The Tunnel

When I was little my dad built a really cool fort in our backyard.  I was pretty young and I know my brother got a lot of use out of it with his friends, but I do remember playing in it as well.  One thing I really remember about it was the hole in the floor that we used to lower a bucket so we could bring up supplies, it was high up so we had a ladder to climb to get up to the top.  It was truly a legitimate fort with a solid construction job done by the best!  Here we are with our dog Rusty, probably around 1984?

Hanging out in our tree house

A few years later we moved into a new house and we had a pool table in our great room.  My best friend, Stacey, and I used to drape sheets over the side of the pool table and voila we created our very own fort!  There were little shelves in the corners underneath the pool table and we would put the necessities like our PJ’s, flashlights and books or games.  We had pillows and blankets and we would sleep in our fort at night and play games and read books during the day.  Underneath the bottom of the table was a slab of some sort of stone that made a fantastic chalk board.  So we kept a carton of colored chalk on one of the shelves as well and we drew pictures, wrote our names in fun artistic ways, played tick tack toe and hangman and graffitied (is that a word??)  to our hearts content.

When Jacob really got the hang of crawling, he began to get more adventurous.  We used to put our oversized pillows to block the places we didn’t want him to crawl to, until he figured out that he could shift to 4×4 mode and crawl right over them.  If anything was in his path, no problem, he just crawled right over/under it, actually, he loves to crawl out of his way so he can go over/under something.  If I am sitting on the ground, he will crawl over my legs and then turn around and do it again, and again, and again.  He tries to squeeze his way through tight places to get somewhere.  I started arranging things in a sort of obstacle course for him and he loved it.  A couple months ago, I was on Amazon browsing for something new to buy Jacob that would make his crawling adventures more fun and I came across the tunnels.  Thanks to Amazon Prime I had it at my front door in 2 days and immediately opened it.  The first few days Jacob just looked at it.  He was trying to figure out what this big thing was.  He would be at one end looking through the tunnel and I would be at the other end encouraging him to come through.

IMG_4494edAnd he would crawl around it…then he would crawl up to the opening and move it back and forth with his hand, but he wouldn’t go in.

IMG_4488edAfter about 2 days, I found myself crawling through it to show him how it is done (sorry, no pictures of that!).  Then I put one of his toy balls that he loves halfway through the tunnel and that did the trick.

IMG_4498edThe nice thing about this one is the middle of the tunnel has mesh lining so it seems very open while inside the tunnel.  Sometimes Jacob stops halfway through to check out the sky view. When he came through the first time, he stopped, turned around and thought about what he did and then went right back in, no toy necessary.

IMG_4508edSince then it is nonstop back and forth, back and forth, in and out of the tunnel.  Even Apollo enjoys the tunneling game!

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I’m sure when he gets older the tunnel will make a great addition to the forts he will build along with the couch pillows, tables and draped blankets.  For now it is a great exercise/obstacle course/playtime game.

IMG_4510edIMG_4514edAnd this closeup picture tells me that I need to do a better job of wiping his face after meals!  If only I can get him to sit still and stop pushing my hands away when I try…

Santa

Now that I got my November pictures up…and Christmas is next week (yikes!!) I guess I better get some Christmas spirit up on this blog.

The first week of December the wonderful shopping center by our house that did the Halloween Extravaganza, had a Holiday Celebration with Santa. This being Jacob’s first Christmas, there was no way we were missing this.  After dinner we got all bundled up and went to check it out.  It was quite the production!  There were so many people, and kids (and dogs) everywhere.  They were giving out hot chocolate, there were Christmas carolers on the stage singing away.  The Marine Corps were there collecting toys for the Toys for Tots foundation.  There was a laser light show and of course a huge Christmas tree.

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The main attraction of the night was Santa Claus, we got there about 10 minutes before the event started and there was already a line forming to see Santa. When I saw the amount of people there we didn’t waste another minute and got right in line.  Santa was escorted to the event by the fire department and arrived in big red firetruck with its lights flashing.  Once he made his way to his chair the line moved pretty quickly.  Jacob was so distracted by the lights and people and cameras I don’t think he even realized where he was.

IMG_4730edThen he started looking around and finally looked up at Santa

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He just took him in studying his face trying to figure out who the heck he was and why there was all this hoopla surrounding him.

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Then we were quickly ushered on so the next kid in line could have his turn.  This year, I’d say Santa was a success…we’ll see what happens next year!

Thankful

We have a lot to be thankful for, our family, friends, health, home, job and so much more… Of course this year, I kept thinking about how thankful we are to have this happy, healthy and pretty stinkin’ cute little guy.

IMG_4571bwEvery year we spend Thanksgiving at Justin’s parents house.  The day before Thanksgiving we had a quiet evening entertaining Jacob (or rather he was entertaining us!)

IMG_4565bwHe loved having new territory to cover and different things to get into

IMG_4548edIMG_4552edIMG_4554edAnd of course his GiGi is always game to play with him

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And sing him songs

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After a good nights sleep, Jacob was ready to celebrate Thanksgiving

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He was busy getting everyone’s drinks ready for them

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We attempted to get a family photo for a Christmas card, but clearly Jacob was not into it, he was ready for his nap!

IMG_4628edApollo can always be found in the kitchen while you are cooking, looking for things that are accidentally (or purposely) dropped on the floor. It is like a game to him, to see how quickly he can snatch up the food, sometimes he gets it before it even hits the ground. So on these holiday occasions, it is like the Superbowl in Apollo’s book, especially when it comes to Papa J’s cooking! Turkey anyone??

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And it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without an attempt to get a picture of all the dogs

IMG_4641edCompared to years in the past, we had a small gathering this year.  I enjoy the more intimate gatherings since it gives you a chance to really talk with everyone.  However, there were so many people that we missed getting to see.  Regardless, we had a good time and Jacob enjoyed his first Thanksgiving!

IMG_4633edIMG_4670ed IMG_4675ed IMG_4678edMy babies!

IMG_4683edHope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Fulfilled promise

My mom is still very close with her best friend growing up.  I have lots of fun memories when I was young of all the time our families spent together over the years.  The youngest of Lynn’s 4 children got married at the beginning of November so we drove to Bakersfield for the happy occasion.  Papa J and Nonnie came with us and had a great time babysitting Jacob at the hotel, while we went to the wedding with my parents, so it was a bit of a date night for us.

WeddingED

It was an absolutely beautiful wedding!  You can see pictures of it here and here.  The next day we all went to Lynn’s house for brunch and visited for a while, afterwards, we got back on the road again and drove to Paso Robles.  It had been three years since we were last in Paso Robles celebrating my 30th birthday and I’ve been wanting to go back. There was a time when Jacob was not taking the bottle…I was getting frustrated and discouraged, and to keep me motivated to continue to work with Jacob to take a bottle, Justin made a promise that we would go back to Paso and go wine tasting once he did. So this trip was a bit of a late celebration for us!  We visited our favorite places and discovered some new ones as well.  Jacob was a good sport and enjoyed crawling all over the tasting room floors.

IMG_3672edJustin decided that Jacob needed a little facial hair to match his daddy.

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IMG_3698edJacob was napping while we were tasting at J. Dusi, when he woke up we went outside to take in the pretty scenery and play around before heading off to the next winery.

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This little cart reminded us of all the ones we saw during our trip to Tuscany.

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There was a giant oak tree which made for a fun backdrop

IMG_3791ed IMG_3799edAfter a couple of days, my parents left to go home to get started on their kitchen remodel and we stayed one more day.  We choose a road on the map that we have never been down before and stopped to visit the wineries in the area.  Not only does Paso Robles have some fantastic wines but the country is beautiful!  It is a must to visit a place up on a hill to take in the view.

IMG_3809edA beautiful wedding, fantastic wine and fun times with family made for a wonderful trip and  a fulfilled promise

Change

I remember a conversation with some friends over dinner a few years back where we were talking about some of the biggest stresses on a marriage.  Big changes in your life that can affect your relationship, such as finances, jobs, moving and kids.  We talked about how those things are a part of everyone’s life, but it is how you handle those changes and the importance of working together as a team with your spouse to transition through these changes that makes all the difference in the world.

This has been a big year of changes for us.  We started the year with a bang with the arrival of Jacob in our family.  Once we got settled into that new normal, I went back to work, working from home and going into the office one day a week.  We then got adjusted to that new routine.  A couple of months ago we made the decision that I was not going to work at all and be a full time stay at home mom.  It is something that we ultimately knew was going to happen sometime anyway, but a part of me didn’t want to let go of that part of my identity (and the extra income was a bonus too).  I always said when we had kids I wanted to be at home with them, but it was hard for me to let go of my job.  I was a little surprised at how difficult it was to make this decision and how emotional it was.

I left my office the same month I was hired 10 years ago…As I look back on those 10 years there are so.many.memories.  I learned so much about the research industry and business in general. I grew as a person in my personal and professional life.  My doctors do wonders in the field of Allergy and Asthma and in our community as well.  They work so hard to teach other physicians, patients and the staff working for them.  My co-workers are wonderful people and have become like an extended family.  Granted it was not always easy and there were some bumps and frustrations along the way, but that is a part of life and you will encounter those things anywhere you go. The good memories far outweigh the frustrating ones.  I love the silliness that comes with dressing up for Halloween, themed parties or simply just to dress up period (my office LOVES costumes!), I love how a requirement for all our holiday parties (or any office party for that matter) is a dance floor and good music.  I love how everyone is there to celebrate the good times in life like birthdays, weddings, babies, and that they are always there with a hug and words of encouragement during the hard times.

When I was hired I never thought I would be there for 10 years, but when I look back at the memories I know exactly why I was, and man those years flew by!  As hard as it was to leave both my office and my identity in the working world, I am so thankful that I am able to be at home with our little man and I am excited to for this journey in life as a full time momma!  We worked SO hard for this family and I am going to soak it all up.  I am also thankful that I have a husband who is supportive and that we can work together as a team through these changes.

And because I can’t do a post without a photo…Here’s Jake taking a bath in grandma’s big bathtub at the cabin.  He still LOVES his bath time 🙂

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Time

There are a lot of things that I’ve learned or noticed in a different way during this parenting gig.  One thing that really gets me is how f.a.s.t. time flies by! It has been a month since I’ve posted anything here, and on one hand I completely understand why, we’ve been out of town so much this month and pretty busy.  My life has been a constant cycle of packing, unpacking, laundry and repacking. But it has all been fun and it is all good stuff.  On the other hand, I can’t believe it has really been a whole month!  And to think that Jacob turns 11 months old in two days is downright crazy!

We went to a birthday party last weekend for the daughter of some friends who turned one.  Her mom and I were talking and she said everyone keeps referring to her little girl now as a toddler, and yes, she is walking/toddling around, but mom is having a hard time emotionally getting through the transition of her little girl being anything other than a baby.  She is in denial.  And honestly, I feel like I am too.  In another month Jacob is going to be 1 year old.  And I know this month is going to go by just as fast, if not faster, than last month.

While I am excited for Jacob to grow up and I am looking forward to other milestones and fun things we can do as he gets older, I find myself thinking back and missing those baby moments that we’ve been through.  When he slept all the time and I could stare at him for hours.  I miss him snuggling with me, now he just wants to be put down so he can get moving. All the hours I spent on the floor with him during tummy time encouraging him to lift his head, roll over, sit up on his own.  And so many other things that seems like we were just doing them yesterday, but they were several months ago now. And at the rate time is going I feel like tomorrow I will be saying it was years ago when we were doing those things.  So before Jacob turns 11 months old, lets reflect back on his 10th month 🙂

43 weeks

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47 wks - 4720edWe started the month off at a wedding in Bakersfield and then spent a few days in Paso Robles wine tasting, I have pictures and stories to tell on that trip and will save them for another post. Then we went to my parents cabin and Justin helped my dad with their remodeling project while my mom, Jacob and I drove in to visit my grandma.  Then two days later we went to Justin’s parents house for Thanksgiving then the day after we got back we drove to Orange County for the birthday party I mentioned earlier.  Oh and Justin got sick the day before we left for Thanksgiving and I got sick the day after we got back, and Jacob has been battling a strange case of hives for a week now.  Two days before Thanksgiving he started randomly getting red splotches/hives on different places on his body and they didn’t last long, just a few minutes even, and they move to other areas of the body.  And it is not at any specific time, they come and go all day long…We haven’t tried any new foods recently, lotions, soaps, laundry detergent, etc…and it is making me crazy trying to figure out what it is.  It doesn’t seem to bother him, he’s not itching, fussy, he doesn’t have a fever, there is no swelling, he is sleeping great and is breathing fine.  The day between getting home from Thanksgiving and going to the birthday party we spent at the doctors office and the Nurse Practitioner on call checked him out and said other than the hives everything looks good and he is healthy.  She said that it could be some sort of virus that his body is reacting differently to and she basically said that hives are so common in young children and sometimes it is a phase and it will go away, just give it some time.  I am a little skeptical, especially since he has a family history of allergies on both sides…but I am giving it a couple more days before I get a second opinion.

Other than that…Jacob is doing wonderful!  He was a champ during all our travels and we’ve had a really fun month.  It is amazing to see his personality change as he grows.  My mellow, easy going little boy has developed a strong opinion about things and is not afraid to let me know his opinion.  If this child takes after me I know I’m in trouble 🙂  He is Mr Busybody, crawling all over the place getting into everything. He makes complete strangers hearts melt with his smile in public.  He has decided that he no longer wants me to feed him, so all of his meals have to be things that he can pick up and feed himself, sometimes I can squeeze a spoonful of something in between handfuls of food.  As much as I miss those sweet tender baby moments, I also love this fun time and seeing him learn and change as he grows.

I have lots more to share so I’ll be back soon! XO