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Tuesday, December 28

baby's 1st christmas

just a sidenote before i begin: last year my holiday post was also titled "baby's 1st christmas". & it was. just a different baby. haha.

this is the first year we got to have our own little christmas morning in our own little apartment with our own little family. it was a little awesome. :)
& yes that one picture is of elle dancing around with the orange from the toe of her stocking & singing 'urnge, urnge, urnge!'

we then ran on over to my parents house to play & open gifts. faves: 2010 giant shirts for the whole fam & a nice, framed copy of 3 of my dad's oil paintings i grew up admiring & jeopardy on the wii. :)
everyone but my oldest brother was there so it was VERY chaotic, loud, & fun with our 5 under 5 kids & food & toys & singing galore.

it was a pretty swell christmas day overall.

Friday, December 24

shepherd's dinner

on christmas eve we have a dinner like the shepherd's would have eaten when they were told of the birth of christ. it's a purposefully simple family tradition that means a lot to our hodgman side. on the floor, no plates, "ancient bethlehem's brown bag lunch" theme. (ritz crackers, etc have been added to the more authentic items so that austin has something to eat- haha) this year shepherd's dinner was cossette's very first anything dinner, having solid food for the first time! she's really bad at eating her rice cereal. like, really.

we then read a few verses from the bible, a modern cmas story (or 4), get pj's from the eve elf, & watch it's a wonderful life. it was a low key nice evening.

Thursday, December 23

jolly old st. nicholas

santy himself came to our complex & i swear he was the real deal!

cossette may have been the most demure of the kids to sit on his lap.

her outfit kills me & i was so happy with this picture.

okay but to get the full effect, it helps to see the FULL picture...

i think it makes me even happier than the revised version.

Wednesday, December 15


there are a billion and one reasons i wanted kids. & a few why i wanted girls.

ie. using french names, lavendar baths, blessing gowns, baking with me, & taking them to the nutcracker ballet.

this year my mama planned on taking all the little girlies to the san jose matinee. lena got a bug & cossette's a bit young but lexy & ellery & i were excited to go! i even let elles hold my president lincoln nutcracker before we went to try & get her stirred up & ready. while i've been to this ballet more times than i could count, i was beyond thrilled to take my daughter.

even if she was not beyond thrilled after intermission, it was so fun for me. & gramvi bought her her own little nutcracker christmas tree ornament to remember it.

we'll try again in a couple years when elle will love it & cossette will only make it through the first half :)

i have to mention that afterwards we went to this fantastic 'florist patesserie cafe' near the performing arts center called flower flour that was one of the most charming shops ever with some crazy fancy & tasty treats. lexy kept asking me why i was taking pictures of the place until we pointed out the teacup & saucer clock that she thought was pretty awesome. haha.

oh & yes, we'll talk christmas dresses soon.

Friday, December 10

the tomato/onion theory

it's pretty simple. i happily eat the tomatoes he hates & he gladly gobbles onions, the world's nastiest creation, for me.
it's the theory that where he lacks, i excel; & in the many arenas i struggle, he steps up. to you it might be the olive/peppers theory but it works the same. made for each other to take off our plates what we just can't do alone.

we had our anniversary recently {YAY} & while we're not big on such celebrations i did get him a fitting card: "life's a rollercoaster ... & you're my dramamine."

bottom line: i'm pretty sure i like him for more than unloading my onions on.

Tuesday, November 23


after our first baby was anti cuddles, i'm sure we'd think any babe was a master snuggler.

 whether it's hair, blankets, a hand, my chin, or her favorite of shirt collars; 

she clings for dear life.

i hope she never grows out of it.

Sunday, November 21

fall family pics

i twisted austin's arm almost completely off & got him to agree to letting my dad snap shots of us for about 40 minutes.

thanks daddy, we are not an easy foursome to catch.

the chief just had a birthday. {YAY} one of my presents to him was a promise to not force him into a family picture for a year...


Saturday, November 20

diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son john

i had one of those days today. they seem to be becoming more frequent. i have done this three times this month...

upon coming home, i sit down & take my shoe off. by the time i get to the other one i find i've been running around like a nut for an hour & fourty five minutes, still with one shoe on & one shoe off. quite literally too busy to take my shoe off. i was wearing heels one of the times!

it looked something like this. i am just sure of it.

i make time to blog about it but not time to seriously take BOTH shoes off?!


Sunday, November 14

take it or leave it

what to do when ellery loves nearly every single food in creation but wants to assert her dominance & control over her own life & refuses to eat it?

last night she happily scarfed a full cup of cold/plain peas as a snack a couple hours before dinner, inhaled  mushroom ravioli, & then threw one insano trip when i gave her butternut squash with brown sugar on the top.


sugared squash!!

45 minutes later & countless tears, she finally consumed a tiny stringy piece of the squash, we erupted in applause & our happy, sane toddler returned to us.

so what do people do?? she has to keep eating well & if she starts refusing anytime it's not a regular item on our menu that's not gonna work for me.

my mama had two dinner options: take it or leave it.

not always my favorite but it teaches you not to be picky & to be one adventurous eater. i don't want to make it this horrendous experience, especially when she does so well eating literally anything! but if she doesn't feel like it- we fight tooth & nail. & it's usually because she doesn't remember having it before. i felt sooooo bad for her last night. i don't want to say, it's up to her if she doesn't want it. but i also don't want to make her clear her plate just to assert my dominance. she's still a bit young to explain to real well so maybe wait? but i don't want to start a precedence now that i won't like later.

hmmm. what do people do?

p.s. she gobbling down last night's squash as we speak. with no sugar. maybe i found the key? :)

Tuesday, November 2

work shower

there was a small baby boom with the guys austin works with so they decided to throw a little shower for everybody. games, prizes, cakes (cossette had her own since she was the only girl), & crazy gift card presents. it was very sweet of them. it's almost like they like him.

jellybean was the only little kid there so she was the life of the party. at the end she got her feet tangled on all the balloon strings & slowly shuffled around with 70 balloons trailing her. classic; she loved it!

nice little afternoon. thanks!

Sunday, October 31

our harvest

the farmers with their beloved crops.

an ellery celery stalk.

a coco pea pod.


hope everyone had a great halloween!

Friday, October 29

the patch

i had planned a fabulous trip up to half moon bay for a day of pumpkin patching but austin's insano overtime hours leave us with little chance for such tommyrot.

we still had fun going to a local one for an hour or so.

c has gotten so so smiley lately! 

 elles tried for a huge gourd first,

 before trying a more 'ellery-sized',

which she still almost dropped. hehe.
thank goodness for gramvi's quick hands.

 doesn't she look proud?

 this little girl loves to drive! 

e is almost 22 months now; her pant legs & i just can't keep up.

had a quick wagon ride...

 and an even quicker attempt at a picture of the girls together. maybe next year. :)

i adore her facial expressions!

always fun having gramvi & g'pa join us. right now 'pa-pa' is definitely on the top of e's favorite person list. she asks to visit him all the time & squeals and runs to him shouting pa-pa over and over. gramvi feels a tad ousted. :)

 don't you love cossette's light orange ballet socks? festive!

i miss my blonde hair today. 

 can i have your hair color?

 i'd LOVE the darker of austin & his mini me too. just not this mousey-tweener stuff.
real quick, did you notice coco's eyes? i'm sure you did. how could you not??

 gotta love a man in flannel :)

have i mentioned that fall makes my soul sing?

cuz it does.

Thursday, October 28

meanwhile back at the ranch

the girls were very, very well taken care of.
so was the chief for that matter.
my in-laws are beyond incredible.
i got a detailed email every day.
along with dozens & dozens of pictures.
 it was exactly what i needed.

 thank you grandma nee'nee & grandpa hill!
we were thrilled to see each other again.

i missed my little family.
we did nothing but cuddle for days.

Saturday, October 23


day 1: LA port
meeting up with everyone @ LAX & we're off! exploring this colossal ship was a week long task. it was pretty phenomenal. our stateroom had a balcony on the very front of the ship & i don't wanna toot my own horn here but i did not get motion sick in the SLIGHTEST while on board the mariner of the seas. humongous relief, let me tells ya.
we're all such novice cruisers we starved the first day, not having a clue where to find free food & heaven forbid we spend a dime. haha- by dinner we were ravenous. turning my phone to airplane mode was the hardest part of day one.

{lil sis, me, mamacita, auntie camillie, & auntie kathy}
we had theme nights which really were a lot of fun with our lavender stone group. 'lavender & tiara night' & so it begins...

day 2: day @ sea

'black & white formal night'. stephanie woke up 3 times today. that's right. for breakfast, lunch, & dinner. haha this is the main reason we only have pictures from dinner. you know, when the picture hound herself was awake. ps-- between her & my mom i'm just shy of 700 pictures from this trip so... be patient.
it was a relaxing day of working out with marcus (YUM), reading, hot tubbing (which i haven't done in years!), & figuring out the archaic internet system on the ship.

day 3: cabo san lucas, mexico

welcome to mexico! such a fun day! we found this random glass bottom boat guy. yes, yes called the sex machine. don't know why. i thought it would be one of those touristy, gimmicky things but it was actually way impressive! the water reminded me of a blue otter pop. gorgeous! i like this mexico place. :)
the boat took us around to look at fishes & pelicans & crabs & then dropped us on a semi-secluded beach. & when i say dropped, they literally had us jump out waist deep in some pretty insano waves & holding our bags above our heads & trying to fight the undertow. MAJOR adventure.

we watched quite a few people get carried away by the waves & need a good rescuing by the handful of  tour guides. a couple of teeny tiny little kids even. i don't know who would throw their babies off the side of a rocky boat into a tumultuous sea but whatever. my mom & aunts & i hiked across the hottest sand ever to the pacific side of the peninsula while stephanie slept on the beach.
unbelievable waves!

we did a bit of shopping in an open market in cabo where steph just about started a riot, had some ice cream, & checked out a couple of lion cubs! back on the boat we had a jam sesh by the pool. yee, that's how we roll.

'earring night'. our waiters were the best in the whole dining hall. period.

day 4: mazatlan, mexico

i was super excited to go check out mazatlan & actually see some of mexican life. we took a tour around this beautiful city & enjoyed a lot of history & info about the culture & country from a native. very interesting. they have a university in mazatlan where you can actually graduate in tourism. who'da thunk?
i will try & not get on my soap box about this & simply say that some mexican boys wait around until they draw an american audience willing to pay & then jump off this nearly 45 foot tower into what they say is 9 feet of water. i will just say i did not take this picture.

we went into a cathedral in the city center & then drove out to lunch at this fabulous sea food place where a mariachi band played & the food was awesome. it was nestled on a picturesque beach with palm trees, white sand, & thatch-roofed huts. stephanie opted out of lunch to go, you guessed it, sleep on the beach. :)

'shoe night'!

day 5: puerto vallarta, mexico

come take a ride with us on a small motorboat into a charming neighborhood in puerto. next we'll take an exciting & scenic hour long ride in an old open army transport truck into the mexican forest. here you'll feel super tough & brave & cool.

get harnessed up for some fun!

you'll find you are quite the natural, zip lining across the canopies & hooting & hollering like a spider monkey. you'll brave dizzying heights & hike through unique landscapes; climb some difficult, long rope bridges & repel over 90 feet in the open air.

by this time you are feeling like such a stud.

until you realize you need to pump in a dilapidated bathroom in the mexican jungle & pop. your bubble is burst. :)

my back was quite literally seared from the 2nd day which we finally figured out was from photosensitivity with the antibiotic i was on. it just barely stopped bubbling & peeling. it was identical to a chemical burn. for almost 3 days i would wake up feeling like i was burning alive. NOT fun.
we enjoyed a lot of fun shows during our evenings on the boat but the ice show was by far the most impressive. when i can do aireal ballet while wearing ice skates, i will absolutely go join the circus. i still couldn't get over the fact that our boat had an ice. skating. rink. what the what??

day 6: day @ sea

chill day of sun bathing, eating, working out, reading, & 'formal hat night'. the ladies in our group were a crack up! 

day 7: last day >> take me home to my babies!!!

we partied (not really) & ate like kings (really) & sucked up some exquisite sunsets & explored some new places & had a blast with female kinfolk. SO glad i bucked up & went!