Summer Polo Games

I am still trying to get all my photos of our summer fun organized and done…And one thing we did this June and July was spend some Sunday afternoons at the polo field.  You have the option of paying for a ticket in the tents which is where the VIPs hang out, or you can pay for parking and do it tailgating style along the east side of the field, which is what we preferred to do.  You literally back up your car to the edge of the field and pitch a tent for shade, set up chairs, table, blankets, toys, etc…You can bring your own food and drinks, and kick back and watch the game. The first time we went, it was just the 3 of us.

IMG_8575edOf course any parent knows that sitting on a blanket doesn’t last long with a toddler, so we spent lots of time walking around.

IMG_8590edJacob was occasionally captivated when the horses ran by

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The fun part is halfway through the game they have a divot stomp, so we took Jacob out into the field and showed him how to tun over the divots and stomp them into the ground.














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We went back with some friends a couple weeks later.

IMG_1851ed IMG_1853edThe kids had a great time playing together.

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The best part is there is so much grassy area for the kids (and dogs) to run around.  On this particular day, Jacob was keeping Justin busy by pulling down the fence every couple of minutes.


It is a fun relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon with family and friends.  Can’t wait to do it again next summer!


Last week Jake had his 18 month check up with his pediatrician (even though he is 19 months old.)  He is doing great and his pediatrician is very happy with his progress.

Since his last check up he has gained 2 pounds and now weighs 23 lbs 13 oz he also grew 2 inches and is now 33 inches tall.

A few things about Jake that he has been doing over the last few months…

The slide…He has loved the playground for a long time.  The swing has never really been a fascination for him and he only lasts for about 30 seconds before he wants down, most of the time I don’t even bother putting him in the swing.  He doesn’t like being confined where he can’t move around.  He prefers to climb all over everything, play in the sand and run around.  The slide was okay, but nothing really exciting to him, until about a month ago.  He decided that climbing to the top of the structure, sitting at the top of the slide, waiting for my “1…2…3…GO!”, sliding down and jumping up to do it again, and again, and again is his favorite thing to do all day long!  Then, one day when we arrived at the playground there were three older boys hurling their toy cars down the slide then going down after them and Jake watched them with such fascination before joining in on the fun.  Now when we go to the playground I have to remember to bring one of his cars so he can chase it down the slide.

Climbing…Jake has been climbing up on small things for a while now, but lately he is taking it to another level.  I’ve been showing him how to climb the ladders at the playgrounds so he has been putting that knowledge to work at home.  Which means he is now climbing up onto our bed, couch, rocking chair and even my dresser.  So now I am kind of back to the stage of not being able to take my eyes off him for very long. I am just praying that he doesn’t start trying to climb out of his crib anytime soon!

Stairs…Around 10 or 11 months, Jake was climbing up the stairs and we taught him how to scoot down the stairs backwards, as well as scooting down off the bed or couch, etc…Now he only wants to hold onto the railing or my hand and walk up and down the stairs the “normal” way.

Clingy…I’ve heard that around the age of two kids tend to get a bit fearful and clingy.  Jake is already there.  He is very clingy and only wants me most of the time. I am not able to leave him at the nursery at church, so I’ve been spending my Sunday mornings playing with the kids.  I know it is common with stay at home moms, and other moms keep reassuring me that this stage will pass and just give it more time.  On one hand I am getting a little tired of it because it is difficult to leave him with anyone (other than people he knows well) for any amount of time.  On the other hand, it makes me feel good knowing that he trusts me and feels safe with me and wants me with him. It tells me that I am doing something right.  And I am enjoying it because I know there will come a day when he is older and I will be wishing I could snuggle with him on the chair and read him stories and play with him.

Helping…Jake is really interested in everything I am doing.  Instead of playing with his toys he would rather participate in daily household chores with me.  So I’ve been putting him to work.  You remember how he loves to help unload the dishwasher, well, he has been watching where I put everything away for so long that he now puts some things away himself.  If I stand by the cabinet where we keep the dishes and bowls, he will bring them to me (one by one) while I put them away.  He opens the silverware drawer and puts away all the knives, forks and spoons.  Granted they are not in the correct slots, but hey, they are in the right drawer! He also opens the drawer where I keep the other cooking utensils and puts them away, as well as the cabinet where the cutting boards and baking pans go. The only problem is he doesn’t understand that some dishes are dirty and need to stay in the dishwasher, if I try to put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher he starts putting them away.  So I have to wait to load the dirty dishes when he is asleep.  When we go shopping for groceries, he turns around and grabs things out of the cart and hands them to the checker at Trader Joe’s, or puts them on the conveyor belt at any other store.  When we get home he loves to unload everything out of the bags and will often be taking things off the shelves of the fridge or pantry while I am trying to put things away.  Anytime we drive anywhere, he pushes the button to open/close the garage door, he reaches for the handle to open the car door and helps push it close.  He likes to push the button to start the coffee in the morning and he watches me fill up the blender when making smoothies and likes to push the buttons on the blender too, and the microwave.  He will also put his fork in the sink after he eats and I’ve been working on teaching him to put his toys away. Good thing he doesn’t know what an allowance is yet!

Screaming…Jake has been experimenting with exactly how loudly he can scream.  Most of the time he is not necessarily upset about anything he is just making noise and testing his volume control.  It started out when he was upset with something and he was following me around screaming trying to get a reaction out of me and then he realized that screaming wasn’t getting him anything, so he started doing it just for fun because he could.  And if we are upstairs in one of the bedrooms he will run to the mirror to watch himself as he is screaming.  It is kind of cute!

Teeth…He has been a teething machine!  In the last four months 7 of his teeth came in including all four of his first year molars.  Thankfully, his teething has not disrupted his night time sleep (he is still our champion sleeper!), but it will disrupt his nap time every once in a while which has made for some long days.

Signing…Jake has been a sponge and is soaking up sign language like crazy! I recently started writing down the words he signs and right now he knows at least 45 words, I am sure there are more that I forgot.  That doesn’t include the words that he understands if I sign to him.  Often when I sign something to him that he doesn’t know, he will grab my hands and and want me to show him how to manipulate his hands to do the sign.  It is SO cool to see the wheels turning in his brain and it is confirmation to me that he is understanding the things I am telling him or reading to him.

And even though he was 19 months at his check up, I’ve been saving this picture that I took when he was 18 months to mark his year and a half, for this post.

IMG_9154edThe weekly thing was totally doable for the first year, even though it started getting tricky the last few months. But omigosh!  This was pretty impossible to do, not to mention Justin was not home to help distract him. Most of them turned out like this…

IMG_9150ed IMG_9133edHe was having so much fun playing with his two pals

IMG_9131ed IMG_9136ed IMG_9143edSo the elephant and the giraffe will be showing their faces every 6 months now, you’ll see them again when he’s 2.



Being a stay at home mom means I am always trying to find new things to do with Jake.  We are lucky to live where we can be outside 95% of the time so the beach, zoo, parks and the pool are easy favorites.  But we are always interested in doing something different.  A while ago a friend of mine sent out an email with a fun idea of doing a ladybug release with the kids.  So a group of us met at a park and let the kiddos run around for a while

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IMG_9293edand then we gathered them all together in the shade (because in the shade the ladybugs will stick around, once it gets hot in the sunlight they fly away) and opened up a carton that contained 1500 ladybugs!

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There were ladybugs everywhere!  All over our hands and arms…
















Our legs…

IMG_9320edand especially our feet.

IMG_9331ed IMG_9336edThey tickled!  And I kept feeling like I had ants crawling all over me.

IMG_9314ed And occasionally one would accidentally get squashed…

IMG_9325edIt really was a fun idea and the kids loved it!

IMG_9328ed IMG_9333edAfter the excitement of the ladybugs wore off, it was back to the playground and chasing after good old fashioned bubbles.

IMG_9350ed IMG_9356edAnybody else have any different, creative ideas of things to do with the kiddos?


4th of July “Send Off” Party

This year we celebrated the 4th of July at our friends house in Anaheim Hills.  It was not just a celebration of our nation’s independence, it was also a celebration and send off party for our friends the Henry family.  Keith, who is a fellow Palm Desert native, and SDSU buddy and his wife Kristen, another SDSU friend and their two children made the move to England.  Keith’s company provided him with a great job opportunity and they decided it was the right decision to make. I know as hard as it must be to leave close friends and family back in the states, their family is on an amazing adventure and I can’t wait to hear those little kids grow up with a British accent!

When asked if I would take some pictures at the party, I had big intentions.  I had planned to take a picture of each family that came as well as maybe attempting to get a group shot, to send off with the Henry’s so they have some good pictures of the people who love them and are missing them.  Unfortunately, Jacob was being a little clingy that day and wouldn’t let me out of his sight and anytime I tried to take some pictures he would get upset and want me to hold him.  And there were so many people and everyone was all over the place so getting individual family pictures was proving to be kind of impossible.  So…I didn’t get the great pictures I wanted to, but I did get a few.

It was a warm day so the dad’s and kids took over the pool

IMG_8672edIMG_8715ed IMG_8694ed IMG_8703edFamily and friends from different areas of their life all came together

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IMG_8685ed IMG_8707ed IMG_8719edWe will miss the Henry’s dearly, but can’t wait to hear about all their adventures in Europe!
















And Happy 4th of July!


The Wedding

After the two fun days exploring and learning more about the area of Sonoma County we came to the reason for our trip, the wedding!  The morning of the wedding we visited some of the vineyards close to the house.  The first one had some of my dad and Jacob’s favorite things, dogs and tractors. So they spent most of the time playing outside.

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Then we went to Martin Ray vineyards where they had a pretty garden area so we could do our tasting outside.

IMG_9022edThen it was time for Jake’s nap and time for us to get ready for the wedding.

IMG_1933ed IMG_9035ed IMG_9029edThe wedding was a beautiful ceremony in a church in Occidental and the reception was at the Vine Hill House which was a gorgeous venue.


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IMG_1956edThe lighting coming through the trees was so pretty and I was wishing I had my camera with me, but I think this is a pretty good shot for an iPhone!

IMG_1950edThe day after the wedding, we went on an adventure that none of us had ever done before…Zip Lining!  The Sonoma Canopy Tours zip lining adventure through the Redwoods is one of the top ten in the nation and we had so much fun!

ZipLine Group ZipLine Mom ZipLine Shelley

Afterwards we celebrated with a drink!

ZipLine Drink

That evening we went over to our friends house for a relaxing BBQ dinner.  The house they rented is on a golf course and had a huge deck where we sat around and visited and chased Jacob around,

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We had a delicious dinner!
















And then just like that, our vacation was over.  The next day we all went our separate ways to make the journey home.  It was really a nice getaway and to spend it with friends and family made it even better!

While unloading Jake’s car seat and all our luggage at the airport, Justin thought it would be easier to leave Jake strapped in so we didn’t have the chase after him while getting all our things.  Wonder what the other people thought when they saw this on the side of the street 🙂


Wine Country

July was a pretty busy, but fun, month for us.  I’ve been taking pictures along the way, but haven’t had time to go through them and post them.  Partly because Jake is now down to one nap a day so my “free time” during the day is even less, and partly because we have been so busy I am exhausted at night and working on the computer is the last thing I want to do, and to be honest… a big reason is because Justin and I are now on Season 3 of Game of Thrones and it is safe to say we are addicted and can’t wait to watch an episode (or usually two) every night after Jake goes to bed. So, little by little I will get them all done.

For now, I am going to start with our recent trip to Sonoma County.  The main purpose of the trip was to go to a wedding for a good family friend, but of course we made a vacation out of it!  So Justin, Jake and I packed up and flew to Santa Rosa to meet up with both my parents and Justin’s parents for a little vacation in the wine country.IMG_1873ed













We spent our first day at DeLoach vineyards.  One of the guys Justin works with has a friend who works there so we got a wonderful private tour and tasting.

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The grounds and gardens were beautiful!  But I think my favorite part was when we got to the barn where they keep the sheep and the chickens.
















Jake was absolutely captivated by these animals and did not want to leave

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We had already moved onto another part of the grounds and Jake was still watching those animals.
















My parents got Jake a Radio Flyer wagon, it was the perfect way to tote him (and all of our stuff) around when he was getting tired and even when he wasn’t tired he loved riding in it, eating his lunch in it, playing with his toys in it and getting out and pulling it around himself.

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It was a fun day!

IMG_8902edThat evening we drove to Bodega Bay in search of some good seafood for dinner.  First we wandered around and looked out over the bay.

IMG_8904ed IMG_8910ed IMG_8914ed IMG_8904BodegaBayThen after a few stops and some driving around we finally found a place to eat.  Jake doesn’t sit still for long at all these days, so Justin and I traded off and once I finished my dinner I took him outside where he kept busy organizing the oars outside the surf shop next to the restaurant.














After Jake went to bed that night, my parents went to visit with my mom’s friend (the parents of the bride) who were staying in a house just a couple of miles away from us.  So the rest of us took advantage of the game room!  Now before I share these pictures…I feel that I need to do a bit of explaining about the place we stayed at.  It was called “The Castle”.  I intended to take a picture of the house, but never did…the outside was all stone and there were little towers which made it look like a castle.  The story goes that the original owner was a big Harley Davidson biker guy who was also a big party animal.  Picture the 1970’s with 200+ Harley Davidson’s parked outside, a disco ball with a dance floor, the back yard was carpeted, the inside was all black lacquered walls and red carpet, etc…Well the current owners remodeled the place and turned it into a nice little retreat in the redwoods.  They did leave a few of the original touches, like the secret tunnel that goes from the house to another building, which was the game room.  And the game room still had some of the black and red theme as well as the original bar and jail and a burned Harley Davidson mounted on the wall.

IMG_8923edIt was wild, fun and kind of creepy at the same time! We played pool and the winners of each game had their pictures taken by the Harley with some crowns that we found in the bar.

IMG_8931ed IMG_8934ed IMG_8935edIt was definitely a place to remember!

The next day we had a wonderful day with Karen & Charlie (Joyce’s niece and her husband) and family on their vineyard.  Charlie’s family has been on their land for over 100 years!  He gave us the VIP tour of the grounds in his 1946 Jeep.

IMG_8953edIMG_8937ed IMG_8941ed IMG_8949edAfter the tour, Karen had made a delicious lunch.  We really enjoyed a relaxing afternoon at their house and Jake loved running around with their kids and checking out all the different toys they had.
















That evening Justin and I went with my parents to Starks in Santa Rosa for the “after party” after the rehearsal dinner to see our friends before the big day.  Sorry, didn’t take any pictures that night.  We got there a little early so we sat at the bar and ordered some appetizers and wine. The food was amazing and I highly recommend this place if you are ever in the area!

I think this post is getting long enough and my eyes are getting blurry, so I’ll stop here and post the rest of our trip soon. Good night!