First and Last

(August 2017)

When school started in August, I realized that we were having a first and last experience.  It was Dylan’s first year of preschool and Jacob’s last year before starting Kindergarten.

Jacob’s teacher is very highly praised by all the other parents I’ve talked to, so I was thrilled when he ended up in her class.  And Jacob was thrilled that his two best friends from the previous year were in his class too!

Dylan was excited to be a “big boy” like Jacob and go to school.  The first two days when it came time for me to leave, he was sad, and didn’t want me to go.  Every day since then, he walks right in and doesn’t even glance back at me.  His teachers are wonderful and absolutely adore him and he is really enjoying his time learning alongside his own friends.

For the next two years, I will be doing the hustle of picking up and dropping off at two different schools and times, wish me luck!

Second Stop – Las Vegas

(July 2017)

Instead of driving straight home after our adventure to Lake Mead, we went to visit our friends in Las Vegas.  We spent the next few days exploring some of the kid friendly activities they have on the strip.  First stop was the Las Vegas sign.  You can click here to see my post about a trip we took to Las Vegas when I was pregnant with Jacob, which includes a baby bump picture with the Las Vegas sign. 

We spent that day at the Shark Reef and Aquarium at Mandalay Bay.  Lots of cool things to see there!

Which included crocodiles…

And giant fish…

And of course sharks!

Another day we explored Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden at the Mirage.  They had beautiful tigers and lions

And the dolphins were really fun to watch!

One of my favorite things to do in Las Vegas is just walk around the casinos/hotels and look at all the shops and decor.  We did that for a bit and the boys were trying to find their way to the pool party 🙂

Afterwards our friends took us to one of their favorite places to eat. It was a fun restaurant with lots of games to keep the boys entertained and the food was fantastic!

We spent our late afternoons and evenings at the pool and enjoyed our time with our friends.  It was definitely a different kind of Las Vegas experience, and we learned that Vegas can be fun with kids!

First Stop – Lake Mead

(July 2017)

Most people would typically stay away from the hot desert areas in the middle of July when the temps are over 100…but when Justin’s cousin planned a family trip to their house in Meadview at Lake Mead we packed up the car and went!  To tell you the truth, I was really kind of dreading the heat, I wasn’t sure how the boys were going to do. But I was SO excited because it had been years since I’ve done any kind of boating.  That was such a big part of my childhood and I was excited for my boys to experience it too!

With plenty of activities, books, iPad, food and games we set off on our 6 hour car ride.  And the boys did great! We even got a simultaneous nap!

The last part of our drive looked a lot like this, for miles and miles and miles. Lots of beautiful desert scenery.

When we arrived, it felt so good to get out of the car and move around. The mountains that you see off the patio from the house is the start of the Grand Canyon.

We had two full days on the Lake which we pretty much spent in the water the entire time to stay cool.

Jacob and his cousins had fun riding the tube!

In the late afternoon the water around the beach area would warm up and was no longer refreshing, so we took a boat ride farther down the lake where the water was deeper and moving and we turned off the boat and just floated around.

Dylan was a trooper and knew that the boat rides were the perfect opportunity to catch a little nap.

And while little brother was napping, big brother was busy learning how to drive the boat!

One of the things I can remember my parents saying about our times on the lake/river was how nice it was to “unplug”. There were no TV’s, phones or work distractions.  All we had was books, games and each other to talk to.  These days I feel that is more important than ever. It was so fun to spend time with family that we don’t get to see very often, we were a group of 12 adults, 2 teenagers, 4 kids and 4 dogs and I really wish that we had taken a group photo. At least we got one of our family.

After a few days at the Lake, our trip didn’t end there, I’ll be back soon with the rest.

Strawberry Picking

Strawberries have always been a big favorite of mine.  The good ones, the ones that are packed with that yummy sweet flavor.  During the season we always make a weekly trip to the closest fruit stand to buy fresh strawberries.  And I’ve been saying for years that I wanted to go to the Strawberry fields in Carlsbad and this year (since I’m playing catch up…it was really last year, June 2017) we finally went.

 

The boys each got their own bucket and we set off into the field.  I let them choose which rows to go down and gave them a few tips about which strawberries to choose (avoid the under-ripe green ones and the over-ripe mushy ones) and showed them how to twist the strawberry to break it at the stem instead of pulling them off.  They quickly got the hang of it and like everything else, it became a competition on who could find the best strawberries.

It was a beautiful day and there were very few people there.  So we just took our time and walked around.

And whenever we find a hill, it must be climbed.

At the end of our time there, the bottom of the boys shorts and all our shoes were red from them falling, sitting and walking on the mushed up strawberries on the ground. But we were happy with all the yummy strawberries we had and will absolutely go back again!

I’m Back!

So while I was working on my last few posts about our trip to Oregon last year, I started having some problems with the Admin section of this blog.  I could not upload any pictures, I kept getting error messages and everything I tried didn’t work.  It was so frustrating because I only have two hours a day, two days a week without the boys to get things done.  And for a while all that time was spent trying to figure out what was wrong and attempting to fix it with no luck.  I called an IT person I knew and he couldn’t help me.  Then we started the addition on our house and that consumed every spare moment I had, so the blog was pushed even farther back.  After the addition project settled down, I was wondering if it was even worth trying to get back into this.  I often wonder if it is a good idea, in terms of my kids safety to even share these stories online.  Even though it is only going to a small group of subscribers of family and friends, it is still out there.  I am always conscious of what I share and keep things general and try not to give out too much detailed information.  I had a conversation with Justin and asked him what he thought.  He told me he thought it was worth starting again.

And once I realized I couldn’t upload pictures to my blog, I stopped taking pictures, and I didn’t like that.  Which reminded me of a few of the reasons why I started this in the first place.  Photography has been a longtime hobby of mine, and if I don’t have somewhere to share the pictures I am taking, then what is the point of taking pictures.  Also, the pictures I am taking are telling the story of my boys childhood.  Whether or not they will be interested in this when they are older, it is something for me.  I love being able to look back over the past 5 years and remember things I forgot, or see how much they have changed and that makes me happy, and so thankful that I captured that moment in time.  I don’t know how long I will continue to do this, I know as the boys get older they are not going to want all these details of their life shared. But until then, I decided to keep it up.

So that meant several very long, frustrating phone conversations with tech people.  After no resolution with their advice, they finally gave me an option to pay an $80 fee and they would troubleshoot and fix the problem.  48 hours later, it was working again! Hallelujah!  I was skeptical and afraid that it was going to “break” again, so I quickly uploaded all the pictures I had and started writing some stories, before something could go wrong…but so far all seems well.  Since it has been almost a year (!) I obviously can’t get completely caught up.  But I do have some things I want to post about the last year, before moving on.  So a lot of the posts may be more picture heavy than story since I’m just scrambling to get up to date.  So here goes, first order of business…I FINALLY updated the header! Although these pictures are already 7 months old…at least it is not just baby pictures of Jacob and Dylan has a presence.

Be back soon with more!