Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tourists in Our Town

Lovely Spring weather after lots and lots of rainy days can only mean one thing: time to get out and explore this city we live in. This is already my third TIOT post (read 1 & 2 here) since we've moved to Sacramento and we've barely scratched the surface of doing all there is to do and seeing all there is to see. I love that there are so many hidden gems, great little shops and small businesses, festivals, delicious restaurants, tons of parks to keep the kids happy, and lots of reasons to get outside and walk around. Here are just a few of the things we've been up to lately:

1) We were walking around downtown one weekend morning and came across this amazing bookstore. I can never resist wandering through a bookstore and this one was just floor to ceiling books with an adorable little kid's area that Ez and Declan immediately fell in love with. A stack of books and one meltdown later (over a vintage toy car that wasn't leaving the store) we left in search of lunch.

2) Originally we had planned on going to a restaurant we'd already tried before and knew we loved but as we were walking there we passed Jack's Urban Eats and the food looked and smelled so good that we stopped in our tracks. Now we have a new favorite restaurant to add to our list, although at the rate we're racking up favorites I doubt we'll be able to visit any of them twice. Too much yummy food and too little time/stomach space. If you ever go there Ez highly recommends the mac & cheese, as well as the grilled cheese, and fries, and apple slices...he seriously ate all his food and Declan's. Bonus points that we were near enough the train tracks to see a pretty long freight train go by. It really doesn't get much better than that.

3) Sacramento does a great job of promoting small businesses and artists. We happened to come across a local arts and crafts fair and decided to stop by for a bit. There were tons of cute handmaid items and I had a hard time not buying something from each stall we stopped at. Afterward we went to the playground where Ez made a new friend who apparently likes playing with wood chips as much as he does. Fun for everyone.

4) Sacramento actually just changed its city motto from: "City of Trees" to "Farm to Fork Capital" - apparently this is pretty controversial if you're a local because many people were attached to the City of Trees, but Sacramento definitely does embody both of those things. There are a few really great farmers markets in the area, and tons of unique little restaurants with seasonal and local menus. Joe's Sunday tradition is to pick up about ten lbs of asian pears from the farmer's market (not exaggerating), which he usually does before the rest of us even wake up. But every now and then we go with him and we finally got around to taking Ez and Declan to the park right across the street.

5) The park has a huge lake, a space-themed playground, a community pool, and a huge open space on the other side of the lake which just happened to be the starting point for the March for Science that Declan and I went to over the weekend. I'm not sure why it took us so long to finally explore this park, but Ez and Declan loved it. Plenty of sand for Ez to dig around in, and lots of dangerous climbing things to suit Declan's interests. 

6) Last week our friends invited us to a food truck festival right down the street from our house. None of us actually ate any food, but it was a great community event with music, karaoke, and fun stuff for the kiddos, including inflatable bounce houses and slides that Ez couldn't get enough of and Declan couldn't get out of fast enough. Joe and I were surprised because Declan is usually our fearless little daredevil and Ez is more reserved but Ez took over the bounce house like he owned the place. And even though he had to maneuver and push his way to the front of the line for the slide, then scale a ladder that was pretty tall, he did the slide over and over and over again. I think we all slept well that night. 

I've said it before, and hopefully I'll say it again, but we're really loving this town. It's the perfect blend of city + nature + small town feel. Definitely a good fit for our family. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!

Earth definitely deserves more than one day of celebrations. I'm pretty partial to this planet of ours so we made sure to do a full weekend of celebrating :)

On Saturday Declan and I joined my friend and her children, along with about 18,000 other people, to march for science in downtown Sacramento. Turns out my brother was there too somewhere. Shows you how good my family is at that whole communication thing. Whoops! 

Declan had mixed feelings about the whole marching business. The fact that it was at lunch time didn't help matters, and we wound up right next to someone with a bullhorn which he wasn't fond of, but overall he was a trooper and he even managed to march the last few blocks toward the capitol building all on his own. I'm very proud of my little activist and everyone else who showed up. 

In case you're wondering where Ez was, he and daddy had their own date and went to story time, a car show, and Sac State. Ez was on Cloud 9 and basically only wants to do things with Daddy now. Mommy who?

On Sunday we got out in nature for a family hike. This was our first hike since we've moved and we found a great spot in Auburn right along the American River. When we got there and Ez saw the mountain he said, "I wanna walk up that mountain!" Proud mama moment right there. I want Ez and Declan to love nature and hiking just as much as Joe and I do. Then I made the mistake of asking him, "you want to hike up that mountain with Mommy?" "No. With Daddy!" Proud moment over. He even felt the need to reiterate a moment later, when I thought we'd dropped the subject. "Do I want to hike with Mommy or Daddy?" Ok, ok, I get it kid. #demoted

Aside from the fact that I was total third wheel status we couldn't have picked a better day for a hike. Perfectly sunny but mild weather, wild flowers blooming, and these beautiful black butterflies fluttering around. The river was a deep turquoise blue color. Everything was just gorgeous. And the boys were in amazing moods, giggling and running along the path, collecting rocks, darting toward the cliff to look at the river and nearly giving me a heart attack. The highlight had to be when we got off the beaten path and found a secluded little stream perfect for tossing rocks into. We literally had to drag Declan away crying, otherwise he would've been content to stay for hours. Also, please note that he wasn't tossing little pebbles into the water. The kid was hefting these giant boulders over his shoulder and shot putting them into the water. Ez had to take cover a few times. Mini Hulk in the making.

It was definitely one of those weekends that I wished would've lasted a teensy bit longer. But as Ez likes to say whenever we leave anywhere, "We'll be back."

And now for a few too many photos of our weekend adventures. Hope you had a great one!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Conversations in Toddlerville

Ez is officially at that age where he says silly things out of nowhere that crack us up. It's the best because his personality is shining through so much, and it also means he gives us unprompted I love yous which just melts my heart. But, depending on the conversation and the amount of times he repeats it this can definitely be a mentally draining age as well. I've probably never made as many empty threats in my life as I have in the past three months. Here are just a few of the conversations I've remembered to record lately. Or more likely they've been repeated so many times that they're permanently imprinted on my brain.

edit: I was reminded about that last watermelon convo and had to share because it had the whole table cracking up.

Conversation at Michael's
Me: If we buy this play dough we're not opening it until we get home.
Ez: We will open it when we get home.
Ez at register: I want to open the play dough?
Me: Nope, not until we get home, remember?
Ez: We will open it when we get home.
Ez in car: Want to open the play dough?
Me: Are we at home?
Ez: We will open it when we get home.
Ez 1 minute later: Want to open the orange play dough?
Me: No.
Ez 1 minute later: Want to open the pink play dough?
Me: NO!
<Ez repeats for each of the DOZEN colors>
Me: If you mention the play dough one more time I'm throwing them all out the window!
Ez: Orange?
Me: sigh...

Wandering through Target
Ez: No! I don't want this cakepop.
Ez: <takes bite of cakepop>
Me: I thought you weren't going to eat that cakepop?
Ez: No!
Ez: <takes another bite of cakepop>

Garbage Day
Me: Ez! Run to the window! The garbage truck is coming!
Ez (after the garbage truck leaves): It will be back. The garbage truck will come back.
Me: It'll be back in 7 days.
Ez: It will be back in 5 days.
Me: 7 days.
Ez: 7 minutes.
Me: Close. 7 days.
<repeat in constant loop for next 7 days. enjoy 5 minutes of peace while garbage truck is on our street. repeat whole process again.>

Fun fact: thanks to YouTube Ez calls the garbage truck a rubbish truck half the time...

Painting Eggs
Ez: Want to paint eggs?
Me: It's raining today. We'll paint them tomorrow.
7 am: <open my eyes and see two eyes staring back at me 1 inch from my face>
Ez: Want to paint eggs??

Randomly throughout day
Ez: I luhves you.
Me: I love you more.
Ez: I luhves you more.
Me: Not possible. I love you the most!
Ez: I love you to the moon and back!

Easter Supper
Ez (to Joe): Want a piece of watermelon Daddy?
Joe: No thanks bud, I'm good.
Ez (to Grampa): Want a piece of watermelon Grampa?
Grampa: No thanks, I'm good.
Ez (to me): Want a piece of watermelon Mommy?
Me: Yes, I'll have a piece. Thanks Ez, you're so sweet.
Ez: No thanks, Mommy. You're good. <quickly shoves watermelon in his mouth>

During those rare moments we aren't negotiating the garbage truck's schedule, you can most likely find Ez right here playing with his garbage truck:

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter 2017

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! We spent ours with family and friends and soaked up every second of wonder and excitement with Ez and Declan. 

Ez is still riding that sugar high and between egg hunts, pounds and pounds of chocolate, dying eggs, and running around with family he's been on Cloud 9 all weekend. Dex has been dutifully tagging along but egg hunts aren't his jam, and neither is chocolate for that matter. Thankfully the Easter Bunny brought some bubbles so he was a happy camper too. For the most part, anyway... ;)

We packed in as many Easter activities as we could this weekend, starting with a park egg hunt with friends Saturday morning which Declan wanted nothing to do with. Afterward we dyed our eggs which both boys were very enthusiastic about. Eventually I had to put an end to it before all our eggs wound up cracked and various shades of brown. While Declan napped I got to work stuffing eggs and filling baskets, which I absolutely love. I put mini Thomas trains in the eggs and Ez immediately confiscated them all for himself. Thankfully Declan doesn't seem to mind all that much, just so long as nobody touches his bubbles. 

On Sunday morning the boys followed a trail of eggs downstairs to their baskets which they quickly tore into, shoving chocolate into their mouths before anyone could stop them. We ushered them outside for the egg hunt because we were trying to beat the rain. Ez had been looking forward to this moment for approximately 13 months and he knew exactly what to do, running around the yard and yelling excitedly "I found an egg!" Meanwhile Declan went off to collect rocks. To each their own, I guess. As soon as all the eggs were collected Ez wanted to do it over again but it was time to head over to Gangy and Grampa's house where the Easter Bunny was kind enough to drop off even more goodies for the boys. Several dozen eggs, mountains of Easter grass, and an entire bubble wand later we had two very content little boys on our hands. 

Holidays with kids are so magical and I feel very lucky to get to experience childhood all over again through their eyes. 

And just like that Easter is over. I would be sad except that we're officially into our family's birthday season (May, June, & July). We've got a very fun trip planned for Ez's birthday in May, which I'll share more details on shortly. Can't wait! 

Happy Easter everyone!