Illuminating Stella

Archive of ‘Currently’ category

Spring 2016

So here’s what we’ve been up to the last few months. I’ve been a lazy blogger for sure. But we’ve had a great couple months and up to lots of good stuff.

Park days! Almost every day, except maybe school days we hit the park. It’s the place to be, just ask Stella. She loves being outside in the fresh air. I love that she is able to have a great time whether we are meeting friends, she plays with random kids or has the park to herself.  Sometimes I worry about the lack of a sibling in her life, but she’s pretty flexible and just happy to be exploring.

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This picture went up on her dance studios Facebook page. Can’t believe this was a year ago. They were so tiny. Looking forward to another great performance in July.


Sofie’s 4th Birthday and a truly great gymnastics theme party. We are seriously thinking about taking a class at this gym now, though no idea where it will fit into her schedule. The party was an Inside Out/Angry Birds theme. Guess who had to have the “Disgust” cupcake.

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Earth Day Festival. Someone really enjoyed painting her birdcage at the Home Depot Booth.


Disney on Ice. Their faces say it all. Quite the extravaganza of Disney characters.


Long Beach Touch a Truck Event. Guess who rode a cherry picker up very high in the sky (I have the best video of this) and explored all kinds of city trucks, service vehicles in addition to random cars including the Scooby Doo Van. They do this event in a large parking lot by the beach and it’s gotten so popular you have to RSVP. Of course it’s like a symphony (note sarcasm) of honking horns and such. My friend who lives across the street was trying to sleep in when we texted for a potty emergency, not realizing we’d wake her up and she was like, ” I think they are filming some war movie on the beach”- LOL. She still didn’t seem too amused when we explained what was going on.

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New coffee shop/wine & craft beer market in the neighborhood. WELCOME to the neighborhood we say!!!


Mother’s Day Picture with all the ladies.


Playdates with her cousin Genna while Maddie’s at school. These two are adorable together. I love their conversations, its ridiculous.

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Lunch with Jen and Sasha in Newport. Stella worships Sasha. She is so great with Stella too. Just a beautiful, wonderful and wise girl.


Time for the water table to come back out. Makes some people around here quite happy.


Genna’s 4th Birthday, a cute art and animal themed party at Michaels. The girls loved their tiger face paint in honor of Genna’s favorite animal. Of course the party still erupted into a dance party, which may have been my favorite part!

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We continued celebrating Genna’s birthday with a family trip to Knott’s Berry Farm. Pretty fun day and the highlight may have been watching my parents come down the final hill/slide of the log ride and my Mom’s huge scream.

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Fairy arm paint at her school open house. She loved this fairy so much!


A hike through the Bolsa Chica Wetlands with Grady and Keegan (Sharla’s boys). The hand-holding sweetness didn’t last too long, but it was cute while it did. Sharla and I have been friend since 7th grade. Pretty amazing when you think about that.


A little trip to Vegas where John had a work conference and his Mom and Brother decided to fly in and join us. Stella just loved spending time with them. We discovered a few good kid parks in Vegas including the Town Square which had an amazing children’s park and the Container Park which had the coolest “treehouse” for kids. We also took her back to see the Mermaid at the Silverton as we are planning her Little Mermaid Birthday for the end of June.

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Long Beach Vegan Festival where Stella enjoyed a few treats, especially the vegan cupcake kabob below. Unfortunately, the festival was so packed we just didn’t have the bandwidth to stand in line to try the food that looked so good. I think they got a way bigger crowd than they were planning for.

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We celebrated my Dad’s 70th Birthday at the Lighthouse Bayview Cafe in Newport Beach. The grand-daughters helped him enjoy his sundae. Then we moved over the adjacent Marina Park and let the girls play, lots on the giant lighthouse slide and had cake. Super-beautiful spot on the Bay for a perfect afternoon.

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These two, sometimes look so much alike!


Scooter rides are becoming a bi-weekly ritual.


Nothing like a popsicle in the park her adorable friend Sofie. Here’s to summer.




Eating: So I’ve been doing a mostly gluten free diet for the past few months at this point. As I suffered another round of uveits/iritis in my left eye this winter that really got nasty, I decided to try some alternative ways to control inflammation in my body. I did finally get some rounds of blood work, spine x-rays and a rheumatologist involved. Ultimately, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Chrohns’s etc were ruled out, which is a relief. But at the end of the day, no great answers why this auto-immune condition keeps popping up over the last ten years. This round was extra scary, as I really lost vision in the eye and had to be put on oral steroids for many weeks to control it. Just the thing you want to be on, right when starting your New Years weight loss goals. So far, cutting out gluten has been relatively easy. I have also been limiting sugar, especially refined sugar and overall trying to get more whole foods in my body. I can’t say that I have seen any dramatic results with weight-loss or energy so far. But I’m sticking with it. We have been getting a meal prep delivery service, SunBasket which has a gluten-free option and the meals have been very good.

Drinking: So I had started occasionally drinking an Organic Energy Drink on afternoons I was working, which then creeped into most afternoons. Sugar is a drug. Watch this if you need any convincing. It’s really worth your time. When I started looking at my sugar consumption, this was the first thing that had to go. I neglected to notice that it had 24 grams of sugar and one can was two servings, what a whopping serving of sugar everyday. We also re-evaluated Stella’s diet after watching this, cutting out as much processed sugar, fruit juices, yogurts, desserts as we can.  Now I am drinking Green Tea with no sugar or this Celestial Cool Brew Tea/Lemonade (also no sugar) for my afternoon pick-up and I have to say, I am sleeping better.


Watching: We took Stella to see Zootopia with her buddy Grace. It was so well done and I loved the message, though I think it was all a bit over her head. John and I also zipped through first two seasons of Catastrophe on Amazon, very funny. We watched the latest season of House of Cards too, it was pretty depressing, especially in light of the current political climate. We’ve also been watching the real life Republican and Democratic debates. Painful.


Exercising: We’ve been trying to get out for some family exercise every weekend. We have a membership for El Dorado Park and do the Nature Center Hike every few weeks, but last weekend we decided to head to the main park and ended up renting one of the surrey bikes on a whim and taking it around the big loop twice. I didn’t take any pictures but the one above shows what it looks like. Helluva a leg work-out by the way. Stella had an absolute blast riding in the kid seat, it was truly a beautiful day too. We then headed over to the playground for a picnic.  I have also been getting back to yoga and taking a few restorative yoga classes and even got John to come with me. Restored body, restored passion for yoga.

Loving: The hilariously adorable and sweet things Stella says and does all the time. The other day we were cleaning up her play food/kitchen and there was this little basket on the top of her kitchen, I asked her where it goes and she said, “Mama, that’s for my tips”. It was filled with little alphabet letters, I just had to laugh. We’ve never discussed what tips are with her, but I guess she gets whats happening at the end of a meal out or when we go into a coffee shop, etc. She wants in on that action.

Procrastinating: Housework and hiring a housekeeper which we decided a few months ago we were ready to employ again. But doing the deep clean before we have a housekeeper come appraise seems too daunting. It’s pretty lame.

Reading: The Paris Wife for bookclub. About half-way through and finding it pretty interesting. I love this period in history.


Preparing for Summer: The Easter Bunny brought Stella some navy blue saltwater sandals and it’s kind of kickstarted a navy summer theme. I bought Stella a couple of adorable bathing suits on sale at Hanna Anderson. This one and this one with bottoms. Also, got this adorable dress from my Mom from Carters and then two more navy dresses from H & M, like the one above with cheerful butterflies. My friend Kristina got in the car with us the other day and told Stella that she is always wearing such happy clothes, it’s pretty true and really validated the clothes I am drawn to for Stella. They reflect her chipper, out-going persona to a T.

Recently Enjoyed

Here’s a little bit of what we’ve been up to lately.

On a recent trip to Pretend City, we stepped into the Pretend Diner and Stella said she was going to put on an apron like Tiana (Disney -Princess and the Frog) and work hard. Then she started singing “I’m Almost There” while she made me dinner. Such a sweet moment, she makes a cute little chef!

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Good report card at the dentist! Somebody was very excited to go and requested the bubble gum toothpaste again. Amazes me what this kid remembers.

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We took Stella to see Peppa Pig Live downtown LA. The tickets were one of her Christmas presents. She loved the show and is definitely a big fan of live theater! The show was well-done and very interactive. I wish there were more opportunities to go to the theater with Stella, but I guess when she gets a little older more opportunities will come.


Happiness is a Thomas the Train Birthday Party with Blue Sprinkle Dipped Marshmallow Pops! Followed by a Pinata full of candy. Followed by Birthday Cake, with a Juice Box chaser. Oh and a giant Lollipop for the road. Try to get her to eat a hot dog or anything not full of sugar. I dare you.



My Funny Valentine ready to hit the Valentine’s Day Party.  At some point she stripped to her underwear , crown and high-tops and borrowed a magenta cape and spent the rest party in that outfit. Bold choice for a bold girl. Of course I have pictures, but they are not blog friendly. We will keep those for the slideshow at her Wedding Rehearsal Dinner or something.



My Sister and niece Maddie watched Stella so we could have a date night recently. I got a text with this sassy picture during the night and it just made me so happy to know she was enjoying herself so much.


She is always happy to be off to ballet class!


Stella and her friends enjoying a warm winter day spotting jellyfish at the Lagoon. This was about 2 minutes before she got filthy and wet and refused to wear her hat.


A week later at the same Lagoon in a wool hat, boots and a peacoat. California winter weather is so moody lately.


Afternoon at the Aquarium. She looks so grown-up sometimes. All that long, curly hair.


Luckily nap time brings some semblance of my baby back to me.


Lunch out after we met up with our friends Alicia and Nathan at the very cool Pirate Park in Stanton.


We took a fun overnight trip to Big Bear. Sadly we didn’t get to play in the snow, which was the main goal. Bad timing weather-wise. There was some old snow on the hills Saturday and we got heavy rain Sunday morning. Which meant the tubing park was closed.  Also, we learned we have a munchkin who gets motion sickness. Yuck. We met up with our friends Jill and Jim and their kids and had fun on the Alpine Slides. Well until it started pouring rain on us while we were waiting in line at the top of the mountain. Cold wind and rain not so much my fave. We will have to figure another way to get Stella some snow play. I just know she’ll love it.