Archive | family

Hello 2017!

Merry Christmas from Lena (5), Gil (3), and Forest (7 months)! This photo was on the front of our Christmas card this year. Our Christmas card photo this year: Lena (5), Gil (3), and Forest (7 months).

Hello, old blog. I think of you often, mostly because putting words and photos into this space is a way to record both the images and the emotions of this stage of life, marriage, and motherhood. I miss doing this, and reading my readers’ stories too, and sharing in this small community online.

And so, at least for the month of January, one of my goals is to write four blog posts. I am already over a week into this month and haven’t been able to write until now, so we’ll see if this happens!

I thought a fun thing to do would be to capture the last few weeks in a bunch of photos. A lot of my favorite photos are on Instagram, but here are some that didn’t make the cut for whatever reason, yet still tell our story.

becca-garber-hello-2017-1 In December right before Christmas, we went on a five-day vacation to Cambria on the central California coast with my mom, dad, sister Emily, brother Eric, and his girlfriend Rebecca. We stayed in a gorgeous Airbnb on Stepladder Ranch, and we spent hours hiking in the lush green hills around the ranch.

img_7685 Sunrise through the lavender outside our bedroom window.

becca-garber-hello-2017-2 We went on a tour of Stepladder Creamery, a goat dairy on the ranch. It was so green; all the shades of green and red and blue were like technicolor. The cheese was great too!

becca-garber-hello-2017-3 Forest was everyone’s favorite to snuggle.

img_7736 Sunset at Elephant Seal Beach, where we saw male elephant seals fighting and tiny newborn baby seals nursing. Elliott and I haven’t been back here since our honeymoon almost seven years ago, so it was crazy to stand there watching the same amazing sight… but with our three children.

becca-garber-hello-2017-4 Mornings at the ranch house.

becca-garber-hello-2017-5 My mom bought fun spa items for us girls to enjoy while we were there, and Lena had so much fun pampering all of us. I want to repeat this experience! Turns out she gives a facial (the five-year-old version) just as well as she climbs trees.

becca-garber-hello-2017-6 Frolicking in the hills!

img_7755 We visited Hearst Castle while we were staying just a few miles away, and it was opulent and magnificent. This is the indoor pool. Can you imagine hanging out here with movie stars in the 1930s and ’40s?

becca-garber-hello-2017-7 The long drive home. I hate LA traffic.

img_7783 Christmas Eve breakfast! Elliott’s favorite cinnamon rolls were a must.

becca-garber-hello-2017-8 My little family ready to head out to the Christmas Eve service at church, and our Christmas Day dinner the next day.

img_7814 The whole crew enjoying Christmas morning breakfast. We are so glad you all came!

img_7865 My three precious children on Christmas morning. Forest’s first! My heart was so full of thankfulness that day.

img_7871 Between travel to St Louis, Virginia, and Cambria in December, Forest’s sleep schedule was a total wreck and he was so exhausted by the time Christmas was over. We moved him up to his own bedroom (and out of our closet!) right after my family departed. We also moved him out of the little Arm’s Reach co-sleeper bed he’d slept in his whole life, and now he is in a real “big boy” crib. He’s already sleeping so much better. Not sleeping through the night, though I think he could. I know… babies and parents and sleep… the endless drama…

img_7872 Elliott’s parents got into town for a week-long visit the same day my family left, and we spent a quiet day at home before going to the San Diego Holiday Bowl parade the next day. The kids loved all the balloon floats and bands!

becca-garber-hello-2017-9 We celebrated a second Christmas with Elliott’s parents, this time just stockings. The kids especially enjoyed the packs of gum I put in there, and the little balloon pump and long tube balloons that we made into shapes. So entertaining!

img_7899 We visited Torrey Pines State Reserve one day, and a cockatoo walked right up with his owner and made himself at home! He untied our shoe laces, ate our carrots, and then meandered on his happy way.

img_7920 Elliott’s sister gave the kids cloth bags and fabric paint for Christmas, and they had so much fun decorating them. I love this messy, realistic scene that is reminiscent of many many mornings in our home.

becca-garber-hello-2017-10 At the recommendation of multiple friends, I got my first Erin Condren planner this year. Already I love having a paper planner so much. I feel like I have a clear grasp of what this week holds, and what I need to get done, like send birthday cards, schedule babysitters, accomplish monthly goals… things that often got pushed to the last minute or just forgotten. When my family relies on me to be organized as well as provide for them in myriad ways, I don’t want to waste my time being disorganized, last-minute, or forgetful. This is my realization and aspiration, anyway. More about goals in an upcoming post!

becca-garber-hello-2017-11 My baby’s first time in the shopping cart seat, and one of my favorite parts of the day: bathing Forest, wrapping him up in his hooded towel, dressing him in cozy pajamas, snuggling up to nurse him, and then laying his sleepy body down in his crib. I love having a baby so so so much, even with the challenges.

img_8003 I’ve been selling and giving away a lot of things this month (spring cleaning!), and I loved this photo of a hand bell set I was ready to part with. Sadly, my kids were always more interested in ringing them loudly enough to wake up the neighbors than playing “Jingle Bells.”

becca-garber-hello-2017-12 Photos of me and my best friend before a hot date to an Italian restaurant!

img_8127 For my job at a local paper, I reviewed Buona Forchetta, a popular Italian restaurant in San Diego, and then interviewed the owner. Everyone loved the article, and I loved the entire experience from start to finish! Here’s the article if you’d like to read it.

becca-garber-hello-2017-13 Our beloved baby. On the left, he was eating some crackers (love Mum-Mums!) at the library, and on the right he was hanging out with me, Elliott, and our dog on a date while Elliott’s parents took the older two kids to La Jolla Cove.

becca-garber-hello-2017-14 More of my baby. I might be obsessed a little. Also he loves his bath each night so much!

img_8139 Photo of Bluewater Boathouse (another restaurant I review each quarter for the newspaper) and Glorietta Bay at sunrise, taken on a run with friends. We live in such a breathtakingly beautiful place!

becca-garber-hello-2017-15 Lena showed Forest how to set up her new gears toy, and Gil snapped this random photo of me one night when I was giving Forest a bath.

img_8165 Last week we rode the ferry from Coronado to downtown San Diego (I love this photo from the ride) to get Lena a new passport and apply for Forest’s first. We’d like to do some international travel this spring, but we’re still not sure where.

becca-garber-hello-2017-16 Playing on the amazing playground after our passport appointments. Forest is such a serious swinger, and Lena is such a daredevil one!

img_8185 And finally, here is a photo of my precious Gil, because I don’t take enough of this sweet, goofy boy. He wasn’t feeling great here (the kids have been suffering from stomach bugs this past week), but he came along so cheerfully on this expedition on the ferry and smiled so sweetly here.

And that’s all for now! A busy season, but one I don’t ever want to forget. If only that were possible… at least for all the best memories!

xo

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8 :: in Coronado, family, Forest, Gil, holidays, home sweet home, Lena, life lately, San Diego

Our First Week with Forest Everett

Forest Everett birth announcement See Gil’s almost-identical blog birth announcement in this post!

Forest Everett is sleeping next to me now, making those little newborn squeaks and coos that I cannot get enough of. Thanks to the totally self-sacrificial love and care of my mom and Elliott, I have been given ample time to savor these newborn days, nap, relax, and enjoy. I’m grateful for such a peaceful start to life with Forest, especially after our start with Gil was so difficult.

Here are some of my favorite memories from this first week with our third baby!

becca-garber-coronado-forest-everett-first-week-2016-2 We brought Forest home on last Friday morning. I took a moment to to fix the drive in my memory, as I did with Lena and Gil.  All the purple-blossomed jacaranda trees were in bloom, and the water and sky were a brilliant blue as we crossed the bridge. Coronado looked like a green jewel surrounded by a sapphire sea. What a beautiful place to come home to, Forest!

IMG_1990 Leaving the hospital.

becca-garber-coronado-forest-everett-first-week-2016-1 The kids were so excited to see him home at last!

becca-garber-coronado-forest-everett-first-week-2016-3 Gil tried on the outfit he wore so often as a newborn. Doesn’t fit you anymore, big guy.

becca-garber-coronado-forest-everett-first-week-2016-4 Elliott and I took Forest to his first pediatrician appointment on Saturday morning, which he passed with flying colors. I have thanked God over and over this week for his health, ease with nursing, and so-far easy-going nature. I don’t take it for granted now–experience has humbled me!

On the right, my Forest next to a wonderful cookbook my friend loaned me.

becca-garber-coronado-forest-everett-first-week-2016-5 Left: All snuggled up while everyone else went to church. Forest and I listened to a sermon and soaked up the peace and quiet.

Right: FaceTime in two different rooms of the house never ceases to amaze my kids!

becca-garber-coronado-forest-everett-first-week-2016-6 I love every tiny little feature! The beautiful swaddle blanket is from Little Unicorn and the pacifier is from Natursutten, and so far I’m a big fan of both.

becca-garber-coronado-forest-everett-first-week-2016-7 On Sunday night, Elliott and I went out for a sushi date, something I have been dreaming of for a long time. We went out for sushi when Lena was a few days old, too, so I guess it’s kind of a tradition at this point. ;)

becca-garber-coronado-forest-everett-first-week-2016-8 Afterwards we had more time before our older kids would be in bed (thanks, parents!), so we walked along the beach to the famous Hotel Del Coronado and enjoyed a drink at sunset. Little Forest woke up to nurse on the beach but otherwise lounged or slept quietly the whole time. Well done, little guy!

becca-garber-coronado-forest-everett-first-week-2016-9 becca-garber-coronado-forest-everett-first-week-2016-10 One evening my mom took the kids to the park, and so Forest and I sat outside for a long time, snuggling and nursing and playing with each other’s hands. I cannot get enough of this precious newborn stage!

becca-garber-coronado-forest-everett-first-week-2016-11 I guess none of us can. :)

IMG_2333 becca-garber-coronado-forest-everett-first-week-2016-12 On the left, early morning jammie snuggles. On the right, Forest is wrapped in a beautiful blanket that a friend gave me for Lena over five years ago.

IMG_2117 How we roll around here, undies and all. So far Elliott and I are not regretting the purchase of the secondhand Mamaroo that Forest is in. It’s given us quiet evenings to ourselves when he tends to be a little fussy, and that alone has made it worth it so far. We suffered through many, many interrupted evenings with newborn to 3-month-old Gil.

becca-garber-coronado-forest-everett-first-week-2016-13 A familiar position for me on the left, as I tend to nurse my new babies lying down about 50% off the time. They can figure out the right latch without much interference from me, and they often fall asleep for hours after nursing like this. Other moms, do you have some unconventional adaptations like this?

On the right, my beautiful mom with her one-week-old grandson!

IMG_2384 Fresh produce that Elliott and Lena gathered from our EarthBox garden. Two kinds of tomatoes, peas, and lemon cucumbers. No strawberries because those get eaten right off the vine as soon as they’re ripe.

IMG_2422 A multi-tasking Grammie, who I think was talking to Elliott about summer vacation plans at the same time!

IMG_2377 Siena, our Maine Coon cat, joined our family right before Gil was born, and she’s been a nurturer ever since. She still runs over to Gil whenever he cries, or paws at him to help him stop.

becca-garber-coronado-forest-everett-first-week-2016-16 On the left, Forest is sporting a bracelet Lena made for him before he was born. On the right… back to diapers once again, even though we only put away Gil’s nighttime diapers last month. Sigh!

IMG_2457 Forest’s first bath on his one-week birthday, with plenty of assistance from his big sister.

IMG_0817 Little squish!

IMG_2466 How our evenings go these days: snuggles and conversations (and diaper changes).

Below are a series of photos I took on Forest’s one-week “birthday,” taken in chronological order. You’ll see how the order tells a story. ;)

IMG_2453 IMG_2450 IMG_2452 IMG_2454 IMG_2455 IMG_0772 IMG_2456 And that’s it! We love you, little Forest Everett, and you have brought so much joy to our home since you arrived. May it always be so. We are so glad God gave you to us to be part of our family!

4 :: in family, Forest, home sweet home, life lately, motherhood, new baby series, thoughts

Welcome to the World, Forest Everett Garber!

IMG_1668 Look who’s here! Our third child was born on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, at 6:38 in the morning. We are praising God for his healthy and speedy arrival.

FullSizeRender 2 I will treasure this picture forever! The joy and thankfulness we all felt in this photo is tangible, don’t you think?

We have had to spend a full two days at the hospital before going home because, for those familiar with labor and delivery, I was GBS positive and didn’t have time to receive the antibiotics before Forest was born. I took the opportunity of these quieter hours to write up a short birth story — because who knows how much time I’ll have for anything once I get home!

becca-garber-welcome-forest-everett-new-baby-1 My due date was May 19, but some ultrasounds had indicated that my due date might actually be May 17. After I fell on a slippery road two weeks ago, though, and no baby came, Elliott was beginning to feel like “the baby will never be born!” and “you might be pregnant forever!” I had such a long to-do list around the house, however, that I was in no rush for our baby to arrive any sooner than he wanted to. In a family poll guessing his due date, I said June 1, which would be exactly one day less than 42 weeks overdue. Maybe I was a little too generous with that estimation…

My mom arrived May 16, and at that point I felt ready to welcome the baby anytime, since she could take care of Lena and Gil at a moment’s notice. I still had some things I wanted to do — attend a final MOPS meeting, freeze a few meals if I had time, get a manicure and pedicure! — but mostly I was just relaxing and ready.

becca-garber-welcome-forest-everett-new-baby-7 The night of May 17, we hosted a large group of friends for dinner that were visiting from India and L.A. Elliott and I went to bed that night feeling tired and ready to sleep, and with no premonitions of what was to come. Elliott didn’t ask me if anything had changed (like he usually did 5xs/day), and I was glad he didn’t because I’d been noticing a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions once I got into bed. Could this be the early stages of labor? I didn’t want to get Elliott’s hopes up!

I woke up around 3am with steady but painless little contractions. When I timed them, they were about three minutes apart and lasting a minute. After about 30 minutes, Elliott woke up, we talked and finally began to gather a few final things to go to the hospital. It seemed early to go, despite the steady contractions, because I wasn’t in any pain.

Unfortunately, when we got up to pack, the contractions seemed to stop. Arg! We were so discouraged. Was this just a tease?

IMG_1806 We got back into bed, and my contractions had slowed down, but now they were getting more painful. Elliott timed them for about 15 minutes while I began to get a little worried that maybe now we’d waited too long. When we got out of bed this time, my teeth were chattering, and I told Elliott, “I think I’m in transition,” or getting very close to pushing. Elliott quickly woke my mom, we threw a few things in the car, and — at 5:20 am — we were on our way!

Within 15 minutes, we walked onto the labor and delivery floor, with Elliott carrying bags and pillows and a giant yoga ball, and me walking in a daze. A nurse brought us into a waiting room and asked us to fill out some admission paperwork, and I grabbed onto a chair during a painful contraction while Elliott said, “I think it’s too late for that.”

becca-garber-welcome-forest-everett-new-baby-3 Sure enough, by the time the nurse got me into a room a minute later and checked me, she had to hit the call bell right away, saying, “She’s complete, complete, and +2 station, ready to push!”

I didn’t have time to talk about my ‘birth plan,’ which it is why it is especially incredible how the next hour unfolded. I wanted to request the midwife on call be in charge of the delivery, and I wanted a quiet birthing experience with just a nurse and a midwife in the room. I didn’t want an epidural or other meds, and I preferred to do things naturally and peacefully at my own pace. My friend and nurse Melissa facilitated a wonderful birth for us and Gil in Sicily, and I was hoping to have something like that for this baby.

becca-garber-welcome-forest-everett-new-baby-2 Anyway, there I was, ready to push within 5 minutes of arriving on the floor. Just then, a woman walked into the room and introduced herself as the midwife, and I recognized her as a friendly, kind woman who’d done our baby’s 9-week ultrasound last October. Together, she and one nurse took over our care, and there was no one else in the room. The midwife, Sarah, asked me what I wanted to do to be comfortable, and she never once asked if I wanted an epidural. She facilitated a comfortable position for me and cheerfully coached me through delivery.

For me, pushing is my least favorite part of labor because I don’t have an urge to push like most women. I just have to tell myself, “OK, here’s a contraction, let’s do this” over and over. Elliott and the midwife were both laughing at my resigned attitude towards the task ahead of me each time I felt a contraction and prepared to push. I wasn’t in much pain, though, and since I didn’t have much choice in the matter, we made steady progress. Within about 30 minutes, Elliott lifted our son up for me to hold!

becca-garber-welcome-forest-everett-new-baby-4 Elliott both got to deliver the baby and cut the cord, and then we were able to take him in. The relief and emotional rush of those first few minutes with our brand new baby are incomparable. Over the next hour, as he snuggled close, skin to skin, and then began to nurse with effortless instinct, I thanked God over and over and over. I had felt anxious towards the end of this pregnancy, but here our baby was — 10 fingers, 10 toes, wonderfully and fearfully made. Thank you, thank you, thank you God!

IMG_1947 Once we settled in our recovery room, the urgent question became, “What shall we name him?” We had thought about many names for a long time, but we kept coming back to both Forest and Everett. In the end, we loved the combination of the two, as well as the strength of the name itself.

We called him Forest because he came into being last August when Elliott and I went on a hiking trip in the High Sierra backcountry of Yosemite. His life began in a forest! We also hope and pray that he will love and care for Creation and its Creator God all the days of his life.

Everett is a family name on my side, and Elliott has also always looked up to and admired C. Everett Koop, former Surgeon General of the United States, who tied together his faith, work, and public service in admirable ways, and who Elliott met when he was a little boy. Mostly, though, I just really like the name Everett!

becca-garber-welcome-forest-everett-new-baby-10 Forest has had some eager little visitors here at the hospital, and watching my parents and our children with him has been so sweet! Lena loves holding him quietly in bed and watching him and asking questions, and Gil meanwhile bounces around him like a rambunctious puppy, digs in his blankets for his feet, his nose or eyes before we can stop him, and overall terrifies us somewhat with his tough love. It’s going to be an exciting adventure when we get home….

I am so SO grateful for my mom. She’s taken incredible, creative, and energetic care of Lena and Gil, meaning that both Elliott and I can stay at the hospital and bond with Forest. The first night in the hospital, Elliott brought me sushi and champagne, and we had a celebratory feast. The second night we both held Forest and ate popcorn and watched Shakespeare in Love. Almost a vacation!

becca-garber-welcome-forest-everett-new-baby-6 These first 48 hours of Forest’s life have been so peaceful and joy-filled, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Thank you, thank you, God.

And now, Elliott and Forest, let’s go home and let the wild rumpus start!

22 :: in family, Forest, life lately, motherhood, new baby series, thoughts

A Pre-Baby Update!

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Hello again, everyone! Time for the quarterly update on this blog. :) Our third child is due in a week and a half (May 19, I’m looking at you), and I would love to try to catch up a little bit before he arrives. Some of you may remember that this blog and Gil were born on almost the same day — so long ago now!

Life continues to be very sweet here in Coronado, and we are so thankful for good friends, spiritual fellowship, healthy children, a relaxed work schedule for Elliott, and so much more. Here’s a little glimpse into our lives since February:

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L: Lena loves weaving on her little loom from Grammie!
R: My silly kiddos after church (and a 27-week baby bump).

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L: Two children quietly waiting for a prescription to be ready in the North Island Medical Clinic pharmacy. I am so grateful for free, excellent healthcare through the military. It’s very bare-bones, but you can’t beat how easy and close it is.
R: On our way to the library with the doll stroller, with Gil practicing for his little brother’s arrival!

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L: Gymnastics at the park after soccer class.
R: Starting Little House at Plum Creek with Lena before her nap/rest time.

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L: Storytime at the library, a weekly tradition that we love.
R: Gil is officially potty-trained!

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28 weeks! Bumping along…

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An NSW wives’ “St. Galentine’s Day” party with two of my best friends here in Coronado.

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Reading Angelina Ballerina books with the kids (28 weeks) in the story tent at the library.

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29 weeks! Loving all the flowers that bloom year-round here in southern California.

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L: Last run of this pregnancy (30 weeks) with Annelie. I miss long conversations with her and am looking forward to getting back to those — and running — later this summer!
R: Gil’s pediatrician diagnosed a heart murmur, so we got an echocardiogram to check it out. Moments like these are when I realize how thin the line is between good health and chronic illness. Thankfully, he got a clean bill of health — no murmur! We were so grateful and relieved.

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L: Two “twins” (matching shirts, jean shorts, and blue shoes) filling up my grocery cart!
R: I took Lena to see an Irish dancing school perform at our library, and her feet won’t stay still now.

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L: This girl loves her mama to read to her! Starting first thing in the morning almost every morning…
R: The Hotel Del Coronado asked if I’d like to write an article for my paper about the locals’ specials they are offering in their spa. I asked if I could try them out first, and they said yes! Love my job.

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L: Eye candy. Can’t walk by this store without stopping in awe.
R: Another beach sunset at 31 weeks!

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We flew to Virginia over Easter weekend for Elliott’s sister’s wedding. We ate Bodo’s Bagels with a few of his siblings in Charlottesville. So good to see family!

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L: After the wedding, Daniel and Jess posed with their three ringbearers and three flowergirls! Can you pick out Lena and Gil?
R: We also enjoyed a little Charlottesville wine tasting with family at our favorite spot: King Family Vineyards. The kids loved the new toy.

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We came home from Virginia and Elliott got promoted!

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I love you so much, Soldier of mine!

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On April 3rd, Lena turned 5!

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She had a very specific vision for her cake: blue with cherries (like her bike) and white writing and sprinkles, lots and lots of sprinkles!

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I see more Little House reading in our future. I’ve been enjoying these books as much as she has, I think.

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Chatting with Marmee as she enjoys her new present (which I highly recommend; it’s like a modern slate).

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A little more of my Lena: tongue out as she decorates her cake, and tucking her baby in for the night before going to bed.

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L: Evening walk to enjoy the gorgeous flowers blooming in Coronado in mid-April.
R: 35 weeks!

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L: The most amazing book. Five stars, highly recommend, go out and buy it today.
R: Something she drew during her rest time for me!

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Every couple of months, I get to review the new tasting menu at one of our favorite restaurants in Coronado for my work at the paper. It’s always a fun date night for Elliott and me! This time we were tasting seared halibut and a smoked salmon cake.

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The Coronado Flower Show is always a highlight of the spring!

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Elliott and the kids replanted our balcony garden in Earth Boxes earlier this spring. One evening in mid-April, they discovered the first ripe cucumbers. Strawberries, tomatoes, corn, peppers, and more varieties of cucumbers are on their way as well.

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Hard at work weaving more potholders on a chilly morning outside with me.

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Can’t wait to meet this little man! On the right, 36 weeks.

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A lot of my friends and I decided to have second and third children around the same time, it seems, and I have hosted three baby showers in the past couple of months! Here are the leftover decorations from one of them, and I have more photos to share of a pretty, girly baby shower I co-hosted this past Saturday. Coming soon!

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Little artists after their rest time.

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Elliott’s brother Jonathan and his wife Erika came to visit for a week. We loved showing them around San Diego and adventuring up to the Santa Ynez Valley with them, too.

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L: Delicious breakfast in La Jolla at one of our favorite places: The Cottage.
R: Hanging out with one of the adorable men in my life while everyone else went ocean kayaking in La Jolla Cove.

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On a hike on our friend’s ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley. Elliott and I visited here during our coastal California honeymoon, and it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world!

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L: Lunch at In-n-Out on our way back to San Diego.
R: “You made a mess all over my coffee table, so I guess I’ll have to nap in here.”

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In a slightly scary turn of events, I slipped and fell on a wet road at 37 weeks and had to spend 24 hours in the hospital for monitoring! Thankfully the baby and I were totally fine, and everything is back to normal. I also must admit: I enjoyed the break to get some writing, reading, knitting, and journaling done.

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The food was meager, I gotta say. This was “lunch” at 4pm, and they forgot my dinner. (Although an apologetic nurse did offer me her store-bought salad!) It’s good to be on this side of healthcare every now and then, I think. ;)

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L: Some good reading as we consider homeschooling Lena next year.
R: Me and my two (three!) favorite kiddos in the whole entire world.

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We continue to love slipping away to the beach in the evenings, sometimes with a hastily packed picnic dinner, and sometimes with just books and sand toys.

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The jacarandas are in bloom! We can’t get enough of them!

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And last but not least, another evening on the beach. Will we keep doing this once we have a new baby? I hope so! Only a matter of days before we find out!

Check back soon for a couple of pretty posts about baby showers (my own as well as the one I co-hosted) and some book recommendations… and maybe some favorite baby products I can’t wait to use?

Or just check back to see if we had a baby. ;)

17 :: in family, life lately, military life, motherhood

An Update from the Sunny Coast

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Well hi! It’s been months since I’ve updated this old blog. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and everything else that we missed!

I think when you disappear from a space — or slowly slip away — readers often wonder if something is wrong. (I know I’ve hidden away from social media and blogs at times when things are hard or uncertain.) Yet this time I slipped away because life was so good, because the days were so full, and because I didn’t want to miss any of it (even by recording it!). Also, the unique story we had in Sicily didn’t seem so unique now that we were in California.

Anyway, all that to say, these past few months have been some of the best, and they have been thoroughly enjoyed and lived in the present. I bet you know what I mean and how that feels. It’s so good.

becca-garber-update-coronado-2016-1 So here we are in 2016. I thought I’d update with some of my favorite photos from the first two months of the year, starting with these: an early morning cuppa and journaling, and my little man Gil learning his letters.

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Those of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook will know this, but we are expecting another baby! I am due with #3 in mid-May, and we have been savoring this pregnancy so much because of the joy of sharing it with our children.

Lena really gets it and knows things will be hard and wonderful when the baby arrives. She tells everyone she is going to change the baby’s diapers, and the other day she told me, “I might have to do all the cooking after the baby arrives, Mama.” What would I do without her?

IMG_3308 Lena and I have been reading aloud a lot together (maybe too much — she can be really demanding when she loves a book), and we started the year with this gorgeous Rifle Paper Co. edition of Alice in Wonderland. What a wacky book! The illustrations were exquisite.

IMG_3321 Lena made a “sweater” for her cousin from some wrapping paper, yarn, and tape. She has such an imagination…

becca-garber-update-coronado-2016-2 … as evidenced by this blanket/block/rubber band creation on the floor: a butterfly!

On the right, I was 22 weeks pregnant with this third babe, enjoying a full-length mirror and two hours of work/writing time while the kids were in weekly enrichment classes at the Coronado Community Center.

IMG_3407 El Niño came to visit and we were hit with days of torrential rain. After it passed, we headed up into the hills (along with the rest of San Diego) to play in the snow. We didn’t find much, and it was mostly ice.

IMG_3376 Eventually we left the crowds and found a quiet country road with some hikes. Gil posed like a model.

IMG_3383 And Lena and Gil found their own chunks of snow/ice to play with in the shade! Overall, the trip was a win, but we’re looking forward to East Coast winters again in the future some day.

IMG_3446 They looked so cute laughing down at me from the second floor that I took their picture! Also, the Christmas decorations finally came down in late January…

becca-garber-update-coronado-2016-3 Lena discovered my phone was unlocked and took selfies…

becca-garber-update-coronado-2016-4 Our town’s library is the most magical place. This afternoon activity was a birthday party for Winnie the Pooh. The librarians read Pooh poems, taught Pooh songs, sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Pooh, and served up birthday cake!

IMG_3713 On January 25, Gil turned THREE! We had a quiet day, a special dinner, made a cake, blew out candles, and opened a few presents. One of them was a green train engine to add to his little train set, and this was his first battery-operated train car. Hours of amusement ensued.

becca-garber-update-coronado-2016-5 Happy birthday, sweet Gil! Hope you enjoyed all the piles of sprinkles you dumped on your cake, and the red and blue frosting you so specifically chose. We love you!

IMG_3774 Evening walk to the beach for sunset, always magnificent.

becca-garber-update-coronado-2016-8 For our 6th anniversary on January 30th, I told Elliott all I wanted was to walk to the beach and order pizza for a picnic dinner there. I got my wish! The kids thought they were pretty lucky to be included, too.

IMG_3830 Quiet Saturday morning reading and snuggling in Mama and Daddy’s bed.

IMG_3802 Lena and Elliott went to a golf tournament for fun with friends, so Gil and I ran errands and then got a treat ourselves at my favorite Coronado cafe: Tartine. Gil looked in the dessert case and of all the desserts, he chose my favorite: pavlova. Way to go, Gil!

becca-garber-update-coronado-2016-7 Every few months or so, I provide refreshments for our church after the service. That week I made mini bacon and caramelized onion quiches, banana bread, and winter fruit salad. I was missing pomegranate seeds, which would have made the salad extra pretty!

In the second photo, Gil was my fashion photographer for a less-than-successful photoshoot.

IMG_3897 A friend and I hosted a Valentine’s Day crafting party at my house for our local Moms Club, and it was a huge hit! We had so much fun, and I loved seeing so many friends in my home.

IMG_3908 They are a pretty wonderful bunch. :)

becca-garber-update-coronado-2016-6 Back from an early-morning run with a good friend before the kids are up! My 24-week bump and I got to enjoy some quiet reading and journaling.

And on the right… those kiddos in their footie pajamas are always up to something. It has been one of my greatest joys this season to see them really play together, creating their own games and building forts and using their imaginations for hours at a time. It makes mothering them so much more fun, too.

IMG_3457 The kids started playing soccer on Wednesday afternoons with Little Rascalz Soccer School, a play-based, preschool-oriented introduction to sports. It’s really good for the kids, I think, and I hope I can continue to encourage them to play sports like they do now: purely for the fun of it.

IMG_3655 Lena and Gil’s friend was turning four, and his dad (a SEAL, as many guys are in Coronado, the home of the Navy SEALs) set up a slack line and zip line for the kids to enjoy at the park. Pizza, cake, and zip lines — that was Lena’s kind of party!

IMG_3653 Later that night, we decided to have our second family movie night of all time and watch Toy Story. So far we’ve seen this one and Finding Nemo, and we’re thinking of watching Cinderella next. This slow introduction to movies together has been a lot of fun, and I like how movies are a treat for all of us this way.

becca-garber-update-coronado-2016-9 On the left, Lena and I read through all five books in the Samantha series (American Girl) in a few days. She loved them, even though a lot of the historical context was over her head. Can’t wait till she can read all these books on her own in a few years! I loved them all and still remember so much of the stories.

On the right, we went kayaking as a family last Saturday morning in the San Diego Bay, and Gil took the relaxing aspect of kayaking right to heart!

IMG_4022 My little nap time companion. Siena, our Maine Coon, likes to find me on the couch, play with my hair for a few minutes, and then lie down on it to take a nap.

IMG_4033 Annelie, my Swedish friend and running partner, invited us over to celebrate Fettisdagen, or Fat Tuesday. We ate semla, the traditional Swedish cardamom and cream buns that Swedes enjoy before the start of Lent.

I love being included in her Swedish traditions! I never got a picture of it, but she brought her family and Swedish friends to come caroling on Saint Lucia Day right before Christmas. Do you remember that tradition from the Kirsten (American Girl) books? They were dressed in white with candles and wreaths! So magical.

IMG_4052 Another magical thing is how this little girl has taken to her first bike. We encouraged her to practice and practice and practice on her balance bike, and finally in early February I found a two-wheeler on Craigslist that was not super girly or too boyish. She was pedaling independently on it after 15 minutes, and now she streaks around our driveway, standing up on the pedals and pumping away. We’re so proud, and she loves her new freedom!

IMG_4059 El Niño rains and storms have changed the topography of our beaches, exposing an old shipwreck that is usually buried in the sand. One evening we met a bunch of friends there (and tons of tourists) to walk through the shallow water and out onto the wreck. It’s a sunken gambling boat, so rumor has it that there’s money around here, too!

IMG_4123 Elliott’s parents visited for a long weekend, and on their last morning here we took them to Balboa Park to ride the carousel and explore the gardens. Gotta love that 80-degree weather in February!

IMG_4128 One night Elliott cut Gil’s hair and let the kids watch half an episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I came back from a run the next morning and found them sitting side by side on the couch, Gil’s hand on Lena’s knee, enjoying the second half of the show together.

IMG_4130 I brought the kids with me when I took my glucose tolerance test for pregnancy, and they wanted to taste the last drop in the bottle to see what it was like. They loved it, of course.

IMG_4136 I don’t write about it too much on here, but my part-time work as a staff writer for eCoronado (a local online newspaper) is a wonderful part of my life. I write at least two articles a week for the paper, and half of these are food reviews of restaurants, movie reviews of the newest blockbuster, or stage reviews of theater productions. I love promoting local shop owners and artists in our town, getting to enjoy arts and culture for free (Elliott and I go on so many good dates!), and sharing my knowledge with Coronado.

Last week I wrote an article about drones in Coronado, which are a major hazard due to low-flying planes and helicopters in a town with two military bases. My story got picked up by a local news station, and I was interviewed by the station about my article. The 3-minute story ran on the 7pm local news! It was such a cool experience (despite having to talk into the sun for about 20 minutes without sunglasses on!).

becca-garber-update-coronado-2016-10 And now, last but not least, a precious photo of Gil with his grandmother during her visit, giggling on the whirling carousel, and me at 27 weeks pregnant.

If you look at the photo on the left quickly, it looks like my belly sticks out as far as the end of the bed, rather than only as far as my hand. I’ve still got three months to go, though, so my belly will stick out that far before too long! Bring it on, baby. We can’t wait to meet you!

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