Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tourists in Our Town

For no good reason at all I've been on an unintentional blogging break. Maybe it's burnout from the move? Or laziness because now that blogger and my phone no longer get along I have to actually get out my laptop when I want to blog? Or maybe I've just been reacquainting myself with my bookworm side and have had a lucky string of really good books that have kept me captive. (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet, The Things They Carried, and Some Luck if you happen to be looking for really old book recs).

Joe has been dropping not so subtle hints along the lines of "why do I even check your blog anymore?" which have escalated to "I'm going to unbookmark the blog because you never put anything new up there," so, just for my number one fan, here's a little update on life lately in our new hometown.

When it hasn't been raining in record proportions we've been out and about exploring our new surroundings. On a cold, cloudy day we decided on a whim to visit the Sacramento Zoo, and thanks to the weather we were among the very few people wandering around that day. Cold cloudy days are the BEST zoo days. The crowds are gone and the animals are out. Not only did we see the normally elusive big cats (my fave), but the giraffes put on quite a show for us, sprinting back and forth several times for no apparent reason. I'm not sure if you've ever seen giraffes run in person, but they're a gangly uncoordinated mess and it looks like their long legs are going to get tangled up pretzel style. Check out the video below if my description is lacking ;)

Declan was completely into the whole zoo experience, pointing and yelling at the animals, stomping any puddles he could find, and trying to chase down the train every time it passed by. Ez gave us precisely 2.5 seconds at each exhibit before he demanded we go. Then, as we finally left for real he exclaimed, in all seriousness, "Well that was fun!" Ummm...really? Toddlers will forever be a mystery to me.

One of the first orders of business after the move was to get ourselves a library card. Well, after those other pesky tasks like unpacking, stocking the fridge, getting cable set up...you know, the boring stuff. And I'm very pleased to report that the downtown Sacramento Library does not disappoint. You can always tell a good library by the kids' area, and this one had the best setup I've ever seen. A whole floor all to themselves with a craft corner, an entire wall of toys, that felt board that Ez was obsessed with, and tons of other toys and books. The boys were completely entertained by it all while I got myself a huge stack of books.

And then storytime began.

I'm not sure why, but my kids seem to think storytime is a traumatic experience on the same level as shots at the doctor's office. They love reading books at home, just not at the library. I've tried and tried to make them like it. I have fantasies of us all going to storytime and having a wonderful, magical time. But the reality is that Ez immediately starts whining to leave and Declan starts bolting around the room knocking books off shelves or trying to escape. It's just not happening. So we took the hint and left. The important thing is I got my books ;)

Grandma Kat came up for a visit and we decided to take the opportunity to visit Fairytale Land, a little play area aimed at kids around Ez's age. There were a few farm animals to look at, a playground, some crazy steep and twisty slides that may have traumatized Declan forever, and some other smaller structures for the kids to climb all over. They had a good time but Joe and I aren't convinced it's any better than our neighborhood park so I'm not sure we'll be back.

And of course we wouldn't be real Sacramento tourists if we didn't stop by Old Town. This is probably Ez's favorite spot because of the trains. At first we were fooled into thinking he wanted to see the old trains parked on the tracks there, but it turns out what he really means when he asks to go see trains is to go to the toy store with an elaborate model train setup. And then talk us into buying a toy. Sneaky boy. 

As promised, here are those crazy giraffes:

If you made it this far, thanks for not giving up completely on the blog! I know I have some emails to return and I'm sorry for the delay. I LOVE reading your comments so expect replies shortly. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Moment in Time

Every now and then Joe gives me a list of things I should record in this little ol' blog here so we don't forget it, which is usually my not so subtle reminder that it's been a while since I've done a life lately post. Like the way Ez is obsessed with reciting both Little Blue Truck books by heart or how Declan has to get down and dance anytime there is a snippet of music playing. They both seem like completely different people compared to even just a few months ago and I want to remember every crazy little thing they do. Declan is developing into a little jokester goofball who will do pretty much anything for a laugh. Ez is getting to that (mostly) fun age where he says crazy things out of nowhere and cracks Joe and me up. They're each at the perfect age to interact and play with each other and they're really starting to get the hang of this whole "having a brother" thing.

Family Life Lately
We are so, so, so blessed that Joe gets to work from home now. It's been the best thing for our family and Ez and Declan are on cloud 9 having Daddy time all throughout the day. Ez has switched over to becoming a total daddy's boy in the last few weeks and I'm basically chopped liver now. He just shadows Joe all day saying, "look at this Daddy," and when I try to chime in he'll repeat again, "look at this, Daddy." Ok, point taken kid. That being said, Joe working from home goes a little something like this:

Sitting on toys with a basketball bouncing off his head while on his laptop pretty much sums it up. Not sure how he pulls it off, but somehow he does.

In the evening we're all about family walks, or just running laps through the house over and over and over till everyone passes out from exhaustion. Well, when we don't all have a nasty flu, anyway. It's becoming very apparent that I live in a house full of boys because roughhousing is pretty much everyone's favorite pastime. Except mine. Apparently I don't have that gene that likes wrestling. Thankfully that's where daddy comes in.

Ez Lately
Moving to a house with a backyard is basically like Christmas and birthdays all rolled into one. Ez wakes up and the first thing he says is, "Wanna play in the backyard?" Clearly we've been depriving him and he's making up for lost time. Laying face down, elbow deep in the dirt is his happy place. He's my little earth worm. And after a nice long digging and rock collecting session he'll come in with his mud-streaked face and say "that was so much fun!" which makes all the extra laundry so worth it.

When he's not outside he's either asking if he can use "his" ipad, or eating. Seriously, that kid wants to eat every 30 minutes like clockwork. Apples are still the snack of choice and I have to cut him off or he'd eat a tree's worth every day. Also, it's a pretty good sign that my kid has seen one too many Youtube videos when he starts telling us, "Thanks for watching! Please subscribe." We've pretty much got a locked in subscription for the next 15 years or so... ;) Also thanks to Youtube Ez is basically a nonstop jukebox of nursery rhymes and songs. "Brother finger brother finger where are you? Here I am, here I am, how do you do?" is the current soundtrack of my life.

Despite the great upsides of our new place, there was definitely a turbulent little period when all the recent change caught up with Ez and he was basically a storm of emotions all throughout the day. When he's happy and excited he's the most bouncy exuberant little being you've ever met, but when he's pissed he's PISSED. Not sure if it's the move, a growth spurt, his age, or what...but it's a little hard to keep up with. I could do a whole post on "reasons my son is crying" and it would go something along the lines of: he asked to watch monster trucks so I turned on monster trucks; he asked for pink yogurt but all we had was blue yogurt; he wanted the yellow (box) mac & cheese not the blue one I gave him; he wants to play with the one missing toy instead of the 3,574 toys already strewn across the floor; the apple I gave him was "too big".... I think you get the idea.

Declan Lately
Declan is in that adorable gibberish stage and I really really wish I knew what he was trying to say. His made up language sounds like a cross between Arabic and Russian and there are certain sounds he'll repeat daily but I have no idea what they could possible mean. If anyone can translate Ah Shaka Doh for me, that'd be great, thanks. He likes to yell that at me periodically and for now I can only assume it means something along the lines of "bring me food, woman!" His English vocabulary has also grown a lot lately. "Doh!" (go or no), "Ca-kwa" (crackers), "wawawa" (water), "ba" (milk/bottle), "Ga doh?" (get down), Toooo!!! (Tootles - usually followed by a piercing scream) "dadada" (Dada). No mama yet though :(

He's forever my rambunctious troublemaker and whenever he gets caught redhanded doing something he shouldn't be he tilts his head to one side and sidles away without making eye contact, like if he can't see you, you can't see him. Some of his trouble making specialties include: dumping any glass of water he can find all over the floor. Splashing in the toilet. Typing on Joe's laptop the second it's unattended. Turning off the wifi. Storing bits of food in his toy garbage truck and then pulling them out for a snack later.

He does this wonky back and forth run like a little drunken sailor when he's trying to be silly and get a laugh out of us. His favorite perch is on the stairs landing where he can look down on the family room and watch whatever's on TV from his own private viewing box. Joe and I will be sitting at the table and all of a sudden this little blur of a boy goes running past full speed on his way to the stairs like he's on a mission. And speaking of running, running off and leaving us in the dust is becoming a pattern with him. Like that time he ran behind the bar at Outback and scared the crap out of me. He has the opposite of survival skills. If there's danger within a four mile radius he's automatically drawn to it. He just can't help himself. Gives whole new meaning to this meme:
Except there's a good chance I haven't showered...
Ez and Declan are at the stage where they actually share a few common interests and watching them interact is my favorite parenting experience. Declan is loving monster trucks and motorcycles and all things with wheels and he'll roll them all over the house (like literally, up the walls and everything) and then when he's done he'll walk over and hand them to his brother and stand there gesturing and talking his rapid jibberish. Ez has no idea how to react and usually stares at me baffled until I cue him to say "thank you Declan" which he repeats in his little voice and Declan seems satisfies and wanders off to find another toy to share with his brother. Cutest thing ever. Bath time is another bonding experience for them. Splashing water within a 12 foot radius never fails to get laughs out of both of them. Chasing each other in circles around the house. Building, and more importantly, destroying block towers. Ransacking and hiding in mommy's closet. I was shocked that they were able to sit quietly side by side in my closet trying not to get caught. Who knew they could be silent for minutes at a time?? Stealing each other's toys and then tattling on each other... All the normal brotherly stuff ;)

And in case you're not convinced, here are several more glimpses into the crazy I deal with on a daily basis. (Thank you YouTube for turning one of my clips upside down...):

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Monterey Weekend Getaway

Hoping you're all experiencing a much healthier week than we are over here. Puking, coughing, fevers, the works. We're going through tissues and oj like it's our job and spending most of our time snuggling on the couch while watching Pixar movies. The extra snuggles are pretty much the best and only good thing about sick babies.

In between extra loads of laundry and rotating babies curled up on my lap I decided to take a trip down memory lane to a more pleasant, healthy time. Allllllll the way back to...this weekend ;)

My parents graciously offered to watch the kiddos (before they realized we were bringing the plague along with them) and Joe swept me away for a weekend to Reno. 

Wait, what? 

Well that was the original plan until the skies opened up and rained for weeks on end. It has seriously been almost nonstop rain for about a month now. Which means snow in the mountains. And since we don't have snow chains and didn't feel like driving through a blizzard we made a last minute change of plans and headed to the coast instead. Monterey to be exact.

First of all, let's appreciate how beautiful the drive was. It was about two hours from my parents' house to Monterey and somehow there was almost no civilization along the route. Just lots of gorgeous scenery and very unpredictable weather.

We got to Monterey in time for a late lunch and headed to the wharf for some amazing seafood and scenery.

Even though it looks like nice clear blue skies in those pictures a mini storm rolled in while we were eating and it was gray and drizzly when we walked out. We weren't gonna let it rain on our parade so we just grabbed an umbrella and wandered around the wharf enjoying the gorgeous views and looking for sea otters.

I was determined to see a sea otter after we just coincidentally happened to come across one in the river at UC Davis a few weeks ago and they're the cutest things ever. Every time I saw anything floating in the water I'd exclaim "Is that a sea otter??" Oh no...just a buoy. Or a duck. Or driftwood. Or seaweed. And then, FINALLY, as we were walking back to the car it was a real actual sea otter floating around right by the restaurant we'd had lunch at. We ran over to get closer pictures but it turns out we didn't have to rush because the cute little guy was just floating around trying to crack open shells on his chest for a lonnnng time.

After that dose of super cuteness we checked into our hotel, did a bit of shopping, and just relaxed watching Planet Earth and playing scrabble slam for a bit before heading out for dinner. Super exciting, I know, but getting to watch non-cartoons is a novelty when you're a parent.

Taking normal photos is not one of our specialties.
Sunday was also gray and drizzly but we stopped by the beach anyway. It was secluded and gorgeous with crashing blue waves and flowery sand dunes. Perfect beach weather if you ask me. We also drove through Cal State Monterey, which had some gorgeous views but was too rainy and spread out to walk through.

After that it was time to go home and see our babies, who were already well on their way to being sick by that point. But first Joe had to humor me and stop at several lookout points along the way. So many gorgeous views and so little time. Also, I should probably point out that we got really lucky with our timing because as of today a lot of those roads are flooded. This rain has been brutal and I hope all my California friends are family are staying safe and dry. 

Back to reality:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day! My 5 Favorite Memories of Joe

Happy Valentine's Day! I wish you all a love and chocolate-filled day. 

In honor of our 5th Valentine's Day together I'm sharing five of my favorite pre-kid memories of Joe and I. First of all, it's pretty crazy that this is only our fifth Valentine's Day because it feels like we've experienced decades worth of adventures together already. Just narrowing it down to five favorite memories was so hard, and I'm leaving tons of good ones out. I guess I'll just have to save those for another Valentine's Day <3 

1. My most favorite vacation of all time was our babymoon to Kauai almost exactly four years ago. I could easily pick a dozen favorite memories from that trip alone, from snorkeling, to nearly capsizing while kayaking because Joe just had to collect giant leaves from the water, dropping Ez's baby shoes in the ocean, the roosters and the cats, hunting down the malasada lady, the waterfalls and the gorgeous beaches, everything about it was so magical and I couldn't imagine a better travel buddy to experience it with. 

2. Joe does infamously bad impersonations of everyone. Like intentionally really bad. And he used to do one of my cat that cracked me up. One time my cat jumped off our third story balcony and disappeared for a week. Definitely not funny when it happened, but after we found him and enough time had passed for us to look back and laugh he made up a song in my cat's "voice" to the tune of Call Me Maybe:

I jumped off the balcony
Call me crazy
Look for me next door
Find me maybe

That's just one of many, many examples of Joe's goofball side I could give you, but I still crack up thinking of my crazy cat whenever that song comes on.

3. Speaking of making the best of awful situations, a few months before I got pregnant with Ez we found out I was having an ectopic pregnancy. So basically we went from not knowing I was pregnant, to finding out I was, to finding out something was wrong, to finding out I needed immediate emergency surgery to remove part of my fallopian tube. A rollercoaster of emotions all in the span of a day. It probably seems weird that this would make my list of favorite memories but through it all Joe was not only by my side, but he really made me feel safer and even managed to make me laugh a few times despite me being terrified. As awful as that whole situation was I really learned just how much I could lean on Joe in the worst situation and it ultimately made our relationship stronger. And while we're at being able to lean on Joe, he has literally saved mine, Ez, and Declan's lives (me from being stranded on the side of a cliff while hiking and he had to heimlich Ez and Declan once each). He's our hero. 

4. Back when we were trying to secretly date at work (and failing miserably at the secretive part) we used to have all kinds of code names and gestures for each other. Thankfully Joe gives all his coworkers nicknames, so it was a little less obvious, but we called each other blank because I slipped up and called him babe once, so we just started calling each other "blank" all the time as a neutral nickname, and it's stuck. I still call him that all the time. Also rubbing our eyebrow meant I love you. LU & MU were love you and miss you when we were using the company messenger. Though if they really monitored our messages I'm sure it would've been obvious we were dating. Also, not super creative, I know ;) I have a feeling I'm leaving quite a few out, but those are the most memorable ones.

5. We have many Disneyland trips under our belt by now but on our very first trip together while I was barely pregnant with Ez we took all kinds of "baby bump" pictures around the park (nevermind that my baby bump was basically nonexistent). Annnnnd then all the photos got deleted. So what did Joe do? He took us back for a second trip just so we could recreate all the pictures. (And because who really needs an excuse to go to Disneyland?) The first (two) of many great Disney dates together.

If you made it through my long rambling trip down memory lane, thanks for following along! 

And to Joe:
Thank you for all the hard work you do for our family. It's crazy that five short years ago you really didn't have to worry about anything other than yourself and now look at how much you've taken on. Me plus two crazy kiddos and you take care of all of us so well. I couldn't imagine a better partner to be on this crazy ride called life with. I love you to infinity and beyond. 
Will you be my Valentine?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Valentine's Gifts for Her

// eternity rings // quilted backpack // heart ring // origins skincare // shoes //

Three posts in one week? Who am I??! Apparently all it took to wake me from my blogger slumber was Valentine's Day. I can't resist everything pink and heart shaped. And chocolatey. Obviously

In the past I've given some ideas for toddler Valentine gifts and some sentimental DIY gifts for your significant other, so this year I thought it was about time I put together a little list just for us girls. Do I need gifts to know Joe loves me? Of course not. He works so hard for our family and does little things like filling my car up with gas before I even wake up in the morning which means so much to me. Still, it'd probably be a little depressing to get nothing for Valentine's Day. 

It really doesn't have to be huge or expensive either. A handwritten love note along with some flowers and chocolates is pretty much perfect. Joe's been slipping little love notes in my purse every now and then since Christmas and it's the best surprise ever. I know I'll cherish reading those over and over for decades. Of course, anything sparkly and/or pink is always welcome as well ;)

What's your favorite way to celebrate Valentine's Day? Gifts or no gifts? Fancy dinner out or intimate dinner in? We haven't finalized our plans yet, but we're hoping the grandparents will take the kiddos for a night so we can eat somewhere without grilled cheese on the menu.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Valentine Crafts for Your Littles

One of the best things about Pinterest is the whole world of crafting possibilities that I never would've thought up on my own. The worst thing about Pinterest? Pinning way more crafts that I could ever complete in a lifetime. There's just too many cute ones to choose from. Here are seven of my favorites from my Valentine's board, and if I'm being honest here we'll be lucky to complete one or two of these this year. 
  1. No Time for Flashcards has the perfect toddler heart Valentine craft. There's no precision required, not a ton of prep time, minimal supplies, and this would look adorable hanging up on the wall of the playroom.
  2. I am so intrigued by these melting hearts over at Kid's Play Box. If we get around to these this year it'll probably be more for me than for Ez ;)
  3. This thumbprint heart tree from Easy Peasy and Fun is basically a must-do. I can't say no to pink hearts and preserving Ez and Declan's tiny little fingerprints forever all in one adorable art piece.
  4. I've been wanting to make a holiday sun catcher ever since I first saw Courtney over at Sweet Turtle Soup do it, and I somehow just never remember to pick up the supplies when we're at the craft store. Fingers crossed this is the year we get around to it, and this heart handprint version from Crafty Texas Girls is perfect for Valentine's Day. 
  5. It doesn't get much cuter than Love Bugs!! The Chirping Moms have six adorable Valentine bug crafts and I kinda want to do them ALL. 
  6. These thumbprint heart magnets are perfect grandparent gifts. So simple and sweet. Head over to First Grade Blue Skies for instructions.
  7. No Time for Flashcards did it again with 14 different Valentine books and accompanying crafts. If I was on top of my holiday crafting game we could have been doing one each day leading up to Valentine's Day. Of course, I'm not, so if I had to pick just one it'd be this Huggy Kissy paper hug. 
And for nostalgia's sake, I've also done a little roundup of our past Valentine crafting adventures. Spoiler alert, we're huge fans of heart shaped sponge painting. It's kinda our fave. 

  1. Last year we made these photo and illustration Valentine's for the grandparents. 
  2. Two years ago Ez and I made dozens of sponge heart Valentine's for all our blogger friends. 
  3. And we also made a DIY Valentine mailbox using an old shoe box. 
  4. Apparently 2015 was a very productive crafting year for us because we also made handprint Valentine's for the grandparents. 
Wishing you all a hearts and flowers and chocolate-filled week!