Pumpkins and Superheros

Halloween is such a fun holiday with the boys, I love that they get excited about dressing up in costumes, asking every day if it is time to go trick or treating and looking for decorations on houses when we drive around town.  But I personally love Halloween because it is the kickoff to the holiday season with Thanksgiving and Christmas to follow.  So when we started seeing pumpkins at every store and pumpkin patches we went to, Jake wanted to get one.  We ended up with a small collection of a few pumpkins of various sizes that we used for decorations around the house.  Then he kept talking about carving the pumpkins and we told him we had to wait until it was closer to Halloween.  Finally, a few days before Halloween, we went to get some good sized pumpkins for carving.  On Saturday morning that was our first order of business, a pumpkin carving party.

It seems I can never get the boys to smile at the same time for a picture…

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img_7756edThe boys have a variety of costumes that they love to play with and Jake decided that he would be Spiderman for our pumpkin carving party, while Dylan was sporting a Superman shirt.

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And Grandma was in town so she got to join in on the fun!

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Neither one of the boys were too thrilled about the slimy insides (we will see how long that lasts)…so daddy and grandma did most of the hard work with cleaning them out, while they stuck with their spoons as “scoopers”.

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And I guess the key to getting this guy to smile AND look at the camera at the same time is carving pumpkins as Spiderman…

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Then mom joined in to get her hands dirty for a bit. And apparently the boys were really confused to see daddy behind the camera?

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Then these two goofballs started their silly antics…

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When it came time to carve them, we got one of the Halloween books that we had been reading with the boys that has various types of Jack O Lantern carvings so they could choose which ones they wanted.

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Supervising daddy’s work.

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My blue eyed boy!

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We ended up with silly, sleepy and surprised.  I call that a success!!

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And we noticed that we carved 3 pumpkins this year, and Jake is 3 years old.  Last year we carved 2 pumpkins, when he was 2 years old and the year before that it was 1 pumpkin when he was 1 year old.  Total coincidence, not intentional at all.  And I don’t think next year we will have 4, but with two boys, who knows…

With the pumpkins carved, costumes ready, we were officially ready for our Superhero Halloween! Batman and Robin to the rescue!

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We started off the night at a neighbors house for a pre-party before hitting the streets to trick or treat.

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BOO!

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Bates Nut Farm

A few years ago when Jacob was a baby, I went with some girlfriends and their littles to Bates Nut Farm.  In the fall they turn their farm into a pumpkin patch with pony rides, a petting zoo, tractor hay rides, a corn maze and other fun activities.  At the time Jacob was a little too young to really “enjoy” it all and every year I kept saying I wanted to go back.  This year I finally made it.  Our schedule is busy as usual, and there is only one day during the week that we don’t have any kind of scheduled thing like school, swim lessons, etc…So that day usually is filled with a playdate or doctor’s appointments, or errands that need to be taken care of.  About a month ago on that day, we had nothing planned.  And it wasn’t until about 8:00 that morning when I was trying to figure out how we were going to spend the day that I decided we were going to go to Bates Nut Farm.  I got the boys dressed, packed up some food, loaded up the car and grabbed my camera.  It is about a 30 minute drive into the mountains from our house which made for a nice leisurely drive to drink my coffee while singing along with the with kids music playing in the car.  I like to get to these places right when they open to avoid the crowds and the afternoon heat.  And this day was perfect!

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After saying HI to the farmers unloading all the pumpkins, they started searching for the perfect one.

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Dylan thought they needed some re-arranging and started moving them from one side to the other

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Then Jacob wanted to feed the goats, so all 3 of us each got a cup full of food and went to the petting zoo. Both boys loved it and laughed when the goats ate out of their hands.

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Then the lady working there offered to take our picture, and we still had food on us.  So the goats kept trying to climb into my lap along with Dylan to eat it up!

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Then we hopped on the tractor hayride for a spin around the farm.

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And Jacob talked during the entire ride, commenting on everything he saw

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And Dylan thought it was pretty fun

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Then we walked around the stores and bought a few treats.  We went over to where all the animals were and looked at chickens, pigs, llamas, turkeys and more goats before heading home for lunch.  I love those spontaneous adventures with my boys!

3 Year Old Preschool

When we moved, we left Jacob at his old preschool because we didn’t want to change schools on top of a new baby, new neighborhood and a new house.  So when it got close to the end of the last school year, I started researching the preschools in this area and learned that the school he was at had fantastic hours and a more of a year round program, meaning they didn’t close for Spring Break or summer, etc…we decided to keep him at his old preschool through the summer program and then start him at his new preschool closer to home in the fall.  So before I share his first day of school pictures (which are now a few months old), here are the ones he had taken last spring at his old preschool.  And he looked so darn cute in all of them, that I couldn’t just settle on one photo and ended up getting all three…

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When it came time to start his new school, it didn’t really seem to faze him.  The 3 year old class is a little more work than 2 year old preschool, and this is my kid who likes to have a job and something to do, so he jumped right into it.  And the fact that one of his good buddies is in his class helped too I’m sure. I barely get a kiss good bye when I drop him off and he is always excited to run around with his buddy while the moms chat for a few minutes when I pick him up.  So it is safe to say that he is enjoying it!

Here’s our little cheeseball ready for his first day of 3 year old preschool.

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And the tractor backpack in his favorite color green from grandma and grandpa was the icing on the cake.

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Feeding Dylan

I know I’ve been kind of sporadic here lately and I don’t like that.  It boils down to the fact that I have no time during the day to work on this blog and by the time the boys are in bed for the night, I am too tired and just want to sit and talk to my husband or watch a TV show or scroll through my Facebook feed or simply just sit and stare at nothing and enjoy the quiet.  I love this blog though and don’t plan on stopping.  It is my favorite way to capture the story of our lives, especially since I haven’t touched Jacob’s baby book since he turned 2 and I did buy one for Dylan…but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.  I’ve been feeling the urge to start picking up my camera again every once in a while.  So one day after dropping off Jacob at preschool, I didn’t really have any urgent errands to take care of and rather than browsing the aisles of Target and spending $200 on stuff I didn’t know I needed, I decided to do something fun with Dylan.  So we went to feed the ducks.  Before we left the house, at the last minute I ran back in to grab my camera and I am so glad I did.

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According to Dylan though…we were there to feed him and just look at the ducks.

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Then turn around and walk back to get more

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I showed him how to break up the bread and throw it to the ducks, and he looked at me and smiled, and even laughed, he thought it was funny.img_7611ed img_7613ed

And he kept on eating the bread, while I threw some pieces out to the ducks in between pictures.

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When Dylan’s tummy was full, we walked over to the playground where he did about 50+ laps up the stairs and down the slide.

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I love this little goofball

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It was a fun date with my littlest man.

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Testing, testing

1…2…3…

Apparently the last post I did never sent out a email notification that I published a new post.  So I went online to try and find out why and I guess due to an update it was messing up the system.  I haven’t had time to research how to fix it, but there was recently another update so I am hoping there is resolution to the problem in this update.  So this is just a test post to see if the email notifications are working again…

Splash Park Fun

After getting through all our vacation photos, it dawned on me that I didn’t pick up my camera again all summer long!  I think because I’ve been so behind on pictures/posts I didn’t want to take any more pictures to put me back even more.  Also, my hands are not as “free” with two little boys to juggle so my camera has taken a backseat.  I started feeling a little bad about that, and wishing I had more pictures of all the fun things we did this summer.  Yes, I have thousands of pictures that I’ve taken with my iPhone, and those are great and I am hoping to do a post of our summer highlights with those pictures.  But the photographer in me, really prefers the quality photos that I can get with my camera.  So one morning we had a “meet the teacher” day at Jake’s new preschool, and afterwards we went to a Splash Park with some friends to let the kids run around.  At the last minute, I grabbed my camera hoping to catch some pictures of the final days of summer. And yes, I know it is mid-September and these pictures are now a month old…but better late than never has become my new matnra…

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This is a great place for the kiddos to run and play and stay cool in the summer heat.

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IMG_7515edAnd while the big kids ran all over the place, this little guy kept busy at a fountain with an assortment of buckets and cups to fill and dump out.

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Sometimes simple things like buckets, water, good friends and sunshine is all you need.

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Idaho or bust

Now that it is August (how did that happen?) and summer is almost over, I figured I better wrap up the last of our vacation we took in May!

A couple of years ago some friends of ours moved to Idaho.  So instead of going home after our fun with grandma and grandpa at “The BIG ranch up in Oregon”, we flew to Idaho for a few days to see them. Not only was it great for the adults to catch up, but their little girl is just a month older than Jake and it was fun seeing them reunite and play together.

On our first day we went to a brewery for lunch.  The property was beautiful with lots of space for the kids to run and play.  It was raining off and on, so inbetween the rain the kiddos burned energy chasing each other and Justin.

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And jumping off the raised patio, over and over and over again.

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The whole group!

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Then they drove us around and showed us their town.  We rented an Expedition so we could fit 4 adults and three kids in one car. Jake and Sammie had a great time giggling and being silly in the way backseat, and yes, Jake is picking his nose in this picture.

IMG_2871edAnd it wouldn’t be a trip with the Haigis’ without a visit to a wine tasting room!  I never knew Idaho had wine country.  We went to their favorite place, Cinder.  It was very kid friendly with toys to play with and chalk to draw on their concrete floors.

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And this was the best attempt to get a picture of all 3 kiddos.

IMG_2861ed The next day after going out for lunch, we relaxed around their house and Jaime got into her teacher mode and came up with crafts and activities for the kiddos to do for the afternoon.  First up was making slime.

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Jake has inherited his daddy’s aversion to anything sticky or messy, so he wasn’t too sure about this at first.

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But he quickly got over it and they had a great time molding, stretching and squishing slime.

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While the older kiddos were playing inside, Dylan was taking advantage of having all the outside toys to himself.

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And kept working on his walking skills

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And their dog Bear joined him to play in the sunshine.

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Then the big kids came outside for the next activity, dinosaur eggs.  Armed with a wooden pick, they dug at the eggs until finding their dinosaur prize.

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Success!

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Rawwwwwar!!

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We ended the night with a pizza date for dinner.

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It was so good to see them and visit their new hometown.  The boys did really good with all the traveling and we always have fun visiting other places, but it is also nice to come home to San Diego.

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Birds and the Bridge

One afternoon my mom and I took the boys and one of my mom’s friends to the Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene.  It’s a neat place that rescues injured/sick birds and nurses them back to better health.  It is a small outdoor location that makes it perfect for little kids to run around and learn about different types of raptors.

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They had many types of hawks and owls,

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and my personal favorite was the Eagle.

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Jake made a friend, and they chatted their way through the center.

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It was a fun afternoon adventure!

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That evening, back at the ranch, Jake was happy to be back doing chores with grandpa and daddy.  And this year his favorite chore was picking up the horse poop.  Over the last two years, he has always “helped” grandpa pick up after the horses, but he really was just sitting in the cart dancing away to the country music on the radio and talking to grandpa.  This year, he actually wanted to do it “all by myself” which is a phrase we hear frequently these days…so consider yourself warned…if you are squeamish by the sight of horse poop, you can quickly scroll over this next batch of pictures to the second half of this post.

Jake looked forward to doing this every single day.  And anytime he saw horse poop he had to stop what he was doing and announce that we needed to pick it up.

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He did have his few trips and face plants into the piles,

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And he was mortified that I was taking pictures of him…

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Really mom?? Are you really taking pictures right now?

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Ugh!  I can’t believe it!

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Still taking pictures??!!

IMG_7311edWhatever, I’m going back to work…

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And this little guy, is still too young to be wielding his own pooper scooper…

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But he was watching closely, and taking notes.  I’m sure he will join them next year.

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All this talk of picking up horse poop makes this an appropriate spot to share this adorable photo of Dylan taking a bath in grandma’s bathtub.

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On our last day there, we had some more rain.  We had a few errands to run and shopping to do in town and we even drove 30 minutes out of our way to go back to Brewers Union for fish and chips for lunch.  And I love this picture of the boys/guys with the dark storm clouds in the background, cheering for the rain!

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And one thing that we never did and had been talking about doing since our first day there was visiting the Lowell covered bridge.  Other than walking through the bridge and reading about the history of it, there really isn’t much else to do, so the guys were not too excited about going.  But those kind of places are what make people like me, who are interested in photography, drool.  So the guys obliged and we headed over there.  I wish we had easy access to a place like this in San Diego to do photography sessions.

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As I said it had been raining off and on all day, of course right when we pulled up, the skies opened and it was POURING!  But we were there (the only ones for that matter) and we weren’t going to let some rain stop us. So we ran…all the way to the safety of the covered bridge and we were soaked!

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Once out of the downpour, we walked around and read about the history of the bridge, and looked out over the lake and watched the storm.

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Then it stopped, and the sun came out!

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Cheering for the sun!

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And we were able to have a much more leisurely walk back to the car.

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We always have so much fun visiting the “big ranch up in Oregon”!  And I love that every year we do some of the same things as well as some new things. I am looking forward to all the fun things we can do in the coming years as the boys get older!

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Around the ranch

The baby calves on the ranch were just couple months old and needed their medications and ear tags, etc…and the momma cows needed a check up as well, so we had a roundup!

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Friends and neighbors came over to help.

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Everybody had a job to do

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And this little cowboy was loving all the action

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When our other little cowboy woke up from his nap, he sat in the stroller and watched all the action while having a snack.

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Towards the end, Jake thought daddy was spending way too much time with the cows and convinced daddy to pick him up and get him closer.

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We heard a lot of MOOOOOing that day!

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Later that afternoon we got the horses out, and Dylan thought it was pretty fun.

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We ended our roundup day pretty much the same way we end every day when we are at the ranch…Playing marbles!  This is a game that has been in my family forever and I grew up playing this game all the time.  It’s fun, it’s competitive and the girls always win 🙂  After the dinner dishes are cleaned, kids bathed and in bed, the 4 of us sit at the game table and play the marble game all night long.

IMG_7220edThe next day the sun came out again and we just played/worked around the ranch.  The boys were moving tractor equipment to get it ready to cut & bale the hay, re-positioning electric fences, and Jake took over for daddy when he was taking the covers off the vents around the house.  He watched daddy do a few and then declared “I can do it ALL BY MYSELF!” and he did.  This kid likes to work his tools.

We also played…pushed toy tractors around

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Played with the giant ball

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Went for rides in the wagon

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And flew a kite

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After the kite got stuck in a really tall tree…we moved on to riding horses.

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There is always plenty to do and I love the experiences that our boys have while there.  I think I have one more post left…be back soon!

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Sunny to Rainy Days

After our very hot first day there, the next day was still warm, but much more pleasant to be outside.  So we played around the ranch.

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We sat out on the grass and played with a giant ball, and Dylan was practicing his walking skills back and forth between mom and grandma.

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We drove into town to do some shopping and for lunch at Track Town Pizza.

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We’ve always visited my parents in Oregon during the summer when it is hot, and all the grass is dead and brown.  One year we went up in the fall which was pretty since all the leaves were starting to change colors and we went to a fun pumpkin patch.  But we always hear them talk about how pretty it is during the spring when everything is blooming, the grass is green and the hay fields are thriving.  So that is why we decided to go in the springtime this year.  And obviously the reason everything is blooming and green is because there are lots of rainy days.  Being from Southern California, rainy days are so much fun!  So it made for an exciting morning when we woke up to cool temperatures and grey skies warning us of the coming thunderstorm.  After breakfast, Jake and daddy sat out on the porch watching it rain…

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They were looking for lightning and counting until the thunder hit.  The thunder was close and LOUD!

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And Jake loved it, but the dog, Jane…not so much…in fact after a particularly loud thunder which rattled the windows in the house, she bolted to the safety of her crate in the mud room.

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After the big storm passed, we had a consistent drizzle for the rest of the day, so it was a good day to visit some neighbors and friends.  First we went to Bob’s house so he could show Jake his train village he built in his basement.

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He let Jake sit in the controller’s chair and Jake loved watching the train going around and around and over the bridges and through the tunnels.

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The view of my parents ranch from Bob’s driveway

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Then we went to Vicky and Roscoe’s house to meet their miniature donkey’s

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When we got there Jake took one look at the donkey, then turned around and saw all of Roscoe’s tractors and farm equipment and said WOW!  You have a lot of cool stuff!  Clearly, he is a motorhead and has no interest in animals.  Dylan on the other hand thought they were pretty fun!

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Then the boys started exploring the tractors

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And the toys, and they have a lot of them!

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IMG_7107edThat evening the rain let up a bit so Jake was thrilled to be able to go out and do the chores.

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And of course drive his tractor around in the barn.

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These Southern California people love rainy days!

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