Tuesday, September 9, 2014

From The Beach To The Mountains

One of the most amazing things about living where we do is how close we are to different landscapes. Big Bear is roughly 3 hours away, but worlds apart from the scene we're used to. Nearly every year since we have been together, John and I have made our pilgrimage to the mountains---never alone but always with his family. It's our time to bond with nature and with each other, which sounds painfully cliche but so true. In fact, I credit our past mountain trips (Graeagle CA from 2006-2010, and then Big Bear in 2011 and now 2014), as the primary reason we are all so close. The last time we were in Big Bear, Jack was only about 8 months old! I just love it there. It's easy, breezy, and beautiful. The streets of Big Bear Village are beautifully manicured and primed for leisurely strolls. You'll find a vintage French Country-esque home goods shop alongside with sweet shops and coffee delights like Dutch Apple Pie Latte with Carmel Sauce. The air is fresh and the lawns are lush. We spent a day at Lake Arrowhead, which is equally as pretty as Big Bear Lake, but can be very tricky to navigate around because it's private and limited to residents. Our highlights included Jack fishing on Nana and Pops' boat---oh, I should mention that he rather adorably practiced on our cabin deck for a good hour before, ah-mazing BBQ meals and Nana's slow-cooked pork, seeing a pirate ship, Jack riding a carnival train in Lake Arrowhead Village with a breathtaking view of the water, giggles and laughs everyday that echoed through the majestic pine trees, and the number one favorite memory, The Chili Cook-Off! If you haven't been to one of these before, go! We had the best time.  I would love to spend a whole week here with the lake and mountain peaks as my view. As an added bonus, right before we left to head home, my two fidgety, distracted, and refuse-to-pose-for-a-picture-unless-treats-are-involved-boys gave me the best most endearing portraits I've had all year. My cherry on top of my sundae!

*To see more of the this view I'm dreaming about, visit my last post on Big Bear nearly 3 years ago, back when I only had just one quiet and happy-all-the-time baby, and plenty of opportunities to stop and take pictures of the scenery ;)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Post-Fourth Vacation: Santa Monica

When work called my husband to L.A. right before our family mountain getaway just East of L.A., we thought why not join him and make a mini-vacation out of an otherwise draining business trip. We stayed just steps from the beach in Santa Monica. Everyday the boys and I would venture up and down Ocean Avenue, taking a detour for shopping at 3rd Street Promenade and kiddie carnival rides on the pier. I love to visit and tromp around Los Angeles. I'm thankful I don't live there, but from a tourist perspective it's pretty fun. From a FOODIE perspective it's over-the-top. I wish I could eat my way through that city. We definitely didn't go hungry. For me, the absolute highlight was getting to the pier right when it opened, and watching Jack's untamed excitement as he had all the rides to himself. He had never been tall enough to ride the "cool" carnival or fair rides all by himself, and he felt so proud and independent.

Next stop: The mountains of Big Bear, California...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Rewind Time Machine

Once again, blogging has taken a backseat. Sharing bits from our daily life has been largely through the medium of Instagram as of late---and because I'm an over-share kind of social media maven, our online life hasn't skipped a beat. However, I miss being able to blog nearly everyday 2-3 years ago. I'm thinking that with Jack being in school double the time we went last year, and with little Luke always diligently taking his naps on schedule, I can find more time for my online journal. We'll see...sometimes "real life" and living in the moment takes priority to sitting on a computer for hours trying to document the past. Sometimes it's also endless crumbs being crumbled all over my house, laundry piles that keep piling up, a Cave-Man Baby grunting and moaning and pointing at me to meet his demands of apple squeeze pouch snacks and fish crackers, and never-ending requests from a three-and-a-half year old to play "pretend animals" and "planes" all afternoon long. 

For now, here's the first of many "Time Machine" Installments:

I'm traveling back to almost exactly 8 weeks ago. We spent our Fourth of July at home doing almost nothing...but also everything, depending on how you look at it I guess. A Husband with a rare day off, my parents coming over to entertain my kids who adore them, a home-cooked meal, front row seat fireworks, and root beer floats. Yeah, I think that line-up counts for a perfect Fourth.

*Oh, and here are some cute pre-4th festivity pictures from a playdate that were too cute not to share...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

First Fiesta: Group & Family Photos

What wonderful memories of Luke's special day! I was grateful for the fact that most of our littlest party guests were under 2, and needed no other form of entertainment aside from water table toys and bubbles. Being so passionate about throwing parties and dreaming up themes, I continue to count my blessings that neither of my children have asked me for a "Ninja Turtles" or "Power Rangers" birthday yet. Luke and I have become close with the other babies and families in our Monday Music Class, and pretty much the entire class was at the party which was great. The only time you can plop a dozen kids in the same space and not encounter a scuffle or a tantrum is when the children are under two (and still in parallel play), so I embraced "The More The Merrier" mantra for Luke's party and loved watching all the babies on parade. My brother was back home from 2 years abroad, and being able to celebrate with him was probably my highlight of the whole day. Lots and lots of sweet babies, our family, and beautiful sunshine...what more could we ask for?