 and I love that we are matching by wearing green. I have many special memories with my Grandma. 

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The following Friday night, we had a movie night at The Bridge and watched Woodlawn. Ant and some of the leaders were at a weekend "bootcamp" that focused on Missions trip preparation, scripture memorization and team building activities. 

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My hubby was still gone all of Saturday so my brother D came with us to the Farmers Market. We grubbed on some breakfast scramble and then had a picnic with LJ, Eden, Tay and their cousins and Lolo. 

It was a gorgeous day. 

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My top two Farmers Market go to's are spinach/pineapple/mango juice from the Pupusa place, and Pupusas! GET IN MY BELLY. 

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Later that day we decided to hit up Del Amo Mall. I had 3 gift cards for Build A Bear and we decided to go in and challenge ourselves to see if we could spend no more than $75 for Lenny and Eden (not as easy at it seems). But we did it. Mostly, by convincing Eden to get a stuffed animal from the sale bin ($10) since LJ wanted the most expensive Elsa bear and dress. Victory!

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We ended our day together with pressed juicery soft serve, it was MEH and a funny debate about Cinnabon. We were trying to decide if the better deal was 6 large Cinnabons or 15 mini Cinnabons. We still never figured it out, but we did come to the conclusion that the minis are pretty big. And they tasted SO bomb. 

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Sunday at church I checked the 3 littles into class and sat in the second row of service. It was nice and I'm proud of myself for making it to church solo with the kiddos in tow. 

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We did one final thing on Sunday, before Ant came home that evening. We trekked out to Thousand Oaks for Kenzie's birthday party. We hadn't seen Zoie and Kenzie and their Mom Andy in months and it was so nice to hang out at the park and be together. 

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Peep the most non-traditional, healthy, paleo picnic food. Spaghetti squash casserole, veggies and more. Quite good. 

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When we arrived, all of the 8-10 year old girls immediately wanted to carry Tayah and played with Lenny and Eden the entire time. It was like walking into a mini babysitting convention and I felt like I should have left to get a pedicure or something. Those 8 year old are so attentive to the little ones. 

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Kenzie the birthday girl, she turned 6!

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They had rootbeer floats for the celebration and my girls were anti-rootbeer, so they missed out. I love this pic of the little girlies. 

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Tayah got lots of cuddles that afternoon. 

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Sunday night we celebrated Hunter's 7th birthday at his house. He had a few buddies over and family, for cake and ice cream. 

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The queen of all desserts: mint choc chip ice cream, choc ganache, graham cracker s'mores cake. It was amazing and there are no words. My Auntie Julie's finest creation of all. 

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Oh but wait. There's more. She also created this rice krispy "cake" for Hunter the next day for his party at Nana's house. 

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The last week of May, we had our second night of Q&A's with the Bridge folks. This time our potluck way outdid itself from last time. We had Medditerranean food, Bulgogi burritos, Chinese Chicken Salad, bean nacho dip, brownies, and more. 

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That night, we decided to see if the group could squish in the back room instead of the front room. And they did. It was cozy. Those are twin sisters by the way in the pic below. 

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I actually made it to the discussion night this time and I answered a question too. Lenny went to sleep since I had her skip her nap that day, but Eden wouldn't go to bed so I had her lay in the kitchen on a tiny couch and she fell asleep at my feet. 

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A few days later I finally took the kids to the library one afternoon. Len and Cam have been asking to go! We had fun reading books except Tayah kept pulling them all out and not putting them back. We only lasted 20 min in there and then went to the park. 

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Friday night Ant concluded his series on the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. It was a great turn out with lots of our friends there, including my cousin Kacie and her boyfriend Russ. They both just moved (back) here from Hawaii. 

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Saturday morning we took advantage of another beautiful morning and headed outdoors. We got together with our same church friends from Friday night and took on the Ocean Trails hike. 

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We took the easy path down to the water and then hiked the steep path back up. While we were at the shore, we sang a few worship songs and heard a devotional by Arlen.

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We worked up a good sweat at this part of the hike...

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....and an appetite! We drove over to Yellow Vase and got brunch. What a view.

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My bro D got a veggie omelet, the girls got an egg croissant and I got sunny side up eggs on a french baguette. It was all delicious.

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This crew went to the poke spot nearby and got poke (raw fish ) bowls. They said they were only okkkkk and the fish could have been more marinated. Keep in mind that Russ and Kacie just moved back from Hawaii so they are familiar with the freshness of poke. Ha!

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Saturday night we went on a date! Arlen and Jess babysat all three girls and we snuck away to get Korean bbq. The food was super filling, as always and the girls did great at home. They did play doh, watched a movie and ate Rascals for dinner.

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I'll end this post here because it's taking me so long to get this written! May was a great month, and we made lots of great memories with our friends and families. And now we are fully in June with even more activities fill up our days.

Spring 2018

It's been a long time since I've posted. I've been doing my thang over on IG stories, but finally sat down to finish up a blog post. Feels good! We are as busy as ever and ramping up for so many events in the next few weeks. 

Here's a little of what we've been up to. One Monday morning, we went to the park with our friends because the weather has been pretty nice. The morning we went, there ended up being ALL Girls with their Mamas. Serioulsy, about 12 little girls under the age of 5. 

How cute is Harley with Tayah? and Sara Faith with LJ and Eden? P.S. Tayah LOVES the swing!

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It was nice to be outside and sit and catch up with some old friends and meet some new Mamas too. We hope to keep meeting up and rotating parks nearby us to try them all out. 

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Back on the home front Tay started to crawl at 8.5 months old and although she began slow and cautious, has sped up each week. 

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For some reason, when she's on the floor she stays put but when you put her on the couch, she'll roll, crawl and try to fling her body off. Crazy!

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One night during the week we had a dinner guest, Sakura, who is an exchange student living here from Japan. She goes to our local High School and stayed at R&J's house for a few nights. 

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And one afternoon I just had to get a recent picture of Nana and her grand kids! 

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At the end of April we had ladies small groups at our house. I really enjoyed having the gals over, especially since I missed the March meeting when I was in Japan. We had a great time of sharing and discussing God's Word and His work in our lives. We had 20 ladies over which was a great turn out. I am always blessed having my girldfirends over. 

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Another day that week, Ant had off of work so we took the girls to Anaheim Packing House. We treated ourselves to Umami burger and then PopBar and had a nice family day.

*He also has this cool film filter on his iPhone pictures, called Huji. 

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Then on Sunday after church, I texted my parents, "want to come see the girls?" and when they said yes, I said, "Ok can you bring lunch?" Ha! That day, I stayed home from church with Tayah because of her out of control boogers, and didn't want to venture out for food. FREE FOOD. SCORE. And the company of my parentals.

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At Nana's house, aside from crawling, Tay has decided she loves to stand. She can stand for quite a long time now. I keep telling her that she has plenty of time to walk later in life, and can just crawl for now. 

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Cam and LJ are still taking Karate class at our church and doing VERY well. They both participate (Len didn't participate for a few weeks in the beginning) and are learning a lot of moves, listening skills and memorizing Bible verses. 

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On May 3rd we celebrated my older brother Russ' birthday at his newly renovated house. 

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We had a yummy milk and berries tres leches cake and Tay played with all the big kids and got to hang with Auntie Lynn and Uncle Mark. 

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The next day on 5/4, his actual birthday, Auntie Julie secretly made Russ his FAV frozen s'mores dessert, (well it's a favorite to us all) and surprised him with it. He was stoked. We promptly ate it all. UGH that dessert is so good!!

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Friday night we had our usual Bridge meeting at church. Tayah and Harley get to hang out every week and it's really fun entertaining them and keeping them quiet during the worship and message. I have to find a picture of me and Cinthia pregnanat and put it side by side with this photo! Right now they are 9 and 10 months old and we have already started discussing their first birthday themes, because...their birthdays are creeping up on us! AH. 

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Right now I'm the resident photographer on Friday nights simply because I always have my phone in hand, and because I do the blog. However, I pray that at some point, God will bring along a person to handle our photography and really make these shots great. 

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Ant has been teaching a series called The Sweet Life that goes through Galatians 5, the fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

We have a really amazing time on Friday nights with our family, serving God and building relationships with so many folks. It is always an encouraging time and we feel so blessed to be able to participate at church in this way. 

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Saturday we got together with some of the same folks from Friday night. We said goodbye at 10pm and said hello again at 11am the next day.  We threw a BBQ at our place, to thank our Bridge servants for all of their help. We couldn't do Friday nights without the help of our extended team. Plus, it was a pefect day to be outdoors and barebeque. 

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I prepared some veggie packets to grill and cooked up some fajita chicken, and made some Spanish rice. 

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Everything came out DELICIOUS and I think the chicken was a favorite!

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We are so blessed to have made such cool friends from our church family. Look at these uncles, all taking care of baby Tay. 

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I opted more for the salad plate than tacos, it was BOMB and I want to eat this meal again asap. 

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Other folks made some yummy tacos and then we followed it up with homemade tres leches cake made by Kat. 

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After we grubbed, we spent a little time doing introductions, and answering some questions we had written down and put in a jar. Some answers were serious, some were insightful, and some were straight up hilarious. 

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After the time of sharing, everyone still wanted to kick it so we busted out the Catch Phrase game. I think they played about 4 rounds because the laughing was NON STOP and everyone wanted to keep playing. We did guys vs. girls which made for some fierce competition, and the girls won. 

My favorite moments were either when someone stuttered or tried to describe the word on the card with generalities, "my favorite snack, something you wear, an item you have..." omg so funny. You can learn a lot about a person by how they handle the pressure of the timer ticking down during this silly game. 

Everyone helped clean up and left around 5pm (this was a lunch party lol) and T and I just looked at each other and smiled and shared how thankful we were for such good friends. And then we ate more tacos. 

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Sunday we attended the 9am service at church and I took this picture of the main sanctuary for two reasons:

1. I love to show the diversity of our church. We have all ages and nationalities and I am so encouraged to see everyone sitting together in our beautiful sanctuary. A true picture of Heaven

2. When I'm in the main sanctuary with Ant it means all THREE of our girls are in childcare. That's a big deal for me, especially since I sat in the overflow with a baby on my lap (or asleep on me in the ergo) for 2+ years. 

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As if we hadn't hosted enough people that weekend, we invited our friends the Ochoas over Sun night, last minute. We just wanted to see them and hang out! We picked up our fav Thai food and just hung at the house. You know those friends you have over that you don't feel like you're hosting. You're just at home, and they are too. That's the Ochoas. Their big kids played with our little kids and I got to catch up a lot with Christina. Yay for Mom's getting to connect. 

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They stayed until past 10pm and by then everyone was sleepy and ready to crash out. 

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Ohhh but how can I forget to include this picture of our dessert: coffee affogato from HoneyMee. A true delight. 

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Monday we tried out a baby gate around Tayah and she greatly disliked it and ended up outside of it, and was much happier. I also encouraged Ant to try to do Lenny's hair more often so here he is attempting a side braid. 

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We went to the park again - this time I ventured out solo with the three girls and no other Mamas could make it...

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Until around 11am, our friends Jamie and Makena came and joined us and it was so much fun! The park was empty and the girls had a great time. A weekday morning at the park is a really nice and chill place to be. 

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That afternoon, LJ asked if she could trace her letters and numbers. I write them out, dotted on a sheet of paper and she traces them with lots of colors. She is quite the budding artist. Lola Gigi came for dinner and brought the girls pins that said "princess." How fitting. We love our Monday dinners with Lola. 

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These photos are from mid-week, when Tay went to spend time in the room with Grandma Jean (who is 95). Tay also hung out with baby Selah (who is 4 months old). 

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And Nana bought Tayah a new baby seat that she put to use to join us on the Island for lunches. 

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I love this one I snapped of the kiddos as we walked to/from the little library in the neighborhood. This day I made them walk to use their legs (as opposed to scooter or bike over). 

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On Friday, May 11th - Tay turned NINE months old. Yup. Time to lower her crib. 

She gets the award for most chill baby of all time. 

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That same day, I attended a mothers day breakfast with LJ at her school. They had little muffins and coffee for us, and we painted a canvas together. And look at the picture she drew of me. Wow. Just wow. 

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Sat was gloomy, but our monring brightened up being at a PRINCESS party. 

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Our friends hired a Belle princess from Crowned Princess Parties and she was a GREAT performer. She stayed in character the entire hour, read the kids books, painted their faces and took photos with all the kids. Oh and she SANG so beautifully. 

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Eden and Lenya were SO happy!

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And I'll close this post with our MOTHER'S DAY FESTIVITIES. We were so fortunate to see our THREE mothers, my Mom and Ant's Step Mom and Birth Mom.

I got each of them a homemade cookie from my friend Dawn. So pretty - and very delicious. 

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We kicked off our celebrations with dinner for Lola Zinnia at True Foods Kitchen. We loved the atmosphere but were underwhelmed with the food. What made up for it was our DESSERT. 

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We got the cookie dough/pretzel/chocolate/caramel ice cream from Smitten ice cream and it was amazing.  That is Mike by the way. Ha. 

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I just love this picture of Mom Zinnia with her twin sons. She helped raise them since they were 2 years old.

And how cute is Tayah sleeping in Lolo Allan's jacket? It was 7:30pm and she was like, "this is my bed time guys, good night."

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If you know me well, you know I love a good photo op. 

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And a good giant head Lola selfie. 

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Sunday we went to church with Allan and Zinnia. I made it in the main sanctuary again and this time the key was to have Ant take Tayah to the nursery so she didn't cry out for me. 

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After church, we headed to see Ant's birth Mom, Lourdes. It was a beautiful day and we had lunch at Mike and Sam's house. 

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It was so nice to all be together. T and I brought empanadas from this place near their house and tried some fun flavors: pot roast, philly cheese steak, chili verde, chocolate creme brulee, apple and guava. Some were better than others, but overall they were yummy. I loved Sam's quiche, too. 

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Lola Gigi with her six grand kiddos. 

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We even got this cute picture of just the Moms. 

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To round out the night, we went to my Mom's house for a taco party. Russ was manning the tortilla making station. They were pretty good! He got the tortilla press from my Mom for his birthday. Russ, D and my Dad prepped all the meat and food so that the Moms didn't have to cook. Thanks, guys!

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Lenya snapped this picture of Mom and me. And then I got one of Auntie Lynn, Danielle and Cherish. This was Cherish's first Mother's day!

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We hadn't hung out with Cherish's son Valor in a while, and it was so nice to see him and his chubby self. Also, Tay was very into the cake. 

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The food was the bomb. The pickled cabbage makes it so good. 

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Ant was in charge of dessert and he knocked it out of the park with mini bundtinis from Nothing Bundt cakes. My fav was the carrot cake....YUMx100. 

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Social Media Fast

Last week, I logged off of Instagram and Facebook for one week. I went Monday to Monday and honestly, it went GREAT. I felt clear headed without all the outside images bombarding my mind. I thought I would be SO tempted, but I wasn't. The first day, I automatically pushed the IG app on my phone, by sheer habit and realized I wasn't logged in and put my phone down. 

I feel like I used my phone less, in regards to mindless scrolling. That was a huge bonus. The reality of it is, is that I still used my phone often, to text a lot with my hubby, sibs, and girl friends. So in that sense, I still had my phone on me often, which is an area that I can always improve. But through those texts, and an app I have with my Mom friends, I felt connected. Even without Instagram, I felt connected, imagine that. 

So, what did I do with my free pockets of time? I still did my workouts. I cooked a bit more (egg muffins, breakfast hash, chicken satay skewers, cucumber salad, enchiladas). I watched season 4 of Chef's Table on Netflix and loved it. I journaled a bit which I had gotten away from, and that was theraputic. I read my Bible more, I sat in my girls room as they fell asleep and listened to a Podcast about financial wisdom and giving (with my earphones). I sat on the couch and chatted with my hubby and we prayed over and planned out things for The Bridge ministry. I went to bed earlier. I mean, some of these things I do regularly, but I just had more time to do them, since I wasn't on IG. It also gave me a break from documenting what I do everyday and that was refreshing. I love sharing, but had gotten really into it, and sometimes its nice to just live in the moment and let it be. So I did that. 

Another thing I noticed, is that I had gotten really into following certain ladies accounts who are Moms and fitness coaches. And I do find their posts encouraging, but I did enjoy the break from watching their accounts every day. These ladies serve as positive influences in the health industry, but I don't personally know those ladies, and it wasn't a bad thing to take a step back and realize that I could begin to compare myself to her (or them) even without knowing it. We all do that right? We compare ourselves to other Moms - comparison is such a tool of the enemy. And so it was important for me to find the balance of being inspired and motivated towards positive things/ideas and comparing my life to another Mom's situation and allowing it to be something negative. 

All that said, I'd do the social media fast again. It was a great break for my mind and I didn't miss that much. I'm back on my IG and FB now, and enjoying it, but definitely not getting consumed by it. All about balance! I mean I still have a sister who lives in another Country, so it is fun to do my stories and let her see moments in our day. I'm learning that it's all about moving forward, using social media in a positive and healthy way and enjoying it rather than being held bound to expectations by others or from myself. 

And just for fun, here's a picture of scones that my Auntie Julie whipped up: dark chocolate coated almonds with turbino sugar. TO DIE FOR. 

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Post Vacay

To pick up where I left off on my last post, we returned from 10 days in Japan and had a major case of JET LAG. As expected, our bodies were confused and it took us 9 days to recover fully.

The first night, Monday, was the most fun, the older girls were up from 1am-4am eating mac n' cheese (I ate some too) and we cuddled and watched movies. I didn't fight it, I just went with it. The next couple of nights, the baby was up a few hours too (between 12am and 3am) and we just played toys like it was the middle of the day. By the end of the first week home, I was tired from those early mornings and still napping everyday and trying to shake it. Ant couldn't go to bed until 3:30am every night and that threw him off for the mornings. It was kind of like being in an alternative universe of sorts. I wasn't hungry when I thought I should be, and I think I lost weight from only eating cereal at 3am. Ha! It was fun and weird. 

The kiddos were on Spring Break from preschool so we spent a lot of time at Nana's house hanging out and goofing off. The weather was in the mid 60's and we spent part of everyday outside. Hunter went right back to school like a champ. 

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We napped HARD in the afternoons, and had to wake up the kids so they could manage a decent bedtime. 

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The Friday we were back, we returned to The Bridge and it felt great. It was SO nice to see our church friends. After Ant's teaching, they called me up and sang Happy Birthday and it was real cool to be up on the stage with my family. (I'm so thankful for this picture one of our friends snapped of us). We are coming up on our 2 year anniversary of leading this awesome group of young adults. 

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Everyone thinks our little buddy Jeremiah is Lenny's brother. Ohh and Paradise cake - can't go wrong there. 

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Saturday, we planned a fun day with Mike, Sam and the kiddos since we hadn't hung out with them in so long. It was a GREAT day. First up, we picked up sushi and had a backyard picnic. This is the BEST time of year for our backyard and it is flourishing right now. It always looks its best in April. 

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As you can imagine, the cousins were so happy to be back together. Isla is such a little care taker with Tayah. And Tay got lots of time with Uncle Mike. 

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It was a nice day out, so we walked over to get rolled ice cream. Then we hit up the park and got pizza for dinner. I'm telling you, these are the simple things that weekends are made for. 

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The girls got strawberry graham cracker rolled ice cream with rainbow sprinkles and chocolate syrup. YUM. JR was all about riding on the skateboard.

We walked to dinner and got BULGOGI pizza (kiddos got cheese, of course). The bulgogi meat was flavorful and spicy. I'd get it again. 

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I love seeing the joy on the kids faces from the park. Who needs Disneyland when you can go to the park for FREE. It was a really nice day and we ended it with cousin baths back at our house, fuzzy pj's and more time playing toys. 

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Monday, Ant was still off of work, so we continued our vacation close to home. When I have a free weekday morning, you better bet I'm getting an acai bowl. We got our fav chocolate peanut butter bowl at Paradise Bowls in Manhattan Beach. The coco nibs are bitter and everytime we go there, Lenny declares that she's going to try the chocolate and then spits it out in disgust! I even reminded her it was bitter. She's loco. The acai bowl is divine. I want one right now!

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The beach was empty, because it was Monday - and it was very peaceful. We put Tay's toes in the water for the first time but it was too COLD and she was not having it. Sorry, baby!

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We strolled the pier and then came home for naps. It was lovely. 

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Tuesday, we were back at Nana's house for daycare and Tay was back eating her deconstructed meals. She loves ALL food and gets smaller pieces of whatever we are eating. She eats a lot of broccoli! Of course she makes a mess, and then Bailey licks up all the food that ends up on the floor. 

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Chloe texted that afternoon to meet her at Kansha Creamery and we were like, "you don't have to ask us twice!" Tuesdays is two scoops for the price of one. We got strawberry and nutella scoops. 

The next morning, I got back into my workout routine and had my friend Kat over to join me. It was Spring Break for Chloe and Kat, and nice to have them around to hang out with. 

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It felt nice to be back in our daily routine with the kiddos. Preschool, lunch, nap, snack time. They are full of energy and fun to hang out with. They say the craziest things. 

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On April 11th, Tayah turned 8 MONTHS OLD! I forgot to take her picture, so on April 12th as soon as I woke her up, I put a headband on her and took this one. Hence the bed head. She's an amazing baby - SO CHILL and super happy. She sleeps from 7pm to 7am which is WONDERFUL and also naps twice a day. She is ALMOST crawling but still trying to figure out what to do with her legs. We love her so much. 

Kiddos also picked right back up with karate. They missed a few weeks, but were glad to get back. They are showing improvement in their skills, although Len could get a bit stronger with her moves. 

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Friday night we didn't have The Bridge due to a church event, so we hit up the mall. We invited our friends Joe and Camille to join us for dinner at Din Tai Fung. They had never been! We got to catch up with them and their gorgeous kiddos: Destiny, Lana, Liam and Isla. The kiddos got along great despite not having seen each other in a few months. Everyone wanted to hold Tayah.

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We put in our names at 6:45pm and had to wait about an hour to get seated, but it was worth it. The food was BOMB. Our fav dishes are the cucumbers, fried rice, spicy shrimp wonton and spare ribs. We grubbed and they liked all the food, too. We even tried a dark chocolate dumpling for dessert. It was weird and not as sweet as I would have wanted. And I even like dark chocolate. 

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Liam really wanted to hold Tayah. As soon as we got a seat, he put her on his lap. And I had to snap this picture of Isla and Eden, they are a year apart but about the same size. Eden is almost 3 trapped in a 2 year olds body. Haha!

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Saturday we had another epic day planned with Mike and Sam and kiddos. We drove 1.5 hours to Carlsbad to see the Flower Fields for the first time. Mike and Sam had gone the year prior but earlier in the year and it wasn't as bloomed as it was this time. From the moment we walked in it was GORGEOUS- better be, it cost $16 to get in (per adult). 

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Every picture had a stunning backdrop. This one of Tay is my fav. Every picture of Tay being held up with a huge smile becomes my new favorite. 

We went early enough to beat the crowds, but you can also wait in a short line to get a picture right up next to the flowers. Most people politely take turns, except those doing professional photo shoots who take a long time! Some people there were seriously DRESSED UP.

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Awww the twins with their wives and kids. *Lenny and her disposable camera! (my sis bought that in Japan and it accidentally ended up in our bag). 

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Daddy on duty. He doesn't mess around. Len got a free booklet that she used as a map to get around the fields. She had to find stamps at each spot - the maze, playground, etc. Her and Isla had so much fun - although Isla took it much more seriously, as she should at age 6. 

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Sam and I led the girls through the sweet pea maze and it took us 10 minutes which was like 7 minutes longer than I thought it would take us. 

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By noon, we were ready for snacks! So, we sat at a bench and a random grandma joined our kids. Goldfish for the win. 

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Uncle Mike had to keep snacking during this flower pic. 

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Mike and Sam knew about this adorable inclosed play area for the kids. Although it was HOT by this part of day, the kids LOVED running around in the little houses and on the slides. We were like, get our monies worth, children.

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Len said, "why am I the guy?" LOL. 

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At 1pm, we headed over to a nearby Island's restaurant for lunch. I thought this double daddy nap shot was so good - plus a random third dad in the frame. It's always fun to capture the twins dad twinning with their two year olds (Eden and Juni are 7 months apart). As I took that picture, Isla took care of Tayah. 

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After we filled our bellies with fries, strawberry lemonade and burgers, we headed to one last spot - a cookie shop I had looked up on Yelp. I got the lemon bar cookie I wanted - although it  needed to be more lemony. Apparently, we always find ourselves eating ice ream together. 

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We drove home from a great Saturday and were so tired. The sun zapped us for sure. Before bedtime we cuddled and my hubby snapped this shot. I LOVE IT. 

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Sunday we had a fund raiser for missions at church, and they had my favorite - pupusas. I got a spinach plate and pork/potato plate. BOMB. 

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And then we did what everyone should do every single Sunday afternoon. NAP. 

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Monday I had some Mom friends over to hang out. A few of us had been talking about getting together and we made it happen. Sam (in the white sweater) added us all in an app and it helped us orchestrate our play date. 

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Just a few kids came, ha!

It was a success and I think we'll do one again soon. We hope to go to the park next, weather permitting. It was nice to chat with my friends in person and all the kids got along great.  

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The rest of the week was filled with our favorite people: Auntie Juju, Monette and Uncle D. And of course, Nana. I need an updated picture of Nana with her 5 grandkids.

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Lolo and Lola came back from their vacation in Korea and they came over to see us. It was sooo good to see them after quite a few weeks. They brought us lots of goodies from their trip. 

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And I'm ending this post on this hilarious photo. This is Tayah's effort to crawl, instead of going on her knees she goes up on her feet. I can' stop laughing looking at the worry in her face - this isn't working, Mom! But soon enough she'll be crawling so fast I will miss the moments hwen she stays in one spot. 

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