Friday, November 2, 2018

Our Halloween

It's safe to say blogging has fallen by the wayside this year. Maybe one of these days I'll do a Day in the Life post and it will be pretty clear why, but for now I'm happily living that chauffeur mom life and it's a wonderfully busy season to be in.

Still, I couldn't let Halloween pass without a little mention about all the fun stuff we've been up to. We L O V E October around here, and Ez was still asking to go back to the pumpkin patch all the way through March, so you better believe we jumped right in as soon as we could this year - as in, September.

Yep, we hit up our first pumpkin patch during the last week of September, and even though we were a little bit disappointed by the corn maze, which was Ezra-sized, we were still so, SO excited for the hay ride and our first (of what would be MANY) pumpkins. It really was the best day ever. There's such a cozy feeling when the first holiday festivities kick off, even if the temps are still mid 80s. 

After that we visited five more pumpkin patches (some of them more than once). We got lost in corn mazes, some how adopted thirty pumpkins, carved five of them into Jack O'lanterns, swam in seas of corn kernels, rode the bumpiest of hayrides, and even rolled around in these giant hamster wheel thing-a-majigs. We brought the grandparents along for the fun, and we all went with Ez on his class field trip to a pumpkin patch. Ez picked our costumes and we went as the Muppet Babies (and Miss Nanny), except for Declan, who decided on Ez's old Maui costume at the last minute. And, to cap it all off, we had the best trick or treating night EVER and got enough candy to last until Halloween next year.

If you ever stop to do the math on how many truly magical holidays you get with kids it's a little depressing, so we don't take it for granted at all that we're at this wonderful point in our lives where the holidays just keep getting better and better. Here's a little recap in everyone else's words:

Ezra's favorite part of October was carving jack O'lanterns and eating Halloween candy.

Decky liked the hayrides and bounce floor best and blowing out the Jack O'lantern candles best.

Joe liked Ez and Declan's extreme enthusiasm for trick or treating this year. Last year we started off strong but Ez was so excited he face-planted and things went downhill from there. This year was basically maximum excitement from beginning to end and it was one of those heart so full it could burst parenting moments.

And my personal favorite was getting one pumpkin patch trip with two sets of grandparents. It's such a special time of year and we're so lucky Joe's mom was able to join in on the fun this year.

Other notable mentions of the year include trick or treating at Funderland the weekend before Halloween. It was our first time there, and it was basically like a much smaller, cheaper version of Fantasyland at Disneyland. The kids were SO happy running from ride to ride and collecting their treats. We made some Halloween sugar cookies, and, as always, the sprinkles were the biggest hit ever. Ez has suddenly become Decky's bff, and he was determined to guide Decky through the corn mazes hand in hand - no matter how much Decky protested. It was basically the cutest thing ever and will be imprinted in my memories forever.

Now that Halloween is over we're currently enjoying all the brand new chocolate bribes at our disposal, fiery red fall foliage, and the promise of Christmas right around the corner. Wishing you all the coziest, loveliest, most magical last two months of the year.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Goodbye Summer

It's the last day of summer and even though the temps are still in the 90s for the next week or so, we're deep into school routines and cold season so summer is feeling long gone. It's funny how each summer is so similar in many ways, long days spent cooling off in bodies of water, freedom from routine, birthdays (lots and lots of birthdays, for us), yet each summer takes on its own special mark that makes it memorable. 

Last year we were all about those pool days and indoor playgrounds to keep the kids active and cool. This year, in true Sacramento fashion, we became river rats. We got ourselves oversized inflatables and found a few favorite spots that you could find us at on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Ez developed a love hate relationship with jet skis and boats, becoming both obsessed and scared by their loud engines. Decky is forever fearless and we learned pretty quickly that if we set him down near water he's going in. Like straight to the deep end. Nothing makes his eyes light up like water. Ok, and maybe balloons and bubbles too.  

I'm so happy we were able to continue a few traditions from last year. Namely, my birthday trip to the state fair, plenty of date nights, visits with Auntie B (four summers in a row now!), and a few Tahoe getaways. I'm also so, so grateful for the brand new experiences this summer brought us. Hello, Germany, you'll always have a piece of my heart. Shouldn't a portal where I can just walk through a door and wind up in Germany for lunch with my sisters and then be back home by dinner time exist by now? Can someone get to work on that, please?

As many memorable adventures that this summer held for us, the things that I know I'll remember most of all are not places or activities, but the people that I spent it with. Charcuterie and wine with my sisters - ALL four of them. Lazy date nights on the couch watching Netflix with Joe. Hammock time and bird watching with my boys. Quality time hanging out with the grandparents (aka, my parents, but they'll forever more be known as the grandparents 😉). Just like I cap off every season of every year, this really was the best, most family-filled summer yet, and I'd be very sorry to see it go if it weren't for the fact that it's OFFICIALLY FALL TOMORROW. And I am definitely ready for that 🍂

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Traveling Halfway Around the World

Soooo....a month and a half has gone by since I last visited this space. But, for once, I've actually got a good reason - Ez and I traveled 14,741 miles in three weeks. 14,741 miles by plane, bus, train, u bahn, s bahn, taxi, and even boat. Three time zones, three countries, two brand new passport stamps (in our brand new passports), five sisters, one wedding, and my trusty travel partners, Ez and Anna (Aunt Anna, if you will).

I should rewind a bit and mention that prior to this trip Ez and I had never traveled further than the east coast, and I think our longest vacation was a week. Top that off with the fact that Joe and Decky stayed home and we were way outside our comfort zone. They do say that life begins at the end of your comfort zone, but I'm not really sure who "they" are, and, to be honest, a lot of life also happens within your comfort zone. While I'm no expert at travel or comfort zones, I can let you in on a few things I did find outside of my comfort zone (in no particular order):
  • the best pretzels EVER
  • that I can carry a fifty pound kid for miles and miles in the sweltering heat
  • deep and meaningful conversations with all of my sisters
  • black birds that eat right out of your hands at the very top of the Alps
  • the random kindness of strangers
  • overwhelming homesickness (times a million when Ez and I both got the stomach flu)
  • reserves of patience when I thought I had none
  • brand new friends and family
  • that Ez is a party animal and a dancing machine
  • Radlers
  • castles
  • a heart attack at the price of iced tea in Switzerland
  • wasps. Lots and lots of wasps.
  • also, that lemon juice makes wasp stings all better
  • lifelong memories that I'll cherish forever.
So, lots of good stuff outside my comfort zone, and a few things I could have done without. We've been home three weeks now and it still feels like a surreal, magical, fairy tale dream. The beauty and history were amazing. The food was too. But as a homebody through and through, it was really the draw of family that made this such an unforgettable trip. Walking into a foreign country and feeling right at home was one hundred percent thanks to my sisters (and you too, Timm and Christian!) who organized so much for us and literally guided us from airport to AirBnB to train station and back to the airport (and nursed Ez and I back to health when we got sick). We got so lucky with the best guides and insider information and the best all around company. 

I intend to revisit each destination in depth (Maine, Munich, Berlin, and Boston) in their own posts, but life just got insanely busy with fall schedules, so you all know how that goes. For now I'll just leave you with some pretty pictures and my advice that if you ever find yourself outside your comfort zone enjoy it for everything it's worth. I don't personally want to live my whole life being uncomfortable, and I think there's plenty of beauty within your comfort zone as well (that's what makes it comfortable) - but I did learn and grow so much, I witnessed the beautiful marriage of my sister and brother in law, and I found some of my favorite experiences out there. And, for what it's worth, Ez has officially gotten the travel bug and asks daily when we're getting back on an airplane. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Birthday Season

And just like that, birthday season is over. All of our birthdays are squeezed between May and July and it's always such a special, celebratory, family-filled time. On a side note, I'm happy to report that by Joe's birthday Decky FINALLY figured out the whole blowing out candles thing and he is now a pro. Since mine and Joe's birthdays are only two days apart, and it's also right around the anniversary of our first meeting, we traditionally like to do a mini-getaway to celebrate. Sometimes we sneak off without the kids, but since Ez and I will be solo-traveling while Joe and Decky stay home, we opted for extra family time this year with a lake getaway to Tahoe. We also fit in a trip to the State Fair (on the hottest day of the month) for my actual birthday, which is now officially an annual tradition - aka, we've done it twice 😏

Maybe it's because we haven't been to Disneyland in five months (yes, we're Disney spoiled), but Ez and Deck were super excited by the monorail, carousel, and fake-Dumbo rides. Ez ate his weight in watermelon and ice cream, we spent way to much money "winning" one tiny little prize, I tried wine slushies for the first time and am now wondering what the heck I've been doing with my life, and we all narrowly avoided heat stroke - all in all a fantastic day spent with my three favorite people in the whole world.

On Thursday we packed up and headed to Tahoe which is hands down one of my favorite places in the whole world. Joe and I went there for our honeymoon, and then again for our birthdays last year, so I was excited to finally bring the kids along for the ride. I'm happy to report they loved it just as much as I do and despite freezing water temperatures and little chattering teeth we had to drag them out of the water each day. I already want to plan another trip back.

To cap off a week of fun we had one more celebration with my parents and then left the kids overnight so Joe and I could have a relaxing staycation watching Jurassic World and doing yoga in the park. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect, family-filled, relaxing birthday. If this is any indication for 35, I'm definitely ready for you ❤