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This last weekend we were down in Redwood City for a friend's baby shower, and decided to make a day of it. We spent the afternoon at Filoli, a beautiful country estate out in Woodside. It is is one of the finest remaining estates of the 20th Century, built after the earthquake in San Francisco when all the wealthy families moved out of the city.

It was a beautiful day and, although it was pretty packed on a Saturday, the gardens were still lovely and peaceful. They reminded me of the many estates and gardens we would visit on my study abroad in Great Britain. If I had a ridiculous amount of money, I think I would build a normal sized home, and then invest in super lush and intricate grounds to wander through, รก la The Secret Garden

The house was beautiful and enchanting, but a bit cramped to walk around with kids. Eliza had a great time outside in the garden, running around the paths, and dancing under the blossoms. She loved the big wooden theatre, and made me get up on the stage and perform with her. The koi pond was beautiful, and the dahlias and ranunculus were mind blowing. purple, fragrant wisteria was dripping off everything in sight, and there was even a wild peacock roaming the grounds.

We had a great time. Eliza had her moments, that's for sure. We are really feeling this new stage of four-year-old tantrums, and not loving it. I crowd-sourced advice the other day, and will be compiling the list of recommendations, for anyone who is interested. Let's just say, I sure do enjoy scrolling through beautiful pictures of my family after the fact and choose to remember certain moments as they were captured on camera, and not as they were in real life. (Ha!)


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Our first Easter with two little girls was full of pale pink and white eyelet, cheddar bunnies and chocolate bunnies, and a large amount of shredded grass for a certain baby to entertain herself with. The Easter Bunny (so hard to explain to children) always brings new dresses to wear to church, and a few small treats and surprises in the basket. The girls were so sweet. Eliza was beyond excited about the tiniest things- new pink shoes, mermaid band-aids and a sparkle pen. And Sadie got a new, little bonnet to frame her chubby cheeks and stuffed her face with cheddar bunnies.

Eliza loves holidays, and has been counting down the days until Easter. We dyed eggs earlier this week, and even made our first cascarones (confetti eggs). I used to make them every year growing up, so it was a fun tradition to pass on. And Eliza was so into it. She loves to cut things, so we even made our own confetti to fill the shells. And, when Sam baked cookies last week and forgot to save the shells, she was slightly hysterical.

We had good friends over for a BBQ, Easter afternoon. Our tiny house was packed, but it was honestly one of the best friends' gathering I can think of. I am constantly overwhelmed by the friendships we have formed out here in Berkeley. They came bearing ridiculous amounts of food, and we all eat and laugh while our children run wild. Our house was brimming with happiness. 

It was raining, so we had a massive egg hunt in our house. The older kids hid the eggs, but there was so little space to hide eggs that they were soon just pouring them al over the floor. Kids were then lounging all over the house popping candy in their mouths, trading tiny toys and goodies, and smearing rice krispy treat marshmallow all over their faces. After dinner and birthday cake for Sam, we all cracked open the cascorones out in front of the house, and everyone left with full bellies and confetti in their hair.

We also attended a beautiful Easter service at our church, full of music and spoken word. I said it before, but I can't help but think of my family and the joy I feel from the knowledge of an eternal life and resurrection. I want my girls to know that we love them, and that they have the dearest Heavenly Parents and Savior who love them, as well. I want them to know that with the purest faith, they can rise to great heights, do good in the world, and be great women. After all, "It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles." He is Risen! Happy Easter, friends.



A few weeks ago I was ordering something off of Paper Source, and wanted to use their "email sign-up" promo code. Oh, but I have definitely already used that with my current email. So, I tried my luck at hacking into my old email account (pre-marriage) in order to get another promo code. We've all done that, right? The thing is, I haven't been able to get into my old email account in 5+ years. Somehow, I figured out the password and found an entire account jam-packed with junk mail that I have diverted over the years.

But, I also discovered years of old emails and g-chats with Mr. Sam Gray. It was like finding a modern-day box of love notes found in a dusty attic that I forgot even existed. How did I not think to ever look at my old emails!? Why haven't I saved these for posterity!? I literally found the first email he ever sent to me. I spent hours that night reading through these messages, laughing and crying at our early romance. I miss those kids.

Yesterday was Sam's birthday and, at the risk of embarrassing him, I'm going to share a little trip down memory lane with Rox&Sam. I thought about saving this post for our (7th) anniversary coming up, but just couldn't help myself. I mean, who needs a reason to say, "I love you." And, I do. I love that spgray.

Sam used to court via email, because that's what we did back in the day, yeah. I would find short little emails in my inbox, "Happy (whatever) day of (month)" with a little bit of inspiration, or something to make me laugh. The first email he ever sent was "Happy 25th of November," which was just a few days past our first date to Ginger's Cafe in Springville, UT. 

It has a link to Bruce Springteen's, Dancing in the Dark. 
Followed by, "I hope it makes you as happy as it made me."

Heart melting.

But, it was "Happy 10th of December" that really made me fall for the guy. 
Sam Gray sent me the following video, casually inserting it into a message about how he hoped I wasn't stressed about my writing assignment that was due. 

I didn't need an old email to remember this one. I was sitting on the floor of my kitchen in our house that I rented with five other girls, when I squealed and ramped up the volume. We all danced in my kitchen, playing the song on repeat. I remember the afternoon sun filtering through that dingy kitchen, and the giddy conversation that erupted afterward. "Um, Roxy. I think he's into you..."

I even have an email to my sister that same day, telling her about The Jets and "Sam Gray, that guy I told you about. Well, we have been seeing each other and I think I like him a lot." She responded with a list of the best parts of the Crush video, and a simple "I love reading about how happy you are."

This video is a perfect representation of Sam Gray's affection. He's subtle-y not subtle. He would never come to tell me he had a crush on me in person, but he would pepper me with 80s dance videos that so clearly state it for him. He may not shout it from the rooftops or wear his emotions on his sleeve, but he shows his love through the best ways. He spends his days caring for me and the girls, and is eternally forgiving of my flaws and shortcomings. Sam is loyal and devoted to making this family happy, and I will forever be grateful for him. 

Happy Birthday, SPG. I love you.

Photo credit: A long lost snap from the depths of the old email account. I believe this was taken on a road trip through some tiny Utah town while we were dating.

nine months.

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Sadie baby is nine months! This creamy marshmallow is the sweetest thing you will ever snuggle. She is always being passed around, sucking her little thumb, and observing the world.

She is such an observer. Eliza was an active participant in the world (emphasis on the active). She spent her babyhood frustrated that she couldn't do anything and everything. It's made her a very motivated little girl. Sadie, on the other hand, is an observer. She is content watching and learning, and handling. I sit her on the ground in the living room with a box of toys and she will play for half an hour.

But, she also prefers to be held. She wants to snuggle in your arms, and watch what's going on around her. She loves watching Eliza, or other kids play and often starts laughing at their antics. Sometimes, she will start laughing when Eliza is throwing a tantrum because the wild noises and thrashing about are hilarious to her. It would be pretty funny if I weren't on the receiving end of that tantrum. At least Sadie adds some comic relief.

And when Sadie is sad, all you have to do is pull her close into a little ball and let her suck her thumb until she feels better enough to pop her head up and look around. She curls up in the groove of my left arm as her left thumb is the preferred choice for self-soothing.

Sadie girl, lately:

tubby time- This baby LOVES the tub. I can make her a shallow bath, dump a bunch of toys in the water, and she could play all day. She gets a huge grin on her face and waves her arms around, splashing water onto her face. And even through the sputtering of water, she's still laughing. She takes each toy and studies it carefully, nibbling away until a new toy floats past. Sometimes I give her a mini bubble bath and watch her try to pick up the tufts of bubbles with her fat fingers, her eyes big and her mouth forming a perfect O.

little flirt- Sadie has been garnering a lot of attention lately. Those rosy, round cheeks keep the people comin'. She is always flirting with people from her perch in the shopping cart or clinging to my hip. She plays back, laughing and squawking or shyly burying her head in my shoulder. She is quick to hold someone's hand or reach out and pat a stranger's shoulder. She's always breakin' hearts in the Berkeley Bowl produce section.

tan hands and feet- As it turns out, my creamy little baby can hold a tan pretty well. It's been a chilly winter/spring, so her little body never really gets to see the sun. But, her hands and feet are browned to a happy shade of summer.

snot bubbles- This girl has had a runny nose for weeks and months, from never-ending teething. It's a fact of life now. She now doesn't mind when I wipe it because she knows it helps her breathe- so sad! But, I love watching her play because, in her excitement, she might produce a few snot bubbles that build up on her goofy little face.

teeth grinder- Sometimes, Sadie shifts her tiny jaw to the side so that her little fang and bottom teeth touch, and she GRINDS them together. It is the creepiest sounding thing you have ever heard. I feel like someone should record this and sell it as stock sound for a horror movie. It sounds like something that you hear during The Grudge. Also, Sadie now has six teeth! She has two on the bottom, two fangs, and two top middle teeth that just popped through. She has been so sad the past few weeks, dealing with those little teeth.

bird flapping- When she get's excited, Sadie will flap her pudgy arms like a little baby bird. Like, if you place a piece of food in front of her, she flaps her arms by her sides, then slowly lets her hands over over the food for a good 10 seconds before her little dimpled fingers pinch it in her hands.

copcat- Sadie has tricks! She loves to copy. If you shake your head at her, blow raspberries, or "ba, ba, ba" chat with her- she will do it right back with a smile on her face. Eliza loves playing the copycat game with her, and is always trying to get Sadie to mimic. I love watching them shaking heads and laughing at the dinner table.

she's excited to see you- Sadie gets so visibly excited when she sees either me or Sam. In the morning, Sam usually gets up with the girls to give me a few extra minutes in bed. When I come out to the breakfast table, Sadie gets the brightest smile on her face and pumps her little legs in her high chair. Or, when Sam comes home from work, she starts bouncing up and down and laughing, she can hardly contain herself. And, if he has to take his jacket off or do something before coming to hold her, she will start crying. It's so sweet.

throaty laugh- I loooove Sadie's laugh. It's throaty and funny, and almost sounds like she's faking it. She laughs a lot, and everyone loves to try to get her to laugh. It's contagious.

food- This girl eats so. much. food. She wants to be fed constantly, and she is nursing plenty, as well. I run out of things to feed her- I am at a loss. Mamas with big eaters, how do you appease the appetite!? What do you feed your babies??

muir beach.

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Let's just all take a second to look at Sadie's face in that last one... So good. A perfect representation of her life as a baby sister.

These photos were from our day at Muir Beach a couple of weeks ago. It was the third week in a row that we had spent our Saturday at a beach. The sun has returned to the Bay Area, after a very long and rainy winter. It was the most rain I have ever seen here, and thoroughly rocked my faith in Bay Area weather. But, for the most part, we have seen more and more beautifully warm and sunny days and we are enjoying every drop.

Days at the beach with these two are surprisingly calm and delightful. Eliza immediately sets out to work on some project in the sand, such as an elaborate maze of rooms for her mermaid made of driftwood and rocks collected on the beach. Sadie is still joyously immobile, and just sits on her bum with her chubby thighs sticking straight out as she chews on things with her little vampire fangs. Sam and I can relax on the blanket, taking turns playing with Eliza or feeding Sadie- since she is constantly demanding food these days. We always pack a picnic of fresh fruits and veggies, fancy cheeses and crackers, a sourdough baguette, salami (Eliza's favorite), and perhaps a pastry that Sam and the girls picked up on their Saturday morning walk. It's becoming one of my favorite family traditions.

I have felt pretty blessed lately. I love these girls, and I love my husband. I am embarking on some new and exciting creative projects right now, on paths in which my self-confidence has not allowed me to venture down for years. I don't feel that the girls have become easier, necessarily. I've learned that each new age and stage brings new challenges- Sadie is communicating at increasingly higher decibels, and Eliza has developed a worrisome jealous streak. But, I do feel as if I have been taking better care of myself lately, and that has made all the difference. My days are easier, because I am easier on myself. My mind, my body, and my spirit have not felt this in tune in a long time. And, it's still only a work in progress...