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May 2021



Emma’s 9th Year Birthday Questions

I was just rereading last year’s birthday summary and forgot that last year we had planned to go to Legoland for Emma’s 8th birthday and it got canceled because of Covid! Well, we made it out here for her 9th!! We ended up booking a hotel stay at MarBrisa Resort in Carlsbad which is right by Legoland (has access to its own entrance in fact!). We went with a few other families that also have Legoland annual passes and had SUCH A BLAST! Emma requested a Carmen San Diego theme so I decorated the hotel a little bit. The kids had so much fun just playing in the hotel room, swimming at the pool, and then hitting up Legoland. It was so nice being able to travel and hang out with friends again after a year of limited social interaction because of covid. I’m so glad the weekend went well for our birthday girl!

I’m curious to see what the highlights of year 8 were for Emma considering it was alll spent during covid ????!

At the end of May of last year, we were itching for some type of “safe” vacation, so we joined our friends for some socially distancing camping at one of our favorite nearby spots, O’Neill Regional Park. Our campsites were right by the creek so the kids really enjoyed catching tadpoles on this trip!

Being at home all of the time forced us to try out new hobbies…like baking! Here is Emma with the first boxed cake she ever made all by herself! She did an awesome job and this reminds me…I should make her make me some more food ????

Another hobby we got into was puzzles! We’re now easily doing 1000 pieces together and had so much fun completing them.

Also, sooo many bike and scooter rides! This one was at El Dordado park.

Emma was able to continue her ballet lessons through zoom and was even able to participate in a few recitals! They shot them at the studio where no parents were allowed and sent us video links to view. Not the same but grateful that they had this option at least!

I feel like we did all of the Pinterest covid activities like neighborhood scavenger hunts, sidewalk chalk doodles, baking, etc lol

We also walked around our neighborhood block SO MANY TIMES! (via foot, bike, scooter, or the EZ Rider)

In early August we took a roadtrip to Big Sur. It’s so beautiful there and was so glad we were able to visit despite Covid!

Looking at these photos I realized even covid couldn’t keep us from traveling. Right after this, we did a staycation at one of the most expensive hotels we’ve stayed at from my travel hacking… The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills!

This was probably Emma’s favorite hotel we’ve stayed at to date. I’ve truly spoiled her but I told her we only get to stay at nice places through hard work, ingenuity, and….travel hacking lol

We also ordered proper room service for the first time ever!

Emma’s love for animals has only increased as time passes. She’s obsessed with and knows all of the names of the stray cats in our neighborhood hehe.

Ok don’t kill us, but we went on another quick trip to Palm Springs. I think once we realized we could travel safely and that most hotels were empty, we started taking advantage of that!

Palm Springs is all about POOL TIME which is the kids’ favorite pastime!

This school year was a little crazy. It started out virtual, then went to hybrid, and is now back 5 days a week! It was also Emma’s first year in the GATE program! She rocked it though and was super adaptable to all of these changes. Kids are so much more resilient than adults!

Emma also continued participating in Girl Scouts via zoom meetings and the occasional outdoor event like this one where they celebrated women’s right to vote with an outdoor march. Sadly, we just got word that Emma’s troop is disbanding so we’re not sure if we will be continuing on next year :(

For halloween this year, our angel surprisingly decided to be a devil ???? This was at our last camping trip of the year at San Diego KOA where they had Halloween themed weekends.

For actual Halloween, we were at an airbnb with some close friends in Joshua Tree where we did an outdoor glow in the dark Easter egg hunt instead of trick or treating since Halloween was pretty much canceled this past year.

At Arch Rock Trail

Dressing up as an elf for our Christmas card that I failed to mail out again

Our annual xmas party with friends went virtual this year! Still lots of fun!

We finally made dumplings for New Year’s Eve/day and the kids had so much fun I hope to remember to make this an annual tradition!

For one of the Genius Hour projects Emma did this year, she learned how to decorate her own cakes. It was really impressive!

These two were already so close but they truly were each other’s best friends during the pandemic. So happy they have each other and get along so well!

Here she is reunited with her other bestie after all of the parents got vaccinated! What a happy day!

Love that we can go on tougher hikes now that the kids are older!

For spring break this year, we finally got to see family after over a year! Here is Emma with her newest cousin! She was so excited to finally see her favorite cousins, Madison and Quincy. They were soooo sad when we left.

I think if Emma had to name her greatest memory this past year, it was when we babysat 5 foster kittens! It was like a dream come true for her. Her biggest wish is to still have a pet cat or dog so this was the next best thing. She keeps reminding us that we promised her a dog when she turns 10 which I can’t believe is next year already!

Dear Emma,

Mature, kind, nurturing, thoughtful, surprising are just some of the words that come to mind when I think of you. It really feels like you’re coming into your own this year. You are more confident and finding your own ways of expressing yourself. Recently, you’ve gotten into fashion and even for your birthday presents this year all you wanted was clothes! I guess gone are the days when you’ll be asking for toys ???? but you still love to play pretend and Beanie Boos with Max and your friends. You’re in that in-between space and I love that you can move between these phases of life and enjoy them both still.

This past year you were really obsessed with Beanie Boos, Warrior Cats, Harry Potter, Minecraft, interior design/fashion, YouTube hair styles, Disney (non-cartoon) shows, The Mandalorian/baby Yoda, baking, cake decorating, swimming, scootering, the beach, vacations, your cousins, arts and crafts, and of course dogs and cats. You love going on walks with just me and I treasure the conversations we’ve had, the animals we’ve petted, and all of the things you point out to me on these walks! You’re the most thoughtful daughter with the creative gifts and letters you have given to your family on holidays and birthdays.

Throughout Covid, I don’t think you’ve complained once about wearing a mask. You have really stepped up and taken care of your brother on multiple occasions especially after I had to go back to work and you were on your own with Max at your grandmother’s house. You have done so great in your first year of GATE despite the rigorous curriculum and the ever changing school schedule. I’m so proud that you were the only girl in your whole class who made it all the way to the end of your multiplication/division minute tests without missing once!! You’re such a hard worker and so intelligent. I hope you know you can do and accomplish anything you put your mind to. Your favorite subject is reading and I love that you love books. When you really get into a book, we will find you with your Kindle everywhere (in the car, while eating, in your bed, etc). I’m so excited that you’re into the Harry Potter series!

Despite having to quarantine and having limited time to make friends in school, I’m happy to see that you’re starting to make your own group of friends: Abigail and Ashlyn and even Harper at ballet. I know sometimes it’s hard for you to get comfortable with new people but once you do and you let your personality shine, everyone just loves you! You are so funny, kind, and have all of the qualities that make a good friend. I’m so happy to see the person you have become. I always tell you but you are truly the best daughter I could have dreamed up. Dad and I always ask ourselves how did we get so lucky??? I hope this next year gets more normal for you and I can’t wait to see what is next for you!



Here are the answers to her birthday questions this year with my comments in parentheses.

1. What is your favorite color? blue
2. What is your favorite toy? iPad
3. What is your favorite fruit? lychee
4. What is your favorite tv show? Jessie
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? sushi
6. What is your favorite outfit? I don’t have one
7. What is your favorite game? Minecraft
8. What is your favorite snack? candy
9. What is your favorite animal? dog
10. What is your favorite song? I don’t have one Harry Potter
11. What is your favorite book? Harry Potter
12. Who is your best friend? Katie B
13. What is your favorite cereal? Rice Crispies
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Ride my scooter
15. What is your favorite drink? Jasmine milk tea with boba
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? a blanket
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? salmon with rice and seaweed
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? sushi, pad Thai, or bbq ribs
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? interior designer or a teacher