Mother’s Day in the big city

My boys treated me to a lovely Mother’s Day weekend in New York City again this year. Not sure if Jof is trying to make this a Mother’s Day tradition but I’m not complaining! New York, well, Manhattan, specifically, holds a special place in my heart. Back when Jof and I were still dating, Manhattan was our go-to place for shopping and weekend getaways. That was then. We’re done with the shopping part… I think? Haha! Nowadays, we’re more into eating at every corner of Manhattan and getting our picnic on at Central Park. And our Alex loves it! He’s fallen in love with FAO Schwarz-less Manhattan, that when we were about to leave he asked if we could stay one more day because New York was “a thousand times very fun!” That’s always the case though. We never have enough time for all the things we want to do while in the big city. We want to go here and here, and eat here and there, get photos here and there and the list just goes on and on and on. And on. LOL. Even though that list gets longer every time, Central Park is always a priority. Our best picnic memories happened at Central Park and we want to keep makin’ more. Most of the photos I’ll be sharing were taken from the park (where we actually had time to just sit and smell the flowers).

Being mommy to my Alex gives me the best and most wondrous feeling in the world! I swear every day, I am thankful Jof chose me to be his forever, eventually leading to God giving us the greatest gift of being parents to our Alex. It makes me emotional every time I think so deeply about it. And believe me it’s very hard not to think so deeply about it when I get “I love you, mom” and “mommy , you’re the best” every five minutes! He is the sweetest boy and I love him more than anything in the world!

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Photos by my Joffoto

xo, riza

April flowers

I can’t believe we’re onto the fifth month of the year! Time has really been flying by. Before I completely look forward to the rest of the spring and summer, I want to get into a recap of how April was just too good! Like September and November (our birthday months), April is special to me and Jof since our wedding anniversary happens to fall on this month. Also, our weekends were pretty eventful and memorable this year. We attended Jof’s work’s annual gala night (which I like to call our annual big kids prom night, haha) the first weekend of April, then visited family friends in Baltimore the next weekend, then celebrated our anniversary locally the next weekend, and finally, enjoyed a beautiful styled dinner by the talented Tuesdays Together group Jof is a part of (truly a memorable experience).

For the past six years, Jof has made it a tradition to get me anniversary flowers from Holly Chapple at the Leesburg Flower and Garden Festival. It’s something we like to enjoy locally and another perk of living in a small town we like to take advantage of. Speaking of local perks, we also just discovered Stone Tower Winery by accident before we went to the festival and it was just what we needed at that moment! So, we had planned to enjoy a picnic and watch the horse races with coworkers at the Oatlands Plantation the afternoon of the 17th, but while we were on route 15, the traffic tested my driver’s (Jof’s) patience and when he couldn’t take any more than the 20 minutes we’ve been on 15, he took a right turn to the winery. We were a bit worried at first that they wouldn’t allow kids in the premises (because it has happened to us a couple times before when we had to leave the the winery after we were informed that kids were not allowed inside the tasting area) but we were in for a surprise! Children are welcome to their Harvest Barn and they have a nice picnic area with a wonderful view of the hills! Why, we never say no to a picnic! We set our picnic blanket outside and enjoyed lunch (from the food truck) under the sun. The weather was a nice preview of the upcoming summer days. Jof and I probably spent an hour on a couple glasses while we watched Alex run around the field with other kids. We had a great time!

Later that afternoon, we headed to the Flower and Garden Festival to get my anniversary bouquet. Got my usual pastels and greens. It was so pretty (thanks, Holly!)! Then, naturally, Jof thought of getting some family photos done so we did that, and that’s much of the photos I’ll be sharing below. Last but not least, I believe we may have started another anniversary tradition this year: a flower-decorated cake! I love this one by Evan of Sweets by E. It was SO good! I am now obsessed with naked cakes!!!

So, six years. Six years of love and annoying each other. Mostly of love, of course! Jof and I, we’re not perfect and I’m never afraid nor embarrassed to say that, but I know that after everything we go through, at the end of the day, we have all the love and respect for one another. We are weird and different, and honestly, that’s what I love about us. We’ve had friends tell us we’re weird, haha! We enjoy Bollywood films, we love country music and we like hanging out on H Street in DC! I can understand those are an odd combination of likes but that’s just us! HAHA!! What can I say? He really is my bestest friend. He gets me. He completes me. He truly does. We like to think we’re different and we like it that way. I love him so, so much and I am so proud of how great of a man he’s become since I first met him ten years ago. He’s such an amazing father to our mini Jof and he’s the husband I’ve always dreamed of (really, a husband who spoils me!!). In all seriousness, every day, I am thankful God blessed me with a good man.

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Photos by my Joffoto

xo, riza

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oceanfront surprise

My husband has been on my case (in a good way) for the past three weeks trying to get me to share our Easter weekend photos on the blog so he can finally file them away (not to mention I also have photos from our day at the Library of Congress sitting pretty waiting to be uploaded, haha). I mean, he means well but at the same time, he also knows that most days (especially on weekdays), I’m just a busy working mommy bee and there’s just no way to get me to sit down and work on the laptop. And that really is something I have to work on, I know. To think about it, sending friends and family photos of Alex by text or email does take time anyway, so might as well use that time to get all photos uploaded on the blog and share them that way – that was the reason for setting up a blog in the first place. 🙂

So initially, Jof and I planned an Easter weekend in New York City to see good friends and get a little shopping done, but we thought about the still-cold weather at the time and all the walking around… It just won’t work for us. And as we went back and forth deciding between New York and Virginia Beach (we really couldn’t decide), we finally asked our Alex to take his pick. He chose to go to the beach and that’s where we went. As usual, we didn’t have a plan. We got an oceanfront hotel room per Alex’s request. When we went out to the boardwalk on our way for a nice walk in the sand, we saw people riding horses on the beach!!! WHAAAAT?? And it was right in front of our hotel! What a great surprise! We had no idea there was such a thing! I’ve always wanted to ride a horse (and believe me I’ve tried to before but I would always chicken out). There was just something about horseback riding on the beach that was pretty special. So there were no second thoughts here! And oh my! We had SO MUCH FUN! That was such a great family activity and the nicest guys from Virginia Beach Horseback were very helpful with getting me comfortable with our horse, and even took the time to take our family photos! So we did that for half an hour and then couldn’t stop talking about it afterwards! Haha! Before it got dark, we headed to Captain George’s – there is no trip to VAB without dining at Captain George’s. That’s a given. After dinner (yes, Jof and I inhaled all the seafood our bodies could take in, and Alex his pasta), we went back to the hotel and watched movies until our eyes closed. Well that was Saturday. On Sunday, it rained all day in Virginia Beach but that didn’t stop us. We went to church, had lunch and we went back to the oceanfront. Luckily, we keep our Hunters in the car, so we were not worried at all about the rain – plus, I’m always thankful whenever I get to wear boots vs. heels! We took some family photos, then had Alex run around the boardwalk. He loves jumping in puddles so in THAT moment, Jof and I were “the best parents ever!” according to him! Haha! I love him so much!!! So even though Virginia Beach turned out to be gloomy the whole time we were there, we still had the family fun we always crave for. Here are some of my faves:

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Photos by my Joffoto

xo

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blizzard ’16

So this post is waaay overdue. I really wanted to get this published that weekend and share photos already but then Jof and I got busy with redecorating our walls and then Alex had a lineup of activities, and finally, the last minute trip to the Philippines. Life just happened. Anyway, back to our snowy weekend – I can definitely say that that was one of the best weekends we’ve had. The snowfall was just so beautiful to watch! And yes, we were stuck at home but we did a lot of fun stuff AND we played in the snow a number of times (my Alex has been asking for a snow day since the summer!). We even tried to build a snowman but that was a fail! Haha! We knew it was time to get back inside every time Alex would start talking about how “a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows would sound so good right now.” So cute! When we were not watching Ant-Man (and we watched that movie six times that weekend, good grief), we read books, we studied math, we played with Legos, Hungry Hungry Hippos, even hide and go seek! We also kept our little kitchen pretty busy. I swear I cooked each meal that weekend and that never happens! I’m not usually the cook in the house but all that grocery shopping before the blizzard got me all excited, hah! And naturally, my cooking wasn’t perfect but I know I got an A for effort! Right babes? (He said yes!)

When the blizzard passed, reality came back knocking on the door when we knew it was time to get those snow shovels out. We did some digging but we had a lot of help from our neighbors. Honestly, I think we spent more time playing with Alex in the snow than digging out our cars. And I’m so not complaining! The plow trucks came a day late in our neighborhood – which got us a little upset but looking back at it now, I guess we were lucky because other communities didn’t get any plowers until later in the week! I can only imagine the frustration. Clearing out the roads is a lot of work, so I am thankful to all the bobcats who were out day and night making sure morning commute wouldn’t be so bad.

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One of Alex’s activities that he really wanted pictures taken of was recycling his broken crayons to fun-shaped creations. We’ve had these dinosaur silicone molds for a while but just haven’t figured out what to use them for. I got the idea from a friend and when I told Alex about it he was so excited! He was so good hunting all of his broken crayons. We cut them into little pieces so they fit the mold. Then Alex decided he wanted his dinosaur crayons in crazy colors so he mixed different colors in each dinosaur mold. When he was done with that part, we put them in the oven for 20 minutes at 250. Piece of cake! Cooling them wasn’t a problem either… since it was still freezing outside, Jof set them out on the patio for a couple hours. Super easy and super fun!

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I love him so, so much!

Photos by my Joffoto

xo

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vintage bliss

Last weekend, we found ourselves driving out to the small town of Buckeystown, MD in search for a coffee table. It was such a beautiful drive and such a nice old town. As we were driving into town, we saw quite a few local restaurants, which of course got me and Jof all excited! Although that wasn’t the reason for our little trip, that definitely got us talking about driving back there soon to try one of those restaurants! Anyway, when we reached our destination: Chartreuse & Co., we just fell in love. An antique store inside an old barn? It seriously can’t get any better than that! Jof and I have been to quite a few antique stores in the area and this place is one of the bigger ones, and has easily become one of our favorites. There’s really nothing else to say. We walked around, found a couple things we needed AND found two choices for a coffee table! At the end of the day, we ended up with a vintage light teal coffee table in tow! It wasn’t the one we planned on getting, but we love it! My husband always has his camera with him so naturally, we have a few photos I can share.

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Photos by my Joffoto

new year’s day

On January 1st of this year, we drove to DC and walked around Pennsylvania Avenue (in the freezing cold, may I add). It’s kind of become a New Year’s Day tradition for us to drive out to DC to visit museums and Alex loves it! This time, we went to see the Renwick Gallery. We did wait out in line for about 10 minutes, it wasn’t so bad. The gallery was a beauty. We took our time to appreciate each of the displays and took pictures, of course! Alex was so fascinated; he had a lot of questions and had A LOT of things to say. He definitely loves going to museums! I’m just amazed how he’s grown to admire art and how it’s inspired his creativity (even at a very young age of five). He makes me so proud! So when the gallery closed, we went to get dinner and then headed to the National Zoo to see the Zoolights. Looking for parking wasn’t fun (it only took us a good 45 minutes) but that’s DC for you, especially during the holidays. But I have to say it was worth it. Once again, Alex loved the experience. The bright lights got him pretty excited even though he was probably brrr-ing inside (since he wouldn’t stop sipping on hot chocolate). All in all, it was a fun New Year’s Day. The goal is always for family time and most importantly, for my Alex to have fun.

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Photos by my Joffoto

dear 2015,

You were a good one. You started and gave us a cold and snowy winter which my Alex enjoyed so much! I can’t even start to explain how much he loves the snow! We didn’t exactly enjoy driving in the snow, but you know what I mean. You went on to introduce a pleasant spring weather that had us driving to New York for a surprise mother’s day trip c/o my boys. You gave my husband lots of ideas to keep his photography business growing. You showed us more parts of Washington D.C. we never knew existed. We fell in love with those places (and restaurants) and now we can’t get enough of them. You gave us time to head to Virginia Beach in the summer to have Alex enjoy the sand and water, not to mention all the ‘Chicken Joy’ we could digest. Because of how you just kept going and our family photo albums kept piling up, you encouraged me to start this blog. And I scaled a fish! Whaaatt?! You are super! You also gave me and Jof a nice break for our birthdays when you allowed us to fly down to Florida and delight in family time. We were able to experience some of the most memorable times we’ve had as a family while down there. We had the most wonderful time that we are really considering moving down south. Just the thought of it is really exciting! That place seemed like a really good fit for us. We didn’t want to leave. But anyway, we’ll keep that on pending. Then, came fall, you kept my husband pretty busy with weddings, engagement and family photo shoots. He really loves doing photography, so just keep ’em coming! On a side note, I just want to express how proud I am of him; he’s been working so hard and it shows in his work. Also, in the fall, my Alex turned five, but before he did, you gave him an awesome year being a four year old. He had a fun soccer season and brought in an interest in Taekwondo. Also, he got the part of Joseph in his preschool Epiphany play! I couldn’t be more proud! And before another winter season started, you gave us the chance to cut our Christmas tree for the first time in warm, sunny weather. In December. I think you really wanted to be remembered as one of a kind when you had us wishing for a white Christmas, but then you bestowed upon us a rainy 70 degree weather the day of. You had us watching the rain fall while eating ice cream on the patio. Now, that was bizarre. Hey 2015, thank you for being an amazing year of family!

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xo