Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tourists In Our Own Town, Pt. 2

It's been a long while since my last tourists in our own town post, and to be honest I've been working on this one since September. But then Halloween took over, and we all know Halloween is a month, not just a day, so this got pushed to the back burner and I've just been adding and adding to it, so I figured I'd better just publish it now before it turns into a 3,000 photo monster of a post.

For those of you who don't know, we've lived in San Jose for a little over a year and we're still finding new to us places to explore. Technically one of these places isn't in San Jose, but it's within a 40 minute drive, so fairly local. 

First up, the rose garden. We've visited here before, but this is the first time since Declan could walk, and boy was it a different experience. Suddenly it occurred to me that roses have thorns. Who knew? And thorns with a wobbly toddler is a whole lot less peaceful than thorns with a baby strapped to your chest. Still, the boys had a great time running up and down the rows and we enjoyed a lovely day without anyone tumbling into a rose bush.

Right across the street from the Target that we visit every single week is this amazing Rotary Playgarden that we somehow never noticed for a full year. It's got rock walls, giant stone slides, a trampoline, cool spinning climbing structures, and, best of all, it's in the airplanes landing route, so there are planes flying overhead the whole time. If that's not toddler paradise, I don't know what is. 

One weekend without much on the agenda we decided to hike in a new to us spot called Sunol Ohlone Park. Apparently you can hike all the way to a magical sounding place called Little Yosemite, but we wouldn't know because we didn't make it that far. We forgot to bring Declan's hiking backpack so that means he had to walk or we had to carry him. Uphill. Like, really, really steep hills. All things considered we made it pretty far and we saw some great views, but we turned around about halfway and decided we'd try again later when we're better prepared.

And there you have it! Any other bay area locals with some good hiking spot or kid friendly recommendations? 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fall by the Numbers

Fall was eventful and I'd be sad to see it go except: 1) we technically still have another three weeks of fall and 2) CHRISTMAS!!! Since I consider December it's own special season, I'm going to officially bid farewell to fall today with a little recap of the good, the bad, and the messy...all in numbers. Of course ;)

0 beds broken (but not for lack of effort).
Approximately 5 lbs of apples eaten weekly (mostly by Ez)
100% chance that if there is a leaf pile nearby my boys are stomping in it.
2 ponies ridden by two boys with very different opinions of said ponies.
2 official Halloween egg hunts which resulted in...
3,467 unofficial Halloween egg hunts until...
A dozen eggs disintegrated into rubbery, powdery nothingness.
Another 3,467 requests for more egg hunts.
4 foot radius covered in flour and baking powder after making muffins with my munchkins.
2 awestruck boys when they met Thomas and Percy (the trains).
1 child free Honeymoon weekend where it poured for...
2.5 out of 3 days but we still managed to see...
2 waterfalls and the most gorgeous fall foliage.
$200 - amount won during Honeymoon weekend.
$200 - amount lost during Honeymoon weekend. Sad face.
3 painting projects and only minimal amounts of paint eaten. Success.
1 of them was a disaster. Success.
3 trips to pumpkin patches for...
8 porch pumpkins, of which...
2 were carved with exactly...
1 billion: approximate number of lights at Lumination.
4 miles wandering around lost and confused in a corn maze.
50 approximate trips to the playground.
3 rainy day puddle stomping walks.
A dozen family members gathered around the Thanksgiving table.

You were good to us, fall. Wishing for an equally magical Christmas season for us, and for all of you as well!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Our Thanksgiving

My mom was gracious enough to host Thanksgiving this year so it was a peaceful, relaxing, family-filled day. For most of us, anyway. My mom may feel differently ;) She made us a huge feast, including salmon for us non-turkey eaters, and all the yummy sides and fixings. For dessert we had three options, and you better bet I sampled all three. 

Ez and Declan had a great time running circles around the house, playing chase with the uncles and grandparents, and then nearly falling asleep in their food. Declan had to take a nap mid-meal. Post-eating we played Apples to Apples and then it was time to celebrate Grampa's birthday, which is on the 1st, but he's celebrating in the happiest place on earth: Disney World! Ez kindly helped Grampa unwrap all his presents and then promptly threw each one on the floor when he realized it wasn't a toy. A little glimpse into the next few years' Christmas?

Thanksgiving was everything I'd hoped it be, a family-filled house, full bellies, lots of laughs, and two very happy kiddos who soaked up every second of being the center of attention. I hope your weekend was the same! 

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Happy Thanksgiving!!

I know there's a lot of chomping at the bit to get on with Christmas festivities already, but I really do love to pause and appreciate Thanksgiving. I try to count my blessings all year long, but sometimes being thankful is the last thing on my mind when I've got two hungry kids in meltdown mode, a minefield of tiny, painful cars strewn across the living room, and not a single thing crossed off my to do list for days in a row. So having this one special day to sit still and think about all that I have to be grateful for is a blessing in itself. 

This may not go over so well, but the food doesn't do much for me (a meal centered around turkey is kind of eh for vegetarians). What I love most about Thanksgiving is all the people gathered around the food. For the third year in a row we'll be spending Thanksgiving with both mine and Joe's family, and any day that Ez and Declan get to spend with two sets of grandparents is cause for celebration. I love all the messy food prep, crowded kitchens filled with delicious scents, dish after dish lining the table with more food than three families could possibly eat in one sitting, and most of all the conversation and the new memories being built. I love board games and chasing the kids around outside to work off some of that food before it's time for another one of my loves: pie. Apple, pecan, pumpkin, I love em all! And that's just the stuff I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving day.

This whole year has been amazing as far as getting to visit with so many family members, far and near, and I know it's a year I'll never forget. Living in the Bay Area and getting to see my sister for impromptu midweek lunches, spending a whole weekend with ALL my sisters, and hanging out with my besties from grade school on a more regular basis has been so good for my soul. I'm thankful that through the ups and downs and ins and outs of learning to balance the demands of parenting two adventurous, energetic little boys and nurturing our own relationship Joe and I continue to grow closer than ever. I'm thankful for our beautiful wedding. And most of all I'm thankful for this family of mine, my reason for everything, who make each day, and especially holidays, so much more magical. More messy, and loud, too, but mostly more magical ;)

I wish you all a day filled with family and food - two of life's greatest blessings!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Wedding: First Dances

After the ceremony Joe and I hid out for awhile and savored our first few moments as husband and wife. The coordinator brought us a plate of appetizers and some wine and we took our first selfie as a married couple:

Then it was time for our grand entrance! From this point on the night is a blur, but the best kind of blur possible. 

Girl it's been a long, long time comin'
But I know that it's been worth the wait
It feels like springtime in winter
It feels like Christmas in June
It feels like heaven has opened up its gates for me and you

Girl, I think you're truly somethin'
And you're every bit a dream come true
With you baby, it never rains and it's no wonder
The sun always shines when I'm near you
It's just a blessing that I have found somebody like you 

To think of all the nights 
I've cried myself asleep 
You really oughtta know
How much you mean to me
It's only right that you be in my life right here with me

And every time I close my eyes
I thank the lord that I've got you
And you've got me too
And every time I think of it 
I pinch myself cause I don't believe its true
That someone like you loves me too

For our first dances with our parents we danced to Eric Clapton's You Look Wonderful. Ez didn't want to leave the dance floor so my dad danced with him after my stepdad cut in. And then we did a dance with Ez and Declan to Lee Ann Womack's I Hope You Dance, which deteriorated into everyone running circles around me, which is a pretty accurate depictions of our everyday life at home ;) 

These are some of my favorite moments of the whole night and I know I'll never forget them.

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the chance to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance