Carmel By The Sea

Allen traveled so often during the last 18 months, he racked up a couple of weeks worth of free nights at Hyatt resorts. But when we started seeing what resorts we could go to, we quickly realized that what was equal to a week's worth of time in Albuquerque was not equal to a week's worth of time at the resorts offered here in California.

We decided to take a quick weekend vacay to Carmel - without the kiddos! Grandma and Aunt Laura split up wrangling our shortlings so we could enjoy our first night away in over 4 years.

Lunch over looking Monterey Bay.
There is something about the beach and the ocean that is so appealing to all the senses. Simply gorgeous.
Do you think he was contemplating life's mysteries?
Nah. He was hunting. Look what he found.
The room. The entire West side of the room was glass with a slider going onto a private patio. We left the door open to let in the cool ocean breeze, but the fire kept the room nice and warm.
The view from our room.
We went for a hike at Point Lobos.

Seals (or sea lions or whatever ones they were; who can tell the difference anyways) sunbathing.
Sweep the leg! Put him in a body bag Johnny!
Fear doesn't exist in this dojo.
I have to admit, for the first few hours I kept expecting someone to have a meltdown. Or to need to stop to change a diaper. Or find a place that is safe for Emily to eat. Allowing ourselves to enjoy the flexibility of being on our own was a little discombobulating.

But we got over that pretty quickly and had a great time. We stayed up late and laughed hard and slept in (well I did. Allen got up at 6 and read the paper and such things.) and just enjoyed being Allen and Traci for a while.

It felt really good to have "us" back for a couple of days.


Where We're At: Emily

Miss Emmy is 16 months old now. She is a real force to be reckoned with and has a bigger than life personality. She has an effervesent presence and is extremely charming. She is a social butterfly and a complete clown. She is a busy little girl; she almost never sits still and is always into something. She likes to raid the pantry and I often find soup cans and other items scattered throughout the house. She still loves to climb and spends a lot of her day teetering off of the chairs while leaning on the table's edge. She already loves sports. She can dribble a soccer ball and set up the softball tee and hit the ball by herself. Have a mentioned she's a total self-starter?

She continues to be a pretty happy child most of the time. She has, however, perfected the "witching hour meltdown" and is mostly unhappy from about 5:30 till 7 p.m. every night. Outside of those few hours, she is content to play by herself or with her sisters. But, she also enjoys tormenting Addison a lot of the time. Addie tries so hard to be kind, but Emily doesn't usually want the attention. I do catch them hugging and comforting each other some of the time so I know this is just a stage.

Emily has finally started napping in her crib. Up to this point, she was napping in her swing. She is down to one nap a day and goes down without a fuss. She also (finally) goes to bed at night without screaming herself to sleep. It's only taken almost a year and a half to get here, but at least we've climbed that mountain.

Emily uses a few words to help express herself. She can say, "Thank you, please, night-night, Addie, Enzo, dog, Mama, Dad, and ya." She uses sign language to tell us when she's all done with her meals (or anything else for that matter). She also nods and shakes her head when she's tired and wants to tell us how she's feeling but doesn't want to talk.

Emily is really attached to her pacifier. Because neither of our other girls were ever "binky babies", this is new for me. I try not to spend too much time worrying about it because I know at some point she'll ditch the thing. She won't go to Kindergarten with a pacifier in her face.

Emily's shown some change with regard to her food allergies. With reflux medication, it seems she can eat a few more foods without an allergic response. This tells me that maybe some of her allergy symptoms were actually reflux symptoms. She has eaten gold fish crackers without any type of response. Those things have all of the top allergens in them so that is encouraging. However, she is still "not thriving" by clinical standards as she's only gained one pound in the last 10 months. We do see her allergist this month and will follow up with testing and the dog allergy problem to find out if we will have to be a dog free family or not.

Despite her pretty limited diet, she loves to eat most foods. She opens the pantry door or tries to climb into her high chair when she is hungry. She's starting to notice when she's not allowed to eat what the other kids are having and has been really frustrated a few times. I try really hard to always have a substitute for her to avoid making her feel left out.

Little Emmy is shaping up to be a dynamic little girl. With all of the challenges she has given us, she has also greatly blessed our lives. She is an easy girl to love. This next year will prove to be a lot of fun as she grows up and becomes more independent and better able to express herself.


Weighty Matters

I'm about 6 weeks into my Medifast program. I've lost 25 lbs. I've learned a lot about myself in this short amount of time.

My Triumphs have been:

- eating only my medifast meals and lean and greens unless I specifically plan otherwise (like on vacations or a very special occasion - I allow myself to have one "cheat" meal a week)
- not giving into emotional cravings
- I'm on day 5 of being alone with the kids while Allen's out of town and haven't cheated. (on the diet. geez. what's wrong with you guys?)
- went to McDonalds to get Lexi an ice cream after the first day of school and didn't order any food. Just a regular sized Diet Coke (for those of you who know me, this is HUGE)
- I can now tell the difference between hunger and thirst
- I can tell the difference between boredom and hunger
- We went to the baseball game and I didn't get a single thing. Not one.

My Fails have been:
- feeling impatient
- allowing my hunger or frustration to effect my behavior negatively
- not drinking all of my water each day; it's hard to get that gallon down sometimes

Why I like this particular program:
- it's nutritionally balanced
- it's basically fool proof
- I don't take any drugs or appetite suppressants so I'm really having to listen to my body.
- I've been successful at it while raising three small children on inconsistent exercise.
- The results are quick enough that I stay motivated.

Why I don't:
- The food can be a bit dull, but it's good enough that I'm sticking with it so it can't be that bad.

What I look like now:

Thanks to my photographer for this shoot: Lexi
So it's a bit cheesy, but I was trying to do this while the kids were running around yelling and we were running out the door to school. I'm kinda proud I was willing to take the picture; I haven't allowed a full body picture of myself to be taken for about 3 years.



Granpda Tweet turned 97 this year. Aunt Marti was in town so we had a little shindig at our place.

I have so many fond memories of my time with Granpda. I was his shadow when we went for visits. While he wasn't a perfect man, he was the perfect grandfather.

I love seeing the light in his eyes when he's around the girls. They shower him with affection and dote on him every minute that he's here. He comes to life when they are present.

I am so grateful for this time. I'm so grateful my girls know him and might even have some memories of him. He is a treasure to our family and I would love to have yet another birthday to celebrate with him next year.


I Ain't No Short Order Cook!

Oh. Wait. Yes I am. 

For Lexi. Our now "normal" eater.
For Addison. To accommodate the feeding aversion.
For Emily. Our child who is allergic to soy, dairy, gluten and eggs. (Yes, those are yolks. She can eat those thank goodness.)
For me. My "lean and green" meal. 
This is what every meal looks like around my place. Every body has to eat different.  I can't wait till the day when I can serve everyone the same thing and not have to put up with this!
So I guess the means I'm running a restaurant, too.


Lexi's First Day of School

Lexi started kindergarten this year. I had a lot of people ask me if I was going to cry. My response was always the same: Heck no! I've been waiting for this day for the last five years. 

Lexi was ready. I was ready. Her sisters were ready. It was time for Lexi to leave the nest. 

We went on a special school shopping trip and she chose her very own backpack.  I'm pretty sure she put it on about 2 hours before we had to leave.
Lexi's version of silly face.
Lexi, Addie and Emily
Lexi and Addie doing silly face.

What little girl wouldn't want her Dad to walk her to school?
Lexi with Mrs. Silva, her teacher.
Our school has a separate playground just for the kindergarten kids.
Our very own, very animated kindergarten yard duty.
Every morning they sing a silly song while they stand in line.
Lexi's classroom.

Lexi had a great first day. 

 And there really was no crying at all.

You Know You're a Redneck...

when this is your version of "home theater seating":


Knot Head

Allen's been complaining of a stiff neck and shoulder. He attributes it to the many hours he has spent carrying his laptop and luggage through airports and such. 

I attribute it to this:

Allen's pillow.


Well, Did You Ponder?

Shall I explain my thinking behind the previous post? This is an idea I've tumbled around in my brain as Allen and I are challenged in our role as parents.

Neither of us has spent much time, aside from our time as parents, with young children. Or studying young children. Our career choices had nothing to do with children. Our hobbies generally had nothing to do with children. In fact, we chose to avoid childhood development classes as electives in college.

So, we are kind of flying by the seat of our pants with this whole parenting young children thing. Besides conferring with moms whose children exemplify the behaviors I want my own kids to have, implementing gospel teaching into our daily lives, and going with my gut, we've had nothing but our own childhood experiences to help guide us on this journey.

Allen often says, "When I was a kid..." when we discuss discipline for our girls. But what it's easy to forget as we reach back to our own experiences for current direction is that our memories do not include our early childhood years in much detail. There are snippets, flashes or cloudy recollection, but nothing concrete.

And I don't care what you say, no one accurately remembers much before the age of two.

Put this together. What did you determine? If you are parenting from your memories, you are probably using techniques that are appropriate for the 8 and up range. No, really. Think about most of your memories about discipline. Do you remember how your mom consistently reacted to you at 18 months? Unlikely. Three? Perhaps, but on a consistent basis? Doubtful. Five? Ok, yeah, more often, but it's still sketchy I bet.

But, you can clearly recall when you were 8 or 9 and really ticked off Mom or Dad. Or totally broke curfew at 16. Those moments are crystal clear and will serve you well when your kids are 8 or 16. But not 2, 3 or even 5.

I've tried to fill that unavoidable and very human gap by reading many, many books on childhood development and different parenting styles. Thank goodness I have! Otherwise, I'd be lecturing my 18 month old about using logic go come to daily conclusions. Or making them write sentences. Or drilling their windows shut with bolts (not that my parents would ever need to bolt my window shut...).

I put this out there so that those of us who are in the extremely influential position of parenting the young children of this world will take a minute to evaluate our approach. To build a relationship of trust with your child, you must prepare them for your expectations, explain your expectations in a way they can truly understand and make consequences that fit the crime. Over punishing a young child will not only negate the lesson, but it will also create a relationship built on doubt and insecurity.

And that will ruin your chance to use all those awesome techniques you have in your arsenal because you will have no relationship with them at all.


Ponder This

If you are parenting from memories of your childhood and your parent's techniques


your children are under the age of 8


you are parenting above their ability to understand, reason and respond. 


Pillow Talk...Riddle Style

{Allen kneeling bedside for nightly personal prayer.}

Me {reading a book in bed. Sing-song mocking}: It's not gonna heeellllpppp...

Allen {trying to stifle open laughter}: SSSHHHH! I'm praying for your soul!

Silence as Allen commences praying.

Me {snake-like whisper}: s-s-s-s-s-s-sinner.



I've stopped reading food blogs and watching Food Network.


I love to cook.

I love people to eat what I cook.

I love when they are filled with warm, gooey, satisfying goodness and complete satisfaction because of something I made.

But, alas, reading about and watching the creation of such ooey, gooey goodness has prompted many late night inventions.

Most of which are exceedingly delightful.

But also exceedingly fatty.

And it hasn't really helped me as much as I thought it would.

As I've known to do, I'm choosing to be black and white on the issue.

I figure better no temptation at this point.

What purpose would that serve me?

None. It would be sabotage. And I don't want to be one of those self-defeatist type people.

(Plus, I think it makes people hesitant to be your friend.)

I do miss them. (The foodie things. Not my friends. I still have most of them.)

You know what I don't miss?

The 16 lbs. I've lost.


Today I'm Grateful For...

Our rockin' health benefits.

Emily has needed omeprazole for her reflux since day 2. We use Zegerid 40 mg packets. They are not available over the counter. We get a whole box of little packets once a month.
This is what we pay once a month to keep her insides where they belong.

 This is what we would pay without insurance:

A crack cocaine habit would cost less.
 Like I said, I'm grateful for our rockin' benefits.

About Me

My photo
What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.