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!

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!

I’m Back!

So while I was working on my last few posts about our trip to Oregon last year, I started having some problems with the Admin section of this blog.  I could not upload any pictures, I kept getting error messages and everything I tried didn’t work.  It was so frustrating because I only have two hours a day, two days a week without the boys to get things done.  And for a while all that time was spent trying to figure out what was wrong and attempting to fix it with no luck.  I called an IT person I knew and he couldn’t help me.  Then we started the addition on our house and that consumed every spare moment I had, so the blog was pushed even farther back.  After the addition project settled down, I was wondering if it was even worth trying to get back into this.  I often wonder if it is a good idea, in terms of my kids safety to even share these stories online.  Even though it is only going to a small group of subscribers of family and friends, it is still out there.  I am always conscious of what I share and keep things general and try not to give out too much detailed information.  I had a conversation with Justin and asked him what he thought.  He told me he thought it was worth starting again.

And once I realized I couldn’t upload pictures to my blog, I stopped taking pictures, and I didn’t like that.  Which reminded me of a few of the reasons why I started this in the first place.  Photography has been a longtime hobby of mine, and if I don’t have somewhere to share the pictures I am taking, then what is the point of taking pictures.  Also, the pictures I am taking are telling the story of my boys childhood.  Whether or not they will be interested in this when they are older, it is something for me.  I love being able to look back over the past 5 years and remember things I forgot, or see how much they have changed and that makes me happy, and so thankful that I captured that moment in time.  I don’t know how long I will continue to do this, I know as the boys get older they are not going to want all these details of their life shared. But until then, I decided to keep it up.

So that meant several very long, frustrating phone conversations with tech people.  After no resolution with their advice, they finally gave me an option to pay an $80 fee and they would troubleshoot and fix the problem.  48 hours later, it was working again! Hallelujah!  I was skeptical and afraid that it was going to “break” again, so I quickly uploaded all the pictures I had and started writing some stories, before something could go wrong…but so far all seems well.  Since it has been almost a year (!) I obviously can’t get completely caught up.  But I do have some things I want to post about the last year, before moving on.  So a lot of the posts may be more picture heavy than story since I’m just scrambling to get up to date.  So here goes, first order of business…I FINALLY updated the header! Although these pictures are already 7 months old…at least it is not just baby pictures of Jacob and Dylan has a presence.

Be back soon with more!

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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