Friday, October 17, 2014

Endless Summer Party

I decided to host an "Endless Summer" party in August to honor that fact that where we live, summer extends far beyond the start of school and autumn months. Also, it was long overdue to catch up with some awesome Mom's in my life. I'm so grateful for my playgroup families. Having supportive fellow mothers (and fathers) in my life has really fortified my confidence in parenthood. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed (or even horrified) by some of the behaviors from the boys, and it's easy to forget that I'm not the first and only mother to ever walk the planet. Every parent is in the same boat. We're all just trying to do our best, we all fall short, we all need help, and back on this particular day of Endless Summer Party fun, we all needed the distraction of balloon animals and fresh raspberry pie.  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Summer Cousins


Every summer our Texas family escapes the heat and migrates West. It gets harder and harder to capture everyone and every detail of the activities we do together as the children keep multiplying, but here's a glimpse...and it won't be hard to tell that they are obsessed with each other. You've seen a lot of these girls on this blog. We've vacationed with them nearly half a dozen times, visited them in Austin about the same amount, and they come to San Diego roughly 3 times a year. The age difference is ideal. Right when the girls were growing out of the toddler frenzy stage, my boys were born and there's something very enticing to playing "mommy" to two little boys who worship the ground you walk on. Also, when there is 8 and 5 years between the oldest and youngest, it means built-in babysitters! These four are the luckiest...but most definitely needed a week-long nap after this most recent visit! (or maybe that was me?...)

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...