31 December 2013

thank you 2013.


you came, you went
zipping by with the blink of an eye.
yet we are left with memories that we will cherish for a lifetime.
moments we shared, words we whispered, sights we absorbed.
you may have been the best yet 2013,
but i seem to say that with every year that passes.

it was an honor to attend and help serve with Jon and Chef Carl at the Taste of the NFL
we attended the Super Bowl and were amazed by the experience
we soaked in every moment in New Orleans, especially the good food.

the boys continued to work on their skiing skills
and finally made it down the hills with mom and dad
i look forward to our yearly ski trip and the day Jess joins us
(hopefully 2014)

we tried out the swim team and fell in love with a new sport
i watched Joshua struggle to swim the length of the pool
but by the end summer he was swimming in races and finishing with a smile.
i watched jonas take on this adventure with full force
collecting several ribbons along the way.
i also watched jonas try out for a new soccer team and not make the cut.
my heart was broken, but quickly lifted when i saw his dedication.
he practiced all year with the junior academy and hopes to make the U10 team this spring.
i couldn't be prouder of him.

we saw our boys blossom and embrace school.
a kindergartner and a new reader
a second grader with outstanding grades across the board.
a passion for math, like his father.

we introduced the piano to joshua and his musical ear quickly fell in place
he still enjoys the guitar and singing and is eager to start the violin.

jessica, my jessica.
your toddler days are almost behind you.
you move with grace as you dance in circles
i smile silently when you sing to yourself.
you love painting, horses, animals and music.
this year i have watched you develop in character and personality.

every day this year i have watched my husband dedicate his all to our family
i have watched him work endless hours
(the restaurant industry is no easy field)
we will always walk by his side, we will always support each other
and we will always be a strong core, our little family of five.

i found personal growth within myself
i worked on using my words and photographs to capture our moments,
to document them forever.
i accepted the position of Copy Editor for Babiekins Magazine and am thrilled to be a part of such an amazing team.

it was a year for traveling.
New Orleans, New York (for skiing), Chicago, Seattle
our trip out west to Friday Harbor goes down as one of the best vacations
to see the whales in their natural environment took my breath away
to experience the flight of several bald eagles above our heads was a sight I may never see again.
dinner on South Beach will never, ever leave my mind.
fresh salmon, good friends, music, ocean air and salty breezes.

Jon and I got away for musical adventures
Chicago for one night of Phish
Reading, PA for one night of Phish
Philadelphia for a visit with dear friends
and three nights of Phish over Halloween in Atlantic City.
I am thankful for family who continue to help us and who understand our passion for music.

You were good to us 2013.
I walk away with a happy heart and a mind full of wonderful memories.
As I watch my children grow and blossom, I can only hope that the next year will be as generous.
I am forever grateful for my little family and what Jon and I have created.
Thank you 2013.
Here's to another year of opportunities on the horizon.

We are ready to embrace the next year and all she offers.

Happy New Year friends!
May you welcome the new year with a smiling soul and a happy heart.

Here are a few of my favorite posts from this past year:
Windy day smiles with Jessica, our New Orleans trip (one, two, three and four)playing in the park with these two, celebrating Easter at our house, welcoming summer with a cupcake, discovering new treasures, attending the Merry Edwards wine tasting (it was an an honor to meet such an amazing woman) celebrating Joshua's birthday, capturing moments from swim team, San Juan Islands (one, two and three) adventures in our town, working with film, labor day weekend trick or treating and, lastly,Jon's birthday.

Christmas Eve


























Christmas Eve. Our day in photographs.

Josh, taking it all in / Nana Barb / Nana Gaynor and Aunt Becky /silliness with mommy / these two are peas in a pod, melts my heart / a few photos outside the restaurant / appetizers at our house for the eve / photos before bedtime / playing with new gifts / high-fives to setting out reindeer food / reading by the light of the tree / bedtime stories / a special gift from brother Josh / cinnamon rolls for the morning / cookies and milk for Santa

On Christmas Eve morning Joshua came to me with a burst of excitement and an idea he came up with all on his own. He wanted to make, write and illustrate, a book for Jessica. So while I cleaned and prepared for our guests, Joshua wrote his story. He worked with dedication and love on each drawing, each line and each detail. And when he needed help with his spelling I could the beat of his feet running down the hallway and his overjoyed voice asking "mom, how do I spell Christmas." It was like a cycle that swung full circle; running down the hallway, tip tap tip tap, asking a question, sounds of pencil against paper and running away out of site. I smiled each time.

I never saw the final product, it was whisked away and wrapped before I could sneak a peak. When we gathered around on Jessica's floor late on Christmas Eve we all watched with excitement as she opened her present from Joshua. We all listened as Joshua read "Hello Kitty's Christmas" to us and shared his thoughts on each page.

These tiny moments make my heart jump and dance with joy. Watching the love my children have for others unfold before my eyes. Watching their dedication, patience and kindness become a part of who they are. I couldn't be prouder of my three children.

27 December 2013

Brunch with Santa + An Early Christmas








Fun with friends, who happen to also be our neighbors.



Brunch with Santa is something Jon and I having been participating in with his dad and his wife since before we even had kids. Even during those pre-children days I enjoyed every single bit of it. From the Bloody Mary's to the crafts to the food to the overly decorated cookies to seeing Santa himself. I especially enjoyed coming home to a quiet house and napping on the couch, a forgotten treasure.

Now that I have my own children there is an abundance of magic in the air. The magic of their smiles and laughter, their whispers in Santa's ear, the cookie crumbs that seem to show up everywhere and hints of hot cocoa and marshmallows that trace their little lips.

I soaked it in this Christmas. I embraced every single moment. I sat down and listened to their stories while they sipped hot cocoas, I lent a helping hand when building gingerbread houses and I learned to step away and watch while they decorated cookies proudly on their own. We watched Christmas movies tightly cuddled together on the couch and read books about St. Nicholas late into the night.

It was a year of believing, of magic and spirit. I am amazed by how my children make me feel. They make me believe in the spirit of Christmas. If there ever was a time that I questioned it I remember their voices on Christmas morning, the look on their faces. I remember their excitement and happiness as they twist and turn in bed on Christmas Eve and I can even see the sparkle in their eyes as we hear the hymns played at mass.




On Sunday we celebrated Christmas early with my family. Continuing with traditions, my dad made Bacalhau, a salted cod dish commonly served in Northern Spain where my mom has family and where her father is from.

The tradition of Christmas doesn't get better than good food, family and conversation. Take away the sparkle and shine, the decorations, the shopping, the glitter and glam and what you have left is what it is really all about. Family. Friends. Celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. Giving, but in different ways and from the heart.





My brother and his wife, who is also Liz.




Josh is a little blurry, but gosh do I love this one of my dad and him.

Aunt Becky and the kids.

My parents and the grandchildren.



Jessica's dress c/o FabKids