December 27, 2019
by gwendolyn
8 Comments

California Dreaming (Relocation 1 of 6)

When I met Gil he told me that he had dreamed of living in San Diego since he was a kid. You see, his next door neighbor moved to San Clemente and he spent a few summers with them here. Those summers made such an impact on him that he knew it was his destiny to live here.

For me, I never really thought much about the future. When people ask me about favorites or goals or ‘ultimate anything’ I tend to need some time to answer questions that I feel are so esoteric. They always seemed like things that were so far away, or too big of a thing to have an answer because aren’t the possibilities endless? Who can really have a concrete answer…certainly, not me.

So, when my life was moved from Lousiville, Kentucky to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to San Diego, California it was because something happened and I made a decision.

The Philadelphia move was hard, but I was young and in college; so it worked out. I had moved with the rest of my family, transferred schools and started fresh. The next move, to San Diego, was a little on a whim and was way harder than the previous one. It’s so much harder to align with others when your initial common ground is a work place.

Now, let’s fast forward 16 years. Both Gil and I moved here the same month of the same year, independently. (Crazy and cool, right?) Now we are married, have a pup, two outstanding kiddos and our lives are filled with more events than we can manage, the greatest friend group I could ever ask for and our kids feel the same.

All is magic and unicorns, right?

Absolutely. Until suddenly, the 750 sq. ft. condo of 2 bedrooms and 2 baths doesn’t quite feel as spacious as it did when two people moved in, excited to live in North Park. We love our home, don’t get me wrong; it’s been 11 years and I can’t even begin to describe the amount of memories this place holds. However, eventually as parents, you start to hear this:

“I need alone time from my brother!”
“My sister was on my bed!”
(They share a room.)

“Why don’t we live somewhere with stairs?”
“Can we live somewhere with stairs?”
(We do have stairs, they are outside — that’s not the same as inside!)

If you didn’t know, this stairs thing is huge for little kids. Comically, so.

THEN, your upstairs neighbor sells her condo that’s basically the same one you live in for about half-a-mil. SAY WHAT?!

Of course, after that Gil says one weekend morning, “I’ve been thinking about how Karen sold her condo so fast for such a high price.”

That conversation ended up in us deciding we need to relocate away from San Diego. I know it’s huge and kinda staggering to hear, but it’s happening. All of us are sad to leave, yet excited for what’s to come.

SO, that’s our big new and I’ve decided to do a series about this whole process, so come back here for more news. The possibilities are endless…

Photos from our last move! From Pacific Beach to North Park in 2008. Our first place together and Gil was a new homeowner!

December 26, 2019
by gwendolyn
2 Comments

Getting Back At It

Hi everyone!

Have you missed me? Have you missed the blog?

I have missed writing it and having a way to share our lives with you. The last few years have left me with less and less time to accomplish everything I want; but I am hopeful that those times are changing.

That means, this is me starting up writing, again. Please join me and follow all of our endeavors. I love hearing from you so please comment anytime.

AND, if you haven’t signed up for the emails or however it is you remember to read blogs – do that now.

See you soon!

Hugs,
~g

p.s. Below are family photos from our 2019 Christmas card. We took them at Coronado Beach. The photo of Domingo is at home in North Park (San Diego, CA).

p.p.s. Merry Christmas!

April 24, 2019
by gwendolyn
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LL’s 7th ‘Mermaid Under the Sea’ Birthday Party

On April 5th our Little Love turned 7 years old. It’s been a whirlwind, but man is she a cool and fun little girl. She got to choose all ‘the things’ for her birthday party and I have to say, it turned out pretty cool: a neighborhood park, donuts, coffee (for the parents), chocolate milk, rainbow salsa with chipies, fruit salad…and then Momma added in lentil dip, watermelon, and goldfish…it was all a hit!

Up until the day of the party we were a little concerned about rain, but in the end we had a beautiful day and made wonderful memories with our friends that can’t be beat.Even though, all the attendees who were there last year were REALLY hoping for another “sprinkler fiasco” we traded it for a “piñata fiasco” and somehow everyone had a blast. I cannot wait to share all the photos with you since we had a Photo Booth addition this year!

Here are the photos, which tell the great story like no one else can.

My new markers and board! Can’t wait to make so many more signs with this thing!

Friends!

LL’s soccer coach and her girls.

Family friends.

She really loves her rainbow salsa. Usually I can’t get her to eat anything other than the dessert at parties!

Just a mermaid playing at the park.

To the tree! To the tree! (Dr. Seuss)

The grub with so much coffee in the background.

Mr. Ben time!

Mr. Ben is so much fun!

Dive bomb!

It’s not a party without a little grumpy time.

Somehow I got 7 candles on that little donut!

Let’s see if we can light these things…

With a little help from my brother.

May all your dreams come true, Little Love.

My favorite photo of the big SEVEN year old!

Bringing it back old school with a blindfold and three turn arounds.

One swing and we lost her…if you look closely you can see it’s in mid-air, falling.

The shock of a piñata, down!

Then comes the laughter

Now we are all set, again!

A turn for little brother! Then three more people got the bat.

Then I was duped by one of the kids, saying they wanted to punch it, but really that meant tear down with my hands. SO many tears from SO many kids.

Both Gil and I swore off piñatas.

After the piñata we convene in the grass to discuss.

Then we play Duck Duck Goose to lighten our spirits!

The whole party!

New family friends! We keep finding ones with kids the same age as ours –amazing.

Bathroom break or hide-n-seek?

Yes, Little Man – Let’s Shellebrate!

The birthday girl with mermaid hair!

Could they be anymore perfect?

Family photo fun!

Happy Hostess – it really did feel like a magical day.

I mean, why not?

(More photo booth pictures to come in a separate post. They are too good not to post!)

March 7, 2019
by gwendolyn
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Look Who’s Four!

On July 11, 2018 I wrote this, but didn’t get around uploading the photos I took in preparation for the post…eek! Here you go, b/c I can’t handle not clicking publish, so here it is:

Oh my goodness, I just searched for Cecito’s three year old post and there isn’t one! I knew I missed his 3.5 year old one, but I had no idea I missed a whole freaking year. Ack – I feel terrible! (poor second child) Well, here goes one for my brand new four year old.

He’s such an amazing little kid.

The amount that he loves his big sister is incredible, including how much he loves the rest of us. He feels big and makes no bones about letting you know every feeling he has. His face completely gives him away, even when he’s trying SO hard to hide it. But the snuggle and hugs – oh the HUGS and SNUGGLES! He’s the best little sugar maker.

His little temper gives him some troubles, but that is because he feels so big. And if you are lucky enough to make it into his inner circle he’s fiercely loyal, even as a newly turned pre-schooler he’s a fierce friend.

I can’t help but love him so much my heart hurts. Still his eyes and smile make me melt and if I’m not on my toes he can begin to get away with things he shouldn’t because all I want is to do is grab him with hugs and kisses.

He’s still really great at language. When his Dad tells him words in Spanish he can figure out how to pronounce them correctly really fast. Since he’s a second child with an older sister so close to his age he’s learning things faster and quicker than we have seen before.

I used to be worried that my late June boy may not be ready for kindergarten when the time came, but if he was allowed he would have gone last year with LL. Every day all he wanted to do was be at LL’s school. He would beg for us to save him breakfast if he had to be dropped off at his school first. He had to get a running club card to count all his laps before school started. He would insist on being a part of everything in her classroom.

When he finally gets to go to kindergarten (in another year) the kid is gonna be king. I’m sure of it.

Now onto some pictures. We took these the week before he turned 4. I had to negotiate because he’s really not into me taking photos of him. Booo! I got 5 minutes of no whining photoshoot time and he got a lollipop. I call that a win.

My cool little dude.

Sweetie pie.

I could eat this kid up!

Perfecting his pouty face.

That smile!

Wait Momma, I am going to pretend to sleep on the table.

Can’t keep it up, but guys, that tush in the air like a newborn!

Hurray for 4!

This says it all right there. My little tough (and super adorable) little man.

 

July 11, 2018
by gwendolyn
2 Comments

My 6th Mother’s Day

Well, Mother’s Day has come and gone months ago…but I still want to write about it. Always so much to say with so little time to say it.

This year, like last year, I joined a few friends at Paradise Point for some spa, pool and adult only time. It was glorious, even though I love my children dearly.

You see, when your kids are this small I have found that opting out for my big day of the year is the best way to go. It’s a little tid bit I learned this from our Outdoor Parenting Classes that we’ve been attending since LL was a year old — they are how I made it through early motherhood. Not only did I learn how to care for my children, but they also covered how to take care of myself and my relationships; they were consistent, they were familiar, I felt like everyone there was in the same boat barely surviving, and the best part was finding the ladies that I’m still closest with today.One of those lovely ladies organizes this ah-mazing spa experience.

It was my 6th Mother’s Day and it felt just right. Mothering isn’t easy, it’s a transformation that rivals none I’ve experience before. No doubt, it’s incredible and so worth it (but man!) it has, also, given me: high blood pressure, bags under my eyes, plenty of wrinkles and so much stress…so, to the spa it is; for a day of celebrating motherhood.

Consider it, if you haven’t tried it before. I’m positive you won’t regret it.

Now to show you the positive and awesome side of being a mom. The kiddos and I did a photoshoot right before Mother’s Day. You know how experts say it’s easy to tell when the subject or the photographer love one another…well, LL took most of these. Cecito took the ones of LL and myself. I like to think that this is how the kids will always think of me.

And now for some of the spa day:

My heart was full (and still is).

May 21, 2018
by gwendolyn
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LL’s 6th Birthday Dress Up Party

This year, LL really wanted a “real” princess to come to her party. She talked about it for months; discussing which one will be there and what they will do, how amazing it would be. Eventually, we had to break it to her that a real princess isn’t in the party budget.

It was a very sad moment.

Luckily we were able to agree that a dress up party would be tons of fun. All her friends could come dressed as anything they wanted. Plus, we promised that she could get a new princess dress to wear to the party. Thanks to Grammy and Aunt Rae-Rae she got the two she had been wanting for the last year!

Of course, LL wanted to invite everyone she had ever met on this earth. So, we did! It ended up being a lot of fun and was really wonderful to see her with all the people who have made an impact on her over the years. During the party she was full of life, gracious to everyone that attended, and she did very well speaking to the adults and people she wasn’t very familiar with.

As her Momma, I was beaming with pride and admiration. Very quickly, she’s turning into a little lady.

We had the regular birthday fare, in terms of food and drinks. And I’m happy to say that my party planning skills were on point with the amount of food that we had for the number of guests. Yay – no more 3 dozen donuts to stuff ourselves with afterwards! Plus, many compliments from the parents, which made me feel accomplished and good about the effort I put into planning these kid parties.

The one HUGE surprise was that we had a sprinkler bash at the end. It was utterly amazing! The kids were screaming (along with some adults) as the first shots of water came from the ground. One of our poor guests got pelted in the back without any warning – eek! We ended up moving the tables out of the grass, just about the time that our friend found the valve to shut them off. So back the tables went and the party continued with ease.

To the kids delight, the sprinklers kept going off down the lawn throughout the park. By far, every kid thought it was the coolest thing to ever happen at at party. It was surely LL’s favorite part and I was told that one little girl whispered, “Mom, this is the best party EVER!” as she was dripping wet with a huge grin ready to run back to the sprinklers.

Magic, my friends, it was pure magic…and so is our sweet Little Love.

Pink Lemonade and cold brew (we went through all 4 fill-ups).

Party Favors to play with! (Just in case you didn’t want to dress up)

Rainbow salsa with tortilla chips, fruit salad, onion dip with chips and pretzels…

and donuts! (9 dozen with 48 donut holes)

Party view from the play area.

Hula hoops as you walk into the park.

First Costume: Belle

My sweet boy: Catboy (PJ Masks)

My favorite: Clark Kent

Rey even Hula Hoops!

Everyone loves Mr. Ben

All I want to do is go for a ride, people.

Cecito: This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me!

Kindergarten friends

Preschool Friends

The gang

Brothers with LL

Fun party go-ers with cute costumes.

LL’s Preschool Teacher, we love and miss her!

To know Domingo, is to love him.

The parents

Friends before kids and despite them. 😉

Always filling up the drinks.

Six might be the max candles for a regular donut.

Second costume: Aurora, for the sweet birthday girl.

It was a miracle that the candles stayed lit for the whole song!

Enjoy it, girl, you deserve all the magic.

Dads and one brother: the guys.

Then the sprinklers hit the scene.

Best party EVER!

Dad’s to the rescue!

I’m so cute, right…?

‘Cause I really want to get on that bike, again!

Momma friends with one hiding little dude.

Momma’s from kindergarten.

I believe this is the one other adult who dressed up with me!

Still loving the sprinklers.

Sprinklers and Birthday Parties Forever!

April 20, 2018
by gwendolyn
1 Comment

Today: The Miracle Day

Today I went to the gym for the first time in YEARS! People, it’s been at least 5 years since I have done this and it felt incredible. While I was changing after my swim two ladies (a bit older than me) came in chatting up a storm. Their conversation went mostly like this:

Lady 1: “Do you swim? Do you know how to swim? Or are you slow?
Lady 2: “Yeah I swim.”
Lady 1: “I put my clothes in here. I’ll show you, it’s this locker…”
Lady 2: “Oh, you put them here. I’ll put mine next to this. Wait, who’s are those?”
Lady 1: “I don’t know.” (pause) “Aren’t those your jeans?”
Lady 2: “What? No they aren’t mine. Oh these? I guess they are mine.”

This went on for about 5 minutes.

Then they are ready to go swimming and head out the door. Only to stop short because there are many large bottles of shampoo, conditioner and lotion that say “FREE” on them next to the sink by the door. They discuss how this is unbelievable. Then, I see them quickly scooting around the corner back to the lockers to stash their find; arms completely full.

They are giddy! Apparently, today was a miracle day for only one of them; and now with this amazing find of “really great” products it is now a miracle day for both of them.

Lady 2 asked me if it was a miracle day for me as they headed back towards the door a second time and I just laughed and said, “no,” with a smile. Then, I thought to myself, if I can be that happy with a friend, at their age, every day might just feel like a miracle day.

Little did I know, I was about to discover I was about to have a miracle day of my own…

After the gym I went home to find a letter addressed to me from someone I didn’t know. Opened it up and was dumbfounded to see my drivers license with a nice note in it. Dude found it on the street and mailed it to me! Then, I went to pick up LL from school. When we got back I noticed my “lost” credit card under her foot as she was getting out of the car. Which was crazy, because I had searched that car, top to bottom a few days prior.

This is when I realized I had a miracle day on my hands, too!

You see I had been searching for my lost ID and credit card for about 5 days and was ready to give up. Yesterday I looked up how to get a duplicate license and Gil had put a hold on my card the day before. We were half a step from throwing in the towel.

To top it off, I was volunteering in LL’s kindergarten class this morning and ended up being there a little later than normal. In waltzes a school tour that the principal does for new/potential students and families (I haven’t seen one in action since we took our tour last year); and the only two neighbor families we have with little kids are in attendance. What are the odds that they have the same tour, the same day I’m there late, and end up seeing LL’s kinder room?

Good things are happening in 2018, friends.

February 21, 2018
by gwendolyn
Comments Off on Momma’s Adult Birthday Party (photos)

Momma’s Adult Birthday Party (photos)

Aaaaaaand here they are…

Three Growlers: Eppig, Pariah, Fall (deliciousness in the hood)

Almost all of us!

Special guest all the way from Pennsylvania!

Sparklers that double as torches.

Beck represents in recyclables.

Times sure have changed since our last “party”. We now have a proper place for recyclables, assorted apps for snacking, and chilled water. Even though, some things will never change, like trying to stuff as many people as possible into the smallest area of our home: the kitchen. Haha!

I had such a great time and have to give a shout out to our guests from Orange County, Los Angeles AND Pennsylvania. It was a representation of some of the best people I know on the west coast. Lots of laughs, tons of fun and I can’t wait to host another one.

Big hugs and big thanks!

February 21, 2018
by gwendolyn
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Momma’s Birthday 2018

Just about a month late, but it’s all good. This is my year and I’ve decided I will put more effort into this blog and not feel bad about late posts. This is just how it’s going to be. Thanks to everyone who follows along and reads these! Each of you makes this even more enjoyable.

So, here it is…

January is one of those months that people tend to dislike, in most of the country its dreary and very, very cold. Even though, I think it’s a pretty magical month, because it’s my birth month! (YAY!)

For me, my birthday is a big deal. I’m not one of those adults that let it slide by. Honesty, if my friends would let me I would take an entire month to celebrate, I would. As it is, I can usually get away with a week, which is just fine with me.  I love celebrating my birthday, it’s the one day that is totally mine and I really like the idea of a “me” day.

With that being said I have to admit that the last few years have been tough birthdays. Remember this? Then, last year, I skipped blogging about it all together! Me without anything to say…can you believe it?

Well, you didn’t get so lucky this year.

This year it’s been tons of fun. I had a wonderful birthday week filled with lots of love from far and near. In a way, I think I needed to tip-toe my way into mid-life. Now that I’m here and feeling more like me than I have in a while, it feels pretty darn good.

Now, let’s review the celebrations!

My birthday landed on a Monday, the day we have Outdoor Class (my favorite activity of our week). The teacher has become one of my friends, whom I completely adore, and she had the whole class sing to me along with a heartfelt intro about how much she appreciates me (probably made my heart grow three sizes).

Then, the boy took a long nap in the car, so I got to just sit and relax before we picked up LL. It’s been a long time since he took a good nap, so I was stoked.

That evening, we had a Girl Scout meeting with LL’s troop (which I co-lead). One of my co-leaders had the girls present me with a birthday dessert and planted tulips! The girls were so sweet and excited to surprise me.

After the kids went to bed, Gil and I enjoyed a bit of relaxation and the speciality beer (Moment of Weakness limited edition bottle) he had given me for Christmas from my favorite local brewery, Eppig.

The next day, my old college roommates called me to have a virtual hangout so they could sing to me. It was beyond sweet and a big surprise. We joked that this needed to be a new tradition for us to be able to have “dinner” together more often. Since they both live in LA. (btw – they were unaware of the screenshots I was taking, sneaky devil – but looks like a great time, right?)

 

On Wednesday, my family took me out for a celebration dinner. It was a bit of a struggle to get the kids to behave since it had been quite a while since we had taken them to a restaurant, but they we managed and had a good time.

Then came Thursday, luckily my monthly ladies night fell on my birthday week and it was awesome! Such a great time with lovely ladies. I look forward to this night so much each month and was very happy that I got to include it in my birthday week celebrations! We went to Polite Provisions, just up the road from us and had craft cocktails with yummy grub from Soda and Swine, next door. Plus, I got zombie parrot to take home as a souvenir. He will, forever, remind me of the sweet memories.

 

A day later, we had an adult party and it was ah-mazing! I forgot how fun it was to host our friends. I couldn’t have been happier with our decision to do this. While I was equally appreciative to our friends, Kristen and Mike, who afforded us the chance to have a kid free event at our home. Big props to them and all my wonderful friends who made it out!

I’ll follow this up with a post of more party pics, don’t want to overload you in one post. Go here to see them.

Lastly, a week or so later…a friend who was unable to make any of these events invited me out for a special San Diego Restaurant Week dinner. She surprised me with a couple more friends who joined us and we had a lovely dinner at The Wine Vault and Bistro. It was quiet with great conversation and three courses of deliciousness paired with great wines. I couldn’t have asked for a better wrap up to such a wonderful birthday.

BIG THANKS TO ALL who made me feel very loved and appreciated. It’s just the way I look forward to celebrating each year. Can’t wait for next year!