Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend

Our weekend got off to a great start with a midday bowling and lunch date while the kids hung out at my parents' house. We were planning on seeing a movie but the timing didn't work out so we opted for bowling instead, which I think turned out to be more fun, especially since I won ;) Joe made me promise to point out that he beat me by a lot at arcade basketball afterwards though. 

On Sunday we went for a hike through the redwoods. I can't get enough of living so close to such a beautiful spot and we wind up going back there a couple times a month. This is the first time we made it all the way up to the lookout spot though, which took a lot of effort between pushing the stroller and alternating carrying one or sometimes both kids, or half dragging Ez up the hills when he insisted on walking. I'm proud of how far he managed to walk on his own, even if he did collapse in a heap at one point. Eventually we made it to the top though, and the view was so worth it. It was so green and you could see all the way to the ocean.

Oh, and we saw baby deer! Two of them. They were leaping through the grass following their mama and it was the cutest thing ever:

Unfortunately on Memorial Day Ez had a fever so we laid low and watched the Golden State Warriors win game 7 against the Thunder. 

Hope you all had a great, family-filled weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mother's Day in Santa Cruz

With all our Disney adventures and other life happenings, blogging took a backseat for awhile, but I didn't want Mother's Day to slip through the cracks. We started the day with my favorite breakfast: donuts, followed by exploring Santa Cruz. I hadn't been there for many many years, and Joe, Ez, and Declan had never been there. We ate fried food on the boardwalk and then walked down to a little inlet away from the ocean that was nice and calm and shallow. There were sea lions across the way, and plenty of seashells for collecting and tossing into the water. Ez was in heaven. He kept running up to the water's edge then running away screaming while fake falling. Lately he's been in a phase where he loves to roll around in the dirt and dig holes, which reminds me a lot of a puppy. The longer I do this boy mom thing the more I realize that there are a lot of puppy parallels. I mean that in the nicest way, of course ;) Declan, on the other hand, was very conflicted on whether or not he liked the water. Anytime he got the least bit wet he'd scream bloody murder, so we'd carry him away from the water. But then he'd promptly crawl right back to the water and repeat the whole cycle. Apparently he loves to hate the ocean? He also loves to hate eating sand. Silly boy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Happy 11 Months Declan!

Dear Declan,

We are rapidly approaching your birthday month and it's got my mind swirling. I look back at pictures from a year ago and you were still nestled safely in my belly, which seems like such a short while ago. But you've already accomplished so much in eleven short months that in some ways it's hard to believe you've been with us less than a year. You've been walking for two - yes, two - months. You're extremely talented at mimicking sounds and you communicate pretty well for such a young baby. Your personality is about ten times too big for your body and you like to think that you're the alpha dog wherever you go, no matter that everyone else is 3-4 times bigger than you. You're my little Napoleon conqueror. Anything off limits immediately has to be broken into and ransacked. We may have thought we had this parenting thing down by the time you were born, but you quickly proved that you're your own person and our old tricks weren't gonna work on you. We had to quadruple our child proofing efforts this time around. You're a wanderer that would gladly follow another family home if we aren't a step behind you at all times. You're quick to laugh, quick to scream, quick to cry loud, sobbing, dramatic tears, and then you go right back to laughing. You give the distinct impression that even you don't know what you have in store for us, but it's most likely a whole lotta trouble. 

Bedtime is your nemesis and you fight a good battle against sleep every single night. Several times a night even. The toy battles have begun in earnest with your brother and even though he's got you beat in size you're wiley and you're loud so I think you guys are pretty evenly matched. Anytime anyone walks upstairs without you your whole world ends. Ez always makes sure to tell you, "don't worry Deckles, we'll be right back," which you don't find the least bit comforting. But as soon as we walk back down the stairs your face lights right up and you give us the warmest welcome as if we've been gone weeks. You have a habit of loudly and angrily chattering at us whenever your grievances aren't being answered fast enough. It makes me a little scared to know what you're going to say when you know real words.

On the flip side, nothing makes you happier than the sound of bath water running. You run right to the tub and bang on the side while screaming excitedly. You love following your brother around and doing whatever he does. I've even caught you trying to do his puzzles and you're actually pretty good at them. You skipped right over baby toys and went straight to cars, which you now drive through the air while making vroom vroom sounds. Every Saturday at your brother's soccer practice you swipe a ball for yourself and kick it all over the field. It's crazy to think you weren't even walking when Ez first started soccer and now you're nearly as good as the three year olds at kicking a ball around. Seriously. I know I'm a little biased, but all the other parents comment on it too. You also love shooting baskets in our little kitchen basketball court. Anytime daddy picks the ball up you run right over all giddy with excitement. 

As far as food goes, you demand samples from anything anyone else eats, but you're still a fan of chewing the food to mush and spitting it back out. Cheerios, yogurt, avocado on tortilla, and plum organics pouches are your favorites. Whatever you're eating seems to be working though because you're now wearing size 12 months. 

Some of my favorite current traits are when you snort at me like an angry little bull, walk around with one arm straight in front of you like Frankenstein, squeal every time someone gets points on family feud, clap for yourself, and you give us the biggest smile right before you do something mischievous, like rolling up one of my magazines and chewing on it like a bad little puppy. My least favorite quirk is your habit to bite, especially my toes and legs. 

Everyday with you is an adventure and your daddy, brother, and I are so happy to be along on this ride with you. We love you more than you'll ever know.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Disney Birthday Week, Days 2 & 3

On Day 2 Ez got his first birthday treat of the week, a Mickey shaped beignet with a candle and a giant glob of whip cream. Last year he was not at all a fan of blowing out candles. He didn't really understand the concept and they seemed to scare him a little. This year he knew exactly what to do and LOVED it. It took a few tries but he blew the candle out all on his own. 

All through lunch Ez was demanding to go see the Disney Cars, so that's where we went as soon as we were done eating. Grampa and I decided watching the cars drive by was the perfect time for a little happy hour, so we sat there with our beer and margarita relaxing in the shade while Ez raced his own toy cars every time the real cars drove by. Win/win for everyone involved.

Afterward it was pretty warm so we went to the kid's water area in Bugs Land. At first Declan wanted absolutely nothing to do with the water. He loves bath time but he's not a fan of getting his hair wet, so every time the drops hit his head he'd do this deep heaving sob and run over to bury his face in my leg. But then he saw Ez get right in the water, laughing and having a great time, so he had to get in there too, right next to brother, and after that they both had the best time.

After many other rounds of kids had come and gone and my kids were still in there, teeth chattering, we decided to drag them away, get them changed, and take a ride on Flik's Flyers. That's one of Ez's favorite rides, but Declan merely tolerated it with a very serious expression the entire time. 

My brother arrived afterwards, and he and I did the single rider line for Cars ride.  Then I left the kiddos with the grandparents and went to downtown Disney for drinks with friends. I hadn't seen them since we moved in August so it was really nice to catch up, and meet my friend's adorable baby boy. We even managed to catch the fireworks from in front of the Lego store.

The next day we ate breakfast at the Mexican restaurant in Frontier Land and then my brother and I hit a bunch of rides while my parents took Ez and Declan to meet the Winnie the Pooh characters, a yearly tradition, followed by, what else? More Disney Cars, of course. My brother and I did Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion, California Screamin', Tower of Terror, Soaring Over California, and Splash Mountain, where I sat in the front and got completely soaked. 

After that we met back up with everyone else so the grandparents could ride some rides while I took the kids to the Bugs Land water area. This time Declan was immediately enthralled with the water and spent a long time trying to catch the water that kept mysteriously slipping right through his fingers. He was cracking everyone in the area up because he was so determined and frustrated by the water he just couldn't catch. Once again we stayed till their teeth were chattering and then the grandparents took over again so I could go meetup with Joe who had to drive down separately because of work. 

We grabbed dinner together and then collected our sleeping kiddos from the grandparents and called it a night. 

Coming up next is Ez's actual birthday (Friday the 13th!) followed by his birthday brunch on Saturday. Thanks for following along, and if you're curious you can find Day 1 here

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Disney Birthday Week, Day 1

For Ez's birthday the grandparents wanted to kidnap him and take him to Disneyland, but after Joe and I mentioned that maybe, just maybe, we'd like to spend his birthday with him as well they consented and brought us too. Ez is currently at an age where he actually remembers Disneyland, so when I told him we were going a little prematurely he would sit in his carseat chanting "I'm going to Disneyland!" and then throw a major fit when we arrived anywhere that wasn't Disneyland. 

Our trip started bright and early on Tuesday morning, when the grandparents, Ez, Declan, and I piled into the car and began our six hour drive. I was squished between the two carseats in charge of trying to keep Ez and Declan entertained. Declan slept a good portion of the trip, and Ez was fine as long as he was able to chain eat apples and circus cookies while playing with his steady supply of monster trucks and airplanes. There were a few meltdowns, but overall they both did really well on the drive.

We got to our hotel around 2ish, and it wasn't ready yet so we headed straight to Disneyland. Ez was so excited on the shuttle ride and kept saying "I'm on a bus! I'm going to Disneyland!" I still think that the shuttle ride was one of the top three moments of the trip for him. 

First on our Disney agenda was lunch, followed by a trip through Fantasyland for a ride on Small World, Teacups, and Casey Junior's Train. Then it was time to honor the birthday boy's request and go see the Disney Cars at California Adventure. They recently opened a new ride in Carsland that Ez can actually ride, so we were excited to take him on that, but it turns out all he really wanted to do was watch the race cars from the Cars ride drive past Flo's Cafe. That is literally his favorite thing in the world, and throughout the trip we resorted to many forms of bribery to drag him away from there. He managed to acquire three new Disney cars once he figured out how to manipulate the system (aka, me and the grandparents). 

Once he was on the new ride, which I think is called Rollicking Cars, he loved it. We followed that up with Mater's Tractors, which he also loved, and then ate the Disney dinner of champions: watermelon and cheetos. Balance. After that we headed back to the hotel and were lucky enough to see the fireworks from the shuttle. Ez was completely enthralled and I think it's safe to say his first day at Disneyland far exceeded his expectations. As for Declan, his favorite things seemed to be the lights in the sidewalk, Small World, and trying to adopt a new family. Ez has never been a wanderer, and doesn't really like strangers, but I can tell Declan is going to give me a run for my money. He loves staring down strangers and walking right up to them, grabbing their leg, and forcing his way into their group. Apparently he's still exploring his options and he thinks he can do better than us ;)

So that was Day 1 - we covered lots of ground, managed to squeeze in quite a few rides, and ended the day with overly excited and tired, but extremely happy kiddos. Basically it was everything a day at Disney should be. You're going to hear this a lot with these Disney posts, but thank you Gangy and Grampa! We all had an amazing time.