Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Schools out for summer

First grade is done for Marisa!
Her first school year back in the states has been a pretty good one. It started out rocky for me because I was crazy frustrated and semi paranoid with the U.S curriculum in the beginning. Marisa, on the other hand, couldn't contain herself she had so much excitement about school. She was counting down the days until school started because she loved it so much in the UK and missed it terribly. 
Without going on too much of a tangent, I struggled greatly with thoughts of Marisa plateauing academically when the school year started. Her kindergarten year in the UK was basically 1st grade level. Even Marisa showed a little concern when she said, "But I already did Year 1!" But after much prayer and discussion with Tim and some trusted friends, I was able to calm down a bit and just work around the curriculum/situation myself. As annoying as it is that I have to do that, a mom has got to do what a mom has got to do!

Marisa more than excelled at school this year. She wowed her teacher and performed above and beyond on her school work, tests, assessments, and skills.
Most importantly, she really grew individually and continues to blossom in such a bright young lady. I really am so, so proud of her. I love her.
Plus, she still loved school! She had 7 church members in her class, a great group of girls to play with, and a best friend. So all in all, it was a good year.

These girls played well together and are such cute buddies. Look at my little pip squeak! haha

Marisa with her best friend, Katya. These two I tell ya...

And Marisa with her fabulous 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Downing! Now off to 2nd grade!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

18 month check-up

Weight: 24 lbs 3 ounces 50 percentile
Height: 32 1/2" 60 percentile
Head: 19 1/4" 90 percentile

-Greatest cheesy smile you have ever seen.
-Still a Momma's boy...
-LOVES to eat. Like all day long.
-Loves watching trucks, especially garbage trucks every Friday.
-Loves watching shows about cars like "Mater's Tall Tales".
-Quickly drops everything he is doing to look up to find the noise of airplanes or helicopters in the sky.
-Sleeps with his "Meester" (A stuffed monkey from Easter last year that daddy named.)
-Hates getting his hair done. Always runs away from me, with a smile of course.

-Follows his sisters everywhere. He can't be left out of the fun!
-Says "no" very emphatically now.
-Says "tickle-tickle", "me too", and "baby".
-Makes the funniest facial expressions.
-Has to be outside always. He especially loves the pool and is not afraid of water.

-Sweetly bows his head really low and loudly says "Amen" when prayers are being said.
-Ready to give kisses to everyone in the family. Especially after bedtime prayers.
-Obsessed with making sure he has his shoes on in the morning because to him it means we get to go somewhere!

I'm so in love with this little man of mine.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

{New York City} Flashback: Day 3, 4, and 5

Monday was considered a travel day for Tim so we had one more full day of playing together. And the first thing on our list for today was good food of course! The famous Grimaldi's was on both of our lists. (An actual first for Tim!) We again arrived at perfect time. No waiting. And our vote... best pizza hands down. Way better than Lombardi's! Even thinking about it makes me salivate.

NYC is full of culture and I have come to find out through walking that there is also a lot of unique street art. On our walk toward the metro we came across this colorful wall! How cool!

I'm not sure why the Flat Iron Building was another sight on my list, other than the fact that I think it looks cool and that I wanted to see it in person. Unique architecture is another thing I love about big cities.

I'm going to admit. I had a list of foodie places in NYC just as long as my list of sights. Maybe even longer. Now, Doughnut Plant. People. You MUST try this place if you are visiting the city. Not only was this place the cutest place on the block inside and out, their choices for donuts were unreal! Just reading the choices had my mind blown.
I couldn't decide which one I wanted so I did the most logical thing. I got them all. {Tres Leches, Blackout, Coconut Lime, Wild Blueberry, Cinnamon Sugar, and Raspberry} And yes, I ate more than Tim.

I have seen a couple theater shows in London but not in NYC so Broadway was another thing on my list. We decided to wait in line for the discounted tickets for the show we wanted for today. We arrived at exactly 3 p.m. when the lines open up and to our astonishment the line was a lot longer than we imagined! We reluctantly yet willing got at the end of the line thinking we were going to have to wait for a couple of hours or so when at that very same second a gentleman who works for the discount ticket booth taps my shoulder and with no words signals for me to follow him. I instantly knew why and I couldn't believe it. Yup, because I was visibly preggo he literally led us to THE very front of the line. We skipped everyone who had been waiting for hours and only waited for 5 minutes total before we had our tickets in hand!! Tim's face was one of triumph as we stood right at the front. I mean, he is the one who got me pregnant after all and he seemed to be happily benefiting from his wife being so pregnant! ;)
So what did we do with all this extra time we now had? We went back to the hotel and I took a nap! Heaven. I got to relax and freshen up for our evening out.

For dinner, we met up with the Blanchards again, Rachel and Bryant, for an amazing Indian cuisine at Darbar. Just as good as London. My taste buds were jumping for joy to get their craving filled again.

We sadly had to rush out of there to catch our show. We saw the Phantom of the Opera. It was a really nice date out with my love. And as much as I really don't like Times Square I loved walking through it hand in hand with my handsome guy afterwards. The lights and the city walk just suits us.

The next two days Tim had to work so I got to explore the city by myself! I was less hesitant to get out and about than before because I felt more confident using public transportation after doing so for two years in a foreign land. (Although can I just say that the metro is so disgustingly dirty and so much more confusing and less accessible than the tube!)

I wanted to find something like the Borough Market in London. My mistake. There is nothing like the Borough Market but Chelsea Market was kinda cute to explore. I got to enjoy a nice artisan lunch by myself and do a lot of window shopping.

I spent the rest of the afternoon with Rachel and Jono at the park. Chatting with a good friend is very good for the soul.

After some more window shopping I decided to head back. My hernia from this pregnant was really starting to get to me after so many days of walking. I can't believe at 33 weeks pregnant in London I was cruising the cities with two kids in tow with zero problems. I am a serious suburban wimp now. I don't like it.

Tim took me to a steak house for dinner at Wolfgang. I prefer Maestros, a local steakhouse here in Orange County but steak when pregnant for this girl is always greatly appreciated!

On my final day in NY I didn't really want to do too much. I took a short simple stroll through Rockefeller Center. I have been keeping my eye out for some souvenirs for the girls and I came across the American Girl Doll store! Bingo! I bought them a couple of outfits that say New York on it for their dolls and a cute Statue of Liberty outfit for their stuffed animal. It was a huge hit!

I am so grateful for these small opportunities to travel. Tim and I really love to travel and hopefully we can have some amazing adventures in the states with the kids as life calms down a little more as the newborn baby phase phases out. I'm sure we will visit this great city soon as the girls were sad that we got to go. They want to see the Statue of Liberty really badly. Gotta help them cross off their bucket list too!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

{New York City} Flashback: Day 1 and 2

Tim and I miss traveling immensely. Like, it immensely hurts us physically. Last year Tim had to leave for business to NYC on our actual anniversary day. We also just moved into our home in Orange County the day before this said trip so I couldn't tag along. This year, around our anniversary again Tim was scheduled for NYC for a week and I made sure he didn't leave without me!

Even though this trip required no passport, no exotic sights, NYC is still fun to visit. I was looking forward to being surrounded by city life again, sightseeing, and one-of-a-kind city exclusive food. And what a great way to baby-moon too!

Another major plus about this trip is that our best friends, the Blanchards, from London, had recently moved back to NYC and we couldn't wait to be reunited with them! As soon as we landed we went straight to their house and chatted late into the night like old times. Oh, how we have missed them and their kiddos! They really are our forever friends.

Sunday, the next morning, we didn't skip a beat. In fact, we managed to squeeze so much more than originally planned.

We had to make a stop at Grand Central Station into the city and even though I had been there before, I couldn't help but take pictures.

My top tourist attraction on my bucket list was Brooklyn Bridge. Tim has been to NYC so many times before so it was nothing new to him, but I think he enjoyed my company as a first timer on almost all our adventures ;).

I think the bridge looked a lot better in person, up-close, than from a far. Of course, we had to walk across the bridge so I can cross that off my list too. We entered the bridge on the Brooklyn side toward Manhattan and that proved to be the best way to do it. It was so crazy busy on the other side with tourist and people taking pictures. Instead we got to enjoy a great view and the great ambiance of NYC.
We also bought Darren's taxi souvenir right on the bridge. How cute are these little cars for little boys?

Now as for lunch, Tim knew about Lombardi's so he took me to some good ol' NY pizza. Nothing completes a day in NYC than pizza right? It hit the right spot for the both of us.

Little Italy happened to be close by so we thought we would walk through it to say that I have been there on our way to our next destination. It wasn't really what I expected. Just a small little street and their gelato...fake. I guess I might be a little harsh after living in Europe but I mean...come on.

Last time I visited the World Trade Center area was when Natalie was just 6 weeks old and I had only seen the construction sight for the rebuilding. This time I was able to go see the Freedom Tower and the reflection pool complete! After I took my pictures around the pool I turned around to look around the block and envision what it may have been like on 9/11. I tried envisioning the panic, the shock, the questions...the moment the first tower fell...the second...what a scary, scary thought. I couldn't help but feel very vulnerable as an American.

Another unexpected stop on this day was the New York City Temple. Seeing the angel Moroni right in the middle of the city was a happy sight.

Lastly, Central Park. I have never been to Central Park. It is a lot like the Royal parks in London. It took me back to my city life experience. Everyone sunbathing in the grass, picnics with family and friends... So Tim and I just did that. We sat ourselves in a nice shaded spot and enjoyed the ambiance once again. It is funny that with our city life in busy London we found ourselves at the park taking time out to breathe and relax a lot more than we do in our current suburban life. I really miss doing this. Check out this view!

For dinner, this preggo wanted the famous Shake Shack. We didn't go to the original location. We went to the one by Central Park instead and arrived at the perfect time too. Our wait was not long at all. But as we were leaving, the line was wrapped around the corner.
I actually really liked my Shack Burger and strawberry milkshake. I think the milkshake is way better than In-n-Out. And I think the baby in my tummy really appreciated my bites for the night too... :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Daddy Day!

The kids and I are the luckiest to have this handsome daddy! See?! 
He is such a hardworking, fabulous, husband and father.
(One of the main reasons I married this man is because I knew he would be a stellar father. Seriously.)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Last day of preschool

We loved Natalie's first year of preschool in the UK and her second year of preschool back in the states has been just as wonderful.  Little did I know, until I arrived at her preschool orientation, that like half her class were people from church! It was such a pleasant surprise and a great source of comfort and easy transition for us all.  Natalie got to join a carpool with her friends who not only live close and go to church with her, but also go to school with her! Is this not the cutest carpool you have ever seen?

They have become such cute friends of Natalie's and I absolutely loved hearing all their cute little conversations and comments in the car. {Harper, Natalie, Ellie}

We also lucked out on having 3 great wonderful teachers who really took the time to love and to get to know my little Natalie.

{Mrs. Debbie}: Who whispered to me that Natalie was her favorite... ;)

{Miss Kendra}: Who also whispered to me that Natalie was one of her favorites...

{Mrs. Leah}: Who is the sweetest, nicest, cutest, preschool teacher ever! As sad as Natalie was to walk away after her preschool party knowing that she wasn't going to come back, she does look forward to going to the same school as big sister Marisa. Kindergarten here we come!


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