Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas 2012

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Friday, November 30, 2012


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Memorial Day

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Cards

Oh how I love to receive Christmas cards!  Thank you to everyone that has sent us one.  December is truly the only time of year I look forward to getting mail.  It seems I can tolerate receiving all those bills as long as they are nestled in my mailbox with those beautiful cards.  They truly make my heat smile.  We display them and the children love to look at them as much as I do.  One year we left them up until well after Valentine's Day.  That was a bit crazy and probably more laziness than anything else.  Oh well, it was still nice to look at, or so I thought at the time. 

I sent out Christmas cards this year but didn't get a letter written.  I know people have mixed thoughts on family newsletters but I enjoy them.  I like sending them and I enjoy receiving them ~ although I seem to get less and less each year.  Which is completely understandable because we are all so busy.  Branden said this blog serves as our family newsletter and I guess that's true, expect I've been horrible at updating this as well.

In typical me (Nicole) fashion I was a bit fugal and didn't order enough cards - sorry to those I was unable to send to.  I also didn't love our cards this year because we didn't have a very good family photo to use.  I ended up making several different versions and sent them all out.  It's hard to get 5 people to all smile at the same time so this is the best I could come up with.  Again, I'm sorry to anyone that I missed this year. 

I'm hoping we will get professional family photos taken for next year's Christmas card.  I never seem to think of it in time or budget for it.  It's silly because we have several good friends who are photographers and take super great pictures.  If you are local to Southern CA and needs pictures taken I highly recommend: Miranda, Sarah or Cielo.  They are all personal friends, but are also really great photographers.  It will be hard to decide who, but it's on my 2012 "to do" list to have one of these awesome ladies take our family pictures.

We hope that your Christmas was filled with lots of love and laughter and that you made memories that will last a lifetime!  
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween for the Summers Family was once again super fun.  The kids each had dress up events at school which I was very thankful to be able to attend.  Branden who doesn't really enjoy dressing up decided at the last minute to dress up with the family.  We attended a fun party and got to reconnect with some dear friends.  It was a fun holiday filled with friends, family and eating way too much candy and treats!  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It helps me

Blogging helps me to see and reflect upon my life and how great it really is.
I really am so thankful for my many blessings - these 3 in particular.

I miss blogging

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Grade

Sadly, summer has come to an end and the school year has started. It was a great summer and I could have definitely enjoyed another month of playing in the pool and having beach days with my kiddos. But, the time has come so Jack and I hit the mall for a little school clothes shopping and one on one time together. We grabbed some lunch and talked about all the great things that the first grade had in store for him.

He was understandably a mixture of nervous and excited. He is such a brave boy who continues to impress me as he openly shares what's in his heart and in his head. I am so thankful for our relationship that continues to grow deeper and deeper. I love to remind him that HE is who made me a mom. I sure will miss not having him around the house as much each day.

Today was the big day. Today was Jack's first day of the first grade.

Is there anything sweeter?
They couldn't be more different, but they sure do love each other.

He has a desk!
This is a BIG deal. Gone are the long tables and shared supplies. He has his own desk now and his own supplies. My boy has entered the big time!

When I left him I had some mixed emotions. I'm sure that's no surprise to those that know me. I am not easily pleased when it comes to issues affecting my children. This isn't always a bad thing. I am not a complainer (at least I try not to be), but I do want the best for them.

The classroom was packed - 30 kids, 1 teacher! YIKES!!
You hear so many stories about kids having their BFF in class, that wasn't the case for Jack.
His teacher is new to our school so although she is a qualified 1st grade teacher she will have a bit of a learning curve to get to know the school.
None of these things are deal breakers, just some things that weighed heavy on my mind throughout the morning.

I'm happy to report that when I picked Jack up from school he was happy and smiling and said he had a great day.
He never mentioned how crowded the classroom was. Apparently It didn't affect him they way it did me.
He said he found his BFF at recess and they made a "meeting spot" for lunch PLUS he made friends with the boy sitting next to him.

Although, there are some "things" that aren't exactly perfect I have to admit that day one seems to have gone pretty well. I am hopeful that each day will continue to get better and better and that he will have the awesome year of learning that he deserves!

Monday, August 8, 2011


Indeed it was!

On Sunday afternoon Jack and I had a great opportunity to see the play Mary Poppins at the Segrestrom Center for the Arts in Orange County. It was WONDERFUL! Mary flew and Bert walked on the ceiling just to mention a few amazing highlights. We couldn't stop smiling and clapping. We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Here's Jack before the show started. Check out those awesome seats of ours!

I had been wanting to take Jack ever since I saw the first commercial back in June but couldn't comfortably justify the cost. Then I heard about the student rush tickets that sometimes come available so this morning I got spontaneous. I called the box office to confirm if they would have the discounted tickets available and the lady gave me all the details. The box office opens 1 hour before show time and the tickets are $20 each (cash only). So we took our chances and it paid off. We had AWESOME seats - orchestra level (oh yea baby!), row L, seats 23 & 24. If I remember correctly those were normally like $60. Pretty cool! I will definitely be open to getting student rush tickets in the future. Such a great deal!

It was a super great afternoon with Jack and I'm so grateful for the special time we had together. My sweet boy will be starting 1st grade in a month and I will be missing his beautiful face around the house all day.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I've been neglectful

Yes, I've been a bad blogger. Somehow I've let the weeks slip by without blogging about the family. The truth is that I take way too many darn pictures at family events that it is almost overwhelming for me to narrow it down and then actually blog about it after our day. However, we have had so many great days, so many special moments that I don't want to forget. So, please bare with me as I do a little catch up blogging.

I was inspired by simple as that, a blog I enjoy reading to blog in collage as a quick but cute way to get caught up on the month of May. She actually does a beautiful monthly collage capturing the highlights of her month. There was no way I was going to be able to narrow my many photos down into one collage so I opted for one collage per event. Thanks for still "following" along with us.

Mother's Day

My brother Michael and his wife Frances had their first baby. My first niece - what a blessing! She's just beautiful and we hope to spend more time with her soon.

Home school day with mom! Jack's class was going on a field trip to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, a nice but very small aquarium. Because I always attend the field trips as a chaperone, I opted to not send Jack to school that day but to take both Jack and Benjamin to the "big" aquarium. I arranged for my mom to watch Annabelle (thanks mom!) and the boys and I spent the day at the Aquarium of the Pacific here in Long Beach. We had a great time! It felt like the old days - the day's before kindergarten, preschool and therapy schedules. We were so carefree! It was a lot of fun. We spent as much time inside the aquarium as we did outside. The boys rolled down the grassy hill about 25 times and we got ice cream. Something I guarantee you Jack would not have been able to do had he gone with his class.

I am CONFIDENT they both learned a lot that day. Jack actually did a "book report" as he called it for his teacher to tell her what he learned. Learning to get along with one another was also a big part of the day. By the way, I didn't dress them - they choose to be "twins". I love my boys dearly!

The kids and I attended our first rally to let the leaders of California know that enough is enough. It was called Wake Up California. We were all there to sign petitions and to increase awareness about the crisis facing California public schools and the need for our legislatures to take action now! There were a couple of hundred people there as well as the press. It felt good to show our support.

We ended our month celebrating my sister and I. Mingie turned 41 and I turned 38 this past May. Wow, were does the time go. Doesn't seem like that long ago (according to our parents) that she and I were running around together like Jack and Ben. Our birthday celebration was great! Casual atmosphere (thank you Mingie), good company and great food - exactly what I wanted! The weather was perfect and the boys even got to do a little gardening with their Uncle Ed.

Jack finished up another great month of beginning art at Averyboo Arts.

We are so very thankful to my Dad who graciously offered to pay for an additional month of class. He saw how great Jack was doing and how much he enjoyed it and wanted him to be able to continue. I love that my parents never put me in that uncomfortable position of having to ask for help. They watch, they listen and they unselfishly give what they can. They have both in the last few years (since life got more expensive) offered to help out with different expenses for the kids - be it art class for Jack, karate class for Ben or money toward the thousands we owe to the hospital and not to mention the babysitting they both do. They are both so generous and giving of their time. I have no idea what Braden and I would do without them. We are blessed to have such wonderful parents as role models. We always talk about the love they shower us with and how my grandparents (both sides) were the same way. We hope that we can continue the "generosity and love" with our children throughout their lives as my parents and grandparents have done for us.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Check him out!

Yep, that's our Benjamin on page 8 of the new Toys to Grow On catalog! This photo shoot was just a a few months ago but he looks so little (in my opinion). I was super proud of how well he listened and followed all of the directions given to him that day. He behaved like such a big boy for only being just barely 4 years old!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

T-Ball and sibling bonding

Benjamin's 1st official T-Ball season has ended. What a fun experience that was.
He had a game every Wednesday and Saturday - no practices (silly, I know) - just games. He didn't really improve much all season, but he had a lot of fun and looked super cute in his uniform. Isn't that what really matters anyway?

Annabelle was his biggest fan!

She LOVED wearing his hat!

She LOVED hanging out with her big brothers when the game was over.
This was not my proudest Mom moment but it was super cute to see how she copies everything they do. Oh man, help me now!

pictures taken on May 11th


I can't get enough of these two. They seriously crack me up! They really are so funny together.

Belle had woken up early and there was still about an ounce and a half left in the pump from her night time feeding. So I put her in her rocking chair to let it finish out while I picked up her room a bit. When Ben realized that they were wearing the same pajama pants he climbed right up next to her and started reading to her and hugging on her. She immediately pulled up her shirt to show her brother her "button". She is very proud of it and shows it off where ever we go.

pictures taken on May 12th

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Love, love, love them!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Saturday at Papa's

We are blessed to be able to spend the Saturday of Easter weekend celebrating at my Dad's house. The food is always super great and the company is even better. Nothing beats being with my brother and sister and their families.

We all have so much to be thankful for.

Here's our attempt at a family photo toward the end of the night.
We clearly kept the kids out way past their bedtime and the crazies started to set in. They were all really good though. Benjamin was sound asleep before we even got out of my Dad's neighborhood.

Thank you Dad and Alex (not pictured) for always being such wonderful hosts - we LOVE you both!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Just because

It's not a great picture but something about it I really liked. Any day that my kids can play together is a great day!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Good days make for a blissful treat

I'm so happy to report that we have been having some truly good days over here at the Summers place. When everyone is healthy life is GOOD!

After a super great weekend of house and backyard projects, family bike rides, Easter craft and mommy getting to go out (at night!) to see friends I couldn't have been happier that our Monday was just as great. It seems that having warmer weather really helps our moods.

After picking up Jack from school (he gets out at 1) I put Annabelle down for nap and Jack started his homework. Ben decided to do a little water play and then proceeded to read one of his favorite books, Ghost Ship while drying off in the sun. He looked like such a big boy.

Once Jack was finished it was his turn with the hose. Sorry local friends I know it's "illegal" to have running water from a hose here in Long Beach - please don't report me. We don't do it that often. Jack was making rainbows - they were beautiful and so was the smile on his face!

I went inside to start figuring out what to make for dinner and when I looked back outside this is what I saw. Now you should have seen the smile on my face! I love watching my boys together being kind to one another. I slowly opened the back slider to snap this picture. It was so great to hear Jack reading to his brother.

Since they were being so good I probably should have started the laundry or the dishes or continued with dinner but I was in such a happy mood I just couldn't do those boring things. So, I decided to make them (and me) a treat. Not just any old treat but a pineapple blissful treat I had seen earlier in the day and had been on my mind ever since. Click HERE if you are interested in a super yummy and amazingly easy treat. It was the perfect two ingredient (three if you count the coolwhip toping) treat to whip up during nap time on school night. Don't look if you are against using a box cake mix. I know you guys are out there and that's okay.

Once they realized I was gone they came looking for me - they always do! Then of course they wanted to bake with me. I was practically done considering it's a two ingredient cupcake. So they each got to help with filling the cupcake liners.

Ben loves to cook or bake any chance he gets

Jack enjoys anything he can do one on one with me. He can be such a sweetie

Annabelle missed all the baking but was awake in time to eat it. She seemed to like the cool whip a little better than the cupcake.

It was truly the perfect start to our week. We have lots of appointments this week - Eye Dr. follow up, Pediatrician well check (Jack) and a consultation with a new specialist for Annabelle so we probably won't have another day as fun and carefree like that again until at least the weekend. I am so very thankful for great days with my children.