This is THREE!

(May 2018)

Dylan’s birthday celebrations pretty much lasted a week!  The weekend before his birthday on Cinco De Mayo, we had a birthday party.  Dylan loves to jump and play in bounce houses, so we knew we had to get one for his party.  The best part is they deliver it early in the day, so we have it for the boys to play in for a few hours before the party even starts.

This is my kid who really has an interest in Superheros.  His favorite by far is Hulk, then Batman, then Spiderman. So Superheros was the theme of the party and we all wore our Superhero shirts.

His cake had Hulk smashing through a brick wall on top

Now when you ask him how old he is, he holds up 3 fingers and says “I’m this number.”  You have to ask him what that number is, then he will say “Three!”

We also had a Batman pinata, which is always a hit with the kids.

And Nonie supplied the Spiderman balloon

Another favorite is always the cake!

And after cake, we opened the gate out to the golf course to let the kids run free. And while the kids were playing and burning off their sugar high, the moms settled down at the edge of the sandtrap to chat.

And we stayed there until it got dark.  It was a really fun day for the kids and parents too!

That week at school, Dylan’s class had a dance party to celebrate his birthday and he got a birthday crown from his teachers.  The morning of his birthday, he put on his crown and asked for waffles for breakfast.

Later that morning we met some friends at the park to ride bikes and play.  When Dylan started telling me “my body is growling” that led to lunch at one of Dylan’s favorite places In-N-Out!

The following week, he had his 3 year old check up.  He passed his vision and hearing tests.  He is growing like a weed and is now 3 feet 4 inches tall, and weighs 34 lbs 10 oz. And here is his 3 year old picture with the giraffe and woolly mammoth.

Time needs to slow down…

This is FIVE!

(January 2018)

The night before his birthday Jacob kept reminding me all night long that we needed to decorate his door for his birthday.  I kept telling him that if he helped me do it, it wouldn’t be a surprise, which is what it is supposed to be.  But this kid doesn’t forget anything, he remembers that we decorated his door last year and wants to be sure it will happen again this year.  After we finally got the boys to sleep, we decorated his door.  And he was a happy boy when he woke up.

For breakfast that morning, he requested waffles with a scoop of ice cream ontop.

And this year Jacob decided he wanted to go to Legoland for his birthday.  So on his actual birthday we just had a small pizza and cake party with some of his close friends.

We had planned to go to Legoland the following Tuesday, and a few days prior when we were preparing to go, we looked at their website to find out some information and realized that during the “off season” they are closed on Tuesdays. So then we pushed it to a couple days later, and when that day came, it was pouring down rain…so we planed to go the following week and due to some construction commitments and sickness, we had to postpone it again. The following week, we FINALLY made it to Legoland!

He’s so excited to be 5 years old!

We had so much fun riding the rides (Dylan had his first official roller coaster experience on the Coastersaurus!)

And it doesn’t seem like Jacob is enjoying this roller coaster in the picture, but he really loved it so much he went on it 3 times in a row!

All the LEGO creations were pretty amazing too!

And before we left, we had to get one more group picture so the boys could show off their swords.

Legoland was a blast!  Especially for my 5 year old LEGO master.

And here is his yearly picture with his elephant and giraffe.

The Mantle

I know I keep saying I’m going to blog about all the renovations/projects we did, are doing and will be doing on our house…and I really want to, someday.  But in the meantime, I am going to talk about our fireplace mantle.

When we bought our house the fireplace was a boring beige brick.

When we did our initial renovation of the main house we covered up the brick with plaster to create a blank canvas and left it until things settled down a bit after our move to finish up.

A year went by and we had the time and figured out what we wanted to do with our fireplace. We made a trip to Whitewater Rock Supply with my dad and picked out some stone for the hearth.

Then with the help of friends and the boys, we installed the stone to cover the fireplace. And that is how it looked for another year.

I had asked for a mantle by Christmas 2016 to hang our stockings on.  After looking around, we found a really cool reclaimed wood place that had what we wanted.  But yikes!! It was really pricey.  So we did some research online to come up with some other ideas to explore, etc…Needless to say, I didn’t get it by Christmas 2016.  But I did hang our stockings up with tape.

One day Justin said, what if we made one from one of the logs on your parents property.  That way we could kind of customize it and it would make a good story to tell!  I was on board with that idea, but didn’t think it would actually happen.  One day while we were on our trip to Oregon in June 2017, my dad got on his tractor and Justin grabbed the chainsaw and recruited me, my mom and the boys.  We all walked up the hill behind the barn and picked out a section of one of the giant trees that fell down a few years ago.

Justin cut the log and my dad carried it back down the hill with the tractor.

The following day, Justin spent the entire day shaping the log with the chainsaw and smoothing it out with the planer and now we had this really cool mantle!

The boys approve!

I love that they have a wishbone in this picture, since this mantle was a big wish of mine, I doubt it was what they were wishing for though…

Then we had to leave it at the ranch until my parents drove back down to California in the fall. But that was fine with me, because fall comes before Christmas, which means I got it up in time for Christmas 2017.

And it is the best Christmas present I’ve ever received and totally worth the wait!

Christmas 2017

(December 2017)

Since Christmas Eve was on a Sunday, our church held services in the morning as well as the evening.  We had family coming that afternoon for Christmas Eve, so it worked out perfect for us to go to the morning service.

Afterwards our family came together and we had our German feast, exchanged presents and enjoyed our time together.  This was the only time I did bring out my camera to take some family pictures.

So blessed to have such a great family!

And on Christmas morning, the boys were completely spoiled with so many presents.  But I think the winner was the firefighter costumes.

And that is a wrap on Christmas, until next year!

 

Christmas Prep

Bear with me!  I am still playing catch up!

(December 2017)

Along with the general craziness/busyness that comes with Christmas, we were also in the middle of construction on our addition.  So I didn’t take any pictures, except for a some candids with my phone.  There are lots of things I love about the Christmas season, and one of those is all the baking and preparing food. The most important thing is getting Oma’s sweet rolls made for Christmas morning!

If you look between mine and my moms shoulders, you can see the wood studs from the framing that was going on for our addition and the old green tablecloth that we hung as a “privacy barrier”

I love carrying on these special traditions!

After we got the sweet rolls checked off the list, it was time to move onto cookies!  I often wish these photos had ongoing audio to hear what the boys are saying.  This year my favorites were, “Why are you so bossy!” and “Hey! This looks like dog poop!” (I wish I had the eye roll emoji for this.  Boys…)

This one took the decorating very seriously this year. He sat at the counter all day long working on cookies.

Success!  I’ll let you guess who decorated which cookie 🙂

And it also wouldn’t be Christmas without Christmas Pageants and visits to Santa.  Jacob’s school put on wonderful show and his class played the part of the Innkeepers.

And if you remember last year when we had out impromptu visit with Santa at the mall, Dylan was not a fan…This year I took them back to see what Dylan’s reaction would be.

There were no tears, just a bit of hesitancy and he wouldn’t take his eyes off of him as if he was trying to figure him out.

Of course Jacob was thrilled to see him and kept chatting away.  This was really a great Santa and he gave the boys big hugs when we were leaving.

Our final Santa encounter was when we went to the December nights at the Rancho Bernardo Inn.

Jacob (my little smart cookie) is starting to ask why Santa is in so many different places and why he looks different from the other Santa we saw…so we’ve been giving him the explanation that Santa can’t be everywhere at once, so he has his helpers, etc… I have a feeling he is going to figure this all out soon.  But when he does, that is OK, we will continue to focus on the true spirit of Christmas.

Family Photos

(November 2017)

If you know me, you know I love documenting events/milestones and telling stories with pictures.  That is basically what this blog is about…And as mom, I am always the one behind the camera and have very few pictures of me with the kids.  And we haven’t had a photographer do family pictures of us since Dylan’s newborn session.  So through a friend, I found a photographer that I wanted to try and get some pictures for our Christmas card.  And I really liked her! She has boys of her own, and she was great with our boys.  She was very relaxed and let them run and play and she would guide them to a spot and let them investigate and do their own thing and she was always ready with the camera to capture the right moment.  I love the simplicity and natural style of these, they don’t seem forced, or posed.  There were SO many of them, so I am only sharing my favorites here.

I think I need to give her a call and book our session for this years card!

Pumpkins and Superheros

(October 2017)

I have a thing for pumpkins. Over the years I’ve created a little collection of pumpkins that I love to put out in the fall.  And when that time of year comes around, I have to stop myself from buying any more.  If we are out and about and I see a decorative pumpkins, I get the look from Justin that says “Nope. We have plenty”  So I’ve learned to get my pumpkin fix when we do our pumpkin carving session.  And I love the tradition of the boys wearing some old costumes from their collection.  This year Ironman and Spiderman joined us.

Spidey waiting patiently for his brother

When he finally came to the table, he immediately took charge and told Dylan everything we were going to do and how it was going to happen.

And he didn’t waste any time getting started

This little spidey has the smirk expression down to a T.

And this one who usually avoids looking into my camera is really starting to come around.

Then it came time to clean out the insides

And every year Jacob seems surprised that the insides of the pumpkins are still slimy and squishy.

This guy opted to stick with a spoon instead of using his hands

When it came time to draw the face, Jacob took this job very seriously

After watching his brother, Dylan wanted his own turn.

And he was happy with his work

Moving on to the next pumpkin

Ugh, seriously?! It’s still slimy!

We ended up with two scary faces for the boys, a Steelers pumpkin for daddy and a camera pumpkin for mommy.

These superheros were very happy with all our hard work!

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.

Cowboys and Horses

It has kind of become a tradition once a year with my parents that we do a little photo shoot. It is definitely challenging with the kiddos who don’t sit still, let alone try to get them to look at the camera and smile, AND at the same time.  But we lucked out this year and got some good ones, thanks to daddy entertaining the boys while standing behind the camera.

And yes, food is another bribery technique.  However, it doesn’t always mean that the food won’t show up in the picture.  In this case we give you Grandma, Grandpa, Jane, Jacob, Dylan and a lovely pretzel in Dylan’s hand. But look at those smiles!

More pretzels…

And it wouldn’t be a cowboy photo shoot without a horse

It is going to be fun to put all these pictures side by side as the years go on.  We actually did not do much riding around with the horses this year, so on our last full day we saddled them up and rode around the arena. 

And Dylan grew into the vest and chaps that my parents got in Texas when Jacob was two years old.

Then it was time to go home.  We had a longish layover in Portland, so we made the best of it.

We did a lot of walking around, and riding the moving walkways back and forth.  And there’s a history behind the carpet at the Portland Airport, and I know lots of people who take pictures of their feet/shoes on the carpet to post on social media… Instead, I give you my overtired two year old rolling around on the carpet while waiting to board our plane.

Then, God heard my prayers again and Dylan slept the entire flight from Portland to San Diego!

That is a wrap on our 2017 Oregon vacation. It was such a fun trip and I can’t wait for next year!

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Celebrations

We had quite a few occasions to celebrate while we were in Oregon.  The first one was grandpa’s birthday! We started off the morning going out to breakfast with my parents friends.  Then we went to their house to pet their miniature donkeys,

and play on their tractors,

and ride their new toys!

That evening, we sang Happy Birthday and enjoyed some Apple Pie for dessert!

The second part of our trip the weather was much more summer like.  It was warm and sunny, so the jackets got left inside and we enjoyed some sunshine. There was T-ball practice with grandma,

playing in the hay barn

Climbing more fences to say HI to the horses

One of Jacob’s favorite movies is Cars.  So when Cars 3 came out in the theaters, we thought it would be a good first movie theater experience for the boys.  Jake loved having daddy and grandpa watch the movie with him!

Dylan watched most of it, but then started getting restless and just like the airplane, I had to walk up and down the stairs with him a few times and he crawled over our laps for a while.  But he really liked his popcorn!

And three days after grandpa’s birthday, we celebrated daddy’s birthday AND Father’s Day!

Since the sun had come out, the hay fields were finally dry, so the last few days we were there grandpa and daddy were out on the tractors cutting and raking the hay fields. The boys would watch and wait for them to come by and wave.

One day, my dad and Justin had planned to be out in the hay fields all day, and it was going to be a warm day, so my mom and I decided to take the boys and escape to the coast where it was cooler.  We packed lunch and grabbed our sweaters and headed out to Florence. It’s a couple of hours away, so Dylan took a nap, while Jake chatted the whole time, asking about everything he saw as we drove by.

When we arrived, we found a little park to stop and eat lunch and climb trees.

Then we drove just north of town to the Sea Lion caves.  It was cool and windy.

We walked down to the observation deck where we could see them lounging on the rocks.

Then we took the elevator down into the caves (or as Jacob was calling it, Batman’s cave).

When we came back up, the sun came out, but it was still so windy so our pictures came out like this. But the scenery was gorgeous!

We drove along the coast on our way back to the main part of town and admired the beautiful sand dune coastline.

Back in town we walked around the shops, and ate at Moe’s.

On the drive home, it was Jacob who took a nap, while Dylan kept busy taking off his shoes, talking and eating pretzels.

Another day we made a trip out to Lone Pine Farms to feed the goats.

When we finished we went inside to get some produce and ice cream.  Of course, my sweet tooth kid is all about the ice cream, where Dylan preferred a banana. We will see how long that lasts…

Then it was off to the playground for a while before heading back to the ranch to help grandpa with the evening chores.

The boys climbed trees and logs and hunted for ladybugs, we made forts with barrels and tarps, we visited with some neighbors.  Justin even got to play golf one day.  Every time we come, we stay longer and do more, but it never seems like enough time.

I have one more post about our trip, be back soon.

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