Category Archives: Family Life

Our Daily Family Theater.

Princess Aurora dancing with Prince Phillip.

Princess Aurora dancing with Prince Phillip.

Yesterday I was Mrs. Potts, Eric was The Beast, Ella was Chip (the teacup), and Emma was, of course, Belle. This is not completely out of the ordinary in our household as of late. The day before I was the Queen, Eric was Prince Phillip, Ella was Baby Aurora and Emma was, you guessed it, Princess Aurora.

Other names of ours include: Angelina Ballerina, Polly, and Mr. & Mrs. Mousling; Ariel, Flounder, Prince Eric…mommy has yet to receive a part here…I’ll keep you posted; Rapunzel, Prince Eugene, Baby Rapunzel and the Queen; Cinderella, Prince Charming, Baby Cinderella and the fairy-god-mother.

The tutu clarifies that she is Angelina Ballerina here in the store. :)

The tutu clarifies that she is Angelina Ballerina here in the store. :)

Emma certainly keeps us on our toes in keeping up to date with the most recent princess change…it happens in an instant. Thankfully she has become quite good at informing us when she is contemplating the next princess change which has given us an entire extra minute to adjust to the right characters before our next play is in full swing. Our “plays” are really nothing but normal day to day happenings in our house in which we simply refer to one another using our princess names. And yes she does remind us if we forget to use the proper princess titles…even in the middle of praying before bed sometimes.

Oh we love our very imaginative little Emma, never a dull moment!

In full Rapunzel character here as you can tell by the hair and purple tutu (Rapunzel's dress is purple).

In full Rapunzel character here as you can tell by the hair and purple tutu (Rapunzel’s dress is purple).

*Quick cute sidenote regarding Ella’s given character of Chip the Teacup: We have a book in which Belle and Chip are described as best friends….just makes me smile knowing that is what Emma was thinking when she named Ella for our “Beauty and the Beast” play. ;)

And no she has not seen all these movies, only Cinderella,Tangled and just recently The Little Mermaid…the others she has only seen little parts of the songs here and there from clips we’ve shown her or books we have. She’s a little sensitive to scary parts so we’re waiting to show her the other full movies till she seems ready.


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Filed under Emma, Family Life

Praising My Savior All the Day Long.

I’m exhausted. I’m a little discouraged. And yet, I can honestly say I am incredibly thankful.

I am thankful that God doesn’t just make things go smooth and easy for us all the time because then I remember that I must rely on Him, and that is the best place to be. I am thankful that He pulls me back to that place of recognizing my constant and complete reliance on Him as soon as I may have stupidly slipped into a moment of thinking I had things all perfectly together and in order (cause that is just not happening till that glorious day I meet Him face to face).

I am thankful for the body of Christ that God has blessed us with. I am thankful for the fellow young mom in our church body who let me borrow a book a few weeks ago, a book that was so encouraging and refreshing to me, just another young mommy striving to glorify God in every seemingly small choice, attitude, and move I make. A book that reminded of the vitality of soaking myself in the truths of scripture, which sometimes in my mommy world means listening to hymns (because sitting down and just reading is not always an immediate option as the family & household manager).

This kind reminder, of the encouragement of just hearing and instilling God’s truths in my heart, was just what God knew I needed to read last night. He knew I needed to read it so that today, when I arrived home from church with two little girls who had had a “less than stellar” morning at church, I would turn to His truths instead of just wallowing in the hardness of juggling two rather, let’s just say  “unsocial” girls this morning.

Wood-Planks-Background-2161404As our two sweet girls & I began listening to the hymns (which I immediately turned on once home) while we started to prep lunch for daddy, who would be home from church soon as well, I remembered this important truth (from the hymn Blessed Assurance by Frances Crosby)….

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”

I am thankful that I can praise my Savior all the day long (sidenote: I am also so thankful for a godly grandmother who I can hear singing this in my head every time I hear, read or say these words…thankful for a godly heritage) no matter how exhausted I may feel. I am thankful that my main discouragement right now is really just a little 2 year old girl adjusting to a big Sunday School class (which really in the grand scheme of things is so minute). I am thankful for a husband who so kindly leads our family and prays with me that our little Emma will enjoy Sunday School someday soon. And I am thankful that God is using this to teach me to not be a people-pleaser but just be focused on honoring Him as we parent our little girls which He has so graciously blessed us with.

And so you see….this is why, in the end, I can even be thankful for this somewhat emotionally exhausting morning at church, really truly thankful for it as it reminded me that This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long;……no matter what this truth won’t change and I’m honored & humbled that God has given me this story & song.


Filed under Emma, Family Life

The “Beautiful Dress.”

So glad we captured this moment...the very first time Emma put on her "beautiful dress.

So glad we captured this moment…the very first time Emma put on her “beautiful dress.

It all began one Sunday evening in early November when Emma was sick. Grammy & Papi wanted to stop by to say hi to the poor sick little Emma, who had recently sprung an interest in princesses. They also thought it would be nice for Emma to have some new comfy pajamas to lounge in while recovering from the flu and thus very thoughtfully brought Emma the surprise of pink dress pajamas with princesses on it.

Emma immediately saw this dress as something very dear, in fact initially she would not wear it to eat or sleep in for fear that it may get ruined. As time went on (a week) this dress gained a title…

The “beautiful dress.”

Before we knew it this beautiful pink dress was allllllllllllllll Emma wanted to wear, so much so that at one point we did have to take it away for an entire week because of the dramatic effect it would cause anytime Emma was informed she needed to wear something other than the dress.

Thankfully she is now past the point of “mourning” each time she has to take it off and changes easily into other clothes. Anywho, that was back in November….

The beautiful dress also often appreciates the addition of a necklace.

The beautiful dress also often appreciates the addition of a necklace.

It is now April and this “beautiful dress” has not lost its charm. It has been through several tears, stains, bad sewing jobs to fix the tears (sewing is not mommy’s strong point), a couple potty training incidents and endless washer/dryer cycles…yet to Emma the beauty of this dress has not seemed to fade one bit.

The beauty is so remarkable to our little girl that the simple addition of a sweater is most definitely not a favorite accessory due to the fact that they may by chance cover up the princess picture in the middle.

The dress can even be worn while pretending to clean floors...while she sings like Cinderella of course.

The dress can even be worn while pretending to clean floors…while she sings like Cinderella of course.

This “beautiful dress” continues to be the very first thing Emma asks to put on each morning. She can’t wait to get that dress back on when we get home after being out somewhere. Anytime it is in the washer/dryer she eagerly awaits the moment she can go open that dryer door, find her “beautiful dress” and scurry as fast as she can to have it back on.

And anytime the dress is put back on she will, without fail, ask either Eric or I (sometimes even both of us), “do you like it?” “isn’t it beautiful?” “do you like my beautiful dress?”.

Then other times it is just a simple statement reassuring us that indeed the dress is still beautiful as she twirls, gets that “beautiful dress” contented face of hers on, and delightfully declares… “it’s beautiful!”

We know this “beautiful dress” phase won’t last forever…but it is a long enough phase that we had to get this one written down here for the memories. And that is why this “beautiful dress” deserved a post all it’s own, before it is lost and forgotten.

Actually, most likely the case will be that this “beautiful dress” will continue to be so dearly loved that it is eventually worn beyond recognition…I just discovered yet another new hole in the dress today…


Filed under Emma, Family Life

Jumping Right In.


Emma’s little “sprout” pigtails!

The last few days in my little mommy world…Ella’s first tooth has finally poked through, Emma can now sing through the entire alphabet (aside from some slight slurring together of letters j&k, I mean hey she is only two!), Ella is ready to take on her first crawl at any moment, and Emma’s hair has just officially become long enough to start sporting the “sprout-style” pigtails (way too much fun)!

Our life is never boring! There are always fun, new, exciting things happening in this household and I am quickly forgetting some of those precious little memories that I thought for sure I would remember when they happened!


Ella smiling after we discovered her tooth poking through!

You see, in my little organized brain I tend to think that I should write at least one blog post per month for each month I have been absent from writing on the blog. This, however, I am quickly coming to realize, is ridiculous for mainly two reasons (1) I really do not have time to sit down and recall things from the past, at least, 6 months that I have been not writing and (2) – This being the real issue at hand – My little “mommy brain” can in no way, shape or form recall all the details from the past 6 months to bring the blog perfectly up to date in an orderly fashion.

And so now that I have given in to the reality of my limited time for blogging and my limited brain space for much memory as a mommy of two little ones…I have decided to just jump right in and get to blogging these current memories before I start forgetting them too!

I am glad to be back to getting our little silly family memories recorded again, I have missed it and although I have “written” numerous blog posts in my head over the past months, I am ready to get them back on the blog (more importantly, our girls sleeping schedule is now much more accommodating to my being able to write a few blog posts here and there, hah!) Hope you all enjoy laughing with us as we cherish these simple joys that God blesses us with as we strive to glorify Him through our marriage and family!

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Our First Few Weeks as Four.

Someone in the hospital had a cold (not a shocker I know) and unfortunately it spread to my dear hubby, which he then unfortunately gave to our dear eldest daughter Emma, who then also passed it on so sweetly to our newest baby daughter Ella…oh boy. Three stuffy noses, a mommy recovering from childbirth, a one and a half year old adjusting to having a new baby around….thank goodness for my mom who comes to stay with us for the entire first week after the baby is born because that is a lot to handle!

Emma trying to get rid of her stuffy nose!

Basic rundown of our first week at home: Eric, Emma & Ella sick with colds. Emma accidentally locking herself in our room & having to remove our door handle just to get her out. Emma climbing out of her crib during naptime as she yelled for mommy (I was at the time having to nurse little Ella). Amy (my sister) & Drew’s wedding and a very long night in our hotel room (the night before their wedding) with the two babies.

My sister Amy and her husband Drew on their wedding day, a very small private beach wedding, simple and beautiful!

A week old and an 18 month old in a hotel room together, when both are already a little stuffy…not recommended. However, I do have to say Eric & I make a great team…no way we would’ve made it through that night without our parenting teamwork, so thankful for my hubby! All funny memories now, but that week…quite exhausting!

Eric showing his part of our parenting teamwork, love it!

Eric had the opportunity to officiate his first wedding, for his cousin and her fiance, just two weeks after Ella was born. He did a great job! We are also happy to report that Ella is now officially an expert in wedding guest etiquette after going to two weddings in her first two weeks!

All ready to go to Eric’s cousin’s wedding (Emma stayed home with my mom, that being the reason she is not dressed up) with little 2 week old Ella!

Then just as the stuffy noses had finally cleared up the stomach flu attacked our new little family, no joke.

The girls out on my first real outing alone with both babies…only hours before Emma got sick.

It happened on a Wednesday afternoon. I was allowing myself to feel a good sense of accomplishment after a successful first outing with both girls in tow, even stopped to get Emma & I a small McFlurry on the way home to celebrate our success. Little did I know that a few hours later that McFlurry would end up all over me (in the form of little Emma’s throw up). Yep…mommy had to throw away a shirt and a sweater that day (mine not Emma’s)….there was just way to much “yuck” to get out. It came out of nowhere, poor little Emma. :( That was Wednesday, Eric caught it Thursday and by Friday morning I had caught it as well. Thankfully little Ella (only 3 weeks old at this point) did not catch it and by Sunday this little Durso family was back to full health, phew!

Emma very happy to be eating her Mcflurry….which I had no clue would be all over me in a very different form in just a couple short hours.

Once March rolled around things had somewhat settled down for our new little family of four. My sister had her second little boy on March 1st and we went down to meet him a week later. So fun having the cousins so close together!

Holding my sister’s 1 week old little boy, Cooper, while she holds little 4 week old Ella!

Then as we slowly got into a new groove with two little ones yet another exciting new transition phase for our family began as Eric accepted a position as the Youth Pastor at Grace Brethren Church in Simi Valley and we got ready to say goodbye to our current church and hello to a new church family.

Our little family just enjoying our crazy first month together!

Yep, we like to cram as much change into a few months as we possibly can…more about our recent church transition in my next post!

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Filed under Baby Durso #2, Emma, Eric & Ashley, Family Life

Ella Faith has Arrived!

In case you haven’t heard the wonderful news(or guessed it from my recent absence from the blog as a busy mommy of TWO – under the age of 2 – now)….little Ella Faith Durso has arrived!!!

Our sweet little Ella Faith on her birthday!

Ella arrived on Wednesday, February 8th, 2012, weighing in at 7lbs. 12oz. and 20.5in. long. She is beautiful and healthy and we are overjoyed to have her in our family, so thankful to God for another huge blessing in such a tiny little package! She has been very busy growing weighing in at 9lbs. 10oz. and 21.25in long at her 3 week check-up, surprising even the doctor with her quick growth spurt, yay, good job Ella! Curious to see her recent growth at her two month (well make that almost 3 months now) check-up soon!

So happy to finally meet our little Ella face to face and hold her in our arms!

Quick rundown of the labor story (for those of you interested): I went in for my usual weekly check-up at 9AM, found out I was dilated to 4cm (I had had two nights of pretty decent contractions the two weeks prior and was happy to hear that morning that they had made some progress for little Ella’s arrival). Because 4cm is considered active labor my doctor asked…”ready to have this baby today?” Ella had dropped and the doctor was convinced once labor started it was gonna go fast, making it safer that we just go to the hospital while things were still not in full swing. So, I called Eric and about 3 hours later Emma was at Grammy & Papi’s  house and we were checking into the hospital!

Last belly picture with Ella Faith...just about to leave for the hospital!

The doctor broke my water around 3PM, started me on the very lowest dose of pitocin around 5:30PM (after which they thought it would take a while to kick in, so they had the epidural lady stall a little by explaining to me – for what seemed like forever – all the ins and outs of the epidural…let me just say, it did not take long at all for the pitocin to start working hard and by the time I had the epidural they later realized it may have been just a little bit late…I’m sure it took a bit of the edge off but still, no stalling next time people!?!?). Anyway, just 5 short hours of real labor and only 10 minutes of pushing, Ella Faith Durso arrived safely at exactly 8:15PM. I cried, so thankful for yet another beautiful precious gift from God, another little girl…precious.

Eric holding Ella for the first time!

Now, just a quick sidenote…I have to say one of my favorite parts of labor (besides the obvious ending of meeting your new little one at last!) is the teamwork and support I get from my other half, my hubby! Eric is right by my side the whole time, doing all he can to just be there for me and help me.

Eric and I. :)

Then seeing his face when he meets our baby for the first time and catching his eye with that “I am so proud and impressed by you baby” look that he gives to just me….it’s priceless and I am absolutely speechless at that moment at God’s goodness to me (with both deliveries) as I cherish the loving/adoring look from my hubby and hold our new baby in my arms, there are no words.

Sitting there enjoying God's goodness, watching my hubby and our new little Ella!

Ella is a little dream baby, rarely cries. When she actually does cry we know something is wrong, and generally it is just a quick feeding or diaper change needed and she is right back to her laid back little self. She is also quite the little smiler and talker! She shares tons of smile throughout the day with us and is very eager to be a part of family conversation with her adorable little coos, we love it!

Our sweet little smiley Ella!

Some of our favorite smiles to see are when she is smiling back at little Emma, who just loves talking with her new baby sister and making her smile by quite consistently saying “mamamamamama…” to Ella! So fun watching the girls interact already! The latest, just this week Ella did her first rollover, very exciting and crazy how quickly she is growing!

Emma holding Ella for the first time!

I must say, our first few months as a family of four was a little busier and a tad bit more unorganized than this organized momma had originally anticipated! Nonetheless, having two little ones now and watching our little family adjust has been even more of a blessing than I had originally anticipated as well! God is so good and these first few months of learning and growing as a mommy of two (the lessons are unending I am sure of it!) have been eternally profitable in my relationship with my Savior, no joke! I am more than 100% convinced now (just in case I hadn’t been fully convinced before) that I could not make it through one day without His grace and joy sustaining me. But thankfully because I do have His unending grace and joy sustaining me, I really cannot get enough of the daily ins and outs of being Eric’s wife and Emma & Ella’s mommy, I love it, craziness and all!

Our little family of four!

And let me tell you there have been some serious crazy moments in our first few months as four….I’ll let the next couple blogs fill you in! For now just know that Ella is here and we are so thankful and happy to be a little family of four!

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Filed under Baby Durso #2, Emma, Eric & Ashley, Family Life

Be Sure Your Sin will Find You Out.

Emma sitting on her bench ready to read, showing off her "thinking" pose.

Emma has been very curious in the “tearing books” department lately. She is generally very good about being careful with her books and only seems to tear them when she sees that the page already has a little bend, small fold or tear, she seems to think she is fixing it or something. She knows that tearing books is not “obeying mommy and daddy” (a saying which she frequently quotes throughout the day) and she only seems to do it during her “rest time.” Needless to say, we have quickly learned to give her only good, solid, sturdy books during her naps.

This Sunday we let her take a pop-up book with her, not working out so well in the end.

Emma was taking a “rest.” It was very quiet for about 45 minutes. Then we heard happy talking sounds coming from Emma’s room, this is quite normal for Emma’s “rest time” lately (and may I say, we do so enjoy hearing her joyful little voice as she “reads” to her lamb, bunny and bear who join her in her crib).

This particular Sunday afternoon the happy talking time was very abruptly cut short by a serious cry for help. Eric and I went back to the room pretty quickly; we knew this was not a normal cry. We found her standing in the far corner of her crib with her arm stuck between the crib and the wall. I moved the crib, while Eric rescued Emma from her deep distress. Then Eric gave me a small knowing grin, there were small bits of a torn book on the floor.

Emma had torn her little Sesame Street pop-up book to shreds (I should’ve known something was up when we heard happy yells of “Hi Elmo! Hi Cookie!” coming from her room moments before her cry of distress).

Now that she was rescued, mommy and daddy had to decide what to do with the evidence we had discovered on the floor, under the crib, behind the crib bumper and between the wall and the crib. Oh Emma, she is a clever one (which my parents say is very much like her mommy – me – when I was little, oh dear). In her little mind, there was a small chance that mommy and daddy may have never found the evidence of that torn pop-up book that she tried to stuff behind the crib.

Then her arm got stuck mid-drop of the final piece of that book. There was no way out of it now, mommy and daddy would know right away…and that we did. Poor little Emma, you should’ve seen her face…made it hard for daddy and mommy to keep a straight face as we lovingly disciplined our sweet little girl.

Emma’s sin, it found her out (Numbers 32:23)….a verse I so remember my dad saying to us kids over and over again in our growing up years.The truth of God’s Word never fails and our little Emma is learning that even at the very young age of 20 months.

Oh the funny unexpected moments that pop-up throughout your days as a parent! So thankful for our two little girls, torn books and all! ;)


Filed under Emma, Family Life