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!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Our Move by the Numbers + A Few Moving Tips

To give a little bit of background on Joe and I, we've been together almost six years, and in that time we've lived in seven places. Five in Southern California, one in the Bay Area, and now in Sacramento. No, we're not a military family, and no, we're not on the run from the law ;) The first three moves we did completely on our own. No movers, no big trucks, just some helpful friends, Joe's Tundra, and my Jetta. Then we eventually accumulated more furniture, got rid of Joe's truck, moved further away, and just wizened up in general and started hiring movers. So, so SOOOO worth it.

During our most recent move I heard lots of "you must be a pro at moving by now." While that's definitely not true, I do think this was our least stressful move yet. All things considered it should've been the most stressful because we only gave ourselves three weeks to not only find a new place more than 100 miles away from where we currently lived, but also because Joe was gone 10 of those 21 days. He literally got back from his second work trip 18 hours before the movers showed up. I did 80% of the packing in the five days beforehand while Joe was nearly 3,000 miles away and Ez and Declan were ransacking the already messy and disorganized maze of boxes that was our living room. And you know what? That actually took a lot of the pressure off. Everything didn't have to be perfectly organized before it got packed away. It just had to make its way to a box. That's it.

Aside from focusing more on getting it done than getting it done perfectly, here are a few other moving tips I've picked up along the way:

- The kitchen is a beast. (Especially if you just recently received lots of lovely kitchen-related wedding gifts). It takes a looonnng time to pack a kitchen well, so that breakables don't break, and it took us a minimum of 15 boxes this time around.

- Bubble wrapping is very time consuming. Do NOT wait till the last minute to pack your breakables. Knock those pesky items off the list right away.

- A few moves ago when I was still a rookie I packed up all the clothes hanging in my closet. Turns out if you hire movers that's a complete waste of time. They showed up with wardrobe boxes and just took all my clothes right on the hangers and then even unpacked them straight into my closet at the new place for me.

- Same thing if you happen to keep a lot of your stuff in storage baskets. Taking stuff out of baskets to put them into boxes is a wasted step. The movers just shrink wrap them and load them straight into the truck. Easy and done. Thankfully we're huge fans of storage baskets and that saved us a ton of time.

- Even if you don't have a ton of time, purge whatever you can. We took about an hour to go through all the accumulated paper and junk mail that had piled up on our counter and tossed 80% of it. Same with clothes and toys. As I was packing I'd have a separate bag for stuff to donate and we wound up taking two trunkfuls of stuff to the thrift shop. It's very freeing to know you're letting go of stuff that's just wasting space.

- Get a babysitter on moving day! This is the first time we've followed this advice and I'm not sure how we survived past moves with kids underfoot.

- If you have something completely irreplaceable that you love, take it with you in your own car if possible. No matter how careful we and the movers are, something always breaks. It's unfortunate but true. (This time it was the TV, which was exceptionally devastating for Joe and Declan.)

- And above all, just know that somehow, someway you'll make it over to the other side, feet propped up on boxes, a glass of wine in hand, and be able to say to yourselves, "I can't believe we pulled this off." Best feeling ever ;)

More home details and photos coming soon! We are this close to having everything unpacked and Ez and Declan have been just as enamored with the unpacking process as they were with the packing process. Bubble wrap, empty boxes, and packing paper everywhere...what more could a little boy ask for?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Our Weekend: Free Museum Day

It's been a long while since I've done a weekend recap post (or really any blogging at all), but since it was our first full weekend here I felt the need to document it ;) 

This Saturday was free museum day in Sacramento AND we happened to get a brief break from the rain so we headed straight over to the train museum since Ez and Declan are both obsessed with trains, or "choo CHOOs!!!" as Declan calls them. Turns out it's a good thing we went on the free day because Ez was totally intimidated by the giant life-size trains. He planted his feet and did not want to go anywhere near them. Declan was the complete opposite and wanted to crawl right over the "DO NOT CLIMB" signs and explore every nook and cranny of each train up close and personal. Two very different and equally stubborn personalities those two have. One thing they both agreed on and loved was the miniature model train set upstairs. But since they've got a free one of those right up the street at the toy store we'll probably stick with that in the future. Despite the mixed reviews from Ez and Declan, we all had fun burning off some energy and enjoying the sunshine for a bit.

On Sunday we kept up with the museum theme and walked around Sutter Fort. I've never been there before and it was pretty cool that you could walk right inside a lot of the rooms and check out all the old furniture and tools and weapons from the 1800s. They had a room full of rifles that was locked (thankfully). You could look through the door but not actually open it. Declan was not having that. He made it his personal mission to try to break into that room and every time we tried to move on he'd run back and tug on the door knob, then try climbing through the window, and at one point we even saw him trying to open up the sewer grate. Just a little glimpse into what we're dealing with on a daily basis from this kid. All signs seem to be pointing toward him being a criminal mastermind in the near future.

Aside from the rifles the boys' favorite part of the trip was definitely the water fountain outside of the fort. Pretty much the whole time we were wandering inside the fort Ez was solely focused on either collecting rocks to throw in the water or asking if we could go throw rocks in the water. Priorities. A close second to the water fountain was probably the cake pops we got afterward. Who can say no to heart sprinkles?

Declan sitting at the tables yelling for "CAH!!!" (aka - graham crackers)

We're already looking forward to exploring the city more just as soon as these torrential downpours we're getting let up a bit. Hope you all had a nice, cozy, dry weekend with your loved ones!