Thursday, February 19, 2015

Latest inspiration...

So fresh & so clean...


Friday, January 2, 2015

From Christmas to New Years...

So blessed.

Ellie's first cookies for Santa!  She was such a great helper, as always :)

Crooked star in background, as usual
Watch out, here I come!!!!

New Years @ our house…impossible to get a pic but we did our best!

Swings with Daddy…happiness.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Special moments...

I can't believe my favorite holidays have already come and gone…too quickly.  I would be happy enjoying December for months; just time to simply enjoy each festive moment and snuggle up on the couch watching some of our favorite winter flicks on chilly nights.

One of my favorite memories of this holiday season is when, the Sunday before Christmas, we headed down for our first time to Hollywood Riviera (in Redondo Beach) where the beautiful and quaint little neighborhood comes together to spread holiday cheer for those near and far.  It's truly magical.  I can't believe we had never gone before…it is the holidays at its very best.  Houses strung full of lights, decorations galore (anywhere else they could possibly be considered tacky but somehow it totally works in the Riviera!).  I loved everything…every snowman, every Santa, every tree that was lit up and down the lovely streets…so special.  

We bought hot cocoa from young teenagers who were fundraising, happy as can be (Matt also got a Krispy Cream donut and Cup-o-Noodles!), and we spent hours walking up and down each festive street with home-owners out on their porches, spreading cheer…it was perfection.  A night I will always look back on and smile :)  And I'm pretty sure Ellie loved it as much as Mommy did.

Ellie wanted a closer look!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Most special time of year...

I can't believe we are only 7 days away from Christmas.  Time is going by so quickly, and I'm trying my best to embrace every wonderful day in December…it's always my favorite time of year (kicking off with my birthday and then followed by countless festivities with friends and family and so many special and memorable moments….highlighted by the twinkle lights on our tree).

I wish December would go on for months…it brings me such joy to celebrate tradition, create fun crafts with Ellie, decorate, listen to endless holiday music (yep, that's me!), gather with friends over candle lit dinners, and cozy up with my hubby on the couch after long days.  It's truly the best.  A time to be grateful and present…a time to celebrate how fortunate we are…a time to give more than you receive.  A time to let go of whatever is weighing me down and finally enjoy…and relax.

It just feels so good.  For me, tradition is at the core of it all.  Creating special memories for Ellie, starting now and carrying them through year after year, is most important to me.  A big part of that is reminding her that, while she is so blessed to be given such wonderful gifts and opportunities, also remembering how many children are less fortunate and doing our part to help make their holidays special, too.  This week, she helped me with a toy drop-off for our local holiday toy drive, and she really seemed to understand the basic concept of it all….starting small :)

And then there's the baking…and her love for it.  A new fave, our chocolate crispy treats, along with our usuals like our banana raisin muffins.  Something that we love to do together, year round, but that just seems extra special during the holidays.  And of course, Elf on the Shelf….and our annual holiday brunch with some of our closest friends at our house…celebrations and dinners in downtown MB...watching movies like Elf, Just Friends and The Family Stone…writing Gratitude lists…and perhaps our newest tradition (thanks Auntie Jeannie), doing Secret Angel with each member in our immediate family, and hosting Christmas brunch at our home with our extended families.  I'd also love to incorporate going to our local food bank on Christmas Eve to help provide meals and smiles to those less fortunate (I think we're still a couple years out for this one!).

Lastly, just doing what you can to donate.  Giving to responsible and reputable charities - St. Jude's, Children Today (Long Beach), Los Angeles Mission, Save the Children, World Vision…all organizations doing so much good for those in need.

All of these experiences are so incredibly fulfilling to me…and I'm holding on tightly as we come to the close of another year.  While it's been the most challenging year of my life, this month has been full of bright and happy moments that have taken the focus off me and allowed me to put that energy toward others.  That is when my soul and spirit is full.  I am confident that next year will bring much more peace and understanding for all that I have gone through…and what is next to come.  Perhaps the launch of an entire new chapter of life…I certainly hope so :)

Merry Everything!!!!  Taking a deep breath and soaking it all in….


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Looking forward...

Anyone who is very close to me knows that this past year has been quite a journey.  While I have yet to write about it (because I spend so much time dealing with it every day, I am not yet ready to put its uncomfortable energy into my passion and hobby)…but I look forward to someday sharing my story of overcoming all of this, and living a long, healthful, purposeful life full of beautiful and special moments until I grow old and gray (and traveling & eating fabulous meals once again!).  

That said, I read a few quotes today that I wanted to share…written by someone who has gone through a very similar journey to me, and who has become an inspiration in my life.

"I guess you fight through the bad days to earn the best days of your life."

"Best friends are people who make your problems their problems just so you don't have to go through them alone."

"Sometimes God uses our deepest pain as the launching pad of our greatest calling…"

I trust that this last one will be very true for me…and that I will someday look back and see purpose in this long, winding journey that has often brought me to my knees, feeling helpless and confused…only to be lifted up by my dearest friends, my incredible husband and my beautiful baby girl.  They give me the strength and encouragement to get through everyday.

To my husband, my rock.  My clear, stable mind when I can't think for myself.  My everything.

To my baby girl, whose smile, laugh and beautiful personality lights up my life…you are my greatest treasure.

To my girls, you know who you are….I can never thank you enough for all you do for me. It is because of you that I can keep my head above water and see clearly through the fog of self-pity and discouragement that can often weigh me down when I'm not feeling well.  You always throw me the life raft when I need it most.

To Oma, there is no one who I would trust more with our sweet girl, and I know the joy and happiness she experiences with you is unbelievably special and priceless, and will help shape her to be the compassionate, kind, sensitive and sincere person that I already see her becoming.

To my mom, who patiently listens to me after every doctor's appointment and every challenge I face, supporting me and helping me navigate through it all; thank you.  

To my team of doctors, my naturopath and acupuncturist…I finally take comfort that I am with the right team who is doing everything they can to best support me.

While this has turned my world upside-down, the incredible support system I have around me fills me with such gratitude.  

I trust that it's experiences like this that ultimately makes life worth living…creating sincere appreciation for good health, the simple things that already meant so much to me before, and the importance of surrounding myself with people who lift me up and bring beautiful energy into my life.  For this, I am forever grateful.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

This little mouse called me her "best friend" last night.  My heart melted.  
Such a wonderful and special Halloween weekend...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Can't get enough…love her so much.

This little girl continues to inspire me everyday.  She is truly amazing.  Pure, complete, overwhelming love.  My heart is so full.