Sunday, March 13, 2011


Showing Grandma and Grandpa Higbee and Aunt Tammy our old stomping grounds in Topanga Canyon. Topanga State Park is one of our favorite places to go hiking and to just enjoy the day. We miss you all!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


These two have a special bond. They share a birthday afterall.


The three amigos.


It was a rainy wet afternoon and I was still in full recovery mode from my surgery, but since my brother was in town for the holidays I was determined to get out of the house and show him the sights. My brother was really interested in seeing the Disney Concert Hall and we both thought it would be fun to check out another Frank Gehry building (he was also the architect for the Experience Music Project in Seattle). I had to walk all hunched over like an old lady, but I somehow kept up and had a nice time. Looks like all that walking in the hospital was paying off. I did, however, test out every seat/bench in the place and I can assure you they are all quite comfortable.

Nothing like standing in the rain to get your picture taken.
My Seattle roots must run real deep since I didn't even think to bring an umbrella with us this day. It's funny, Seattleites don't use umbrellas. Ever. It would be permanently affixed to their hand if they did.

Inside the concert hall itself. I'd love to come back someday and see a live performance. I'm sure that would be amazing.

We were taking the self-guided tour.
We got to listen to these little hand-held devices that would educate us on every detail of the concert hall. Very informative. Unfortunately Gavin kept hogging mine.
And no, the walls are not pink inside....just looks that way from my little point and shoot camera.

The city view from the garden.

Our budding musician.
Maybe someday he'll perform in this very concert hall.

It's an amazing building and I'm glad to say that I have finally seen it. If you're ever in town I think it's worth a stop. The gift shop here was fabulous too.


The calm before the storm.

It was turning out to be the loveliest Christmas on record for our little family of three. I had done our shopping early, mailed all our packages on time, sent out the Christmas cards, and had decorated with many homemade festive creations. We even had plenty of room for a full size Christmas tree this year that filled the whole house with that magical evergreen fragrance. And as we counted down the days to Christmas with our advent calendar (and daily Christmas activities) I was feeling all warm and fuzzy inside with Christmas spirit. And I could tell Gavin was too.

The week of Christmas was in full swing and we had a busy Christmas party schedule laid out before us. That was until my stomach started to hurt. Really hurt. And three days later I found myself in the ER sipping red dye and getting an abdominal catscan.

I had appendicitis.

Actually, a ruptured appendix. And I needed surgery stat. So at 1:00 am December 23rd I was taken to the dark and empty surgery floor and wheeled into the only lit room I could see. I was thankful to finally be going into surgery, after hours of painfilled waiting in the ER, but nervous since I had never had surgery before. But I thought of my mom who had braved numerous brain surgeries with full confidence and my husband that I had just weeks ago convinced that he'd be 'just fine' going into his wrist surgery. With so many brave examples in my life how could I be nervous? So right then and there I stopped. I wasn't nervous any more. Just grateful.

But the reality was, I was spending Christmas in the hospital this year.

This may look like a typical Christmas morning, but this shot was actually taken on December 27th, which became our new Christmas day. Luckily Gavin was young enough that we were able to just pretend Christmas hadn't happened yet and decided that the day I came home from the hospital would be our Christmas Eve.

All Gavin wanted from Santa this year was a Bumble Bee Transformer. That was it. Looks like Santa thought Gavin was a pretty good boy this year because he got it and a few other pretty cool toys too.

Spending Christmas in the hospital was a pretty sobering experience. But as I completed my walk through the halls early Christmas morning I started realizing I was more fortunate than most. I had noticed from many previous walks that week that most elderly patients never had visitors and I knew that they would probably not have any today either, even though it was Christmas. My heart went out to them. And for the first time in my life I could honestly sympathize with them, for I knew first hand how lonely a hospital could be, even with constant visitors. And then I noticed all the nurses working and thought ' I wonder how many Christmas mornings they've spent away from their families, year after year'. It was a very humbling experience. I walked back to my room feeling grateful for all the blessings in my life, for my loving family, and for my relative health. It's an experience I'm grateful I had. In a way I think I was feeling more Christmas spirit/Christ-like love in that moment than I was the whole last month.

Hopefully next Christmas we'll remember this experience, but I hope we can spend the holiday home.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Meet Gavin's new best friend, Allie.
Despite the fact that Allie lives over an hour and a half away these two have become the best of play-mates. This dynamic blonde duo is just cuteness overload in my book.
Two peas in a pod.

I believe this will go down in the record books as Gavin's first kiss.

So sweet. They really do love eachother!

Of course us parents all hear wedding bells in the distance.


So as part of our advent calendar/count down to Christmas ritual we included 'go iceskating' this year on our festive list. And especially with friends in town it seemed the perfect holiday activity. And although it was apparent that neither Gavin or I have a career in iceskating in our future, we still managed to have a great time bumbling about on the ice.

All geared up and ready to go.

Gavin was so excited to go iceskating that day, but I think he was a little surprised at how hard iceskating actually was. That darn ice is just so slippery. He was pretty unstable out there on his iceskates, but he still managed to enjoy himself.

We slowly completed several laps around the ice until our poor feet (and my back) couldn't take any more :-) It is a lot of work keeping a four year old from falling on the ice. But Gavin was so focused and determined to iceskate and kept trying and trying till the very end. He never got discouraged or gave proud of him.

Our friends, Paul and Kelly, were in town for the day and joined us in our little iceskating adventure. Kelly is an excellent skater and I think her daughter Alie is a natural like her mom. As you can see, the guys are no where to be found out on the ice. Since Curtis had just healed up from a broken wrist and surgery, he was more than a little hesitant to try iceskating this time round. Wouldn't that be horrible to fall and break your other wrist? So I don't blame him, but he sure missed out on some tippy, slippy fun.

We managed to come off the ice without any falls or spills and our egos still intact, so I think we came out ahead on this one. Iceskating is just so invigorating that despite your aching feet and back you still have a smile plastered across your face. It is undeniably fun.

And so off we went to get a hot chocolate and enjoy the rest of our day with some friends.