Yearly Archives: 2014

Sirena’s Monthly Photos: 23 Months Old

Dear Sirena,

We are blown away by the little-big-kid you are becoming each and every day.  You are so independent–wanting to do things on your own (like putting on and taking off your clothes, combing your hair, bathing yourself), but at the same time you are also so clingy with mommy lately–needing her at sometimes the most inopportune moments, demanding her attention and that she pick you up righththismoment (and with that quivering lower lip and those tear-filled eyes, it is sometimes so hard to resist!)  I have to remind myself (a lot) in those stressful moments that these days will be over in the blink of an eye and one day I will long for your constant need for your “Mommy.”  <3

You have got a BIG personality that shines ever-so-brightly.  Here are some of the fun things you’ve been up to lately:

  • You order your big sister “Lalo” around, telling her to go outside or get her ball or stop biting herself (just like Mama and Daddy, haha!)
  • You want to tell us stories so bad, babbling away, making up words and using hand movements to share all of your wild thoughts with us
  • You have become quite the jokester: huge belly laughs after something funny happens, you love it when you make us laugh (and continue to do whatever it was to try and get the same reaction from us), and your Nani taught you some fun tricks that you enjoy doing:
    • High-Five fun: “High-Five,” “Down Low,” “Cut the Pickle” (putting the tips of your index fingers together and having someone “cut” down the middle with their finger), “Tickle, Tickle!” (tickling yourself instead of tickling the other person, haha!)
    • Lil’ Trickster: Pointing to someone’s chest and asking, “What’s that?” then as they look down you run your finger up to their chin and nose (and then you proceed with cracking up because you always get a good reaction out of people doing that!)
  • You sing all the time, from sun up (we hear you signing to yourself in your bed over the baby monitor as soon as you wake up) to sun down. Your favorite songs lately are “Happy Birthday” (you know all the words!), “Itsy Bitsy Spider” (with hand movements), “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” and your old standby, “Old MacDonald.”
  • You’re a true dancing machine. You really feel the music and get down with your bad self and you rocked out with your friend Sadie at your Aunt Sarah and Uncle Rob’s wedding this past month, tearing up the dance floor!
  • Your favorite activity still is changing your baby doll’s diapers but nowadays as soon as you put a new diaper on you say “Eww!” and proceed to take it right off saying “Poo poo” each and every time.  I think we may need to take your baby doll to the doctor for the amount of diapers she soils in any given sitting…
  • On a similar note, this past month we started potty training!  You love your big girl chonies (Elmo and Dora designs that you picked out yourself) and you love the concept of using the potty (even taking your babies to the potty and reading to them like a good little mama)

Less than a month before your second birthday…  It’s so hard to believe but you are most definitely a little big kid now and I know that 2 is going to be a ton more fun!



New words: “Chubbies” (strawberries), “Rella” (Cinderella), “Yeah” (You don’t say “Aye” anymore!), “Lola” (this is what you call Dora, but yet you call Lola “Lalo,” ha!)

Monthly Photos

See past photos in her mini armchair here:

One Month ::  Two Months ::  Three Months

Four Months ::  Five Months ::  Six Months

Seven Months ::  Eight Months ::  Nine Months

Ten Months ::  Eleven Months ::  Twelve Months

Thirteen Months ::  Fourteen Months :: Fifteen Months

(No Sixteen Months!)  ::  Seventeen Months ::  Eighteen Months

Nineteen Months ::  Twenty Months ::  (No Twenty One Months!)

Twenty Two Months

Sarah + Rob’s wedding

We were so happy to share in Kevin’s sister Sarah and our new brother-in-law Rob’s big day! They had an incredible wedding at an ultra-cool, hip spot in LA and we all had an absolute blast.

We hosted their rehearsal dinner at our home a couple of nights before. The theme was Southern-inspired because of their time living in New Orleans and it was so fun coming up with decor for the party.


I made four table runners with different love-inspired Southern quotes. This one reads: Love and marriage go together like grits and gravy.



I made those cotton branches! I could not find them anywhere so had to make ’em myself with fake flower stems from Michael’s and hot gluing cotton balls on the branches. I think they turned out great if I do say so myself! 🙂



Sirena with her new Aunt Ashley


Pinching Daddy’s cheeks



The lovely couple giving a toast


Photos from the wedding!







The flower girls


Katelyn was the flower girls’ escort


“We did it!”



Father and daughter





And then the Converse go on…




…and then the fluffy dress goes off and is replaced by a light cotton dress and pants…for dancing!


Get down with your bad self, Sirena!


Oh the DONUTS!


I think this photo speaks for how amazing those donuts were!

Sirena’s Monthly Photos: 22 Months Old

Dear Sirena,

Your little life has been flashing before our very eyes–case in point, I completely forgot to take your 21 month photo, oops!  It’s hard to believe that there are only two more of these “Dear Sirena” monthly posts/photos left.  I’m sure the letters will keep coming but not on the same schedule and not accompanying the chair photos any more (which I guess is a good thing because it’s starting to take bribes [gummy bears] to get you to sit on your bottom on the chair long enough to snap a photo!).

You have really blossomed these past two months into more of a social butterfly–even though it still takes you a while to warm up to new people or to a crowd, once you do warm up there is no stopping you!  You wave and say “hi” to just about everyone you see, you will sing or tell stories on command, and you LOVE LOVE LOVE to dance no matter who’s looking.  Last month your Uncle Thomas married your new Aunt Ashley on the royal Queen Mary ship and that’s where we really saw you start to change–you warmed up really quickly to some out-of-town family you’d never met before, Aunt Quincie and Uncle Mo, even giving hugs and blowing kisses to them, and you partied the night away, shakin’ your stuff to the music and making your presence known on and off the dance floor.

On the academic front, you’ve made some pretty big strides lately.  For quite a while when I would ask you to count you would only say “one,” then that morphed into skipping “one” and only saying “two, three,” and just last week you skipped “one, two, three,” and went straight into “four, five, six!”  You also named one of your baby dolls “Nine” so it seems you are very fond of numbers.  Colors are also coming along just fine.  For a while everything was “boo” (blue) and lately everything has magically changed to “burple” (purple).  Sometimes you’re spot on with orange or yellow or green but most times if I ask you what color something is, it’s either “boo” or “burple.”  You also recognize letters/words and you’ll point to something (like a license plate) and say “E.”  It’s so amazing to witness your little brain at work!

Lately when people ask me how old you are I’ve been telling them, “She’s just shy of 2.”  It’s really, really hard to believe that in less than two months you’ll be a big 2 year old!  But you seem ready for it–just this morning I said something about you being my baby and you said, “No.”  I asked you, “Oh, are you a big kid then?” and you replied, “Aye” (yes).

No matter how big of a big kid you become, you will always and forever be my baby.



Monthly Photos

See past photos in her mini armchair here:

One Month ::  Two Months ::  Three Months

Four Months ::  Five Months ::  Six Months

Seven Months ::  Eight Months ::  Nine Months

Ten Months ::  Eleven Months ::  Twelve Months

Thirteen Months ::  Fourteen Months :: Fifteen Months

(No Sixteen Months!)  ::  Seventeen Months ::  Eighteen Months

Nineteen Months ::  Twenty Months ::  (No Twenty One Months!)

Sirena’s first visit to Disneyland!

We had an amazing opportunity to be signed in by a Disney cast member friend of ours for a free visit to Disneyland…not only us, but Kevin’s entire family!  Sirena hadn’t watched a ton of tv leading up to this point and only really knew a few of the characters just by seeing them in stories but it was so apparent to her being there within those gates that Disneyland was a special place.  It was really amazing to see!


Checking out the sights just outside of the park with Grandpa


Kisses for cousin Katelyn



Sirena and Sadie checking out each other’s Disney-themed outfits



Okay now we’re in the…Sirena, lead the way!











By mid-afternoon (way past her normal nap time) she was WIPED and slept on my shoulder the entire queue of Pirates


Desperate for some peace and quiet!

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Family photo with the Mouses 🙂

Thomas + Ashley’s wedding

We set aboard the majestic Queen Mary for the royal wedding of Kevin’s brother Thomas and our new sister-in-law Ashley and we had a blast!

The night before, Ashley invited her bridesmaids + me and Katelyn to spend the evening on board the ship and go on a ghost tour…it was AWESOME.


Katelyn and me getting ready for our haunted tour!


Amazing details in every corner of the room we stayed in.


An impromptu dance session between Katelyn and Aunt Sarah


The creepiest place on the whole tour…the swimming pool!


Thomas and Katelyn were chosen to hold the dowsing rods which we were told we could use to communicate with the dead. Thomas got a little bit of action but Katelyn got a TON of action. The ghost communicating with Katelyn was a little kid who said she liked Katelyn’s shoes of choice: big, fluffy Minnie Mouse house slippers! It was really neat.


The wedding was beautiful, on one of the decks overlooking the Long Beach coastline. The reception was a ton of fun–great food, good company, and Sirena was a dancing/entertaining machine all night. It was the latest she had stayed up ever (I don’t think we got in our car until 11pm!) and she was a real trooper.


Me, Katelyn and Sirena ready for the party!


Checking out the ship



Sirena and Sadie happened to match in hot pink dresses. Cutie pies!


Girls will be girls–no matter how dressed up they are, they’ll be wrestling around on the floor, lol!


First dance!


The tower of a cake…delicious!


Smiles during co-Best Man Kevin’s speech


George giving a toast


Sirena and Nani


Me and my party animal

Sirena’s Monthly Photos: 20 Months Old

Dear Sirena,

You have such a caring, empathetic soul and it warms our hearts how much you show care and compassion for others, especially babies…you LOVE babies!  You got a baby doll for Christmas and you care for her better than any parent could (other than when you drop your baby on the head on the wood floor, haha).  Every time you see a picture of a baby, you have to point it out and say “Baby” in a very sweet voice.  If you ever hear a baby cry (like in a store) you call out “Baby!” and pout your lips because you feel so bad for the sad baby.  And you love (and I mean love) changing your baby’s diaper over and over and over again.  You say “boo boo” (which is anyone’s booty/privates according to you) and grab a new diaper and a wipe, wipe the baby’s boo boo, put on a fresh diaper, and then repeat.  You’ve put diapers on not only your baby doll but your monkey doll, Dumbo doll, and you’ve even suggested putting a diaper on Lalo (Lola) which I quickly put a stop to knowing Lola would not be a fan!

For all the sweetness lately there is definitely a side of you showing through that, in a word, has been difficult.  You have been testing us like any 20 month old does and at times it can be pretty trying.  You have been showing your defiance more and more, outright saying no to something we tell you to do or running away when we ask you to do something.  Sometimes it’s hard not to laugh because in a way it can be pretty comical having this little person show so much independence and defiance but we don’t want to encourage the behavior.  At your worst you’ve hit me and Daddy with your little hands when you are so frustrated with us and luckily it was only a couple of weeks with you doing that consistently and you haven’t done it much lately, but boy do those little hands have power behind them!  And lastly, it took us a while to figure out how to tame your wild behavior at mealtimes (demanding [and I mean demanding] food, screaming for more, not being able to wait a few minutes for us to put a meal together for you, crying inconsolably for mealtime, etc.) but your preschool teacher enlightened us to the fact that we weren’t feeding you enough throughout the day!  We have since been following your preschool’s feeding schedule (breakfast at home, morning snack, lunch before nap, afternoon snack, dinner at home) and you have been a dream at mealtimes!  Poor thing, you were just too darn hungry to focus and be calm.  So thank you for your patience with us as we figure this whole parenting thing out!



New words: Me, Mine!!, ‘xcuse me, “Aye” (She says this instead of “Yes”), “Mow” (Minnie or Mickey Mouse), “Mow mow” (Hello Kitty or any cat)

Monthly Photos

See past photos in her mini armchair here:

One Month ::  Two Months ::  Three Months

Four Months ::  Five Months ::  Six Months

Seven Months ::  Eight Months ::  Nine Months

Ten Months ::  Eleven Months ::  Twelve Months

Thirteen Months ::  Fourteen Months :: Fifteen Months

(No Sixteen Months!)  ::  Seventeen Months ::  Eighteen Months

Nineteen Months

Sirena’s Monthly Photos: 19 Months Old

Dear Sirena,

The start of your 19th month also saw the start of a whole new calendar year and you rang it in with a bang, little girl!  Lots of BIG changes for you and you’ve been taking it all in like a champ.  Not only did we move into our first home as a family, you also started preschool two days a week and you’re the newest Pixie (that’s what they call the toddler group).  The first three days at the school were rough emotionally for you (Nani was reminded of your mama when she started preschool!) but luckily you found comfort in the teachers and would want to be held all day which they said was a good start.  By day four your teachers were amazed that after your nap you joined the other Pixies at the coloring table, you helped water the garden, and you showed your independence by taking a book to a bench in the garden and reading by yourself.  They couldn’t believe that this was the same Sirena!  So even though this big change has been an emotional roller coaster for your little self, overall it has been great for you because Daddy and I already notice a huge change in your vocabulary and singing and we can only imagine how much more you are going to develop over the coming weeks and months.

For all of the millions of things that you learn from me, Daddy, family, friends, teachers, etc. every day there are also some major things that you have taught me in your short existence on this planet and one of those things really became clear to me this past month.  For whatever reason I have always cared a lot about what other people think and that has, for better or for worse, translated into me caring about what other people think of you.  It takes you a while to warm up to new people and situations.  When you would cling to me and cry when someone else (even family) would try to hold you, I used to find myself making excuses for you: “She didn’t get her full nap today, she’s tired,” or, “She’s teething and hasn’t been feeling well lately.”  When it comes down to it, though…you are who you are and there is no reason to make excuses for that.  You are 100% genuinely Sirena in every moment of the day and that is something to be honored instead of dismissed.  I’ve since stopped making excuses for you and I’m doing my best to allow you to just be you.  So thank you for one of the many lessons that I’m sure you’re going to teach me in this lifetime together.

We are so excited for all of the amazing memories we are going to make in our new home, all of them including you and your sweet, incredible self.



New words this month: “Beeee” (airplane), “Mo-mo” (more), “Ya-ya” (snack), “Oh, Daddy” (you say this when you are sad and want Daddy to pick you up, it reminds us of Shirley Temple)

Monthly Photos

First photo in your new room (your Auntie Brianne and I painted those clouds on your wall!)

See past photos in her mini armchair here:

One Month ::  Two Months ::  Three Months

Four Months ::  Five Months ::  Six Months

Seven Months ::  Eight Months ::  Nine Months

Ten Months ::  Eleven Months ::  Twelve Months

Thirteen Months ::  Fourteen Months :: Fifteen Months

(No Sixteen Months!)  ::  Seventeen Months ::  Eighteen Months

Big changes! Our first home and Sirena’s first day at preschool

After 10 months of living in my Mom and Aunt Tina’s garage (all of us–me, Kevin, Sirena, and Lola) and savingsavingsaving we finally signed the papers for our first home just days after Christmas! What made it extra special was that we purchased a close family friend’s home which I had been visiting since middle school and the home is in a neighborhood just minutes from both of Sirena’s grandparents. The process was a lot smoother than the horror stories we’ve heard and we were beyond elated to finally hold the keys to our very first home.

The home was move-in ready which was great, we just spent a week painting, cleaning, and moving all of our junk in.


Sirena holding the keys to our first home!


Welcome home!!


I think she’s a fan of the house.


Enjoying her new big girl bedroom


We just showed her the closet door we painted with chalkboard paint, she was so excited.


A girl and her dog in their new backyard


Sirena’s first day at preschool…

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Out front before going in. She wasn’t sure what was quite in store for her yet!

The preschool director sent us photos throughout the day her very first day. Made it just a tad less hard to be away from her!