Sunday, January 29, 2012

Everyone should have a Brynn

Brynn's a great kid to have. She's mellow, gets along with everyone most of the time, and practices with minimal complaining. What did she want for her birthday? a pogo stick. And for dinner? $5 pizza and homemade snickerdoodles. She's pretty low-maintenance for the most part but she can be particular when it comes to style. We had to go to all (3) stores in town before she could settle on a pair of shoes.
 Brynn had a few friends over for a chocolate fountain, some games, and a movie night.
Her friend made her this birthday cake.


I was looking through Brynn's scrapbook/journal and found this excerpt from when she was 4 years old.

Tonight I tucked Brynn into bed and said,
"Brynn I love you more than all the sugar in the world.
Brynn--I love you more than bunnies.
Me--I love you more than  unicorns.
Brynn--I love you more than rainbows.
Me--I love you more than marshmallow clouds.
Brynn put her arm around my neck, pulled me close and whispered, "I love marshmallows more."

Here are some of my favorite photos of her.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The L-list: Favorite New Purchases

This is what we woke up to. A different kind of beauty than last week's post for sure.
Well, you know I'm super nice and generous and everything and if I were Oprah I'd give all readers everything listed here. But how about a drawing? Leave a comment before Tues 12pm and one LUCKY WINNER will receive --a Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer.  For reals--I'll mail it to you --or if you live somewhere warm, I'll personally deliver:)
Congratulations to Megz the winner!!! 
 Here is the L-list.
Best Lip Balm Ever and it comes in a myriad of shades. It's like gourmet chapstick with a hint of color. That's what I like, just a hint of color.  Your lips will love it too.
Kai Pure Komanchi high carbon steel knives (29.99 Costco)
They say if you don't have a good knife set you must not be eating a lot of fresh vegetables because if you did eat a lot of vegetables and didn't have a good knife you would be so frustrated you would go out and buy one. Yes, I read that somewhere--cutting board too. That was me for a long while--though  instead of going out and buying one I was just frustrated--for years, even. That's why when I finally  saw this very pretty set with THAT price it was was seriously the tenderest mercy. I brought them right home and have been loving them ever since--lightweight and so sharp I've sliced my fingers several times--the cello ones even, darn it.  Just goes to show that  I'm eating my veggies:)

Yummy--like peanut butter only chocolate hazelnut butter. Mix the two together and you have something divine. The girls like them mixed with chex or rice krispies. I like it for dipping pretzels. Warning: addictive.
Roku --This little box (around $60)  enables us to stream Netflix onto our TV--It's takes the convenience of the internet and makes it comfy--especially if you're watching with one of these...
Microsherpa/Micromink reversible throw ($20, Costco) This is the wedding present I bought that never made it to the couple.  It was soo soft and lovely I couldn't stop stroking it. It must have like imprinted on me so I had to keep it. $20 later and I'm living in luxury.
Benefit Cosmetics: Thank goodness the ladies at Fashion Island Mall whisked my sister and I away for emergency makeovers. How else would we have known what we were missing?! I love the foundation (29.99) It's very lightweight and is the perfect shade for me. I love applying it with the feathery soft brush too. 
Wallflowers from Bath and Body Works ($12 but they have sales all the time)
I love these because even if my house isn't clean it SMELLS clean!! How cool is that! My favorite is Sea Island Cotton. The smell of it also tricks me into thinking I live in a beach house --one with clean linens blowing in the breeze.
If I were a diva this would be my signature scent--although it looks like they have some exciting new ones I'm going to have to try like Bahama Fizz?! and  Tikki Beach?!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Laguna Beach

Of all the places on the California coastline, Laguna Beach is my favorite. It has nearly perfect weather all year long. When the sun is shining, the water reflects the most brilliant shades of blue. You can easily walk to shopping, dining, beaches, tidepools, the park. It's why I'm so glad my mom now lives here!! AND so glad she wants us to visit!! She has settled right in to her new life and she says she's never been happier. You can believe it too because she walks around with the biggest grin and very often gazes heavenward whispering, "Thanks, thanks, thanks."
This is a stark contrast to where we were a year ago, at my dad's bedside, as he passed away.
My mom has a great network of friends and neighbors, the church members have stepped right in to befriend her and take care of her needs, driving her to dr. visits, etc. It was nice to spend some quality time with Mom/Nana and experience a little of her world last week.
This is basically my mom's front yard. You walk out her apartment, across a residential street to the park, walk down some stairs and this is what you see.
We enjoyed remarkably good weather our first day--for which I was gazing heavenward and whispering "thanks." We had this little beach area all too ourselves--It must be winter to everyone else?!

Happy as a clam

Kate turned all mermaid on us.

Gotta love the view from Nana's apartment. We stayed in a hotel nearby. It was perfect. We just had to walk half a block to visit Nana every day.
Taking it all in; Laguna Beach

Exploring at low tide. We found anenomes, crabs, and mussels

We saw a bride get her picture in this exact spot later in the day.

Nana took the girls for a day on the town. Ever wondered what happened to some of those candies you grew up with--think Garbage Pail kids? They have them all at the coolest candy shop in town, The Candy Baron.
Beach yoga
I went for morning walks with my Mom along the trails of Heisler Park. One of the highlights for me was watching a pod of dolphins gracefully making their way down the coast.

Beach treasures
Cannon kept pointing and saying to anything on a leash, "there's a wolf!" Apparently dogs are all the rage here. There are more of them then children for sure and they are all very well accessorized. We met every breed imaginable, including a few min pins, which is what we'll be getting in a few weeks. When we'd stop and owner to ask about their dog they were so excited  to share their tips and advice from nail clipping to training.
Cannon also pointed out all the pelicans, calling them "pteranodons." We didn't think that was too far off.

Glorious sunsets.
If you asked Adrie, she would tell you her favorite part of the trip was the hotel hot tub. Somehow with all that beach activity we still managed to get in the pool and hot tub every day. We have never slept better!
Sunday dinner by the sea. We went to Nana's LDS church with her in the morning. The people were overflowing with warmth and generosity. It seems that Nana has landed herself in the perfect ward for her. They LOVE  her here and they were so excited to meet more of her family.  I loved looking around at all the beautiful people. Brandon got a book during his Elder's quorum lesson signed by the author, the teacher, on becoming a successful leader. I got to meet the author of one of my favorite blogs, "" who happens to be in the ward. One of the youth that gave a talk looked like the front page of the GQ surfer edition. The meeting house had an amazing view of the ocean. I even had a view from the toilet of the women's bathroom--which made me want to stay a while!

 Our last morning, we said our goodbyes and drove to Huntington Beach and walked on the pier. The girls picked out Shark tooth necklaces and Cannon got an "orca" he calls it, and it actually is.  It was overcast and a very cold and whippy wind had us high tailing it back to the car.  Good thing too because had it been otherwise I might not have ever wanted to go home!!
Can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day Trippers

One of the best presents we got for Christmas was from BD's parents. They started a tradition last year of sending some money with the suggestion of taking the family out for dinner and then to the bookstore. What a great idea! A gift with an experience! WE had  a lot of fun with this last year in SLC. This year we headed to St. George for the added benefit of SUNSHINE!
When we visited Harvard campus last fall I was thrilled to see a bookstore on every block! Where we live we have to go 2 hours to get to bookstore! A bit of a sad commentary but I guess that's what makes this experience a real bookstore adventure for us.

After enjoying a delicious syrupy meal at IHOP, we headed to a Big Vault of Books, (with our windows down the whole time so as to get maximum sun exposure.) Once there, the kids were off and running. Cannon was first to pick his book and it's no surprise that he got, DINOSAURS: THE WORLD'S MOST TERRIFYING CREATURES. He has been relishing each vividly illustrated page ever since.
Adrie didn't have a hard time choosing hers, RAPUNZEL'S BOOK OF SECRETS. She has been giddy about filling in it's pages with her favorite foods, special friends, and birthday wishes. She was especially excited that it came with a lock and key to keep her curious sisters out.
The rest of us took a lot longer to decide. Brandon perused the Psychology section but didn't come away with anything. I hovered over a few options, Household Spanish Phrases? a beautiful classic? How to Become Vegan?  Then Brandon and I saw this title and decided it was the one, THE CHILDREN YOU WANT WITH THE KIDS YOU HAVE. We couldn't wait to get started so I read it to him on the drive home, over the yelling in the backseat.
Kate got a big book of PRANKS, GAGS, AND PRACTICAL JOKES, complete with props.  She couldn't wait to get started either which is why everyone got sprayed when they clicked her new camera and finger snapped when they reached for a piece of gum. It has given her TONS of great ideas. Like rearranging her sister's room, short-sheeting the beds, and disconnecting the valve on the toilet so that it sprays water when you flush. (Oh wait, that one was from her cousin Parker)  What fun:/
Kate almost convinced Brynn to get the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF EVERYTHING NASTY. But Dad saved the day, and just in time too, because we were at the checkout. He handed her a collection of CALVIN AND HOBBES. It was just what we all needed, to lighten up.

The day didn't end there. There was still sunshine to be enjoyed. And it was warm and heavenly. We picked up some cousins and enjoyed the rest of the daylight at the park.

Thanks to the parents for the gift of  a bookstore adventure!