Lyla Rae’s birthday interview – eight years old

How can it be that my last post was a birthday interview a year ago? I really need to get better about blogging more than once a year, lol. But here we are again, conducting Lyla’s annual birthday interview. At least I’m doing it sooner two months after her birthday.

Lyla turned eight on August 10, 2017. It was a busy day because both girls had back-to-school night so our family party was a little rushed. We had a pool party for Lyla and her friends the next day. It was emoji-themed and so much fun.

Happy 8!


Lyla Rae, Age 8

Nicknames Pies

How old are you? 8 years old

What is your favorite color? Mint green

What is your favorite animal? Unicorn

What is your favorite book? Rainbow Fairy chapter books

What is your favorite TV show? Cake Wars

What is your favorite movie? Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

What is your favorite song? Despacito by Daddy Yankee & Justin Beiber

What is your favorite food? Cheeseburgers

What is your favorite drink? Root beer

What is your favorite breakfast food? French toast sticks

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks

What is your favorite outfit? Dresses & Jojo bows

What is your favorite game? The Game of Life

What is your favorite toy? Nintendo 3DS

Who is your best friend? Stefanie Valle

What is your favorite thing to do? Play my DS and look at my iPad

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Swim in the pool

What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Polar Bear

Where is your favorite place to go? Jupiter, FL (Grandma and Grandpa’s house)

What is your favorite restaurant? Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Hollywood, FL

Where do you want to go on vacation? China

What do you want to be when you grow up? Pastry chef

What did you do on your birthday? Opened small gifts, went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, gave out cookies to my class as a treat, had a small party at home with Mom, Dad and Sophie then had a emoji-themed pool party with friends the next day.


Lyla Rae’s birthday interview – seven years old

Year two of the birthday interview and I’m late again!! Lyla turned seven on August 10th and here we are on October 17th and I’m just now getting the time to sit down and do this. BUT I’m getting it done and that’s all that matters. I can’t wait to read these with her when she’s older, year seven here we go!


Lyla Rae, Age 7

Nicknames Yaya, Pies

How old are you? 7 years old

What is your favorite color? Turquoise

What is your favorite animal? Parrot

What is your favorite book? The Berenstain Bears and the week at Grandma’s

What is your favorite TV show? Elena of Avalor

What is your favorite movie? Nightmare Before Christmas

What is your favorite song? My Time from Elena of Avalor

What is your favorite food? Chicken Teriyaki

What is your favorite drink? Orange Fanta

What is your favorite breakfast food? Donut

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks

What is your favorite outfit? Dresses

What is your favorite game? Bean Boozled Challenge (Jelly Belly game)

What is your favorite toy? My Elena doll

Who is your best friend? Stefanie Valle

What is your favorite thing to do? Look at my iPad

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Jump rope

What is your favorite holiday? Halloween

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Polar Bear

Where is your favorite place to go? Jupiter, FL (Grandma and Grandpa’s house)

What is your favorite restaurant? Red Robin

Where do you want to go on vacation? Disneyland

What do you want to be when you grow up? Teacher

What did you do on your birthday? I had a special donut breakfast, opened a small gift, got a surprise lunch at school (McDonald’s), and had my party with friends after school at the Mountain House splash pad. After that, I had cake and ice cream at home with just my family at home and opened more presents.


Fall fashion

The temps have finally cooled down and we are more than ready to break out our scarves, sweaters, booties and beanies over here. Here’s a taste of our style this season.

Flowy tops, patterned leggings and suede booties.


Rainy boots and Patagonia vests for dance.


Swooning over these Sam Edelman booties.


Cozy headbands and Ugg boots.


Halloween 2015

We had quite the Halloween this year. Lyla got to wear her costume five days in a row! I know this was fun and exciting for her but quite a bit of work for mom – hello hair curling, hair color, glitter spray and full makeup five different times! But I’ll do anything for my baby. Our week started on Tuesday night when Lyla’s dance studio held a studio-wide costume contest. Lyla was so excited to wear her costume “officially” for the first time and she was determined to win the contest. She went as a Shopkin this year, the limited edition Cupcake Queen.


On Wednesday, we headed to the Bass Pro Shop. We live about 20 minutes away and I have to say, I’m always very impressed with their special holiday events. The store is always beautifully decorated for each holiday, they offer one free 4×6 picture and have free crafts for the kids, I mean, how can you beat that?

Before moving to Tracy, I had never even been to a Bass Pro Shop. We went for the first time during Christmas last year and again for Easter. The girls love the store, its huge and there’s so much to see. They have a big fish tank and waterfall, a fun country store, its really neat but I have learned a few tips if you plan to go for a holiday event. Arrive EARLY! At least an hour early. We skipped the picture with Santa on our first visit because the line was out the door and this is a BIG store. For Easter, we came about 30 minutes early and were maybe 20th in line. For Halloween this year, we got to the store an hour before and were the first in line for pictures, the first! We got some popcorn, fudge and a drink from the country store, trust me, a little snack makes all the difference when waiting in line with children. They had the cutest set-up for Halloween and offered one free picture with characters from the Peanuts gang. Such a fun outing!





On Thursday, Lyla’s Girl Scout troop had their Halloween party. She had a blast with her friends.


Friday was the big Halloween celebration at school. She walked in the Halloween parade and showed off her costume to the entire school.

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The parade ends in the large field behind her school. All of the students (K-8) form a very large square. The school brings in a DJ and the kids get to watch the 8th graders perform to Thriller. It’s a really fun time. Afterwards, we spent the day in her classroom for her class Halloween party. It was a fun, but long day.

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On Friday afternoon/night, we did an easy Halloween craft (pumpkin magnets), carved pumpkins, made Halloween Rice Krispie treats, ate Jack-o-Lantern pizza from Papa Murphy’s and watched Hocus Pocus. That movie is one of my all time favorite Halloween movies and was worried about Lyla being too young to watch it and getting scared but she ended up loving it. It was a busy, exhausting but very fulfilling day.




On Saturday, we had a very, yummy, festive Halloween morning breakfast. I used this amazing mix from William Sonoma and added orange food coloring and chocolate chips to make Jack-o-Lantern pancakes. A hit all around except that I forgot to pick-up syrup while at the grocery store and we only had enough for the girls pancakes…. wah, wah, wah. I put butter and cinnamon on mine and it was still good. Just had to work with what we had.


We spent the rest of the day just being lazy and lounging around the house. I wanted to get ready in time to take some pictures outside but I underestimated how long it would take all of us to get ready and by the time we were, the sun had gone down – momFAIL! The lighting definitely wasn’t as good inside the house but at least we got our pictures. Only one kid smiling but you can’t win em’ all. I went as a baker and my girls were my two little cupcakes, my sweetest creations 😉



We met up with some friends in our neighborhood and were ready to trick-or-treat! Because it rained last year, this was Sophie’s first experience trick-or-treating door-to-door. It didn’t take her long to figure out how to get the candy. We had such a fun time and Lyla filled her basket pretty quickly. It was a successful Halloween!

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Lyla Rae’s birthday interview – six years old

I pinned this questionnaire years ago with the intent of interviewing Lyla each year on her birthday, starting at age three. Well, fast forward three years and I’ve yet to do it! I hate that I missed the first three years but what they say is true, its better late than never!

Lyla turned six on Monday, August 10, so I’m a little late again BUT it is better late than never. So without further adieu, here is Lyla’s six year old birthday interview.


Lyla Rae, Age 6

Nicknames Yaya, Pies

How old are you? 6 years old

What is your favorite color? Pretty green

What is your favorite animal? Cat

What is your favorite book? Inside Out

What is your favorite TV show? Phineas and Ferb

What is your favorite movie? Inside Out

What is your favorite song? Boom Clap

What is your favorite food? Cheeseburgers from McDonalds

What is your favorite drink? Orange soda

What is your favorite breakfast food? Pancakes

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snakcs

What is your favorite outfit? A long dress

What is your favorite game? Bingo Shopkin game

What is your favorite toy? Shopkins

Who is your best friend? Stefanie

What is your favorite thing to do? Go to a water park with big slides

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play with the water play table

What is your favorite holiday? Halloween

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Polar bear

Where is your favorite place to go? Florida

What is your favorite restaurant? Red Robin

Where do you want to go on vacation? Cabin

What do you want to be when you grow up? Teacher

What did you do on your birthday? Went to the mall, got a Build-A-Bear, had lunch at McDonalds, got a mani/pedi in the Hello Kitty chair, went to Round table with my family for dinner, and opened cake and presents at home


Sophie Gray: 11 month update.

11 month update

Weight/height: Sophie got her first cold a couple weeks after Halloween. I blame it on all the excitement 😉 But we did make a trip to the doctor and I was able to get an update on her weight/height. Her height is 2′ 4.5″ and her weight is 19 lb 4 oz – she is growing beautifully!

Hair: Sophie has very fine, very light (compared to Lyla) hair, which seems like its getting longer each day. I’m debating on whether or not to cut her bangs right now because they have gotten a bit long. Honestly though, I think it looks cute and will probably not cut her hair for awhile.

Diapers: Still in size 3 Huggies Little Movers. I actually tried Pampers because I had a really good coupon but it only confirmed that I really do like Huggies better. I had way more leaks and had to change her diaper more often with the Pampers. And this is so odd to me because it was the other way around with Lyla. The Pampers also seemed way thinner than the Huggies. I think I wanted to do a little test since I was a Pampers fanatic with Lyla but I have changed – go Huggies!

Clothing: Sophie is still in size 6-12 months for dresses and t’s but 12-18 months for pants, etc. It really also depends on what brand. The sizing is all over the map and I’ve found that I base her size on what brand I am buying. BabyGap and the brands from Nordstrom and Target run pretty true to size while anything Carters, Crazy 8 or Old Navy runs a bit on the small size.

Favorite things: She finally likes her crawling Minnie toy. My mom bought her this and I thought it was the cutest thing but it sort of freaked her out at first. She would just stare at it and then get all watery-eyed and start to cry. She loves Lyla’s baby dolls so much that I can’t wait to get her one for Christmas. She loves her LeapFrog learning table and her little walker. She is really starting to get more into her toys these days.

Likes: She is still majorly obsessed with Lyla. Most days, its the first word she says when she wakes up. I have to admit that I love this. It really makes my heart happy.

Dislikes: Getting her clothes and diaper changed!!! Ugh! It really has turned into such a struggle these days.

Favorite foods: Bananas, oatmeal cereal, greek yogurt, scrambled eggs, pasta with red sauce, grilled chicken, grilled fish, mashed potatoes, rice, the list goes on. I’ve really started to incorporate more of what we eat and she is doing great with it. She also does love Earth’s Best squeezy packs (that is what we like to call them). I’ve tried a couple other brands and she seems to really loves the Earth’s Best ones.

Milestones: Sophie has two teeth! And they are growing so you can seem them a bit when she smiles, its just the cutest. She has taken her first steps. She will stand up and take one or two steps then fall down and start to crawl. It’s never more than one or two steps but she is ready to walk.

Reflections: Ahhhh it’s starting to get close to Sophie’s first birthday. Around this time, I turn into a big ball of emotions. I’m not necessarily sad but I get really emotional. I still look at her and can’t believe she is here and she is ours and that we created this little beauty. She makes us all so happy and is a true angel.



Headband: Target, Sweater: BabyGap (little side note about this sweater – this is a size 0-3 months and Sophie is now 10 months. It is actually a dress but now it makes a perfect three-quarter sleeve length sweater for Fall – score! I’m so happy I kept this), Jeans: Joe’s Jeans via Nordstrom Rack, Shoes: Freshly Picked Moccasins, color platinum via Nordstrom.

I have to say I absolutely adore this outfit. I am a leopard fanatic, I mean its a neutral right? She looks cozy, stylish and ready for Fall 🙂

Sophie Gray: 10 month update.

We’ve hit the double digits. 10 months old. Wow. I know parents say this all the time but it really does go too fast. And I swear it goes faster the second time around. Here is the 10 month update for our sweet Sophie girl.


Weight/height: Like I said last month, Sophie doesn’t see her pediatrician again until she is 12 months old so (again) I’ll have to go with her 6 month weight/height because we don’t own a scale at home. At 6 months (her appointment was back in July), she was 17 lbs, 1.7 oz, which puts her in the 62nd percentile. Her height was 2’3″ which puts her in the 81st percentile. Honestly doing these updates has made me really curious about her weight and height right now. I’m not sure I’ll be able to wait until December to find out. Maybe her pediatrician will let me swing by to do a quick weight/height check, the curiousty is killing me!

Hair: Sophie still has crazy hair. It’s a lot lighter than Lyla’s, but very fine and thin, just like Lyla’s. Actually, I saw a picture of Sophie the other day and her bangs reminded me of how Lyla’s used to be when she was little.

Diapers: Still in size 3 Huggies Little Movers. It’s funny to me just how much I love Huggies now. Back when Lyla was a baby, I would buy nothing but Pampers. We tried other brands back then, we actually tried Huggies but I just didn’t like them four years ago, now? Now, they are awesome.

Clothing: Sophie wears size 6-12 months or if they don’t have that size, I’ve been buying 12 months. In some leggings and jeggings, I’ve been going bigger, like 12-18 months because some of those are just so tight! I’m still looking to purchase more fall/winter clothing for her and shoes, shoes! I don’t know why but lately I’m having a hard time getting both girls shoes. Lyla has just become super picky with her shoes and Sophie, well nothing seems to fit her except for her new Freshly Picked moccasins. I must say, I absolutely love these. They are so soft and look so cute with everything. I got her the platinum color but I’m thinking I may be buying another pair, they are that cute.

Favorite things: I felt we’ve been in a toy slump with Sophie lately so we ordered her a couple of new things that will be arriving soon. She still loves to play with her toy fruits and she really loves Lyla’s American Girl dolls. Lyla has two and Sophie loves to play with them. Another favorite thing is our EOS lip gloss. They fit perfectly in her hand and she loves the different colors.

Likes: She likes to say Dada all the time. She says it different ways, with different sounds, she whispers it, she yells it, she basically says it all the time. Its really cute though and I know my hubby loves it. She like to chew on my keys (ehhhh), my wallet, her pacifiers, anything she finds, she will put in her mouth so we are extra careful with what we leave out. She likes to pull open her cabinets in the kitchen and play with whatever is in there. I moved all the breakable stuff out to other drawers/cabinets and left her things in the drawers she was able to open/reach and she really enjoys that. She loves to play, “where’s Lyla,” – its a game where we try to find her older sister and she just loves it. She yells, “Lyla, Lyla,” and we go from room to room looking for her.

Dislikes: She still hates getting her clothes or diaper changed. Its so hard to get her dressed. She hates it no matter when I do it so I’ve learned to try and distract her in any way I can. I give her something to play with or chew on and it helps a bit but man, I truly dislike changing her diaper or clothes these days!

Favorite foods: I bought some YoBaby yogurt squeeze packs for her on a whim and whoa, she really, I mean really likes them. Like so much so that she started screaming when one pouch was gone and I had to give her another one just to calm her down. That is by far her favorite food right now. We are also starting to incorporate more of what we eat, ground turkey, pasta, etc. because it just seems like she wants something different than the purees she has been getting. I was so hesitant to give her a lot of foods because she didn’t have any teeth yet but as of this week, she finally broke a tooth! Just one, you can feel it coming through her gum.

Milestones: Sophie can clap now and its the cutest thing ever. She has also learned to wave and is adding more words to her vocabulary. She likes to say “uh oh” when she drops something from her stroller. She is standing all the time and many times on her own. I know she will be starting to take steps soon. And big news, like I said above, she finally has a tooth! The other night she woke up at 12 and 3 and was just upset. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong but the next morning, I felt a little tooth on her bottom gum.

Reflections: I always say this age is the best but then it just keeps getting better. Every age is the best right now. It’s just so amazing to watch her discovering everything around her, seeing her learn something new every day is a gift that I do not take for granted. I feel so grateful that I get to be home with her every day. It is something I wished for when Lyla was younger and I feel so happy that my wish came true but also so guilty that I wasn’t able to be with Lyla like this. That is motherhood for ya, a tidal wave of every emotion in the book but I would ride this wave forever if I could, I just love it.



The pumpkin patch.

We love us a good pumpkin patch but I can’t remember going before I had kids. Did I go to a pumpkin patch growing up in Florida? I mean I’m sure I did but I have no idea! I’ll have to ask my mom. Anyways, since Lyla was born, we’ve visited a pumpkin patch every October and it’s a trip I look forward to every year. I love the colors, sights and sounds of a pumpkin patch and it seems that Northern California has some pretty amazing patches or farms rather. We have plans on Saturday to visit Dell’ Osso Farms to check out their pumpkin patch. In honor of that, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at our pumpkin patch visits.

Our first official pumpkin patch visit was in October of 2010. In 2009, we went to the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin festival when Lyla was only three months old. I think that counted for our pumpkin patch visit that year. We decided to head back to Half Moon Bay for our first real visit because on our drive up the year prior, we saw several farms along the way and knew we had to come back to check them out. We went to Pastorino and Lemos Farms and they were awesome. I love the weather up in Half Moon Bay. October is usually one of the hottest months in the Bay Area so its nice to get away from that and it just makes it feel more like “Fall” – plus you can wear cute sweaters and boots, you know the important stuff.




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In October 2011, we headed back to Half Moon Bay and went to the same two farms, Lemos and Pastorino. We had such a great experience the year before and again this time around. Our baby was getting a little bigger making it a lot harder to get her to stand still for pictures, check out our family pic, what a great memory!

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In October 2012, we thought it might be fun to check out a new farm. Plus, the idea of driving to Half Moon Bay with a toddler didn’t sound all that appealing (it can be a long drive). We decided on Uesugi Farms pumpkin patch and it was amazing. The weather was a tad warm for my ideal (meaning the idea in my head) pumpkin patch outing but it was beautiful none the less. Now we were dealing with the terrible three’s this go round and boy can you can tell from the pictures. Lyla threw a little temper tantrum for the first half of the visit and wouldn’t smile for any pictures. I actually love her little pouty face in these pics, that’s a typical three year old for ya! She came around after being there for about an hour and we had a blast. This place was awesome!

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In October 2013, I was very pregnant and Lyla was in preschool. When I saw that she had a field trip to Uesugi Farms in October I was so excited. I immediately volunteered to chaperone and that counted for our trip last year. I didn’t take many pictures – I actually can’t even find the two I did take as I write this post – but we had so much fun. It was her first offical field trip. We rode the bus together, had lunch together, it was a great day.

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. This will count as Sophie’s first official pumpkin patch trip and I can’t wait to see her reaction to all of it. Of course, I have two cute outfits already picked out and ready to go for my girls, remember, the important stuff 🙂 Happy Friday!

Sophie Gray: Nine month update.

I can’t believe my sweet Sophie is already nine months. These months have flown by. I know its partly because we went through so many big life changes immediately after her birth but still, sigh, my baby is growing up way too fast for my liking. I absolutely love this age. Sophie makes me smile all day long and I literally count down the seconds until I hear her wake up in the morning. She has started to sleep through the night, most nights (hallelujah!) and is such a sweet-natured little baby. She is full-on crawling now and moves so fast. It’s so cute to watch her crawl, I could watch her all day long and I do, lol. She has really started to say our names, mama, dada and Lyla and I swear, hearing those words, its the most beautiful thing. I love seeing the interaction between her and Lyla, Lyla will dance all crazy just to make her smile and tells me, “mom I just love to see Sophie smile,” so sweet! We love our Sophie Gray so much!!


Weight/height: Sophie doesn’t see her pediatrician again until she is 12 months old so I’ll have to go with her 6 month weight/height, and because we don’t own a scale at home, I don’t know how much she weighs now! At 6 months (her appointment was back in July), she was 17 lbs, 1.7 oz, which puts her in the 62nd percentile. Her height was 2’3″ which puts her in the 81st percentile, girlfriend is growing! She was always smaller than Lyla when we compared percentiles but she is catching up.

Hair: Sophie has the craziest hair! I love it so, so much. It’s very fine, super light brown and sticks straight up. She has her Daddy’s hair. It’s really funny because when John gets out of the shower and doesn’t do his hair, it looks exactly like Sophie’s, it’s just too funny and super cute.

Diapers: Size 3 Huggies Little Movers and she needs em’ cause girlfriend is moving all over the place.

Clothing: Little Miss Sophie needs to go shopping. Her wardrobe is in desperate need of an update. I so badly want to buy her Fall clothes but its still pretty hot and I’m trying to hold off until the season starts to change a little bit more. She can still fit into her size 6 month dresses but is pretty much wearing 6-12 months in everything.

Favorite things: Right now, Sophie is really into the pretend fruit Lyla has in her little kitchen. She will crawl super fast from the kitchen all the way to the playroom just to get to the fruit. She takes it all out of the basket, puts each piece in her mouth, then puts its back in the basket and repeats this little sequence all over again. She also likes this small little baby doll we got her on a whim, she calls it mama.

Likes: Sophie loves to smile, hug and give kisses. They are big, wet and slobbery kisses but they are the best. Her, Lyla and I spent a solid five minutes giving each other kisses the other night, it was so fun. She loves peek-a-boo and playing with her sister.

Dislikes: Sophie no longer likes getting her diaper or clothes changed. It is really hard, no joke. She will not stay still at all. I used to be able to distract her and get it done but nothing works anymore. She wiggles and turns and tries to sit up, the girl needs to go. She hates being hot, especially when she is in her car seat. Sophie is really an easy-going girl, there is not much she dislikes.

Favorite foods: Frozen mango, applesauce, prunes (shocker!), blueberries, oatmeal, greek yogurt, smoothies, yes smoothies. I make a smoothie for Lyla and I everyday and Sophie just started grabbing for the straw one day and I let her try and she figured out how to drink it. She also loves chicken, carrots and sweet potatoes. She also loves Baby Mums Mums, the banana kind are her favorite and we just started to give her Gerber yogurt bites, which she loves as well.

Milestones: This girl is moving! Sophie crawls everywhere and pulls herself up on everything, which is amazing to see but also makes me hold my breath because, more often than not, she falls down. She can say mama, dada, Lyla, hi, hey very clearly and she uses the words correctly. Before she would just babble them but now she looks directly at you and says your name, its really sweet. She is on a great nap schedule and sticks to it most days. And as my child who doesn’t like to sleep at night, the fact that Sophie is now sleeping through the night, most nights, is a major cause for celebration, woo-hoo!

Reflections: I don’t know why but just seeing the word “reflections” makes me kind of emotional, okay I lied, really emotional. Sophie just makes me so happy. She has brought our entire family so much joy and watching her with Lyla, its hard to put into words how that makes me feel, but I am so happy to be their mother. Just like with Lyla, she makes me want to be a better person and everyday, I strive for that, to be the best version of myself I can be. I have good days and I have bad days but I have to say, the good far outweigh the bad. Even when I’m exhausted, I can still say, I am 100 percent happy with my life and where I am right now.

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