the byrds flew east

We are back in sunny, beautiful Hawaii! Did you miss us?

We have actually been back for a while now but both me and Alex caught a bug while on the mainland (which always seems to happen) and are just getting back to speed. Between battling a cold, giant mountains of laundry (seriously, mountains), a broken computer charger and taking care of girl I haven’t had a chance to update this little blog until now.

This mama hasn’t had her coffee yet so I already feel like I’m rambling. I’m going to stop that and share with you some pictures of our big trip (the California portion, at least) – that’s what you came here for right?!

Santa Barbara Zoo train

A little “behind the scenes” action for you, ha!

Santa Barbara Zoo family

Faria Beach

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Family Ventura Pier

Girlfriend did not enjoy her first swing experience. Mostly because she was cold. She started shivering right after this picture. #parentsoftheyear

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In true Natasha fashion, I got more video clips than photos so be on the lookout for a video recap of the trip soon! (if you care)

And if you want to check out some of our phone pictures, check out our Instagram hashtag #thebyrdsflyeast

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eight years

 

Happy Sunday, folks! We are a few days into our vacation and loving it. So far we have been able to spend lots of quality time with family which has been soul-warming. Being back in California this time has left me feeling a little nostalgic for the years that we lived here together (I blame mom hormones) and so today I’m taking a trip down memory lane.

Eight years ago today, Alex became my boyfriend. And four years ago today, he became my fiance. Even though we don’t celebrate, I think November 2nd will always have a special place in my heart. Thinking back on the last eight years puts an extra spring in my step, a giant smile on my face, and makes me squeeze Alex a little tighter. He makes me happy, and I am so thankful for that.

Here is a little look back at the last eight years of Alex + Natasha…

first picture

Our first picture together. We had just started our freshman year at California Lutheran University. We were hanging out a friends house with our peer group. Alex is sweaty from playing basketball, and I look like a goober because I was taking a picture with this cutie 😉

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The summer after our freshman year, we took a trip to Arizona. Alex’s dad has some beautiful property there that he graciously made available to us. We took an old-fashioned train to the Grand Canyon (complete with a cowboy robbery) and had lots of fun.

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The next summer we took a trip to Walt Disney World. We spent a few days touring the parks and melting in the humidity. I think this picture is funny because just a few years later I would be working inside of that castle.

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We like to spend time at the beach (so weird that we moved to Hawaii, right?). This photo was taken after an awesome day at Leo Carrillo. We had picked up some food from Malibu Seafood, taken it to the beach for a picnic and then spent time exploring the tide pools.

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This photo is from the Ventura County fair. Even though the fair is held in August, I remember this day being super cold (the lady in the tank behind me begs to differ). We rode the ferris wheel, checked out the animals and ate deep fried oreos. Happy day.

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A few months after we were married, we took a trip to Big Sur. It might be my favorite trip that we have ever taken together. The weather was cold and super cozy. We rented a charming little cabin in the woods and we spent our nights inside drinking wine and building puzzles by the fireplace. We ate a duck and arugula pizza that I thought was so delicious. Even though we hit a few bumps in the road (Alex got poison oak and an RV broke the mirror on the side of our brand new truck) we had the best time.

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We took this photo right before we left to see Mumford and Sons at the Santa Barbara Bowl. We stopped at a little Mexican place for dinner on the way. The show was awesome and the company was even better.

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Obviously, this picture is from when we got engaged. When I got home from work, Alex asked me if I would like to take a hike. We went up a path we hadn’t taken before and to document it, we set up the camera to take a photo with the self-timer. This was all normal for us so I had no idea what was coming next. I was so surprised when Alex got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I love this picture.

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And here we are right now. We are little older, a little wiser and a little more tired. I am so enjoying this ride we are on.

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sweet potato

The time has come. Lyla has started eating solid food.

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Turns out that when to introduce your child to solid foods is a pretty polarizing topic. (seems to be a trend when talking about anything baby-related)

Some say to start feeding your baby solids as early as four months. Others live and die by the “food before one is just for fun” rule. Some mamas will warn you to never let your baby feed themselves, while others encourage their little minions to feed themselves from day one.

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Really, I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. Only you know what will work best for your baby and your family so you should roll with that. When you think your baby is ready to grub, put down your computer and pick up a spoon, mama!

(and don’t forget your camera because the pictures are too good)

We have been having lots of fun introducing our bean to different kinds of foods. So far she has had sweet potato, avocado and bananas. The bananas have been her least favorite of the three – she takes after her daddy.

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We don’t have an actual high chair for her yet, but the Bumbo seat with the attached tray works really well. Plus, she gets to eat on the table which she thinks is pretty neat.

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She loves to try and feed herself. Which is great until she goes a little too far and starts gagging.

Slow down, girlfriend!

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On the menu this week: peas and pears

What was your baby’s first food?

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baby’s first hurricane

Well folks, Lyla survived her first hurricane. [applause]

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It really wasn’t too exciting. Hurricane Ana decided to play nice and turn south of Hawaii before hitting and causing too much damage. (thanks, Ana) Instead, she just left us with some rain.

Lots and lots of rain.

All that rain made for an incredibly cozy weekend. We stayed inside, watched movies and played with girl. When there was a break from the heavy rain, we went into the backyard for some pictures. Everyone knows mama loves a good photoshoot!

dad, baby dog rain

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We had big plans to take Lyla to the Honolulu Zoo on Saturday which we had to postpone. You can see how she felt about that…

baby daddy rain

* I didn’t teach her that

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happy birthday, husband

birthday

Happy birthday, handsome.

Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly challenging and inspiring me to be a better human. You are smart, kind and generous. You are humble and hilarious. You are a wonderful husband and an amazing daddy. You are a great listener and an even better friend. You are a hard worker, strong leader and dedicated provider for our family. You are deep rooted in your faith and not afraid to share your love of Christ with the world. You impress me daily. I love you.

Thank you for being you – cheers to 27 [you old man]

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less sleep more snuggles

Hi, my name is Natasha. I have a 5 month old baby, and she doesn’t sleep through the night.

[This is the part where you all say “Hiiii Natasha”]

Oh wait, this isn’t sleepdeprivedmamas anonymous? My bad…

Maybe there isn’t a group of fellow moms of little ones that don’t sleep through the night that I need to confess my “problem” to (admitting you have a problem is the first step ), but sometimes it feels like there is supposed to be. And not because I think it’s a problem. Because I don’t.

Lyla still wakes up every 3-4 hours at night to nurse. Every once in a while she will spoil us with a longer stretch, but that is pretty rare. When I tell this to my mommy friends, they are almost always shocked. They offer their condolences and start sharing their “secrets” on how to get baby to sleep longer. They make me feel like it’s a problem.

But to me, it’s not a problem.

Lyla is a busy girl. She really doesn’t stop moving unless she is asleep. She’s not quite crawling yet, but has figured out how to scoot herself around the house and is always finding new places to hide from mom (under her crib is the current favorite). She has already decided that time spent cuddling with mama is wasted time.

That’s why those nighttime feeding are not a problem. After I feed her, she falls asleep in my arms. Instead of putting her right back into her crib and then crawling back to our bed, I spend a few minutes just holding her. Smelling her. Soaking her in. She nuzzles her little head into my neck and we sit in the peaceful darkness. I rub her little back and plant kisses on the top of her head. I pray for her.

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{Awake}

Of course, I want to get more sleep. Some days it’s harder to go on little sleep than others, but I know that this wont last forever. So instead of cursing the fact that she doesn’t sleep through the night yet, I’m going to embrace the opportunities that I have for these  special “secret” snuggle sessions. Now say that three times fast 😉

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