the perfection of the sled train from Paige Brunt on Vimeo.

for years we have tried to do a sled train, on this exact same hill.  we would inevitably fall apart... some people spinning out of control, others jumping ship...  i don't know why, but for some reason this year, they rocked it! 



a few weeks ago, we wanted delicious breakfast sandwhiches, but they were a little out of our way.  so we decided to head up there anyway and make a day of it.  venice was fun.  it was fun to walk down the boardwalk and see all the street vendor's wares, watch the skateboarders and surfboarders, and play on the playground at the beach.  we had a blast.  but one can only take so much weed smell!  so it made me really glad of where we live.  if venice was the closest beach to us, i don't think i would ever go without john.  i'm so glad we live in such a family-friendly, beautiful area, and i can take the girls for a mid-week dig in the sand anytime.  we are living the dream.


disneyland with daddy.

there's just something so magical about disneyland around christmastime!  after the fireworks john commented on how amazing and magical the show was.  yes, yes it was.  it was a very late though and after the show hazel said, "mommy, i want my bed, please".  

and look how beautiful that castle is!


a blog post!

sometimes, i get behind in my blogging.  it seems like i have so much on my plate (like everyone else!) and sometimes blogging gets put on the back-burner.  here's to setting my priorities straight!  so... it's not much, but here's a video of us + the disneyland fantasy parade to hold you over  {because i know you are just DYING to see what we've been up to!} until i can get my photos from our thanksgiving weekend together.


thanksgiving recap

well, we're back!  what an awesome break it was.  nothing better than cousins to entertain our two busy girls!  it actually felt like a vacation for me.  wahoo!

we spent most of the time in idaho with the brunts, but a few days in utah on each end with the neffs.  hazel and i had perfect snowman-building snow to play in....

we opened christmas jammies early this year, so they could be enjoyed through december rather than opened christmas eve and only enjoyed a handful of times.  i'm pretty sure cora has worn it during the day several times already since we've been back!

some highlights:
hanging out with the girls in mimi and grandpa's new hot tub
petting horsies during our family photo shoot with randi
my turkey relish tray
the blow-up playground mimi and grandpa got for the occasion that kept my girls busy for hours
seeing my girls in their new superhero capes from honey
making a snowman with hazel


hazel's thankful tree

a little snapshot into our 3&1/2 year-old's little brain.  doing this thankful tree was such a great teaching opportunity with her.  i was so proud of her for coming up with "Jesus" and the "scriptures", as well as "music", "school", and "disneyland".  i can't wait to see what great things she comes up with next year :)


a dodgers game.

if you had asked me before today if i liked baseball, the answer would have been decidedly "no".  but after last night's dodgers game, i realized that baseball can be really fun, if you're watching the pros, and the atmosphere is exciting.  i guess those bees games growing up in utah just didn't do baseball justice.  

john got free tickets to a dodgers playoff game, (AT&T entertainment group perks) so we scrambled for a babysitter, and made it by the second inning.  we got the most delicious hot dogs, and shouted and cheered, even though i didn't care who won.  hey baseball, maybe you're not so bad after all.


halloween duds

this year for halloween, we were probably more mainstream than ever before.  (usually we dress up as something that's more vintage, as seen here and here.)  of course, there was also this more "classic" year, and this year, which was easily recognized by some (the cool people), and then totally lost on others (the not-so-cool people ;).

thanks to pokemon go, we had no problem being recognized this year.  anyways, without further ado, ash ketchum, misty, pikachu and squirtle.


our thankful tree.

not to brag, our life is so good right now.  
don't get me wrong, it is so SO hard, and we have lots of {unseen} challenges, just like everyone else.
but it's also incredibly good.  we are so blessed.

cora is right at this very moment crying in her crib, fighting a nap she so desperately needs.  (don't worry! i won't let her cry for long:) and i have anxiety about some things that just can't be fixed right now.  there's endless projects and to do's that need to be done, and i'm feeling inadequate and vulnerable and hopeful all at once.  but if i sit back and look at my life, it is easy to see how incredibly blessed we are. 

friday, i had this brilliant idea that we should start a thankful tree.  hazel is the perfect age for that right now, and i thought it would be a great way to teach her such an abstract concept.  i bought a stack of colored construction paper, and cut out the cutest bare tree for our wall.  hazel has been impressing us with her scissor-cutting skills and cutting several leaves each day for us to write on what we are thankful for.  the tree is filling up so fast, and i can't wait to show you what it looks like when we're done.  it's been an exercise in remembering our Savior, and our Heavenly Father from whom all our blessings come.  it's helped me recognize friends and loved ones who are such an influence of love and good in our lives and are such good examples to our girls.  truly, i am so grateful.

and here's some things these girls love right now....


brown bear, brown bear what do you see
pointing and saying "this" (ie. this way) to tell me where to go
petting the neighbor's cat {i actually don't know who that cat belongs too, and i'm just hoping it's been vaccinated ;}
coming with me to get the mail
putting little objects in holes - she frequently finds sticks to put in the wire at the playground
yogurt {obsessed}
dragging her bunny around on a blanket
saying "up" as we climb each stair
chasing birds on the beach {hazel loves this too!}
the tram at disneyland is hilariously maybe her favorite "ride" that we go on there.  i think peter pan is also beloved


loving smile, her after-school program with some cute friends
playing games
reading - she is turning into such a bookworm and can sound out lots of words already
ham {LOVES it, and asks to have it in her lunch every day.  i usually send her with a homemade "lunchable" complete with ham, cheese, and crackers;}
talking about holidays, and getting very excited to go to mimi's for thanksgiving!
listening to music in the car - from princess songs to my old school playlists and everything in-between
talking about "our schedule" and looking at what is coming up that day and week


life lately

some pics about from our fun and crazy life.
 these three praying together... aka the best sight in the whole wide world :)
 hazel picked a pumpkin at school at their pumpkin patch, and i take a picture of cora napping almost every single day.  not even joking.

cora brings me flowers.  she also kicks and fights to get down and run away in line for the rockets.  you decide how i feel about those two separate situations ;)


this pumpkin's fixin' to be carved.

i considered painting pumpkins this year.  it probably would have been just as messy, but certainly not as nostalgic for me.  i'm glad we chose to carve.  

 cora was a ham for the "real" camera, way more than she ever is with my phone.  i guess i need to bring my real camera out more!


we go to disney a lot.  and i promise i am trying to cut down on the pictures!  here's a few from a couple recent disneyland trips.  

cora LOVES minnie!  she was so excited to take a picture with her, which is so hilarious and surprising because in my mind, she is still my baby.  ug why do they grow up so fast?

we went on monsters inc. for the first time, and then it started raining, so we ducked into the theater to see frozen.  a few moments from that in the video at the bottom of this post!
 that view from the rockets!!
 that bubble wand is totally beloved at our house!

we have tried a few treats at disneyland now, and hands down my favorite is their chocolate covered marshmallows.  like olaf (above) or a tigger tail at pooh corner bakery.  so good!

shabu shabu date night!

last week... for once, we got to go out on a nice date and it was the best.  we got shabu shabu.  look how delicious and beautiful those veggies and noodles look!
and i am so lucky to have this handsome, 6-ft-4 redhead to cling to for warmth in a cold movie theater.  we saw the magnificent seven.  heart-breakingly good.  


disneyland with mimi and grandpa.

just some photos of our magical {albeit crowded} disney day with mimi and grandpa!

we also saw the royal theatre's Tangled play and it was equally entertaining and adorable and the girls sat through the whole thing!  i'm loving having passes and getting to explore and try everything in the parks! 


some things that i've been working on...

1. being a happy mom
IT IS A DAILY STRUGGLE.  i get woken up by a toddler poking me in the face, or a baby crying "mama!" in the next room every. single. morning.  i am so tired.
during the day, messes get made, things get broken, i get whined at, and i never seem to have enough time to do what i want to do... let alone the bare necessities.  (like scrubbing the toilets?!)

of course there are wonderful moments.  wonderful moments where i get to snuggle and love my girls and throw everything else out the window!  but by bedtime, i feel like the bad has outweighed the good at every level.  and i am trying to be better at that.  i'm trying to be happy even when hazel breaks a dish and cora pokes her with a butter knife when my back is turned.  (both these things happened yesterday, if you're wondering)  i am trying to be selfless in my approach to motherhood.  

2.  i am working on developing my talents
i teach the 7-year-olds at church, and one of our recent lessons on developing our talents really stuck with me.  since then i have started painting more, playing the piano more, and have been actively doing newborn shoots for friends and family.  here is my photography blog, for anyone that is interested in newborn or family shots in the future>>>  paigebsouthbayphotography.com <<< and since i am building my portfolio, my prices are really great.  

3.  reading the scriptures and praying more.


mimi and grandpa visit!

there is something so wonderful about having grandparents in town!  i was so glad mimi and grandpa came visiting.  we had so much fun!  hazel has been asking when we can see mimi and grandpa again, ever since they left.

we went to a pumpkin patch, they watched the girls so john and i could go on a real date (hurray!) and then we stayed down in newport for a few days.  we went to an indoor trampoline park and swam and hot tubbed, went to aunt jayme's beach, and went to disneyland.  it felt like a vacation even though we live here! couldn't have asked for a more perfect staycation.

we also tried bill's pancakes in downtown manhattan beach.  and i have to say, it was a relief to take the girls out for breakfast food because they actually ate!  i think i may have solved our restaurant aversion problem....


when a friend comes into town for disneyland, you definitely go out to meet her there. + a snapstory video!

 our favorite ride in CA adventure.. mater's tractors.
at the end of a long day, this is how i survived the walk back to the car.



well, i'm back. we've been traveling the past couple of weeks and i haven't had a chance to sit down and blog in quite some time! but here's a little recap of our brief visit to utah! (is a week and a half brief? to me it is.)

we flew to utah because a couple of John's nephews turned 12 this year and wanted to go to priesthood session with their dads and uncles. it was a fun excuse to visit family. 

while we were there we jumped on honey's trampoline, ate raspberries, and swung on the swings. we spent several days with both the Brunt's and the Neffs. we watched conference, went to the cabin, and played at the curiosity museum with cousins. hazel and avie are such good playmates, it made me sad that we don't live right next door to each other. maybe one day!