Thursday, October 23, 2014

At the pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch 2014
pumpkin patch 2014
pumpkin patch 2014
pumpkin patch 2014
pumpkin patch 2014
pumpkin patch 2014
pumpkin patch 2014
pumpkin patch 2014
pumpkin patch 2014
pumpkin patch 2014
pumpkin patch 2014
These past few weeks have felt like a whirlwind, which makes me ever more grateful that we made it out to the pumpkin patch this year. We moseyed on over this past Monday for our family day, where there were fewer patrons and therefore more patch for us to roam. Serene oogled at the vast pumpkin-dotted field, and had no qualms about getting up close and personal with them. Alex and I kept laughing because this year's foray into the pumpkin patch was so different from last year's. The previous year, we ventured over there during our first postpartum family day outing with two-week-old Serene Joy in tow. She snoozed soundly in my sling nearly the entire time, oblivious of her participation in an incumbent tradition. This year, she toddled about, poking and prodding the giant orange squash with fervor. We're now more convinced that traditions are made much sweeter with a growing little love.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Back at our happy place

disneyland sleeping beauty castle
serene's first disneyland trip
serene's first disneyland trip
serene's first disneyland trip
disneyland small world
serene's first disneyland trip
serene's first disneyland trip
disneyland main street halloweentime
We took Serene to her first Disneyland adventure three weeks ago as a little family celebration for her birthday. We weren't sure how we'd fare at a theme park all day with a one-year-old, but we survived - maybe even thrived a tad! Our little love had a jolly grand time. She was fascinated by the ambience enough to hardly nap a wink throughout the day. We went on a few rides, and she loved "It's a Small World" most. We found her enjoyment so endearing we ended up trekking over to the park the next couple of weeks. We used to have annual passes, but didn't renew when we got pregnant. Ever since Serene has been born, Alex has been dreaming and saving up for passes again so that we can gallivant to Disneyland for family days this year. Though we are huge fans of the happiest place on earth, we love it even more when we discovered how baby-friendly the park is. Disneyland's and DCA's baby centers are so incredibly legit: grandiose, luxurious facilities to supply all of baby's and parents' needs. So thankful for kid-friendly amenities, which we couldn't fathom pre-parenthood.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Among the wildflowers

family pictures 2014
family pictures 2014
family pictures 2014
family pictures 2014
family pictures 2014
family pictures 2014
family pictures 2014
We took family pictures last Thursday, a week after Serene turned one and a day after I turned twenty-seven. Our ever talented friend, Ruby, captured these amazing shots, and I am so thankful we finally have some legit, frame-worthy family pictures. The last time we took some, Serene was about two months old. I was telling Ruby I'd love to take the photos in a wildflower field, which are hard to come by in October in Southern California. She happened to pass by a random spot brimming with wild flora off the side of the road one day, and family pictures among the wildflowers came into fruition. That's a hefty dosage of God's grace. Serene was in a jolly mood at the time, which was another serving of God's grace, even though she was adamant about prying her shoes off during the shoot. As I peruse through these pictures though, I see so much of God's kindness to our little family. So thankful for the gift of a new year of life to know and serve Him more. I was thoroughly spoiled last week on my birthday with encouraging birthday greetings, a Disneyland adventure, and an all-you-can-eat sushi feast with so many loved ones, which were blatant reminders of the sweet blessings God generously, undeservedly bestows upon me in Christ.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Serene's woodsy one-derland

serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
serene's woodsy onederland
We threw a party to celebrate our sweet Serene Joy's first birthday two weekends ago. She loves trees and the grassy outdoors (and I  confess to thinking she looks like a pixie sometimes), so we created a woodsy one-derland in honor of her first year of life. I spent Serene's naptimes and bedtimes in the weeks leading up to the party feverishly making decor: sewing giant toadstool dollhouse pillows, felt circle garlands, floral photobooth vines, tree stump cake stands, mossy terrariums, yarn billy balls and dandelion arrangements, a floral headband, and giant crepe paper flowers (with which I actually forgot to embellish the grass the day of).

We catered deli sandwiches like forest club on honey whole wheat from here and varieties of gourmet pizza like woodland mushroom from here. We also served chipmunk chips (kettle-cooked potato chips with sea salt and black pepper), and I made a huge batch of toadstoolini (my favorite pasta). The array of sweet treats included strawberry shortcakes and salted caramel babycakes from here, cinnamon stump rolls, choco pinecones, fairy berries (Serene's favorite treat), and French macarons, most of which we bought from here. We got her strawberry chiffon cake from here, and I made a felt rose cake topper, painted a wooden toadstool, and purchased a dear fawn figurine to adorn it.

We had a woodland mask makin' station for the kiddos, and they received fairy bubble favors, since Serene loves bubbles. I bought packs of bubbles from the dollar store and painted wooden toadstools to glue on top, tied each one with twine, and glued a label on each one to adhere to the theme. I found funky woodland hats on clearance here for guests to don against the floral vine backdrop hanging from one of the tree's branches for the picture takin' station. Another tree portrayed photos of Serene throughout her first year of life.

I was anxious about the weather that day since we were expecting a scorching triple digit afternoon. Thankfully, we hosted the party at a local park under a grove of towering trees, which we encircled with a festive felt circle garland. We laid out a bunch of patterned blankets under the trees' shade, picnic-style, which made the heat more than bearable. Serene had a bona fide blast being surrounded by so many who lavished their attention on her. She ate handfuls of strawberries, among other treats, and wore them on her vintage pinafore too. She was a giggly, silly bunch of sweetness that day. She is such a special little lady - a most precious gift from our Lord - and we are so grateful to our dear community who spent time celebrating her life with us!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Serene's birthday cake smash

serene's birthday cake smash
serene's birthday cake smash
serene's birthday cake smash
serene's birthday cake smash
serene's birthday cake smash
serene's birthday cake smash
serene's birthday cake smash
serene's birthday cake smash
serene's birthday cake smash
serene's birthday cake smash
serene's birthday cake smash
We had a sweet and simple cake smash for Serene at home the afternoon of her actual birthday last Friday. I strung up the felt circle garland I made for her birthday party taking place the following day, and had grand plans to make her a mini cake, but ran out of time. We ended up getting a tasty strawberry chiffon slice from here for her very first taste of cake. She went for the strawberry first since she is a big fan of berries, but once she got her hands on the cake, she loved it! Alex and I loved laughing at her as she devoured the sugary sweetness. I can't believe we have a one-year-old now - a silly, smiley, sweet toddler!