Monday, July 29, 2013



Oh, May. 
My third favorite month of the year. 
Please excuse how uncharacteristcally I neglected you.
You don't deserve that. 
After all - you host Mother's Day, the end of the school year, and hold more birthdays for my family than any other month - including that of myself and my little man!
You are truly a lovely month who should be at least honored by a few blog posts each year. But don't take it personally, as there are other months this year who have gone unrecognized. June only had one post as well this year and it was about something that happened in technically June got jipped.
Now June's gonna be mad.
(and she's a real piece of work.)
It's impossible to please all 12 months these days! And at the rate I've been going I'm lucky to get a massive blog combo-post out just summarizing each season.
I better crank some posts out now before July is over and I have offended 1/4th of the entire year.

It's a good thing I've got enough pictures to go around. ;)

First a few May moments...

Mother's Day

Aside from being a mother to the most incredible little bit of sunshine/tasmanian devil...

 ...I too have a wonderful mother to be celebrated.

I am increasingly grateful to her as the years go by. Days really. She is so much of who I am and who I want to be. I know that not all daughters have this kind of relationship with their mothers. Not all mothers have daughters. (And as one I will I say - being mommy to my boy is pretty stinkin awesome.) Not all daughters have their mothers. Whether by tragedy or accident or choice - not everyone has a mother. And in contrast some have more than one. The idea of mother has come to mean so much more to me in my brief years as a mom - not only from becoming one - but from observing and witnessing those around me.
Those who miss their mothers. Those who have become new mothers. Those who long to be mothers. Those who mothers to children far away - waiting for their adoptive family. Those who are mothers to children who are no longer in this world...some of whom they never even saw, or carried them only a short while, or carried them till the end only to see them for a brief moment before having to part with their most precious gift.
Mothers are born before their babies ever are.
And this beautiful mystery is so powerful it can both make and break your heart in an instant.
To my mother and all mothers, to all who have mothers holding their hands or who now hold their mothers in their hearts.
I send you my deepest love and tightest hugs.

We love you momma. So much that we recreated this old photo in hysterical sequence.

You're 3 babies who've grown now to 5. (oh...and your grandson who you sometimes think is "your baby" loves you too. ;)

My birthday.

It happened. I'm only 1 year away from 30 now. And that's all I have to say...about that. ;)


Jet's birthday.
Now that's important.

Oh my wow.
My boy is 4 - and he is as super as they come.

See. I told you.

His super-ness is rivaled only by the the most "super" birthday party our little guy could hope for.

I say it all the time - I never really pictured myself being a mom to a boy. And certainly not the kind of boy that those "100% Boy" t-shirts and "Snakes, snails and puppy dog tails" quotes are talking about. Perhaps a nice quiet boy who likes to read and play his gameboy calmly on the couch and listen to The Beatles and help around the house. Right...I thought I'd give birth to my brother.
Instead I gave birth to my husband incarnate.
A wild, uninhibited, blur of charisma and energy that both charms and overwhelms all who spend any amount of time with him. He's my shooting star.
 Beautiful. Amazing.
 I can't stop marveling at it - admiring it's speed and unpredictability - and yet it's moving so fast. Too quickly for me to really understand where it's going or where it might land.
But I watch it anyway.

Feeling blessed to catch this glimpse of something so rare.
Feeling excited at it's potential for greatness.
Feeling scared at times that I might lose track of it completely.
Knowing I cannot really control it. Not truly.
But trusting the One who created this star knows exactly where it will land, and what purpose He has given it.

And no star shown brighter than my kid's face than when he showed up to his birthday party.

A surprise visitor... 

(I adore this.)

If he knew it was really Daddy he never let on. Not even the fact that Spiderman talked and walked and had tennis shoes just like Daddy through him off. Jet was blissfully believing the dream.

Our little hero - surrounded by his super-peeps.

It is clear - life will be fabulous being 4!

(Thank you Royal Cookie Designs! These custom-made cookies were delicious and absolutely adorable!)

The day was perfection.

Absolute perfection.


Which we decided to continue into June as we headed out to the super-est place on earth!


The land that flows with cinnamon and honey toast. 
(inside joke folks...don't try it.)
And the home of Claire, Leah, Chewy and Gumbo.

(who also happen to be super heros...)

Jet made himself right at home. It's pretty easy to do.

And everywhere we went, was the happiest place on earth.

 The Pier at Huntington Beach

Seal Beach

Our days spent with family was even more enriched by some very special time with friends so close they have become our chosen family.

This group of mommies and kiddos represent one of the biggest pieces of my heart. 
The piece of my heart that holds a treasure so precious and and pivotal to my being - yet it's a treasure I didn't search for at all. 
In fact I didn't even want it. 
At first.

It's a treasure so fragile I nurture it daily, and yet strong enough to survive even the most devastating of events.
A treasure so rare - yet more common than the world care to see.
A treasure so beautiful, so powerful, so ambiguous that it can never be found - it must find you. Yet it is  so mysterious, so complex, so rare that often those who are given the chance to have it - turn it away. 
Ignorant of what it is they are really looking at. 
And it's true - it can be hard to understand what you hold in your hands when you first have it.
Acquiring this treasure is not usually planned, and is rarely brought about by one's own purposeful doing - in is seemingly given at random to a certain few who often share no commonality other than the fact that they were offered this treasure...and chose to hold onto it.
Such as these...

The treasure is that of having a child with special needs. In our case, and in the case of many of these families, these needs stem from two words:
 "Spina Bifida"

(Remember beautiful Polina?! What a miracle this girl is. Such a joy to finally meet her! Read more here.)

It is here - in my heart - that I keep this treasure. And with it - these families. Some of them we have known for years - others mere months. It doesn't matter when we began our journey or how different our paths have been. Our hearts have this same piece. And that piece alone brings us together in a way I can't even explain. But I am grateful.
I am blessed.

To not only be keeper of the power and beauty of my own treasure...but to witness the glorious treasures of others. 

(Seriously 2 of the coolest kids on the planet (and there are 3 more where that came from!). Jet's new big brothers. To say he adored them is an understatement. I miss them as much as he does. )

To see the similarities and differences and enjoy how our treasures complement each other side by side. To see that no matter the shape or size or makeup of each jewel, the way they sparkle and shine when placed in the sunlight... is just the same.

And let me tell you.
It's breathtaking.

And when there are treasures to be had. Even the most special things are made even specia-ler.

Even the "Happiest Place On Earth" was extra happy this year.

Disneyland & California Adventure

(sharing my prince charming)

And no doubt 2 reasons for the extra happiness. Love these girls.
(the princess and the mouse are ok too.)

 (yep. somehow he can still pout at the happiest place on earth.)

(the most sunshiny couple ever. so happy they came with us! love you uncle nate & aunt kelly!)

'ello Bert! 

We wasted no time meeting all the characters! The boy was OB-SESSED!

We even had to chase a few down.

Disneyland's a serious commitment folks. It's not for the timid or faint-hearted. 
You gotta get in there and 
(You mean the same ones you were terrified of a year ago? Yes. Those. And more.)

(you're kidding me right? Who are you and what did you do with my kid??)

The kid was unstoppable. 
Princesess - check. 
Mice - check. 
Chipmunks - double check.
He saw so many characters he started thinking up characters he hadn't seen yet and requesting we FIND them for him. HA! 
Of course. We did. lol.

Such a ladies man. ;)


 Peter Pan was a serious effort. Daddy and cousins Claire and Leah went all "mission impossible" and were cornering and questioning disney employees about the whereabouts of this flighty fellow. For hours. Then finally...

The best feeling ever. And I didn't have to do anything. lol. Thanks guys!

And don't think for a second us "big kids" didn't have just as much fun. 

(the "out-laws")

Ok maybe a little too much fun. When Daddy wanted the Incredibles to sign his shirt and they said they couldn't sign clothing "while you were wearing it."

So guess who needed to borrow my sweatshirt...

It was an awesome 2 day adventure. Jet even enjoyed the shows!

And the hubby and I got a special Disney-date night all to ourselves...

...And a billion other people...

It was so romantic. 
Fireworks and loud music. 
Screaming toddlers, sticky benches and and the smell of cotton candy.
We just had to make-out in the street.
There was nothing we could do to fight it.
We were victims of circumstance.

We'd still be there but we finally got a selfie that wasn't too blurry. So we left. 
Thank goodness for the iphone. ;)

The next big trip we decided to play it safer.
So we headed out to San Diego to mingle with wild animals.

There they are!
Oh and we saw some pretty cool zoo animals too.

The San Diego Zoo

The boy didn't like it one bit. ;)

Yep. Jet and cousin Arwen were pretty much bored the whole time.

I'm pretty sure I could see actual wheels turning through those liquid eyes.

Fearless cousins. Taming the zoo one giant stone animal at a time.
Which of course is a lot of work. 
So before long we headed back to Arwen's place for a rest and some food.
And by a rest I mean a trip to the park and some great practice in sharing toys and quality cousin time. 

And by food I mean some delicious dinner!

 (not pictured - some yummy stuffed peppers for us grown ups - because I was hungry and forgot to take a picture.)

Thanks so much to Aunt Cheri and Uncle Dan for such a great day! 

And the great days just kept comin...

I don't even know how to explain what this trip was for me. California is my happy place. It really has always been. It kinda runs in the family. Ask any sibling, cousin, aunt of mine and most likely - they feel the same way. I used to look forward to family trips out there for months growing up. And as luck would have it, I married a guy who would relocate there in the blink of an eye if we could - he loves it that much too! We can't visit enough. After having Jet and meeting some new and amazing families whom we now love  - it just adds to our affection for this place. 
It's sunshine to my heart.
 So no - we're not moving Georgia peeps. No need to panic. ;) We have family and friends and purpose here that we are learning, loving and are growing stronger in. But I can say without hesitation that we are already planning our next trip out there. For a million reasons that all add up to one simple feeling - california-appiness.


Chelsea said...

I am so glad that I found your blog, you are such a beautiful writer! Your little boy is so cute too!

Jill said...

WHOA!! How do I even comment on this one?? I can't even imagine how long it took to get all of those pictures organized and edited. Anyway, so nice to see all the happy in your last few months. I hope you're able to hang on to a little bit of it now that you're home. :)

Summers Family said...

What a wonderful summer! I loved seeing you when you were here Joanna. I would have loved a little more mom time so we could have continued to catch up without the little people :-) I reflect often on your words and your openness and I thank you for your caring heart. I love all your pictures - not just the ones Annabelle and I are in (lol) You captured so many great moments! I can't wait for your next visit. Annabelle asks about Jet all the time.


I would greatly appreciate if you could please send me all the pics from our visit so I can start working on my photobook :-) Whatever is easiest - Picasa, Google+ or dropbox all work good for me. Thank so much my friend.

Thorsten said...

This is fantastic!

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