Reflection + Realization = Elevation ; Our Year-End Wrap Up!

It’s official! 2012 is over! The world didn’t end! Woo Hoo!
My 2013 will start with a breath and a whisper; to be the best person I can be… for myself, my husband, my daughter and the world. It’s a tall order, but still, I will pursue my declaration with vigorous devotion every morning I have the pleasure to awake.
Here are but a few of the days this year when I woke up grateful to be able to explore the world with my baby girl:
One of our favorite hikes before we had kids is this great trail in the Malibu mountains which leads you through meadows and over massive boulders, criss-crossing rivers and finally ends at a natural grotto. We finally brought the baby there this year. It was such a gorgeous day!

hiking with toddler in malibu
Hiking in Malibu, California
Earlier this year, fellow Mommy Hiker, Megan Flowers introduced us to Underwood Family Farms and it was love at first sight! It’s a great way to keep the kids connected to the earth, teach them where our food comes from and how it grows. Life lessons coupled with dirt! Lots of dirt!

underwood family farm
Picking the perfect tomato
Me and the Peanut enjoying a tickle and the trickle of a calm mountain waterfall.
malibu hiking
We only managed to sneak in a few days of camping this year. It never feels like enough! This was just a short ride up the coast to McGrath State Beach and it barely satisfied our thirst, but the bloody mary’s courtesy of Michael Flowers were delish.

camping with toddler
Camping at McGrath State Beach
During our almost month-long summer stay in Turkey this year, we explored many ruins and villages along the way!

toddler on steps
Exploring an old Turkish village
These purple hydrangea bloom every spring, right outside our front door!
smelling flowers
Taking the time to stop and smell the flowers
One of our favorite hikes with the kids is a trail that meanders up a canyon in the mountains of Altadena, California which leads to a beautiful 50-foot waterfall and refreshing swimming hole!

hiking with toddler in altadena
Hiking in Altadena, California
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a recent discovery for us, but now that we have become NextGen members, I can tell you that it will become a significant part of our monthly adventures!

lacma art installation
Frolicking in an art installation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
These two have hiked the entire greater Los Angeles area together! It is one of my tremendous pleasures in life to watch them develop their bond.

toddlers hiking
Hiking buddies forever!
This picture my hubby took doesn’t really need any explanation. It was pure bliss to have the opportunity to introduce our baby girl to her father’s homeland.

datca turkey
Conquering the soft pebble shores of The Mediterranean
October brought us back to the Underwood Family Farms! During the Fall season, hey have an awesome corn maze and massive pumpkin patch!

underwood family farms corn maze
Conquering a Corn Maze

pumpkin patch underwood family farms
Choosing the perfect pumpkin
While my mother and brother were in town visiting for the holidays, we took a drive up to Lake Arrowhead to frolick in the snow! Vivi LOVED it…for about 15 minutes! Then she was ready to snuggle up with the pups by the fireplace, which was fine with us considering that’s where the wine was!
toddler playing in lake arrowhead
What is this cold, wet stuff?
Christmas morning was full of gasps, laughter, shouting and joy. My mom’s comment summed it up perfectly! “Enjoy it, this is probably the last time she’ll ever be so excited to get socks.” Ha!

toddler opening presents christmas morning
I’ll leave you with this picture. For me, it sums up everything. 
Take the time to be still, to ponder, to reflect, to realize. Happy New Year!!!

toddler sitting by lake
Reflecting on the year…

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