Ranch Style Photos

In February we were back at the Broken Branch Ranch. And every once in a while we do a little photo shoot to try and get some cute pictures of the boys around the ranch and with Grandma and Grandpa. The main focus this time was on Dylan, mainly because a certain 3 year old is not too keen on sitting still and smiling for the camera. We also were trying to recreate something similar to our favorite “cowboy” picture of Jacob when he was 8 months old.  Since Dylan is a little older than Jacob was, it was harder to keep him still, but I think we got some good ones. There’s not a whole lot of story to tell here, just heavy on the picture side…

First we loaded up the props in the wagon.


Then while we were waiting for the guys to bring the bales of hay I started snapping away at Grandma and Dylan

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Then Dylan was ready for his close up

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When Grandma and Grandpa joined in, Dylan could not take his eyes off Grandpa.  He loves Grandpa’s deep laugh and in every single picture I took he is smiling at him.


Then we tried to get one with both boys and we ended up with more outtakes.  But they are still fun pictures to have, that show the general craziness of two boys.


This is what we get if we ask Jacob to smile or laugh for the camera (and again Dylan was focused on Grandpa laughing)

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This would have been a good one if Dylan had been smiling, but I think he was over it at this point.


Dylan was tired of sitting and being held, so we let him stand up and play on the bales of hay


and he was sampling the goods

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Then we went for a ride in the wagon

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Which led us to the horses


And that is usually where you can find this guy hard at work


I love some of the facial expressions I get, he takes his jobs seriously! I can just hear his voice in his head saying “Don’t mess with me mama, I’m busy!”

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Once his legs get a little longer he will be tearing all over the ranch in this thing, he knows exactly how to drive it, but he can’t quite reach.

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After my dad saddled up Thunder the two of them went for a a little ride

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When they were finished, Jake goes right to the bin with the horse treats to fill up his pockets with treats to give the horses.

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Mission accomplished!


Wish he was this passionate about doing chores at home!

Splish Splash

Both my boys have been big fans of bathtime.  What’s not to love about popping bubbles, playing with toys and splashing water, everywhere! And mom loves the clean bodies afterwards.  One of my favorite things about our new kitchen is our farmhouse sink.  It is so amazing for many reasons, but one is it makes the perfect baby bath!  It is just the right size and it saves my back from having to bend over the bathtub.

It is kind of hard to believe Dylan was ever this small!

(1 month old)


Jacob likes to pull his stepstool over and “help” me give him a bath.

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When Dylan found his feet he spent all his time in the bath kicking his legs, grabbing his feet and flashing that smile that melts my heart.

(5 mos old)


Then he was no longer happy laying down, so he started sitting up in the bath and discovered all the things within his reach from this new perspective.

(7 mos old)

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As much as I love using the farmhouse sink, I think those days are numbered…because now he knows how to work the level for the faucet and grabs the hose any chance he can get, which results in water getting sprayed all over the place.

(9 mos old)


And gets his hands full of bubbles and starts clapping which sends bubbles and water on the kitchen floor, window, cabinets and anything else close by.


But he thinks it is all quite fun!


And the best part of getting a bath is the nice lotion massage afterwards, fresh diaper and warm pajamas.


Good night!


Life with two kids is kind of crazy…so my passion for photography has been on the back burner for quite a while.  Yes, I am still taking pictures, obviously.  But I haven’t really been happy with the quality of them since I am just capturing the moment and really don’t have much time to adjust settings/lighting/angle/focal point/etc…to really get that professional quality photo look.  There have been so many times that I’ve looked at the pictures and said, “Eh, these didn’t come out good, I’m not going to post them.” That is the perfectionist in me.  But then I shift into mom mode and really remember what this blog is truly about.  Sharing stories of our lives and capturing those fun moments of our kids growing up, it really doesn’t matter if the quality of the photos are to my ideal liking, what matters is the memory that is being recorded.  So I’ve decided to not worry so much about it and if the pictures are not that great, oh well.  Besides to tell you the truth, alot of the pictures on here lately are taken with my iPhone.

However, occasionally, if the moment is right, I do find myself getting my camera out to practice my photography. During this particular moment I was getting Dylan ready for a nap, and of course Jake decided he was hungry at the same time.  So I made him some food and got him set up with the iPad while I put Dylan down.  After I came out of Dylan’s room I stood talking to Jake for a few minutes and I had one of those moments where I thought, Whoa where did my little baby go! I have this silly little boy living in my house now!

I also noticed how great the lighting was so I decided to get my camera out.  Nothing fancy about these pictures, just a little boy eating his lunch.


This little boy challenges me on a daily (no make that an hourly) basis.  I often tell Justin that I think he has “inherited” my hearing problems since he doesn’t listen to me.  He tests my limits and often makes me question my parenting ability.


But truly, he really is a good little boy, and is just going through his threenager phase.  I think he is pretty darn handsome and I love his independent, silly, rambunctious personality.  And this is what I get for asking him to smile with a mouth full of food!


I love you my sweet boy!

The Tree

Picking out our Christmas Tree was the easiest experience this year.  When we got to the lot, Justin took Jake in to start looking around while I got Dylan out of the car and bundled up.  On my way in I saw a neighbor and stopped to say hi and chat for a few minutes and when I turned around I saw Justin and Jake standing by our tree.  When I walked up to them, Justin said “This is it.”  I briefly looked around and agreed that he had picked out the best one. We hadn’t even been there for 10 minutes and we were done.  After paying for the tree and getting it loaded up ontop of the car, we decided to stick around for a bit and let Jacob play.


I came really close to getting a Charlie Brown tree after Jake kept carrying this one around with him.


Dylan getting his first grasp of a Christmas tree branch

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They had Santa’s sleigh there to use for photo ops, but Jake is not really cooperative in that department these days, so this is the best we got.

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Back out on the lot Jake was heading for the BIG trees


One of the men working there restocking the trees heard me calling Jake’s name (as Jake was ignoring me as usual), so when he walked by he said “Hey Jake!” that stopped him in his tracks.  Then he asked Jake if he wanted to help him with the tree he was carrying.


Of course Jake jumped at the chance to get his hands dirty!  The man talked to him the entire way to where he was setting up the tree, and thanked him with a high five when they were done.


We practically had to carry Jake out of there to keep him from running after the man to help him over and over and over again.  Maybe we should have asked if they were hiring.

I never thought our family would really get into the Elf on the Shelf. But this year, this little guy, who Jake named Red, joined our family.


After the boys went to bed, Justin and I put lights on the tree and wrapped a bunch of Christmas books and put them under the tree.  The next morning with Red perched on top of the tree, Jacob was excited to see that Red had put lights on the tree and brought books from Santa.  So now every night before bed Jacob gets to choose a book from under the tree to unwrap and read.


I put our fragile/glass/breakable ornaments at the top of the tree and bought a big box of shatterproof ornaments that we could put everywhere else.  So Jacob “helped” me decorate the tree.

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Which resulted in a low patch of the tree that was beautifully crammed with ornaments.


The next day, my mom was in town, so the two of us spread out the crammed ornaments and finished decorating the tree.

One night I sat Dylan down in front of the tree and told Jake to show him the ornaments.  Jake took his job seriously.

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Then Dylan decided to liven things up a bit and pick on his brother by pulling his shirt, over and over and over again.

IMG_4795ed IMG_4787ed IMG_4791edHe he he…good one, huh mom!


Okay now, back to the ornaments.


It’s going to be a FUN Christmas this year!

Summer fun

More catching up here…

I’ve learned that with a two year old, it is better to get out of the house for a few hours rather than try to keep him happy and entertained at home all day long (it is good for mom to get out too!)  Even though it was a really hot and humid summer, it didn’t stop us from going outside and taking advantage of all the fun things there are to do in this wonderful city we live in. So when my mom came to visit in August, we took her to some of our favorite spots.  First up was Lake Poway to feed the ducks.


Even thought it was miserably humid and we were drenched in sweat, it is so worth it to see the pure joy and excitement in Jacob’s face as he turns around and races back to us to get more bread.



Then after a quick “thank you grandma” he runs back to throw the bread into the water.

IMG_3389ed IMG_3394edOver and over and over again…

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Trains have been a big thing in our house lately and Jacob is always asking to go ride the train, more specifically Thomas the Train.  And is always on the lookout when we are driving for train tracks and train crossings.  So we made a special trip to Old Poway Park to “ride the train”.  While daddy and Jacob were buying tickets and standing in line to board the train we were playing around with this blue eyed boy.

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Then it was our turn to ride the train with Jacob, and daddy did his best to get a picture 🙂


On Saturdays they have a nice farmers market, so we wandered around and got some lemonade, sunflowers and looked at all the other goodies.


Then we walked down to the park to find some shade to drink our lemonade, “cool off” for a bit and wave to the train as it went by



you can tell by how miserable Jacob looks in that last picture that humidity was killing us so we packed up and went home to the AC and story time with grandma.

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Month Four

This month was a bit of a challenge…he was still his cute smiley self, but nighttime sleep became a bit of a battle. It was more like a series of short naps all night long.  Which was frustrating because he was sleeping so good the previous month and we got spoiled.

For naps I put Dylan down on his side or tummy to sleep and he really likes it and sleeps better.  But at night since I couldn’t keep an eye on him while I was sleeping, I was still putting him down on his back, because of my fear of SIDS.  He got used to sleeping on his side/tummy for naps and came to prefer it, at the end of this month, he started waking up  at night frustrated because he couldn’t roll over onto his tummy yet.  So I bit the bullet and started putting him to sleep on his tummy at night, and he slept great, for a little while…then he started waking up again…

He wasn’t waking up to eat or play, but because he is so strong and is now on his tummy, he really began discovering his mobility.  He was scooting, squirming and wiggling his way around his crib at night and gets himself wedged into a corner and can’t get himself out.  So I have to go in his room and readjust him and move him back to the other end of his crib which buys me a little time (and sleep) before he gets himself stuck again.  I remember this phase with Jacob and I can’t wait until he truly masters rolling around by himself so this phase will be over, and we start getting some sleep again.  Since he is so big, sometimes I think I forget that he is really just a few months old and feel like he should be acting older.  When I get frustrated about his nighttime sleep habits, I often find myself reminding myself that “he is only 4 months old!”

During his awake time he is still our happy little boy.  He is really starting to discover what his hands can do and reaches for things. He started sticking his tongue out all the time and continues to grow like a weed.  By the end of this month he grew out of his 6 month clothes and into 9 month clothes!

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He had his 4 month check up and his pediatrician was very pleased with his progress.  He weighs 18 lbs 2 oz (97th percentile), he’s 27 inches long (89th percentile) and his head circumference is 16.5 inches (52nd percentile).  Overall his pediatrician said he is indeed a big, strong, healthy boy and he is proportioned well with his height and weight.  He got his shots and didn’t flinch with the first one and then cried for about 10 seconds with the second one.


Here are this month’s weekly photos

Week 14 – so my idea of taking pictures in the morning before daddy leaves for work to get the smiley baby look backfired on me this week, he was tired and just wanted to go back to sleep (hence my previous mention of our lack of sleep).

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Week 15 – then he was back smiling with his tongue sticking out

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Week 16

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Week 17

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Month Three

Dylan really became more vocal and talkative this month.  He is a smiley, giggly baby who sucks air in when he laughs instead of out, it is so cute!  My mom said I did the same thing.


He is ferociously chewing on his fists, my fingers and anyone’s hands who happen to be nearby.  If you just reach across him to get something he will open his mouth and follow your hand hoping to get something in his mouth.  He’s like a snapping turtle!

He is continuing to grow and gain weight at lightning speed. And unlike his brother did, he really enjoys his tummy time and it amazes me how strong he is.



One day when Dylan was 11 weeks old, after a trip to the grocery store, I had him on the floor for tummy time while I was putting away the groceries and after a few minutes I looked at him and he was on his back.  So I flipped him over onto his tummy again and stood there and watched him roll over onto his back!  So I flipped him over again and this time I got my phone out to get a video of him.  So the rolling process has begun.

Here are this month’s weekly photos.

Week 9 – Justin’s parents got the boys SUPER little/big brother shirts with capes on the back.  Both boys were going through growth spurts this month so I put these shirts on hoping they could wear them a few times before growing out of them completely.  But it ended up being the first and last time they wore them since they were pretty snug, you can see Dylan’s tummy stretching out the shirt.  I can’t keep up with these boys!

Dylan 9 wks IMG_3086edWeek 10

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Week 12

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Week 13 – I started realizing that when I was taking Jake’s weekly pictures, I had daddy behind me making him laugh so he is smiley in most of his pictures.  I am solo most of the time when I have been taking Dylan’s, so he is usually just chill and it is hard to get him to smile when my face is hiding behind the camera. I decided to start taking the picture before daddy leaves in the morning so he can help me by getting Dylan to smile.  Here’s our happy boy!

Dylan 13 wks

We survived

I never got into the reality TV series Survivor, but it seemed like everyone I knew watched it when it was popular.  The show was about a group of people who were put in a remote location (like in the jungle or a deserted island) and they had to survive the elements, find shelter, food, etc…  It was a test of not only your physical strength and capabilities but a test of mental and emotional strengths as well. Through a process of elimination one person “won” the show at the end and became the ultimate “Survivor”.  I feel like that has been our life for the past few months.  Except instead of one survivor, we all survived, barely!

It is amazing how much your life can change in such a short time.  Whether or not you planned on the change or knew what was coming or had much time to prepare, sometimes it can turn your life upside down.  In the span of a six weeks, we closed escrow on a new house, started a major remodel on the house, packed up our old house, moved AND had a baby in the middle of all of it. Yes, we knew these things were going to happen. Yes, we tried to prepare as much as we could.  But it was still hard.  It was not our ideal situation to have a baby in the middle of a remodel and move, and to be living in the house during some of the remodel with a 2 year old and newborn, but that is just the way it worked out.  It was crazy, it was hard.  We had SO MUCH help from our family and friends with packing, moving, taking care of the kids (and us) and the remodel and our amazing church family provided meals for us for several weeks, we couldn’t have survived without them all and we are SO thankful for their help.

We are still not done, and won’t be for a while, but at least the major stuff is done and we are living comfortably in our new home.  We’ve finally had a chance to slow down a bit and breathe…and settle into our new normal.  Looking back over the last couple of months, I am amazed at what we did and survived.  It was not easy, it was hard, physically…mentally… and emotionally…but we survived and we have an amazing new house and another precious little boy who joined our family. It was all worth it.

Obviously, this blog was pushed off the radar during the craziness.  I have lots to share and have been trying to remember to take pictures along the way.  I am really trying to make time to sit down and write about all of this because as hard as it all was, it was pretty awesome too and I want to remember it.  So I will be back, soon, I hope 🙂

2nd Baby Belly

I absolutely loved the pictures from our maternity session when I was pregnant with Jacob and his newborn session that we called the same photographer to do it again this time around. There were a couple of places we were considering and we decided on Leo Carillo Ranch in Carlsbad.  They have lots of great old buildings, rustic doors and pretty scenery.

I don’t have a whole lot of story to tell here, just pictures to share…To start it off, at our first maternity session we did this same pose holding a blue elephant that we used as part of Jacob’s weekly photos.  We recreated the same scene only replacing the blue elephant with Jacob.

8FriscoBelly_004-2evAnd baby number 2 gets a brown wooly mammoth.


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And this session was a bit more challenging than last time since we were trying to work with a 2 year old.  My mom came along to stand behind the photographer to try and direct Jacob’s attention, our photographer turned around and snapped a picture of my mom and Justin jumping around behind the scenes.


Being mom and the fact that photography is my hobby, I am always behind the camera, which means I don’t have any pictures of Jacob and I together.  So we made that happen this day.

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Thank you Terri for taking such wonderful pictures of our family!

A day in the life (part 3)

With the upcoming arrival of little baby brother, I thought I would do another installment of a day in the life of Jacob before he has to start sharing the spotlight on this blog.  I did the first one when he was 4 months old, and then again when he was almost 15 months old.  It is so fun to go back and look at these pictures and see how much he has grown in these past two years!

After the first of the year Jacob started two new things, preschool and soccer.  He is only going to preschool two mornings a week but he loves it.  I remember leading up to his first day how I had such mixed emotions.  I was excited at the prospect of having 4 hours two days a week to myself!  Who knew I could be so excited about going grocery shopping alone!  And being able to sit at my computer and actually get work done without Jacob trying to “help” me reply to an email or order something from Amazon.  But I was also feeling very sad, as much as I love the idea of a little break, I was also worried about missing my little guy.  For two years we have spent all day, every day together and I was a little sad about dropping him off somewhere.  Not to mention the fear of will he be okay, are his teachers responsible, how will he handle not having one on one attention, etc…But I also knew it would be so good for him to have the interaction with other kids, it gives him a chance to learn things that I may not be doing with him at home, and practice listening and following direction (especially since he doesn’t seem to be doing that with me these days…).

When I drop him off in the morning he doesn’t like it when I leave, but his teachers tell me that about a minute after I am gone, he is fine.  They have playtime outside on the playground, they have circle time where they sit on the rug and read stories, sing songs, talk about the weather, the calendar and every month is focused on a color and shape.  It is a Christian school so there is a bible lesson every week and a theme for the month.  They wash their hands and pray before snack time and lunch.  He loves his teacher and she loves him and the fact that she is learning sign language from him to add to what she already knows.  So far it has been a great experience and we already have quite the collection of all his artwork!

Soccer has been so much fun!  We actually just finished our last class last week.  It is a Mommy and Me class and it is getting a little hard for me to participate physically with my big belly in the way, so after little brother arrives and gets settled in a bit we will be starting this up again.  Soccer has been another great way for Jacob to interact with other kids and listen and follow direction (he is so good at it with everyone else, how can I get him to do this at home!! I know all you seasoned moms are laughing at me…) There were a couple occasions when daddy was able to join us so I let him participate and I brought my camera to take some pictures.  These classes are not just soccer, they are full of lots of active activities.  They practice dribbling the ball down the field and into the goal posts.

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They learn how to sit on the ball and wait their turn.

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They build towers with cones and kick the ball at them to knock them over.

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They have streamers and sing songs that have moves for the kids to jump around and dance to.

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They have a variety of sporting equipment to practice with (hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, tennis rackets, etc…)

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There are fun games with the parachute and then they practice picking up.


Each class ends with stickers and hugs for everyone from the coach.  We can’t wait to start this up again Jacob loves it!

We still frequent the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park and the Birch Aqarium.  Jacob loves his animals and making the sounds they do.  He is really into letters and numbers right now and every time we go shopping he likes to state the number of the aisle as we go up and down.  He points to letters in the alphabet and says them.  Anytime he sees an X he thinks it is the train crossing symbol and starts saying Choo-choo and signing train.

Nap time has become kind of a struggle these days…Jacob is still an amazing sleeper during the night no matter what kind of day he had or how he is feeling.  But naps have become hit and miss for the past two months.  He will go several days (weeks) without taking a nap, then all of a sudden go back to napping for a few days, then back to not napping.  It has made for some long and tiring days for this momma, and the days that he does nap is quite the cause for celebration around here!

Jacob’s days of being an only child and the in the center of attention are numbered.  I am really trying to treasure this time with him and I am so thankful that I was able to be home with him these last two years.  I know his little brother will bring a whole nother level of love, joy, exhaustion and activity into our lives and we can’t wait!