Bates Nut Farm

A few years ago when Jacob was a baby, I went with some girlfriends and their littles to Bates Nut Farm.  In the fall they turn their farm into a pumpkin patch with pony rides, a petting zoo, tractor hay rides, a corn maze and other fun activities.  At the time Jacob was a little too young to really “enjoy” it all and every year I kept saying I wanted to go back.  This year I finally made it.  Our schedule is busy as usual, and there is only one day during the week that we don’t have any kind of scheduled thing like school, swim lessons, etc…So that day usually is filled with a playdate or doctor’s appointments, or errands that need to be taken care of.  About a month ago on that day, we had nothing planned.  And it wasn’t until about 8:00 that morning when I was trying to figure out how we were going to spend the day that I decided we were going to go to Bates Nut Farm.  I got the boys dressed, packed up some food, loaded up the car and grabbed my camera.  It is about a 30 minute drive into the mountains from our house which made for a nice leisurely drive to drink my coffee while singing along with the with kids music playing in the car.  I like to get to these places right when they open to avoid the crowds and the afternoon heat.  And this day was perfect!

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After saying HI to the farmers unloading all the pumpkins, they started searching for the perfect one.

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Dylan thought they needed some re-arranging and started moving them from one side to the other

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Then Jacob wanted to feed the goats, so all 3 of us each got a cup full of food and went to the petting zoo. Both boys loved it and laughed when the goats ate out of their hands.

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Then the lady working there offered to take our picture, and we still had food on us.  So the goats kept trying to climb into my lap along with Dylan to eat it up!

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Then we hopped on the tractor hayride for a spin around the farm.

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And Jacob talked during the entire ride, commenting on everything he saw

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And Dylan thought it was pretty fun

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Then we walked around the stores and bought a few treats.  We went over to where all the animals were and looked at chickens, pigs, llamas, turkeys and more goats before heading home for lunch.  I love those spontaneous adventures with my boys!

Birds and the Bridge

One afternoon my mom and I took the boys and one of my mom’s friends to the Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene.  It’s a neat place that rescues injured/sick birds and nurses them back to better health.  It is a small outdoor location that makes it perfect for little kids to run around and learn about different types of raptors.

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They had many types of hawks and owls,

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and my personal favorite was the Eagle.

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Jake made a friend, and they chatted their way through the center.

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It was a fun afternoon adventure!

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That evening, back at the ranch, Jake was happy to be back doing chores with grandpa and daddy.  And this year his favorite chore was picking up the horse poop.  Over the last two years, he has always “helped” grandpa pick up after the horses, but he really was just sitting in the cart dancing away to the country music on the radio and talking to grandpa.  This year, he actually wanted to do it “all by myself” which is a phrase we hear frequently these days…so consider yourself warned…if you are squeamish by the sight of horse poop, you can quickly scroll over this next batch of pictures to the second half of this post.

Jake looked forward to doing this every single day.  And anytime he saw horse poop he had to stop what he was doing and announce that we needed to pick it up.

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He did have his few trips and face plants into the piles,

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And he was mortified that I was taking pictures of him…

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Really mom?? Are you really taking pictures right now?

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Ugh!  I can’t believe it!

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Still taking pictures??!!

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And this little guy, is still too young to be wielding his own pooper scooper…

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But he was watching closely, and taking notes.  I’m sure he will join them next year.

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All this talk of picking up horse poop makes this an appropriate spot to share this adorable photo of Dylan taking a bath in grandma’s bathtub.

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On our last day there, we had some more rain.  We had a few errands to run and shopping to do in town and we even drove 30 minutes out of our way to go back to Brewers Union for fish and chips for lunch.  And I love this picture of the boys/guys with the dark storm clouds in the background, cheering for the rain!

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And one thing that we never did and had been talking about doing since our first day there was visiting the Lowell covered bridge.  Other than walking through the bridge and reading about the history of it, there really isn’t much else to do, so the guys were not too excited about going.  But those kind of places are what make people like me, who are interested in photography, drool.  So the guys obliged and we headed over there.  I wish we had easy access to a place like this in San Diego to do photography sessions.

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As I said it had been raining off and on all day, of course right when we pulled up, the skies opened and it was POURING!  But we were there (the only ones for that matter) and we weren’t going to let some rain stop us. So we ran…all the way to the safety of the covered bridge and we were soaked!

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Once out of the downpour, we walked around and read about the history of the bridge, and looked out over the lake and watched the storm.

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Then it stopped, and the sun came out!

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Cheering for the sun!

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And we were able to have a much more leisurely walk back to the car.

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We always have so much fun visiting the “big ranch up in Oregon”!  And I love that every year we do some of the same things as well as some new things. I am looking forward to all the fun things we can do in the coming years as the boys get older!

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Around the ranch

The baby calves on the ranch were just couple months old and needed their medications and ear tags, etc…and the momma cows needed a check up as well, so we had a roundup!

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Friends and neighbors came over to help.

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Everybody had a job to do

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And this little cowboy was loving all the action

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When our other little cowboy woke up from his nap, he sat in the stroller and watched all the action while having a snack.

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Towards the end, Jake thought daddy was spending way too much time with the cows and convinced daddy to pick him up and get him closer.

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We heard a lot of MOOOOOing that day!

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Later that afternoon we got the horses out, and Dylan thought it was pretty fun.

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We ended our roundup day pretty much the same way we end every day when we are at the ranch…Playing marbles!  This is a game that has been in my family forever and I grew up playing this game all the time.  It’s fun, it’s competitive and the girls always win 🙂  After the dinner dishes are cleaned, kids bathed and in bed, the 4 of us sit at the game table and play the marble game all night long.

IMG_7220edThe next day the sun came out again and we just played/worked around the ranch.  The boys were moving tractor equipment to get it ready to cut & bale the hay, re-positioning electric fences, and Jake took over for daddy when he was taking the covers off the vents around the house.  He watched daddy do a few and then declared “I can do it ALL BY MYSELF!” and he did.  This kid likes to work his tools.

We also played…pushed toy tractors around

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Played with the giant ball

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Went for rides in the wagon

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And flew a kite

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After the kite got stuck in a really tall tree…we moved on to riding horses.

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There is always plenty to do and I love the experiences that our boys have while there.  I think I have one more post left…be back soon!

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Sunny to Rainy Days

After our very hot first day there, the next day was still warm, but much more pleasant to be outside.  So we played around the ranch.

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We sat out on the grass and played with a giant ball, and Dylan was practicing his walking skills back and forth between mom and grandma.

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We drove into town to do some shopping and for lunch at Track Town Pizza.

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We’ve always visited my parents in Oregon during the summer when it is hot, and all the grass is dead and brown.  One year we went up in the fall which was pretty since all the leaves were starting to change colors and we went to a fun pumpkin patch.  But we always hear them talk about how pretty it is during the spring when everything is blooming, the grass is green and the hay fields are thriving.  So that is why we decided to go in the springtime this year.  And obviously the reason everything is blooming and green is because there are lots of rainy days.  Being from Southern California, rainy days are so much fun!  So it made for an exciting morning when we woke up to cool temperatures and grey skies warning us of the coming thunderstorm.  After breakfast, Jake and daddy sat out on the porch watching it rain…

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They were looking for lightning and counting until the thunder hit.  The thunder was close and LOUD!

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And Jake loved it, but the dog, Jane…not so much…in fact after a particularly loud thunder which rattled the windows in the house, she bolted to the safety of her crate in the mud room.

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After the big storm passed, we had a consistent drizzle for the rest of the day, so it was a good day to visit some neighbors and friends.  First we went to Bob’s house so he could show Jake his train village he built in his basement.

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He let Jake sit in the controller’s chair and Jake loved watching the train going around and around and over the bridges and through the tunnels.

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The view of my parents ranch from Bob’s driveway

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Then we went to Vicky and Roscoe’s house to meet their miniature donkey’s

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When we got there Jake took one look at the donkey, then turned around and saw all of Roscoe’s tractors and farm equipment and said WOW!  You have a lot of cool stuff!  Clearly, he is a motorhead and has no interest in animals.  Dylan on the other hand thought they were pretty fun!

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Then the boys started exploring the tractors

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And the toys, and they have a lot of them!

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IMG_7107edThat evening the rain let up a bit so Jake was thrilled to be able to go out and do the chores.

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And of course drive his tractor around in the barn.

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These Southern California people love rainy days!

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Fish Hatchery

Three days after Dylan’s birthday we hopped on a 6:30am flight to visit Grandma and Grandpa at what Jake calls  “the BIG ranch up in Oregon”.  We really missed not taking this annual trip last year since we were still in the middle of our move/remodel/newborn baby/etc…Since we left the house so early, we pretty much scooped the boys out of bed and put them in the car, so they were cozy in their pajamas during our flight from San Diego to Seattle.  And we think that because it was so early in the morning, they were still kind of half asleep while taking in everything around them, which made for an easy flight.  Jake was so excited to be on an airplane and kept talking about the jets, and asking what every single picture and symbol meant.  So when he saw the seatbelt light and the no smoking light overhead, he asked what they were.  We explained the seatbelt light and just dismissed the no smoking light.  But anyone who has ever been around a persistent three year old knows that he wasn’t going to let us just dismiss it…instead of launching into a discussion about what smoking is, how bad it is for you, etc… Justin came up with a great idea and told him that it means no yelling or talking loudly on the airplane. Since the light is on the entire flight, Jake kept telling us that there was no yelling or talking loudly on the airplane...Hey, it worked! And the funny thing is now whenever he sees a no smoking sign anywhere (and for some reason our Target has them everywhere, I never noticed them until Jake started pointing them out), he tells me that it means no yelling or screaming! One day we will have to tell him what it really means, but for now, I’ll take no yelling or talking loudly! I just had a thought…maybe I should put no smoking signs all over the house and in the car!!

Ok, back to our trip, of course the second we landed in Seattle, Dylan promptly fell asleep. And he stayed asleep while we got off the plane and made our way through the airport to find a restaurant for breakfast.  We found the perfect spot by the windows so Jake could watch the airplanes.

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After breakfast and changing the boys out of their PJ’s, we found a quiet corner where they could run around and burn some energy before the last leg of our trip. After his little catnap, this guy was ready to go!

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It was a bit of a challenge to keep Dylan in my lap and quiet during the flights, but all in all, the boys did great. And we were so happy to see grandma and grandpa when we arrived!

The next day was pretty hot, so we decided it would be a good day to start our adventures by driving into the mountains and visiting the fish hatchery.  But first we had to stop for lunch at the local pub, Brewers Union.

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Aside from it having bad lighting inside for taking pictures, this was such a great place! Not only do they have really good fish and chips…

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But it was very kid friendly.  They had all kinds of toys for them to play with, including a kid sized pool table.

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I can remember my mom doing this same thing to me, teaching me how to shoot pool.

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When our food arrived we had to corral the monkey’s to eat.

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Jake stuck with the grilled cheese sandwich

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And this guy was being a cheeseball while eating his sweet potato fries

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With full tummies, we made our way to the fish hatchery.

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First, we got some fish food to feed some really big, over 50 year old, sturgeons.

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The boys loved seeing the fish jump out of the water to get the food

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We walked around the rows of fish, where you can see them as teeny tiny little babies and each row they were a little bigger and bigger.

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It was fun watching the little fish swimming against the current and jumping into the water pouring in the channels.

IMG_6947edThere were other things to do at the hatchery as well.  They had some small animals and birds to look at.

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And Jake and Daddy’s favorite was the miniature golf!

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Our last stop was the tiny museum.  After looking around we sat down and enjoyed the cool AC blowing while the boys chased each other and the fish around in the big tank.

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It was a great way to start off our vacation!

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ONE

The day after the party was a special day for many reasons.  First, it was Dylan’s actual birthday, it was Mother’s Day and his baby dedication!

We spent the morning with our church family for Dylan’s dedication.

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We are so blessed with an amazing village to help guide us on this crazy parenting journey!

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” – Deuteronomy 6:4-7

Afterwards we had a quiet (at least as quiet as you can get with two boys!) afternoon at home, celebrating with just the 4 of us.

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I love his snuggles, giggles and big bear hugs…I love his determination, fierceness and stubbornness.  He is sweet, he is loud, he is growing up way too fast in an attempt to keep up with his brother!  I can’t believe he is ONE! Happy Birthday big boy!

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Papa’s pool

The last weekend in April we went to Papa J and Nonnie’s house to celebrate Papa’s birthday.  And Justin made the mistake of telling Jacob we were going about 2 weeks before.  So…every single day, all.day.long he kept talking about going to Papa’s to swim in the pool.  Every time we were getting ready to go somewhere, he would ask, “are we going to Papa’s?”  When we put him to bed at night, we tell him it’s time to get some sleep so he is ready for the next day’s adventures, and he always asked “Tomorrow are we going to Papa’s pool?”  Finally, the week before, I started laying out the days and telling him what we had to do each day before we could go to Papa and Nonnie’s house.  It went something like this…“Today we have to do laundry and run errands, tomorrow you have school, the next day is a playdate and swimming lessons, then you go to school again and when we pick you up from school, THEN we will go to Papa’s house!” 


After counting down the days, the day finally came for us to go, and we had a great time!  The things I didn’t get pictures of was golf cart rides, trip to the park, yummy meals and lots of family time playing together.  And of course what Jacob had been waiting for…we spent lots of time in the pool.

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Jacob is not the only one who loves to swim, Dylan was having a great time too!

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They love being with their daddy and Papa in the water.

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And Jacob loved being launched into the air by Papa.

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And Dylan was cheering him on.

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It is fun to sit back and watch them playing around, being silly and simply just being kids (both the big boys and the littles!)

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And Dylan has become quite the dog lover.  The neighbors dog spent the day with us and it was a love affair between the two.  The dog followed Dylan everywhere, and Dylan loved every minute of it and was signing doggie all day long. I’ve gained supporter in my quest for a dog!

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And while the guys were golfing one day, the boys and I were able to get a quick lunch with one of my best friends who I had not seen in a long time.

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It was a fun weekend celebrating Papa and spending time with family!

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The Dishwasher v.2

Dylan’s favorite thing to help me with these days is unloading the dishwasher.  I remember doing a post about Jacob helping me unload the dishes and when I went back to look for it, I realized it was exactly 2 years ago!  And looking at those pictures of Jacob when he was so little was a fun trip down memory lane.  Now, 2 years later, I have a new little helper.

No matter where he is in the house, when I open the dishwasher, he hears the click and immediately makes his way into the kitchen.

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And starts unloading things,

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and working on trying to get the bigger objects through the small spaces in the rack.

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And he does it all with a smile!

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Sometimes he finds some unique, interesting objects

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‘So mom, what do you call this thing?’

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Ahhhh, this whisk will keep me entertained for a while!

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The top rack is always a bit challenging, since it is not easy for him to reach from the ground.

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His solution….just climb on up!

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Pretty sure appliance companies could use this picture as an example of what NOT to do to your dishwasher.

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Soon I need to start teaching him where everything goes so he can actually put stuff away for me!

First Haircut

There is something about giving a baby a haircut that suddenly makes them look older.  With both boys I dreaded cutting their hair in an attempt to keep the baby look for as long as I could.  Jacob was 15 months old when he got his first real haircut, I finally gave in after people started mistaking him for a girl!  Since he was born, Dylan has had little trims around the front and his ears to keep it out of his face, but not a real haircut.  He has more hair than Jacob did at this age and it is darker.  It was getting long in the back and it was starting to do the side flip thing.  So I gave in and decided it was time to cut his hair.  A few days later my mom came to visit, after breakfast one morning we took Dylan’s highchair outside and armed with a spray bottle, comb, scissors, things to keep Dylan distracted and of course me with the camera. Dylan got his first haircut.

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Not to be left out of the fun, Jacob wanted to help, so he decided he would be in charge of the spray bottle.

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And by helping in his mind, means spraying and saturating anything and everything with water, including grandma.

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Then he moved onto Dylan’s feet.

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Grandma had her work cut out for her trying to cut a squirmy baby’s hair who was getting his feet tickled by all the sprays from the water bottle.

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Slowly Dylan started looking a little less babyish and more little boyish.

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Thank you grandma for doing a great job!

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The Blue Park

One thing that I really do miss about our old neighborhood is all the parks.  We lived within walking distance of several playgrounds and lots of big grassy fields/soccer fields/baseball fields, etc…Our walks to the park and letting Jacob run around with a ball on the fields, was such a big part of our daily life.  There was one playground that was Jacob’s favorite, I actually did a post on it.  We called it the Blue Park since the ground was a blue padded/squishy rubber, and most of the equipment was blue.  We spent a lot of time there.  On our last day when we moved out of our condo, we stopped at the Blue Park to let Jacob play one last time, before heading to the new house.  Every once in a while when I say we are going to the park, Jacob asks if we are going to the Blue Park, and still talks about it often.

In March, Jacob had a dentist appointment, and his dentist office is in our old neighborhood.  When we were finished with the appointment, I told Jacob I had a surprise for him, and I started driving towards the Blue Park.  When we got closer and closer, I could see on Jacob’s face that he recognized the neighborhood and from his excitement I knew that he knew where we were going.

It tugs on my heartstrings to see how much he has grown since we were here last (almost a year ago).

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He can tackle things with ease now that were a little too difficult for him before.

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And it was fun seeing him show Dylan around his favorite park.

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And it is fun to see Dylan doing the things that Jacob did when he was a baby.

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Dylan really liked the swings at this park

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Jacob did swing for a little bit

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But he would much rather climb

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Such a big boy now!

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It is these moments, that I am SO thankful for this blog, these pictures and memories. When I start to feel overwhelmed with how far behind I am, or the pictures and stories that never made it on here, I remember the trips down memory lane when I look back on an old post and the happiness/sense of accomplishment I feel when I get a new post done. It also shows me how much I have grown as a mother.  When I read back on the first post I did about this park and I came to this sentence, “This particular day was a Saturday morning, there is no way I could take pictures and chase Jacob around the park by myself, so we had daddy with us.” I had to laugh.  Now that I am used to the juggling act that two kids entails, bringing my camera along at the park (by myself) didn’t seem like a big deal.  At times, it was a bit challenging and I always had to make sure Dylan was in a safe place when I was focusing on Jacob, but it is possible.  To me, remembering old memories and creating new ones is more precious than anything, and I am so blessed to have my little family to do that with.