Monday, September 9, 2013

Roughing It.

We took the kiddos camping to Big Basin Redwoods State Park over Memorial Day weekend.  Camping with two young boys was certainly an adventure, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that the thought of turning around and going home crossed my mind after only two hours in, but it ended up to be a great trip!  One of the things that Ryan and I love the most about living in California is access to all kinds of adventures within an afternoon's drive.  We want the boys to grow up with overflowing buckets of memories about things we did and saw during their childhood.  With the mesmerizing Redwoods in our sights, we set out to add some drops to their buckets.

Dirt, leaves, trails, bugs... the boys were in heaven.
He found a cave!  With no critter inhabitants, thank goodness.
Exploring the moss covered tree trunks.
The path of most resistance is sometimes the most fun.
This way, guys!
Snug as bugs in our awesome HUGE two-room tent from REI.  Good call, Ryan.
Try to keep up with me, Mom. 
Sword?  Wand?  Just really fun to carry a stick around?
Puddle jumping.
The park rangers put on daily nature club shows for the little ones. 
Tigger acting as Ethan's marshmallow wingman.
He waited all DAY for this!
Thanks to the suuuuuper long skewers from Aunt Kelly and Uncle Troy, he could roast his own!
Yep.  They're *that* good.

It wasn't always easy, or comfortable.  There were moments that taught us that we have to live flexibly - such as when I accidentally dumped an entire pot of macaroni noodles onto the ground when I tried to drain the water, or when we woke up to find that our firewood was soaked with the rain that was not supposed to visit us overnight.  It's nice to get little reminders that nothing is supposed to be perfect, no trip will be 100% smooth, and that most things are worth working for.  And if through these experiences we can teach our boys to roll with the punches, they'll have a lifetime of silver linings and hidden gems.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Spring Break!

So, let's just open with the obvious:  I've been MIA for a few months.  We've been really busy making memories around here, and Mama has done a poor job of capturing them in bloggy form.  This is our baby book - often the only way that I can remember when milestones happened is by searching the blog archives - so I've gotta get back on the horse and ride this thing out.  At least until the boys hit puberty and are mortified to have their life on display for all to see.

I'm gonna take this way, way back to April.  My dad came to visit us during Spring Break, and we made the most of our week together!  One outing that we'd been saving was a trip to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield.  You have to go on a weekday, since they aren't in production over the weekend.  We timed it perfectly, and got there a half hour after they opened.

Hand in hand with his PaPa, headed towards some Jelly Belly fun!

Unfortunately, EVERYBODY ELSE in the Bay Area had the same idea, and the line was already backed out the door.  It was going to take us almost two hours to get to the tour.  And the kicker?  Production was shut down for the day.  So the two hour wait would get you a tour through... a dark factory.


We decided to get our faces painted, indulged in some free jelly bean samples, and then headed out to Scandia afterwards for some bumper boating and mini golfing.

For all Ethan knew, that was all there was to the Jelly Belly factory.

Spider-Man at the helm of the water cannon.  Game on!

For his first golfing experience, the kid did a pretty good job!

Aunt Mary joined us for the fun!

Afternoon naps are a must for the over 60 and under 5 crowd.

PaPa was also with us for Easter!  Everett had an Easter egg hunt at his daycare, which was a blast to watch.  He and his classmates were too little to understand the true purpose of the hunt, and would mostly just find an egg:

Exhibit A

 And then sit down for extended periods of time to do the put-the-egg-in-the-basket-then-immediately-take-it-out-of-the-basket dance.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Exhibit B
Mommy and bunny.

Ethan and PaPa tackled Easter decorations, making little paper mache pet pals.  Or Papier Mâché if you're all fancy pants. 

Egg-cellent job, guys! 

And speaking of fancy pants, check out the golden egg dying kit sent by Mima and Poppa!

Yep, I wrapped my kid in trash bags.

The Easter Bunny spread!

The boys enjoying the goodies on Easter morning!

It's always so nice to get to share holidays and events with our far-far-away family members, and the boys really loved having their PaPa around for a whole week!

Best buds.

Love, love, love.

Monday, March 18, 2013


We were listening to the radio in the car this weekend, and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" provided what we in the education business like to call a teachable moment.  Ethan is now at an age where he catches and comments on *everysingleword* of song lyrics.  "Mom, why do they say that you can't get what you want?" he asked.  "Well, baby - that's life.  Sometimes you don't get the things that you want."  He pondered for a minute or two in silence, and then said, "Oh, like when I ask for a second string cheese at dinner, and then you say no.  'Cause I can't always get what I want."

Inspired by the quirky way that my kid could equate one of the best songs by the Rolling Stones to a lesson about balancing moderation and his love of dairy, I picked up the iPhone and interviewed my oldest boy.  I got some pretty predictable answers, but a few that blew me away.

I love his outlook on colors.  I never want him to grow up thinking that he can't like or be or do things.  Live without limits, baby.  Be who you want to be.  Make your bleeding heart liberal mama proud.

We have a lot of good car conversations, as it turns out.  On the way home today, Ethan started talking to me about being different.  It was so great that I pulled my phone out (at a stoplight, guys - no putting my kiddos' lives in danger!) and turned on the voice memo feature.  This is what I got:

"Everything doesn't have to be the same.  Because, everything is different, and that is a good thing.  Then we can be just like ourselves.  I want to be myself, so I am myself.  And other people are other people.  We can all just worry about being ourselves.  I think some trees grow big, and some trees grow small.  And it's okay if they all grow a little different."  

That's my boy.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Christmas in February

I feel like Christmas was just yesterday.  I'm pretty sure this is because January was a total whirlwind.  Ryan was shooting events out of town for most of the month, which is the. fastest. way. to ensure the longevity of your marriage.  I've had a taste of single parenthood, and it is not for me!  (I did like stretching out across the whole bed at night, though.  And indulging in TV shows that elicit a hearty eyeroll from Ryan.  But that's about it.)  So, in the tradition of being eternally behind in all of my blog posts, I present to you:  Christmas in February.

Went for a little peacock feather flair this year.
Ethan and his friend made a lovely gingerbread house!
Christmas cookie party with Auntie Ingrid and the girls!
Too young to make cookies... but not too young to eat them!
Aunt Mary and her boys.
Present tunnels.
All elves make balloon snowmen.  It's a fact.
Ethan's first time seeing Santa!  He LOVED him!
Everett... not so much.
Santa's guard dog.  Do not open until December 25th... or else.
Cookies for Santa, made by Ethan and Aunt Mary!
"I like how you give me presents."  Cut right to the chase, kid.  
Some assembly required.
Ethan's incredible castle from Aunt Kelly and Uncle Troy!
This pretty much sums up his morning.
Unwrapping his gifts.
Ev's new ride!
Family game night with Aunt Mary and Grandma.
I'm pretty sure Ryan took *actual* photos with an *actual* camera, but all of his trips leave zero time for photo editing.  I'm going to chalk his shots up to archival relics.  Thank goodness for the iPhone!