Eightness is Greatness

The youngest step-girl is eight years old today. EIGHT. I don’t want to believe it, but since I watched her turn three, then four, then five, then six, and FINALLY, a staggering seven. Well, that leaves us with eight. Eight is GREAT. Unless you are the adult that thinks your kid shouldn’t be eight, shouldn’t be ten, and shouldn’t be twenty! Sheesh! Not only that but her birthday is my husband’s half-birthday. He is HALF-WAY to 40! I know I shouldn’t stumble over that one, but my young husband is half-way to forty! I’m the older one…he is entering my decade???

This year for Bri’s birthday we settled on two GIANT gifts. What she decided on? Moon sand (because she really didn’t think she would get a kitty). And what she asked for? To visit Candy World at the mall (because she really didn’t think she would get a trampoline in her backyard).

But she did get what she REALLY wanted. I think?!?!

Regardless, our house got a new furry family member and pretty good-size play thing in the middle of our grass.

But first…

Meet Mya Madeline Violet – a six-week old black and white sweetheart.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography
She is almost as cute as the birthday girl.

We left the house that morning where Bridget was on lock-down in her room while construction happened in the backyard (trampoline).

As we were driving, she recognized the street of the place wherethekittieslive. I tried to tell her all the kitties were given away. But when we pulled up, I couldn’t lie, and admitted we might see if just one was left.

Of course, all three were there and had just turned six weeks old. I had my heart set on a grey tabby and was willing to make sure that one went home with us. However, as fate would have it, tabby would have nothing to do with us. She hissed and arched her little fuzzy back. I figured if she was this freaked out about Bridget, what would happen with FOUR dogs?

So, tabby stayed there and Mya not-scared-of-anything went home with us.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

We had to stop at Petsmart since kitty had no potty, no food, and no bed at our place. We hooked da kitty up!

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

Then we headed home. As soon as Bridget walked in the front door, she could see the back yard.

Seeing the enormous trampoline for the first time shocked her senseless (luckily she held onto the kitty). By her reaction you would think we had built a circus back there. She freaked and then ran outside to show her Dad and sister her birthday kitty.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

I made her give up the kitty (for a second) so she could have the inaugural jump on her birthday trampoline (pretty cool present as we split the cost with the girl’s mom).

And what can I say about this kitty? She is so sweet and brave. I must say we picked the best of the bunch. This little gal does not mind little hands holding her, nor carting her all around the house.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

She does not mind dogs sniffing at her nether parts and following behind her to poke their nose into her hidey holes (Anna).

Nothing seems to phase her. She purrs when she is picked up. She eats and uses her litter box. She turns her nose up at the dogs. Sometimes, she tries to chase their tails (photos coming!). She likes to sit on our shoulders and watch TV.

She is the most chill cat. She reminds me so much of my B&W cat Gidjet (gone too soon). And by that I mean, she is perfect for a full house of dogs and kids.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

We went on to celebrate with cake and ice cream. Bridget wanted a fancy cake. This was the fanciest one we could find (and the baker recommended it). Her eyes got so big and she couldn’t believe Dad listened to her and found the fanciest (lol).

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

This cake was super delicious.
© 2014 Angelia's Photography
And maybe a little too fancy for the kids. Heh.
© 2014 Angelia's Photography
Eight years of age. Eight years of watching her grow taller and thinner, wiser and more fun. She can finally match her sister wit for wit. And this girl won’t back down.

I think she had a pretty special birthday.
© 2014 Angelia's Photography

Happy Birthday, Bridget!! You do eightness with greatness.

When it is Twenty Years Later…

On this day, twenty years ago, I gave birth to my baby girl.

© Angelia's Photography

The day I met her is the most amazing day I could ever imagine. I remember I couldn’t stop looking at her. Almost as if my heart was born outside my body. This little person was here. The one I had prayed and prayed about. I looked over every inch of her; from her rosy lips, to her tiny toes, and her little cone head. What a wonder it was to see this very real little person finally enter my life after a long nine months.

© Angelia's Photography

The two grandmas and great grandma were just as enamored with her.

© Angelia's Photography

We all fell a lot in love with this fuzzy-headed baby. A precious gift to us all.

© Angelia's Photography

And oh, how she grew…

© Angelia's Photography

Day after day…

© Angelia's Photography

One minute I am sitting and rocking my baby girl…

© Angelia's Photography

The next I am chasing after a toddler…

© Angelia's Photography

And then, I am holding her hand and I am praying that she grows and shines as bright as she is.

And she does, right before my very eyes.

Faster than I ever thought possible.

In a blink she is all grown up and welcomes her own baby girl…

© Angelia's Photography

And now I have two hearts outside my body.

I am so proud of you, Sydney. You are a beautiful Mom and an even more beautiful (now) twenty-year-old.

Happy Birthday! May the next twenty years be as good as the last.

A little celebrating never hurt anyone

What a joy it is to be the birthday girl.

My husband and step daughters gave me a gift certificate to Massage Envy. Be jealous!

Sydney surprised me too. She and Brandon gave me a gift certificate to iTunes. MY FAVORITE STORE EVER! I mean…she really HAS grown up. This birthday is proof. No reminding from anyone. Just BOOM. Perfect gift and card.

My baby starts college on Tuesday (sniff!).

And here is the birthday cake – Cookie dough delirium from Cold Stone. Mmmmmm!

There are a few missing pieces of cookie dough from the top. Let’s just say my shutter wasn’t fast enough…..

And they were really yummy.

Cold Stone Heaven.

I love what he says in the card. I hope it always seems like an adventure for us. Adventures are so much more fun than years passing. I love this man.

Also, I rented a lens this weekend from Arlington Camera. I thought I would try one of the big girl lenses (as in expensive). If I like it enough, I will rent it again for a wedding I am hired to photograph in a few weeks.

So far, I REALLY love it (of course!). Here are some random first images I took with it around the house.

Crazy-eyed Anna dog.
Bridget playing house.
My ten-year old lab.
Fred in the bed of the girl’s playhouse they created.
Fred cheesing for the camera.

Yes, poor guy needs a trim. He can see…..I think?

I, also, want to thank my bloggy friend Rommel for featuring my blog in his last post Travel Theme: Rhythm. He said some really nice things and I appreciate the recognition. Not to mention, I love his blog.

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend.

On Top of a Mountain

Oh, how I love to reminisce!

About travel, about birthdays, and most especially, about my MOST favorite place – California.

A year ago, I celebrated turning forty on a mountain above Palm Springs. What a spectacular day. I couldn’t get enough of the forest, the cliff hangs, and the beautiful desert and city views.

These are nice memories to have (and photos too!).

This year, I celebrate year forty-one by working. Meh.

But hey, it’s not so bad. My husband was out-of-town for a week, and made it back justintime. I have never been happier to see someone in my life. I consider myself pretty tough and independent. And really? It was fine. I wasn’t some kind of weeping, lonely mess. But man was it empty – inside and out. Believe me, being on a mountain is great, but having the best man in the world by your side? That is fantastic.

This is not the best photo, but it’s the only one I have of the sign.

I must say, I LOVE the ocean. LOVE IT. My second love? The MOUNTAINS. Any mountain. My grandma was from Pueblo, Colorado. We visited the mountains every Thanksgiving. This is what I love MOST about California. You have the beautiful beaches. AND (like the Coke Zero commercials) You have the gorgeous mountains too. Just a hop, skip, and highway drive away.

I believe this flower is called Yarrow. It peppers the mountain side and really gives it that pop of color that is so breathtaking among the boulders.

I saw lots of wildlife – lizards, squirrels, chipmunks, and birds.

The enormously towering trees were also amazing. I live in the city and we just don’t have this view outside of our door.

And the fresh pine scent? Heaven.

I don’t know what is not to love about a mountain.

I climbed a rock for this view. It was a little scary as I have zero balance and/or climbing skills.

My husband climbed a rock too.

Show off.

While my king was gone, I was visited by a random black bird.

Um, yeah.

He decided to land on the very rock I was perched on (out of alllll the rocks on the mountain). It was a bit unsettling in my zen state. Wings are VERY loud on a quiet mountain side. And he just kinda marched around flapping and looking at me very curiously. I got quite a few photos of my bird visitor.

Then my husband surprised me with restaurant reservations at this fancy place.

I had a delicious piece of salmon, but mostly I enjoyed the fabulous views.

Table-top flower.

My view from our dining table.

Sunset view from the balcony of the restaurant.

And this? I can’t even describe. As the sun set and the contrast changed, I couldn’t take my eyes off the captivating landscape of the desert.

Truly, my year forty is one to remember – from the start to the finish.

Now? I am ready for the next. Come on forty-one show me what you got. I know it’s going to be good.

Don’t just count your years, make your years count. -Meyers, Ernest