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.

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!

Star Wars Family

(October 2017)

When shopping at Costco with the boys, there is always something that they look for during all the different times of the year.  During the spring Jacob swears he is going to save up his money and buy the $1000 playhouse/slide/jungle gym set.  During Christmas we have to browse the aisles to look at the trees, lights and singing nutcracker and try to avoid the toy aisle!  During the summer months, they look for the massive package of water balloons and they want every beach and pool toy they have.  And in the fall…it is the Halloween costumes and the candy.  And this year, both of them had their hearts set on being Storm Troopers for Halloween.  So the first time we saw the costumes, I looked for their size and they were all so big.  So I looked again next time I went and they had smaller sizes in other costumes but the Storm Trooper costumes were huge.  So I went online to see what I could find and they had some in their sizes, but they were so expensive.  So I looked at Target and other stores that had costumes and same problem, either the wrong sizes or the price was ridiculous. Are there seriously people who will spend $70 for one child’s costume??!!

My mom was in town while I was searching and she was talking to her friend who lives in Palm Desert, and I was talking to my friends who live in Las Vegas and were planing to come visit soon.  After we told them both our dilemma, they started checking the local Costco’s in their areas.  And they found the sizes we needed and saved the boys dream of being Storm Troopers! You really can’t beat the quality and price of the costumes they sell at Costco, best deal in town!

The boys are obviously too young to see the movies, but they know the Star Wars stories from all the books we’ve read and they said their Storm Trooper costume was not complete without a blaster.  So they used their cowboy cap guns as their blaster.

And after all that we went though to get these costumes, we didn’t have time to put much effort into our own.  Luckily, Target was selling some good Star Wars shirts and we grabbed some light sabers and masks from the boys toy supplies to keep the Star Wars theme going.

And we gathered our neighbor friends to go trick or treating together.

Another successful Halloween in the books!

 

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!

Go Tigers!

(September 2017)

In the fall Jacob had his first experience playing on a soccer team! Their jerseys were orange and black so they were the Tigers.  Daddy used to play soccer, so he gave Jacob some pointers.

His favorite by far was playing goalie.

We had a great team of kids, parents and a really awesome coach.

In fact, we found out halfway through the season that our team had a reputation of being really good and a fun team to play against. Yes, we had a few good players, but I really think it was a combination of that with supportive parents and a (very) patient and encouraging coach to make the kids want to go play and have fun no matter what their skill level was.

And Dylan was Jacob’s number one fan, sporting his orange shirt and mommy’s sunglasses and yelling “Go Tigers!”.

It was so much fun watching these kids play and form friendships and just be silly boys.

Jacob had fun, and towards the end of the season he started getting the hang of it. And still loves to kick the soccer ball around in our backyard.  He said he wants to play again, so we will see what next fall brings.

It’s a Race!

(September 2017)

Jacob had been cruzin on his balance bike for a couple of years now and I knew he was ready to upgrade to a big boy pedal bike.  So we started taking him to a nearby park that has walkways around the playground/tennis courts/baseball fields so he could practice.  It really only took 2 times of doing that and one day in our backyard, he just took off on the bike by himself.

He rides around our backyard all the time and I try to take them to the park to ride at least one a week.

And Dylan has been upgraded to the balance bike now

And they both love to ride and ride and ride

And I love seeing him sticking his tongue out when he is concentrating on doing something.  It reminds me of my dad 🙂

And like pretty much everything else with these two, it’s a race! Let’s see who can go the fastest around the park.

At first, it used to bother Dylan that Jacob was always passing him up.  But now he doesn’t care and takes off on his own adventure on his balance bike.

In fact, he is getting pretty good at it now and I’m sure he will be getting onto a pedal bike sooner than later.

And in between riding sessions, they take breaks on the playground.

And Jacob surprised me on this day when he told me he could do this all by himself.

And he did! Back and forth, back and forth.  It was one of those days when I really realized, how much he is growing up!

Sticking his tongue out again…

And you would think spending a few hours at the park, playing and riding bikes would wear them out, right? Not so much, these two have endless energy!

Sand and Sun

(August 2017)

I always say and I’m sure I’ve said it here a few times…It is worth every penny to live where we live.  We have beautiful weather, lots of fun things to do/explore, great schools, and of course the beach.  During the week, when we don’t have school or some other activity to do, one of our favorite things to do is pack up and go to the beach!

When I first looked at these pictures, after we got home, it hit me how much Jacob has grown, he looks like such a big boy.

This summer I got the boys some beach shovels, and they kept busy, digging to China.

Jacob loved digging a hole and watching it fill up when the waves came in.

Dylan loves being chased by the waves

I mean, look at that face…

Now if only I can figure out how to keep all the sand out of my car…

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!