Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bagels and cream cheese

Vanessa loves bagels with cream cheese. She loves her pink blankie, so much that she weeps if her siblings jokingly take it from her. She loves her best friend, Jada. She loves to twirl. she loves cupcakes. She loves the color pink. She loves her baby dolls. Vanessa loves that she turned 4! 
Vanessa has been so fun to welcome into our family. She was the game changer for our family dynamic. Something about going from 2 kids to 3 kids is a big deal for me. We had to get a bigger car and we had to get a bigger place to house all these children! She was also really hard to name. Jeff and I disagreed on our names, we settled on Olivia (my choice), Natalia (Jeff's choice) and Vanessa. Vanessa has always been a name that I liked and it is so pretty sounding coming out of the mouth. Yes, I think about these things. The dilemma soon came...why not name the girls all V names, right? We didn't agree to name her Vanessa until she was actually born and she was simply Vanessa - there was never a doubt. 
Fortunately, we were so immensely blessed to get a car, for free, that had the most amazing air conditioning! Also, we were able to actually buy a house, something that we thought would not be remotely possible, given the investment predicament we were in. We searched for a house we could afford and had little luck, until we finally decided to put it on hold until later...after all, we were having a baby soon and wanted to focus on that. It wasn't until the day before Vanessa was born that our realtor called us and said that an offer we made months ago was accepted! We got the house! What a way to induce labor! So, on Vanessa's actual birth day, Jeff was on the phone with the realtor and the bank and anyone else trying to put everything in order so that we could finalize the house. Who knew such a little person could create such a chain of events? 
I have had the amazing pleasure of watching Vanessa grow and to listen to her speak and say the funniest things. She makes me laugh a lot and I think we really needed that sweet and silliness that she brings to our family - at least I know I needed it! 
My Vanessa has a tiny little body, stinky feet, a gorgeous smile and beautiful eyes. But more than that, she is soft but tough, attentive, tender, silly, content, loving and just perfect! I love this newly 4 year old. I see her learning new things and being such a sweet big sister and little sister. She fits so magnificently in this crazy bunch, I am so grateful to be this little chispita's mom. 
My little Vanessa Marcely, happiest of birthdays to you! I love you and your silliness.  

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


I've been trying to avoid thinking about one of my dearest and most best of friends moving away. Her husband got the opportunity to relocate, for work, to Hawaii. Who would pass up a job relocation to Hawaii? I don't think I could. And so, I had to say goodbye to this amazing family, an extension of my own family really, a few days ago. I wasn't looking forward to it and it proved to be kind of a bitter-sweet moment.
Close to six years ago, Jeff came home from work and said that he invited the new guy at work to come over for dinner with his family. Jeff said that it would be nice of us to welcome them to California, they just moved from D.C. and didn't know anyone here and they had a little girl and it would just be nice if we had them over. Okay. No big deal. Then, Jeff mentioned that they were Hawaiian and "wouldn't it be cool if we made a bunch of cool Hawaiian food for them?" Not cool, Jeff. It became annoying. So, we did. Jeff helped a lot. I'm kind of a social misfit so I worried that there would be awkward silence and what on earth would we talk about? But, we had a common thread - we are members of the same church. That always makes things slightly easier, because for some reason it's nice knowing that we have a similar belief system so I at least have something to talk about...because sometimes I can't find things to talk about. I didn't think much about making friends because I figured I wouldn't see them very much afterwards - why would we? So, they walked into our home, took their shoes off and stayed.
The Tanigawa's have been like family ever since. I love that family and have loved watching it go from 3 to 4 to 5! We've been so fortunate to have them around for intense game nights, last minute babysitting, Halloween crashing, 2009 pregnancies, IKEA, Thanksgiving cheese balls, beach Saturdays, 2010 Census, many many tears over a toy, etc. As our families came together I instantly loved Sheena. She is cool, gorgeous, patient, generous, kind, outgoing, laid back, funny, and just really easy to be friends with. My life was kind of frazzled when they came to our home for the first time and I didn't realize how much she was an answer to my prayers. I needed her to be in my life and even though it kind of stinks that they aren't a short drive away, I am grateful that we had these awesome 6 years. When my oldest, Veronica, asked me why I was sad about Sheena moving away I simply replied, "Because it's hard for grown-up moms to meet people and make friends." Kids have a way of making friends with simpleness, it's just declared - we're going to be friends and it is so. I didn't declare it then, but I am declaring it now, we are going to be friends forever! It's been a blessing for my family to have this cool family to play with and share big life events with and I'm hoping, though there is distance, that we can always remember our awesome friends. My heart is heavy but happy. Aloha and Mahalo to our amazing Tanigawa Ohana!

The next two pictures are of the first Halloween we spent together and the very last Halloween we spent together.  Violet isn't in the last picture because she was busy spilling water or chili or both and Sheena was still pregnant with little Eva - but not for much longer!  Halloween 2007 - 3 kids.  Halloween 2012 - 6 kids and one in the tummy, so 7!