The purpose of this blog is to capture some of the high lights and low lights of just normal day to day life. Our life is loud, busy, and fast, but we love it!


Easter Memories

There is this picture that sits in our front room. A picture that has been around for a while now. Easter of 1998 was the first Easter David and I spent together. He drove out from Michigan to officially meet both my parents and see me. It had been since Valentines Day and we both were aching to be together...yes, aching. I was in Vermont and he was 700 miles away in Michigan. Talking was great, but kissing was better! When I look at this picture I can't believe how much time has gone by. Fourteen years. We laugh at the idea that I have been with David almost half my life. We were young, in love, and even then we knew we would spend forever together.

The funniest memory of that first Easter together was David got to my house while I was out shopping with my mom.....but my Dad was home. I had no idea how that would go.....well, fourteen years later it is very apparent I married a man very similar to my Dad and my Dad loves David like his own son. In fact, both my parents do. I jokingly say that they love him more than they love me....sometimes I'm not joking.

Not sure what is in the air lately, but David and I have been reminiscing about "the beginning" for a while now. Maybe we need the mental escape from the crazy lives we live now. Maybe we just need a reminder of how long and how deep our love is for one another. Maybe we just want to feel as young as we were in that picture! Whatever the reason I love thinking about the years that have past and those two love birds who people said would not last because of very long distance. They were wrong. We did. We are. We will.

Easter Day

Easter Morning! The girls were all in bed with us cuddling and spending time together. JOY. There is no better way to start the day! We went to church the night before so we start our day with hugs, kisses, and the first of two egg hunts!

Emma had two eggs to find. CUTE.

Mayah running to find more!

And there off! The second egg hunt is outside and starts when Nanny, Grampy, and their Great Grandparents arrive. This way they can experience the fun too.

Nanny and Emma

This year, due to my forgetfulness, the girls had a word puzzle to solve from inside the eggs they found. We had bought them new hula hoops, but I forgot to put them out with their baskets. So, we made a game of it. They liked that...and they liked the hula hoops!

Great Nana and Great Grampy Day looking on at the fun

I guess all the excitement and the SIXTY bunny cookies that Leah ate just wore her out. I could not pass up the opportunity to take this picture.

Later that night we took the girls on a LONG walk around the perimeter of the development and wore them all out! It was a fantastic day!!!!!!!!!

Getting ready for Easter

I love family traditions. Ok, maybe I should be more specific. I love our family traditions, the ones that David and I have started with our girls. Yes, some are a combination of his and mine and many are ones that are new for both of us. Our main purpose in our activities throughout Easter (and Christmas for that matter) is to instil in our girls that the reason we are celebrating is because we believe in Jesus. That he was born, lived, died, and so importantly rose again! There is no bunny that brings baskets and hides eggs, but there are full baskets and hidden eggs. We color eggs the day before and make Empty Tomb Cookies-which quite frankly do not taste that great, but the purpose and excitement caused by them makes it all worth it. We do not have anything against the cute bunny, but for David and I we know we want to focus on Christ and can still enjoy the "fun" parts of Easter. Honestly, my kids could care less who hides the eggs, as long as they can find them and they are filled with yummy treats (organic bunny cookies!).

Here are some pictures of the girls coloring eggs. We use oil pastels to draw and all natural dyes made from turmeric, beets, and grape juice.

Here is Chiara reading scripture as we make the Empty Tomb Cookies. Each ingredient and process has a scripture reference.

Chiara, Mayah, Emma, and me making the cookies.

Chiara placing them in the oven overnight (the tomb).
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Everyone seals the tomb before we go to bed.

Little Chef

Meatloaf. It's a common weekly meal in the D'Amato home. We make a paleo version-no bread crumbs, but we use almond meal. It is delicious. Everyone gobbles it up...including Emma!

I had told Chiara when I was making it that the next time it was on the menu she could make it. She remembered. I had forgotten. Kids are great like that. Ask them to clean up and they forget, but something they want to do....different story.

Anyway, I had already used the food processor to dice up the onion and garlic when she asked to take over. Perfect. She followed the recipe, measured everything out, mixed, made, and even put it in the oven. There was so much learning going on! I gave her little pointers and tips through our conversation; just things that you pick up along the way. Apparently she thinks I should teach a cooking class! LOL! I can't remember what the tip I gave that solicited her to say that, but she warmed my heart!

She was so proud of herself and we all made sure to let her know how delicious it was. I know she was excited to add another dish to her growing list of things she makes in the kitchen!

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Do you know your garage door is open???

After leaving the outdoor expo (you can read about that here) we headed over to surprise Nanny for her birthday. I had told my Dad we were going to come by, but not to tell Nanny. Her birthday was the following day so I knew she would not expect us.

When we arrived at the house their garage door was open. So, we thought we would just sneak in.....unfortunately the door into the house was locked. This put Leah into a panic-she thought we were going to close the garage door and loud sounds freak her out right now. We tried to assure her we were not going to.....while frantically knocking on the door now. No answer. More knocking. Nothing. David decided to call. How no one could here us knocking and Leah screaming is beyond me!

When my mom answered her phone David said, " Hi, do you know your garage door is open?" Pause. Confusion. "Yes, how do you know it's open???" Hilarious.

Leah was so relieved when she opened the door! Surprise! Not the way we planned, but still a great surprise. We brought ice cream cake (one of those "logs" with no actual cake!) and cards.

Nanny's favorite part....feeding Emma some ice cream. Emma loved it and it made Nanny's day! Perfect.
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Arizona Game and Fish Expo

For the second year in a row David and I took the girls to this great outdoor expo. The girls love the hands on stuff they get to experience and we love teaching them about nature and developing a love for being active.

This year it was awesome to see Leah get into what we were doing. She wanted to touch every snake and lizard she could....even the PYTHON! No fear! Oh, to be young!!! Her big sisters were not as eager, but Mayah does still love seeing the snakes and lizards too.

If you ask Leah she was touching a Kimono Dragon, but it was just a really large lizard.

All of the girls said hi to the tortoise.

Smokey the Bear was taking pictures so we stood in line to say hi. Leah is missing from the picture...apparently she is ok going to pet the head of the HUGE python, but draws the line at a oddly shaped bear.

We went over to the mounted shooting show/competition again. All three girls LOVE horses. Leah was not a fan of the gun noise, but it was cute to here her call every horse "Maximus" (from Rapunzel).

Emma getting a good view of all the action.

Chiara and David did the little off road course that Jeep had. I have seen David do stuff way harder than this, but Chiara thought it was so cool.

Chiara was able to check out and sit on this historic covered wagon. She is reading a novel for school about a family who moved from New Hampshire to the Nebraska territory in a wagon just like this. I love that she is now able to better experience the journey they were on.
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And of course, we wore Emma Lynne out! She would have much rather been in her bed, but finally fell asleep with me.

Going back to bed after getting up

I am a morning person. I love waking early and enjoying the quiet of God's creation before my girls wake up. I also love seeing my gorgeous husband before he leaves for work. And for some reason coffee tastes better in silence. Of course this part of me has been adjusted because we are in baby season. I am slowly getting back there when Emma sleeps all night (or at least until 4:30AM because I am ok getting up then).

On those days when I am up early my sweet Leah is usually not happy with me. Over the past few months she has come to LOVE crawling into our bed and laying (not sleeping) there with me. So, when she wakes and I am already downstairs she lets me know I am supposed to be in bed so she can come lay with me.

Most times she will let me know of her displeasure but move on...other mornings.....I am headed back upstairs (yes, fully dressed) and we crawl back into bed together. It may only be for 5 minutes, but it fills her cup in the morning and why not start her day off with joy.

So, if anyone ever wonders why I do not make my bed until later in the morning.....this is why.

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"Missing Mona" Play

Our home school group put on another spring play. This one, written and directed by one of our members, was about the theft of the Mon Lisa in 1904 from the Louvre.

Chiara had a very minor role this year, which suited our very busy schedule just fine. She was thrilled with her part and did a fantastic job! She was an obnoxious tourist. She got laughs and loved it. I am so proud of her for getting up there again this year and delivering her lines like a pro! I love the theater and seeing her develop a love for it too brings me great joy.

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