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…

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!

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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The BIG Ranch

Today is the first day of school…BOTH of my boys are at school right now for the first time ever! And my goal is to get caught up on all our summer activities here on the blog, or at least get started, school is only 3 hours.  So here goes…And please disregard any typos, grammar errors, etc… I am past being a perfectionist at this point.

We made our annual trip up to “The BIG ranch up in Oregon” this year in June.  It was a fun filled 2 week adventure.  Our early morning flight meant breakfast and pre-flight drinks at the airport.

The first half of our flight to Seattle went pretty smoothly, the boys were well behaved and excited about our adventure.  Then Dylan started getting restless and wanted to move around.  So I walked up and down the aisle with him a few times.  When I got him to stay where our seats were he wouldn’t sit in his seat but wanted to stand in front of it and use his seat as a desk for his toys, coloring, and etc. items I brought to keep him busy.  The seat belt sign was not on so I let him stay where he was happy.  Then he started saying “poopy diaper…poopy diaper” in a normal quiet voice, so I checked him and he did not have a poopy diaper, but it was wet.  So we walked back to the bathrooms to change him and back to our seats.  Again he wouldn’t sit down.  A few minutes later he started saying “poopy diaper…poopy diaper” again in a louder voice.  I tried quieting him down and checked him and he did not have a dirty diaper.  But he kept saying it, getting louder and louder every time.  He climbed over my legs and started off for the bathroom again.  He did not have a dirty diaper, he just wanted to move around the plane and check out the bathrooms, again and again and again….After getting back to our seats yet again…a few minutes later the seat belt light came on and the pilot made the announcement that we were preparing to land.  And Dylan chose that moment to start screaming “poopy diaper…poopy diaper”.  I checked him and this time, he did have a dirty diaper.  There was no way this kid was going to sit in his seat and wait until we landed to change his diaper. So when we were supposed to be buckled up preparing to land I was in the tiny bathroom trying to clean up my two year old while he pulled and pushed and flipped every knob, handle or switch he could get his hands on.  And while we were in there, we hit some pretty good turbulence which made him stop and throw his arms around my neck to hold on for dear life.  I was able to get it done and back to our seats, sitting down and buckled up in time for our landing.  So if you were on a flight from San Diego to Seattle in June where a little boy was yelling “poopy diaper” for the last part of the flight, that was us and I am sorry….

In Seattle, we walked around the airport and the boys watched the planes.

And on the short flight from Seattle to Eugene, God heard my prayers and Dylan slept…so I got to breathe and relax for a bit!

Once we arrived at the ranch the boys were more than ready to run around and rediscover everything and climb over all the tractors and get out all the toys.

The first part of our time there it was overcast and cool and we had a little rain here and there.  On the rainy days we did some shopping.  Jacob needed some new cowboy boots and Dylan needed a belt, so we took care of that.  And one morning we drove into Eugene and stopped at a fun toy and hobby shop. The boys made out with a pile of Legos, nerf swords, baseball bat and balls and other things to play with.  After putting everything away in the car we walked down the street a few blocks, following directions and our noses to the best doughnut shop in town.  Voodoo Doughnuts.  After waiting in line for about 30 minutes, we walked out with 2 pink boxes and found a spot to sit down and enjoy some really amazing doughnuts.

We will be going back there again!  We spent time working around the ranch.  This year Dylan joined in on helping to scoop the horse poop. And while he did lug around the pooper scooper, he was much more fascinated with picking it up with his hands and squeezing it through his fingers first. No picture of that, just a video.

Jacob was more interested in doing bigger boy chores, like riding in the back of the cart and pushing the hay out to the cows, and helping grandpa with his tools while working on the tractors.  One day, while daddy and grandpa were working in the barn the boys were playing in the stalls.

And climbing the fences.

Justin got a rocket while we were at the toy/hobby store.  So one day we shot the rocket off a few times. In between doing chores/playing around the ranch.

We played in dirt piles that grandpa had delivered to fill in and the grade the corral.

Right now Dylan is in love with dogs and is more than happy to spend his time throwing a ball for Jane.

We had dinner one night at the best pizza place in Eugene, Track Town Pizza.

One day we drove up into the mountains and on our way we stopped to walk around the “office” covered bridge that was built in 1945.

We explored the park next to the bridge.

And then we kept driving up to Salt Creek Falls. It was COLD (40 degrees to be exact), and the wind and spray from the waterfall added to the chill.  But it was beautiful! And we can’t wait to come back when it is a little warmer and the boys are a little bigger so we can hike down and back up.

On our way back to the ranch we stopped and ate at Brewers Union, the place we visited for the the first time last year that has some pretty amazing fish and chips.  That afternoon, back at the ranch, grandpa and daddy got busy hanging the tree swing.  My parents have lots of giant trees on their property, but this one is just off the side of their house and it has the perfect branch to hang the swing.  And who needs a ladder when you have a tractor to get the job done!

It is safe to say the swing was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.  The boys loved swinging around and we kept hearing “higher…higher!” And the adults had some fun on it too!

The sun doesn’t set until around 9:30 at night, so it made for some long action packed days, with a little bit of downtime.  The boys love running around, helping grandpa with his tools, helping feed the horses and the cows and driving the cart all over the place.  After getting their sleep at night, they woke up every morning ready to go back outside.  There were actually a few times when we couldn’t find Dylan while we were making breakfast, and he had gone into the mud room, put his boots on (on the opposite feet) with his PJ’s and was walking down to the barn to meet grandpa. They love being at the ranch!

I think that’s enough pictures for this post and I need to get ready to go pick up the boys, will be back soon with more!

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School’s out for the summer!

Jacob absolutely LOVED his class this year.  His teacher was great, he made lots of new friends in his class and he thrived and learned so much.  On the last day of school there was a promotion ceremony and the kids sang some songs, they got a graduation certificate and we all had a picnic lunch outside on the playground.

I was actually feeling sad that the year came to an end since Jake was really enjoying it and I enjoyed getting to know some of the other moms.  And I have been finding myself wondering how I am going to keep him busy this summer!  Aside from a couple trips we have planned we have a few things lined up for summer activities.  One thing that is super easy and fun and we will be doing often is going to the beach!  Jake (and mom) has been wanting to go for a while, so that was our first order of business on our first official day of summer. And when I was downloading Dylan’s 2 year old photos from my camera, I realized that yet again, there is a huge gap in my photo/blogging “routine” and I knew this was going to be a fun day, so I grabbed my camera as we went out the door.

I have a certain beach spot that I discovered a few years ago and I love going to because you can park (for free) very close by, there is a lifeguard tower, bathrooms and showers and it is usually not that crowded.  So we headed out first thing in the morning and set up on the beach.  At first Dylan was a bit cautious with the waves.

Then Jake started showing him where to stand to watch the waves come over his toes.

They had so much fun running towards the water and letting the waves chase them back

It makes me so happy to see them happy and having fun like two little boys should

And when I tried to get a picture of both of them looking at the camera and smiling, I got a whole lot of these

Until finally I got something decent

And then Dylan took a little “accidental” swim in the waves…and the sun starting coming out and they worked up quite a sweat playing in the water, so we took a break and started playing in the sand.

I am excited for many, many more beach days like this all summer long!

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Splash Park Fun

After getting through all our vacation photos, it dawned on me that I didn’t pick up my camera again all summer long!  I think because I’ve been so behind on pictures/posts I didn’t want to take any more pictures to put me back even more.  Also, my hands are not as “free” with two little boys to juggle so my camera has taken a backseat.  I started feeling a little bad about that, and wishing I had more pictures of all the fun things we did this summer.  Yes, I have thousands of pictures that I’ve taken with my iPhone, and those are great and I am hoping to do a post of our summer highlights with those pictures.  But the photographer in me, really prefers the quality photos that I can get with my camera.  So one morning we had a “meet the teacher” day at Jake’s new preschool, and afterwards we went to a Splash Park with some friends to let the kids run around.  At the last minute, I grabbed my camera hoping to catch some pictures of the final days of summer. And yes, I know it is mid-September and these pictures are now a month old…but better late than never has become my new matnra…

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This is a great place for the kiddos to run and play and stay cool in the summer heat.

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IMG_7515edAnd while the big kids ran all over the place, this little guy kept busy at a fountain with an assortment of buckets and cups to fill and dump out.

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Sometimes simple things like buckets, water, good friends and sunshine is all you need.

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Idaho or bust

Now that it is August (how did that happen?) and summer is almost over, I figured I better wrap up the last of our vacation we took in May!

A couple of years ago some friends of ours moved to Idaho.  So instead of going home after our fun with grandma and grandpa at “The BIG ranch up in Oregon”, we flew to Idaho for a few days to see them. Not only was it great for the adults to catch up, but their little girl is just a month older than Jake and it was fun seeing them reunite and play together.

On our first day we went to a brewery for lunch.  The property was beautiful with lots of space for the kids to run and play.  It was raining off and on, so inbetween the rain the kiddos burned energy chasing each other and Justin.

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And jumping off the raised patio, over and over and over again.

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The whole group!

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Then they drove us around and showed us their town.  We rented an Expedition so we could fit 4 adults and three kids in one car. Jake and Sammie had a great time giggling and being silly in the way backseat, and yes, Jake is picking his nose in this picture.

IMG_2871edAnd it wouldn’t be a trip with the Haigis’ without a visit to a wine tasting room!  I never knew Idaho had wine country.  We went to their favorite place, Cinder.  It was very kid friendly with toys to play with and chalk to draw on their concrete floors.

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And this was the best attempt to get a picture of all 3 kiddos.

IMG_2861ed The next day after going out for lunch, we relaxed around their house and Jaime got into her teacher mode and came up with crafts and activities for the kiddos to do for the afternoon.  First up was making slime.

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Jake has inherited his daddy’s aversion to anything sticky or messy, so he wasn’t too sure about this at first.

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But he quickly got over it and they had a great time molding, stretching and squishing slime.

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While the older kiddos were playing inside, Dylan was taking advantage of having all the outside toys to himself.

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And kept working on his walking skills

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And their dog Bear joined him to play in the sunshine.

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Then the big kids came outside for the next activity, dinosaur eggs.  Armed with a wooden pick, they dug at the eggs until finding their dinosaur prize.

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Success!

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Rawwwwwar!!

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We ended the night with a pizza date for dinner.

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It was so good to see them and visit their new hometown.  The boys did really good with all the traveling and we always have fun visiting other places, but it is also nice to come home to San Diego.

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