Friday, August 17, 2012

Deception Pass

Every July, my mom and her sisters enjoy a week of camping at Deception Pass.  Being an approximate halfway point between our home and our parent's home, it's often a great place to meet up.  Although we absolutely LOVE camping there, the reservations need to be made months in advance.  With some pretty significant schedule changes at work (not to mention an adoption that rocked our world), it was just not possible this last year to plan that far in advance.  

Uncle Dean showing Cocoa the dog and how to be gentle (she LOVES puppies).
 Thankfully, my parents offered to let us camp on their site.  Now, I am by no means a "diva camper" (which may surprise several of you)....but a tent has proved unsuccessful with our two little monkeys.  Okay....if I'm being completely honest with you, the last time we tried it was when Lil Man was a babe, but it was SO AWFUL we have no desire to attempt that again.  Props for all you families that make it work!  We just decided it was not in our best interest.

So how do we camp?  No we're not "glampers" (but again, if I was completely honest I am not at all opposed to the idea).  We prefer the tent-trailer method.  My husband's parents own one that they have used since they had little kids and they graciously lend it to us each year.  But again....this was not a planned camping trip, so we didn't have time to make the two hour trek to pick it up, pack it, and tow it to Deception Pass.

My ultimate favorite picture of my Lil Man right now =)
So where exactly did we sleep for our one-night adventure?  In my parents' trailer - which is admittedly a "glamping" situation.  It is roomy enough to pull out the couch, add a blow-up mattress, shove Cocoa's pack-in-play in the corner, and a sleeping bag on the floor for Lil Man.  All within the kitching/living area.  And my parents still have their own bedroom!  Perfect for a one night stay....although if we had chosen to stay any longer we would have needed to come up with a new plan.

The best part about the campground at Deception Pass is the easy access to two beautiful beaches (separated by a small rocky cliff).  The north beach, which we favor for the privacy, has a stunning view of the bridge, which makes an excellent backdrop for photos.  (Although I don't have any good ones from this year, you may remember from our first family photos last summer.)

My favorite of Cocoa from the weekend
We were blessed with a beautiful weekend.  Some of our first consistent warm weather of the summer! I tried to keep Cocoa's hair protected from all the sand, but it was a lost cause.  I told you this girl likes to get dirty, right?  She was dumping buckets of water all over to make mud and then would throw the mixture into her hair!  (The bottom of the tub was COVERED with sand when we got home.)

Lil Miss looked like a baby model in her gap bikini and polka dot head scarf (in my very humble opinion that is not at all biased =) and strutted her stuff along the rocky shore!  She's one of those kids that gets a constant stream of lingering stares, pointing, and whispers about her evident adorableness.  Sometimes I pretend like I don't hear it (I don't want her to get a big head after all...well, bigger than it already is with that 'fro).

Cocoa deep in conversation with her oldest cousin, Caleb
 Mama thankfully got a little time to lay out.  But a tan was kind of out of the question thanks to a certain little lady covering me in sand, mud, peanut butter, and salad dressing (weird combination, I know).  Grandma had lots of toys to distract her, but the girl can't stay away from touching me for too long!  =)

After several escape attempts to the shore, I begged daddy to talk Cocoa into the water (a panic swept over me every time she got near, and my heart couldn't handle it).  After her toes took their first dip, she had a moment of panic at the freezing temps of the water (Remember - this was our first WARM week...water hadn't warmed up in the slightest yet.  Wait.  What am I saying?  The water never warms up here.) before she decided she didn't care and splashed around like nobody's business.

And where was Monkey during all of this?  Well...he spent a lot of the time in time out for being a cranky butt and then several hours playing cars in grandma's trailer.  Like I said.  Cranky butt.  Hence the lack of pictures of my Lil Man.  But I have plenty of Cocoa!!!

Back at the trailer we noticed a vast change in temperature.  And a huge rise in the number of mosquitos.  That is why Lil Miss is covered head to toe.  We grilled up some hot dogs and chicken nuggets and had a quick dinner before we put the kids down for bed.  Thankfully, there was no fight in that area.  Then it was back out to the fire where my aunts and uncles and cousins and their kids all gathered for smores and a trip down memory lane =)  Kids slept peacefully...then again, I did shush the crowd on multiple occasions =)

Grandpa and his princess

The grill masters (hubs and my oldest brother and his two kids)

Playing peek-a-boo from the trailer

Monkey's cozy corner
And so goes Cocoa's first camping trip EVER!!!  I don't know if it counts since we just stayed the night with grandpa and grandma....but it was a great test for the UPCOMING camping trip in the tent trailer!!  And now that Monkey has had his taste, he can't WAIT to get going!!!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer Lovin'

Lil' Lady LOVES the swings
 It was slow moving, but starting in July, summer hit.  And summer hit HARD!

...Okay, okay.  I lied.  Summer doesn't "hit hard" in the Pacific NW.  A consistent mid-70's is often too much to ask of our dreary state.  I don't know if I only broke out the camera on clear-weather days (which is entirely a possibility) or if I'm just blocking out bad (again, a very real possibility), but from my summer collection of seems we've had it alright!  =)

This day, however, I do remember.  The lighting was right.  My kids were dressed cute (you mamas know how that can be a challenge with toddlers, right?).  My camera battery was charged.  The kids were actually BOTH cheerful (at. the. same. time.).  The stars aligned for the perfect photo shoot (ha)!  So what do we get?

My bright-eyed beauty (MELT)

My crazy-haired goofball (AW)

A crazy "monster" pose (HA)
Bootyliscious is what we all THAT!

Monkey climbing the slide
 I'm so thankful to see my kids playing together so well.  When we got Cocoa's referral I was hopeful that they were close enough in age to be "buddies".  I'll admit, it's not the case all the time, but the love between these two is so evident in so many ways.

One cries when the other gets hurt.  They always try to rescue each other from time outs (or time ins, which is more often the case with the Diva over there).  And they insist on hugs and kisses before they part (even if it's just for a nap/quiet time).  Blessed is an understatement.

Thank you LORD for these amazing little angels!!!

Both of them smiling at the same time?!?  Unreal.  Might just be the only photo like this that exists.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The LONG-AWAITED Room Reveal

It's the post you've ALLLLLLL been waiting for!!!!

This is SOOOOOOOO long overdue, it's not even funny.  I've promised Cocoa's room reveal more times than I can count, but failed to deliver time and time again.  Reasons vary from day to day, but center mostly around the fact that it is STILL not completely finished and that drives me crazy.  But with the amount of projects going around in this just might never be.  But it's adorable (according to me...and really, who else matters when it comes to the way my house looks, right?) and I can't wait to share it with you all!!!

So the wait is over at last my friends, thank you for your patience (or lack thereof).  =)

Walking into her room...

Cocoa's sanctuary =)

A friend of ours, Josiah, did this INCREDIBLE mural for us in just one afternoon!
Letters are from Joann Fabrics, I think. (NAILED to the wall b/c that sticky stuff didn't hold!!!)

Another friend, Erik, helped my husband with the sunset/ombre pink and wife, Lori, bought us the awesome (and quite fitting) DIVA sign!!!

The chair was a precious gift, given by my sister-in-law Laura the Christmas before we got Cocoa's referral.  It is our grandma's old rocking chair repainted and she placed an adorable Africa decal on it.

I begged my talented sister-in-law, Amanda, to sew the changing table cover with my scrap fabric while we were in Ethiopia picking up Cocoa!!!
Zebra frame was Cocoa's birthday gift from my BFF Nicole.

Dresser turned changing table - Craigslist
Lovely blanket (on the chair) was sewn by my dear friend Annika, and is still Cocoa's security blanket.
My homemade roman shades did not turn out how I had hoped (due to me gluing black out fabric on the back) so we plan to replace them with bamboo ones.  I have the curtain rod but still no clue what my plan is for curtains!  =)

Cocoa's stylist chair! - Garage sale benefitting a friend's breast cancer walk, woohoo!

Bedding....which you have all seen before!  Gift from my sister-in-law Amanda back when we were anxiously waiting for our referral.  Sweet Sounds Giraffe was a gift from Grandma VG.  Silk pillowcase to protect those curls!

Giraffe was also a gift from Grandma VG.
Cradle was mine when I was little.
Doll is a gift from my pal Darcee - her mom made it for us expecting mamas!
Frame was meant to be a bow board but it didn't last.  Old Ikea frame repainted.
So that's it!!!  Let me know what you think!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

19 Months

I can hardly believe how fast time has flown in the last year.  Someone once told me that the older you get, the faster time goes by.  It didn't seem possible at the time, but I am finding that to be very true.  Two littles in the house keep this mama running non-stop and before I know it, another week, month, year has flown by!  Before I know it we'll be talking about adding the next little to our family (we're already listening to Monkey talk about it)!

Last summer we had a baby in the house.  This summer we have an independent, feisty, sassy-as-can-be DIVA!  Although she's nearing 20 months now, I have yet to post pictures that I took celebrating 19 months (I know, I choose the weirdest times...I skipped one year and 18 months but I choose 19 months???  Hey - ya gotta do it sometime!)

19 Things I Love About Cocoa

1) Her energy level - this girl is always ready to dive into whatever we have planned, whether that be playing in the pool, building a fort, weeding the garden, or kicking a ball around the yard....she's on it!  It's motivating for this mama!

2) Her cheesy smile - I know I'm behind on my blog so if you aren't also friends with me on FB you might not know what I'm talking about.  But this girl has the BEST crinkle-nose, cheesy smile of anyone I know!

3) Her nurturing spirit - she may sass it up 24/7...but place a baby in the room or a dolly in her arms and she instantly turns into a little mommy.  She is generous with her kissing and petting and rocking in her arms (but that part is only with the dollies).

4) Her dance moves - the signature Cocoa move is putting her hands on the floor, butt in the air and shaking her curls as fast as she can.  Don't know WHERE she learned it (I promise I don't teach my children stripper moves =) but it is hilarious!!!  She is known for breaking out in dance no matter where she is - stroller, car seat, grocery cart, baby carrier, you name it!  Her favorites to dance to are Beyonce's "Diva" and Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair"...go figure.  And yes.  She can break dance too.  And she did NOT learn that from her parents.

5) Her singing - repeating simple melodies or making them up on her own!  It doesn't matter to this princess.  If she doesn't have a song to dance to she'll make one herself!  Takes after her mama in SO many ways =)

5) Her curls - I think this goes without saying.  Those kinky spiral curls bouncing around bring SUCH a smile to my face!  Yes, there was a learning curve and it was an added challenge to this hair stylist, but a welcome one!  And now that she is becoming more patient with styling, our weekly hair sessions have become somewhat of a bonding moment for us.  She even now has her own hairstyling station in her room to do her brother's hair and her dollies....she LOVES it!

6) Her love of the sun - did I tell you she took after her mama, or what?  I mean, the love of sun comes of no surprise.  The love of HEAT did however.  This girl has never slept better than she has this summer.  In her 75-80 degree room, with the sun beating in, a blanket over her, sweating.  I guess she truly is Ethiopian =) (For those of you who don't know, they dress very conservatively in Ethiopia.  It would be 75 outside and the special mothers would tell me to put a blanket or sweater around her bare arms.  And they would wrap her in fleece blankets for naps.  SERIOUSLY!)  But it makes me literally giggle when I lay out a blanket and she sun bathes.  For reals, folks!!!

7) Her fearlessness - we've come a long way with developing a fear of strangers, but that's not the kind of fear we're talking about.  This girl climbs the wrong way up slides, goes down backwards, runs down them, climbs on the furniture, jumps off, let's daddy throw her in the air and do crazy flips and twists....and not just with a smile on her face - with a squeal of delight!  She makes my heart skip a beat 10,000 times a day with her stunts.  But coming from a girl who was scared of EVERYthing when she came home -- I see it as her learning to trust!

8) Her love of swings - enough said right?  Whether on her tummy or her buns or leaning back with her hair hanging in the grass...swings make her one happy camper!

9) Her kisses - these come in an abundance around here and that makes my heart SMILE!!!  Cocoa and daddy have a ritual now in the morning that when we're all cuddling in mama and daddy's bed, daddy and Cocoa take turns kissing mama to see who can have the longest and best kisses.  I don't mind at all! =)  And of course, the ritual before ANYONE leaves and EVERYONE needs TWO hugs and kisses (a certain little man bursts into tears if we forget).

10) Her love of bath time - I think a majority of kids really enjoy this nightly ritual, but I'm going to pretend for a moment that my daughter is the only one!  As soon as that water is running she starts pulling off her clothes, and whether or not she's successful she kicks one leg over the edge of the tub and does her darndest to climb in!  And forget giving the kid baths separately!  Even if she goes first and we do her hair and put her pjs on, she runs STRAIGHT back to the bathroom and tries to climb back in.

11) Her love of water - Okay I know that this may be a little redundant, but deal with me, I've got 7 more to do here, mkay?  So yes, she loves the bath water, but she also loves sprinklers, pools, hoses, watering cans, squirt guns, squirt bottles, you name it!  SQUEALS of delight!

12) Her puddle-jumping maniac-ness - she can't resist.  But I get understand her love of water now.  (Right?!?)

13) Her love of SHOES - girl after my own HEART!!!  I can't keep her away.  Her shoe drawer and the basket in our closet (okay FINE - cardboard box!) are both stuffed with pairs of her shoes and she has easy access to both.  Continually throughout the day she will bring us shoes to put on her...sometimes they match her clothes just fine, other times they don't even match each other!  But its adorable.  You know, as long as I can find them later...

14) Her car noises - definitely evidence of a big brother!  =)  But seriously, why can every member of my family BUT me do sound effects?  It's hardly fair.

15) Her love of dirt - this I don't get, but I attempt to embrace anyway.  Maybe it's just more of a love of her big brother and wanting to be just like him, but this girl is a MESS in frills.  Dressed like a diva she runs out to the sandbox (or, you know, the flower beds) and starts throwing dirt - in the grass, at her brother, in her HAIR (shudder)!  Messiest girly girl I ever met.

16) Her love of all things sparkly! - No compl -aints here!  Her daddy, however, might complain time to time about glitter in his eye.  We can't help it - we're GIRLS!

17) Her love of FOOD - people tell me time and time again how they can't believe how tiny she is considering the amount of food she eats!  I don't know WHERE she hides it, but I want to know the secret!  I think the ONLY food I can't get her to eat is bell peppers.  Other than that, nothing seems off limits!  She could eat until she explodes (if only she didn't get distracted by EVERYTHING).

18) Her love of animals - one of the few ways we are VERY different, me and her.  I'm kind of a scaredy cat, but I'm trying my hardest not to pass that on to my kids (another reason I admire her fearlessness).  Every animal we see I have to fight my instinct to run the other direction and tell my daughter, "yes, that is a very cute puppy", "mmhmm...pretty bird", or "careful, sometimes ducks can't give it a hug hunny".

19) Her love for her family - proof our cocooning was sucessful!  This girl is attached to the HIP and we LOVE it!  She bawls when daddy goes back to work after the weekend and clings to mama on the rare occasions she leaves the house and yes, even gives lingering hugs and kisses to her brother before naps and bedtime.  LOVE IT!

So I think that about sums up our little sweetie - and I hope you feel like you got to know our little Cocoa a bit better!  But in case you didn't, pictures speak a thousand words, right?!?  ;)