girls @ the abbey

sweet girlfriends @ the local coffee shop.


Squid turns TWO!!

Today, Sydney learned to hold her fingers like this:

She enjoyed the happy birthday song, the yummy frosting on her cupcake and being surrounded by all these special friends. Thanks to everyone who shared in this special celebration (most of our birthdays are spent overseas) and gave such sweet & thoughtful gifts. Thanks to Corban, Bella & Myles for finally busting open the pinata!! I guess I added one-too-many layers of paper mache!

The warm weather held out for another weekend, tho the shade was a bit chilly. Sydney learned to swing a bat, tear open wrapping paper, and blow out her candle. She wasn't so skilled in these "normal" party skills. Those things come with maturity.

Her face was priceless when she opened her baby doll. There's something innate about little girls and their baby dolls. She held the baby tight the rest of the day like a sweet little momma. Yes, baby-doll replaced panda bear. Just for today tho.

McNabb girls & Namba boys (ages 5, 3 & 2!)


pre-birthday excitement

Sydney Grace is almost 2!! We are getting ready to throw her a party @ the park tomorrow, and we are finishing the last minute details today. This morning, the girls stuffed candy into her pinata and helped me pour cupcakes. I love pre-birthday excitement. Have we mentioned Sydney's obsession with panda bears??

Two years has gone by so fast!!

thankful heart

I am thankful for the beauty all around; green trees & crisp clean air, warm fleece jackets & knitted hats, delicious healthy food, my amazing (and handsome) husband & beautiful sweet girls, cherished friends & family, and timely Provision beyond my imagination. We have such a rich life!!


happy birthday Poppa Joe!!

Poppa turned 60 years young this year, so we celebrated with a delicious blueberry pie! Poppa is such a gift to our family!! He reads unending amounts of books to the girls, he has a plethora of voices for every puppet imaginable, he rides a loud Harley motorcycle, and he's always got time to sit down & talk. Poppa Joe - we love you and we are so grateful for your life!!

Poppa Joe with his daughter, aka "Auntie Jen"
Eden can't wait to be sixteen. She even knows she has 13 years to go.


old friends+new

I love these pictures, as they capture old friends and brand new ones too. Don't you love the sweetness of friendships that span time, distance, life & common bond? We love this fam.

We all had three girls. So fun!


butterflies with buddies

The monarch butterflies are in town! So were the SoCal Doan clan, along with Gigi Susan! We spent a fun-filled morning together eating a scrumptious brunch, decorating cookies with the kids AND hiking to see the Monarch Butterflies in the eucalyptus grove. Thanks auntie Susan for the spontaneous+creative idea!!

Here, she is teaching the girls about their migratory patterns.
She is so wise.
Samuel & Sydney soaking in the November sun
amigos for life.
we love you like fam


building confidence & esteem

I have heard that age 5 is an important step in building your understanding of WHO you are, and making huge choices about WHO you want to become. Its a fragile yet powerful time of growing up. Monumental opportunities arise for kids to gain confidence and find meaningful relationships that can shape them deeply. Bear with me as I process all that I am figuring out....

As I watched the girls interact with a group of American kids at Little Gym, I was amused & intrigued by their reservedness and yet curiosity to experiment within this context & their unique ideas. This was a wonderful chance for them to follow directions in a group, watch other kids speak up, and coordinate activities as one group. Now, this may sound silly - but when you grow up in a foreign place, there are few chances to interact like this. Asia was very social, interacting with friends and trying every apparatus. Eden drew back, watching intently - gaining confidence with each new achievement. She was so observant, but extremely giddy as she attempted new feats. Sometimes she could hardly contain her thrill, as she tried new things! Sydney clung to momma for comfort, but surprised us as she bounded across the inflatable bouncy thing - without a care!! I think she forgot she was barely 20 pounds amongst the big kids. The entire event was hilarious to watch, but I am learning so much about my girls. I love that they had this opportunity to explore gymnastics, creative movement, tumbling and hanging on bars like this!! ...especially while surrounded by such quality children! Thanks Bridgen clan for the amazing gift!!


tea parties with friends

Tea was first discovered in China, thousands of years ago. Medicinal properties were found, and it soon became a coveted trading commodity, reaching Japan, Tibet, and Central Asia... Tea then became fashionable and part of high society. It didn't come to Europe until the 1300's and has continued to spread to this day.

Tea Parties span generations, and every little girl loves sipping from dainty tea cups with friends. Over the past 2 weeks, Asia & Eden have hosted 7 little friends for tea & lunch, with the help of Nana & Jamma. The little princesses baked & decorated cupcakes, beaded necklaces, rolled candles and played lots of games. They learned about manners and hospitality too! Here are some of the highlights:

Katie, Claire, Asia & Eden - baking cupcakes
Claire & Asia - decorating with frosting
Their masterpieces
The tea party spread
hugs with the big girls
Aine, Eden, Asia & Niamh - such good friends!
Eden, Abby, Sophia, Asia & Bella
Sophia, Abby & Asia - so elegant!
Thanks little girls for sharing in the festivities. You all are such special friends to our 3 girls. Thank you Nana & Jamma for all your help organizing these sweet parties.