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…

IMG_2598 - Copy

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!




Christmas 2013

Sirena’s second Christmas was a total blast–it was so amazing to see how much she had grown from last Christmas (see photos at this link) and how much she started really understanding what was going on!  The funniest thing was that every time she saw a picture, a toy, a lawn ornament, whatever of Santa she’d call him, “Ho, ho, ho.”  🙂

However, she was not the Jolly Man’s biggest fan in the slightest. Case in point…photos from out front of my mom’s house where a Santa on holiday was hanging out for the month…



Trimming the tree with Aunt TT…


We decorated reindeer sugar cookies before getting started on the ornaments.


Just like Mama, she couldn’t resist!


I’ll give you two guesses to choose which ones Sirena made…


Admiring her work


Making silly faces in the ornaments with Mama



Showing TT some ornaments


Hanging out with Dee too!


Breakfast with Santa at Rancho Los Alamitos…

The weather turned downright nasty the morning the Breakfast with Santa event at Rancho Los Alamitos was scheduled but we didn’t let it get us down and made a fun (albeit muddy) morning out of it.


You know you’re at a rancho when they decorate with farm animals, lol!


Sirena’s not looking too impressed…


But what did impress her?…


A horse, of course.



Isela, baby Luna, and Christian trying to keep dry



Mom and Steve dancing the rain away




Christmas Eve with the Delmar family…


She wasn’t quite sure what to do with all of these things wrapped in paper, but eventually she got the hang of it!







Tina’s looking less-than-excited that I got a pocket knife from my Mom, lol!


Christmas morning with Mom, Dad, and Auntie Jessie…





Christmas Day with the Edmonds family…



Loving her Hello Kitty piano book from Grandma and Grandpa


One of many new airplanes she inherited


Cuddling with Grandpa


Needless to say, all of the holiday festivities wiped this girl out!

Our 2013 Christmas card:

Xmas card 2013

Sirena’s Monthly Photos: 18 Months Old

Dear Sirena,

I really can’t grasp the fact that we have an 18 month old on our hands!  You’re a full-fledged toddler now and the little person you’re becoming is pretty amazing.

Unfortunately, your eighteenth month started off a little rocky.  For four days you were vomiting and had diarrhea, you couldn’t hold any food down and that led to you being really dehydrated.  We took you to the doctor’s and we had to make the decision to give you an iv to get fluids in you.  That experience was one of the hardest so far in this adventure we call parenting–it was downright torturous for you but it was also pretty traumatic for me and Daddy who had to help pin you down while they put the needle in and then try to comfort you as much as you could handle while the iv did its job.  Luckily the torture was not in vain and you recovered pretty quickly after that.  But then you developed a double ear infection (your first experience) so now you’re on antibiotics (your first experience with that too) and it seems that you’re finally on the mend.

On a lighter note, Daddy and I are blown away by the vocabulary you’re picking up on each moment of the day.  You’ve begun naming things yourself and some of me and Daddy’s favorites are: Baby (blankie), baba (pacifier), boo-boo (booty), Lalo or Laloo (Lola), and “Maaah-meee” (Help please, More please, Yes please, Up please).

Christmas is only a couple of weeks away and you are really getting into the holiday spirit.  Every time you see anything vaguely related to Christmas (picture of Santa, Christmas tree, Christmas lights, etc.) you quickly exclaim, “Ho, ho, ho” like the little Christmas elf you are.



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

Sirena’s Monthly Photos: 17 Months Old

Dear Sirena,

Lately you have been the littlest walking contradiction–one minute you are in the very depths of your (early) terrible twos and the next you are mama’s little helper and little miss manners.

You get frustrated really easily when you can’t do something (like lift a heavy object and place it on a high step or you can’t open up a drawer on your own) or you don’t want to do something (like some mornings you are just so famished you are too tired to walk yourself to the kitchen and just want me to carry you there) and at times you proceed to cry the biggest tears and loudest wails I’ve ever seen/heard.  It’s gotten bad a few times where you throw your body on the ground or against the wall of your crib and, to be honest, it’s pretty unsettling to watch you do that.  But after getting down to your level, giving you a hug (which you always so desperately want in those moments) and validating your frustration and telling you what good things are on the horizon for you, you luckily shake it off and are back to your happy-go-lucky self after a few minutes.

On the flip side, you are one of the most helpful people I’ve ever met.  Anytime I ask you, “Can you help Mama with __?” you are quick to stop whatever you are doing to come to my aid.  You help clean your highchair after meals, you pick up and put away your toys and books when I ask you to, and you help feed Lola her food every day (which I consider your first chore!)  And for the past couple of months we’ve been working on your manners by saying “Please” (“More, please!” and “Help, please!”), “Thank you,” and “Excuse me, Lola” (instead of pushing her when she gets in your way).  In the last two weeks I have heard you say “Help, please!” and “Thank you” completely unprompted and that has made me so so so so so so proud of you!

There are so many parts to your personality that we are discovering each and every day and although at times all we can do is cross our eyes in total bewilderment by your quirky behaviors, overall we consider ourselves so proud and lucky to call you our baby girl.



The Seventeen Month Rundown

Milestones (The list is longer this time ’round because I missed her sixteen month post, oops!)

  • Tiny dancer: You love to move and shake your body and you have got the best rhythm and moves I’ve ever seen.  Your absolute favorite song to dance to is Cookie Monster’s “Share It Maybe” to the tune of pop song “Call Me Maybe.”  As soon as that music starts up you start shrugging your shoulders, lifting your arm back, tapping your feet, and shaking your booty.
  • Friends: Your friend Amelia and you are two peas in a pod because you spend two whole days together at daycare each week.  Amelia calls you “Suri” and when I say her name you get all excited.  She has taught you how to spin around in circles and you two give each other high-5’s which is so adorable to see.
  • “No”: You say this word a lot lately and you are very matter-of-fact when you say it.  In addition to saying it when you don’t want something, you also say it when you’re uncomfortable or scared.  At Halloween when people had masks/hats on, you would say “No” meaning you wanted them to take it off and be normal again.
  • “Mommy”: You also say this word a lot, but not necessarily meaning me as your mama.  You say it when you want something or when you’re excited about getting something.
  • Other words you can say: Bubbles, Moon, Ball, Banana, Lola, Shoes, Eyes, Nose, Mouth, Names of some people
  • Buckles: You are getting really good at buckling yourself into your car seat, stroller, and grocery cart chair (and luckily you haven’t learned how to unbuckle yourself yet!)
  • Night, night: Around 7pm every night you get really sleepy and the way you show us that it’s time for bed is you get your blankie or pillow or Dumbo stuffed animal and lay down on the floor with your booty up in the air.
  • “Milkie”: At 16.5 months we stopped breastfeeding.  I knew the end was coming for about a month or so because my supply had dropped quite a bit and it was hard that month emotionally to come to terms with it.  I was sad that we wouldn’t have that sweet, quiet bonding time any more…it was the only time I could get you to sit still and just be with me and it was the only time I could watch you fall asleep.  I had to go away for 3 days to Sacramento for a work trip and the timing was just too perfect so we basically stopped cold turkey the day before my trip.  It was physically painful and uncomfortable for about 5 days but when it was all said and done it felt like the right thing for us to do.  I am so proud that I was able to breastfeed you for as long as I did and I am so grateful to have all of those memories with you.

Monthly Photos

See past monthly 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!)

Sirena’s Monthly Photos: 15 Months Old

Dear Sirena,

You have been testing out your independence more and more these days and it’s really fun to see you attempt to navigate the world without Mama or Daddy right by your side showing you how to do things.  You’ve begun giving yourself tasks to accomplish and it’s entertaining to watch you–you will go into your dresser and grab out a handful of diapers, carry them across the room, and pile them on top of your little armchair; or you will tear up little pieces of toilet paper and stuff them into a container and dump them out to start all over again; or you will take out every item from the shelf and then stuff yourself into the shelf afterwards (but you haven’t quite grasped the task of clean-up afterwards).

You’re a busy little person who’s got a mind of her own with a whole lotta people to see and a whole lotta things to do.



The Fifteen Month Rundown


  • “No”–You have quickly mastered this word and everything it signifies.  Sometimes it can be frustrating (“Did you go potty?” “No” even though we know you did) sometimes we have to hide our expressions of amusement when you use it because it is so entertaining to see a little person who is so sure of herself and what she wants (or doesn’t want).

Monthly Photos

See past monthly 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

Halloween 2013

For Sirena’s second Halloween we decided to dress her as Goldilocks and Mama and Daddy could go as Mama Bear and Papa Bear (and don’t forget about our Lola Bear!)  Here are some photos from the Halloween festivities in October.

Her first visit to Pa’s Pumpkin Patch (and old Long Beach staple)…




Halloween Carnival at Point Fermin Lighthouse with Nani, Bopa, and Christian…


The Bear family



Her first time trick-or-treating! With her entourage… 😉



Her buddy Amelia came along for her first trick-or-treating experience as well! Along with her mama and daddy Kim and Frank, Nani, Grandma Dorothy, Aunt TT, and cousin Katelyn

Sirena’s Monthly Photos: 14 Months Old

Dear Sirena,

There are so many new things that you are learning every day and it just blows me and your Daddy away how much you soak it all in like a little sponge.  Your love for airplanes, helicopters, buses, and trucks has truly blossomed this month and it is so neat to see how much joy those big machines bring to you!  Every time you hear an airplane you point up in the sky and search for it and that could not make your Daddy, the-airplane-mechanic-who-runs-out-of-the-house-every-time-he-hears-a-jet-fly-overhead, happier.

The sweetest moment happened last week when I picked you up from daycare–it was a Tuesday afternoon, trash day, and you started shaking and made a “hmm” when you saw the big recycling truck approach so I decided to pause and let you watch it do its thing.  You watched in total and complete awe as the big mechanical arms came out and picked up the recycling bins and dumped their contents into the back of the truck.  Then when the truck approached I told you to “Say hi” and you waved and then the driver excitedly waved back at you and honked his horn which made you so happy!  It was such a neat moment and you seemed to have both made each other’s days.

I can’t wait to see what your interests are…if you’re going to be a little scientific, mechanical thinker like your Daddy or someone who loves art and the humanities like your Mama.  Heck, why not both?  We don’t want you to ever feel limited in what you can do and feel passionate about.



The Fourteen Month Rundown


  • She’s a walkin’!! She took her first 3 steps on 7/19, then took 10 steps on 7/30, and by the next week she was walking across the room. She still looks like a drunk sailor when trying to keep her balance but she’s getting the hang of it more and more.
  • Blowing kisses & giving people high-fives when they ask for one
  • Nodding her head “yes” and shaking her head “no”…she even says “yeah” when she’s nodding her head
  • Copying us and saying “mooo” when we ask her what noise a cow makes
  • When we chase her she sometimes “plays dead” by laying flat on the ground and waiting for us to approach her
  • She went on her first amusement park ride (the carousel) at the OC Fair!
  • She’s a turbo eater–she will stuff some food in her mouth and then ask for or grab another handful and try to put it in her mouth without having swallowed the first bite! We’re trying to teach her to chew what’s in her mouth first and she will mimic the chewing noise we make and then when we say “Let me see” she’ll stick her tongue out to show us that her mouth is empty.
  • And I think we might be entering some early stages of the “terrible twos”–she throws a tantrum every time we want to change her diaper (arching her back, squirming around trying to escape while crying really loud) and she occasionally will get really upset when she doesn’t get her way (once at a grocery store when I wouldn’t give her the balloon she wanted and once at the park when I told her we were all done with the swings). We’re doing our best not to give in to her demands because we feel she’s just testing our boundaries and we’re hopeful it will pay off in the end.  😉

Monthly Photos

See past monthly 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